To see what the Onkyo could do with a really first-rate high-resolution music recording, I put on “Mood Indigo” from the Joe Wilder/Marshal Royal Quintet’s Mostly Ellington [Blueport/NuForce]. One of the most interesting things about this recording is that it is delivered in two formats—a traditional CD and an ambitious DVD disk complete with a 24-bit/96kHz soundtrack. I used the 24/96 DVD for my listening tests.
What impressed me was the way the Onkyo captured the intimate, up-close feel of Royal’s opening sax solo, the melancholy sweetness of Wilder’s answering solo, and—above all—the stunning though very subtly rendered sonic cues that made the recording venue (the Lyceum Theater in San Diego) sound like a real, three dimensional space. Put these factors together and you have a receiver capable of highly involving playback.
While we could quibble over whether the Onkyo’s digital front end sounds as good as would the high quality analog outputs of a good disc player, the fact is that it sounds vivid and intensely alive on this brilliant live recording, producing a sound I think many enthusiasts—even pretty finicky ones—would find highly satisfying.
Onkyo’s TX-SR607 represents a fork in the road of AVR development, taking a path that presumes customers will for the most part choose to use digital connections (and specifically HDMI connections) to carry both audio and video signals. Old-school audiophiles (and I proudly admit I am one) will lament Onkyo’s decision to omit multichannel analog inputs, but even so the fact remains that this receiver offers very good sound and some very advanced technologies (including support for Dolby PLIIz) for its modest asking price.
Onkyo TX-SR607 7.2 channel A/V Receiver
Power output: 7 x 90 Wpc @ 8 ohms
Decoding formats:Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Pro Logic IIz; DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, DTS Surround Sensation, and DTS; DSD bitstreams; multichannel PCM (up to 7.1 channels at up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution)
Video inputs/outputs: Composite video (5 in, 2 out); Component video (2 in, 1 out), HDMI (6 in—1 on front panel, 1 out)
Audio inputs/outputs: Stereo analog (7 in, 3 out—1 as Zone 2 output), 2 subwoofer line-level analog outputs, digital audio (2 optical in, 2 coaxial in), HDMI v1.3a Repeating/Switching (6 in, 1 out), Sirius satellite radio (1), AM/FM/HD Radio tuner (1), headphone output (1)
Other: universal port (1 in), auto calibration mic (1)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 6.94" x 17.125" x 12.94"
Weight: 23.8 pounds
Onkyo U.S.A. Corporation