- Written by Chris Heinonen
- Published on 04 November 2013
The Sony STR-DN1040 Receiver In Use
Like a Harmony remote, the Sony STR-DN1040 is activity based. Once your inputs are programmed correctly, you choose Watch or Listen from the main menu. Inputs that you have assigned to those pages will be available. If you have devices that you use for both, like an Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player, you can assign it to both pages. This setup makes the process of remembering inputs less confusing, and provides a nice, easy experience for people using the Sony.
AirPlay and Bluetooth work as advertised. I have no issues streaming my favorite playlists from Spotify to the Sony from any of my devices. I traditionally use Ethernet to ensure a better quality signal, but tested the Wi-Fi on the Sony as well. Or I attempted to, but when inputting my password, could not find a way to enter any of the symbols that I use for it. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to access symbols, but none of the pages had what I needed. Sony doesn't have this problem internally and they are investigating it now.
Playback of my music library over Ethernet from my NAS or my PC is easy. All of audio tracks, from mp3 to lossless CD rips to 24/96 and beyond play back without issue. Cover art and track details are available and the on-screen interface is quick and easy to navigate. The available Audio Remote app for iOS makes it easy to do this without needing to power on a display.
The opening guitar notes from the Wish You Were Here SACD are clear and precise but the soundstage is slightly constrained. Instruments are located between the speakers but do not extend beyond their boundaries. The depth is a bit shallower; the music playing back on a stage in front of me that is smaller than usual. Once the music kicks in the Sony has no issues using the surround channels to pull me in. I expected a larger step down from my reference system to the Sony, but it easily keeps me involved in the music.
Movies fare better on the Sony than music. The effects from Tron: Legacy are in full effect, and the bass rattles the room as always. The auto-room setup may have detected the crossover levels for speakers incorrectly, but it set the volume levels right. Panning effects are smooth between the speakers as well as the subwoofer. The STR-DN1040 surround experience is immersive and transparent. Even challenging sequences like the Fight Club mid-air collision are clear and detailed as I approach reference volume levels.
The 4K scaling is reasonably artifact and halo free. Using the 1080p Scaling pattern off Spears & Munsil, the inner spirals show a bit of artifacting but are free of halos. Performance is close to that of the internal scaler of the display I tested with but behind that of the Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player. Passing the upscaled 4K signal from the Oppo BDP-105 was flawless.
The Sony also does well handling the HDMI video bitstream. Full luma and chroma resolution are maintained, and no cropping or other anomalies occur. The Sony STR-DN1040 handles video much better than most receivers out there by passing along the signal and not distorting it in any way.