Sony has confirmed the release of its STR-DA5700ES home cinema receiver in the UK, and has issued more details of the technical spec.
It has 7.2 channel surround sound, expandable to 9.2 with a pair of additional front height speakers if required, network connectivity (but no Spotify integration), 3D capability, Full HD upscaling, six HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs.
Made from "premium grade materials and precision engineered audio components", the STR-DA5700ES also has a 'Vocal Height Mode' designed to make sure that dialogue can be easily heard above the action.
Auto set-up is handled by Sony's Digital Cinema Auto Calibration EX system with supplied microphone.
For classical music lovers, there are two 'concert hall' sound features. 'True Concert Hall Mapping' simulates the acoustics of some of Europe's best-known concert halls.
And as we mentioned in our original story below, the 'Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall' mode recreates the characteristics of that particular venue.
A USB DAC allows users to bypass the DAC in their PC or laptop and, via a wired USB connection, use the DAC inside the AV receiver to play their digital music files in high quality.
Smartphone or tablet control is handled by the free ES Media Remote app available from the Apple and Google Play stores.
We'd hoped to see Sony's new STR-DA5700ES home cinema receiver released to the UK market back in November, but on a recent visit to Sony HQ in Japan we were told the likely launch date is now March/April time. The UK price will be £2000.
Sony's top engineers are still fine-tuning the sound, but we've been lucky enough to hear an early demonstration of the STR-DA5700ES in action.
As well as network streaming from Sony's Music and Movies Unlimited services, the unit can handle up to 24-bit/192kHz music files via DLNA.
But there's no confirmation yet as to whether the STR-DA5700ES will have access to Spotify, Netflix or LoveFilm when it goes on sale in the UK.
We heard a range of music streamed from a DLNA server using 24-bit/96kHz WAV files, as well as a video performance by the Berlin Philharmonic played from the orchestra's website.
The choice of the Berlin Philharmonic was no accident: the STR-DA7500ES has a special 'Berlin Philharmonic' DSP setting which recreates the acoustics of the orchestra's Berlin concert hall.
Additional features on this new Sony AV receiver include two extra front height channels for 7.2 surround sound, and a special 'sound optimiser' mode that helps retain the power and dynamics of the original studio master soundtrack when listening at lower volume levels.
Published 08.09.11 at CEDIA 2011
Sony's two new high-end receivers almost got lost in the excitement of the company's 4K projector launch – but we've dug up a few details of the STR-DA5700ES and STR-DA3700ES, which succeed the current '5600ES and '3600ES models.
Like their predecessors, networking is key to these new high-end receivers, which will be able to stream content from a range of sources, including Sony's own Music and Movie Unlimited services (previously Qriocity).
US users will also have access to on-demand music and movie services from the likes of Pandora and Netflix - so one would assume (hope?) the UK models may offer Spotify or Napster support, alongside LoveFilm, YouTube etc.
These online streaming features are in addition to DNLA support for streaming your own networked content.
Both new models can be controlled via new Android and iPhone/iPad apps, and are said to boast an enhanced user interface and set-up wizard, plus support for the new 11.1 DTS Neo X sound format.
Otherwise the models look and feel very similar to the current designs, carrying over many key features including the Faroudja 1080p upscaling engine plus the four-port Ethernet switch.
The new receivers are set to ship in November. We'll bring you details of UK specifications, pricing and availability as soon as possible.