Sony STR-DA5400ES

Sony’s launch of the “Elevated Standard” home theater receivers made a huge impact in the market because of its good set of features that high-end home theater configurations can finally take advantage of. With HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and other digital media devices evolving even further, a better home theater receiver had to be made to make full use of all the components. One of the end results was the Sony STR-5400ES and it is looking to make a much bigger impact across multiple rooms.

Sony STR-DA5400ES Receiver

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Design

The Sony STR-5400ES looks nearly the same to the STR-DA4400ES previously introduced mid-2008. It is considerably bigger than the cheaper ES models with a repositioned info panel on the top bearing the same rounded look. Display-related controls and some modes can be found on the buttons laid horizontally below on the slanted portion of the player. The bottom center of the player is clean with a blue indicator with the Multi Channel Decoding label edged on top.

The two buttons on the far right have different functions that are related to the HDMI IN and HDMI OUT. The power button stays on the left side and underneath are a pair of knobs that adjust the tone and level each with a button that serves as the mode for each knob. The speakers switch can be found next to the knobs on the left side and the auto cal mic just above. The opposite end features the input selection knob, the corresponding input mode, and muting button with the bigger master volume knob found next to it. Finally the jacks are found in their usual spots on the bottom left with the video 2 set receiving panel protection.

Performance

The Sony STR-5400ES has the power to entertain in audio and video boasting a 7x130W output and a generous array of six HDMI inputs all with Active Intelligence to receive the best signals possible. The DA4400ES had these ports too, but only the STR-5400ES has two HDMI outputs allowing both an HDTV and home cinema projector to be plugged in so that they can be switched at will. The two Digital Media Ports add to the connectivity options greatly by allowing all kinds of modules to be plugged in to receive benefits ranging from portable media players to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled devices.

Features

The Sony STR-5400ES is the perfect receiver for Blu-ray disc formats and a variety of other HD sources because of its support for linear PCM outputs which is the ideal uncompressed format for excellent sound quality utilizing up to eight channels. It also decodes all of the other latest audio formats including DD+, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS HD Master Audio formats. SCD-XA5400ES player owners or any other devices that support Super Audio CD music can work very well with the STR-5400ES as it supports the DSD format. The DLL (Digital Legato Linear) is another welcome addition that upscales any compressed audio signals to 192 kHz.

Video formats are also well supported including Deep Color and x.v.Color support to take advantage of the latest HDTV models as well as 1080/24p and 60p video signal support. The upscaling features are superior since it uses the Faroudja DCDi Cinema 1080p chipset for upscaling and optimizing the analog signals so they look great on 1080p displays.

Second-room high definition audio and video distribution is one of the exclusive features to this model and some higher-end models. It uses CAT5e wiring to deliver the HD video, drive the GUI, and makes use of a second Faroudja DCDi cinema chip to handle the upscaling of the second room. The supplied second-room remote wraps up the multi-room experience.

The Xross Media Bar that made the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable popular is applied to the receiver and received some improvements allowing options to be changed with still watching a program or movie title using the Picture in Picture option. This interface is used to access quick setup features like the Digital Cinema Auto Calibration feature for setting up each speaker to any environment through the calibration mic that it comes with. Custom installations are made possible through the RS232C and infrared connections along with three 12V trigger sockets.

Bottom Line

The two HDMI outputs and multi-room possibilities is what makes the Sony STR-5400ES very special. In addition, several audio and video improvements make this one of the best players to have in sophisticated 7.1 channel setups.

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