The STR-DA5400ES did very well on power tests with 2 channels driven, easily besting its 120-watts-per-channel spec. But with multiple channels stressed, the Sony's current reserves managed a bit less than 50 watts per channel with all 7 channels loaded. More significantly, the Sony clipped asymmetrically, flattening its negative-going waveform several dB before its northward half. This occurrence tends to make the onset of distortion effects audible somewhat earlier than is typical. With its software setup switch at 4 ohms, the 5400ES limited its stereo output to about 140 watts (into 4 ohms). All of my results reflect the receiver's 8-ohms setting. Noise and distortion results were impressive across the board, including Dolby Digital S/N that was smack on the theoretical limit for our
- Daniel Kumin
With its STR-DA5400ES, Sony has packed all of the current must-have features into a fine-sounding receiver with good video processing. And although Sony tends to tread its own path when it comes to ergonomics, I found that operating the receiver's Xross Media Bar GUI soon became second nature. I also appreciated both its excellent handling of the SACD and DVD-Audio formats and the ability of its DLL circuit to pump a little more life into compressed, low-rez source material. Now, if it only had HD Radio, my checklist would be complete.
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