Denon AVR-X540BT vs Sony STR-ZA3100ES Detailed Comparison
SCORE:
26
SCORE:
52

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Overview

Here we are comparing Denon AVR-X540BT to Sony STR-ZA3100ES to reveal their common strengths and weaknesses as well as the differences between them which will help you in making a correct decision before the purchase. The Denon AVR-X540BT has 5 channel and the Sony STR-ZA3100ES has 7 channel amplifiers with Denon AVR-X540BT's being less powerful.

Let us have a look at some highlights of the models.

Denon AVR-X540BT Highlights

Sony STR-ZA3100ES Highlights

  • 5.2 channels
  • 70 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven)
  • HDR10, 4K Passthrough
  • Bluetooth
  • USB input
  • 7.2 channels
  • 80 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven)
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X capable
  • HDR10, Dolby Vision, 4K Upscaling, 4K Passthrough
  • Ethernet
  • USB input

We have evaluated both receivers. Sony STR-ZA3100ES gets higher overall score in our ranking system which is based on the amplifier specifications, audio and video features, connectivity, multizone capabilities, radio and many other details.

Denon AVR-X540BT

Sony STR-ZA3100ES

AMPLIFIER
34
VIDEO FEATURES
35
AUDIO FEATURES
15
CONNECTIVITY
19
MULTIZONE
20
MISCELLANEOUS
19
RADIO
28
OVERALL
26
AMPLIFIER
45
VIDEO FEATURES
77
AUDIO FEATURES
51
CONNECTIVITY
38
MULTIZONE
67
MISCELLANEOUS
31
RADIO
21
OVERALL
52

Amplifier score is based on power ratings, minimum impedance load, power supply, transformer type, total harmonic distortion, damping factor, signal to noise ratio and other small details. Audio score depends on the number of channels, front wide channel support, maximum channel processing, support of audio formats, DAC specifications, room calibration algorithm... Video score is based on HDR, Dolby Vision and 4K passthrough, upscaling, analog to HDMI upconversion. Connectivity score is defined from all wired and wireless inputs and outputs, internet and bluetooth connections, HEOS, SONOS and others. Multizone score depends on the number of zones with their outputs. Radio score is evaluated form digital radio support and analog tuner with its frequency range, signal to noise ratio, harmonic distortion...

Advantage of Denon AVR-X540BT over Sony STR-ZA3100ES

This section shows those features and specifications which are the reason to choose Denon AVR-X540BT over Sony STR-ZA3100ES.

Denon AVR-X540BT has bigger power supply.

Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Dolby Pro Logic PLII
DTS Neo Neo:6
Music Playback via USB MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, FLAC
Bluetooth SBC, AAC
Headphone Out 6.3 mm
Analog Tuner FM/AM with RDS FM/AM
Color-Coded Speaker Terminals
Bigger Power Supply 310 W 290 W

Advantage of Sony STR-ZA3100ES over Denon AVR-X540BT

This section shows those features and specifications which are the reason to choose Sony STR-ZA3100ES over Denon AVR-X540BT.

Sony STR-ZA3100ES has more channels, more power per channel, more channel processing, more zones and higher signal to noise ratio. It supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and DSD streaming via HDMI. It has bi-amp capability and analog pre-outs. In video department only Sony STR-ZA3100ES supports Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma.

Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
More Channels 5.2 7.2
Bi-amp capability
More Channel Processing 5.1 9ch + Phantom 2ch
Dolby Atmos up to 7.1.2 or 5.1.4 plus 2 phantom rear surround channels
Dolby Surround Upmixer
DTS:X up to 7.1.2 or 5.1.4 plus 2 phantom rear surround channels
DTS Neural:X
DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1
DSD via HDMI 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
Dialogue Lift Center Speaker Lift Up
Pure Direct Mode
Dolby Vision
HLG
Video Signal Upscaling up to 4K/60p
Analog To HDMI Upconversion Component, Composite
Ethernet
Ethernet Switch 8-Port Gigabit
Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
More HDMI Inputs 5 6 (1 front)
More HDMI Outputs 1 2 (1 Main, 1 Sub/Zone2)
More Analog Audio Line Inputs 2 4
More Component Video Inputs 2
More Analog Pre-Outs 0.2 9.2
Front A/V Inputs USB HDMI, USB
Speaker A/B
More Zones 1 3
RS-232 Interface
+12V Trigger Output 3 (80 mA)
Remote (IR) Input/Output 0 / 0 1 / 2
More Speaker Terminals 5 7
More Large Speaker Terminals 7
Longer Warranty 3 Years 5 Years
Higher Power Output (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven, FTC) 70 W (0.08% THD) 80 W (0.09% THD)
Higher Power Output (6 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven, FTC) 90 W (0.7% THD) 120 W (0.9% THD)
Higher S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A) 98 dB 105 dB (20 kHz LPF, 500 mV)
Wider AM Frequency Range 522 kHz - 1611 kHz 530 kHz - 1710 kHz

Common Strengths of Denon AVR-X540BT and Sony STR-ZA3100ES

Denon AVR-X540BT and Sony STR-ZA3100ES share common strengths such as HDR10.

STRENGTHS Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
HDR10
4K or 8K Video Passthrough up to 4K 50/60Hz 4:4:4 up to 4K/60p (YCbCr4:4:4)
New HDCP Version 2.2 2.2 (6 in / 2 out)
USB Input 1 (Front) for USB memory 1 (Front) for update and setting
Composite Video Inputs 2 2
Zones 1 3
Analog Tuner FM/AM with RDS FM/AM

Common Weaknesses of Denon AVR-X540BT and Sony STR-ZA3100ES

Denon AVR-X540BT and Sony STR-ZA3100ES share common weaknesses such as no Auro3D support, no MHL input, no ChromeCast, no DTS Play-Fi, no Amazon Alexa, no SONOS, no wi-fi, no phono input, no analog multi-channel input, no internet radio, no Pandora, no Spotify, no Tidal, no Deezer, no Napster and no SiriusXM.

WEAKNESSES Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
No DTS Virtual:X
No IMAX Enhanced
No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
No DSD via USB
No DTS Dialog Control
No Audyssey Dynamic EQ
No Audyssey Dynamic Volume
No Audyssey LFC
No Audyssey Sub EQ HT
No HDR10+
No Dynamic HDR
No Auto Low Latency Mode Pass-through
No VRR
No QFT
No MHL Input
No FireConnect
No FlareConnect
No Chromecast Built-In
No DTS Play-Fi
Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
Does Not Work with SONOS
No Wi-Fi
No Phono Input
No Multi-Channel Input
No Internet Radio
No Pandora
No Spotify
No Tidal
No Deezer
No Napster
No SiriusXM Internet Radio

Selected Features

Amplifier

Denon AVR-X540BT has 5 channel and Sony STR-ZA3100ES has 7 channel amplifiers. Denon AVR-X540BT delivers 70 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven) and Sony STR-ZA3100ES delivers 80 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven) Since 2016 all receiver manufacturers have dropped front wide channel support. Sony STR-ZA3100ES is no exception.


Video Features

Both receivers support 4K passthrough up to 60p. Sony STR-ZA3100ES can do 4K upscaling up to 60p. Denon AVR-X540BT supports HDR10 and Sony STR-ZA3100ES supports HDR10, Dolby Vision.


HDR10

High-dynamic-range (HDR) video has greater dynamic range than standard-dynamic-range (SDR) video with brigter whites and deeper blacks. HDR10 was announced on August 27, 2015, by the Consumer Technology Association and uses the wide-gamut Rec. 2020 color space. It sends static metadata via video stream to the TV which calibrates its screen brightness and color according to that. HDR10 supports up to 1000 nits of brightness and 10-bit color which corresponds to 1024 shades of the primary RGB colors.


Dolby Vision

Dolby Vision is an update to HDR10 by adding dynamic metadata that can be used to more accurately adjust brightness levels up to 10,000 nits maximum brightness on a scene-by-scene or frame-by-frame basis and supports up to 12-bit color depth (4096 shades of RGB) and 8K resolution.


Dolby Atmos and Dolby Surround upmixer

Sony STR-ZA3100ES supports Dolby Atmos with its Dolby Surround upmixer. It can be configured upto 5.1.2 channels using internal amplifiers or upto 7.1.2 or 5.1.4 channels by adding 2 channel external amplifier.

Dolby Atmos is the first cinematic audio format in which sounds exist as individual entities, called audio objects. In Dolby Atmos, any sound - the helicopter, a car screeching around a corner, a melodic bird call - can exist as an independent audio object, free of channel restrictions. They can be precisely placed and moved anywhere in your room, including overhead, to flow above and around you in three-dimensional space. Through the use of audio objects, overhead sound, and all the richness, clarity, and power of Dolby sound, Dolby Atmos turns your room into an amazing place for entertainment. You'll feel like you're inside the action, in ways you've never experienced before.

Dolby Atmos for the home represents every sound in the original cinema mix as an audio object. Extensions to the Dolby Audio™ codecs, along with an advanced scalable algorithm, allow Dolby Atmos to be delivered via Blu-ray Disc and streaming media. A spatially-coded substream is added to Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus. A Dolby Atmos audio/video receiver (AVR) adapts the cinema experience to your home theater from seven speakers to as many as 34 in 24.1.10 configuration, recreating the original artistic concept. The format supports up to 128 simultaneous independent audio objects in a mix for rich, realistic, and breathtaking sound. It recreates the director's original concept through descriptive metadata to provide customized playback for home theater and delivers sounds above you through overhead speakers, special upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

If the content is not mixed in Dolby Atmos then the Dolby surround upmixer will expand the audio to all channels including ceiling speakers. The upmixer has replaced the Dolby Pro Logic II family with improved upmixing algorithms.


DTS:X and Neural:X upmixer

Sony STR-ZA3100ES supports DTS:X with its Neural:X upmixer. It can be configured upto 5.1.2 channels using internal amplifiers or upto 7.1.2 or 5.1.4 channels by adding 2 channel external amplifier.

A technique used in DTS:X is similar to the one used in Dolby Atmos. Instead of a fixed number of channels, DTS:X defines object locations from the listener in polar coordinates. An a/v receiver then dynamically renders sound according to the current speaker configuration. The speaker layout employed by DTS:X is the sum of Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D. It has standard 7.1 channel base layer, a 5 channel height layer above the base layer on the front and side walls, and 3 rows of speakers on the ceiling.

DTS Neural:X is an upmixer that can take non DTS:X content and upmix it to the DTS:X speaker layout. It has replaced the DTS Neo family with improved flexibility.


Digital Legato Linear

Sony STR-ZA3100ES features Digital Legato Linear (D.L.L.) to play audio signals with high-quality sound. The D.L.L. function is a technology developed by Sony that allows low-quality digital and analog audio signals to be played with high-quality sound. This function is available for Linear PCM signals, as well as lossy compression audio formats and analog audio signals. It works when [2ch Stereo], [Direct], [A.F.D.] or [Multi Stereo] is selected.


Connectivity


Denon AVR-X540BT

Denon AVR-X540BT can also connect to bluetooth devices via built-in bluetooth adapter. It has 5 HDMI inputs with HDCP 2.2 copy protection.

Front panel has USB input.

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Sony STR-ZA3100ES

Sony STR-ZA3100ES can be connected to internet using ethernet cable. It has 6 HDMI inputs with HDCP 2.2 (6 in / 2 out) copy protection. There are 9.2 channel analog pre-outs for external amplification.

Front panel has HDMI and USB inputs.

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Detailed Specifications

And in the end let us list the detailed specifications of the receivers side-by-side.

Note: The following table shows only those details which are applicable for both models and excludes the ones that are applicable for only one model. If you want to see a full list of specs for each model please visit their individual pages here - Denon AVR-X540BT and here - Sony STR-ZA3100ES.

BASICS Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
BrandDenonSony
ModelAVR-X540BTSTR-ZA3100ES
TypeA/V ReceiverA/V Receiver
CountryUKUSA
Release Year20182017
AMPLIFIER Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Channels5.27.2
THX™ Certification
Continuous 6 Ω Rated
Certified 4 Ω Performance
Bi-amp Capability
AUDIO Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Maximum Channel Processing5.19ch + Phantom 2ch
Air Studios Monitor Certification
Dolby Atmos up to 7.1.2 or 5.1.4 plus 2 phantom rear surround channels
Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
Dolby TrueHD
Dolby Digital Plus
Dolby Surround Upmixer
Dolby Pro Logic PLII
Dolby Digital EX
DTS:X up to 7.1.2 or 5.1.4 plus 2 phantom rear surround channels
DTS Neural:X
DTS Virtual:X
DTS Neo Neo:6
DTS-HD Master Audio
DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
DTS 96/24
DTS Express
DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1
IMAX Enhanced
Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
PCM 2-ch/Multi-ch Input 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
Music Playback via USBMP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, FLAC
DSD via HDMI 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
DSD via USB
DSD to PCM Converter
USB DAC
DTS Dialogue Control
Dialogue Lift Center Speaker Lift Up
Audyssey Dynamic EQ
Audyssey Dynamic Volume
Audyssey LFC
Audyssey Sub EQ HT
Audyssey DSX
Direct Mode
Pure Direct Mode
CALIBRATION Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic. D.C.A.C. EX
VIDEO Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
HDR10
HDR10+
Dynamic HDR
BT.2020 color space
Dolby Vision
Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG)
Quick Media Switching (QMS)
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
Quick Frame Transport (QFT)
3-D Ready
Video Signal Passthroughup to 4K 50/60Hz 4:4:4up to 4K/60p (YCbCr4:4:4)
Video Signal Upscaling up to 4K/60p
Analog To HDMI Upconversion Component, Composite
isf Certified Calibration Control
CONNECTIVITY Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
MHL Input
FireConnect
FlareConnect
Chromecast Built-In
DTS Play-Fi
Works with Amazon Alexa
Works with SONOS
AirPlay
InstaPrevue Input Source Prevue
Ethernet
Ethernet Switch 8-Port Gigabit
Wi-Fi
Bluetooth SBC, AAC
HDBaseT Compatible
Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
HDCP Version2.22.2 (6 in / 2 out)
HDMI Inputs56 (1 front)
HDMI Outputs12 (1 Main, 1 Sub/Zone2)
USB Input1 (Front) for USB memory1 (Front) for update and setting
USB DC Out Port
Analog Audio Line Inputs24
Analog Audio Line Outputs
Phono Input
Optical Inputs22
Optical Outputs
Coaxial Inputs/Outputs1 / No1 / No
Composite Video Inputs22
Composite Video Outputs11
S-Video Inputs
S-Video Outputs
Component Video Inputs2
Component Video Outputs
PC In
Multi-Channel Input
Analog Pre-Outs0.29.2
XLR Inputs
XLR Pre-outs
Front A/V InputsUSBHDMI, USB
Speaker A/B
Headphone Out 6.3 mm
ZONES Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Zones13
RS-232 Interface
+12V Trigger Output3 (80 mA)
Remote (IR) Input/Output0 / 01 / 2
MISC Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
On-Screen Display Graphical User Interface
GUI Languages33
Remote ControllerRC-1216RM-AAU217
Detachable Power Cord
RADIO Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Analog Tuner FM/AM with RDS FM/AM
Digital Radio
Internet Radio
Pandora
Spotify
Tidal
Deezer
Napster
SiriusXM Internet Radio
CONSTRUCTION Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Speaker Terminals57
Large Speaker Terminals7
Color-Coded Speaker Terminals
Gold plated RCA terminals
POWER Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Power SupplyAC 230 V, 50/60 HzAC 120 V, 60 Hz
Power Consumption310 W290 W
Standby Power0.1 W0.3 W
GENERAL Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Dimensions (W x H x D)434 mm x 151 mm x 319mm
17 1/8" x 6" x 12 5/8"
430 mm x 174 mm x 410 mm
17" x 6-7/8" x 16-1/4"
Weight7.5 kg13.1 kg (28 lbs. 15 oz.)
Warranty3 Years5 Years
SPECS Denon AVR-X540BT Sony STR-ZA3100ES
Power Output (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven, FTC)70 W (0.08% THD)80 W (0.09% THD)
Power Output (6 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven, FTC)90 W (0.7% THD)120 W (0.9% THD)
Input Sensitivity and Impedance (Line)200 mV/47 kΩ150 mV/50 kΩ
S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A)98 dB105 dB (20 kHz LPF, 500 mV)
Frequency Response (Analog In)+1/-3 dB (10 Hz to 100 kHz, Direct mode)10 Hz - 100 kHz/±3 dB
FM Frequency87.5 MHz - 108.0 MHz87.5 MHz - 108.0 MHz
AM Frequency522 kHz - 1611 kHz530 kHz - 1710 kHz

* - 480i/576i and 480p/576p only
** - 480i/576i only
*** - no 1080p/24 upconversion
**** - 1080p signal is not converted

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