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Sony STR-DG520

Home theater receiver with HDMI switching

10 Reviews

Item # 158STDG520

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Our take on the Sony STR-DG520

Add surround sound to all your home entertainment. The STR-DG520 can drive five speakers for engaging wraparound sound with DVDs, TV shows, CDs, and video games. Plus, this receiver's 1080p-compatible HDMI inputs lets you hook up two high-def video components and switch easily between them, while maintaining pristine digital picture quality. Expand your listening choices by adding an optional iPod® dock or wireless PC music player.

Add surround sound to all your home entertainment. The STR-DG520 can drive five speakers for engaging wraparound sound with DVDs, TV shows, CDs, and video games. Plus, this receiver's 1080p-compatible HDMI inputs lets you hook up two high-def video components and switch easily between them, while maintaining pristine digital picture quality. Expand your listening choices by adding an optional iPod® dock or wireless PC music player.

Learn about the ins and outs of HDMI connections at
Shop our selection of HDMI cables.

Product Highlights:

  • 90 watts x 5 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.09% THD
  • Dolby® Digital, DTS®, and Dolby Pro Logic® II processing
  • Digital Cinema Sound modes
  • A/V Sync helps align out-of-sync audio and video with digital sources
  • Digital Media Port for adding an optional Sony iPod dock or wireless PC music player
  • built-in AM/FM tuner
  • A/V remote control
  • 16-15/16"W x 6-3/16"H x 12-13/16"D
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • HDMI digital video switching (2 in, 1 out) — pass-through only (a separate cable connection is required for audio)
  • supports x.v.Color™ with compatible video sources and TVs
  • component video switching: 2 in, 1 out
  • 2 audio/video inputs with composite video connections
  • 2 audio-only inputs
  • no phono input
  • digital inputs: 2 optical, 1 coaxial

What's in the Box:

  • Black AM/FM/5.1 Channel receiver
  • Wireless remote control (RM-AAU020)
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • AM loop antenna
  • FM wire antenna with attached slip-on "F" connector
  • Operating Instructions (English)
  • Operating Instructions (Spanish)
  • Quick Setup Guide (English/French/Spanish)
  • Important Safeguards
  • Warranty sheet
  • On-line registration sheet
  • Sheet on correct loudspeaker connections using the binding posts (taped to top of receiver)
  • Digital Media Port brochure

Sony STR-DG520 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(10 Reviews)

Update on my 2/23/2013 Review - Crutchfield ROCKS!!

pcanva from Central VA on 2/27/2013

Updating my review-- I thought it important to update my review to clarify that I did return the unit to Crutchfield. They were very apologetic about not having clarified the issue (noted in my earlier review of this product) and went beyond my expectations to make it right. I couldn't be happier with the service they provided. The unit is still worthless, but Crutchfield's service is priceless!!

Pros: Crutchfield


Outdated. Ignore the price, it's not even worth that

pcancva from Central VA on 2/23/2013

As noted by others, the cabling restrictions, plus the inability to use an HDMI input for surround sound making this product worthless. Wish the Crutchfield rep told me that before I wasted about three hours taking this brick home, trying to set it up, and now I have to drive the 50 (+/-) miles RT back to C'field to return. Great waste of a Saturday afternoon.


Cons: Cabling restrictions, lack of ability to us HDMI for surround sound.

Big Bang for Sony

Anonymous from San Antonio, TX on 1/9/2010

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

For a Sony 5.1 Receiver you can't beat the price. I paired this Receiver with a 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers with 10 inch Sub. My whole house shakes every time i watch movies. The only negative part to this receiver is the HDMI connection, it doesn't carry audio. Over all I'm very satisfied with my purchased. Easy set up, didn't even have to look at the instructions. I highly recommend this to others, who are in low budget but still looking for a good home theater set up that will bug out your neighbors.



Sony STR-DG520

Chuck from Central VA on 12/26/2009

We purchased this receiver as part of a gift for an elderly relative,to enhance her LCD tv setup. As I'm about as tech savvy as she is, this turned into a heck of a lot of work, largely because the manual is so lame. The receiver itself is fine and does its job nicely for the price, but we couldn't have made it work without the very capable help of the Crutchfield tech support line. First, the receiver can't convert HDMI input to component cable output or vice versa, so be sure to purchase all of your in/out cabling to be the same. We went through a lot of hassle before the techs figured out that we had mixed input/output formats and the receiver wouldn't handle it. Next, the manual's description of the menu formats and manipulations is really useless, and I'm pretty much used to handling everything from digital cameras to computers to refrigerators. It's going to take a long time to learn this one, and nearly all of the menu items apply to the sound system anyway, a process that other manufacturers do a much better job with. All in all, buy this from Crutchfield so you get the great support, unless you're a professional in the electronics business.




Anonymous from upstate ny on 12/16/2009

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

this little sony does everything and more if you want great sound and a ton of options and do not have bill gates bank account get this receiver i have owned everything from onkyo to yamaha and all in between including the seventys craze with amps tuners for the money u cannot find a better made receiver anywhere period



Good price, good product

Matt from Salem, OR on 10/16/2009

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

It does its job.



Sony STR-DG520

Aaron from forest lake,minnesota on 6/22/2009

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is a great entry level receiver.It doesn't have any bells or whistles that others might have but you cant expect much for the price.overall i am very pleased with this receiver if you are looking for a cheap affordable entry level receiver this is well worth will need a seperate cable for sound when using hdmi inputs i got a digital coax on sale.



An excellent no-frills receiver

Bryan from Denver, CO on 5/18/2009

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I needed a simple cheap receiver that gets optical digital input and this one does very nicely. At this price it's a solid contender and the fact is sports two switchable HDMI lines is quite nice too. It is a little pokey to boot up though.



Four Stars for a reason

Graeme from Marblehead, MA on 8/7/2008

I agree with the previous reviewer about the HDMI connectivity and lack of audio pass through. There are only 2 HDMI inputs and that is a bummer. It is confusing to set up but for me most new gadgets are! Having said all of that I gave it four stars because you get what you pay for. This is a very good ENTRY level A/V receiver. It is cheap in respect to what you can pay. If you want some HDMI inputs and surround sound for DVD, TV and in my case XBox 360 I think this will work very well-it does for me. I paired it with some decent speakers and a Sony Bravia TV and am very happy.



Pass on Pass-through

David from Los Angeles, CA on 7/22/2008

In Crutchfield's defense, they did not recommend this receiver to me. This one is my fault. After a 12-year affair with my old receiver, I purchased this new shiny one. Tantalized by HDMI inputs (as well as a working remote) I bit the bullet and bought what I thought was an affordable, modern receiver. Three months later, I yearn for my old one (donated). The HDMI pass-through technology is an absolute waste. HDMI is supposed to create fewer cables but this receiver still needs audio to travel through digital co-ax or digital optical cables. Yes, the sound is good, but the whole streamlining process seems to be lost. A very confusing menu also prevents most people from truly understanding what this simple machine has to offer. Bottom line: spend the extra bucks for true HDMI compatibility. You'll end up spending the difference in optical cables anyway.




Hands-on research

Product Research

Remote Control
Inputs and Outputs Notes


Surround Modes: The Sony STR-DG520 home theater 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): Dolby Digital is a 5.1 multi-channel digital surround format which consists of front (left/right), center, surround (left/right) and sub-woofer channels.
  • Dolby Pro Logic:  Center and mono surround information is matrixed into two stereo channels. When reproduced, audio is decoded and output in 4 channel surround sound.
  • Dolby Pro Logic II (Movie and Music): Dolby Pro Logic II technology processes any high quality stereo (two-channel) movie and music audio into five playback channels of full-bandwidth surround sound. A matrix surround decoding technology, Dolby Pro Logic II detects the directional cues that occur naturally in stereo content and uses these elements to create a five-channel surround sound playback experience. You can choose from the following Dolby Pro Logic II formats - Movie or Music
  • DTS: DTS Digital Surround is a 5.1 multi-channel digital surround sound format used for both commercial/theatrical and consumer grade applications.
  • 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:
    • Cinema Studio 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
    • Cinema Studio 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
    • Cinema Studio 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
    • Portable: reproduces a clearer sound image from your portable audio device; ideal for MP3 and other compressed music
    • Hall: reproduces the acoustics of a classical concert hall
    • Jazz Club: reproduces the acoustics of a jazz club
    • Live Concert: reproduces the acoustics of a 300-seat live concert house
  • 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 Theater (Digital Cinema Sound): allows you to experience a theater-like environment
  • Analog Direct: The direct feature amplifies the source without any processing, only the volume and front speaker balance adjustments are active.
  • Two Channel Stereo Mode: The 2 channel button sets the receiver to power only the front left and right speakers, no surround and no subwoofer. Two-channel sources bypass the sound field processing and multi-channel sources are down-mixed to 2 channels.

Auto Format Direct: The Auto Format Direct (A.F.D.) mode presents the sound as it was recorded or encoded without adding any surround effects. 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, or Multi Stereo to apply the appropriate decoding for movies or normal stereo sources such as CDs. The receiver will generate a low frequency signal for output to the subwoofer when there is no LFE signal.

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
  • 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 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

Test Tone Level Adjustment: The receiver employs a test tone with a frequency centered at 800Hz which allows you to adjust the speaker levels and balance while listening to the audible tone from your listening position. You can adjust speaker and the subwoofer level and the balance of just the front speakers from left to right.

  • 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
  • Subwoofer Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments

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

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. When activated, the delay is fixed at 60 ms.

Dynamic Range Compressor: This feature allows you to compress the dynamic range of the sound track. You can select standard or maximum compression, or off (only works with Dolby Digital sources).

Effect Level: The Effect Level feature lets you adjust the presence of the surround effect for soundfields selected with the Movie or Music mode or Headphone Theater mode. You can choose from Minimum effect, Standard effect or Maximum effect.

Tuner: The STR-DG520 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.

Station and Source Naming: Each preset station and program source may be given an index name of up to 8 characters.

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: 0% dim, 40% dim, or 70% dim.

Remote Control

Remote: The supplied remote (RM-AAU020) is pre-coded to control this Sony receiver, Sony TVs, Sony CD players, Sony DVD players and recorders, and Sony Blu-ray disc players and recorders. You can change the factory settings of the input buttons on the remote to suit the components in your system. For example, if you connect a DVD recorder to the Video 1 input jacks, you can set the Video 1 buttons on the remote to control the DVD recorder.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

Speaker Outputs: The receiver is equipped with binding post speaker terminals for the front channel speakers and spring clip terminals for the surround an center channel speakers.

HDMI: The receiver is equipped with two HDMI inputs for connecting HDMI-equipped DVD players and Blu-Ray disc players. They are capable of carrying uncompressed digital audio and video up to 1080p. There is also an HDMI output to feed the signals to an HDTV or projector.

Note: The HDMI connections on this receiver are pass-through only. When connecting a DVD, Blu-Ray disc player, or set-top box via HDMI to the receiver, you must also connect a coaxial or optical digital cable in order to hear multi-channel surround audio from the speakers. Both video and audio signals are passed through to the TV, so only the HDMI cable is needed if you want to listen to the audio signal on the TV.

HD Component Video: 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.

Note: The receiver does not convert video signals. It can only output the same type of signals that it receives. The receiver is capable of receiving and sending HDMI, Component Video, and Composite Video signals. There no S-Video jacks.

Digital Inputs: The receiver has two optical digital inputs and one coaxial digital inputs. 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.

Digital Media Port: Sony's proprietary DMP allows you to integrate a wide variety of music into your home theater system. The Digital Media Port allows you to connect optional DMP accessories to play music from a PC, Bluetooth devices, Network Walkman music players or iPod music players. You can connect the following adapters (sold separately).

  • DMP iPod Dock (TDM-IP1): Allows you to dock and play your iPod through the DMP compatible BRAVIA audio receiver. For added convenience, the dock also charges your iPod's battery. The DMP iPod dock is compatible with iPod nano (1st and 2nd generation), iPod (4th and 5th generation) and iPod mini.
  • DMP Media Port Wi-Fi client (TDM-NC1): Allows you to stream digital music from your PC to the DMP compatible BRAVIA audio receiver and view song information on your connected television or monitor. Requires PC with Microsoft Window XP SP2 operating system or newer.
  • DMP Bluetooth Interface (TDM-BT1): Allows you to wirelessly receive and play music through the DMP compatible BRAVIA audio receiver from your Bluetooth compatible notebook, MP3 player or mobile phone. The Bluetooth interface has a range up to 30 feet.
  • DMP Walkman Cradle (TDM-NW1): Allows you to dock and play your Sony NW-S705F or NW-S703F Network Walkman through the DMP compatible BRAVIA audio receiver. For added convenience the cradle also charge your Walkman's battery.

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

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 verify what’s in the box, 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.