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High-Resolution is the Focus of Sony’s New Audio Lineup

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Sony took to the wires this week to announce its latest home audio offerings, and unsurprisingly the emphasis is almost entirely on high-resolution audio. In addition to two new high-end receivers, a complete Blu-ray home theater system, and new speakers designed to deliver the most from today’s high-res digital audio sources (including the company’s own audiophile music players).

Receivers Galore
At the top of the list of new products are a pair of high-performance, mid-priced AV receivers boasting built in WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Near Field Communication capabilities, in addition to their high-res audio playback support. The STR-DN1050 and STR-DN850 ($599 and $499, respectively) also feature direct access to Music Unlimited, Pandora, Spotify, and TuneIn Radio.

Both new high-end, 7.2-channel receivers feature high-capacity transformers and large capacitors for enhanced audio quality, and offer 4K up-scaling and passthrough. And though the press release doesn’t mention it, I just confirmed with Sony that the new models do feature HDMI 2.0 connectivity, so they’ll be able to support high-frame-rate 4K just fine.

The main points of distinction between the two receivers are the fact that the DN850 decodes high-res audio up to 192kHz/24-bit, with support for FLAC and WAV file formats, while the DN1050 goes one step further with the addition of Direct Stream Digital (DSD) decoding.

The ND1050 also delivers 165 watts of power to each of its channels, compared to the DN850’s 150 watts per channel. It also offers six HDMI inputs (to the DN850’s five), three MHL-capable HDMI ins (to the DN850’s one), and a total of three HDMI outputs.

Sony STR-DN1050 AV Receiver

The STR-DN1050 also features a number of enhancements aimed at custom installation and multiroom audio and video, including powered zone-two outputs, a dedicated zone-two HDMI out, IR repeaters for multiroom control, and independent second zone access to inputs, including streamed music. Both new models will ship in May.

Also coming in May is a pair of more budget-oriented AV receivers, the STR-DH750 and STR-DH550 ($349 and $279, respectively). The former is a 7.2-channel model with 145 watts per channel of power, four HDMI inputs, iPod/iPhone playback, Bluetooth and NFC capabilities, as well as 4K and 3D passthrough. The latter is a 5.2-channel model (nice to see support for dual subwoofers at this price point, by the way), which delivers 145 watts of power into each of its channels.

Stand Up Speakers
Sony is also releasing a new CS (Core Series) speaker lineup, including the floor standing SS-CS3 ($239 each), SS-CS5 bookshelf speaker ($219 per pair), SS-CS8 center speaker ($169), and SA-CS9 subwoofer ($239). The new lineup has been designed with high-resolution music and movie soundtracks in mind, with special emphasis on high-frequency reproduction and exceptional vocal clarity.

Sony SS-CS3 Speakers

All of the new speakers rely on foamed mica-reinforced woofers and feature carefully crafted crossovers for excellent time alignment across their entire frequency range (up to 50kHz for the SS-CS3).

The Complete Package
If you’re looking for one complete home theater system that does it all, Sony also introduced its new BDV-N7200W Hi-Res Blu-ray Home Theater system ($699), which includes wireless surround speakers and a down-firing subwoofer. The system boasts a total of 1200 watts of power, supports 4K and 3D passthrough, and features built-in streaming of Netflix, Hulu Plus, Music Unlimited, Pandora, Spotify, and other similar streaming services. Like the company’s new top-of-the-line receiver, the BDV-N7200W also boasts Bluetooth and NFC capabilities, as well as support for high-resolution audio (even DSD) via your home network, HDMI, or its USB input. Look for it to ship in May, as well.

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