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Sony STR-DH820: Dry Run

March 15, 2012

My STR-DH820 receiver arrived yesterday.  Since I sold my old Sony  receiver a couple of yeas ago, I had no way of testing the wiring for my in-wall speakers, so I was pretty anxious to get the 820 hooked up to test things out.

The first thing I noticed about the 820 is that the speaker hookups are not very easy to access.  My old receiver had hookups where you pushed a button, inserted the wire, and released the button — a spring basically held the speaker wire in place.  On the 820, you have to unscrew a rather large cylinder and insert the wire behind the cylinder.  This works fine for the top row, but the bottom row was pretty difficult to access.  As I mentioned previously, I decided to cancel my pre-order for the STR-DH830 — in my opinion the 820 was a better receiver (more power, more inputs, two output zones) but it does look like the 830 also has the older, easier speaker connections.  I’d still go with the 820 — speaker hookup is essentially a “once and done” kind of thing, but I will say the speaker hookups on the 820 suck.

The instructions for the STR-DH820 advise you to configure your speaker configuration (a software setting on the receiver).  I would have been happy to do this, but the instructions in the manual assume you have a TV connected to the receiver — and since I was just doing a dry-run at this point, I didn’t have my TV in place.  Kind of crumby in my opinion that you need a TV to complete the setup, but I suppose in a real-world setup I would have it in place.  So I skipped this part.

I was really just looking to confirm that my in-wall speakers were working, so I plugged my iPhone into the 820’s USB port using a standard iPhone cable.  My iPhone beeped, indicating that it was charging — great — and I selected USB as the input using the input dial. Interestingly, the input selection is done with a rotary dial — I thought this was a nice way of selecting the inputs, and certainly better than repeatedly pressing an “input” button — though I think my older receiver had dedicated buttons for each input.  I selected a random song on my iPhone (Soul Coughing) and hit Play.  The volume was pretty low, so I cranked it up a bit.  The volume control was a little un-sensitive to my taste — meaning I had to turn it more than I expected to get the receiver to register a change on the screen — though I couldn’t tell if it was actually setting the volume at sub-intervals (i.e., are there incremental settings between 9 and 10).  I settled on 11 (Spinal Tap) and unplugged the RCA connections that go from my receiver to my subwoofer, and plugged them in one-at-a-time to make sure each speaker was working.  Everything checked out okay, so I disconnected everything and put it back in the box until my cabinetry is installed (hopefully next week).

I’ll post more once I do the actual install — but if you’re looking for pictures or have specific questions, drop me a comment!

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From → Audio/Visual

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