HDMI inputs ×6
HDMI outputs ×2
HDMI 2.1 features VRR and ALLM on all ports, 4K 120Hz/8K 60Hz on two inputs and two outputs
strengthening 7 channels
HDR formats HLG, HDR10, Dolby Vision
Audio formats Dolby Atmos, Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X, Sony 360 Reality Audio
Stream AirPlay 2, Spotify, Chromecast built-in, works with Sonos, Bluetooth
Voice assistants Google Assistant
Pronunciation Sony’s successor to the excellent STR-DN1080 is a brilliantly balanced, spacious and precise sounding AV amplifier that won us over right away and continues to impress us every time we use it.
- Spacious presentation
- Accurate and detailed sound
- Impressive dynamics
In return for
- Some rivals are better equipped
- Set up is more involved than some
HDMI inputs ×6
HDMI outputs ×2
HDMI 2.1 features VRR and ALLM on all ports, 4K 120Hz/8K 60Hz on three inputs and two outputs
strengthening 11 channels
HDR formats HLG, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
Audio formats Dolby Atmos, Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X
Stream AirPlay 2, HEOS, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Bluetooth, Roon tested
Voice assistants Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri
Pronunciation The Denon AVC-X3800H’s rich and muscular sound secured it a spot on our 2022 Awards list, although its performance comes at a more premium price point.
- Refined, warm sound
- Choice of calibration software
- Future-proof connectivity
In return for
- Bland exterior
- Some rivals have more sonic drive
- Higher price than predecessor
Sony’s latest AV amplifier, the TA-AN1000, has already competed against the Denon AVR-X2800H and came out victorious thanks to its excellent sound performance. Beating an award-winning AVR is an impressive feat in itself, but what about the more expensive Denon AVC-X3800H?
The Denon is more powerful and has more amplification channels, which means it should be better right? Well, it’s not that simple, as we found out in our review, so how do these AV amps actually compare?
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: price
Unfortunately, Sony’s first new AV amplifier in nearly seven years (at least for the UK and European markets) is double the price of its previous model, the STR-DN1080. It will retail for £999/€999 when it launches in June, which equates to around $1250 in the United States and AU$1885 in Australia. There is a similar model in the United States called the STR-AN1000 that costs $800; however, we cannot confirm whether the performance matches that of the European variant.
The Denon is on sale now, so unlike the Sony you don’t have to wait if you need an AV amp now. It launched about six months ago for £1499 / $1700 / AU$2550; however, it’s been subject to price cuts and sales since then, so it can now be found for almost £1200 in the UK.
That said, even with its price cuts, the Denon is still more expensive than the Sony, so if you’re on a tight budget, the Sony is the better choice.
**Winner: Sony TA-AN1000**
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: build
Which of these amps looks better depends on personal taste, as neither are the most eye-catching pieces of equipment we’ve ever seen. These monochrome metal boxes are both iterations of previous designs, with Sony using an almost identical design to the STR-DN1080, while the Denon is eerily similar in appearance to its AVC-X3700H predecessor.
Both are sturdy and well-made, with plenty of functionality without looking cluttered. On the front of both AV amps you’ll find hotkeys to enable stereo mode, switch between inputs and navigate menus, as well as a port to plug in the included microphones for automatic calibration. It’s worth noting that both offer intuitive setup processes, with the Sony arguably the more involved of the two thanks to the extra measurements – you’ll need a tape measure handy for setup.
None of these AV amps are the pinnacle of design; however, if we had to pick one, it would have to be the TA-AN1000. We feel Sony’s slightly sharper aesthetic gives it a bit more personality, with its split-level aesthetic and asymmetrical watch faces – but your opinion may differ.
**Winner Sony TA-AN1000**
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: Features
While the Sony is no slouch on the features front, it’s clear the Denon costs more for a reason, as it packs more of practically everything. The Sony TA-AN1000 features seven channels of amplification which can be configured to a 5.1.2 or 7.1 setup. The Denon AVC-X3800H, on the other hand, increases this to 11 channels of amplification, with a maximum configuration of 7.1.4. This makes it a no-brainer for those who don’t want to choose between rear surrounds or the extra height channels.
The Denon also has the Sony beat when it comes to HDMI 2.1 connectivity, with the Denon having three HDMI-in sockets and seven HDMI outputs, all supporting 4K/120Hz or 8K/60Hz. By comparison, the Sony has two inputs and six outputs, with only two of the HDMI 2.1 outputs supporting 4K/120Hz or 8K/60Hz.
HDR and audio support are much the same, with the Denon just surpassing the Sony on its feature set. Both AV amps support HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG, but the Denon throws HDR10+ into the mix, which should please Samsung TV owners. Both AV amps also support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, although the TA-AN1000 gets Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound Mapping feature, which uses phantom pseudospeakers to improve verticality and create a pleasing sound bubble around the user to create.
The wireless connectivity on both amps is excellent, with the Sony offering Apple AirPlay, Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect and Works with Sonos – allowing you to integrate your home theater setup into a Sonos multiroom setup if you have one. The Denon drops Sonos compatibility, but does have HEOS, Denon’s streaming platform that lets you directly link music streaming services including Tidal and Deezer – which the Sony lacks.
The AN1000 also features an intuitive and fast automated setup process using the included microphone. It does ask you to take some additional measurements before you can begin this process, which is much more complicated than other AVR setups we’ve done before; this includes measuring the height of your ceiling, the distance between your sitting position and the TV, and the height of the TV, so be prepared for that.
The Denon uses an Audyssey-backed automated system that can perform up to eight different measurements based on microphone placement. This does require you to move the mic around the room, but it doesn’t ask you to measure your space beforehand. Both systems have their quirks, but they are both useful in their own way and didn’t require a lot of manual tweaking.
It’s safe to say the Denon wins the feature battle, but this is to be expected with the higher price tag. The Sony is still a well-equipped, feature-rich AV amp, but it can’t quite compete with the Denon.
**Winner: Denon AVC-X3800H**
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: sound
Here’s where it gets interesting. At the end of the day, sonic performance is the most important thing with these devices, and thankfully they are both excellent sounding amps. One is a 2022 Award winner, the other a successor to a Hall of Fame entry, so there are certainly high expectations, and they both meet. That said, they go for two different approaches, and when we compared them side by side, we felt there was a clear winner.
Starting with the Denon, its muscular, powerful and smooth sound ticks many boxes when it comes to cinematic sound. The bass in particular is powerful, though not overly so, and the sound generally feels nicely spacious. There’s not much to fault with the Denon’s warm and refined sound; it’s rich, muscular when it needs to be, and an overall crowd pleaser.
However, the Sony pushes the boat out with every aspect of its sound presentation. It features a detailed, precise and articulate sound that is both insightful and engaging. The real highlight of the Sony is its expressive dynamics, which give car crashes and explosions a great sense of weight and power. The bass is tight and punchy, which can be attributed to Sony’s precise nature, and everything from vocals to instrumental arrangements is beautifully textured and emotional.
Both AV amps offer a spatial arrangement of sound, but it’s the Sony that feels a little more enveloping. This is increased (quite literally) with the 360 Spatial Sound Mapping feature enabled. However, this does result in a slightly less accurate sound – although it certainly takes moments of large-scale action to the next level.
Simply put, the Sony commands attention with its truly captivating and energetic performance. Comparisons, on the other hand, prove that the AVC-X3800H cannot hold space in the same way. Chances are you won’t be listening to these amps side-by-side, so if you already own the Denon don’t feel pressured to upgrade as it’s still an award-winning AV amp.
That said, the Sony is the clear winner when it comes to sonic performance, with its meaty and textured performance being the very definition of cinematic.
** Winner: Sony TA-AN1000 **
Sony TA-AN1000 vs Denon AVC-X3800H: Verdict
With its excellent sound and cheaper price, the Sony is the obvious choice here. Despite Denon being at the forefront of the features department with its extra channels of amplification and 4K/120Hz HDMI connections, it was Sony’s powerful, dynamic and balanced sound that thrilled us during our testing.
The caveat, of course, is that the Sony isn’t quite commercially available yet, so if patience isn’t your forte, the Denon could be yours much more quickly. However, we certainly feel that the Sony is worth the wait.
Read our full Sony TA-AN1000 review
As well as our full Denon AVC-X3800H review
And check out our full list of the Best AV receivers