REVIEW | Sony STR-DN840 7.2 Channel Receiver
Chris Murray | On 10, Aug 2013
The Sony STR-DN840 receiver is one of Sony’s latest a/v receivers. The 7.2 channel receiver is rated at 150 watts per channel and has a multitude of connection options among which is 6 HDMI inputs. The Sony STR-DN840 also offers both 4K and 3D pass through. The highlight of the receiver is it’s networking capabilities which include built-in WiFi and Bluetooth.
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Our review got off to a bit of a rocky start with Sony STR-DN840. It started out innocent enough. We connected our speakers booted up the 840 and everything appeared fine. After starting up, the 840 immediately prompted us to go through the setup process so we plugged in the included calibration microphone. The Sony STR-DN840 then broadcast a brief series of tones through our speakers in order to perform the calibration. The entire calibration took about a minute however, curiously the receiver set our speakers to large which is odd since our test speakers only have 6″ woofers…definitely not large. After perusing the instruction manual of the 840, it seemed to suggest that it could actually be better to set “small” speakers to “large” under certain circumstances. This point of view we disagree with since most “small” speakers are incapable of reproducing the same low frequencies that a good subwoofer can. Forcing them to reproduce frequencies that are beyond their capabilities puts a strain on them and on the av receiver. So after the calibration we went back in and set all of our speakers to small and let our subwoofer do the heavy lifting. However, this is where we got into trouble. After the calibration we were prompted to download a firmware update. (Yeah..you know what’s coming) Everything went smoothly at first, it downloaded, installed and then the Sony STR-DN840 rebooted and then……nothing. It was dead. RIP.
When our next review model came in we did the same setup as above, but after the calibration this time our new review model of the Sony STR-DN840 set our speakers to small (go figure!) Our new 840 worked flawlessly so now it was time to have some fun!
Sony STR-DN840 Appearance and Connectivity
Honestly, there’s not much to say here. The Sony STR-DN840 is your typical av receiver, a big heavy black box. The 840 does have a clean uncluttered appearance which means it will blend in seamlessly on your entertainment center. The included remote that comes packaged with the 840 is your usual overly complicated av receiver remote. Like most it has too many buttons, some of which are way to close together. If you plan on picking this up do yourself a favor and get a Logitech Universal Remote. It’ll make your life much simpler.
Flip the Sony STR-DN840 around and you’ll see it has a nice array of connection options highlighted by its 6 HDMI inputs which is a lot at this price point. The Sony STR-DN1040 has 8 HDMI inputs, but expect to pay a little more for those extra HDMI inputs. Along with the 6 HDMI, you also get 3 digital inputs (1 coaxial and 2 optical), 4 analog audio in, 2 analog video in and 2 subwoofer pre-outs. The Sony 840 does not have any composite video inputs however, this shouldn’t be a big deal since most modern av equipment utilize the HDMI standard. It’s also worth noting that the 840 allows 4K and 3D passthrough, however it does not upscale. A nice convenient feature of the Sony 840 is the front USB port. This makes it rather easy to connect your phone, ipad or tablet directly to the receiver.
The Sony STR-DN840, which is DLNA compliant, also supports AirPlay. Being that it has built-in WiFi, this means you can wirelessly stream media from your Apple device. It’s bluetooth feature also means you can stream music from any other bluetooth capable smartphone or tablet. All of the features work seamlessly which amplifies the end user experience. The 840 also has a good amount of streaming music services including Pandora, Music Unlimited, Slacker and vTuner although some offerings from Onkyo such as the Onkyo 626 do offer a wider selection.
Sony STR-DN840 Performance
To begin with, we really enjoyed listening to the Sony STR-DN840. To test it’s surround sound prowess we put in Avatar. Avatar gets accolades for its visuals, but it also has a great sound mix that rivals its 3D imagery. We were impressed by the spacial sound field the 840 produced. When the hammerhead titanothere were rumbling thru the forest of Pandora you could feel every thunderous foot step. Also, the sound field created by the Sony STR-DN840 when Sully was surrounded in the forest by the hyena like viperwolf pack literally had us looking over our shoulders. The overall sound quality of the Sony 840 was very impressive, especially when you consider it usually cost under $449. The sound wasn’t as good as our favorite receiver the Onkyo 5010, but that receiver also cost twice as much.
The Sony STR-DN840 is an impressive av receiver. Especially, when you look at it’s price to value ratio. There are other av receivers that offer similar amounts of features like the Onkyo 626, but it lacks AirPlay. The step-up from this, the Sony STR-DN1040 is also a great receiver, but it’s in the $600 range. We would love to give the Sony 840 4 stars, however because of the issues we had with the initial review copy we had to take 1 star away. Despite this, it’s still a very good receiver and it’s definitely worth our recommendation.
Sony STR-DN 840 Specifications
|Number of Channels||7.2|
|Power Output||150 Watts per Channel 8 Ohm -THD 0.9% - 7 channels|
|Sound Decoders||DTS ES Matrix 6.1, DTS ES Discrete 6.1, DTS 96/24, DTS NEO: 6, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Pro Logic IIz|
|WiFi / Bluetooth||Yes|
|Tuner||AM/FM - Digital|
|Connectivity||1xHeadphones-Front, 1xUSB(4 pin USB Type A)-Front, 6xHDMI input(19 pin HDMI Type A)-Rear, 1xHDMI output(19 pin HDMI Type A)-Rear, 2xAudio line-in(RCA phono x 2)-Rear, 2xComposite video/audio input(RCA phono x 3)-Rear, 1xMonitor output(RCA phono)-Rear, 2xSubwoofer output(RCA phono)-Rear, 1xNetwork(RJ-45)-Rear, 2xSPDIF input-Rear, 1xSPDIF input(RCA phono)-Rear, 7xSpeakers output(Banana/spade x 2)-Rear|
|Video||Audio Return Channel (ARC) 4K pass through Deep Color x.v. Color|
|Power Consumption Operational||240 Watts|
|Size||Width: 19.6" Height: 9.9" Depth: 15.7"|
Manufacturer Contact Information
|Onkyo (800) 229-1687 onkyousa.com||Denon (201) 762-6665 usa.denon.com||Yamaha (800) 4-YAMAHA usa.yamaha.com|
|Pioneer (800) 421-1404 pioneerelectronics.com||Harman Kardon (203) 328-3500 harmankardon.com||Samsung 1-800-SAMSUNG samsung.com|
|Seiki Digital 1 (855) 697-3454 www.seiki.com||Sony (877) 865-SONY sony.com||Sharp USA 1-800-237-4277 sharpusa.com|