Sony TA-AN1000 review

What Hi-Fi? Awards 2023 winner. Sony’s new home cinema amplifier is worth the wait Tested at £999 / $1240 approx / AU$1850 approx

Home cinema amplifier: Sony TA-AN1000
(Image: © What Hi-Fi?)

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Sony has delivered an AV amp that has reignited the same excitement that we felt with its last model, here with additional dynamics, scale and accuracy


  • +

    Spacious presentation

  • +

    Precise and detailed sound

  • +

    Impressive dynamics


  • -

    Some rivals are better equipped

  • -

    Set up is more involved than some

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Sony is finally back in the AV amp game with the TA-AN1000 home cinema amplifier. It's been over five years since the Japanese tech giant graced us with its serial Award-winning STR-DN1080 AV receiver which took home Product of the Year in 2017 and 2018 (the year in which it also entered into our Hall of Fame), and it held a firm place on our Awards lists until 2020.

So surely a new AV amp from Sony is a cause for celebration? While this certainly is the case with the new TA-AN1000, we first find ourselves confronted with some awkward questions. Although it looks almost identical to the DN1080, why is it double the price?

Also, why does the US have an extensive AVR range consisting of five new models while the UK only gets this one model after we’ve waited so patiently for nearly six years? Finally, does the AN1000 live up to its lauded predecessor? While we can’t answer the first two questions, we can shed light on the third, and thankfully it's good news.


Home cinema amplifier: Sony TA-AN1000

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The TA-AN1000 is a new European exclusive model which will retail for £999 in the UK when it officially goes on sale in June. At the time of writing, there does not seem to be any plan to make it available in the US and Australia.

However, there is the equivalent STR-AN1000 AV receiver for sale in the States which retails for around $900. While the STR-AN1000 shares a similar name and general price point with the TA-AN1000 model, we haven’t tested it and therefore can’t say for sure if the performance is exactly the same between these two models, but having discussed the differences with Sony, we suspect not. 

The Sony slots neatly between its two closest competitors. Both are award-winners and both are made by the same company. There's the Denon AVC-X3800H which currently retails for £1200 / $1499 / AU$2999, and also the Denon AVR-X2800H which we originally tested at £869 / $1200 / AU$2399.


Home cinema amplifier: Sony TA-AN1000

(Image credit: Sony)

The AN1000 looks almost identical to the STR-DN1080 bar some very slight changes to the rear panel. Releasing a new product that strongly echoes a six-year-old design may not sound like a good thing, but the new Sony still looks sleek and modern and feels well made.

The few changes from the DN1080 include buttons for the Display Mode, HDMI Out and toggling 360 Spatial Sound Mapping mode on and off, as well as clearer labelling as to which HDMI ports support 4K, 4K/120Hz and 8K. The biggest difference between the two models, however, is that the DN1080 is an AV receiver while the AN1000 is an AV amplifier. This just means that you won’t find an antenna for radio signals on the latest model.

The AN1000 is accompanied by a redesigned remote which is much smaller this time around. It’s practically the same dimensions as the remote included with the Sony A80K, the TV we paired with this AV amp for testing; a nice touch of synergy for Sony’s home cinema ecosystem. It includes shortcuts to switch between HDMI sources, quickly access settings and change soundfields, offering mostly the same functionality as the previous remote in a smaller package.


Home cinema amplifier: Sony TA-AN1000

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Sony has packed in the features when it comes to the AN1000. Beginning with the mostly simple and straightforward set-up process, a fair chunk of this is done via a microphone-assisted automated system. However, the amp also requests that you take a number of measurements yourself to aid the calibration.

This includes the distance between your listening position to the TV, the height of the room and the height of your TV from the ground. It’s one of the more involved processes required to set up an AV amp, but these measurements only have to be done once. Measurements apart, the Sony calibration system is blisteringly quick, only requiring us to adjust the microphone position once, unlike the Denon AVC-X3800H which requires you to reposition the microphone eight times to optimise results.

Sony TA-AN1000 tech specs

Home cinema amplifier: Sony TA-AN1000

(Image credit: Sony)

HDMI inputs x 6 

HDMI outputs x 2


HDMI 2.1 features VRR and ALLM on all ports, 4K120Hz/8K60Hz on two inputs and two outputs

Amplification 7 channels

HDR formats HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision

Audio formats Dolby Atmos, Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X, Sony 360 Reality Audio

Streaming AirPlay 2, Spotify, Chromecast Built In, Works with Sonos, Bluetooth

Voice assistants Google Assistant

Moving onto compatibility, the TA-AN1000 includes seven channels of power amplification which can either be configured up to a 7.1 set-up or a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos. The Sony outputs a claimed 85W of power per channel with all channels driven. The rival Denon AVC-X3800H has a broadly similar power output, although it features an additional two channels of power amplification.

The AN1000 is also decently equipped in the HDMI department, with two HDMI outputs with eARC and six HDMI inputs. All of these are claimed to be HDMI 2.1 ports, but that's mostly because any HDMI socket can be labelled as 2.1, even if it can't handle the features that most people would associate with the 2.1 specification.  In the case of this Sony, all of the HDMIs can handle VRR and ALLM, but only two of the inputs (and both of the outputs) are compatible with 4K/120Hz and 8K/60Hz signals. Its Denon rival features six HDMI 2.1s that can all carry 4K/120Hz signals.

As expected the Sony has good HDR compatibility, with HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision formats with further support for IMAX Enhanced. Audio format support is also excellent with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Sony 360 Audio, with its phantom speaker system creating simulated height channels and surrounds.

Wireless connectivity with this amp is also a standout feature, as it supports a plethora of connectivity standards. This includes Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and even Works with Sonos - allowing you to hook up this AV amp to your own multiroom Sonos setup.

It's worth mentioning here that you can connect specific wireless Sony home cinema speakers, namely the SA-RS35 or SA-RS5 and up to two SA-SW5 or SA-SW3 subwoofers (they must be the same model) to create a rather neat home cinema sound set-up. We haven’t had a chance to hear such a package yet, so can’t comment on how well it performs.


Home cinema amplifier: Sony TA-AN1000

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

There are no two ways about it, this amp is seriously talented in all the key areas we look for when testing a home cinema amplifier. It shares some of the overarching characteristics of the DN1080 but features a more powerful and dynamic performance that continues to impress the more we listen to it. We’re using our reference PMC speaker system here, mostly in a 7.1 configuration, although we did also swap out the rear surround speakers in favour of two KEF Dolby Atmos toppers creating a 5.1.2 arrangement during our testing. 

Starting with the Dolby Atmos equipped 4K Blu-ray disc of Drive, we are introduced to the strengths of this home cinema amp during the opening scenes of the movie. The precision and clarity of the AN1000 immediately strike us, with The Driver’s voice sounding crisp and accurate to his position on the screen. There is also an enhanced sense of emotion and texture in his voice that helps to highlight Ryan Gosling’s performance, picking up on subtle tonal variation in his delivery.

In the ensuing car chase, we are treated to an impressive show of dynamics, with the car engine roaring as The Driver accelerates away from the police. That being said, it doesn’t sacrifice the more intricate details, such as the rumble of the tyres on the road or the hissing inflection of the police officers’ voices through the radio. As a helicopter soars overhead, we get a beautiful display of scale and immersion as the sound travels overhead and towards the rear surround speakers in an impressively smooth motion. 

Moving on to The Batman, here we find another example of dynamics at work, accompanied by an equally thrilling car chase. As the Batmobile’s snarling engine revs up, we find ourselves shaken by the excellent bass performance, thanks to its powerful yet controlled approach. Bass feels taut and snappy, adding to the already punchy dynamics with a gleefully guttural low-end response. What is particularly striking is the directionality of the sound, which shifts with the cars on screen as they make sharp turns and weave through traffic.

As the car chase comes to an end and The Penguin’s Maserati hits the asphalt after several theatrical barrel-rolls through the air, we are once again met with the stunning balance of both loud and quiet dynamics. The metallic crunch of the car crash punches us right in the gut thanks to the responsive dynamics, with the twinkling chimes of broken glass piercing through, culminating in an impressively cohesive show.

Home cinema amplifier: Sony TA-AN1000

(Image credit: Sony)

Next, we have the sci-fi epic Interstellar (also on 4K Blu-ray), which highlights the TA-AN1000’s wide and spacious soundfield. Here we explore the 360 Spatial Sound Mapping feature, Sony’s 3D audio processing that creates a bubble of sound around and above you without the need for additional speakers. It certainly creates a much more expansive soundfield with enhanced verticality, although as a result it does sacrifice some precision in the focus of voices and other sounds. During the scene in which Cooper attempts to dock with the out-of-control Endurance space station, we do hear the benefits of 360 Spatial Sound mapping as the drama is intensified. 

However, we can see the benefit of switching off the Spatial Sound Mapping during the quieter moments between Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper and Anne Hathaway’s Brand as the AN1000 sounds more articulate and clearer this way. The pair have a heated conversation in the space shuttle as they realise their waterlogged ship has left them stranded on the oceanic planet. This scene is bursting with volatile emotion, as McConaughey raises his voice, but it's Brand’s strained whispers as she realises that the pair will have lost decades of time on Earth that the Sony really manages to capitalise on, once again thanks in part to its excellent dynamics.

It's the moments when the impeccable Interstellar soundtrack builds that the Sony kicks into overdrive, delivering one of our favourite cinematic scores of all time with all of the tension and drama that it deserves. The track Coward, which plays as Matt Damon’s Mann betrays the protagonists, builds in a nail-biting and exhilarating fashion, as the swelling mass of instrumentation perpetuates our anxiety. This mixed with the snappy timing of the ticking drums in the background and gorgeously textured strings and organ sections all culminate in a goosebump-inducing performance. When the track shifts into high gear we are left nearly speechless as the Sony masterfully handles all of the competing aspects of the track at immense speed, with care and attention given to this frantic excerpt of music, alongside the movie's ongoing dialogue and effects.

Home cinema amplifier: Sony TA-AN1000

(Image credit: Sony)

This is where we can clearly hear the advantages over the Denon AVC-X3800H. While the Denon provides a smoother and richer presentation, it doesn’t quite pick up on the subtleties in the same way that the Sony does. The AN1000 feels more emotive and refuses to smooth over any aspects of the sound, whereas the Denon appears to round off higher frequency bite and doesn’t get close to delivering a similar amount of excitement and energy. That being said, the Denon is still a good choice for those who prefer a smoother, more easy-going listening experience.

Taking a quick trip to Queen’s Live Aid concert in Bohemian Rhapsody (here in a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos configuration), our thoughts are confirmed, as the roaring crowd feels spacious and enveloping, while Queen’s iconic discography bursts to life with snappy timing and energy that has us subconsciously tapping along. Freddie Mercury’s vocals are as warm, raspy and textured as we’d expect, but the Sony does a great job of adding a natural touch that makes us feel like we’re amongst the audience.

We round things off with a quick test of music on Tidal via the amp’s Bluetooth connection. Listening to Nights by Frank Ocean in Pure Direct stereo, we hear a lot of characteristics from our movie testing, including crystal clear vocals, tight and snappy timing, and an authentic-sounding approach to instrumentation. 


Home cinema amplifier: Sony TA-AN1000

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Sony has caught lightning in a bottle once again, with the TA-AN1000 sparking the same magic as STR-DN1080 but at a higher price point. Its crisp, precise and punchy sound strikes a nearly perfect balance, and it elevates every movie and song we throw at it. This amplifier ticks all our boxes, with a sleek design, good feature set and outstanding performance, making it so easy to recommend. If you’re looking at buying an amp at this level, then the Sony TA-AN1000 is a no-brainer.


  • Sound 5
  • Features 5
  • Build 5


Read our Denon AVC-X3800H review

And our Denon AVR-X2800H review

Here's our pick of the best AV receivers we've tested

How to set up your AV receiver and get the best sound

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test

  • Sixtyten
    From the spec on that there is absolutely no way that's a £1000 amp. The Marantz Cinema 70 is better specified for a recommended retail price of £850 and the NR1711 is cheaper still at £799. Honestly? This feels like an attempt at price establishing rather than a price anyone would ever actually pay. I wish I was surprised that What HiFi aren't calling this out.
  • npxavar
    Sixtyten said:
    From the spec on that there is absolutely no way that's a £1000 amp. The Marantz Cinema 70 is better specified for a recommended retail price of £850 and the NR1711 is cheaper still at £799. Honestly? This feels like an attempt at price establishing rather than a price anyone would ever actually pay. I wish I was surprised that What HiFi aren't calling this out.
    According to Sony's press release "The TA-AN100 will be available from June 2023 priced at approximately €1,000 / £900".
  • SL 75
    There seems to be a lot of internal reworking since the DN1080 according to Sony's web site. PSU, 3 DSPs condensed down to a single chip, revised amp stage with J-FET etc. Perhaps the reviewer would care to comment on whether the volume knob is now metal rather than the horrible (but perhaps necessarily) plastic one on the DN1080, to partially explain the higher cost.

    It would also be nice to know more about the music performance than just a quick stream over Bluetooth. Sony's upper midrange receivers have been able to play DSD natively, without conversion to LPCM, for some time. How well would it work as a music streamer, for example? Sony also makes a point that it trickles down a lot of ES level concepts and components, such as the specially formulated solder, chassis design, improved (multi-point) electrical grounding and so forth.

    As for why the UK only gets one amp and the US five, probably the market isn't here for it any more. A few years ago the mighty SS-AR1 speakers were offered in the UK, though very poorly marketed (the US and rest of world have detailed PDF brochures) as were the SS-NA2ES, which I managed to get before they also vanished. Likewise all the "nice" stuff, Hi-Res Audio components have disappeared from the UK site but are offered in the rest of Europe to some degree, and of course in full over in Japan. We just don't have the desire for these products in the UK, it would appear.
  • The End
    What Hi-Fi? said:
    We’ve waited ages for a new Sony home cinema amplifier and thankfully the TA-AN100 was worth it.

    Sony TA-AN1000 : Read more
    Well, as always the same problem. There are too few speaker outputs. What if I want back surround and six Dolby Atmos speakers, plus bi-amping and zone 2 and zone 3? I can't afford such an amp if there is one🤬Marantz 70S has the plugs for my use but too few watt. I have German Quadral+ speakers and they need effect. BTW, is it TA-AN100 or TA-AN1000?
  • NicoSavides
    Just got the TA-AN1000 and I'm very happy with the sound I get for movies.
    Only issue I see is that it is not (yet?) in the Logitech Harmony remote database.
    Would anyone have some insight on which alternative amp I could use with the same codes ?

    thanks :)
  • HappySounds
    I have been a happy owner of the STR-DN1080 for a good few years (since shortly after it came out) and there is only one thing that frustrated me about it - the remote is IR only when all the other devices I use have a wireless remote (Amazon FireTV, Sky box etc). I have all the AV gear in a cupboard and can control it OK with the wireless remotes, except the Sony amp.

    This is the one thing I would love to see improved for this new product, bringing it into the modern world, but no mention of whether or not it has been changed - has it?
  • ZRMN995
    Is it possible to connect it somehow with HT-A7000 soundbar, 2 SA-SW5 subwoofers and 2 rear SA-RS5s?
    Would there be any benefits of adding this to the system?
  • foudordi
    I've purchased this receiver after reading this what hifi review and after two months using it, I don't recommend this purchase.
    Sure, the sound quality seems very good, and I suppose it's the most important thing, but I doubt the competition sounds significantly different.
    On the - side :

    First, it does seem overpriced. There was a Yamaha with most features (but no built in Chromecast) for nearly half the price.

    But more importantly, the settings and user manual are just stupid unclear. From calibration to effects, Sony uses very unclear wording that makes it impossible to understand what a feature actually does. I suppose they tried to do something that was understandable by neophytes rather than educated users, the result I think is that no one understands anything. Even the few forums I found struggle to provide answers.

    The calibration process also seems far less complete and effective than the competition, from what I've read (although I haven't had a chance to test a Yamaha or Denon). Calibration seems to do very little to mods in the room. However the wrong distance estimate creates an echo do to a wrong delay programed between the center unit and the r/l ones. The again it's not mentioned clearly what the calibration does, and if manually setting the distances impacts delays only or other things (phase matching for instance? Or does it retain the data from auto calibration?).

    Finally, the unit is riddled with bugs. The last update does seem to have improved things, but I've encountered issues were there was no sound unless turn off / on again, a case of complete crash where I had to unplug the unit, the need to turn off / on to switch from Bluetooth to Chromecast, and so on.

    To sum it up, this is a premium price for a unit that clearly was released before it was properly finished, and that lacks some advanced calibration and clear settings. If I had to start again I'd probably try a Yamaha or Denon, provided they sound also very good.

    For once I really don't agree with what hifi's rating and it does not seem like the features were extensively tested.
  • Chris Brooks
    While the unit ticks all the right boxes it is let down by a two-year warranty.
    Good for its price perhaps.
    The cheapest ES class is the Sony ES STR-AZ1000ES which receives 5 years from Sony.
    The old axiom "you get what you pay for" appears to hold true.