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Sony HT-7200DH Pre-REVIEW

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I've only had the system for a few days, but since user info on the 7200DH is scarce I thought I'd pass on the little I've learned so far.

First ... How I bought it. After scouring the internet for over a week intent on finding a modern system I could afford ($500 or under) I found I was suffering from an info overload. As a new PlayStation 3 owner Sony already had my attention. I really liked what I was seeing coming out of that box, games, Blu-rays, upscaled (1080p) regular DVDs, and also display of my own digital photos in high quality. I desired audio quality to match it. I read the announcement of new models from Sony including the 7200DH and the three audio handling HDMI input ports seemed state of the art! That and assumed compatibility with the PS3 put it at the top of my list.

I was still undecided til I saw the online posting of a Fry's Electronics store ad which showed the 7200DH on sale for $150 OFF ... but ending that day. I called the nearest store in Sacramento (75 miles away) checking to see if they had one in stock. Yes, he said the computer showed two, but he knew nothing about it being on sale. I asked him to put my name on one, gassed up the car and made the long drive. Comparing the internet ad I'd printed and the one posted in the store of their latest flyer showed instead of the Sony an Onkyo HT-SP904 was listed on sale (at a very good price of $499). So, I went back to the HT department to check it out. It looked good ... but ... it's sub woofer was the size of a piece of furniture that I couldn't accommodate in my small living space. Plus the power consumption label on the back showed over 4 amps. Multiply that by 115 volts and it comes out to about 500 watts ... GREAT in the winter as a heater in my small room, but NOT during the summer. (Was over 100 degrees here today!)

I knew the net ad was not from the official Fry's site, but hoped to find a ear sympathetic to my LONG drive and desire to purchase other items that day in their store. The helpful cash register guy took me to a manager who listened but that's it. Ready to end my shopping ordeal I bought the Sony anyway at the full $499 price.

OK ... IT SOUNDS AWESOME playing DVD or Blu-ray surround sound battle scenes. For the Blu-ray test it was the very impressive conversion of "Patton" (if you like war stuff you GOTTA see this Blu-ray) and through the included up converting (to 1080p) player "Pearl Harbor" and "Saving Private Ryan" both which I chose to test for their DTS tracks. All provided shingle rattling bass at every explosion and realistic directional rumble of screen crossing tank tracks and attack planes flying in directly over my head. But, the centered sound of dialogue is often too low in volume for me. I'm experimenting with boosting the center channel to compensate. I should qualify my "ear" ... I'm an old fart slightly hard of hearing at voice frequencies and near deaf on the highs. Anyway, I haven't tried the automatic speaker adjustment via the included microphone opting to use the 800Hz tone and manual control at first. It's probably just my inept inexperience, but I'm having trouble accessing the separate volume control parts of the menu system. Little frustrating actually, but I'll persevere. As a new high tech toy I've still got a lot of subtle stuff to figure out. Oh, surround sound and low freq thump and rumble is pretty COOL for the Motor Storm and Call of Duty 3 Playstation games I've tried.

I read much of the manual online before buying so it didn't take much to get it up and running in basic mode. LOVE the easy ONE PLUG audio and video connection provided by HDMI just not the over inflated cost of the wires. I paid $23 for a 3 footer at Walmart to hook-up the DVD player. I connected one optical "wire" between my Vizio TV and the receiver so if off the antenna local stations broadcast HD with 5.1 surround I'll be able to enjoy it. I also connected an optical from my digital sound capable but otherwise basic DirecTV receiver. Sure nice not to have to mess with a huge tangle of component cables. When I upgrade to a HD DirecTV DVR I'll fill the third HDMI input socket.

I moved my old JVC receiver/amp out of the cabinet (it hadn't been used for awhile) to make room for the Sony. Boy! the JVC weighs like a box of bricks. The Sony is a feather in comparison. Comparing construction shows quite a difference ... like between a bread box and a battle wagon! The back of the Sony looks cheap and of low quality. For speaker connections it has a set of banana plugs for the front speakers and the rest are the convenient push the spring clips and shove the wire in type. Only reason I see for the banana plugs is to make it appear higher quality. The old JVC had all banana plugs which I had made use of with matching connectors. Don't recall what I did with the old plugs so I just shoved the wires under the thumbscrews and tightened hoping it was conductor being secured and not the wire's insulation. The plastic short circuit prevention lip around the post made it impossible to see.

The speaker boxes are also cheap particle board construction but that's expected. The sub woofer fits my space and it's 8" provides PLENTY of air movement. Interesting to note is that the sub's amplifier is tacked on the back in a plastic enclosure. It's 120 volt power consumption label reads 80 watts. The receiver/amp shows 170 watts for a total of 250. Why does the packaging box this thing came in show in very large letters "900" watts TOTAL POWER? I probably don't want to know how they get that big number ... it'd just confuse me more.

Bottom line at this point is I'm enjoying the SOUND of my new system and appreciate both its light weight for handling convenience in my low slung difficult to access cabinet shelf setup and the power saving low heat 250 total watts. (Old JVC used 340 watts and wudda been a heavy bear to handle for wiring in cramped quarters.)

Sorry I cannot provide insight into technical differences between the various multi channel sound options this receiver provides. I can say different remote buttons produce different sounds. There is a small variety of echo effects via Hall, Stadium, Jazz, etc. that don't seem of much use for the majority of my audio tastes and also various "feels" that come from changing the multi channel decoder options. At this point the differences seem minor except for one setting which makes the rear speakers play a larger part in the overall presence.

Intelligent shopping got to be a pain in the grey matter. I'm glad it's over and now I'm again appreciating good sounding surround. I'll watch this thread for awhile and answer any questions I'm able to.
post #2 of 4
Thanks for the great review.
post #3 of 4
Thanks for the review! I'm actually deciding between the Sony and the Onkyo system and was debating placing an order for the Sony today.

Just a small detail, but do you know how long the included speaker wires for the rear speakers are? I'm taking a look at how to best run the wires through my living room, and want to make sure I have enough to work with.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
I used rear speaker wires already in place from my last system. They are a little smaller gauge, but I don't think that matters much as they are working OK.

So ... I just took the wire bundles out that came with the Sony and stretched one out 6 feet then folded that back up and compared it with what was still held together. My guesstimate for total length is 30 feet.
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