Sony STR-DN1080 Review

R

rnatalli

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
858
#1
I never thought I would write a review of a Sony receiver, but here we are. Years ago, I would never have considering a Sony receiver for any setup, but I must say they have come a long way and I would not hesitate to look at them today despite stiff competition from the usual suspects.


Unpacking
The unit comes packed like any other receiver you would buy. Cardboard box, white sleeve, foam, tape on the pouch holding the remote, manual, and other things. Nothing special to report here other than packed well enough.


First Impressions
The unit has a typical look for receivers in this price range. It has some weight to it, but not like a more premium product using aluminum or metal construction. That said, the lines are clean and it’s build quality is typical of what to expect in this price range.


Setup
The Sony auto calibration systems moves quicker than any other I’ve used including YPAO which also works quickly. As with many systems, it got the speaker size wrong and the distance to the sub was off. Other than that, it did a good job. I was actually quite surprised with the results as Sony’s DCAC EX flattened the response almost as well as my very own Anthem ARC. It also didn’t touch frequencies higher than 500Hz (which I prefer); and most of the work took place between 100Hz and 200Hz in this particular room.


Remote
The remote is the typical plastic variety you will find, but it’s well laid-out. Regardless, like most users I use a universal remote. I personally use Simple Control and it works fine after some messing around.


Sound
Where this receiver really shines is the sound. It produces the best sound I’ve heard for a receiver at this price. You do have to mess with settings such as turning the Digital Legato and Auto Phasing off, turning the treble down a hair on all channels, but once dialed in, it sounds fantastic. Unlike many systems using EQ, the Sony didn’t sound too flat and lifeless, rather, it had a dynamic sound which was downright seductive. Sony also includes a sound optimizer which doesn’t function the same as with some other receivers which is to try and make a 128 MP3 sound like more. Sony’s sound optimizer acts in a similar way to Dynamic EQ, but I felt it does a better job with low frequencies by not over-emphasizing them during low-level listening sessions. I appreciate this feature on all receivers as most of my usage takes place at night.


Problems
The unit does get a bit hot during use.


Summary
It amazes me what $500 buys when it comes to sound equipment. I know Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon, and Pioneer still rule the roost, but you would make a mistake in not listening to a Sony these days.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,174 16 37
#2
Curious, why do you think it got the sub delay setting wrong? It doesn't necessarily need to match up to actual distance, depending on the sub amp's processing time.

But for the lack of features/room eq (no DCAC),I like my old cheap Sony avr, works quite well overall.
 
R

rnatalli

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
858
#3
Curious, why do you think it got the sub delay setting wrong? It doesn't necessarily need to match up to actual distance, depending on the sub amp's processing time.
Good point. I do recall seeing something from Audyssey regarding this and the recommendation was to leave the setting alone.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,005 9 17
#4
Curious, why do you think it got the sub delay setting wrong? It doesn't necessarily need to match up to actual distance, depending on the sub amp's processing time.

But for the lack of features/room eq (no DCAC),I like my old cheap Sony avr, works quite well overall.
I was wondering the same. Very common to have distances set that aren't the same as the actual physical measurement. Mine are set 5' further than they really are.
 
R

rnatalli

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
858
#8
Are you leaving that sticker on just in case you change your mind?
Just didn't think to remove it, but I suppose I can leave it on for now just in case.

I had a chance to do some good listening with the Sony in my own setup. Believe it or not, it gives my Anthem a run for its money at least in my room. The Sony actually has better dynamics, soundstaging, and clarity up top whereas the Anthem does better down low and in the mids. Perhaps just good luck with Sony's EQ in my particular room. Again, impressive what $500 can deliver these days.

For anyone giving this receiver a shot, it does take a little messing with to get the best sound. I'm still playing around, but here are some major things to do:

-Turn off Digital Legato
-Turn off Auto Phasing
-At the end of the DCAC EX calibration, it'll ask a question; answer "No"
-Set Sound Optimizer to "Normal" if you do a lot of low-level listening
-Try the different EQ curves, but I found "Full Flat" works best
-Manually adjust sub level as it will likely set it too high or too low
-Optional (Depends on Speakers): Use the Equalizer to turn the treble down a notch or two on each speaker

I think that's it.
 
Last edited:
Roen

Roen

Audioholic
Ratings
43 1
#10
I'm thinking of donating my RX-A660 to my parents and get a STR-DN0180 / ZA-810ES instead. Thoughts?
 
R

rnatalli

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
858
#11

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