I’ve reviewed a number of Onkyo A/V receivers over time (see my review of the TX-SR705 from Playback 3) but never one of the really large models and I’ve always wondered how one of the “big guys” might perform. Partly to satisfy my own curiosity, partly to continue the Playback review series on sub-$2k AVRs begun in issue 11, I decided to try Onkyo’s second biggest receiver—the $1,799, 7-1-channel, THX Ultra2 Plus-certified TX-SR876. As you’ll see in a moment, this receiver is powerful (7x140 watts per channel), flexible, incorporates a great video processor (the HQV Reon VX device from Silicon Optix), and provides one of the most sophisticated room EQ systems on the planet (Audyssey MultEQ XT). On paper, the TX-SR876 looks excellent, but the key question is whether its real-world performance lives up the potential promised in the specifications sheet. And the answer, in a nutshell, is that it does.
Consider this AVR if: you want an A/V receiver whose performance meets or beats the best in its class—a receiver that, though not inexpensive, is well priced for what it is and does. Look at this model if you prize excellent sound and picture quality, terrific flexibility, and advanced features you will not soon outgrow. One small caveat: to tap this AVR’s full potential, you’ll need and want to read its manual. It’s not overly complicated, but it does offer layer upon layer of sophisticated options.
Look elsewhere if: you crave that “nth” degree of performance that only truly great (and typically very costly) separate A/V controller/amp combos can provide (though this Onkyo can handily outperforms some controller/amp combos I’ve heard). Also look further if you require truly “dirt simple” set-up and operation procedures. While the TX-SR876 is by no means hard to use, it is a multi-faceted product whose rich features set requires a certain amount of study and experimentation for best results.
Ratings (compared to other sub-$2k AVRs)