Sony STR-DN1080 A/V Receiver Review

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“Sony endows the STR-DN1080 with a range of different “audio optimizing” DSP functions, headlined by a DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) HX mode that, according to the company, “restores signals in the micro region of compressed sources, upsampling and expanding bit depth to the equivalent of a maximum of 192 kilohertz/24 bits for expressive sound quality closer to the original.” I have always been deeply skeptical of these algorithms, which nearly every receiver maker seems to include in some form. You can upsample and reformat digital audio all you want, but you’re not going to magically conjure data that isn’t there: A 160-kilobit-per-second MP3 upsampled to 96/24 is still a 160kbps MP3—and still sounds like it. That said, Sony’s DSEE HX didn’t do any harm perceptible to my ears, so if other listeners find it euphonic, so much the better. And I don’t suppose writing or licensing a few lines of code—more likely a few hundred or even a thousand lines—will raise a receiver’s cost very much.”

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