A project I’m working on for the upcoming Playback issue 23 is a review of Onkyo’s TX-SR607 “7.2-channel” A/V receiver, which retails for $599. The TX-SR607 makes a great representative of a very important class of receivers; namely, models that offer “luxury liner” features at an “economy class” price. Let’s do a quick walk-around tour of the Onkyo so that you can see what I mean.
For starters, let’s note that the modestly priced TX-SR607 is by no means a 98-pound weakling; on the contrary, it puts out a very respectable 7 x 90 Wpc. Next, let’s note that while the SR607 is far from Onkyo’s most costly model, it does offer a number of interesting firsts for that company.
Specifically, it is the first Onkyo model to incorporated the Dolby Pro-Logic IIz surround processing mode, which is designed to take inbound two-channel material and to create convincing surround channel information including—and this is the really groundbreaking part—height channels that add a vertical component to the surround soundstage.
Next, the TX-SR607 represents a wave of new-think AVRs that incorporate six (count ‘em) HDMI inputs including—here’s another first for the Onkyo line—a faceplate-mounted HDMI input. Very handy. Finally, the TX-SR607 is (along with its stable mate the TX-SR507) the first Onkyo AVR to incorporate the firm’s new rear panel-mounted “universal port,” through which it will be possible to connect Onkyo’s upcoming next-generation iPod dock and HD Radio tuner module.
All the key basics are accounted for, too, including features that, not so long ago, would have been found only on premium-priced models. For example, the receiver supports 1080p upscaling for all video sources via an onboard Faroudja DCDi video processor. Similarly, onboard decoders for the latest high-res surround sound codecs (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio) are provided.
But perhaps the most important element Onkyo has included is the familiar Audyssey 2EQ automated room correction/speaker EQ system, complete with support for Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Audyssey Dynamic Volume functions. Audyssey 2EQ is the simplest of all Audyssey room EQ systems, as it takes measurement from “only” three listening positions (as opposed to more sophisticated and costly Audyssey systems that take measurements from six, eight, or even more listening positions).
Past experience with the Audyssey 2EQ system suggests that it will yield a smooth, well-balanced sound in all but the trickiest listening environments. Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume can be useful features, as well, especially for apartment dwellers who must turn volume levels down (to preserve peaceful relations with neighbors), yet who still hope to enjoy rich surround sound effects at reduced volume levels.
I’m looking forward to putting the TX-SR607 through its paces. Watch for the full review to appear within the next few weeks.