Sony STR-DN1070 — Hi-Res Audio at its Best

The changes in audio equipment over the past few years has been truly amazing. If you are using an A/V receiver that is a few years old, it may be time for a new one. New features abound, especially in the Sony STR-DN1070 that I will be telling you about today.

The STR-DN1070 is a 7.2 channel Home Theater AV receiver has 145 W per channel of power output.  At 17″ x 6-1/4″ x 12-7/8″ (W x H x D), it looks like the typical black box receiver.  But it is packed with new features like Hi-Res audio, HDR and built-in Chromecast support. It provides a realistic, immersive home theater environment for your 4K television. It also provides excellent sound quality for movies and music.

Sony STR-DN1070

Courtesy: Sony

Input & Output Terminals

The Sony STR-DN1070 just about all the ports needed for the average setup:

  • HDMI Video In/Out (6/2)
  • HDCP2.2 In/Out (6/2)
  • Composite Monitor Out (1)
  • HDMI Input for Audio (2)
  • Audio Input Coax (1)
  • Analog Audio Input (4)
  • Audio Input Opt (1)
  • Headphone Output (1)
  • Pre Out Subwoofer (2)
  • USB (1 Front)
  • Ethernet Port (1)
Sony STR-DN1070

Courtesy: Sony

The only thing missing is a pre-amp, which I needed for my phonograph. No problem unless you are an old vinyl aficionado like me.

Setup

Setup is not as easy as it is with some other brands. Although there is a digital cinema auto calibration with a microphone for setting up the speakers, there is no wizard for hooking up the hardware or software. The on-line instructions in the user manual are a bit convoluted and difficult to follow, especially if you are a newbie to audio equipment. The on-screen graphical user interface is fairly ease of use, but would be more helpful if there were “help” pop-ups.

Although the wording on the front of the receiver is a little small and hard to read, you can do most everything with the remote, which is easy-to-use.

Sony STR-DN1070

My setup included 5 surround speakers in one room and two other speakers in another. I spent about a week trying to get both sets of speakers to play the same music from the television, which my very old Pioneer did easily. I found that if set up through HDMI, they couldn’t play the same music at the same time. They can, however, play the same music when using Bluetooth or Chromecast.

4K/HDR

If you just upgraded to a 4K television, you will notice a big difference with this receiver. It supports 6-in/2-out HDMI connectivity with 4K/60p (4:4:4) pass-through. It also has support for HDCP 2.2.

Image formats including 4K/60p/4:4:4/24bit, 4K/60p/4:2:0/30bit, and 4K/60p/4:2:2/36bit are supported for 4K.  It also has High Dynamic Range (HDR) signal pass-through. If your television supports HDR you will see an incredible jump in image contrast and brightness.

DTS-HD and Dolby® TrueHD audio

STR-DN1070 supports both Dolby, TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio for Blu-ray disc soundtracks.

The one thing missing in this receiver is Dolby Atmos. I didn’t miss this since my setup is in a relatively small room with no ceiling speakers. This Sony receiver can handle two ceiling speakers, but not Atmos speakers. If you have a large room and would like to try Atmos or the Atmos-enabeled upward-firing soundbars that are currently hitting the market, consider the next generation Sony. Their STR-DN1080 will include Dolby Atmos.

Three-zone Listening & Subwoofers

Theoretically with three zone listening, you can connect three sets of speakers to the STR-DN1070 and listen to the same audio output across three rooms, with 3.2 channels in the main room and 2 channels each in the other two rooms. Since the receiver can also control two separate source inputs at once, you should be able to listen to different things in two of the three rooms. I found this quite complicated and was unable to get it to work properly.

Although most folks like me only have one subwoofer, this receiver has a dedicated channel that should enable you to connect two active subwoofers if you want to distribute bass evenly around the room.

High-Resolution Audio

High-Resolution Audio can handle digital processes and formats that allow the encoding and playback of music using higher sampling rates than the standards used in CDs. There is currently no single standard for High-Resolution Audio. However, the most commonly used specifications are 24 bit/96 kHz and 24 bit/192 kHz. The six common High-Resolution Audio formats are supported.  These include DSD (DDF & DSF), AIFF & ALAC (Apple), FLAC (lossless compression) and WAV (Windows).

To give an example, DSD uses a uses a pulse-density modulation encoding method to store audio. It expresses the sound through the pulse intensity of a 1-bit digital audio stream. The sampling frequency of DSD is 128 times that of CD and it offers 8 times the data volume of CD. The Sony STR-DN1070 provides DSD Native Playback with no conversion necessary. This is the closest sound to a true analog audio waveform that you hear in a concert hall or one that is replicated by those old-fashioned vinyl records.

Streaming

This Sony receiver handles Bluetooth connectivity quite well. It even has NFC one-touch. So you can easily use your smartphone or tablet to wirelessly play your chosen music. Or you can use your computer or NAS to connect through Wi-Fi. For Apple owners, this receiver also supports Airplay.

The STR-DN1070 also has Chromecast built-in. So you can simply tap the Cast icon in any music app to send your music to the amp.

Works with Google Home

Best of all for you home automation fans, the STR-DN1070 also works with Google Home. A simple voice command will let you play music from Spotify, YouTube, Google Play or other music services. If you have a Chromecast-enabled television or a Chromecast attached to your TV, you can also have Google Home play YouTube music videos with the music emanating from your speakers.

This Sony receiver works with Sony’s wireless Chromecast-enabled speakers as well as Chromecast Audio speakers.  It works with Sony’s free SoundPal app as well as the free Google Home app. This lets you control which speakers play and to adjust the volume or each speaker.

Summary

This receiver has all the necessary features for the average television with surround sound. The biggest plus is that it sounds great!

Author: Sandy Berger

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.

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