Founded in 1946, Sony has become a huge corporation involved in everything from sound and visuals to banking and insurance. But televisions and associated products are possibly what they are best known for. The Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel AV Receiver is a good example.
One thing you can say about this giant is that when they make something, they do it well. From recording studio equipment to home AV products and beyond. It is going to be good. So, let’s see if it maintains this tradition in our in-depth Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel AV Receiver Review.
The STR-DN1080 is the follow-up to the previous and very popular version, Sony’s STR-DN1070 Receiver.
It is again designed so that you can enjoy the cinema experience at home. Your favorite movies and tv shows and even your choice of music. All played back with a theater-like sound.
The competition in this middle-priced market of AV receivers is intense. You have to get the pitch and the balance right between performance, features, and price. It is not an easy balance to achieve. Sometimes manufacturers will have to choose what to include and what to leave out.
Sony usually strikes that balance just right. Have they got the balance right here? You are about to find out if the Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel AV Receiver ticks all the boxes.
It is an imposing receiver and, in many ways, a typical Sony. It is well-built with a predominately metal casing and a few plastic pieces. No fancy frills with the design to catch the eye. The plain black finish means it can fit in any room. Sony prefers to let the equipment do the talking rather than relying on extroverted designs.
As you might expect, it is a reasonable size measuring 19 by 15 by 8.38 inches and weighing 23 pounds.
Stable and simple…
It is fitted with four vibration-reducing feet to allow it to sit comfortably on any surface.
The front of the receiver has plenty of controls and buttons, but it is not overdone. Therefore, it doesn’t look cluttered. The most visible knob is the master volume control. All the controls are also in black. So they do not stand out and allow the receiver to maintain its understated design.
The only feature on the front of the receiver that is noticeable is the LED screen. Not over-sized; it just gives you info on the current status. We think we can forgive Sony for that one.
We shall talk about the controls next. But a nice touch is the inclusion of USB and headphones sockets on the front. No messing around trying to plug them in around the back.
As we have said, a typical Sony build. Not ostentatious, just solid and functional.
While we are discussing the build, let’s round it off by looking at the Controls. As we said, the most visible is the large volume control knob. Sitting beside that is another rotating control for input selection.
There are push-button controls for speakers, Bluetooth pairing, and presets for the built-in tuner. Also to select the mode of operation, either music or movies. There is a dimmer control and a button for pure direct. You also have a button to select your preferred mode of display.
Down below on the front of the receiver are the sockets for the USB and headphones we already mentioned. Also, a jack socket for a calibration mic. Just above them, the on/off button with its small light to show its power-on status.
Convenient remote control…
It has a remote control that gives you the same options as the basic controls. It allows a choice between TV, music, FM radio, and even gaming. But the selections are encompassing and include controls for the surround sound. The unit display can be adjusted, and there is a mute button.
All things considered, this is a well designed remote control. It fulfills the function it was created for. That is to let you sit in your chair and operate the equipment. A lot of remote controls don’t seem to do that and offer very sparse control options. This is not one of those.
The inevitable app is available, and the iOS option is easy to use and work your way around. Inside the app, you will find all the functions. It will also give you access to all the streaming services available.
The radio tuner carries AM and FM, and you can set up your own preset channels.
As with the remote, the app is a nicely designed extra that is easy to use and fulfills its function.
As with all products of this kind, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. In other words, how does it perform? As you might expect from Sony, it performs very well.
We said at the beginning that sometimes, with products in the mid-range, there is a balance to be achieved. Meaning the quality level of features is weighed against the price point. We are not saying it is performance, but there is a slight limitation with this receiver. More on this later.
Multiple channels and good range…
Sound-wise it has seven channels, each channel having one hundred watts of power at six ohms. It has a good frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
There is an added feature Sony calls the Phantom Surround. This is where you can have a full surround sound experience from seven channels, but only actually have five speakers. The system adapts to your speaker configuration to provide a rich wide-ranging sound.
This latest updated model in this range has added Dolby Atmos as well as DTS:X. The latter, of course, was created to compete with Dolby Atmos. They both have their place, but what is the difference?
The sound from DTS:X is more hi-fidelity than Atmos. But Atmos has better accuracy with the placement of sound. DTS:X has the advantage over Atmos with sound for movies. But Atmos is better for gaming.
However, they are both quality systems, and both produce excellent results across all the options. If you want to know where the bullets are coming from in a movie, then Atmos should be the choice.
So what is the slight limitation we referred to earlier?
AV receivers such as the Sony STR-DN108 rely on their connections. We shall deal with the connections more fully in the next section, but it is here that there is a performance affecting limitation.
As we shall see, this receiver can handle plenty of HDMI-based input. But it has limited options beyond HDMI. There are just three stereo inputs and two inputs for video. One digital audio using optical and one for coaxial.
This will reduce the options a little for some users. However, the quality of the sound is excellent for TV and Movies and also for music and radio. Gaming is probably a secondary function with this receiver but nevertheless works well. There can be little to complain about its performance.
The rear of the receiver does resemble the control panels on Apollo 11, but nevertheless, it is all quite explanatory and well-labeled. As far as HDMI sources are concerned, this receiver can handle just about anything.
There are six HDMI inputs and two HDCO 2,2 outputs. There are outputs for up to seven speakers and outputs for two subwoofers.
Also located on the rear are an Ethernet port and a pair of antennas. An input for an FM antenna and an input and output for Infra-red.
There are built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connections, including NFC, small data transfer support, and LDAC. The latter being Sony’s own technology. This transfers audio content in High Resolution. Additionally, there is Apple AirPlay and Google voice control, as well as direct connections to Spotify and Chromecast.
Chromecast will allow you access to Napster, Deezer, Pandora, and a lot more. Sony’s DSEE HX system will make internal improvements to the sound quality and upgrade it for you. And we should mention once again the USB port and headphone connections on the front of the unit.
Plenty of connection options to cover just about every potential source. However, some might think the non-HDMI options are a bit limited.
Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel AV Receiver Review Pros and Cons
In the world of the mid-range AV receiver, this has to be one of the better models. It has plenty to make it a very good option.
- Good quality build with a nice understated design.
- Controls well-placed and easy to use.
- Plenty of connections, especially HDMI, with an efficient remote control and a good app.
- Phantom sound gives seven-speaker surround sound from only five speakers.
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
- A bit lacking in non-HDMI connections.
Looking for Something Else?
Needs some speakers to go with your new receiver? Check out our extensive reviews of the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500, the Best Powered Speakers, and the Best 7.1 Home Theater System currently available.
Perhaps you need some headphones? Take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Most Comfortable Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Earbuds Under $100, and the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones you can buy in 2021.
Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel AV Receiver Review Finals Thoughts
This receiver from Sony will, we are sure, be one of the better receivers you can find. The price point is very attractive for a product that has so much to offer. The sound is good, and there are plenty of options.
But for all the talk about TV and movies and how well that it sounds, let us not forget one other thing. This receiver also sounds great with music. A great frequency range and the DSEE HX system to improve poor sound quality. That means the sound will be exceptional.
Sony knows a thing or two about creating products that sound very good. The Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel AV Receiver is another quality product from an exhaustive catalog. And it is well worth the money. Ten boxes, nine ticks.
Until next, may your music always make you merry.