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Sony STR-DN1070 review:

Sony receiver sets new performance standard

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The Good The Sony STR-DN1070 proves itself a worthy all-arounder with a dynamic performance in both music and movies. Its six HDMI ports offer compatibility for the latest 4K sources. Useful features include multiroom streaming, three separate powered speaker zones and wireless support for AirPlay, Google Cast and Spotify Connect.

The Bad Unlike many receivers at its price, the Sony doesn't support Dolby Atmos or DTS:X surround formats. Sony's wireless multiroom system isn't as compelling as Yamaha's.

The Bottom Line Lack of Atmos is more than eclipsed by excellent sound quality, making the Sony STR-DN1070 one of the best receivers at this price.

CNET Editors' Rating

8.6 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Sound 8.0
  • Value 9.0

How hot are you on "the latest and greatest" versus "tried and tested"?

Not only does it sound great, but the Sony STR-DN1070's feature list is prodigious: the ability to stream AirPlay, Google Cast and Spotify Connect, a generous three powered zones and six HDMI ports including 4K/HDR support.

You may argue that the one glaring omission is support for the newest object-based surround formats, Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. Other midpriced receivers, like the Denon AVR-920W are careful to check those boxes, but Sony ignores them. But if you're OK with that -- and we certainly are -- the Sony is an excellent choice, anchored by superb sound quality for the money.

After debuting at $599, the price has vacillated between $449 and $499 since the Black Friday sales. At this level there is nothing else that holds a candle to it, and as a result it now earns our enthusiastic CNET Editors' Choice Award. The receiver is available for $1,399 in Australia, but you can find it priced at $1,000 on the street. No official availability for the UK has yet been announced.

Editors' note, December 6, 2016: In order to bring the Sony in line with recent competition the Performance score has been amended from 9 to 8 while Value has increased to 9.

Design

sony-str-dn1070-05.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

The poor old receiver: it's difficult to make a big rectangular box "sexy," and most designers don't even try. The DN line has remained unchanged since 2012, but as receivers go, the 1070 is still relatively modern, with an uncluttered face and pleasing LED display strip through the middle.

sony-str-dn1070-05.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

On the right side of the receiver are the control knobs for volume and source selection and across the front are scattered a few other controls, though frustratingly there's no Menu button. The fascia also includes an HDMI port and headphone jack.

sony-str-dn1070-05.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

The receiver's menu system is just as friendly as previous iterations and should be very familiar to users of other Sony gear, including televisions. It offers a clean Settings page and a logical, easy-to-read menu system once you drill down further.

sony-str-dn1070-05.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

The remote control is button-packed but reasonably ergonomic, with big, convenient keys.

Features

Though sound quality has changed, in other ways the STR-DN1070 is only an incremental update to the STR-DN1060. It shares many of the same features, including six HDMI inputs (five on the rear and one on the front). These ports are able to deliver the benefits of this year's 4K Blu-ray players, and 4K streaming devices like the Roku 4, with support for HDCP2.2 and HDMI 2.0a/HDR content from the major studios. The Sony comes with 4K upscaling too, if you think you need that (but really no one does -- your TV often does a better job).

sony-str-dn1070-05.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

Despite boasting nine channels rated at up to 175W/ch (up from seven last year), the receiver still doesn't offer the immersive formats Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. Instead it offers the option of up to three powered zones, which is one of the few receivers we've seen to do this at this price.

The lack of X and Atmos is not a deal breaker in my opinion, since there's still less than 60 discs for both formats so far. On the other hand if you want as much future-proofing as possible, or you're interested in "immersive audio" and the extra speaker hardware it requires, you should probably choose a receiver like the Denon AVR-S920W which supports those formats.

sony-str-dn1060-01.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET
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