An A/V receiver will generally form the “brains” of your sound system, and – given the introduction of Dolby Atmos and other object-based multichannel formats in recent years – many audiophiles are currently looking to upgrade their home theaters with the latest technology.
This is not an inexpensive task, especially if one is looking to drive more than eight (7.1 or 5.1.2) speakers. However, electronics giant Sony’s latest 7.2-channel AVR is affordable and more than powerful enough for most living rooms or even home cinema rooms.
The Sony STR-DH790 is a 7.2-channel receiver capable of decoding the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive formats from either optical disc or streaming sources. That said, it’s curious that the unit does not yet offer support for Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format.
One crucial feature of the STR-DH790, especially for those who want to use it as the central point of a complex audio-visual setup, is its excellent 4K HDR pass-through capability. You won’t lose any visual resolution by routing a 4K HDR signal from your Ultra-HD Blu-Ray player through this unit.
Audio Calibration is a critical component of any A/V Receiver, and Sony have included their DCAC calibration technology to assist users with the initial setup. DCAC isn’t perfect, but it gives the user a lot more control in a home audio setting. To have it included on a budget receiver is a big plus point.
Connectivity and Network Limitations
I was slightly disappointed to find that there’s no option to add media from a USB input, given that many listeners tend to play back high-resolution stereo or immersive files from sites like HDTracks or IAA off a USB drive. That being said, there is a USB socket to provide power to a device.
The lack of network connectivity is another frustrating omission, denying users access to network-attached storage devices like WD’s MyCloud Mirror. Fortunately, you can stream music from a mobile device via Bluetooth.
Conserving the relatively low price point, I suppose it isn’t too surprising that there is no option to connect via your network. The receiver supports the AAC codec, meaning that Apple users who want to use Bluetooth to stream from their device will be able to listen to lossless music. However, it doesn’t support the LDAC or aptX file formats.
Is the Sony STR-DH790 Worth It?
As long as the lack of networking doesn’t put you off, it’s definitely worth considering this A/V Receiver. It’s an affordable way to enjoy immersive audio in up to 7.2 channels, and the HDR passthrough makes the unit suitable for use in conjunction with even the very best Smart TVs and media players.
Ultimately, Sony has created a very respectable product for the affordable end of the receiver market. Listeners no longer need to spend top dollar in order to experience modern technology like Dolby Atmos within the comfort of their own homes.