Sony STR-DA2800ES A/V Receiver Review
|RMS Power (watts)||100wpc x7|
|Frequency Bandwidth (stereo)||20-20kHz|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||17” W x 6.5” H x 15.2” D|
|Warranty||5 Years parts & labor|
|Multiple Zones||Yes (2)|
|HDMI Standby Pass-through||Yes|
|Video Conversion||From Composite/Component to HDMI|
|Internet-ready||Yes, Ethernet + 4 port switch|
|Multibrand Remote Control||Yes (learning done on receiver)|
|Dolby Digital||DD, EX, TrueHD, DD+|
|DTS||DTS, ES, HD, HDMA, Neo6, 96/24|
|Inputs & Outputs|
|Composite Inputs / Outputs||2/3|
|S-Video Inputs / Outputs||0/0|
|Component Video Inputs / Outputs||2/2|
|HDMI Inputs / Outputs||8/3|
|Digital Coaxial Inputs/Outputs||1/0|
|Preamp Outputs||Zone 2 only|
|Subwoofer Outputs||2 (mono control)|
- Built-in support for most automation systems
- A comprehensive suite of streaming features, including Netflix
- Comes with IR blasters and macro capability
- 4-port Ethernet switch
- Best user interface on the market
- 5-year warranty
- $300 activation fee to use full Control4 suite
- Inaccurate Auto-Setup & Mic system
- No Airplay Support
- No pre-outs for external amp
- Non-independent dual subwoofer output controls
Sony STR-DA2800ES Receiver Introduction
The Sony STR-DA2800ES is a receiver that truly stands apart from the competition, and in a good way. When it comes to deciding on a new receiver to purchase or recommend to a friend, Sony hasn't been at the top of my list in the past. However, after reviewing the STR-DN1030 earlier this year, and now the STR-DA2800ES, Sony has proven to me they have the chops to be competitive and mix up the game.
Let’s face it, the receiver market is rather dull. Typically there are only minor differences between brands, and most of those differences are negligible to the average consumer. Well, the differences between the STR-DA2800ES and the competition are not negligible, the biggest of which is Sony’s partnership with Control4. The STR-DA2800ES and STR-DA5800ES are the first receivers ever to have Control4 automation built in. Included in the box is everything you need to get a taste of home automation, including IR blasters and an RF lighting controller. Just think, with the click of a button all the equipment switches on, goes to the right input, a projector screen comes down from the ceiling and the lights dim. What’s even better is that the motivated end-user can do all of this without needing a custom installer. But, in order to dive into more advanced automation features a Control4 certified technician is required (more on that later). Not quite all of the details are in Sony’s favor, but you will have to read on to see how things shake out, or just look at the pros/cons above if you are a cheater.
The features list on the STR-DA280ES is impressive to say the least. It has everything you would expect from a $999 receiver like 4K, multi-zone connectivity, network features, upconversion, legacy connections, and dual subwoofer outputs. But, it also has a number of unique features, like 4 IR outputs, lighting control, 4-port Ethernet switch, and 3 HDMI outputs. First, we’ll do an overview of the basics and then jump into those noteworthy features.
The STR-DA2800ES supports up to a 7.2 system, but other than the dual subwoofer outputs it has no pre-outs for use with an external amplifier. Disappointingly, the dual subwoofer outputs are not individually controllable. With 8 HDMI inputs you are mostly likely going to be set for all of the HD equipment you could ever want to hook up. It also has 2 composite, 2 component, and 4 analog audio inputs for legacy gear.
There are only 7 speaker jacks on the back of the receiver, meaning one set is assignable among surround back, front height, front B, or zone 2 options. This makes it inconvenient to have both a 7 speaker system and also opt to occasionally use the receiver’s amp for a second zone. On many other receivers at this price point you get 9 speaker jacks, even though only 7 can be active at one time. Then the receiver can automatically disable the surround back speakers and activate the zone 2 speaker outputs when needed.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about the fun stuff. For starters, the Sony STR-DA2800ES has 3 HDMI outputs. The first and second are mirrored with the intention of supporting a projector and TV in the same room. The third output is for Zone 2 and can be on the same or different HDMI input as the main zone. Only 2 of the HDMI outputs can be active at once, but we can’t image that will be an issue for most people. Notably, there are also composite, component, and analog audio outputs for zone 2.
STR-DA2800ES Rear Panel
The back of the STR-DA2800ES sports a 4 port Ethernet switch (brilliant!) and the unused ports can be disabled to reduce power consumption and decrease noise. Once connected to the Internet, the receiver has access to an impressive suite of web apps. Unlike almost every other network receiver on the market, Sony chose to include video streaming features, like Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu, in addition to audio apps, like Pandora and Slacker. Whether you use the video apps is another issue, since most TVs and Blu-ray players (including Sony's) have nearly identical services.