Hi to everybody
I recently bought this receiver and I want to share my opinion and judgment about.
Firstly I made some Internet research taking in account the budget (Around $500), the features, the brand (For example there is no Onkyo in my country, and even though I was going to make the purchase by Internet from USA, it seemed to me sounder to stick with a brand-name that was available here), and some other considerations (As size, weight, etc.).
I reviewed gear (and downloaded plenty of information about) from Sony, Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer and others, and at the end I favored the Sony, so when I did my acquisition I was pretty aware of what I was getting into. Nevertheless I cannot deny that my first impression was a little bit of disappointment. This new receiver was replacing an old (But very faithful!) Sony STR-DE945, that was also -in its moment- the top of the mid-line of the AV receivers from Sony (From there up it is only the ES Series) and it was kind of depressing that two similar range equipments from the same Company -separated just years apart- could be so different. First my old receiver was heavier and larger (deeper). Second the STR-DE945 was the one with the fashionable LCD Remote Commander that was ahead of its time when it was new; the one that comes with the new 1030 is an unremarkable piece of plastic cluttered with a zillion buttons some of which have several functions and it reminds me more of those 80’s Scientific Calculators from Texas Instruments. But well I guess that is a consequence of the times, so we consumers get less and less for our money as time goes by.
But do not misread me, after ten days or so living with it I am rather content with my acquisition. I will try to be concise about what I liked and what I didn´t.
First the things I liked:
-it has 7 channels of amplification.
-The sound is rather clean and detailed with a tight bass (I know this may be in part a byproduct of the Room-EQ). Keep in mind that my room-speaker set up is the same, so the only thing different is the new amplifier (In this regard the 1030 has received good marks in both CNET and AUDIO +VISION reviews).
-Once calibrated you have a great degree of flexibility to adjust speaker distances (At 1cm or 1 inch interval) and choose Crossover Frequencies separately for each group of speakers (From 40Hz to 200Hz at 10Hz interval)
-It has DPLII, DPLIIx, DPLIIz and NEO6, all of them in both versions, Music and Cinema
-It handles all the new HD sound Codices, and as it is DLNA-certified you know that you can update the software (In fact I already did) perhaps for things to come in the near future.
-It has many several features as built-in Wi-Fi (That works as a charm), DCAC (Digital Cinema Audio Calibration), APM (Automatic Phase Matching), DLL (Digital Legato Linear), Auto Faroujda Up-convert/Upscale Circuitry, Sound Optimizer (Something sort of similar to a function of some THX- certified hardware), Advanced Auto Volume function, and some others like Bluetooth, Air-play, USB-port that I have yet to test.
-It has not many DSP environment enhancers, but the few it has sound pleasant, clean and sort of professional.
-You can connect and use Internet content (I prefer using my Bluray for that though, and because of the GUI I do not recommend using the receiver for this)
And now what I didn´t liked:
-The GUI is ugly, dated and too much slow to display. My Bluray is also a Sony and the GUI is a joy to behold. What's more, each time you recall the GUI with the RC everything goes to a halt from which it takes several seconds to recover to finally retrieve any information. Shame on you Sony!
-The EQ controls are plain, to say the least, and there are only for the front Speakers. Besides they only can be recalled directly from the front of the apparatus itself (If you want to use the remote you have to go by the GUI….. and you know the rest). In comparison my old receiver had a 3-band parametric EQ with 21-selectable center frequencies for each band and for each group of speakers. I know that the DCAC and CAL is supposedly a sort of room-EQ, but nevertheless seems a little bit paltry from Sony to skip on this.
-Not too many Surround types or Sound Fields. I know this side of Lexicon, the best in this regard are the ones that come from Yamaha, but my old receiver had 27 different options in this regard, and many of them had several adjustable parameters (Effect level, Rev. time, Wall Hardness, etc). The 1030 is plain vanilla in this regard, a sort of take it or leave it situation: except for the HD Cinema type, all others have no user changeable characteristics.
-Even though my old and new receiver are similarly powered, at least in paper (about 100 W/channel), to attain the same sound loudness that took in my old receiver to go up a little bit more than a quarter, I need to go over 40 (of a top 72), so go figure.
-The display has ALL the information but is sort of small and crowded with no discernible criteria; the only way that you can read the tiny characters is that you have the receiver at arm-length.
Life is far from perfect, and the 1030 certainly it is not, but as I said before I was rather aware of what I was purchasing and I am generally content with it. Well I hope this could be of some interest or utility to any prospective buyer.