Opinions on Sony 995?


I'm in the market for a new receiver. I want to get a HK 520 or a Denon 1803/1804, but the Sony 995 sounds interesting. 7x110 watts, 2 zones, OSD, etc., but only 3 rear S-video inputs (I've got a DVD, satellite & comp with S-video). I'm worried about the sound quality & power reserves, though. Sonys never seem to meet the specs when reviewed in Sound & Vision. Anybody actually own this one yet?

I just returned a Sony STRDE995B to Best Buy. The unit was new and unopened. I was going to "replace" my Kenwood KRV990D receiver with it. The Kenwood is rated 105W L/C/R and 70W RR/RL (in DD Surround) and 120W x 2 (in stereo). The Sony boasted 770W (110W x 7 in DD, DTS, etc). What a crock!

Just so you know what I have for my setup. I have Paradigm Eclipse/BP Front L/R. I have a Paradigm CC-450 Center and run Mirage 390si for the rear surrounds. My Kenwood had flawlessly (okay, maybe not flawless!) manhandled the Paradigm Eclipse and CC-450 seemingly effortlessly.

I at first liked all of the digital optical inputs (most assignable) and component video switching (2 sources). I have a ViewSonic PJ-550 projector that's HDTV-ready and a Sony NSP725P Progressive Scan DVD player. The STRDE995B/S is fully capable of dealing with video signals. (I also have a second DVD Player hooked into the main system, an older Toshiba player. I also have a Pioneer D-501 Laserdisc player -- yes.. I sometimes use it.)

Overall, I would say the power handling is way below rated power. I think that some test results I've seen showed the power handling at like 50WPC at 7 channels driven. I was only driving 5 and it seemed worse than that! Plus the THD is rated at 0.7%. The HK525 -- which is what I'm buying tomorrow to replace the Sony STRDE995B/S -- has a THD at 0.07% with ALL CHANNELS DRIVEN. Big difference.

I guess, a few years ago -- pre KRV990D and really nice Paradigm Reference speakers -- I wouldn't have notice. But the Sony STRDE995B/S is just that... BS. Now let me caveat my opinion... I tell everyone else to NEVER buy Sony unless the model number ends in ES... so, I guess I should always follow my own advice.

So, it's the Harman/Kardon AVR525 for me tomorrow.
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