Sony STR-DA3400ES

Sony made a huge announcement mid-2008 about a new series of home theater receivers that are meant to cater 7.1-channel home theater systems and provide advanced features maximizing every component. The Sony STR-DA3400ES is among the models and has an image of being one of the mid-range performers that rivals against other receivers priced at $1,000. The STR-DA3400ES shares many of its features with the DG1200 and adds a few goodies as well.

Sony STR-DA3400ES Receiver

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Design

The design of the Sony STR-DA3400ES is very similar to the DG1200 having the same controls layout and same black finish. On the center of the receiver is an attractive rounded info display with a Multi Channel Decoding indicator on top. Directly below that panel is six small buttons that do common A/V functions.

There are two knobs on the left that adjust the tone and tuning. Each knob is accompanied with its respective mode activator on top. Further left of those two knobs are the power and speaker buttons. The opposite end features another knob functioning as the input selector with two zone controls. The master volume, as usual, is found at the far right to balance the player. One noticeable difference in the receiver when compared to the DG1200 is that the most of the jacks are covered with a pushable panel revealing the “Video 2 jacks“, DPT, and mic jack for auto calibration. The larger phones jack remains exposed on the bottom left of the player.

If the design of the player is confusing, an included learning remote can be used instead that is compact and can be used to easily operate the receiver’s basic features.

Actual user review:
“It’s nice to be able to switch up to 4 HDMI components and have only one HDMI cable going to your TV carrying the audio and video signals. The auto calibration is pretty accurate and very simple to perform. Auto calibration option saves the day. I now hear the rear speakers and all other speakers at a comfortable listening level that is much more balanced instead of being drowned out by the center speaker or sub woofer. The auto cal sets speaker size, distance, and levels within 1 minute. The GUI interface which shows on-screen menus on your TV screen of all settings and the capablilities is really worth it. You get 2 remotes. The small one is nice for the wife that has just the basic buttons on it. The bigger one is nice but long. Nice sound produced from this model compared to my old Sony 985 model. So much progress has been made with these receivers. Happy customer.” – K.Vogt

 

Performance

There are many A/V receivers that have 4 HDMI inputs to allow all kinds of modern devices including the latest gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, and other HDMI-enabled devices to be connected for amplification, but the Sony STR-DA3400ES expands on that not only by offering 3 HD components inputs, but also by equipping each HDMI input with “Active Intelligence“. If an HDTV like the Sony BRAVIA is connected to STR-DA3400ES’s only HDMI output, all of the other devices connected to each of the HDMI inputs will instantly be recognized will receive the best video and audio signals from each.

A 100-watt power amplifier is also included balancing its power and affordability. The audio and video features are backed up heavily with some breakthrough technologies that helped the STR-DA3400ES earn its “Elevated Standard” label.

Features

The Sony STR-DA3400ES is capable of decoding all of the latest audio formats including DD+, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio. These formats are all related to Blu-ray technology, but for high quality audio reproduction, Linear PCM is supported as an uncompress output able to produce great sounding audio utilizing up to eight channels.

The video quality is also decent for Blu-ray title enjoyment since it integrates both the x.v.Color and Deep Color technologies that work together with the technologies incorporated in the HDTV that is plugged in. Other video sources can be enjoyed as well thanks to the special Faroudja DCDi Cinema 1080p Upscaling Technology which is responsible for upscaling any video sources to the top 1080p resolution and making the colors as accurate as possible. Multi-room audio and standard definition video allows content to be enjoyed in up to 2 rooms.

In addition to the convenient learning remote, the Xross Media Bar interface makes the Sony STR-DG1200 very easy to play around with. Those that are attached to PS3s and PSPs will immediately be familiar with the interface while newbies shouldn’t find it very difficult to explore the different features regardless. It is even easier to set up with a Sony BRAVIA HDTV because it has the BRAVIA Sync feature which makes the home theater easier to operate with a single remote through HDMI connectivity. The Digital Media Port can also be utilized with optional accessories to grant the remote even more control using the HDMI inputs.

Setting up the STR-DG1200 is as easy as plugging in the calibration microphone on the front and letting the receiver quickly calibrate each speaker in minutes. Plug in the antenna accessory to take advantage of the Sirius Satellite XM features. There are also custom control connections available for use including 12V Triggers, IR Repeaters, and RS-232C.

Bottom Line

The multi-room feature along with the 100W amplifier and supplied learning remote makes this a more suitable choice than any of the non-ES models being offered right now and remains as an excellent budget ES choice.

Average User Rating:

  • “When my previous Sony AVR box developed a burn out on several speaker outputs (probably because I shorted them out when trying to screw speaker wires into the terminal pads), I shopped for a new one. The box is attractive, sounds terrific, and has a beautifully laid out back panel with all the connectors I need, and while the volume control is ergonomically messed up, the actual precision of the volume attainable is fantastic. It might have been nice if it had some sort of per-source prescaler you could set though.” – D.J.Samuel (CA,USA)
  • “Excellent Receiver, if you’re thinking on which receiver to buy Onkyo or Sony. Go with this one. I mean everything is better than the Onkyo. The Onkyo receiver is nothing compare to this one. A friend of mine has the Onkyo 606, and man I telling you my Sony is a lot much better than the Onkyo. Each bit of it. I love it. I’m happy with my receiver.” – F.J.Sanchez (USA)

 

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