Sony STR-AN1000 Review: Sony’s Receiver Learns 8K Tricks, Sounds Great

For the last few years, it’s looked like the mainstream AV receiver category had become a three-horse race, with only Onkyo, Denon and Yamaha fielding competitors. Once upon a time a single Sony receiver dominated the under-$1,000 category, and the new STR-AN1000 brings the company screaming back into the conversation. 

During my listening tests at CNET’s audio lab, I found very little to separate the Sony from one of its main competitors, the Yamaha RX-V6A. Deciding between those two, as well as the excellent Onkyo TX-NR6100, becomes a matter of which features are most important to you. Is it the ability to drive speakers in multiple rooms? Do you want to be able to integrate with a voice assistant? Or do you want to stream from your existing multiroom system? The Sony will do all of this, as well as allow Dolby Atmos playback, HDMI 2.1 support and enhanced streaming including Sonos


  • Plenty of streaming connectivity including Sonos
  • Excellent sound
  • 8K and 4K/120Hz support

Don’t Like

  • Slightly higher price than competitors
  • Lower power rating
  • Poorly designed remote

When you boil it down to features alone, the Onkyo TX-NR6100 still comes out on top, especially since it’s $100 cheaper than the Sony, has a little more power and includes a phono preamp. Even so, the Sony offers enough performance and features to make it worth your consideration, too. 

Connections: 8K, 4K/120Hz, 6 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs

Sony STR-AN1000 receiver with popcorn

Movie night? The STR-AN1000 has you covered

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The STR-AN1000 is a 7.2-channel Dolby Atmos receiver that offers a whole host of new features over the previous STR-DN1080, including 4K/120Hz support and Sony’s own 360 Reality Audio. Further, the STR-AN1000 boasts the best connectivity of any other Sony model before it. For example, Sony has taken a page out of the Yamaha playbook with the ability to add wireless speakers –such as the $300 SA-RS3S rears and $700 SA-SW5 subwoofer.

At the $800-to-$900 level, the default amount of power is usually 100 watts per channel at 8 ohms (which is the impedance of most popular speakers). However, Sony only includes the 6-ohm figure (100W) in its documentation, and because lower impedances are easier to drive, this makes the real power figure lower than 100W. I reached out to the company to get an 8 ohm figure and was told by a company spokesperson, “Sony is not providing that particular specification for this model.” However, based on back-of-a-napkin math I’m imagining 85W to 90W to be the real figure (sadly there’s no easy formula to work out the amount). 

How much does this really matter, given it will still get plenty loud with most speakers? Probably not a lot, but if you’re chasing more power or have finicky speakers, then maybe the Onkyo TX-NR6100 is a better bet. 

The rear panel of Sony STR-AN1000

The rear panel of Sony STR-AN1000

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The Sony features six HDMI inputs (two with 8K compatibility) and two 8K outputs. The receiver also includes support for video standards such as Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG. As far as analog inputs, the Sony offers four, though it does lack a dedicated phono input. If you want to spin vinyl, we suggest you get a Schiit Mani 2 preamp ($149) or the step-up Cambridge Audio Duo ($349).

Streaming: AirPlay, Chromecast, Spotify and Sonos

In terms of streaming features the STR-AN1000 rivals the equally well-appointed TX-NR6100. Connections include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Chromecast Built-In, Spotify Connect and Roon Tested. The AN1000 includes “Works with Sonos” compatibility enabling users to integrate their stereo into their whole-house system, but with a catch. For this, you’ll need to connect a $449 Sonos Port to allow the receiver to be controlled via the Sonos app.

The receiver offers a bunch of virtual speaker technologies including Center Speaker Lift Up to center the dialogue on your screen and Acoustic Center Sync, which incorporates a Bravia TV’s onboard speaker.

The STR-AN1000 remote on a table

The STR-AN1000 remote is unusually compact.

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The AV receiver’s remote is the smallest of its kind we’ve seen from Sony; it’s the same size as the company’s Blu-ray remotes. Most of the requisite functions are on there, but I would have liked something more premium-feeling with a $900 receiver. One thing I would change about the remote is that the Settings button is tiny and also right next to the HDMI output switch. Once I accidentally hit HDMI Out, thus turning the HDMI output off, and it took some time to work out what was wrong.

On-Screen interface, manual and auto-calibration


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I found the Sony STR-AN1000’s interface to be a little less friendly than the previous model. Where the STR-DN1080 had a full color home screen, the AN1000 is just white text on a black background. At least the text size is larger than before, so you won’t need to squint if you eventually buy an 8K TV. 

The Sony now offers an upgraded version of its calibration routine, now called Digital Cinema Auto Calibration IX. This involves a new stereo microphone and a natty plastic stand — where competitors’ are cardboard — and it now accommodates multiple seating positions. If you prefer to do a manual AV receiver calibration, then the system is quite powerful as it now lets you set the height of the screen and speakers, which is not something most receivers let you do.


Sony STR-AN1000 speaker calibration

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In the settings you are able to add wireless speakers as part of the initial setup. After connecting the SRS-SW5 I got a message saying the RF channel was weak, but it also gave the option to change it, and I had no problems after that. As I had already connected a wired sub, the system was smart enough to disconnect the existing sub and replace it. 

I performed two setups — both manually and using the DCAC calibration routine — and ended up using the automated one because it offered better integration between the speakers. My only tweak was to reduce the volume of the subwoofer, but I don’t blame Sony for that. I have yet to find a bundled microphone sensitive enough to accurately measure bass volumes.

As this is a 4K/120Hz or 8K compliant receiver, I tested to make sure it could output to a 4K/120Hz TV. After hooking the Xbox Series X up to a compatible TCL TV, I received confirmation that it was compliant. If you’re a gamer, this receiver will be able to keep up with the latest games.

Listening tests: How does the Sony STR-AN1000 sound?

I compared the Sony directly to the Yamaha RX-V6A, and they sounded similar, which is to say excellent (unfortunately I didn’t have the Onkyo TX-NR6100 available). Both proved able to drive my Q Acoustics 3050i system without effort and with a good deal of finesse. I listened to a selection of digital tracks plus Blu-rays and movies streamed via Vudu. 

I started with the Arctic Monkeys’ classic Do I Wanna Know?, which I liked a little better on the Sony as it offered a keener separation between the instruments. The vocals and bass line were tighter than on the Yamaha, though the RX-V6A was a little more dynamic on the chorus.

As this receiver is able to play both Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio, I tried the Apple Music Atmos mix of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. The Sony offered tighter bass and a more cohesive sound field than the Yamaha. At the 2:45 mark when the song breaks down to voice and handclaps, the Sony sounded more strident. The Yamaha was a little overbearing as well, but better.

Next I tried the two receivers with the Blade Runner 2049 4K Blu-ray disc. While the Yamaha offered a gripping performance with the final chapters of Blade Runner, the Sony pulled ahead. The Sony’s bass was tighter and the sound field more cohesive and dynamic — especially in the climactic fight scene where gunshots “powed” and waves crashed over the actors as they fought at the site of their crashed cars. 

With Mad Max Fury Road, the Yamaha offered a better sense of height, though I couldn’t get the rears quiet enough, despite measuring with a decibel meter. Again, the Sony was able to integrate the rears better and offer sound that was more cohesive and dynamic.

Should you buy it?

With the STR-AN1000, Sony is back doing what it does best: making high-impact audio equipment with all of the features you could want. While it looks the same as before, it’s had a redesign on the inside with up-to-date connectivity support and even better customization options. The Sony is able to offer excellent sound quality for both movies and music.

As I said in the beginning, if you’re looking at these models in terms of pure price per pound, the Sony STR-AN1000 is a little more costly and a little less powerful than its competitors. Get it if you’re into streaming music, but the Onkyo TX-NR6100 offers a similar feature bounty for $100 less.

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