Receivers

Onkyo TX-SR607 7.1 A/V Receiver

ARTICLE INDEX

Remote and Setup

Onkyo TX-SR607

The remote for the TX-SR607 is all I would expect given the receiver's price point. The remote is usable, with direct source input buttons and basic universal capabilities. The buttons are small and are nearly impossible to find in the dark, as the remote is not back lit, nor do the buttons glow in the dark. The overall button layout was pretty good and I had no problems with the receiver responding to commands, even from extreme angles. The only odd quirk I noticed was that once you press one of the direct input buttons (say DVD/BD), the remote switches to that mode and will no longer operate any of the functions of the receiver except volume. You will need to press the "receiver" mode button if you wish to send commands to the 607 again.

Onkyo TX-SR607

Setting up the 607 proved to be relatively easy. I plugged my Samsung Blu-ray/HD-DVD player into HDMI1, my cable box into HDMI2, and used the two component video inputs for my Wii and Pioneer Elite DVD/SACD player. Then I went into the Onkyo's intuitive onscreen menu to associate the appropriate audio/video jacks to the sources and I was done. Or so I thought. For some reason, the 607 would not accept the video signal from my Motorola 6208 HD PVR box. I kept getting HDCP content protection errors that would shut off the video signal after about two seconds. The problem could lie within the DVI-to-HDMI converter cable that I use, but I have used this exact same cable/cable box combo directly connected to two different HDTVs without a single glitch. I suspect that there may be a compatibility issue at play here. The product manager suggested obtaining an updated cable box to resolve my compatibility issue.

Since I couldn't get around the HDCP error, I simply used component video for the cable box. I had to "steal" a component connection from my Pioneer player, but since I use my Blu-ray player for all movie watching anyway, this was not too big of an issue. The 607 functions as an HDMI pass-through device only and during the course of my review I did not notice any degradation of HDMI-based signals. The Faroudja chip set is merely average when it comes to analog video scaling/de-interlacing, with the Coliseum flyover scene on the "Gladiator" DVD showing the "jaggies," a clear sign of poor 3:2 pull down.

Onkyo TX-SR607

The only other issue I had with setup revolved around the height channels. From reading the manual, it looked like the height channels needed to be hooked up to the spring-clip terminals (labeled "front high") on the back of the receiver. This allowed me to keep my back surround speaker hooked up to the "back surround" terminals, which would make switching between a traditional 7.1 setup and a 5.1 + "height channel" setup easy. But this is not how the 607 works. The product manual does not include the instructions but the product manager did provide the instructions to me in an e-mail:

"This is possible, but not when Powered Zone 2 is set to "Active". (Note that the photo above, of the set-up menu, shows the Zone 2 setting as "active".) Set Powered Zone 2 to "Not Active", then you can wire up traditional 7.1 and Front High channels. Then the channels being used will be determined by the listening mode (ie PLIIx will utilize surround back channels and no front high, PLIIz will utilize front high channels and no surround back."

When setting up the unit, you must decide if you are going to use back surrounds or height channels, and hook those speakers up to the "back surround" binding posts. From the speaker setup menu, activate the second zone amplifier and then select "front high." This same set of binding posts will also allow you to bi-amp your main front speakers if you only want to run a 5.1 setup. Just change the second zone amplifier setting to "bi-amp." The spring clips only work for Zone 2 speakers.

The 607 uses Audyssey's 2EQ automatic calibration system, which starts up automatically when you plug in the included microphone. Following the simple onscreen instructions, I let 2EQ measure the sound from three different places (the maximum that 2EQ allows) and it hit speaker distance and levels spot on the first time around. The onscreen menus really simplify this setup process, so make sure that you have your TV connected before running the Audyssey calibration. Once Audyssey is done, don't forget to save your results. From there, you can go back into the 607's onscreen menu and enable Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume if you choose. I am a big fan of Dynamic EQ, which compensates for the weaker bass and surround effects exhibited during low volume level listening, so I turned it on immediately. Dynamic Volume is great for keeping sound levels within a specific volume window, but I feel it compresses the overall sound too much, so I left it off for the whole review process.