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Sony STR-DG500

Home theater receiver with auto setup

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  • Sony STR-DG500

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  • Sony STR-DG500

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Item #: 158STDG500
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Sony STR-DG500

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.

Imagine all of your movies, TV shows, music, and video games enhanced with realistic, wraparound surround sound. Sony's STR-DG500 can drive six home theater speakers with authority, and its built-in surround processing delivers engrossing 360° sound for every entertainment source in your system.

Sony's auto calibration makes setup quick, simple, and accurate. Just plug in the included microphone, set it in your favorite seat, and the 'DG500 automatically adjusts the volume and delay settings for each speaker in your system. The result is precise, well-balanced home theater sound, custom-tailored for your specific room and speakers.

This receiver packs plenty of convenience features, too. Component video switching means you can send high definition video signals from two different sources to this receiver and select the one you want to watch without changing inputs on your TV. A handy front-panel input lets you quickly hook up a camcorder or game system. Two sets of main speaker outputs let you power stereo speakers in two rooms at the same time. And the remote gives you easy control of this receiver and other Sony gear.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • 100 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® IIx processing
  • Digital Cinema Sound modes
  • Digital Cinema Auto Calibration
  • A/V Sync helps align out-of-sync audio and video for digital sources
  • component video switching: 2 in, 1 out
  • digital audio inputs: 2 optical, 1 coaxial
  • 2 audio, 4 A/V (including 1 front-panel) 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
  • 17"W x 6-1/4"H x 13-1/4"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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17
Height (inches)
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6-1/4
Depth (inches)
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13-1/4
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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4
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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None
HDMI Monitor Outputs
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None
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/6.1 Channel receiver
  • Wireless remote control (RM-AAU005)
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • Automatic calibration microphone
  • AM loop antenna
  • FM wire antenna with attached slip-on coax connector
  • Operating Instructions
  • Quick Setup Guide (English/French/Spanish)
  • Important Safeguards
  • On-line product registration information
  • 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
Remote Control
Inputs and Outputs Notes

Features

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, great for watching most any type of movie
  • Digital Cinema Sound EX B: reproduces the sound characteristics of the Sony Pictures Entertainment "Kim Novak Theater" cinema production studio, 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, 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

Dolby Pro Logic IIx: Dolby Pro Logic IIx furthers the matrix decoding of Dolby Pro Logic II to decode audio signals recorded on two channels into up to 6.1 playback channels, including the surround back channel. Dolby Pro Logic IIx also allows 5.1-channel sources to be played in up to 6.1 channels. The mode can be selected according to the source. There are 3 Dolby Pro Logic IIx modes; Music, Cinema and Game.

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, Pro Logic II Game, Pro Logic IIx Movie, Pro Logic IIx Music, Pro Logic IIx Game, Neo:6 Cinema, Neo:6 Music, or Multi Stereo to apply the appropriate decoding for movies or normal stereo sources such as CDs.

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 (5.1 or 6.1)
  • Dolby Digital EX (6.1)
  • Dolby Pro Logic
  • Dolby Pro Logic II (Movie, Music, and Game)
  • Dolby Pro Logic IIx (Movie, Music, and Game)
  • DTS
  • DTS 96/24
  • 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
  • Multi Stereo (all active channels)

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

  • Headphone 2CH: outputs the sound in stereo, 2-channel sources bypass the sound field processing, multi-channel surround formats are downmixed to 2 channels
  • Headphone Direct: outputs analog signals with no sound field or tone processing
  • Headphone Multi: outputs the analog signals input to the Multi Channel Input jacks
  • Headphone Theater (Digital Cinema Sound): allows you to experience a theater-like environment

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 On", Dolby Digital EX is applied and the output is 6.1. When "Off" is selected, no surround back decoding is performed.

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

  • Front Balance: Left +1 to +8, 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, select standard or maximum compression, or off (only works with Dolby Digital sources)

Digital Decoding: You can choose auto decoding or PCM for the digital audio inputs. Auto will decode the signal in its original form (Dolby Digital, DTS, PCM, etc), PCM decodes the signal to 2-channel.

Speaker Setup: The Speaker Setup menu allows you to set the size, distance from your seating position, and location of the speakers connected to the receiver. The following adjustments are available:

  • Subwoofer: Yes, No
  • Front Speakers: Large, Small
  • Center Speaker: Large, Small, No
  • Surround Speakers: Large, Small, No
  • Surround Back Speaker: Yes, No
  • Front Speaker Distance: 3 to 23 feet in 1 foot steps
  • Center Speaker Distance: range is from the front speaker distance setting to 5 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Left Speaker Distance: range is from the front speaker distance setting to 15 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Right Speaker Distance: range is from the front speaker distance setting to 15 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Back Speaker Distance: range is from the front speaker distance setting to 15 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Speaker Position: set based on the location of the surround speakers, side low, side high, behind low, behind high
  • Crossover Frequency: set crossover point for speakers set to small, choose 40, 60, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 140, or 160 Hz

Auto Calibration: The STR-DG500 is equipped with Digital Cinema Auto Calibration Technology which uses the included microphone to automatically check the speaker connections, adjust the speaker output levels, and calculate the distance from each speaker to the listening position. Note: The auto calibration feature does not measure or adjust the subwoofer level output.

A/V Sync: The audio output can be delayed so that the time gap between the audio output and the visual display is minimized. This is especially helpful when you are using a large LCD or plasma TV or a projection TV. The delay is 68 ms when A/V Sync is turned on.

Bass/Treble: 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, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, and DTS processing, it also has a 5.1-channel input for use with an external multi-channel decoder (SACD, DVD-Audio, etc). When using the multi-channel input the STR-DG500's speaker set up circuitry is bypassed, so all bass management and speaker level adjustment must be made on the connected component.

Tuner: The STR-DG500 has 30 presets each for AM and FM, for a total of 60. In addition to preset and auto tuning, stations can be tuned directly by frequency.

Two Channel Mode: The 2 channel button sets the receiver to power only the front left and right speakers, no surround and no subwoofer. 2 channels sources bypass the sound field processing and multi channel sources are down-mixed to 2 channels.

Analog Direct: The direct feature amplifies the source without any processing, only the volume and front speaker balance adjustments are active.

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 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes.

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

Remote Control

Audio/Video Remote: The supplied remote is pre-coded to control this Sony receiver and several other Sony components, including VCRs, DVD players, DVD recorders, CD players, MD recorders, cassette decks, hard disc recorders, and satellite receivers.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

Front Panel Inputs: The STR-DG500 features a set of front panel inputs with left and right RCA audio jacks and an RCA composite video jack.

Speaker Outputs: The front A left and right, center, surround left and right, and surround back speaker terminals are binding post connectors. The binding posts are not 5-way because a plastic collar prevents their use with spade lugs, but they will accept bare wire, single banana, and dual banana plugs. The front B left and right connections are spring terminals. The front A and B speaker pairs are wired in parallel.,

Multi Channel Input: Six analog RCA inputs are used for outboard 5.1 channel processors. Note: The signal connected to the multi-channel input is not output to the MD/Tape or Video 1 analog audio outputs.

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 or Coaxial digital input. You must connect an SACD player via the analog SACD input or the multi-channel analog input.

Assignable Component Video Inputs: The receiver has 2 component video inputs which can be assigned to specific sources such as VIDEO 1, SACD, AUX, MD/Tape, etc.

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

Digital Inputs: The 1 coaxial digital and 2 optical digital inputs will support 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, and 96 kHz sampling frequencies.

Headphones: When headphones are plugged into the full-size 1/4" jack on the front panel, all the speakers are automatically muted.

 
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Sony STR-DG500 Reviews

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4 out of 5

Great Budget 5.1 Receiver!

Written By 94zj318, md on Tuesday, November 27, 2012
 
Great receiver, powers a pair of Bose outdoor speakers on my patio. It is hard to find the menu to adjust the audio settings, though, and you have to use the remote for that. If you lose the remote, you can't adjust any of the audio settings except for surround mode on/off and the configuration. Works like it should, though, and the price is pretty good. Would recommend.
Pros:
Adequate power, speakers sound pretty darn good, good setup menus
Cons:
A bit hard to find the audio settings menu, have to use remote to adjust some settings
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5 out of 5

Great Receiver, If you can still find one.

Written By Asher, Roseburg, OR on Friday, July 18, 2008
 
Great Receiver, If you can still find one.
I love the power of this Sony STR DG500, with 110 watts a channel. I have plenty of power for my 4 Infinity tower speakers and the rest of the surround.
With more features than you can shake a stick at, your sure to find that perfect sound for your setup, which the included Auto Calibration Mic. makes it a snap. Plus you cant beat the price, and the support provided by the Crutchfield team.
I'm a very happy customer. Thanks to Crutchfield.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Sony STR-DG500

Written By Tim, Canton,Ohio on Wednesday, January 31, 2007
 
I do not like to read directions,so it took me a couple of days to get all that this receiver could do.....after I read the directions!For the price I think it is a great deal and sounds real good.I could not get the receiver to decode Dolby and DTS...and again after reading the directions...I found that I needed to change the audio settings on my DVD player to turn "ON" DTS and Dolby otherwise would just play in stereo.I at first could not get sound to come through from my TV.I had bought an optical cable and was hooking up the TV to the Receiver and should have been hooking up the Receiver to the back of the cable box.After getting everything hooked up correctly it worked great.I like how it automatically sets to the right decoding mode.
4 out of 5 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

great reciever

Written By Jeff, Mount Juliet, TN on Sunday, November 19, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I love the way this reciever sounds in my living room. Setup was incredibly easy with the microphone. The only complaint I had was setting up video with the reciever and several types of connections was a bit confusing and the directions did nothing to help. Eventually, I figured out the correct combination of wiring to make it work with both sat. TV and DVD player. Great once hooked up correctly. Enclosed instructions from Crutchfield only helped with audio hookup, not video...needs both.
14 out of 18 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

A good entry level receiver

Written By Patrick, Memphis, TN on Friday, September 15, 2006
 
Setup couldn't be easier! The Auto Format Direct works just as described detecting the audio format thats being input and outputs the appropriate signal. You can also override this feature and output the signal you prefer. The auto calibration feature couldn't be easier, plug in the supplied microphone, hit the auto cal button on the remote and get out of the way...
If you do not need HDMI switching or more that 2 optical audio inputs, this is a great deal.
99 out of 106 people found this helpful
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