A/V receiver with Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, Pro Logic II

  • Sony ES STR-DA4ES


  • Sony ES STR-DA4ES


  • Sony ES STR-DA4ES

    Front-panel detail

  • Sony ES STR-DA4ES


Item #: 158STRDA4E
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Our take on the Sony ES STR-DA4ES

by Barry Montgomery

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.

Stunning 7.1 home theater performance is yours with the STR-DA4ES! Packing 110 full-bandwidth-rated watts x 7 channels of ultra-clean ES power, this receiver brings movies and music to life with breathtaking realism and subtlety. Dolby® Digital EX, DTS-ES® and Pro Logic™ II are just the beginning of the surround options. And 7-channel power lets you hook up 2 back surround speakers for a seamless 360° soundfield!

You'll love the STR-DA4ES's multibrand remote — its buttons let you control the major functions of all your A/V components, and a 4-line LCD offers easy navigation of control menus. Dual-room/dual-source A/V output lets you play 2 different video sources in separate rooms. Composite-to-S-video conversion lets you enjoy a variety of A/V sources via one simple connection to your main-room TV.

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Two multichannel inputs (one 7.1, one 5.1) and a 7.1 preamp output keep you ready for future formats and system expandability. Component video switching for two sources employs 50MHz bandwidth for flawless HDTV transfer. Wide-range frequency response (out to 100kHz!) is ideal for high-resolution sources like SACD, as are the stereo and multichannel analog direct modes that bypass all DSP for especially clean sound from any analog input. Advanced power management lets you turn off digital and video circuits when they're not in use, for maximum audio purity.

The STR-DA4ES's construction and oversized "guts" reflect the ES focus on craftsmanship and sound quality: frame-and-beam chassis, a massive power supply, non-linear heat sink fins to fight resonance, OP (Optimum Pre-amplification) Processing, separate DACs for stereo and multichannel sources, an RS-232C port for software upgrades … attention to every detail, inside and out!


  • dual 32-bit processors for surround decoding (Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, Pro Logic II, DTS 96/24), DTS Neo:6 and Digital Cinema Sound modes
  • 110 watts x 7 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.05% THD
  • multibrand LCD remote with macros
  • dual-room/dual-source A/V capability (composite video and stereo preamp output for second room)
  • video conversion (composite to S-video)
  • 7.1-channel preamp output
  • 5.1 and 7.1-channel inputs
  • RS-232C port
  • component video switching: 2 in, 1 out (50MHz bandwidth)
  • digital inputs: 4 optical and 2 coaxial
  • optical digital output
  • 4 audio (including phono) and 5 A/V (including 1 front-panel and 5 S-video) inputs
  • stereo and multichannel analog direct modes
  • digital and video power management
  • Control A1II & S
  • on-screen display (requires TV with direct video input)
  • OP (Optimum Pre-amplification) Processing ensures a high signal-to-noise ratio at all volume levels
  • wide-range frequency response
  • frame-and-beam chassis
  • Sf (S-fin) heat sinks
  • oversized power supply and transformers
  • aluminum front panel
  • two 12V triggers
  • IR repeater: 1 in, 2 out
  • 2 sets of main speaker outputs
  • banana plug-compatible terminals for all speakers
  • 16-7/8"W x 6-15/16"H x 19-11/16"D
  • warranty: 5 years

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

Features and Specs
Number Of Channels N/A
Stereo RMS Power (watts) ---
THD in Stereo ---
Frequency Bandwidth (stereo) ---
FM Sensitivity 11.2 dBf
HD Radio Tuner No
On-Screen Display
Auto Speaker Calibration ---
HDMI Standby Pass-through ---
Composite Video Conversion ---
S-Video Conversion ---
Component Video Conversion ---
HDMI to HDMI Upconversion ---
Internet-ready ---
Apple AirPlay ---
App Remote Control No
Bluetooth-compatible ---
USB port for iPod/iPhone No
DLNA Certified ---
MHL-compatible ---
Multibrand Remote Control ---
Learning Remote No
LCD Remote Yes
Width (inches) 16-15/16
Height (inches) 6-7/8
Depth (inches) 18-7/8
Weight (pounds) ---
Parts Warranty 5 Years
Labor Warranty 5 Years
Multi-room Audio--Video
Powered Multi-room Audio Output No
Preamp Multi-room Audio Output No
Multi-room Video No
Multi-room HDMI Output No
Surround Processing
Dolby Digital Yes
Inputs & Outputs
Phono Input 1
Audio-Video Inputs 5
Audio-only Inputs 4
S-Video Inputs ---
S-Video Outputs ---
S-Video Monitor Outputs ---
Component Video Inputs 2
Component Video Monitor Outputs 1
Optical Digital Inputs 4
Coaxial Digital Inputs 2
Optical Digital Outputs 1
Coaxial Digital Outputs None
HDMI Inputs ---
HDMI Monitor Outputs ---
Subwoofer Outputs 1
Multi-Channel Analog Input No
Multi-channel Preamp Output No
Main Speaker Output Pairs 2
Main Speaker Terminals Posts
Ethernet Port ---
USB Connections None
Removable Power Cord ---
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • AM/FM/Dolby Digital/DTS receiver
  • RM-LP211 Wireless remote
  • 3 "AA" batteries
  • 77" AC power cord
  • 57" Patch cord with composite video/stereo audio/Control S mono mini-jack
  • 37" Control-A1II mono mini-jack patch cord
  • AM loop antenna
  • FM wire antenna with attached coax connector
  • Receiver Operating Instructions
  • Remote Commander Operating Instructions
  • Important Safeguards
  • Owner Registration Card
  • Sheet on correct loudspeaker connections (taped to top of receiver)
  • Note on command modes of receiver and remote (taped to top of receiver)
  • Warranty sheet

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.

Remote Control
Inputs and Outputs Notes


Two 32-Bit Processors: This receiver employs two 32-bit processors, providing ultra-precise surround decoding for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, DTS Neo:6, DTS 96/24 and Dolby Pro Logic II, plus Sony's Digital Cinema Sound modes.

Optimum Pre-amplification: OP (Optimum Pre-amplification) Processing ensures a high signal-to-noise ratio at all volume levels.

Horizontally Opposed Chassis: The design used to create the amplifier within this receiver is known as a horizontally opposed chassis. For signal purity, left and right signal elements are opposed channel by channel on the two separate heatsinks.

Sfin Heatsinks: The heatsinks have been designed to eliminate resonance introduced into the output transistors in a design known as Sfin. 

7-channel Amplifier: This receiver drives 110 full-bandwidth-rated watts x 7 channels of power.

7.1-Channel Decoding: This unit is equipped to decode 7.1-channel signals. In addition to the standard 5.1 channels, some movies now encode surround back channels. The surround back channels improve the realism of sounds panned across the rear soundstage.

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)
  • DTS 96/24
  • Cinema Studio Ex. A (Digital Cinema Sound)
  • Cinema Studio Ex. B (Digital Cinema Sound)
  • Cinema Studio Ex. C (Digital Cinema Sound)
  • Mono Movie
  • Stereo Movie
  • Digital Concert Hall A
  • Digital Concert Hall B
  • Church
  • Opera House
  • Jazz Club
  • Disco/Club
  • Live Concert
  • Arena
  • Stadium
  • Game

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

  • 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.
  • Direct: outputs the analog signals without digital processing
  • Multi 1/2: outputs the analog signals input to the Multi-channel input jacks
  • Theater (Digital Cinema Sound): allows you to experience a theater-like environment

Night Mode: This function allows you to retain a theater-like environment at low volume levels. Note: This feature only works with Dolby Digital sources.

Analog Direct: Analog direct mode bypasses all digital signal processing for maximum audio purity from any analog source.

Multichannel Analog Direct: The Multichannel analog direct mode bypasses all digital signal processing for maximum audio purity from analog sources connected to the multichannel inputs.

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

  • Effect Level: allows you to adjust the "presence" of the surround effect
  • Bass Gain: allows you to adjust the bass gain level of each sound field from -10dB to +10dB in 0.5dB increments
  • Treble Gain: allows you to adjust the treble gain level of each sound field from -10dB to +10dB in 0.5dB increments
  • Level Menu: You can adjust the balance and level of each speaker. These settings are applied to all sound fields:
    • Test Tone: allows you to select Auto, Fix, or Off. When set to Auto, the test tone is output from each speaker automatically. When set to Fix, you can select which speaker will output the test tone.
    • Phase Noise: lets you output the test tone sequentially from two adjacent speakers
    • Phase Audio: lets you output the source sound (instead of the test tone) sequentially from two adjacent speakers
    • LFE Mix Level: lets you attenuate the level of the LFE channel output
    • Dynamic Range Compressor: allows you to compress the dynamic range of the sound track. You may select standard compression, maximum compression or a compression level from 0.1 to 0.9, in 0.1 steps. Note: This feature only works with Dolby Digital sources.
  • Center Width Control (Dolby Pro Logic II Music Mode): allows you to adjust the distribution of the center channel signal, generated through the Dolby Pro Logic II decoding, to the left and right speakers
  • Dimension Control (Dolby Pro Logic II Music Mode): allows you to adjust the difference between the front channels and the surround channels
  • Panorama Mode (Dolby Pro Logic II Music Mode): lets you enjoy the surround sound by spreading the sound field of the front speakers to the left and right of the listening position
  • Wall Type: lets you control the level of the high frequencies to alter the sonic character of your listening environment by simulating a softer or harder wall
  • Reverberation: lets you control the spacing of the early reflections to simulate a sonically longer or shorter room
  • Front Reverberation: lets you adjust the amount of reverberations to add to the front signals according to the original reverberations in the source. You can select Dry (decreases front reverberations), Wet (increases front reverberations), or Standard.
  • Screen Depth: allows you to create the sensation that the sound of the front speakers is coming from inside the screen in your listening room. You can select Mid, Deep, or Off.
  • Virtual Speakers: allows you to turn the virtual speakers created by the Cinema Studio EX modes On or Off
  • Surround Reflection Enhancer: allows you to add the effect of a broader sound when the surround channel sound is monaural
  • Bass Frequency: allows you to adjust the bass frequency of each sound field
  • Treble Frequency: allows you to adjust the treble frequency of each sound field

Equalizer: You can adjust the tonal quality (bass, midrange, treble level) of each speaker using the EQ menu.

Digital Power Management: When the Digital Power Management is set to Auto Off and the receiver is in Analog Direct mode, the digital circuits are automatically turned off, allowing you to enjoy high-quality analog audio without the influence of the digital circuits.

Video Power Management: When the Video Power Management is set to Auto Off, the receiver automatically turns off power to unnecessary video circuits, resulting in cleaner sound.

2nd Room Output: This unit is equipped with stereo RCA jacks and an RCA composite video jack to send an A/V signal to a receiver or amplifier in another room. The same source or different sources may be played in the main room and the 2nd room. Only signals from components connected to the analog input jacks are passed through the 2nd room output jacks. Note: If "2nd Room" is set to "Source" and you select the Multi CH 1 or 2 input, you will get no output from the 2nd audio jacks. Additionally, you cannot select Phono as the second audio source.

Dual Multichannel Inputs: Although this unit features built-in Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS processing, it also has a 5.1 multichannel input and a 7.1 multichannel input for use with external multichannel 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: There are 5 levels of display brightness, plus you may turn the display off (control from the front of the unit only).

Remote Control

Multibrand LCD Remote: The supplied remote is pre-coded to control Sony A/V equipment and most brands of VCRs, televisions, LD players, DVD players, Video CD players, CD players, MD players, tape decks, DAT decks, cable boxes, DSS receivers, satellite receivers, and projectors. The 4-line LCD offers menus of secondary commands. The LCD has an amber backlight that stays illuminated for 10 seconds after the last function is performed.

Macro Play: Up to 2 macros, each with a maximum of 16 steps, can be stored in the remote, allowing you to perform a series of operations at the push of a button.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

On-screen Display: The on-screen display is not passed through the component video monitor output, only the S-video and composite video monitor outputs.

Speaker Outputs: There are binding post connectors for the left front A, right front A, left front B, right front B, center, left surround, right surround, left surround back, and right surround back speakers. The binding posts are not 5-way because a plastic collar prevents their use with spade lugs.

Control A1 II: The Control A1 II Control System was designed to simplify the operation of audio systems composed of separate Sony components. Control A1 II connections provide a path for the transmission of control signals, which enable automatic operation and control features usually associated with integrated systems. This receiver has a single Control A1 II mini-jack output.

Control S: This receiver has two Control S mini-jack outputs and two mini-jack inputs for use with compatible Sony components.

RS-232C Port: This unit features an RS-232C port for software upgrades.

Two 12V Triggers: The two 12V trigger outputs, labeled Main Room and 2nd Room, allow you to send a 12V turn-on signal to compatible components in your system.

IR Repeater: The one mini-jack input and 2 mini-jack outputs allow you to connect optional IR repeaters to this receiver.

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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Sony ES STR-DA4ES, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_158STRDA4E/Sony-ES-STR-DA4ES.html ).