Pros Bluetooth is easy to use
WiFi is easy to set up
Performance is excellent
DLNA streaming support
Cons It is not inexpensive
Summary I had an older Panasonic home theater. It was decent quality, but several years old and had a passive subwoofer. I decided it was time to replace it, and did so with Sony's STR-DN840 receiver. I was drawn to the power. For me, along with the obvious sound reproduction, clarity, surround-effect, I like the option to turn up the volume when watching something where we want to immerse ourselves in the audio experience, such as an action movie. The wattage output of this receiver gives me that ability.Edit:
The Panasonic was a self-contained kit, in that it included speakers. While I could have reused them with the Sony, I opted to buy new speakers. However, for the purpose of comparing the Sony to something with which I was familiar, I did test the STR-DN840 with the Panasonic speakers.
So, first note. If you are buying this Sony product, it is only the receiver, and you, of course, need speakers. Beyond that, besides the receiver itself, the box includes a remote control, two AA batteries for the remote, two antennas (an FM wire and an AM loop), a small microphone, and a quick set up guide.
This is a 7.2 channel receiver. For the layperson, 7.2 has seven surround channels, whereas 5.1 has 5 channels. Basically your surround effect is on four channels as opposed to two. This is actually 7.1. The difference between 7.1 and 7.2 is that 7.2 is capable of 2 subwoofer channels.
You can use various speaker set ups, 5.1, 7.1, 7.2, etc. My family room is not large, about 20' by 13' so I am more than satisfied with 5.1 or 7.1. Were it larger (maybe another 100 square feet or so) I might opt for adding another subwoofer and 7.2.
OK, so as for the receiver. It is not inexpensive, but it is really nice. It is a sleek black with minimal controls on the front. These include the Power button, several other very low profile buttons, three jacks (mic, headphones and USB) and two large dials, which are the Input Selector and the Master Volume. Meanwhile the rear panel is loaded with connectivity options. For starters, there are 6 HDMI input ports. Then there are two optical inputs, 4 sets of A/V ports, the speaker ports, plus an Ethernet jack and a wifi antenna. There are also a set of video jacks. Then, of course, you have Bluetooth AND wifi.
The Bluetooth is easy to use. Pairing is your typical Bluetooth process as with any other device. Connectivity is stable and the sound is great. I happen to have a Bose SoundDock in the same room that I use for this purpose, but if I didn't, this would be a nice solution to stream music. If you are using a device with iTunes and AirPlay, you can simply click the prompts on your iPhone etc. and stream music content very easily.
WiFi is easy to set up. This is purely a means of networking the Sony so you can play music from your "server" or other network source. There is no other special wireless capability, such as adding wireless speakers. The WiFi set up is easy. Naturally each configuration and performance will vary based on your personal wireless network, router, floor plan of your home, etc. I have the Sony receiver about 50 linear feet away from the router, and up a half set of stairs. and connectivity is fine. There are various security configurations and other network options you can select, depending on your home network. You also can hard wire the receiver to your network, as there is an Ethernet port. This is something to consider if you experience connectivity issues, signal interruptions, etc.
I am usually not a big fan of Sony remote controls. This one is nice though, and does have a couple of useful features like the iPhone Ctrl button, to let you enter iPhone/iPod control mode. It also has a "party" button, should you have any Party Streaming compliant devices in your home. Alas, I do not. The remote will operate other Sony equipment as well, but is not a cross-brand universal remote.
I did find the receiver fairly intuitive to use, despite all its features. While I am typically a Panny guy, sometimes Panasonic equipment requires a close read and re-reading of the manual to accomplish what you want to do. Here I have to give the nod to Sony. Things tend to be very easy to find via the remote control and on screen menus.
I really liked the auto-calibration feature. The receiver includes a microphone which you connect to a jack on the front panel. You can, of course, manually adjust speakers to your liking, but you can also use this microphone and the receiver to run an auto-calibration routine. Nice option!
Performance is excellent, and the sound is really beautiful. Keep in mind your choice of speakers will influence this, including how you locate them for home theater. Even using 5.1, I tend to split out my front speakers rather than keep them close to my TV. Although this shirks the conventional wisdom of some, what can I say.....in a room about 20' wide and the TV and center speaker at a midpoint of those 20', I find I like the surround effect better with my front speakers in the corners as opposed to closer to the TV. Now, when it comes to 7.1 sound, this receiver is really nice, and if you watch a lot of action movies, well the vertical sound reproduction is awesome, so go 7.1! Power is no issue. This receiver gets you 150 watts per channel. More than enough to vibrate some stuff in your room when a T Rex rumbles by on screen!
If you are in the market for a 7.1 or 7.2 receiver, this is a nice choice. Just keep in mind it is not a kit, so you need to choose speakers. I intentionally did not add Sony speakers as I have a really bad experience with them not once but twice.
There are lots of decent home theater choices out there for less, including speakers. These will satisfy most average consumers. But if you want something a little nicer and with more power - this is a good starting point.
The warranty on the product is one year. This is important to me as I have had a couple of product issues with Sony. Again, it was what steered me to Panasonic. Even under warranty, I have run into repair issues with Sony. I am hoping this product will be different, but will certainly update the review if there are issues.
PS: Recommend to check it's best price at: avreceiverspick.blogspot.com/p/sony-str-dn840.html
Thank for reading, and I hope it helpful.
Updated on Dec 9, 2013
I recommend to check for its best price at: Receivertoo.wordpress.com/sony-str-dn840/
Pros Cheap price and looked nice. If it had worked as promoted it would have been great.
Cons Doesn't work, had video but no sound when used for anything other than radio. Remote really cheap.
Summary Physically unplug and re-plug it in to get it to work each time. Everything is new. Put in all new New Direct TV New Samsung 3D F8500 TV New Sony Blu-Ray which is awful also. Nope, still no work.
Audio guy, Direct TV guy could not figure it out. Sony no help. Hired a pro Audio. 1min said "I've replaced several of these...pure junk" HDMI ports also very loose. Store Took it back and ordered Denon unit. Ran sound only was just so-so No high highs no low lows all setting worked but presets were blah. Sort of like going to a store and trying like a cheap no name radio. Wifi set up was cool but it was the only unit that could not maintain a signal. Sorry 1 gave Sony a look but failed.
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