Sony STR-DH820 A/V receiver
Sony STR-DH820 review: an A/V receiver with plenty of power, iPod support and comprehensive codec support
- Simple auto calibration
- Plenty of power
- Front-mounted ports can't be hidden
The STR-DH820 adds some useful features from the entry-level STR-DH520. As A/V receivers go, it does a pretty good job and doesn't have any significant failings that would annoy the majority of users.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
The basic functionality of the Sony STR-DH820 is the same as the Sony STR-DH520 amplifier. This review focuses on the additional features of the STR-DH820.
The Sony STR-DH820 amplifier is a mid-level A/V receier that supports 3D video pass-through. It'd make a good addition to a low-budget 3D home cinema, and its auto calibration works well to optimise a surround sound speaker setup. Its advantages over the cheaper STR-DH520 come in the form of even easier calibration, a second zone setting for a speaker system in a different room, and support for a second powered subwoofer. An enterprising home theatre installer could use the Sony STR-DH820 to fit out two rooms with ease.
Sony STR-DH820: Design and setup
Like the STR-DH520, the Sony STR-DH820 won't be winning any beauty pageants. It's functional though, with a large volume dial and input selector dial on the right of the two-line LCD screen, and a tuning dial on the left. Other buttons for switching between speakers and different zones probably won't see much use, but they're easy to access if needed.
Temporary front inputs for composite audio and video, the automatic audio calibration microphone and USB — for connecting an iPod cable, with almost all iPod and iPhone devices supported — are hidden down on the lower right front of the STR-DH820. They're easy to get to, but we would have preferred if they were hidden behind a flip-down door to make the front of the amplifier a little more seamless. These front inputs aren't found on the STR-DH520, so if you want them — the iPod connector in particular — the STR-DH820 is the one to get.
The Sony STR-DH820 has speaker terminals for seven surround speakers, and two pre-outs for connecting actively-powered subwoofers. If you want to use the Sony STR-DH820 to power speakers in two different rooms and switch between them, the rear speaker terminals are set up to accomodate this. We tried using two sets of stereo speakers in two different rooms and had no problems.
Calibrating the Sony STR-DH820 is a one-step process and couldn't be simpler. The front input for the calibration mic means all you have to do is plug it in and hit two buttons on the remote control. A few seconds later all the speakers are optimised for whichever listening position the microphone was sitting in, and the difference in sound quality after calibration is noticeable.
Sony STR-DH820: Performance
The Sony STR-DH820 has the same amplification power as the STR-DH520, with a rating of 100W per channel (though this is only when powering two channels — all seven channels used simultaneously would not be fed 100W each). In practice we found the power of the STR-DH820 to be more than adequate, with five reasonably cheap Onkyo home theatre speakers only requiring around half volume to fill a medium-sized room with sound. Even watching a blockbuster movie shouldn't push the STR-DH820 to its limits.
We liked the convenience of plugging an iPod directly into the front of the Sony STR-DH820. You can control the iPod with the STR-DH820's remote control, so if you want to change tracks you don't have to keep walking to the amplifier. We were surprised to see that no iPod connector is available on the back of the STR-DH820 — if you want to have an iPod plugged in 24/7, it'll have to be sticking out of the front of the amp.
Sony STR-DH820: Conclusion
Sony'S STR-DH820 is a competent and fully-featured home theatre receiver. If you've got a 3D Blu-ray player and 3D TV, and want to set up a home theatre that doesn't require a workaround to show 3D, the Sony STR-DH820 should do the job nicely.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Surface Pro 4
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 5 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
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
PCW Evaluation Team
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 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.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCData Analyst - SAS - Immediate Start RequiredNSW
- CCSenior Infrastructure EngineerNSW
- CCBusiness Test Lead - BRT/UATNSW
- TPProject CoordinatorNSW
- FTFull Stack PHP Developer - Focus on Front EndQLD
- CCCyber Security ArchitectNSW
- TPProject Coordinator/Junior Project ManagerVIC
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- TPNodeJS DeveloperNSW
- CCFinance Analyst/ Project SpecialistVIC
- TPBusiness Intelligence Program ManagerVIC
- TPAgile CoachNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- TPLinux Desktop Support SpecialistWA
- CCTest Planner - Infrastructure/Data CentreACT
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)WA
- TPEnvironment Specialist(DevOps)QLD
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- FTJunior / Entry Level IT role - Recent IT TAFE GraduateNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)VIC
- CCDevops EngineerNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional ConsultantACT
- TPProject Manager to manage two concurrent ProjectsQLD