(February 1, 2023) It's been a minute, actually years, but Sony has finally emerged from its AVR slumber. Yesterday, the company revealed five new receivers, four of which have their sights set on the custom integrator market.
The new lineup comprises models priced between $900 and $3,300, with the STR-AN1000 ($900), 7.2-channel STR-AZ1000ES ($1,100), 9.2-channel STR-AZ3000ES ($1,700), and 11.2-channel STR-AZ5000ES ($2,100) anchored by the 13.2-channel STR-AZ7000ES ($3,300). All five carry HDMI 2.1 ports with 4K/120Hz functionality and Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support. In addition, they feature 4K/120Hz and wireless connectivity to Sony's SA-RS5 and SA-RS3S rear speakers and SA-SW5 and SA-SW3 wireless subwoofers.
The least expensive model, the 7.2 channel STR-AN1000, is the only consumer oriented model, offering six HDMI inputs, two of which support 8K. In addition to support for Dolby and DTS immersive sound, the AN1000 offers movie fans access to Sony's proprietary 360 Spatial Sound Mapping.
Sony's Elevated Standard (ES) series of AV receivers are designed with the custom integrator in mind, presenting optimized configurability, flexible connectivity and advanced IP control compatibility with leading control systems. Featuring support for the leading control systems from Control4, Crestron, Savant and OvrC (not to mention, Works with Sonos), integrators can achieve seamless integration with the control system of their choice. Set up is also a breeze with multiple ways to configure the receiver such as the graphical user interface, or front panel display.
Sony says ES receivers have a frame beam base chassis (FBB chassis) that's been developed for the audio amplifiers by combining a conventional frame beam chassis with a transformer base, providing high accuracy and stiffness, the frame is more stabilized, reproducing better sound with less distortion. Additionally, the overall thickness of the ES series has been improved. Now, the bottom is 200% thicker and side wall is 120% thicker than previous generations.
In addition to common features such as Dolby Vision, HLG, Dolby Vision, 8K1, and IMAX Enhanced, all five new receivers support gaming friendly features such as VRR and ALLM. They also carry Sony's 360 Spatial Sound Mapping technology, which places multiple phantom speakers around the room using positional information measured by Sony's Digital Cinema Auto Calibration IX (D.C.A.C. IX). This proprietary calibration package also corrects distance, angle, sound pressure and frequency response of each speaker by measuring the speaker placement in 3D using the supplied calibration microphone. This works alongside Auto Phase Matching which aligns the phase of different speakers.
The STR-AZ7000ES stands as the only model capable of offering 360 Reality Audio playback, thanks to its 13-channels of onboard amplification.
The non-ES STR-AN1000 will be sold through Sony's own website, Amazon, Best Buy, other authorized retailers, while ES models can only be purchased through Sony and custom installation professionals.