Upgrade Your Home Theater

Electrical engineer shares the inside story behind Sony's newest AV Receiver 

Sony’s listening room is electrical manager Tadatoshi Watanabe’s laboratory. And sound is the subject of his experiments. When Watanabe started testing Sony’s latest Home Theater AV Receiver, he didn’t play favorites with the type of music he listened to or the movies he watched. He’d listen to a heavy metal rock song right after a jazz piece, and then he’d turn on an action movie right after a comedy. And it’s this careful experimentation and attention to detail that makes Watanabe such a talented engineer. He’s dedicated to fine-tuning Sony’s products and perfecting the sound quality with the end goal of making sure you get the best listening experience possible. 

Watanabe’s commitment to perfection helps him tune audio equipment for optimal performance, no matter what kind of song or movie you are listening to. The man who brought you the 300-disc changer and supported the development of Super Audio CD (SA-CD) is now also responsible for creating the STR-DN1070 Home Theater AV Receiver and helping you experience high-resolution movies and music in your home theater like never before. 

From Musician to Electrical Engineer

Watanabe’s passion for audio stems from his own creative outlets. In addition to being a student of music, Watanabe plays several instruments and has been in bands since he was a junior in high school. He applies this appreciation and extensive knowledge of music and instruments to his role as an electrical engineer for Sony. Watanabe fine-tunes the wiring of each audio product so that it brings out the best aspects of each genre of music.

In Tune with the Music

On almost any day of the week, you’ll find Watanabe in Sony’s listening room, tuning audio products. His responsibilities span a wide range of fields, from sound quality to circuit board design. When he hears something that’s not quite the sound quality Sony is looking for, he sends out instructions to the appropriate departments to figure out what needs to be changed. Oftentimes, he works directly with the manufacturers of each individual piece of the product to ensure everything sounds right during the final tuning stage. 

During the STR-DN1070 tuning process, Watanabe tested the product with different musical styles, including rock, classical, jazz and more to make sure that consumers receive optimal sound quality, no matter what genre of music you’re listening to.  

“Rock has an emphasis on bass. If the sound of the kick drum isn’t coming out strongly, then the heavy bass and percussion sounds in classical music also won’t be reproduced well. My job is to make sure that these details are reproduced accurately,” Watanabe said. 

Maximize Your Home Theater Experience

Watanabe realizes that the layout of a house is not the same as a studio, which is why he designed the STR-DN1070 AV receiver with the average living room in mind. Setting up a home theater with an AV amp requires seven speakers, and it can be tough to figure out where to place each one. But the STR-DN1070 makes it easy to figure out your speaker setup, thanks to its Advanced D.C.A.C (Digital Cinema Auto Calibration) automatic speaker setup system.

With the use of a plug-in provided microphone, the Advanced D.C.A.C uses a series of test tones to determine the proper speaker levels, based on how it reads the speaker placement in relation to the acoustical properties of your room. 

Another fresh feature of the STR-DN1070 that Watanabe is proud of is the newly developed sound-quality chip. This chip uses many surface-mounted parts that make vocal consonants tight and improve the fading of reverb. 

The Joy of High-Res Audio

Watanabe has been a proponent of superior sound quality since day one. He spent several years working at Sony’s Super Audio CD business center, fueled by a desire to bring better sound quality to the recording studio. Watanabe supported the production of SA-CDs at a time when Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording equipment was uncommon. Thanks to the countless hours he’s spent in music studios, Watanabe fully understands an original recording’s full range of sound. And he channels that same level of commitment into every product he works on today. The STR-DN1070 home theater AV receiver’s ability to support DSD Native playback reflects the deep knowledge and expertise Watanabe gained while working at the SA-CD business center.

“The importance of High-Resolution Audio is its ability to capture every component of a song — from the harmonics of a guitar, to the reverb, to the point where the sound actually disappears. This makes it possible to experience what it’s like to be truly wrapped in sound,” Watanabe said. 

When you’re listening to a song with heavy bass, the home theater AV receiver guarantees that you can hear the differences in texture. While Watanabe concedes that in general, sounds above 20 kHz are said to be inaudible to the human ear, he also points out that this fact is only true for single tones. If you have more than one sound coming together, you can feel it. With this new AV Receiver, you can actually feel the beats and tones blending with each other as you watch your favorite movies or listen to your favorite songs. 

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