Sony STR-DH520 A/V receiver
Sony STR-DH520 review: A surround sound amp that supports 3D playback
- Simple setup
- 3D pass-through
- Auto level calibration works well
- No high-end codec support
The Sony STR-DH520 is a reasonable choice for an entry-level A/V receiver, and its inclusion of 3D play-through is useful for anyone setting up a cheap 3D home theatre.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Sony's STR-DH520 is an entry-level surround sound amplifier that supports pass-through of 3D signals, so you can use it with a 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray player — there's no need to buy a low-quality all-in-one 3D home theatre system, since the STR-DH520 can be hooked up to almost any home theatre speaker on the market. It's also easy to set up and includes auto level calibration that optimises the sound from each speaker according to your listening position.
Sony STR-DH520: Design and setup
The Sony STR-DH520 isn't particularly attractive, as home theatre components go — if it's style you want, head for something from Pioneer's LX range or from Harman Kardon. It is reasonably easy to control, though; the big dial handles volume and the small dial switches between input sources. There's a few ancillary buttons arranged across the front panel for audio adjustment and minor features, but past initial setup we don't think you'll need to pay much attention to them.
There are four HDMI inputs on the STR-DH520, as well as a range of digital audio and analog video inputs. We hooked up a Sony BDP-S380 Blu-ray player and a Tivo HD PVR to the HDMI inputs, but didn't have a 3D source to test the STR-DH520's 3D pass-through. The STR-DH520 is able to up-convert video to 1080p, so it's good for low quality sources like an old DVD player or game console.
The STR-DH520's auto level calibration feature is very simple, and is useful enough that we think all users could benefit from running it at least on the initial setup of their home theatre system. The calibration mic plugs into the rear of the STR-DH520 (front-access convenience is only on the more expensive STR-DH820) and running the auto calibration only takes a couple of button-presses. It's a matter of a couple of minutes and we found that the level adjustment made surround sound slightly better than the default settings.
Sony STR-DH520: Performance
The Sony STR-DH520 supports up to seven surround speakers simultaneously, as well as a subwoofer through a dedicated pre-out. We set the Sony STR-DH520 up with five reasonably cheap Onkyo home theatre speakers rated at 100W each. The STR-DH520 is rated at 100W per channel maximum, and we found that in a medium size room we didn't have to use over half volume to get great sound from our impromptu home theatre setup. The Sony's 100W rating comes at a total harmonic distortion figure of 0.09%, so we wouldn't be pushing the system to its limits lest distortion creeps in.
The Sony STR-DH520 supports a range of audio codecs, but noticeably missing are the high-end Blu-ray codecs for DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. If these are important to you you'll need to buy a more expensive amplifier.
Sony STR-DH520: Conclusion
The Sony STR-DH520 is a competent 7.1-channel entry-level amplifier. It doesn't have the sheer power or extra features of more expensive A/V receivers, but it's a simple and capable hi-fi component that usefully includes 3D pass-through — important if you're setting up a 3D-ready home cinema and you don't want to spend lots.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 4 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
- 5 Telstra Wi-Fi 4GX Advanced III review: Testing the world's first 600Mbps wireless hotspot
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
- Samsung wave makes a splash at Mobile World Congress
- Sony returns to profit, cuts full-year loss forecast
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTSystems EngineerNSW
- CCDynamics CRM DeveloperNSW
- CCSecurity Solution ArchitectQLD
- CCJava Developer with Oracle database experience | Defence intelligence | NV1ACT
- CCProject Manager - IT SecurityNSW
- CCAgile Business AnalystNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/SQL) 160620/AP/623Asia
- FTTechnical Lead | Senior Java DeveloperNSW
- CCScrum Master with Java development backgroundACT
- CCIT Technical Writer- understanding in RDMBS,Web server, StorageNSW
- CCIntegration ArchitectNSW
- FTData Center Operator (1-Year Renewal Contract)Asia
- CCContract Programmer (JAVA/J2EE/SQL) 160628/P/133Asia
- CCTechnical Writer | Experimental military technology | NV1ACT
- CCMicrosoft .NET Developer (Server and Applications)SA
- CCSAP PI/PO ConsultantVIC
- CCSystems Trainer - Networking/ RadioVIC
- FTMobile DeveloperWA
- CCSAP BASIS ConsultantVIC
- CCLevel 1 & 2 Helpdesk (Need SAP, ERP system experience)NSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (J2EE/JAVA/SQL) 160621/AP/082Asia
- CCBusiness Analyst- Process Mapping Specialist- Gov / Bank backgdNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst, InsuranceNSW
- CCImplementation ManagerNSW
- CCBusiness Data AnalystNSW