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Sony STR-DN1030 AV Receiver Review

by September 24, 2012
Sony STR-DN1030 AV Receiver

Sony STR-DN1030 AV Receiver

  • Product Name: STR-DN1030 Receiver Review
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: September 24, 2012 14:25
  • MSRP: $ 499.99
  • Buy Now
General
Stereo RMS Power (watts) 145wpc
THD in Stereo 0.9 %
Frequency Bandwidth (stereo) 1k Hz
On-Screen Display Yes
Multiple Zones Yes, pre-out only
HDMI Standby Pass-through Yes
Video Conversion From Composite/Component to HDMI
Internet-ready Yes, Ethernet and Wi-Fi
AirPlay Yes
Blutooth Yes
DLNA Certified Audio
Multibrand Remote Control Yes, non-learning
Dimensions (W x H x D) 16.9” x 6.2” x 12.7”
Weight (pounds) 19.3lbs
Warranty 2 Years parts & labor
Surround Processing
Dolby Digital DD, EX, TrueHD, DD+
DTS DTS, ES, HD, HDMA, Neo6, 96/24
Inputs & Outputs
Preamp Outputs Zone 2 only
Phono Input 0
Composite Inputs / Outputs 3/2
S-Video Inputs / Outputs 0
Component Video Inputs / Outputs 2/1
Optical Inputs 2
Digital Coaxial Inputs 1
Optical Digital Outputs 1
HDMI Inputs / Outputs 5/1
Subwoofer Outputs 2, mirrored

Pros

  • Built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Wide range of Network Features

Cons

  • Limited Zone 2 Functionality
  • Confusing Remote
  • Poor User Interface

 

Sony STR-DN1030 Introduction

The $500 receiver market is extremely competitive. It's a high enough price point so that receiver manufacturers can start playing around with innovative technology, but not high enough to make a no-compromise product. This year, Sony chose to focus their funds on creating a feature packed receiver. And the STR-DN1030 packs an impressive list of features, most notably: built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplay, HDMI upconversion and a new user interface. This means that, on paper at least, the STR-DN1030 looks quite impressive. But how does it actually hold up during operation? Do the features work well? And what was given up in order to stuff it with so many features? In order the answer these questions, we ran the STR-DN1030 through its paces during our review. Keep reading for the full analysis.

Build Quality

Sony’s marketing material touts that the STR-DN1030 is built with “audiophile” parts, including custom capacitors, a “powerful” amp board, and upgraded transformer. Rather than take their word for it, I opened up the receiver to take a closer look. I found that it was, well, unsurprising. This receiver is built about on par for a $400-$500 unit. The caps and transformer are good size for its class, but nothing to write home about. Although they claim 145wpc x 7, that would seem to be (as you'd expect) in line with FTC specs and not an all-channels-driven number.

amplifier

Sony STR-DN1030 with top panel removed

One of the main reasons I was excited the get the STR-DN1030 in for review was its feature list. It is the first $500 receiver to have built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. Of course, other companies have offered Bluetooth dongles for a long time, and WiFi can be added to any receiver that has an Ethernet jack. However, the fact that Sony put both technologies into a $500 receiver when almost no one else is even putting them in receivers that cost twice as much, is quite impressive. Additionally, the STR-DN1030 has built-in HDMI up conversion from composite and component sources and comes with an auto setup mic. It also supports up to a 7.2 system, 3D, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, and HDMI standby pass-through. The only features that are notably missing are 4K support and powered zone 2 outputs. The lack of 4K support doesn’t bother me because anyone who can afford a 4K display should not be buying a $500 receiver. It would have been nice to have powered zone 2 outputs, but it is understandable that Sony had to cut something to keep the receiver affordable. When compared to other similarly priced receivers on the market, nothing else comes close to having as many useful features. Sure, some receivers have more HDMI inputs, dual HDMI outputs, or 4K support, but the real question is, will those features be used by consumers?

back panel

Sony STR-DN1030 Back Panel View

On the rear of the receiver are: 5 HDMI inputs, 2 component and 2 composite video inputs, 2 optical and 1 digital coax input, and 4 stereo audio inputs. At a time when most manufacturers are slashing legacy inputs in favor of a ridiculous number of HDMI inputs, it is nice to see Sony still supporting older equipment. At this price point, legacy is likely going to still be around.

On the front of the receiver is a USB port for use with iOS devices, select Sony MP3 players, and USB flashdrives. There is also a composite video and stereo audio input. I would have liked to see an HDMI input on the front as well, but I suppose one can’t have everything.

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About the author:

Cliff, like many of us, has always loved home theater equipment. In high school he landed a job at Best Buy that started his path towards actual high quality audio. His first surround sound was a Klipsch 5.1 system. After that he was hooked, moving from Klipsch to Polk to Definitive Technology, and so on. Eventually, Cliff ended up doing custom installation work for Best Buy and then for a "Ma & Pa" shop in Mankato, MN.

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Recent Forum Posts:

sterling shoote posts on September 30, 2012 20:22
PENG, post: 910623
I don't doubt your ES gears are nice products, even my much lower quality DAES2 and ES4 were very decent. The bad experiences with Sony cited here just seem so out of proportion to me, that's all I am saying. I bet on world wide basis Sony probably are still selling quite well relative to others without the seemingly bad reputation around here. I am not sure if it is the same over at the avsforums. I may just check it out, just out of curiosity, no other reasons. Just checked: seems to be the same over there, weird..

Looking at product warranty claims on a percentage basis might reveal Sony to be more reliable than other brands. At any rate, my son just returned the second Onkyo surround sound receiver he had recently purchased after it suffered a catastrophic failure as had the first unit he had purchased after several weeks of use. I have empathy for him. Although he got all of his money back he is disappointed as well as disillusioned. The golden age of HT and stereo may have ended at the beginning of the first world recession back in 2004 or perhaps even earlier in 2001. Maybe it's time to buy vintage stuff.
PENG posts on September 30, 2012 10:01
sterling shoote, post: 910609
I've been a Sony fan for over 30 years. Prior to Sony I was persuaded by advertising from Marantz; but, for me, the reality of Marantz was that most everything I purchased needed warranty service. I was not satisfied. At any rate, at the time, I was also not satisfied with any of the turntables/cartridges which I had purchased until a Sony PS-4750 attracted me. I purchased it; and, I have now enjoyed it for over 30 years without incident. My satisfaction with the Sony turntable made me receptive to other Sony stereo, HT, and professional audio products, which now dominate my system. I have some Sony components, like the TT, which have never needed service, and others which have served me for at least a decade before needing any attention. My Sony TA-E9000ES pre/pro and TA-P9000 preamp, which are the heart of my system today were both manufactured over a decade ago and appear to have been designed so well, that when connected to something like a current Blu-Ray player, 5.1 state of the art is realizable. In other words, with my Sony system I want for nothing. I am completely satisfied; and, I am over purchasing anything with the exception of perhaps a new Blu-Ray player, maybe one from Sony, if they produce one for their ES line which is competitive with the OPPO 95.

I don't doubt your ES gears are nice products, even my much lower quality DAES2 and ES4 were very decent. The bad experiences with Sony cited here just seem so out of proportion to me, that's all I am saying. I bet on world wide basis Sony probably are still selling quite well relative to others without the seemingly bad reputation around here. I am not sure if it is the same over at the avsforums. I may just check it out, just out of curiosity, no other reasons. Just checked: seems to be the same over there, weird..
sterling shoote posts on September 30, 2012 08:31
I've been a Sony fan for over 30 years. Prior to Sony I was persuaded by advertising from Marantz; but, for me, the reality of Marantz was that most everything I purchased needed warranty service. I was not satisfied. At any rate, at the time, I was also not satisfied with any of the turntables/cartridges which I had purchased until a Sony PS-4750 attracted me. I purchased it; and, I have now enjoyed it for over 30 years without incident. My satisfaction with the Sony turntable made me receptive to other Sony stereo, HT, and professional audio products, which now dominate my system. I have some Sony components, like the TT, which have never needed service, and others which have served me for at least a decade before needing any attention. My Sony TA-E9000ES pre/pro and TA-P9000 preamp, which are the heart of my system today were both manufactured over a decade ago and appear to have been designed so well, that when connected to something like a current Blu-Ray player, 5.1 state of the art is realizable. In other words, with my Sony system I want for nothing. I am completely satisfied; and, I am over purchasing anything with the exception of perhaps a new Blu-Ray player, maybe one from Sony, if they produce one for their ES line which is competitive with the OPPO 95.
PENG posts on September 30, 2012 07:28
I can never understand why on this forum there seem to be much more people who have had bad experience with Sony receivers. I have had experienced with a few and never ever encounter any problems, not even minor ones. I would consider their AVR any time if they have all the features I need but they are missing a couple.
Steelheart1948 posts on September 29, 2012 21:01
In my almost 35 years in this insane hobby, I've made only one purchase that I seriously regretted. You guessed it: a Sony receiver back in the 1980's. Nothing but trouble.
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