Sony STR-DH590 vs Yamaha RX-V385 5 Channel AV Receiver Comparison – Which is Better?

Multi-channel AV receivers used to be fairly niche and expensive pieces of equipment, but, HiFi has become exponentially more affordable and accessible in the last several years, and both Yamaha and Sony deserve significant credit for having produced a variety of high quality yet still very affordable AV receivers.

Enter the STR-DH590 and the RX-V385 – they both came out circa 2018 and are still two of the most popular and best selling 5 channel AV receivers on the market. How do they actually measure up against each other? Is one decidedly better than the other? That’s what we’ll answer here in this full product comparison.

Sony STRDH590 5.2 Channel Surround Sound Home Theater Receiver: 4K HDR AV Receiver with Bluetooth,BlackYAMAHA RX-V385 5.1-Channel 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Bluetooth

STR-DH590 vs RX-V385M
click to see zoomable images on Amazon (affiliate links)

Notable Differences Between the Sony STR-DH590 and Yamaha RX-V385

These two receivers are honestly very similar in features, inputs, and build. But there are a few distinguishing differences between the two:

Automatic room calibration – The RX-V385 comes with a mic, which uses Yamaha’s proprietary EQ technology to optimally tune your system based on the connected speakers, their relative locations in your room, and your room itself. The STR-DH590 does not come with such a feature, though that doesn’t mean you couldn’t achieve as good or better tuning with it via manual EQ tweaking.

Sub-out terminals – the STR-DH590 has two dedicated subwoofer inputs while the RX-V385 only has one, meaning you have the option to use dual subwoofers with the STR-DH590 but only one with the RX-V385. Most people will only ever need and use one dedicated subwoofer, so this is a fairly situational advantage.

Binding posts – The RX-V385 has 5 way binding posts for all of the passive speaker terminals, while the STR-DH590 only has 5-way binding posts for the main left/right speakers but simpler spring clips for the surround speakers. Spring clip connectors aren’t technically worse than binding posts, but they are much more finnicky and kind of a pain to deal with. Spring clip to banana plug adapters are a cheap option as well, though.

Coaxial inputs – the RX-V385 has two coax inputs while the STR-DH5950 only has one.

Sony STRDH590 5.2 Channel Surround Sound Home Theater Receiver: 4K HDR AV Receiver with Bluetooth,BlackYAMAHA RX-V385 5.1-Channel 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Bluetooth

STR-DH590 vs RX-V385M input back panels
click to see zoomable images on Amazon (affiliate links)

Do The Different Power Specs of The Sony STR-DH590 and Yamaha RX-V385 Actually Matter?

Power output is arguably the most fundamental and important spec for any receiver, but it’s also one of the most convoluted, mainly because companies report their figures differently and in a way that’s not practically possible to perfectly compare.

According to their respective spec sheets, the STR-DH590 amplifier is rated at 90W, (2 channels driven, 6 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, THD 0.09%) and the RX-V385 is rated at 70W, (2 channels driven, 8 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, THD 0.09%). A layperson might see 90W and think the Sony unit delivers significantly more power, but: note the difference in the resistances, 6 ohms and 8 ohms – without getting too lost in the weeds, more resistance (higher ohms) means it takes more current to achieve the same power output. Meaning, the Sony unit will drive roughly about 25% less watts at the same parameters if you connect 8 ohm speakers to it rather than 6 ohm speakers.

Long story short: both these receivers have about the same power potential, and in a practical sense, when most people will rarely use a significant fraction of a receiver’s full potential power, the difference here is basically negligible

Bottom Line: Which One Is the Best Choice?

The STR-DH590 and RX-V385 are honestly similar enough that the best choice for most people is going to be whatever the best price is at the time – audio equipment prices can fluctuate a lot, and for seemingly no reason at all, so if you manage to get either on a dip you’ve probably made a good purchase.

The only significant difference, in our opinion, is that the Sony unit can accommodate two subwoofers while the Yamaha unit cannot, but, not that many people are ever going to want or need more than one subwoofer. But if you do, and you don’t mind spring clips or that you’ll likely need to do more manual EQ adjusting to get things right, then the Sony unit is probably the better choice.

Get the Sony STR-DH590 receiver on Amazon (affiliate link)

Get the Yamaha RX-V385 receiver on Amazon (affiliate link)

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