Sony STR-DH540/STR-DH840

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by StartWars, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. StartWars

    StartWars
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    I recently got a Sony W8 TV and am now looking into upgrading my surround sound system since the sound is always out of sync with my optical connection and it's looking like the only way to solve it is to hook it up via HDMI which my older system does not support. I currently have a Sony STR-K790 AV receiver speaker bundle and have been happy with the sound quality and bass, so would ideally like another Sony av receiver with at least an equivalent spec.

    I've been looking at either the Sony STR-DH540 and STR-DH840. The DH540 appears to have a slightly lower power output to my current receiver (750w compared to 800) but the DH840 has quite a steep price increase for the extra power. It also has 7.2 surround sound which I don't need, but does have wi-fi which is appealing. It will be in a small living room. Can anyone vouch on these systems and whether or not the DS840 would deliver superior sound quality to justify the extra cost?

    Also my current Sony speakers came in a bundle with the K790 at the time (the bundle seen here: Sony STR-K790 review - Engadget whereas this does not. Should the speakers that came with it still suffice or would they be worth upgrading as well?
     
  2. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    Both these amps are much more powerful than the one you are replacing, as your current one has a passive sub, so the power for this is supplied from the AV receiver. The figures of 133W per channel for the old amp were single channel driven, with 10% distortion, which in the real world would never happen. I would estimate the true power per channel is closer to 45W per channel, with all channels driven.

    The passive sub gives you an issue in that your current sub will not work with any new AV receiver, as they all now use active (Powered) subs. All is not lost however, as you could retain your current amp simply to drive your current sub until you also upgrade it to active.

    Your current speakers will work fine and will probably sound much better with the new amp, but a new set of speakers will blow them away. Think of it as the first step on your upgrade path...
     
  3. StartWars

    StartWars
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    Thanks for the swift informative reply. Do you know of any good 5.1 speakers that would match since neither of these amps come with speakers bundled? Had a look at some Sony's but can only find HIAB speakers bundled with a blu-ray player.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  4. StartWars

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  5. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    Pretty much anything on this page! Speaker Packages | Surround Sound System | Richer Sounds

    Sony are not noted speaker makers, so have a look at the Tannoy and Boston packages. If you
    have a little more money to spend, then Monitor Audio and the Cambridge Audio packages are well regarded.
     
  6. StartWars

    StartWars
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    Thanks for the suggestions. Now it's a question of whether to buy a Sony av receiver and speakers from a different manufacturer or a receiver and speaker bundle by the same manufacturer, although I've already spent £500 on the tv so don't want anything too extortionate but still a step up from my current system.
     
  7. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Odd that your AVR has no digital audio adjustment!

    You could add a JS Technology delay box between the TV Optical Out and AVR Optical In.

    Digital Audio Delay (Lip Sync) - J.S. Technology Ltd

    The delay is with the video processing running on the TV - try disabling any video 'enhancements' the TV is running, most/all of them are usually rubbish anyway. The less processing in the TV the less lip sync you will experience.

    Joe

    PS Should have asked first is this delay when viewing the TV's internal tuner?
     
  8. StartWars

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    It does have a delay option, but I later found out it only applies to stereo sound which would explain why it's grayed out. Yeah, I did try disabling the majority of extra video processing but it doesn't seem to have had much effect. It's a 3D tv too so would the higher refresh rate also be a factor? It happens whenever I watch a blu-ray film, I use the TV's speakers when watching TV through the tuner.

    If I were to upgrade, I'm thinking maybe the Sony DH540 with one of the Tannoys?
     
  9. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    That would certainly be an upgrade over your current system and is quite a common combination. If you have a good home cinema shop nearby, pop in for a chat.

    There are plenty of good receivers in the price point
     
  10. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    If the TV lacks a Stereo Out you could set it to Stereo via its Optical Out and a £30/£20 optical to 2RCA converter would sort out the connection to the Amp.

    Joe
     
  11. StartWars

    StartWars
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    Just been on the phone to richersounds and they recommended the Pioneer VSX323 over the Sony 540. Can anyone vouch on the Pioneer and how it compares to this? They also recommended the Tannoy TFX speakers to go with it.
     
  12. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    TBH, I doubt you would be able to tell much difference sonically, as they are very similar. The Pioneer might be a bit more musical, but we are talking small differences here. The Sony's can be a bit bass light, if pushed hard, but with the Tannoys, this is not a big issue, as they are a sub / sat system anyway.

    The Sony has an extra optical input and a 2nd sub output, plus binding posts for all speaker connections, but I doubt any of these will be an issue for you.

    It might well come down to which one you prefer to look at and use! I kind of like the uncluttered lines of the Sony, I think it makes it look a but more contemporary, but that's just my taste :)
     
  13. StartWars

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    Interesting. Do you think the Sony 540 is much of a downgrade compared to the 840 in terms of sound quality? When I initially asked about Sony receivers they recommended the 840 above the 540 but it has lots of extra features I wouldn't necessarily use like 7.2 channels so I think it would be harder to justify the extra cost. Also baring in mind it's for a small room.
     
  14. noiseboy72

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    Not a clue! I have an older DH-820, which I am quite happy with, but have note seen or heard any of the newer products.

    I use the extra channels on mine to bi-amp my front speakers, so could justify the cost, but I can't see you needing to do this. The only advantage would be that if you have an older console - like a Wii, you can use the upscaled component connection for better quality. Neither the 540 or Pioneer have this feature

    I suppose, go for the best you can afford
     
  15. StartWars

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    Thanks for the advice, I'm only really bothered about the sound quality with the receiver so I'll probably go with either the Sony 540 or Pioneer 323 and Tannoy TX speakers. I shall hopefully compare them both at richersounds tomorrow and see which I prefer.

    I found the Tannoys for £219 on another site so I can do a price match but can't find the Sony or Pioneer cheaper anywhere else.
     
  16. StartWars

    StartWars
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    I went for the Pioneer and Tannoy speakers in the end. But I'm having trouble setting it up with my Sony TV.

    I've got the receiver HDMI out connected to the tv's HDMI 1 and then the consoles connected to the HDMI inputs on the receiver. Changed the speaker settings on the TV to audio system, but no sound.

    I'm assuming this is because I haven't done the auto calibration with the receiver yet. However, to view the menu on the receiver you can apparently only use a composite connection. I've connected the three coloured av connections into the back of the receiver and then into the scart of the TV but it is still not showing the receiver's setup menu when I switch to AV on the TV. What am I doing wrong?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  17. StartWars

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    Got everything working. However, the sound is still out of sync even though it's on a completely different receiver and speakers and is now connected through HDMI! I was under the impression that connecting everything directly through HDMI would solve this problem. Also, my Freeview HD on the TV's tuner is no longer working after hooking up the receiver which I can't understand.

    Also, how can I find out the correct crossover frequency for the Tannoy TFX? Should they be set as 'large' or 'small' in the receiver menu?


    My PS4 doesn't seem to be taking to the receiver. Whereas my PS3 always recognises it, the picture will disappear when I try to watch a blu ray on the PS4 for example which is frustrating.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  18. Joe Fernand

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    HDMI can keep the video and audio in Sync if you use one device (TV) to play out the sound and video. Where you use the TV for video and an AVR for audio you will require an AVR with a user adjustable digital audio delay otherwise audio will be processed ahead of video in the Display.

    With your PS4 selected as the Source on the AVR go through the PS4 'Display' Settings - you may need to disable 24p playback if the AVR or TV dissent support 24p.

    Joe
     

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