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Sony STR-DH520

*Est. $250
Reviewed
October 2012
by ConsumerSearch
Sony STR-DH520

Pros
  • Low-cost 7-channel audio
  • 1080p video upscaling
Cons
  • Good, but not great audio
  • Lacks features found in pricier receivers
  • No automatic speaker set up

Performance

Big performance on paper but not in-ear. Few budget receivers include seven audio channels, but the Sony STR-DH520 does. The addition isn't as dominating as it seems, however, as reviewers say the receiver's audio is adequate at best. There are also no video processing capabilities.

Features

Few features are here, but the ones that are impress. Aside from the aforementioned seven-channel audio, the Sony STR-DH520 includes full HD audio format support, the ability to show movies in their native 24 frames per second rate, 3D support and audio channel return capabilities. The receiver doesn't include any networking features, Internet connectivity or streaming features for Apple devices, however. You are also on your own when setting up your speakers to provide the best sound for your listening room.

Design

Shows its budget roots. The Sony STR-DH520 has a fairly inexpensive build quality, both in the remote and the receiver itself. Home Theater magazine says the plastic-fronted receiver feels light, and the editor says, "A good whack would easily dent the enclosure." The rear of the receiver sports a decent array of connections, including four HDMI ports and two component video inputs.

Ease of use

Setup can be a hair-pulling experience. The lack of an automatic setup function and an on-screen interface (unless you have certain Sony televisions) makes setup especially frustrating. The remote is full of buttons that are useless unless you've bought other Sony electronics.

Value

A decent buy, but others offer more. The low price for a 7.1-channel receiver can be tough to pass up, but the shoddy interface and average audio bring the Sony STR-DH520 down to earth.

The Bottom Line

At first glance, the numerous audio channels and 1080p video capabilities of the Sony STR-DH520 make it a sure-fire hit In fact, the Sony STR-DH520 is the cheapest way to get 7.1-channel audio without breaking the bank, but its audio chops and feature set are lacking. The Yamaha RX-V373 (*Est. $250), delivers better audio, a clear interface and an automatic setup function for the same price.

Where To Buy
SONY STR-DH520 7.1-Channel, 700 watts, 3D pass-through 6 HD inputs 4 HDMI HD Cinema Sound A/V Receiver

 
Buy new: $259.00   

 

Our Sources

1. Home Theater Magazine

Excellent The lack on an onscreen interface really disturbs Home Theater magazine's Kim Wilson, who assigns the Sony STR-DH520 middling ratings across the board. Wilson says the deep support for digital audio formats is a plus, as is the "more than acceptable" 7.1-channel audio, but the cheap build quality and frustrating setup are hard to ignore.

Review: Sony STR-DH520 A/V Receiver, Kim Wilson, Sept. 29, 2011

2. PC World (Australia)

Very Good Campbell Simpson says, "the Sony STR-DH520 is a competent 7.1-channel entry-level amplifier," but he warns that other receivers offer better audio and deeper feature sets. He also notes that the receiver can hit high volumes, but it distorts the louder you push the system. He gives the Sony a 3.5/5 rating.

Review: Sony STR-DH520 A/V receiver, Campbell Simpson, May 11, 2011

3. Amazon.com

Very Good The Sony STR-DH520 enjoys a great reputation at Amazon.com, where it has a 4.1 (out of 5) star overall rating with more than 120 users checking in. Most say the system delivers tremendous bang for the buck, but several users note that the component video inputs don't convert and pass video to the HDMI output.

Review: Sony STRDH520 7.1 Channel 3D AV Receiver (Black), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Oct. 2012

4. About.com

Fair The Sony STR-DH520 falls near the bottom of About.com's list of the best wallet-friendly home theater receivers. "The STR-DH520 is definitely not high-end, but definitely practical features and good overall performance for the price, and is great for a modest home theater system," Robert Silva writes. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)

Review: Best Home Theater Receivers - Priced at 399.00 or Less, Robert Silva, Not Dated

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