11/28/2014

Sony STR-DN 1050 7.2 AV Receiver - review

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This is how the final set-up looks.

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I'm a hi-fi-amateur. I love big sounds. I've been having stereohifi since ever. I recently did have my Denon receiver and cd-player repaired. They are more then 17 years old. The problem nowadays with my Denon receiver is that I don't even have an "aux"-input. So listening to music on today's devices like external hard disk, pc, mobile, tablet with good sound quality is impossible . And my main concern was watching tv and enjoying sound quality. I really find it annoying just to have the bad tv-sound.

So, when surfing the internet, I bumped in the the best deals for a certain price. the Sony STR-DN 1050 a/v 7.2 receiver came out as one of the best and my fave. My tv is a SONY Bravia SONY KDL-40EX500 and my blu-ray player is also SONY. As to connectivity, and me being a noob technician, I don't take any risk.

The sony STR DN 1050 is massive: about 17 cm tall! I had to re-arrange my total set-up on my hifi/tv-furniture.
- 6 HMDMI inputs!
- 3 HMDI-outputs
- USB
- Wifi
- radiotuner
- sat/cat/tv
- tv
- spotify (needs premium abonnement)

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How to connect the Sony str dn 1050 7.2 av receiver?

So I had some trouble connecting the receiver to my tv. This is something you need to do as the menu of the receiver appears on your tv-screen. The online manuals all say the "plug&play". But most people know: plug&play is as complicated as simple if it don't do what it's supposed to do automatically. It took me hours and suddenly it was there! Never understood what I did do right or wrong.
This is the reason why I put my experience online. How-to connect for noobs.

So finally I could preset radio stations, while scrolling on my tv-screen.
My radio channels are though cable...so limited...something I do care about. But antenna is too much noise and fall-outs where I live. I didn't test the antenna of the sony. (When you connect through wi-fi: you can listen to tons of digital radiostations, also your local stations!)

Radio and TV are connected through coax-cables in the accesspoints of my home.
My digicorder (box for digital tv) is connected through HMDI in the receiver sat/catv.
The TV is connected with the receiver (hmdi out arc) and HMDI 1 (arc) in the tv.

The blu-ray player is connected through hmdi with the receiver.

The CD-player has the ordinary cables you all know.

My two B&W 600i series speakers are connected in the front L & R input with classic 20-year old cables.

This 7.2 receiver is built for a complete surround system. But so far I still enjoy my classic Bowers & Wilkins speakers.

For all of this to work: you need to enable the HDMI on your receiver: the button enables hmdi A / A+B. Then you can do it also in the settings menu. (Which I couldn't due to the fact that I didn't see the menu on my tv-screen! aargh!)

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sony,sony str-dn 105,7.2,receiver,hi-fi,spotify,wifi,usb,sound optimizer,pure direct,home network,music services


The menu of the Sony str dn 1050 7.2 av receiver
First you can choose all kind sof settings.
I did do the auto-calibration thing for my speakers. You have to connect the included microphone, put in on the place where you usually sit on your couch and run the program. Your speakers do blow and bleep a bit and that's it.


The menu has 5 options: watch, listen, custom preset, sound effects and settings.
WATCH: tv, digicorder, dvd/blu-ray: no explanation needed.
LISTEN: well let's try the more nerdy options.
Music services. First you have to go to settings. Network settings. Do a firmware update, follow the instructions, enable the wifi. Make connection to your wifi-network at home. It worked very well with the WPS push button. Manually inputting the wps-key failed... maybe I had the wrong code...the hell do I know what the right code is :s.
I tried TuneIn (you have also Deezer en some pay-thing as preset services). So I learned I can listen through my receiver to digital radiostations. The ones and a lot more that are not available on my cable anymore. Yeah!!!
Home Network: alas refreshing keeps on telling me "no server available"...a pity... but on my pc I could adjust the settings of my "home network". I opted for "sharing my files" with any device in the network. In my home network settings the sony receiver appeared! I clicked "allow". Then I openend windows media player. In the streaming options is put "stream through". (I did search the "help"-page on the internet, by searchign for settings, home network, streaming.

Anyway. What didn't work: clicking on the folders like "music" "video's" that appeared in my windows explorer under "sony str dn 1050".
What work is just clicking a music-file/album in on my pc and right click, and choose: "stream with sony str dn 1050".
Then suddenly the "no server available" on my tv-screen disappeared and the ply-interface of the song I clicked began playing on my screen with excellent sound! Hooray for me!

USB

I have tons of music on my external harddrive. I connected it directly in the front usb-port of my receiver. You can also choose USB with the "input"-changer.
On my tv appeared "root". I opened and I could choose my external HD. I could see every folder, and every song. I I just had to click on it to play it. It sounds so much better than on my external pc-boxes.

So with the above explained wifi I should be albe to stream it through pc directly too. But if yuor pc is not available you can connect your external HD directly to your receiver. No need for your pc!

Question: nowadays turntables have an USB OUT to digitalize your albums on your pc. Would that also be possible to connect through USB to the receiver to play those albums?

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Sound settings

The presets you have to try for yourself. I really stick to the classic living room sound" and maybe some others to. It's really personal. But i really like high dynamic range and not to much "live concert"-echoeing/noise.

What you really should do is put the "sound optimizer" on "normal"... if you put in on "low" everything osunds really flat. I does remind me of the loudness-function on old hi-fi, but Low really surpresses the dynamics of the sound.
Futher on you have "pure direct"...put it OFF!!! it says it it plays the music like it is recorded.......the effect is like putting dolby on on a taperecorded when the music is not recorded with dolby on. I don't get this feature, so forget about it. But people who know to deal with this function, will find it usefull.
You have an equalizer: just bass and treble. With "sound optimizer: low" this didn't even do much to get the sound better, hence my opinion to put 'sound optimizer: normal".
Trial and error I'd say.

Budget
Sony is not known for hi-end stuff. On the other hand it is not known for producing crap either.
As I was afraid that this budgetfriendly € 650 (got it for € 530, action price in november 2014) on redcoon would be too cheap for a real good hi-fi-device, I'm very very pleased after weeks of testing. Normal voices like the news, you can listen to with the volume down. With direct tv-sound, I really had to put up the volume sometimes.
But the sound of tv-series, movies and music in general: it does sound different than my good old denon, but i really can't say it is worse. I'm a happy camper!

What I can't test:
music playing in a different zone, as lack of a second zone-hi-fi in my place ;-)
what I didn't test either: bluetooth with my smartphone.


ps: mailing the sony europe customer service and technicians department didn't make any difference. They jsut answered in general terms and gave me a phone number which I never called as my problems seem to be solved.
They answered that streaming is only from PC to receiver. Which is my experience. But still my do manuals speak of : connecting from your receiver to your pc 'home network'?
anyway. they also told me the USB is not for playing, but only for digitalizing. Strange as I can play my usb-devices through the USB-port of the receiver.