The Good: The Sony STR-DN1050 has just about everything you can ask for in a mid-range receiver: bluetooth, WiFi, and more importantly, excellent sound quality.

 

The Bad: Very little not to like about this receiver. Reduction of HDMI inputs from 8 to 6 is a minor issue. Some may find the new remote control too simplified. (It’s a good sign for any AV receiver when you have to nitpick about the remote control)

 

Summary: The Sony STR-DN1050 is a nearly perfect mid-range receiver. Great connectivity and excellent sound quality make it tough to beat.

When choosing an AV receiver, you have no shortage of choices. A wide variety of manufacturers produce AV receivers nowadays and for the most part they all produce good products. Every once in a while a manufacturer will come out with a product that performs above and beyond what you pay for it. Sony’s STR-DN1050 7.2 channel receiver may be that product this year.

Sony STR-DN1050 7.2 Channel Hi-Res 4K AV Receiver (Built-in Wi-fi & Bluetooth)

Price: $549.95

(0 customer reviews)

8 used & new available from $325.55

 

Design & Appearance

On the surface not much has changed between the design of this year’s STR-DN1050 and last years STR-DN1040. In fact, from the outside they look nearly identical. The 1050’s hard edges are softened by two protruding knobs on the front, one for the volume and the other for the input selection. Thankfully, besides these two knobs, very little button clutter is visible on the front of the the 1050. The few buttons that are visible are small and inconspicuous.

Sony STR-DN1050

The remote for the Sony STR-DN1050 is probably one of the better remotes we’ve seen bundled with an AV receiver. Sony’s done a good job shedding many of the unneeded buttons that you’ll usually find on AV remotes. Other AV manufacturers are also following suit although Sony’s remote design may be the best we’ve seen so far.

Sony Simplified Remote

The only drawback to this design is that in order to select certain features or options you’re now forced to go thru the on screen menu. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the 1050 has probably one of the prettiest interfaces we’ve seen on an AV receiver. It would seem that sony’s learned in recent years that a good user interface needs to accompany good hardware. When booting up you’re greeted by an attractive home screen that has large graphical icons labled (watch, listen, custom preset, sound effects and settings). Clicking on either one of these icons pulls up the various options for each of these sections.

 

Connectivity in Spades

Sony gives you numerous ways to connect to the Sony STR-DN1050. It offers an array of wired connections, but let’s be honest, technology is slowly pushing us towards a wireless world and with that in mind, Sony’s incorporated a variety of wireless connection options as well.

Sony STR-DN1050

If there’s one area where The Sony STR-DN1050 took a step back, is with the HDMI inputs. Last years 1040 packed in a staggering 8 HDMI inputs. This year Sony decided to reduce that number to 6 for the 1050. Honestly, we were a little surprised last year that they included 8 HDMI inputs on the 1040. For most mid-sized home theaters the 6 HDMI 2.0 inputs will probably be more than enough. Besides the HDMI inputs it also includes 3 analog audio inputs, 1 USB, 1 ethernet, 1 digital coaxial, 2 digital optical and 2 component inputs.  The 1050 also has 3 HDMI outputs (A,B and Zone).

 

Bluetooth and WiFi are ubiquitous features on AV receivers. In some cases you’ll find that even entry level receivers, like the Denon AVR-S500BT are beginning to incorporate bluetooth or WiFi. Bluetooth works as you would expect, once you have your device paired with the receiver, streaming music to it is easy. We also had no problem getting the Sony STR-DN1050 on our WiFi network. Being the 1050 is DLNA compatible, it was able to recognize our media server and pull music from it with ease.

Sony STR-DN1050 7.2 Channel Hi-Res 4K AV Receiver (Built-in Wi-fi & Bluetooth)

Price: $549.95

(0 customer reviews)

8 used & new available from $325.55

Once you get the 1050 on the internet you’ll also notice that it supports a variety of internet streaming apps including: Pandora, Spotify, Tuenin, and Music Unlimited. If you compare the number of streaming apps the 1050 has to Onkyo’s then the Sony 1050 will come up a little short. Although in truth, very few AV manufacturers offer the huge variety of internet streaming services that Onkyo does.

 

If you need even more ways to wirelessly stream music to your receiver (and who doesn’t) you’ll be pleased to hear that the Sony STR-DN1050 is also Airplay compatible which makes it easy to play music from your iPod through the receiver at the press of a button.

 

A recent survey has pointed out that 4K Ultra HD video ranks near the bottom on the priority lists for consumers when it comes to selecting TVs. While this isn’t shocking since 4K source materials is few and far between, it’s only a matter of time until it becomes the new video standard. Because of this AV manufacturers are eager to incorporate some degree of 4K compatibility into their receivers. The Sony STR-DN1050 is capable of both 4K pass through and of upscaling your 1080p video to Ultra HD for when you finally purchase a 4K set.

 

Sony STR-DN1050 Performance

Calibrating the 1050 is pretty straightforward and simple. In the past we’ve had issues with Sony’s calibration system. When we reviewed the Sony STR-DN850, we had to go in and manually adjust several of the settings. Once we plugged the included microphone into the Sony 1050, it began sending out a series of test tones through our speakers. To our surprise, we had no issues with the 1050’s calibration. It accurately measured our speaker distances, set our speaker levels and crossovers.

 

The plethora of features and inputs the Sony STR-DN1050 has are all well and good, but they don’t mean squat if it doesn’t perform well. Fortunately, the 1050 is one of the best sounding mid-range receivers we’ve heard this year. In fact, we’re hard pressed to find anything we didn’t like about it’s sound quality. Rated at about 165 watts per channel (although that’s debatable), it plays loud. It also decodes most of the major surround formats except for Dolby’s new Atmos. For music playback it also is capable of decoding a variety audio formats including MP3, WMA, WMV, FLAC and ALAC.

 

For stereo reproduction it performed flawlessly. The 1050 has a smooth clean and detailed sound quality that few AV receivers in this price range will be able to match. No matter what genre of music we threw at it, it always managed to impress us. With classical music it sounded airy and crisp. For rock, pop and hip hop it sounded punchy and powerful. The Sony 1050 proved to have a very dynamic quality making it great across a variety of genres.

 

For movie watching, we were equally impressed. Our go to movie, the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is our favorite torture test for both speakers and AV receivers. The Sony STR-DN1050 passed with flying colors. The battle of Pelennor Fields sounded exquisite. In fact, we re-watched this scene several times so our ears could bathe in aural nirvana. 

 

After this we plopped in the Amazing Spider-man 2 on blu-ray and we weren’t disappointed. The one thing we noticed with both movies was that the 1050 has a very active low-end that gives movies a very powerful punch. The Sony STR-DN1050 also has excellent sound dispersion and does a great job bouncing sound from channel to channel in a 5 or 7 speaker arrangement.

 

Conclusion

The Sony STR-DN1050 should be on your short list of receivers if you’re in the market for a new one. Although it has fewer HDMI inputs that last year’s 1040, it still offers plenty of connectivity options. However, more importantly it sounds great for both movies and music. Competitively priced at $599 it gives you a lot of bang for your buck!

Sony STR-DN1050 7.2 Channel Hi-Res 4K AV Receiver (Built-in Wi-fi & Bluetooth)

Price: $549.95

(0 customer reviews)

8 used & new available from $325.55

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