Sony STR-DG1200

Sony offers an excellent selection of budget and mid-range home theater receivers along with their best performing A/V receivers in the family of the ES Series. Some people may not be willing to spend for ultra high-quality home theater systems that are specifically geared towards larger configurations, but some of the non-ES products may lack some demands too. Fortunately the Sony STR-DG1200 effectively bridges the gap between the two series by leading the pack of affordable players in features while keeping the price tag below $1,000. Looking at the receiver alone indicates that the DG1200 weighs up well when compared to the cheapest ES devices.

Sony STR-DG1200 Receiver

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Design

The Sony STR-DG1200 looks a bit different compared to the other non-ES models in terms of layout and button sizes. Like all of the other ES devices, the STR-DG1200 has three small knobs and a larger knob with the two knobs on the right representing the tone and tuning controls. Since the tuning control became a knob in the DG1200, the input control was relocated to the right of the info display.

Above each knob is a small button that designates its related mode although the input selector has an additional button above for the display. The information panel looks better in the DG1200 because it is rounded and makes better use of the space where the Multi Channel Decoding indicator is shown along with the standard panel layout. Under this display is 6 other small buttons representing the other functions.

The power button can be found on the far left and has an On/Standby indicator just above it and the speakers button found directly underneath while the master volume knob is found in its usual location on the right side. All of the jacks can be found on the lower left starting with the phones jack followed by the three Video 2″ inputs, DPT, and auto calibration microphone jack.

Performance

The Sony STR-DG1200’s performance is in line with the stylish STR-DN1000 since offers the same support of up to 7 HD input connections with four of them being HDMI and the other three for component. This is enough for all of the essentials of a home theater system to be hooked up including the Blu-ray player, gaming console, big screen HDTV, and many other equipment that are HDMI-capable. HDMI Active Intelligence further improves this by automatically detecting and receiving the best signals right when a device is plugged in.

The power is much greater compared to the other non-ES models in terms of compatibility as it offers superior video switching with good audio performance no matter the HD source. 1080p2 resolutions are accepting making full use of any of the Sony Blu-ray Disc players.

Features

The Sony STR-DG1200 has better audio features than the midrange devices as it supports DD+ and Linear PCM audio in addition to the standard Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master formats. The Linear PCM is preferred for uncompressed outputs and reproduces high quality audio effectively offering support for up to 8 channels.

The other strong point of the DG1200 is the Faroudja DCDi Cinema Chipset which does a much better job in upscaling analog video signals to the top 1080p using HDMI. It improves the colors so they look closer to the original and reduce the annoying noise and jagged image effects to ensure that the output looks like high definition.

The Sony STR-DG1200 is the only non-ES A/V receiver to have the Xross Media Bar interface. Fans of the Playstation 3 and PSP interfaces will easily navigate their way through the icon driven interface while new users can easily change various settings while still watching the video because of its unique blending technique.

Like many of the other A/V receivers, the STR-DG1200 is easy to setup supporting 7.1-channels with each speaker fine tuned automatically using the Digital Cinema Auto Calibration. The process completes very quickly and the calibration microphone provides a lot of flexibility in optimizing the sound quality in any listening position.

More extras are introduced in the STR-DG1200 including the Portable Audio Enhancer which can enhance the sound of any device that is connected by utilizing a Digital Signal Processor. The Digital Media Port found on the front can also be used with supporting accessories that are connected to be assigned an HDMI input for independent control using the remote.

Bottom Line

The Sony STR-DG1200 has the best interaction with all kinds of devices and sports quality features present in ES models while maintaining a cost cheaper than most of them.

Average User Rating:

  • “I had been looking for an A/V receiver for a while. I purchased this unit as a compromise to the hefty, blocky-looking, more expensive and very well rated Onkyo SR-706. This Sony was on sale for $300 less than usual price and had the Faroudja Cinema chip. It also has a very appealing front panel design, and works well with a Sony LCD. My take on this: probably in the technical guts of the receiver, Onkyo is more robust, but frankly in terms of sound and video performance, the Sony is excellent. Unless you are an audiophile, and in that case you would be looking at very high end units anyway, you should not have any complaints about the sound and capabitilites of this unit.” – L.Mederos (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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