PROS / The power output is very good.
CONS / It lacks a phono input.
VERDICT / With the best power output, comprehensive audio decoder formats and excellent connectivity, the Sony STR-DN1070 is the best AV receiver at this price point.
The Sony STR-DN1070 is a 7.2-channel home theater receiver with excellent power handling and exceptional connectivity. It’s one of the few receivers with two HDMI outputs, which complements the two-zone audio. The amplifiers, which can power up to seven speakers, are the most powerful in our review. In addition, it has a comprehensive list of audio decoder options. For these reasons, the Sony STR-DN1070 is our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner for best AV receivers.
While upgrading your home theater speakers is the most important key to upgrading your system, an AV receiver’s amplifier is critical to making sure those speakers have a clean audio signal with enough power to ensure that they produce the audio accurately. This is why the STR-DN1070 shines among the AV receivers in our review.
Rated for 130 watts per channel on an 8-ohm speaker, and 165 watts on a 6-ohm speaker, the STR-DN1070 has the best power handling for a stereo receiver at this price point. It’s certainly strong enough to power your high-end home theater speakers.
With two-zone audio, you can separate two of the channels from the 7.2-channel system and create a second zone of audio. There are many ways you can take advantage of this, but most users send the second signal to speakers in a different room, allowing you to play music in your office while your family watches a movie in the theater room. However, since the STR-DN1070 has two HDMI outputs, you can also use the two-zone audio to watch a movie in one room and a second movie in another.
Movie directors mix their soundtracks to a specific format, usually 5.1 (though 7.1 is becoming more popular). Unlike typical music, which only has a left and a right track, these formats have unique audio mixed specifically to the front center, front left, front right, middle left and middle right. However, to experience the audio that the director intended, you need an audio decoder for the Dolby or DTS version of the audio. Fortunately, the STR-DN1070 has all the necessary audio format decoders.
While all of the AV receivers in our review have the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD decoders, this receiver also features the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoders, which add two overhead channels to the mix. For upmixing a stereo signal to surround sound or a 5.1 surround to a 7.1 surround, this receiver also has Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6. These are fairly new matrixed decoders that analyze the audio signal from the source and then separate the signal into parts that are sent through the individual channels. In other words, they take a signal that isn’t designed to fit your surround system and try to make it sound as though each channel was mixed independently.
Unfortunately, the matrixed decoders don’t always create good results, which is why it’s important to have more than one upmixing option. The STR-DN1070 is the only receiver in our review that has legacy decoders too – Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X. AV receivers typically come with the newer upmixing decoders or these older, legacy ones. Some users prefer the older ones to the newer ones, and vice versa.
A good AV receiver should be the hub between your input devices and your television. With six HDMI inputs, the Sony STR-DN1070 can pass through all video formats, including 1080p, 4K and 3D, from your Blu-ray player, gaming console, and satellite or cable receiver. As it’s one of the few receivers with two HDMI outputs, you can connect it to more than one TV.
You’ll find legacy inputs for analog and digital audio, including composite inputs. In other words, if you have an old gaming console or video camera, you can still connect it to this receiver. In addition to legacy inputs, the receiver is equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and AirPlay. You have plenty of wireless options for streaming audio and controlling the features.
The only missing connectivity option is the phono input, which is for turntables. Phono inputs require a separate amplifier. Record players are turntables with a built-in amplifier and an output to speakers, so a phono input is different from a record player because it includes the amplifier and the output to speakers.
Help & Support
Sony offers a two-year warranty on the STR-DN850, which is about average for the industry. It offers phone and email support and has a social media support team. One of the best aspects of Sony's support is its live chat, which enables you to get help without having to go through a frustrating phone menu.
The Sony STR-DN1070 is the best AV receiver in our review because it combines power, connectivity and audio format options for a great home theater experience. It has six HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs, which is rare for an AV receiver. It features all of the audio format decoders, including legacy upmixing decoders. At around $500, this is an excellent value for a device that is the center of your home theater.