The Sony STRDN1030 is one of the first affordable mid range receivers on the market to include built-in WiFi and bluetooth. Not to be left out of the WiFi and Bluetooth trend, Onkyo has also began offering these features in their new models (The Onkyo 626, 727, 828 and 929). However, the Sony STRDN1030 offers something that Onkyo doesn’t and that’s Airplay. The 1030 falls a little short in the HDMI category by only offering 5 inputs. For most people this would be enough, but anyone that has a large amount of equipment may find themselves running out of ports.

 

Sony STRDN1030 Appearance and Connections

Sony STRDN 1030 Rear

The Sony STRDN1030 deviates from what other av manufacturers have done recently. Most current av receivers have a limited amount of knobs and buttons on the front. The 1030 does the opposite by putting more knobs and buttons on the front than you’ll ever use. Turn the STRDN1030 around and you’ll see that it offers a pretty good selection of connectivity options with one caveat. It only gives you 5 HDMI inputs. Not that this is terrible, but some other lower priced av receivers offer more HDMI inputs for less money. For most users this won’t be a problem. To compliment the HDMI inputs the Sony STRDN1030 includes 3 digital audio inputs (1 coaxial and 2 optical), 2 component inputs, 3 composite video inputs, 4 analog audio inputs and 2 outputs (including 1 zone 2 output) and of course 1 ethernet. Overall the 1030 gives you a nice balance of connections options.

 

Networking

The STRDN1030’s claim to fame is it’s built-in WiFi and bluetooth capabilities. The 1030 is one of the first mid-range receivers to offer this and it won’t be the last. The 1030 also has a wired ethernet port if you prefer a wired connection. Whatever method you choose with the Sony STRDN1030 you’ll be able to access a fairly good array of streaming music services such as Pandora, Music Unlimited, Slacker, and vTuner. It doesn’t have the huge selection of streaming options that some of its competitors has, but it’s still pretty good. If you have an Apple device you’ll also be able to use the 1030’s Airplay capabilities. Airplay is basically a simplified method of streaming music from your iOS device to the receiver with just the touch of a button.

Sony STRDN1030

Sony STRDN1030 Audio and Video Features

The Sony STRDN1030 is rated at about 145 watts with 1 channel driven. The key thing of note here is the “1 channel driven”. Most manufacturers “fudge” the power output numbers  a bit by measuring the power output of 1 channel, but lets be honest who’s only going to be listening to one speaker. To be fair, Sony also lists the 1030’s output at 100 watts with 2 channels driven. Typically when you run all channels in a 5.1 arrangement you can expect to see 20-30% drop in power output so in the real world you’re probably going to see between 70 – 80 watts per channel. In most cases this won’t be a big deal unless you have an especially large room that you’re trying to fill with sound or you have unusual power hungry speakers. As you’d expect from any modern a/v receiver the 1030 decodes all of the major HD audio formats; LPCM, Dolby trueHD, ProLogic IIz and dts-HD master audio.

When you first go to setup the Sony STRDN1030, you’ll be greeted by what sony’ calls a “graphical interface”. In actuality,  it will remind you of some early version of DOS. Even by a/v receiver standards the interface of the Sony STRDN1030 is pretty archaic. On the other hand, Sony has a decent little app for iOS and Android devices that has a much nicer interface and best of all…it’s free. The app controls most of the main functions of the receiver. For calibration, sony uses what it calls “Advanced Digital Cinema Auto Calibration”. Like most calibration software, you place the included microphone at various locations in your room and the receiver makes adjustments based on your speakers and room acoustics.

As far as video is concerned, the 1030 does allow 3D video pass through. It also offers video up-conversion as well as video upscaling. The one curious thing is that the Sony STRDN1030 only upscales to 1080i and not 1080p.

 

Customer Reviews

The Sony STRDN1030 is enjoying very positive reviews from most customers. In fact, head over to Amazon and you’ll see that approximately 77% of the reviews are 4 or 5 stars. However, no device is perfect. Below we’ve outlined both the positives and negatives  as listed by customers.

Negatives

The main gripe that people have had with the Sony STRDN1030 is the onscreen interface. Above we mentioned how bad it was, but many users also complained about how slow and non-reactive it was. There were also a few hardware related failures however, with any electronic device that’s to be expected.

 

Positives

The positives definitely out weigh the negatives. Most who’ve purchased it have felt that the sound quality is excellent. The Airplay, WiFi and bluetooth features also garnered high praise. Despite the fact that the 1030 only upscales to 1080i, some people felt that the video quality of various sources was actually improved by passing it through the Sony STRDN1030.

 

Conclusion

The Sony STRDN1030 is a well rounded receiver. An extra HDMI input or 2 would have been nice. But considering you get built-in WiFi and bluetooth it’s easy to overlook such a minor transgression. The archaic user interface is a nasty blemish on an otherwise nice receiver. If you can look past that though you’ll get receiver that most feel sounds great and has good networking capabilities. What more can you ask for?

Sony STRDN1030 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver (Built-in Wi-fi & Bluetooth)

Price: $349.98

(0 customer reviews)

2 used & new available from $349.98

 
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Manufacturers 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.comHarman Kardon (203) 328-3500 harmankardon.comSamsung 1-800-SAMSUNG samsung.com



Seiki Digital 1 (855) 697-3454 www.seiki.comSony (877) 865-SONY sony.comSharp USA 1-800-237-4277 sharpusa.com



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