Sony STR-DN1030


A new AV receiver

Even if you are not a fan of AV receivers, you can’t escape their presence. Such a device usually comes out each year, of course every time from a different manufacturer. Or from the same one who decided to do an upgrade to the previous model. Sony is one of the many companies that produced a new AV receiver which is meant to be better than its predecessor. The name of the fresh new product: $499 STR-DN1030. In today’s review we will concentrate and discuss how it behaved in the tests we did on it.

Limited interface

The Sony STR-DN1030 does not come off as a vastly changed AV receiver in terms of looks. It sports the previous model’s front panel, in that the latter has many unnecessary keys. And besides, they are all painted in different colors. If that wasn’t enough, then check this: Media Remote, an app which is used to control the thing, comes with even more buttons. If we were to compare this device, we would say it’s not as beautiful as others. Moreover, that array of unnecessary buttons really annoyed us when, during tests, we wanted to press a useful key. Beginners will also want to try something easier.

What came next on our list of cons was the interface. We honestly saw much better examples on other AV receivers. It is very primitive. And it looks like there is not enough space to move around. To avoid crying in frustration over this interface, try and play instead with applications on either a tablet or a smartphone. And stream them using Bluetooth, for instance.Sony-STR-DN1030

3D pass-through included

What the STR-DN1030 does good and is a pro in our books is the fact that it has many features. To distract from the awful interface, more like. Joke aside, there are really many features which make time pass well.

For starters, the integrated Bluetooth offers the possibility to stream audio content from either tablets or smartphones which are not made by Apple. Everything is done in a wireless way. Then there is a USB port which offers support for iPads, iPods and also iPhones. Analog video signals are easy to upconvert to 1080i thanks to a HDMI output. In total, there are 5 of the latter. The Digital Cinema Auto Calibration that this model uses means a lot of help for both beginners and professionals. A great pro to have on an AV receiver. Since there are many HDMI inputs (still, less than what other models feature), you also get the following: standby pass-through, an audio return channel and 3D pass-through.

Separate amplifier required

Another feature of the STR-DN1030: an integrated AirPlay. This option is especially aimed at, of course, users of Apple’s gadgets. Other connectivity options are in the form of 5 analog audio inputs, 2 component video inputs and 3 digital audio inputs. These make it up for the lack of too many HDMI ports. This receiver also boasts unpowered second-zone analog options. So that to make sure your speakers are running, you must have a separate amplifier. The last feature of this product is an Advanced Volume Function. Which, sadly, lacks support for DTS Master Audio and neither with Dolby TrueHD OSTs.

Audio quality per total is so and so. At times it can be brilliant, while at others it needs improvement. It basically depends on what you’re watching.

Review conclusion

The Sony STR-DN1030 has room for improvement. But overall we recommend this AV receiver to consumers who are after a device with a lot of good features.