The TX-SR607 features a simple graphical user interface (GUI) and setup menu that is highly intuitive and easier to navigate than the menus found on some of Onkyo’s high end receivers.
Because Audyssey’s 2EQ room/speaker EQ system is a vital, integral part of the TX-SR607, its setup and control procedures should be part of our User Interface discussion. My finding was that the Onkyo (GUI) guides you through Audyssey automated speaker setup in a simple, foolproof manner. But here are three important hints for best Audyssey results:
If you’ve never heard the Audyssey system in action, I can only say that it greatly simplifies system setup and adds readily apparent sonic benefits. Contrary to what some audiophiles might suppose, Audyssey does not blur or diminish even the subtlest of sonic characteristics in good speaker systems; instead, it leaves the core sound of speakers intact, while smoothing and balancing their in-room frequency response.
That said, I would recommend approaching Audyssey’s Dynamic EQ and—especially—Dynamic Volume functions with some caution. I have a running disagreement with the Audyssey folks on this point, but I personally find that the Dynamic EQ function, while offering some worthwhile benefits for those who listen at low-to-moderate volume levels, does seem to undercut clarity a bit (which the basic Audyssey EQ system does not). The Dynamic Volume function, in turn, can be very useful for those listening in apartments—especially late at night—but seems to undercut clarity even further. My recommendation: try these two functions for yourself and make your own judgment.
The TX-SR607 comes with a non-backlit remote that is smaller, simpler, and (I think) easier for newcomers to use than any of the previous Onkyo remotes I’ve tried. One particularly cool feature is a row of four buttons labeled Movie/TV, Music, Game, and Stereo. The buttons are designed to offer application-specific options for playback modes; if you repeated press the Music mode button, for example, you will only be offered choices that would be appropriate for music listening. The same goes for the Movie/TV mode, and so forth. Having watched many first time system users get lost in labyrinthine surround mode menus, I think the TX-SR607’s menu system is much simpler and more intuitive to use.
The Onkyo’s Faroudja DCDi Edge processor does a generally good job of upscaling lower resolution sources to 1080i levels. However, on the full battery of tests from the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark DVD I found that the Faroudja processor did not perform quite as well as the Silicon Optix HQV Reon processors used in some of the more expensive Onkyo receivers, nor could it match the exemplary performance exhibited by the Anchor Bay Technology VRS processor as used in the Oppo Blu-ray player.
On many of the tests on HQV Benchmark DVD the Faroudja performed beautifully—especially on the disc’s notoriously difficult jaggies tests. But three areas where I noted shortcomings involved Motion Adaptive Noise tests, where the Faroudja processor produced a noticeably softer image than some competing processors do, the Film Detail tests, where the Faroudja had significant problems with moiré patterns, and the Cadence tests, where traditional film (24 fps) and Video (30 fps) cadences looked fine, but other cadences (animation and DVCAM in particular) seemed a bit shaky.