Test Bench: Sony STR-DA5200ES A/V Receiver

The Sony STR-DA5200ES presented no surprises. Power was generous in all tests save all-channels-driven, where the receiver topped out at 66 watts all around; note that this is only 4 or 5 dB less than from the most powerful receivers we've tested on the demanding all-channels-driven test. The 5200ES was also about 1 to 2 dB noisier than the theoretical ideal (and the best A/V receivers we've measured) in all noise-related tests, but listening checks revealed no audible effects via loudspeakers and virtually none on headphones. The Sony's 6- and 12-dB/octave crossover slopes (high-pass/low-pass) are less steep than the de facto 12/24-dB standard; this might result in a different bass blend and room response than with existing equipment, but that will depend entirely on speakers, setup, and room characteristics. When deliberately overdriven, the 5200ES behaved well, shutting down without fuss and restarting without complaint.

DOLBY DIGITAL PERFORMANCE All data were obtained from various test DVDs using 16-bit dithered test signals, which set limits on measured distortion and noise performance. Reference input level is -20 dBFS, and reference output is 1 watt into 8 ohms. Volume setting for reference level was -1.0 dB. All level trims were set at zero, except for subwoofer-related tests; all speakers were set to "large," subwoofer on. All are worst-case figures where applicable.

Output at clipping (1 kHz into 8/4 ohms) 1 channel driven: 169/244 watts (22.3/23.9 dBW) 5 channels driven (8 ohms): 66 watts (18.2 dBW) 6 channels driven (8 ohms): 66 watts (18.2 dBW)

Distortion at 1 watt (THD+N, 1 kHz) 8/4 ohms: 0.03/0.03% Noise level (A-weighted): -74.7 dB Excess noise (with sine tone) 16-bit (EN16): 0.6 dB Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, -0.4 dB

MULTICHANNEL PERFORMANCE, ANALOG INPUT Reference input and output level is 200 mV; volume setting for reference output level was -16 dB. Distortion (THD+N, 1 kHz, 8 ohms): 0.03% Noise level (A-weighted.): -89.5 dB Frequency response: <10 Hz to 74 kHz +0, -3 dB

STEREO PERFORMANCE, DIGITAL INPUT Reference level is -20 dBFS; all level trims at zero. Volume setting for reference level was -1.0 dB.

Output at clipping (1 kHz, 8/4 ohms, both channels driven): 142/191 watts (21.5/22.8 dBW)*

Distortion at reference level: 0.03% Linearity error (at -90 dBFS): 0.8 dB Noise level (A-weighted): -73.4 dB with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: -79.2 dB Excess noise (with/without sine tone) 16-bit (EN16): 2.6/2.1 dB quasi-20-bit (EN20): 18.5/18.7 dB Noise modulation: 1.1 dB Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +0, -0.4 dB with 96-kHz/24-bit signals: 20 Hz to 42 kHz +0, -3 dB

BASS-MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE Measured results obtained with Dolby Digital test signals. Subwoofer-output frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 12 dB/octave above -3-dB rolloff point of 81 Hz High-pass-filter frequency response (crossover set to 80 Hz): 6 dB/octave below -3-dB rolloff point of 80 Hz Maximum unclipped subwoofer output (trim at 0): 9.8 volts Subwoofer distortion (from 6-channel, 30-Hz, 0-dBFS signal; subwoofer trim set to 0): 0.03% Crossover consistency: bass crossover frequency and slope were consistent for all sources and formats Signal-format consistency: consistent for all applicable formats Speaker size selection: all channels can be set to "small" (if C=small, LR also must be "small") Speaker-distance compensation: available for all main channels.

*With software impedance switch in 8-ohm position; with switch set to 4 ohms, power into 4 ohms was 114 watts (20.6 dBW)

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