Receivers

Onkyo TX-SR606 7.1 A/V Receiver

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

I was anxious to see what refinements the EQ2 did on music that I was familiar with over the years. I started off by listening to Samuel Barber's "Toccata Festiva op. 36" (Linn CKD180) on SACD.

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Besides being superbly recorded and performed, the sound engineer placed the organ in the surrounds and the orchestra in the mains. The result is a stunningly spacious sound field that places you in the middle of the St. Augustine's chapel. The Marcussen organ sounded solid, with great articulation. The orchestra was well panned across the front of my listening room. Though my subwoofer is in the front left corner of my room, it was seamlessly blended with the organ in the surrounds behind me. Next on my list was a DTS test disc on the Telarc label (CD-84402-DTS).

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The opening montage is dynamic, exhilarating and comic (thank you Prof. Peter Shickle) with full use of all the speakers, all of the time. The panning and swirling of sound from front to back was dizzying. Maria Muldar's voice was quite natural and laid back on track six: "Thinking About You". Track 16 is entitled "F-16 Fighter Squadron" and it cleared the room of my cat! I was impressed with how well the speakers were working together. For added fun, I popped in The Flaming Lips, "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" in DVD-A (Warner Brothers 48489-2)

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This recording is in 5.1 surround and they aggressively use all the speakers in the mix. The sound was rich and detailed with a throbbing synth beat and quirky lyrics. The 606 played all of this without a hint of stridency or compressed sound. I switched the output from the 5.1 analog outs over to HDMI and could not reliably hear a difference in sound quality. I eventually settled on HDMI, as it was easier to use and included a video signal at the same time. I played many different movies through the 606 and noticed no degradation of the HD-DVD video signal on my display. The landing and subsequent battle on Iwo Jima from "Flags of Our Fathers" was thrilling!

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The 606 had no trouble reproducing the battleship salvos (the cat is now downstairs, under the couch). Switching from CD mode to DVD to cable was quick and easy with just the slightest pause for the audio to kick in. No handshake issues noted. Overall, I came away impressed, not only by the performance of the 606, but by all of the features that were packed into this unit at this price point.