As a source in my listening room’s reference system, the new Sony A/V Navigation receiver did a great job of playing DVD, CD and MP3 tracks. The music sounded open and natural, with a smooth and detailed top end. Bass was strong and well defined and there was very little difference between the output of this unit and my reference DVD player. I did notice that my sub amp needed a bit more gain than the main amp during setup, however. I connected the XNV-770BT’s video output to an HD screen, and the video quality was superb. Background noise and system hiss between DVD or musical tracks was inaudible, and I noted no weird zipper noise or popping when the controls were manipulated.
Finding tracks and navigating my iPod with over 5,000 tracks on it was quick and easy, thanks to several different methods of navigating through the folders. The AM/FM tuner pulled in stations quickly and cleanly as you’d expect from a Sony product. From a sound quality standpoint, regardless of your choice of source material, the Sony should serve any high-end system well as a very good audio source. I did not have a compatible Sirius tuner available at test time, so I cannot comment on that particular interface.
On The Bench
On the bench, there were no real surprises. After listening to the unit for several hours the day before, I expected it to measure well and it did. As I expected, signal to noise was very good, and the frequency response also measured very flat with only a very slight roll-off in the uppermost octave. Stereo separation, interchannel gain matching, and the built-in amplifier power all either met or exceeded the published performance specs. All in all a very good effort, but I did find two areas that could be improved in a future model. First, while the front and rear RCA’s provide 4.4V of output, the subwoofer RCA was strangely limited to about 2 volts. My second nit to pick concerns the units output impedance. The lower the output impedance is, the less chance there is of noise entering the signal path via ground loops. I generally look for a number around 100 ohms or lower, and the published spec was 220 ohms, but this particular sample measured 351 ohms. Not the worst I’ve ever seen by a long shot, but it could be a bit better. Careful cable routing and good installation practices will minimize the chances of noise, so I would recommend professional installation for this piece.
With great audio and video performance, ease of use, plus all the convenience of the high performance GPS system and the safety and simplicity of Bluetooth cell phone integration, the Sony XNV-770BT will enhance any drive, whether it’s your daily commute or a cross country trip.