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!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- Sony's virtual reality suit is why people go to SXSW
- 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
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- TPNetwork AdministratorWA
- TPUnix- Technical Support OfficerVIC
- CCProduct Design AnalystNSW
- CCProject Manager - Security DomainVIC
- FTRACF Mainframe Security Analysts / Engineers - Multiple Roles - SydneyNSW
- TPFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTData Storage Support Consultant (EMC)QLD
- FTWeb Developer/ReportsNSW
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC
- FTDevOps - Web AdministratorQLD
- FTDatabase DeveloperNSW
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectVIC
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- FTMid Level PHP DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- FTICT Business Development Manager - Technical Products/SolutionsQLD
- FTDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Permanent - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- CCOrganisational Change Manager - Banking/Financial ServicesNSW
- TPAgile Implementation LeadNSW
- TPEngineer Desktop DevelopmentVIC
- TPSenior Communications Officer | SharePointQLD
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW