Following an exclusive, and extensive, product briefing from Sony here at What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision, we can now lavish you with more information on Sony's 2008 range of receivers and hopefully sort out any model confusion in the process.
There are five models in the new line-up, and in a nutshell the UK will be receiving:
STR-DG520 - £180 - available end of JulySTR-DG820 - £300 - available end of July
STR-DA2400ES - £500 - available AugustSTR-DA3400ES - £700 - available AugustSTR-DA5400ES - £1500 - available August
Sony's representatives were kind enough to drop off a review sample of the STR-DG820, which is now warming up in our listening rooms. So visitors to whathifi.com will be able to read our exclusive online review next week.
More after the break
As we mentioned in an earlier news story, the STR-DG820 is a 7.1 channel receiver boasting 100w per channel. It's armed with four HDMI inputs and one output. It also supports all HD audio formats, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. And, after our briefing, we can also reveal:
All the new receivers have been built from scratch with brand new components - even the solder used in the circuitboards has been changed.
Extra effort has been made to reduce the effects of internal vibrations on the new chassis.
The STR-DG820 features 1080p/24fps passthrough, but no video upscaling or upconversion (contrary to the information we were originally told by Sony). The receiver also supports Deep Colour and x.v.Colour technology.
The remote control is similar in look and feel to that of the W series LCD TVs.
An on-screen display is provided, but there's no display output to your TV or projector.
The entry-level STR-DG520 has very basic specification (not surprising, given its highly-affordable price) and some of the main differences between it and the STR-DG820 are:
No A+B speaker selectionNo AV input on the frontTwo HDMI inputs as opposed to four on the STR-DG820No HD audio decoding or LPCM via HDMINo Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24 decoding, just standard Dolby Digital and DTSNo Deep Colour x.vColour compatibility
We're just waiting for the specification of the ES models to come through, but as soon as we have them to hand we'll get the information posted on the website.
One last thing. Sony dropped off another piece of kit that we're sure you'll be interested in. But can you guess what it is? We'll be divulging top-secret information on this product on August 1st. So, be sure to check the website for another What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision exclusive.
UPDATE – Well, we've been going through the specifications of Sony's new ES receivers with a fine-toothed comb and we've finally compiled a list of the main specs for each of the new models.
Strangely there's no mention of multichannel analogue inputs, but we'd surprised if the new models didn't at least offer 5.1 analogue inputs.
Needless to say, we can't wait to get our hands on them. In the meantime, stay tuned for an in-depth review of the £300 STR-DG820. We'll post it online in the next couple of days.STR-DA5400ES £1500
6 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputsAuto AV Sync with some Bravia TVs – automatically delays sound so you get picture and sound simultaneously31Band Graphic Equaliser and stereo mic for auto-calibration120W x 7 channelsUpconvertsUpscales to 1080pDSD (Direct Stream Digital) compatibility for use with an SACD playerTop-Grade GUIGUI blending up to HDMI2nd room GUIMulti-language GUITwo Digital Media PortsDigital audio up-sampling to 192kHzUpscales to 1080pUpconvertsBravia SyncPortable Audio Enhancer PlusLearning remote control
100W x 7 channelsSupports all HD Audio formatsUpscales to 1080pUpconverts4 HDMI inputs, 1 HDMI outputTop-Grade GUIMulti-language GUIGUI blending up to component videoBravia SyncPortable Audio Enhancer PlusLearning remote control
100W x 7 channelsUpconvertsUpscales to 1080pSupports all HD Audio formats4 HDMI inputs, 1 HDMI outputNew GUIGUI blending up to component videoDigital Media PortBravia SyncStandard remotePortable Audio Enhancer PlusLearning remote control