Editors' note: The rating of the Onkyo TX-SR607 has been raised since publication to better reflect its value compared to competing AV receivers.
When Onkyo announced the TX-SR607, the company made a big deal that it was the first AV receiver to include onboard Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing. Dolby's new format relies on "height" speakers--two satellite speakers situated above the standard front right/left speakers--to create a more "airy" soundscape--or at least that's the idea. We tried our best to enjoy the extra atmospheric effects, but the reality is our ears had a tough time hearing anything beyond placebo effects. But honestly, who cares? The Onkyo TX-SR607 is a great midrange AV receiver without Pro Logic IIz, offering up six HDMI inputs and excellent sound quality at a street price that is already down to $500 online. If you're looking for more video-centric features like a graphical user interface or high quality analog video upconversion, it may be smart to hold off until the Sony STR-DN1000 and Pioneer VSX-1019AH are released. But if you'd rather maximize your HDMI connectivity and sound quality on a budget, it's tough to beat the TX-SR607.
The trend in home audio is to make gear smaller and sleeker, but Onkyo receivers are unapologetically big and bulky. Coming in at 17.13-inches wide by 6.94-inches high by 12.94-inches deep, the Onkyo TX-SR607 is available in black or silver finishes. You'll want to leave plenty of space in your home theater rack to fit the receiver, especially since it tends to run hot. The front panel offers the standard assortment of buttons and knobs, but it also features an HDMI port; the TX-SR607 is the first receiver we've seen with a front panel HDMI port. We're not picky about aesthetics when it comes to AV receivers, but if you are you'd probably be better off looking at options like the Sony STR-DN1000 or Pioneer VSX-1019AH.
The included remote control is the same as last year's and we generally like its simple design. Instead of offering all the functions directly on the remote, the TX-SR607's clicker uses a simpler design that relies more on navigating onscreen menus. While some old-school home theater fans may prefer having all the buttons at their fingertips, we felt like this design was much less intimidating for the average user.
While more AV receivers are starting to feature true graphical user interfaces, the TX-SR607 features a text-based onscreen interface. To be fair, there are some graphics accompanying the menus, but they're comparatively lo-fi--although they easily best the onscreen menus of the Yamaha RX-V665BL. Graphics aside, the menus are easy to get around and we didn't run into any snags during our setup. Our one nitpick is that there's no capability to change the upscaling resolution in the menu system; you need to use the button on the remote instead.
The Onkyo TX-SR607's Audyssey 2EQ automatic speaker calibration system uses a microphone to analyze the speakers' and subwoofer's sound from three listening positions in your room. The Audyssey 2EQ checks the wiring polarity for each speaker, adjusts each channel's volume level and time delay setting, determines the speaker "sizes," and subwoofer crossover settings. The Audyssey 2EQ also provides equalization corrections to the speakers.
We generally liked the TX-SR607's sound after running the Audyssey 2EQ setup, but the subwoofer volume was too loud. We turned the subwoofer's volume control down. We also checked out the Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Audyssey Dynamic Volume processing features. Dynamic EQ compensates for frequency response losses that occur at quiet listening volumes. That's a great idea, but we felt Dynamic EQ muddied the sound, boosting the bass too much. We much preferred the TX-SR607's sound with Dynamic EQ turned off.
Dynamic Volume minimizes abrupt soft/loud volume changes in movies and other program materials; it does work, but again sound quality suffered. That said, you might feel Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume are helpful for late night listening sessions. There's no harm in trying them out, but you'll have to navigate through a few menu layers to turn them on or off. We wouldn't have minded if Onkyo added a little bit more remote clutter with direct access to Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
|Dolby TrueHD + DTS-HD MA||Yes||Onscreen display||Text-based|
|Analog upconversion||1080i||Source renaming||Yes|
|Selectable output resolution||Yes||Satellite radio||Sirius|
In addition to Dolby Pro Logic IIz, the TX-SR607 has onboard decoding for both of the new high-resolution soundtrack formats, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Analog upconversion is provided up to 1080i, although we really weren't satisfied with the image quality--we'll get to the details in the performance section. Otherwise, the rest of these features are pretty standard.