I just picked up the STR-DN1030 - over the next few days I'll be checking the unit and all of its capabilities. For me it is an upgrade to the STR-DH820 - an older, very similar looking receiver that does not perform nearly as well and lacks a whole world of connectivity. Even with the wifi and bluetooth, if there is one thing that stands out with the 1030, it is the huge improvement in SQ. It seems that Sony put everything they've got into this sub-$500 contender.
This thread will be updated and filled out with any information I can gather over the next day or so. In the meantime be aware the Sony STR-DN1030 is being discounted $100
at all retailers (including Sony direct) bringing the price to $399 - Quite a bargain when you realize how feature-packed this AVR is.
CNET reviews the 1030: http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/sony-str-dn1030/4505-6466_7-35332546.html
HomeTheater.com chimes in: http://www.hometheater.com/content/sony-str-dn1030-av-receiver
The hometheater.com review's lab measurements
confirm something I could tell immediately upon listening to it. There is essentially no roll-off in the bass, even at 10hz. In direct mode, the roll-off is -.05db at 10hz, and only -.4db with DSP. Dual subwoofer outputs with plenty of voltage are the icing on the cake.
First impressions: Sony changed remarkably little in terms of layout. The remote, the front and rear panels - all the virtually identical to the retired 810. The front panel adds a USB port for mobile devices (although bluetooth is supported) and the LED panel moves to the top. The similarity to the older unit is cosmetic, but it contributed to a feeling that perhaps this upgrade was not going to be much of an improvement. No worries there, the DN1030's improved sound quality is immediately evident. This is especially evident in the '.2' LFE outputs, which deliver a considerably tighter - and more brutal - quality of bass. The difference is stark enough for me to declare the 1030 my favorite source for rendering bass tracks - and I spent all summer trying out tons of sound cards in a quest for tight bass. Ultimately, the Sony's bass 'quality' reminds me of the Asus Xonas Essence - dubstep fans take note, this receiver does it right.
Second Impressions: I've had a few days to listen, configure, tweak. I have yet to connect the AVR to a TV in order to use the built-in wifi streaming functions. This is largely because the 1030 is so sonically captivating. It's practically a cliche that new gear lets you hear new things in your music collection, yet the DN1030 delivers on this front. Truly great recordings (Abbey Road) stand out over more mediocre fare in a way I have not enjoyed since I owned twin monoblock amps
. Worth mentioning: the receiver sounds best operating either in 2.1 mode or else all-out in 7.2 mode. I found the Sony 'engineer' EQ setting to be the most pleasing followed closely by 'front reference'. 'Flat' sounds as it should.
Third Impression: It's gone. The DN 1030 was worth $400 towards a Pioneer SC-55 that was on clearance for $550. I love the SOny dearly, for the money it really sizzled... but it is totally and utterly outclassed by the Pioneer - which weighs twice as much and sports an MSRP 3X higher.