Along with the growing popularity of custom home theater builds, the comparison of Sony STR-ZA2100ES and Denon AVR-S540BT takes place. According to the results of our review, Sony STR-ZA2100ES received 6.5 points out of 10 possible, and Denon AVR-S540BT was rated 5.5 points. The release date of STR-ZA2100ES is 2017, and AVR-S540BT is 2018. Based on the data on the characteristics and features of both models, we can conclude that STR-ZA2100ES has better performance than AVR-S540BT.
For the built-in amplifier, the devices received different marks - 7 and 6, respectively, on a 10-point scale.
The number of channels is equal to the number of possible connected speakers. The Sony STR-ZA2100ES supports 7.2-channels sound, but Denon AVR-S540BT supports a 5.2-channels configuration.
RMS stands for the actual power of the receiver. The higher this value, the louder the sound can be produced. The differences between the models in terms of RMS power are significant - for the STR-ZA2100ES this value is 75/8 W/Ohm, and for the AVR-S540BT it is 70/8 W/Ohm.
|Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm||75/8, 95/6||70/8, 90/6|
|Output impedance, Ohm||8, 6||8, 6|
|THD in stereo, %||0.09||0.08|
After reviewing the audio features of each model, we can rate the STR-ZA2100ES 7 out of 10, and the AVR-S540BT - 6.
Bi-amping is the amplification of one speaker with two amplifiers. This amplification method has a positive effect on sound quality. Bi-amping is possible only on the STR-ZA2100ES.
Pure Direct mode feeds sound directly to the amplifier and bypasses any DSP processing. Only Sony STR-ZA2100ES has Pure Direct mode.
Most receivers now come with a microphone included. It is with the help of this microphone that the auto-calibration system functions, which adjusts the sound of the receiver to the room.
|Digital to analog converter (DAC)||N/A||192 KHz/32-bit|
|Pure direct (straight)||✔||✖|
|Auto speaker calibration||DCAC EX||Audyssey MultEQ|
|Speaker A/B switching||✖||✖|
|Other audio features||Digital Legato Linear, Sound Optimizer||Compressed Audio Restorer|
The connectivity of competitors in our comparison is markedly different, Sony STR-ZA2100ES scored 6, and Denon AVR-S540BT scored 5 out of 10.
Bluetooth connection is now one of the main communication protocols for the receiver's control or even music broadcasting.
Wired internet connection via RJ45 allows receiver faster connection than wireless or even use NAS storages. Wired connection via RJ45 is possible in the STR-ZA2100ES only.
|USB||1 (USB 2.0)||1 (USB 2.0)|
Now music streaming services are gaining more and more popularity. They allow users to listen to millions of songs by subscription.
|Apple Music (AirPlay)||✖||✖|
|Other streaming services||has not||TIDAL, Pandora|
The presence of many connectors makes the receiver more versatile. But there are also narrowly targeted models, the number of connectors which are limited to a certain area of use. And when choosing their own receiver, users need to consider exactly your goals for using the receiver. For extensive connection, Sony STR-ZA2100ES got 7 points, but Denon AVR-S540BT received 6 points.
Sony STR-ZA2100ES is equipped with 6/2 HDMI inputs and outputs, and Denon AVR-S540BT has 5/1 HDMI inputs and outputs.
HDMI eARC is the next step in the development of audio return channel technology, which works in conjunction with HDMI 2.1. Using eARC provides the highest sound quality for home audio systems. HDMI eARC is available only on Sony STR-ZA2100ES.
|HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel)||✔||✔|
|HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel)||✔||✖|
|Digital content protection (HDCP)||HDCP 2.2||HDCP 2.2|
|Subwoofer output (LFE)||2||2|
|Headphone output||0||1 x 6.3|
|Optical digital input||2||2|
|Coaxial digital input||1||1|
|Phono (MM) input||✖||✖|
|Front panel connectors||USB, HDMI, setup mic||USB, phones, setup mic|
|Multi channel preamp output||✔||✖|
The AV receiver is the heart of the home theater. And in this case, support for all current video formats ensures the best user experience, so it is very important to consider this when choosing a device. Video features of the STR-ZA2100ES were rated 10 out of 10 against the 6 for the AVR-S540BT.
Most of the AV receivers have a video scaling function, it is the process of reformatting the video signal to a higher resolution without losing the quality of the image. Upscaling the video signal resolution is possible only with Sony STR-ZA2100ES.
|HDR (High Dynamic Range)||HDR10||✔|
|4K signal pass-through||4K/60Hz||4K/60Hz|
|8K signal pass-through||✖||✖|
|HDMI signal pass-through||✔||✔|
|3D signal pass-through||✔||✔|
|HDMI pass-through in standby mode||✔||✔|
|Analog to HDMI scaling||✔||✖|
|HDMI to HDMI scaling||✔||✖|
|Other video features||HLG||HLG, BT.2020|
In terms of evaluating additional features, the STR-ZA2100ES got 7 points, but the AVR-S540BT has 8.
Denon AVR-S540BT has the ECO mode.
|App control||iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android||iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, Amazon Kindle|
|Display||colour OSD||colour OSD|
|Tuner||AM, FM||AM, FM|
|Auto power off||✔||✔|
|Graphical user interface (GUI)||✔||✔|
|Firmware update||network, USB||USB|
|Other additional features||has not||has not|
As the center of a home media system, each multichannel receiver has an additional set of terminals for connecting the second set of speakers to create additional audio space in Zone 2 or even Zone 3 where audio can have the separate source.
|Multi-room zones||2||has not|
|Zone audio output||speaker, preout||has not|
|Zone HDMI output||✔||has not|
|Multi-room control||has not||has not|
|Remote control input/output (IR)||1/2||0/0|
|DC trigger output (12V)||3||0|
Sony STR-ZA2100ES got 7 points for the multichannel surround sound and Denon AVR-S540BT got 5.
Dolby Atmos' particularity is that this is the object-oriented sound format, that is, each audio signal object is independently sounded and connected to its spatial position. Sony STR-ZA2100ES can create 3D sound due to the Dolby Atmos support.
DTS:X is an algorithm used by the processor to create sound scenes, where sounds connected directly to objects rather than channels, and to determine the optimum sound output distribution in space. Surround sound with DTS:X is available only on the STR-ZA2100ES.
IMAX Enhanced is a licensing and certification program under which home theater devices deliver crisp 4K HDR pictures and powerful sound as it was designed by the IMAX engineers. Only the STR-ZA2100ES licensed by IMAX.
|Dolby (other)||Dolby Digital Plus||Dolby Digital Plus|
|DTS HD Master||✔||✔|
|DTS (other)||DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD||DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD, DTS-EXPRESS|