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7.1-channel home theater receiver
Our take on the Sony STR-DH520 by Crutchfield's Marshall Chase
The Sony STR-DH520 delivers high-impact excitement and realistic, wraparound sound for movies, TV shows, music, and video games at an economical price. It will drive up to seven home theater speakers for engaging surround sound with every entertainment source in your system. Four 1080p-compatible HDMI inputs let you hook up your best high-def components — even a 3D Blu-ray player — to enjoy easy switching along with crystal-clear digital picture and sound. Plus you'll get cutting edge audio decoding while you watch your Blu-ray movies.
Handy HDMI extras
The 'DH520's Audio Return Channel feature allows signals to be sent from your compatible HDTV's tuner back to the receiver via HDMI, eliminating the need for extra cables. Don't want to hear the weather report through all of your speakers? This receiver passes HDMI signals even when it's turned off, so you can just use your TV speakers for the small stuff.
This is an excellent receiver for a small to a mid-size room for which I am using it at this time. Connections are sturdy and is a well constructed piece of equipment. Could be a litlle smaller though.
JLB, Levittown, PR
What's in the Box:
- 7.1ch AV receiver
- Wireless remote control (RM-AAU104)
- 2 "AA" batteries
- AM loop antenna
- FM wire antenna with attached slip-on "F" connector
- Operating Instructions (English)
- Quick Setup Guide (Eng/Fre/Spa)
- Warranty sheet
- On-line registration sheet
Power and Processing:
- 7-channel amplifier
- 90 watts per channel into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.09% THD, with 2 channels driven
- Dolby® TrueHD, Pro logic IIz, dts® HD, and HD Digital Cinema Sound
- 1080p-compatible HDMI digital video switching (4 in, 1 out)
- HDMI version 1.4a with support for 3D video, Audio Return Channel, Deep Color, x.v.Color, auto lip-sync, and HDMI-CEC
- BRAVIA Sync for simplified operation with compatible Sony components (HDMI-CEC)
- component video switching (2 in, 1 out)
- digital audio inputs: 2 optical, 1 coaxial
- 2 audio/video inputs with composite video
- 2 audio-only inputs
- no phono input to connect a turntable you'll need to add a phono preamp
- 1 set of main speaker outputs
- preamp output for a powered subwoofer
- HDMI standby pass-through allows access to all HDMI connected devices without having to power on the receiver
- A/V remote
- 60 AM/FM presets
- 17"W x 6-1/4"H x 12-15/16"D
- weight: 16.2 lbs.
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Sony STR-DH520 Reviews
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Features and Specs
7.1ch AV Receiver: The Sony STR-DH520 AV receiver is equipped with a 7-channel amplifier rated at 90 watts (into 8-ohms, at 20-20khz, with 0.09% THD, driving 2 channels) and a dedicated subwoofer preamp output for a Dolby Digital/DTS home theater application.
Auto Format Direct (A.F.D.) Mode: The Auto Format Direct (A.F.D.) mode allows you to listen to high fidelity sound and select the decoding mode for listening to a 2-channel stereo sound as multi-channel. You can set the A.F.D. mode to Auto or Multi Stereo.
- A.F.D. Auto: Presets the sound as it was recorded/encoded without adding any surround effects.
- Multi Stereo: Outputs 2-channel left/right signals from all speakers.
Dolby Digital/DTS/Dolby Pro Logic: The Sony STR-DH520 AV receiver features Dolby Digital and DTS-HD decoding, as well as offers Dolby Pro Logic audio processing.
- Dolby Digital: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD
- DTS: DTS, DTS-ES, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS Express, DTS 96/24, DTS Neo: 6
- Dolby Pro Logic: Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Pro Logic IIz
Note: Dolby Digital and DTS listening modes can only be selected if your audio source is connected to the A/V preamplifier via a digital audio connection (HDMI, optical, or coaxial). To enjoy true 7.1ch Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-HD surround sound, the preamp must be connected to your Blu-ray player via HDMI.
HD Digital Cinema Sound (HD D.C.S): HD Digital Cinema Sound (HD-D.C.S.) is Sony's new innovative home theater technology using the latest acoustic and digital signal processing technologies. It is based on precise response measurement data of a mastering studio. With this mode, you are able to enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies at home with not only the high quality of sound, but also the best sound ambience, just as the movie's sound engineer intended in the mastering process. You can choose from the following HD-D.C.S modes - Hall, Jazz Club, Concert, Stadium, Sports, and Portable Audio Enhancer.
Analog Direct: The receiver's Analog Direct mode outputs audio from only the front left and right speakers without any tone or DSP processing; only the volume and front speaker balance adjustments are active.
Headphone Modes: The receiver offers two distinct headphone sound modes.
- HP 2CH: 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.
- HP Direct: Amplifies the source without any processing, only the volume and front speaker balance adjustments are active.
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:
- Speaker Pattern: 2/0 to 5/2.1
- Speaker Size: Front, Center, Surround, and Surround-Back (Large or Small)
- Speaker Distance: Front, Center, Surround, Surround-Back, and Subwoofer (3'3" to 32'9", in 1' intervals)
- Crossover Frequency: Sets crossover point for speakers set to small (40-200 Hz, in 10 Hz steps).
- 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 the level of all the connected speakers and subwoofer from -10 dB to +10 dB, in 0.5 dB steps.
Equalizer: You can adjust the tonal quality (bass and treble level) of the front speakers from -6dB to +6dB, in 1dB steps.
Auto Volume: Auto Volume adjust the volume automatically depending on the input signal or content from the connected equipment. This function is useful, for example, when the sound of a commercial is louder than the TV programs.
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).
Night Mode: This function allows you to retain a theater like environment at low volume levels. When watching a movie late at night, you will still be able to hear the dialog clear even at a low volume level.
Audio Inputs/Outputs: The Sony STR-DH520 offers a variety of analog and digital audio inputs/outputs.
- Speaker Outputs: The receiver is equipped with binding post speaker terminals for the front channel speakers and spring clip terminals for the surround, surround-back/front-height, and center channel speakers.
- Digital Inputs: The receiver has two optical digital inputs and one coaxial digital input (the coaxial and one optical are assignable). 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.
- Portable In: There is a 3.5mm auxiliary input on the rear-panel of the receiver for connection your portable MP3 player.
- Headphones: When headphones are plugged into the full-size 1/4" jack on the front panel, all the speakers are automatically muted.
AM/FM Tuner: The STR-DH520 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. Each preset station can be given an 8 character name.
6 HD Inputs: The Sony STR-DH520 is equipped with six HD inputs. Four HDMI 1.4 inputs (up to 1080/24p capable) let you connect a high-definition satellite receiver, Blu-ray Disc player, and game system for high definition video and audio. Two component inputs (1080/60i capable) provide added HD-capable connectivity and versatility.
- HDMI: The receiver is equipped with four HDMI (v.1.4) inputs for connecting HDMI-equipped audio/video components. All four HDMI inputs are capable of carrying uncompressed digital audio and 3D 1080p video There is also an HDMI (v.1.4) output which supports the ARC function that feeds audio/video signals to an HDTV.
- 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 are no S-Video jacks.
3D-Ready: The Sony STR-DH520 is compatible with 3D-ready Blu-ray disc movies, video games, and other 3D content through its HDMI (v.1.4) connections. 3D viewing requires 3D-ready source with 3D content, 3D-ready HDTV, 3D glasses, and high-speed HDMI cable. Other 3D accessories may also be needed.
HDMI Standby Pass-Through: The HDMI Standby Pass-Through feature conveniently allows you to access all your HDMI connected devices without having to power on the receiver .
24p True Cinema Mode: The 24p True Cinema Mode allows you to watch movies at their native frame rate 24p format (24 frames per second) when paired with a 24p playback device like a Blu-ray Disc Player.
x.v.Color: The AV receiver supports x.v.Color, offering a wider color range than the current broadcast standard. For the x.v.Color feature to be useful, the entire video production chain must be compatible (camera-editing-format-player-display).
Deep Color: The Sony receiver also supports Deep Color which allows the color depth of video signals passing through HDMI to be raised. The number of colors that could be expressed by 1 pixel was 24 bits (16,777,216 colors) with a standard HDMI jack. However, the number of colors which can be expressed by 1 pixel is 36 bits with a Deep Color enabled HDMI jack. Since the gradation of the depth of a color can be expressed more finely with more bits, continuous color changes can be more smoothly expressed. For the Deep Color feature to be useful, the entire video production chain must be compatible (camera-editing-format-player-display).
ARC (Audio Return Channel): This feature allows audio to be sent from your compatible HDTV to your receiver through the same HDMI cable already being used to send audio and video to your HDTV. This eliminates the need for extra cables connected to your television.
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.
LCD: The front-panel LCD provides various information of the receiver's status, such as sound field. There is no on-screen menu.
Input Naming: You can enter a name of up to 8 characters for each of the receiver's inputs (except Tuner) and display the name on its display. This is convenient for labeling the jacks with the names of your connected components.
Input Mode: When you connect components to both digital and analog audio input jacks on the receiver, you can fix the audio input mode to either of them, or switch from one to the other, depending on the type of material you intend to watch.
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 - Dim Max, Dim Mid, and Dim Off.
Wireless Remote: The supplied remote (RM-AAU104) 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 also change the initial settings of the input buttons on the remote control to suit the components in your system.
Bravia Theater Sync: Sony's Bravia Theater Sync feature allows you to easily manage select BRAVIA televisions and Sony HDMI audio and video components with a single remote. By connecting Sony components that are compatible with the HDMI Control function with a HDMI cable, operation is simplified in the following ways.
- One-Touch-Play: When you playback a component such as a DVD/Blu-ray Disc Player, the receiver and the TV are turned on automatically and switch to the appropriate HDMI input.
- System Audio Control: While watching TV, you can select to output the sound from the TV speaker or the speakers connected to the receiver.
- System Power Off: When you turn off the TV, the receiver and connected components are also turned off simultaneously.
- Theater Mode Sync: Allows you to switch the AV receiver's Theater mode from the receiver's, TV, or connected Blu-ray disc player's remote control, while pointing the remote toward your television.
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