The Sony STR-DH550 is another amazing entry-level AV receiver that is designed and made to provide you with an entertaining home cinematic experience. It may not have the bells and whistles of today’s AV receivers but at this price point, it is difficult to complain about it. Furthermore, the Sony STR-DH550 is one of the most highly rated AVRs and this goes to show it has what it takes to satisfy its owners when it comes to home theater performance.
You will still need matching speakers to get the best out of Sony STR-DH550 and in order to find the right ones, you will first need to learn more about your AV receiver. We will be exploring and finding out more about the strengths, limitations as well as Sony STR-DH550’s sonic characteristics. Once we are done with that, we will be sharing with you the list of the best matching speakers to go for.
Sonic Characteristics and Important Specifications of Sony STR-DH550
For an entry-level AV receiver, the Sony STR-DH550 has quite a high power output, it is rated 90 Watts into 6 Ohms with 2 channels driven and all the way up to 145 Watts into 6 Ohms with 1 channel driven. This is good as it will allow you to drive most entry-level bookshelf speakers and even floor-standers with high speaker sensitivity. It is a 5.2 channel AVR and you can connect up to 2 active subwoofers. These subwoofers are essential tools as they take over the bass reproduction role which helps to lift the strain from your AV receiver, allowing it to focus its power on the speakers. Depended on the quality of the powered subwoofers, some could reach down to 15Hz which most speakers are unable to do so.
The frequency response is as expected, 20Hz to 20kHz. The Sony STR-DH550 is able to process 4K UHD and 3D signals, but it is not HDCP 2.2 compliant so you’ll need to take note of that. It is unable to process the latest 3D audio formats and in a 5.2 channel setup, we can’t really expect an immersive cinematic experience. There is a D.C.A.C technology that you can use to calibrate your speakers to optimize the performance in your HT room. We will recommend doing some manual adjustments on your own afterward.
The Sony STR-DH550 is definitely an upgrade over TV speakers and soundbars, the sound field generated by 5 decent quality speakers working seamlessly together is larger and the sound effects are clearer. The Sony AVR has accuracy and clarity, delivering each movie scene with precision. The treble is crisp and clean but can be a touch too bright at times. The high clarity allows the AV receiver to produce details with clear audibility. The midrange is clean sounding as well, providing us with high-resolution sound quality. The overall sound reproduction can be a bit too lean, lacking the warmth and refinement for music playbacks.
The dialogues are highly defined and clearly audible, the bass performance is what really makes the home cinematic experience truly exciting. The bass is full-bodied, it slams really hard and never fails to impress which does overshadow the subtle details when the movie scene gets really busy. Still, it is very enjoyable to listen to and the midbass is punchy too but does trades off with immersion as the overall surround sound is not as expansive. We should not be nitpicking though, at this price point, the Sony STR-DH550 does give us what we wanted, a fun and exciting movie experience in the comfort of our home.
The information and data we have right now are more than enough, we will be able to list out the best speakers to match with Sony STR-DH550 based on them. Pricing will be taken into account since it is an entry-level receiver and we will mostly be looking at entry-level speakers. Active subwoofers will be one of the factors as well, as there’s no way we will be getting an expensive high-end full-range loudspeaker and the STR-DH550 won’t be able to drive such speakers too.
Sony STR-DH550 Specifications
- Power Outputs: 90 Watts into 6 Ohms (2 channels driven), 145 Watts into 6 Ohms (1 channel driven)
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Inputs: 4 HDMI inputs, 4 Analog inputs, 2 Optical inputs, 1 Coaxial input, USB input
- Outputs: Headphone output, 1 HDMI ARC, 2 Subwoofer outputs
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 432mm x 160mm x 330mm (17″ x 6.3″ x 13″)
- Weight: 7.6kg (16.8lbs)
Best Speakers to pair with Sony STR-DH550
The Jamo S 801 is one of the best budget bookshelf speakers to go for and pair them with your Sony STR-DH550 AVR. The overall sonic character of the S 801 stand-mounters are more neutral with a touch of brightness, quite similar to the STR-DH550 receiver. They will be great as rear surround speakers and due to their compact size, it is easier to find space for them. You should pair them with a matching center speaker such as the Jamo S 83 CEN, they will also need bass support from an active subwoofer. Another good thing about the Jamo S 801 and S 83 CEN is that they look stylish and don’t look like a budget speaker at all. We will recommend auditioning them first before making a decision.
Sony speakers will probably be the best match for Sony STR-DH550 especially if you like or are used to Sony’s house sound. For the front mains and rear surround channels, you can go with the Sony SSCS5 3-way bookshelf speakers. As for the center channel speaker, the Sony SSCS8 will be the ideal choice. To complete the Sony home theater system, you can go for 1 or 2 SACS9 active subwoofers. They are inexpensive as well and aesthetically match the sleek design of the Sony STR-DH550 AV receiver. These Sony loudspeakers are great for home theater but not as great for music as they lack refinement and warmth.
The ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 is another high-quality budget speaker to match with the Sony STR-DH550. These bookshelf speakers are neutral sounding and the treble may get a bit bright but never sounding harsh which makes them a suitable match with the STR-DH550 AVR. They do lack bass performance but an active subwoofer will solve this issue. These are revealing speakers which deliver plenty of details and have impeccable imaging which also makes them excellent stereo speakers in their price range. Couple with a matching ELAC Debut 2.0 C5.2 as the center channel speaker, you got an amazing but affordable home theater speaker set.
If you prefer warm-sounding speakers, the Wharfedale Diamond 225 are the speakers for you. These are wonderfully sound speakers which are easy on the ears and the sweet trebles can be engaging even though the overall sound reproduction is smooth. The Wharfedale Diamond 225 does not sacrifice details for smoothness too and their low-end reproduction packs a punch. For the rear surround, you might want to go with the matching Wharfedale Diamond 220 stand-mounters along with the Wharfedale Diamond 220c as the center channel speaker. This is a high-quality warm-sounding home theater speaker pack that will match well with the Sony STR-DH550.
An entry-level home cinema speaker pack such as the SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 will be a terrific match with the Sony STR-DH550 which excels more on home theater performance than stereo music playbacks. The SVS Prime Satellite speakers are designed and made for home theater performance, it has high clarity which reveals plenty of movie details. The trebles are crisp and bright sounding. The active subwoofer SVS SB-1000 is one of the best sealed cabinet subs in its price range. Delivering tight and deep bass reproduction, not to mention, it is nimble and agile, working cohesively with the Prime Satellites, making them sound like full-range speakers. It is definitely worthy of your time to hear them out.
Sealed cabinet active subwoofers are amazing for both music and home theater but if your main entertainment is watching movies then a ported cabinet will be more suited for you. You can go for brands that are similar to your speakers or brands that specialize in making high-quality subwoofers without breaking your wallet such as SVS, Rythmik Audio, HSU Research, Power Sound Audio, etc. The SVS PB-1000 Pro is a good start and if your home theater room is medium-sized, you can either go for dual PB-1000 Pro or choose a larger and more powerful ported sub such as SVS PB-2000 Pro.
One of the main factors that the listed speakers are chosen is due to their price points as we need to suit the entry-level price range of the Sony STR-DH550. They may be inexpensive but they are still some of the best speakers to match with the Sony AV receiver. We highly recommend shortlisting a few of them and have an audition with these speakers, to see if you like what you hear. Do feel free to use this list as a reference to look for other speaker brands or models.