Great entry to Atmos
April 30, 2017
Being somewhat of an entry level Atmos receiver, it performs really well. It produces clear sounds, was easy to calibrate and setup, easy to use, and the Phantom Surround feature surprisingly works. It’s not perfect, yet there’s very few negatives. It does get warmer than other receivers I’ve owned and the build quality is a bit flimsy. The menu, while easy to use, is a bit clunky. Atmos setup is limited to 5.1.2.
6 HDMI in and 2 out
Small size (when compared to their previous models)
Phantom speaker makes it seem you have rear speakers or equally placed
Bluetooth can be set to transmit for headphones or receive for mobile devices
Can get a bit hot
Top panel is flimsy and flexes
Manual is lacking
Can only do Atmos 5.1.2
Sony DN10xx series are good receivers. The DN1080 added some minor improvements, but the biggest one being the Atmos support and new “Phantom Surround” feature which simulates back speakers essentially turning your 5.1.2 setup to a 7.1.2 full surround. It has HDR passthrough and supposedly works with Google Home, but I don’t have a 4k tv and have an Amazon Echo so I was not able to test those features. The network features all work as intended with the streaming service is limited to just Spotify and Chromecast. Dual zone is nice to have especially if you want to pass video and audio to another tv in the house. Though, I’d rather not have the dual zone if it meant that they added support for 5.1.4 instead. Atmos is ideally meant for 4 top speakers.
Setting up was straightforward. Sony have kept their simple UI and streamlined remote, but the UI is somewhat clunky and laggy at times. The auto calibration was a good place to start and can get the job done if you don’t want to fine tune anything manually. The calibration is done with a new stereo mic which supposedly produce better results. It actually gave me an error when I had the R and L on the mic reversed so at least it’s accurate enough to know that much. The calibration did a good job at judging distance and levels but it kept assigning my bookshelf speakers as large and the level of the subwoofer was way too high. I went back in and adjusted some setting manually and set it up as Atmos 5.1.2 with top middle speakers and assigned the phantom surrounds as rear speakers.
Audio quality is great. I’m limited to only 2 Atmos movies, but what I heard was impressive. The sound was clear and bounced front to back and left to right. The phantom surround worked well enough. It’s not going to be the same as having actual speakers, but I definitely heard sounds as if they were behind me. With non Atmos media, setting the sound field to Dolby Digital or DTS Neutral can enhance the sound and fill the room more but it’s somewhat minor. There’s various calibration settings and sound fields options to mess with as well as speakers quality and placement so there’s a lot of factors at work, but based on what I have, I’m happy with the sound quality.
Some issues I have are from the build quality and how hot this gets. While its size is the same as my old Sony STR-DH750, a small non network receiver, its build quality seemed to have worsen. The top panel felt flimsy and flexed, and mine came with a dent. It also heats up quite a bit. Enough that I probably wouldn’t keep it in a closed cabinet without ventilation. The manual is also lacking explanations of settings. It only covered basic installation and the front display. For in depth explanations you have to use their online guide.
I think this is a very good receiver given the price point. Atmos media will hopefully be more available soon and this is a nice entry point. I like the sounds it can produce and the extra features are there for those that want it. It’d be nice if I could have set up a 5.1.4 Atmos experience but some Atmos is still better than none.... Read More