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Sony STR-DE597

Home theater receiver with Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, and Pro Logic II

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  • Sony STR-DE597

    Front

  • Sony STR-DE597

    Back

  • Sony STR-DE597

    Remote

Item #: 158STD597B
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Sony STR-DE597

by Barry Montgomery
Sony

Receivers: Your ticket to sensational sound

Your receiver powers your speakers and lets you connect and select your entertainment sources. But a great receiver does a lot more — it ignites your emotions. From the passion of a favorite musical artist, to the crossfire of a super-charged movie soundtrack, to the intensity and immersion of a fast-paced video game, your receiver is the key to experiencing and enjoying it in full.

The Sony STR-DE597 delivers six-channel home theater power and Dolby® Digital EX home theater thrills at a breakthrough price! This receiver teams up 90 watts x 6 with an advanced 32-bit processor to bring all your home entertainment options to thrilling, three-dimensional life — enjoy your movies, your TV shows, your music, and even your video games in dynamic 6.1-channel surround sound!

In addition to Dolby Digital EX decoding, you get a wealth of other surround processing options, including DTS-ES®, DTS Neo:6, and Dolby Pro Logic® II. Sony's exclusive Digital Cinema Sound™ modes, exclusive soundfields based on acoustic measurements made at actual Sony movie production stages, let you add even more cinematic ambience.

The 'DE597 also offers plenty of digital and analog inputs to build a great A/V system. It's even got component video switching for two sources, with 80MHz bandwidth for immaculate transfer of HDTV signals. The A/V remote gives you easy control of this receiver and other Sony components. Two sets of main speaker outputs let you power stereo speakers in two rooms simultaneously.

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Highlights:

  • 90 watts x 6 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.09% THD
  • Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, DTS Neo:6 and Pro Logic II processing
  • Digital Cinema Sound modes
  • 32-bit processor
  • component video switching: 2 in, 1 out (80MHz bandwidth)
  • digital inputs: 2 optical, 1 coaxial
  • 2 audio, 3 A/V inputs
  • 5.1-channel input for SACD or DVD-Audio
  • no phono input
  • A/V remote
  • 2 sets of main speaker outputs
  • 30 AM/FM presets
  • 16-7/8"W x 6-1/8"H x 12-7/8"D
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Number Of Channels
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N/A
Stereo RMS Power (watts)
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---
THD in Stereo
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---
Frequency Bandwidth (stereo)
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---
FM Sensitivity
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11.2 dBf
HD Radio Tuner
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No
On-Screen Display
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No
Auto Speaker Calibration
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---
HDMI Standby Pass-through
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Composite Video Conversion
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S-Video Conversion
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Component Video Conversion
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HDMI to HDMI Upconversion
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Internet-ready
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Apple AirPlay
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App Remote Control
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No
Bluetooth-compatible
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USB port for iPod/iPhone
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No
DLNA Certified
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MHL-compatible
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Multibrand Remote Control
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Learning Remote
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No
LCD Remote
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No
Width (inches)
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16-7/8
Height (inches)
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6-3/16
Depth (inches)
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12-7/8
Weight (pounds)
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---
Parts Warranty
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2 Years
Labor Warranty
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2 Years
Multi-room Audio--Video
Powered Multi-room Audio Output
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No
Preamp Multi-room Audio Output
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No
Multi-room Video
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No
Multi-room HDMI Output
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No
Surround Processing
Dolby Digital
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Yes
DTS
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Yes
Inputs & Outputs
Phono Input
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No
Audio-Video Inputs
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3
Audio-only Inputs
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2
S-Video Inputs
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None
S-Video Outputs
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None
S-Video Monitor Outputs
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None
Component Video Inputs
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2
Component Video Monitor Outputs
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1
Optical Digital Inputs
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2
Coaxial Digital Inputs
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1
Optical Digital Outputs
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None
Coaxial Digital Outputs
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None
HDMI Inputs
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HDMI Monitor Outputs
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Subwoofer Outputs
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1
Multi-Channel Analog Input
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No
Multi-channel Preamp Output
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No
Main Speaker Output Pairs
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2
Main Speaker Terminals
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Posts A/Clips B
Ethernet Port
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---
USB Connections
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None
Removable Power Cord
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---
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Black AM/FM/Dolby Digital/DTS receiver
  • RM-U308B Wireless remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • AM loop antenna
  • FM wire antenna with attached coax connector
  • Operating Instructions
  • Easy Setup Guide
  • Important Safeguards
  • Owner Registration Card
  • Warranty sheet
  • Sheet on correct loudspeaker connections using the binding posts (taped to top of receiver)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features
Inputs and Outputs Notes

Features

32-Bit Processor: This receiver employs dual 32-bit processors, providing precise surround decoding for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, DTS, DTS-ES, DTS Neo:6, Dolby Pro Logic, and Dolby Pro Logic II, plus Sony's Digital Cinema Sound modes.

Surround Back Decoding: This function lets you select the decoding mode for the surround back signals of the multi-channel input stream. When you select "SB Auto" and the input stream contains 6.1-channel information, the appropriate decoder is applied to decode the surround back signal (Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES Matrix, or DTS-ES Discrete decoder). When you select "SB Matrix", Dolby Digital EX is applied to decode the surround back signal regardless of the 6.1-channel (or 5.1-channel) information. When "Off" is selected, no surround back decoding is performed.

Digital Cinema Sound (DCS): Digital Cinema Sound is the concept name of the surround technology for home theater developed by Sony. DCS uses the DSP (Digital Signal Processor) technology to reproduce the sound characteristics of an actual cinema cutting studio in Hollywood. When played at home, DCS will create a powerful theater effect that mimics the artistic combination of sound and action as envisioned by the movie director. The DCS soundfields used in this receiver include:

  • Digital Cinema Sound EX A: Reproduces the sound characteristics of the Sony Pictures Entertainment "Cary Grant Theater" cinema production studio. This mode is great for watching most any type of movies.
  • Digital Cinema Sound EX B: Reproduces the sound characteristics of the Sony Pictures Entertainment "Kim Novak Theater" cinema production studio. This mode is ideal for watching science fiction or action movies with lots of sound effects.
  • Digital Cinema Sound EX C: Reproduces the sound characteristics of the Sony Pictures Entertainment scoring stage. This mode is ideal for watching musicals or films where orchestra music is featured in the soundtrack.
  • Headphone Theater: Allows you to experience a theater-like environment while listening through a pair of headphones.

Surround Modes: This receiver incorporates a wide variety of surround modes to bring you maximum enjoyment from your audio and video software. The surround modes include:

  • Dolby Digital
  • Dolby Digital EX
  • Dolby Pro Logic
  • Dolby Pro Logic II (Movie and Music)
  • DTS
  • DTS-ES (Discrete 6.1 and Matrix 6.1)
  • DTS Neo:6 (Cinema and Music)
  • Cinema Studio Ex. A (Digital Cinema Sound)
  • Cinema Studio Ex. B (Digital Cinema Sound)
  • Cinema Studio Ex. C (Digital Cinema Sound)
  • Hall
  • Jazz Club
  • Live Concert

Headphone Sound Fields: When headphones are connected, you can select the following sound fields:

  • HP 2CH: outputs the sound in stereo. Standard 2-channel sources completely bypass the sound field processing. Multi-channel surround formats are downmixed to 2-channels.
  • HP Multi: outputs the analog signals input to the Multi Channel Input jacks
  • HP Theater (Digital Cinema Sound): allows you to experience a theater-like environment

Sound Field Customizing: Depending on the Mode selected, you can adjust the following parameters:

  • Front Balance: Left +8 to +1, Center Balance, Right +1 to +8 (17 steps)
  • Center Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments
  • Surround Left Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments
  • Surround Right Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments
  • Surround Back Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments
  • Subwoofer Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments
  • Dynamic Range Compressor: allows you to compress the dynamic range of the sound track. You may select standard or maximum compression or off. Note: This feature only works with Dolby Digital sources.

Auto Format Direct: The Auto Format Direct (A.F.D.) mode allows you to select the decoding mode you want for your audio sound. When you select A.F.D. Auto, the receiver automatically detects the type of audio signal being input (Dolby Digital, DTS, or standard 2-channel stereo) and performs the proper decoding if necessary. You can also select Pro Logic, Pro Logic II Movie, Pro Logic II Music, Neo:6 Cinema, or Neo:6 Music to apply the appropriate decoding for movies or normal stereo sources such as CDs.

Equalizer: You can adjust the tonal quality (bass and treble level) of the front speakers from -6dB to +6dB in 1dB steps.

Multi-Channel Input: Although this unit features built-in Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS processing, it also has a 5-1-channel input for use with external multi-channel decoders.

Station and Source Naming: Each preset station and program source may be given an index name of up to 8 characters. For example, two VCRs can be displayed as 8MM and VHS.

Sleep Timer: The unit may be set to automatically turn off after 2 hours, 1 hour and 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 30 minutes.

Dimmer: You can adjust the brightness of the display in 3 steps.

Remote Control: This receiver is equipped with the RM-U308B wireless remote control. It is pre-coded to operate this receiver and other Sony-brand components, such as VCRs, DVDs, MDs, DAT decks, cassette decks, TVs, CDs, Laserdiscs, and VCD players.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

Speaker Outputs: There are binding post connectors for the Front A left and right, Center, Surround left and right and Surround Back speaker outputs. The binding posts are not 5-way because a plastic collar prevents their use with spade lugs. There are spring clips on the Front B left and right speaker outputs. The front A and B speaker pairs are wired in parallel.

SACD Output: No sound is output from the receiver when you play a Super Audio CD on an SACD player connected to the Optical digital input labeled "SA-CD/CD In." You must connect an SACD player via the analog input labeled "SA-CD/CD In" or the 5.1-channel analog input.

HD Component Video Pass-Through: This unit features 2 component video inputs and a component video monitor output. These jacks feature an 80MHz bandwidth, making them capable of passing high-definition video signals.

 
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Sony STR-DE597 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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4 out of 5

It's ok but...

Written By Gary, Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday, April 02, 2005
 
I purchased this receiver a few weeks ago. I wanted a low cost unit that supported dolby digital. Although it works fine and sounds good, I am already running into a couple of limitations:

1) It only takes 3 video inputs. I should have looked into this before purchasing it, but I have 4 video sources (Satellite, DVD Recorder, VCR and Playstation).

2) The digital audio inputs aren't assignable. You're locked into the folliowing restrictions:
- The DVD digital audio input is co-axial.
- The Video 2 digital input is optical
- The other optical input is assigned to the CD player function.

I was not expecting this restriction since my JVC receiver allows the digital audio inputs to be assigned to any of the various video inputs. It creates an issue for me since my DVD Recorder needs both inputs and outputs which forces me to connect it to the Video 1 port (all of the other video ports are input only). But there are no digital inputs for Video 1 so I can't watch DVD's in dolby digital...a fairly big limitation since that's the main reason I bought the unit.

If you're looking for a very basic receiver this one will be fine. However, if you have more than 3 video sources or want any advanced features or desire flexibility I would look elsewhere. Also, if you have a DVD recorder you should look at other units due to the above mentioned Video 1 port limitation.

15 out of 19 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Excellent quality @ an excellent price !!!!

Written By Carlos, San Diego, CA on Friday, March 25, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought this receiver to replace an old Technics (SA-EX600) that I bought more than 5 years ago. I like how movies are reproduced in Dolby Pro Logic. I can hear many of the sound effects from movies that my old receiver failed to reproduce. This receiver is very well worth my money.
6 out of 10 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

SONY IS STILL #1 IN MY BOOK

Written By WILL, CHICAGO IL on Saturday, March 12, 2005
 
6.1 it dosent get better than that i watched the movie saw in 6.1 with the extra speaker and it sounded good also t-2 judgement day sounds good in dolby digital ex. i love this receiver i replaced the sony str-de485 with this unit and with all my other sony products i love and truly recommend it
1 out of 3 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Sony STR-DE597

Written By mrtuan, Dallas, Texas on Thursday, February 10, 2005
 
Just purchased the receiver the other day to replace my Sony STR-DE485 which has worked beautifully for the last 3 years. Haven't had the new receiver very long but here's what I think about it so far:

Pros:
- Dolby Pro Logic II is great for older stereo only sources.
- Compatible with newer 5.1 EX and 6.1 DTS modes found on some newer DVDs.
- With 20 extra watts, my speakers sound much better.
- Component switch for future Sony PS3 purchase.
- 2 optical inputs for future Sony PS3 purchase.

Cons:
- Will not work with my Sony RM-AV3000 universal remote.
- Some sources are too loud while other sources are too quiet. I didn't have this problem with the STR-DE485. Maybe I need to tweak the receiver some more.
- Remote is not very responsive and you have to point it at the receiver for it to work. Since I can't use my universal remote which doesn't need to be pointed at the receiver/DVD changer/TV to work.


[Editor's note: the RM-AV3000 remote is compatible, though this was omitted from the owner's manual. Contact tech support for details. Please have your Crutchfield invoice # handy.]
53 out of 62 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Good Value, But

Written By Bill, Houston, Texas on Wednesday, February 09, 2005
 
I bought this to replace my old Sony DE 545 receiver that went bad. This is a little cheaper built model. For example there's no A/C rear output.

Still it is an excellent value.

I'm aggravated about the remote control. If you have the receiver set to use the remote that comes with it, you cannot program universal remotes to operate it (unless they're learning remotes).If you change it from AV2 to AV1 it will work with standard universal remotes but the remote that comes with the receiver won't work. The worst thing about this is that Sony doesn't tell you about it. I was panicing when my TIVO and other universal remotes that worked my old Sony receiver wouldn't control this one.

You have to go to www.remotecentral.com to find out about the remote and how to program the receiver to choose AV1 or AV2.
282 out of 374 people found this helpful
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