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Sony STR-DE 445

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      04.10.2001 02:02
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      On this face of it this AV reciever is the deal of the decade. I bought one in January from Richer Sounds. For 179 notes it certainly is feature laden Spec snipped from www.home-entertainment.co.uk Dolby Digital; dts; claimed 5x 60Watts; 9x DSP modes; sleep timer; RDS tuner; remote control; 3x audio/composite video inputs; 1x audio/composite video output; 1x coaxial digital input; 1x optical digital input; 3x stereo audio inputs; 1x stereo audio output; 1x composite video output; 1x subwoofer output; 5.1-channel input; 1x set speaker spring-clip terminals; AM/FM antenna inputs Got the beast home and lifted it out of the box. So far so good - the receiver is everything this sort of gear should be - black with well laid out buttons and reassuringly heavy. Connecting it up was a doddle - I was using speakers (good ones) from my old pro-logic setup and I simply connected them to the terminals at the back. I hooked up the digital out from my Samsung 709 DVD player and was set for first power-on. Lights, Action ============== I always like to test sound setups with a good action movie and I lifted my well used copy of the Matrix (r1) from the shelf. When a digital source is playing through this bit of gear the AMP exudes a blue strip of light reminiscent of the lights from Kitt in Night Rider. A nice novelty but it soon fades and sometimes I wish I could switch this gimmick off. Playing this DVD through the amp was a rewarding experience however I was a little concerned at how far I had to turn the dial before it became 'too loud' - on my old amp this was at about 4 on a 10 scale - on this amp it was closer to 8. Enter the Snake =============== Next thing to evaluate was other source (eg tv). I tried whizzing few of the cable channels and tried a few old Videos also. Things seemed fine until I gradually became aware of a hissing sound (mostly from rear s
      peakers)- especially in the quiet bits from things the news or anything where there were momentary moments of silence. At first I thought I was being over-picky and tried to ignore this. The more I tried to ignore it the more I seemed to notice it. The hiss was there at all volumes. 3 Cheers for Google =================== Were would I be without google groups. http://groups.google.com/ has the answer to most questions you might ever want to ask. Anyway a hunt through google indicated that I was not alone in this predicament. 3 Cheers for Richer sounds =========================== Next day I was on the phone to Richer Sounds. The manager was helpful and explained that they had sold quite a few of these amps and there were 'one or two' which came back with this problem. He offered me two solutions - try another amp of the same model or upgrade to a more expensive amp. I opted for the latter and changed it for the STR-DB840 (another 100 notes !). Thats the model I have and I'll save the details of it for a different review.

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