Receivers

Onkyo TX-SR606 7.1 A/V Receiver

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup

As technology continues its relentless april, even a mid-line receiver can become an intimidating piece of equipment for a novice to set up. The 606 on the other hand is fairly well laid out and the setup process was straightforward. I had my 5.1 setup running in less than 20 minutes (and using the 7.1 setup would not have added much to that timetable). The first thing I did was run the Audyssey2EQ. I was anxious to try this new (to me) technology and the result was very impressive! Once you plug in the supplied microphone, you simply follow the OSD instructions. After the initial test tones, the system noticed that I did not have a 7.1 setup and as it tested the next speaker, the two missing speakers were not shown on the OSD.

Within 10 minutes, my system was calibrated for loudness, distance, delay and EQ of basic room parameters. I had to correct the setting of my mains from large to small, but the rest of the settings were rock solid. Even my subwoofer had been integrated well with the other speakers. The bass was tighter and less boomy. After long sessions of listening, I have come to this conclusion about Audyssey. Though the sound "quality" was not as good as my reference system, the sound "field" was better than anything I had experienced. The panning of sound from left to right and forward to rear was seamless. The perception of being in the middle of the action was quite palpable and realistic. When I moved from my primary (middle) seat to the seat on my left or right, the sound field stayed remarkably stable.

I noticed that the Auddessy does not engage when a high-resolution format is used (SACD, DVD-A, DD True HD and DTS HD Master). My Toshiba will decode and send DD True HD as lossless PCM over HDMI, which the 606 displayed as "multichannel". The 606 will decode all of these formats and can display the sampling frequency. I allowed the Oppo to convert DSD to PCM and after some critical listening between PCM and direct DSD, which the 606 will also accept; I felt the Oppo did a better job with the PCM conversion than the Onkyo. All of my SACDs were displayed with a frequency of 88.2 kHz. The 606 will also take 7.1 analog inputs, but I could not resist the single HDMI input for SACD. Overall, the sound quality from the 606 was very good and passed the high-resolution sources through with no noticeable coloration or distortion.