Along with the growing popularity of custom home theater builds, the comparison of Sony STR-ZA2100ES and Denon AVR-S960H takes place. According to the results of our review, Sony STR-ZA2100ES received 6.5 points out of 10 possible, and Denon AVR-S960H was rated 7.8 points. The release date of STR-ZA2100ES is 2017, and AVR-S960H is 2020. Based on the data on the characteristics and features of both models, we can conclude that AVR-S960H has better performance than STR-ZA2100ES.
For the built-in amplifier, the models have rated 7 points out of 10.
The number of channels is equal to the number of possible connected speakers. Both receivers can handle the 7.2-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 AVR-S960H this value is 90/8 W/Ohm, and for the STR-ZA2100ES it is 75/8 W/Ohm.
|Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm||75/8, 95/6||90/8, 125/6|
|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-S960H - 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.
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||N/A|
|Pure direct (straight)||✔||✔|
|Auto speaker calibration||DCAC EX||Audyssey MultEQ|
|Speaker A/B switching||✖||✖|
|Other audio features||Digital Legato Linear, Sound Optimizer||Audyssey Dynamic Volume, Audyssey Dynamic EQ, Hi-Res audio|
The connectivity of competitors in our comparison is markedly different, Sony STR-ZA2100ES scored 6, and Denon AVR-S960H scored 10 out of 10.
Bluetooth connection is now one of the main communication protocols for the receiver's control or even music broadcasting.
DLNA is the perfect way to use your local cloud storage to stream movies and music directly to a TV. You can use the DLNA protocol only with Denon AVR-S960H.
|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)||✖||AirPlay, AirPlay 2|
|Other streaming services||has not||Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora, SiriusXM, Qobuz, TuneIn Radio|
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-S960H received 8 points.
Competitors in our review have 6/2 HDMI inputs and outputs.
The HDCP encryption protocol is now mandatory for most media devices. This security technology encrypts digital signals from one product to another. HDCP content-encryption protocol is present on Sony STR-ZA2100ES in the HDCP 2.2 version, and Denon AVR-S960H has the HDCP 2.3 version.
Connecting a vinyl player or phonograph is possible using a Phono input which is represented by mini-jack or RCA connectors. Only the AVR-S960H has a Phono interface.
|HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel)||✔||✔|
|HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel)||✔||✔|
|Digital content protection (HDCP)||HDCP 2.2||HDCP 2.3|
|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 8 for the AVR-S960H.
With the 4K pass-through feature, the AV receiver sends "native" 4K signals to a 4K TV from a video source without any processing. The STR-ZA2100ES works with the 4K/60Hz video, and the AVR-S960H has the 4K/120Hz.
The AV receiver passes "native" 8K signals from a video source to 8K TV without any encoding, with the 8k pass-through features. The 8K path-through is available on Denon AVR-S960H.
|HDR (High Dynamic Range)||HDR10||HDR10|
|4K signal pass-through||4K/60Hz||4K/120Hz|
|8K signal pass-through||✖||8K/60Hz|
|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-S960H has 10.
Voice control allows you to control the basic functions of the receiver through a smartphone, smart speaker or using the microphone that comes with the kit. The AVR-S960H can be controlled by voice via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Josh.AI. Denon AVR-S960H has the ECO mode.
|Voice control||✖||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Josh.AI|
|App control||iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android||iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android|
|Display||colour OSD||colour OSD|
|Tuner||AM, FM||AM, FM|
|Auto power off||✔||✔|
|Graphical user interface (GUI)||✔||✔|
|Firmware update||network, USB||network, USB|
|Other additional features||has not||IP Control, Web Control, RS-232 Control, App Control|
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.
|Zone audio output||speaker, preout||speaker|
|Zone HDMI output||✔||✖|
|Multi-room control||has not||HEOS App, Denon 2016 AVR Remote|
|Remote control input/output (IR)||1/2||0/0|
|DC trigger output (12V)||3||0|
For the ability to create multichannel surround sound, each of the receivers received 7 points out of 10.
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, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization|
|DTS HD Master||✔||✔|
|DTS (other)||DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD||DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD, DTS-EXPRESS|