"It ain't all peaches and cream with this receiver."1.0 starson by KHRobertson
Pros: Good sound when it worked.
Cons: Everything else.
Summary: I started out looking for an upgrade to my Kenwood HTiB receiver I purchased in the late 90s. The Kenwood system has been an incredible value, but it doesn't have HDMI inputs with passthrough so I've had to hook up most components into my HDTV and then output the audio from the TV to the receiver. Not a big deal, but lots of extra wires, etc. I was looking for a receiver in the $300-500 range with around 100 Watts per channel or possibly more. I was originally leaning toward the Onkyo line of AVRs, but saw so much negative feedback about firmware issues and HDMI switching problems that I was scared away from a purchase.
The Sony STRDN1030 got a great review from a major review site as well as on Amazon, had all of these extra networking features and built-in wifi so I decided that it was the "safer" pick even though it cost a little more than the comparably powered Onkyos did. I MADE THE WRONG CHOICE.
PROBLEM #1: After hours of reading the manual, fiddling with my network settings and the receiver settings I still couldn't get the networking features to operate even when I connected a wired network connection, much less the "fantastic built-in wifi". Regardless, I wasn't overly concerned about this and was planning on calling Sony tech support to see what I might be doing wrong if anything. I never had the chance to do this however (see problem #3).
PROBLEM #2: the HDMI input and switching times are excruciatingly long. At least 10-15 seconds every time I turned the TV on, switched input, etc. Not a deal killer, as I had already heard that this was the case from reading reviews, but fairly annoying at times. Rest assured the repeated complaints about this issue are absolutely true.
PROBLEM #3: After about 3 weeks of operation, the HDMI video output stopped working. REALLY...and I was worried about the Onkyos? I can hear the audio but no video. If I directly connect the HDMI to my TV there's no problem (other than the fact that my TV speakers are less than stellar), so I know it's a receiver issue.
So I'm returning the receiver while its still (barely) within the 30 day return policy.
OTHER POTENTIAL ISSUES: I had this receiver set up in a location with complete free flow of air - shelf open on all sides with no other components or equipment within 6-12" in any direction - and it gets hot to the touch even while in standby mode. Not just warm, HOT. Maybe this unit is defective and that's part of the problem, but I would be very careful about purchasing this unit to use in a mostly enclosed cabinet or crowded component stand. Also, I was surprised that this receiver at $500 retail is not rated to power speakers under 8 ohms. That's probably not an issue if you're using low end speakers, but many medium and high end speakers are rated at 4 or 6 ohms. That doesn't necessarily mean you CAN'T run 4 or 6 ohm speakers, but given that this unit already runs pretty hot (I was using 8 ohm speakers), I thought I'd mention it as something to consider.
So I'd give it 3 stars when it worked (good sound overall but highly touted network functions didn't work), reduced to 1 star because it bit the dust in less than 30 days of only moderate use at very reasonable volumes.