Sony STR-DH800 review

If you’re taking your first step on the AV ladder then the Sony STR-DH800 should definitely be on your hit-list Tested at £300.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

If you’re taking the first step on the AV ladder the Sony should definitely be somewhere on your hit-list


  • +

    Decent design

  • +

    intuitive remote

  • +

    uncomplicated auto set-up

  • +

    great insight and weight for the money


  • -

    It's difficult to grumble at this price

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.

Its price-tag may befit a budget product, but the STR-DH800 isn't the amp that Sony forgot.

In fact, this model is fine-tuned by the same engineers who tweaked Sony's £1500 STR-DA6400ES, as well as the 'DH800's five-star predecessor, the STR-DG820.

The 'DH800 keeps it simple. At this price, it's no surprise to find that luxuries such as video upconversion or upscaling don't feature, but standard prerequisites are in place, including four HDMI inputs and an accurate auto-calibration system.

More importantly, this receiver will decode all the current HD audio formats.

Straight out the box, the Sony has a rather cold, aggressive sonic style. But, after a day or two operating at full steam, it eases up.

Solid, detailed sound
The edge is taken off and is replaced with a solid, detailed sound. If you're after extra refinement and muscularity, you'll need to spend more, but the Sony demonstrates impressive force for the cash.

During Knowing, as the airliner crashes, the Sony delivers power and drama, along with a cohesive sound stage.

Shop around online and you'll find some retailers are already shipping the STR-DH800 for £20-£30 less than the price quoted here. For AV enthusiasts on a tight budget, this is a steal.

See all our Sony AV receiver reviews

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