Receivers

Onkyo TX-SR607 7.1 A/V Receiver

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

Onkyo TX-SR607

First impressions tend to stick with you, and the TX-SR607 cuts a fairly sharp silhouette with its real aluminum face panel (available in either black or silver). The front panel design is very clean and easy to operate with dedicated source buttons, a navigation joy pad (yes, you could actually set up this unit without the remote if need be), and buttons for other useful things like display panel dimming and listening mode selection. There is also a 1/4" headphone jack, auxiliary audio input, a stereo mini-jack for iPod-type devices, and a jack for the Audyssey calibration microphone. Special mention needs to be given to the inclusion of a full-size HDMI 1.3a input on the front panel. Thank you Onkyo! I hope this is the start of a trend in the industry, as temporarily plugging in an HDMI-equipped camcorder, camera, or video game console is infinitely easier with the front panel jack.

Onkyo TX-SR607

Moving around back, we see that Onkyo is expecting the 607's purchasers to have pretty up-to-date gear. HDMI is definitely the preferred hook-up method, with the 607 sporting five HDMI 1.3a inputs and one output. This should prove to be more than adequate for just about anyone in the $600 price range. There are two component video inputs and one output.

There is not a single S-video input, though Onkyo still felt it was necessary to include five composite video inputs. Personally, I would trade three composites for an additional component input, but that's just me (I've still got three component-only devices in my rack).

The 607 sports Faroudja's DCDI processing and scaling for analog sources, with HDMI being simply pass-through from the source. Two optical digital and two coaxial digital audio outputs are included for non-HDMI equipped digital components, and should prove adequate for most consumers. There are also two subwoofer pre-outs, which is a rare but very welcome feature. There are five-way binding posts for the main seven channels of amplification, but the Zone 2 channels get stuck with wimpy-looking spring-clip terminals. Not only are they a very flimsy connection, they also require very thin wire. I had trouble getting 14 Gauge (the smallest I had lying around) bare wire into the clips securely. Since adding binding posts would probably have cost all of $1, I was pretty disappointed by this omission. Overall build quality was solid, and met my expectations considering the list price.

I do have a few observations with respect to the connectivity options on the 607. There is no RS-232 jack for custom control systems, but that is most likely not a big deal for a receiver of this price. There is also no IR input jack, which is very handy if you need to hide your gear in a closet or equipment rack or use an RF to IR blaster. There is also no switched AC outlet, though I'm probably one of the few people who still use one (to trigger the bias light behind my plasma). A multi-channel pre-out is not included either, so anyone with plans of connecting the 607 to a higher-powered amp down the road must look elsewhere in Onkyo's lineup.

Also, I was surprised by the lack of a 5.1/7.1 multi-channel analog input. Not only does this alienate almost every multichannel SACD/DVD-Audio player (like my Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai), it also means that you can't use the analog outputs of a Blu-ray player. Granted, HDMI bit-streaming would be the preferred setup in most cases, but having the player decode the audio is still the only sure way to get all secondary audio and menu sounds off of a Blu-ray disc without degrading the signal in some way. As Onkyo has obviously designed this player for today's tech-savvy market, the absence of either a USB input or Ethernet jack is surprising. But, Onkyo does include the UP-A1 iPod dock, which allows full control of your iPod from the receiver.