Sony STR-DN1080 Home Cinema Receiver Testing

The Sony STR-DN1080 receiver has fantastic sound, percussion and dynamic performance. We experienced incredible detail, naturalness, spatial effect.

Design

The STR-DN1080 has been given a rather chunky and well-built black housing. The front panel features a handful of hotkeys, a seamless volume and input dial, and a simplified display that you can read at a glance. This is an easy to use receiver. One of the main differences in appearance compared to the previous model is the size, which we wouldn’t even notice unless we put the receiver next to its predecessor. The 1080 is slightly smaller than the 1070.

While Sony’s receivers have been bulldog-like in appearance over the past decade, newer models are a little less striking. The design of the STR-DN1080 is quite block-like and solid.

Using the lightweight plastic remote control is no problem either, thanks to the logically placed buttons. Unfortunately, the remote control does not have a backlight, which is a big enough disadvantage for a home theater amplifier. Sony has used high quality components and advanced technologies in the manufacture of the receiver. A high-capacity mains transformer and vacuum-coated internal wiring ensure powerful bass.

Other features of Sony STR-DN 1080

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It has a power of 165 W, weighs 9.7 kg and measures 430 x 156 x 331 mm.

Not only can it play Dolby Atmos sounds up to a 5.1.2 speaker configuration, but it also supports the newer DTS: X format. HDMI 2.1 is not supported, but all six HDMI inputs on the back panel are HDCP 2.2 compliant, supporting full playback of 4K HDR content. It’s worth noting that the “1 video” input is the only one that doesn’t support the full 4: 4: 4 sub-sampling specification – all other HDMI inputs do. There are also two HDMI outputs, a handful of standard inputs, a single optical and coaxial input, and a USB port for charging your smartphone.

STR-DN1080-insideThe receiver can play up to 24-bit / 192 kHz files in all popular formats, and can also play native dual DSD files via HDMI and USB. In fact, two of the HDMI inputs (BD / DVD and CD / SACD) are optimized for the best sound quality.

“Phantom Surround Back” allows you to simulate the configuration of seven speakers with just five speakers. With the S-Force PRO Front Surround 2 speaker, you can create a virtual surround sound field, making it an excellent choice for smaller rooms as well. DSD uses pulse density modulation as a coding method for audio storage, which allows for natural, analog sound, in addition to which a wide dynamic range and frequency transmission above 100 kHz are a major advantage. The STR-DN1070 supports DSD (Direct Stream Digital) native playback.

The most popular streaming services are also available — Bluetooth, AirPlay, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect are all built into the STR-DN1080. The amplifier’s DLNA rating means you can play hi-res music files from any NAS device or laptop on the same network. And let’s not forget the multi-room system either: you can connect the amplifier to other compatible Sony products using the Music Center app (formerly SongPal).

You can also control it with your voice through the Google Home Smart Speaker. You can use Google Home to set the receiver as your default music player.

The Sony STR-DN1080 DCAC EX calibration system uses a plastic stereo microphone with a rather unusual appearance. Most receivers’ auto-tuning systems use a mono microphone, so we hoped the STR-DN1080’s setup results would be better than average.

As part of the automatic adjustment of the STR-DN1080, you can choose from four calibration types.

Test

The room correction system alone is not yet able to achieve perfect sound. Full manual adjustment usually takes less time to use the calibration system than is required to correct automatic adjustment errors. It is very important to treat the walls, windows and floor surfaces of your home theater or music room with acoustic panels. The testing site was a cinema room with correct acoustics, where double leather membrane sound-absorbing panels and diffusers were placed on the walls, and acoustic curtains were placed in front of the windows. A thick, sinking acoustic carpet was laid on the floor.

We also tried the receiver while listening to music and watching movies and it didn’t disappoint. We paired Dali Oberon with 5 speakers. We got detailed, spacious, and dynamic sound. This receiver has won awards for three years in a row, which reveals a lot. The Sony STR-DN1080 offers all the features a modern receiver might need — multi-room music, Chromecast streaming, AirPlay, Dolby Atmos and plenty of 4K-compatible inputs. The sound quality is excellent, especially for movies. The user interface is easy to follow and is paired with a friendly remote control. When we tried Sony’s previous model, the STR-DN1070, the sound was similar, although we felt the STR-DN1080 sounded a little clearer and the STR-DN1070 more extensive.

Conclusion

This AV receiver offers extremely good quality at a very affordable price. I really liked the sound, especially after we canceled the automatic setting and adjusted it manually according to our own needs. Sony offers excellent home theater and music performance and all the features you need. While watching the movie, we felt some parts were flat, but that was already a hair-splitting. The remote control could have a backlight and we would have endured even more extensive sounds.

Written by Róbert Polgár