Onkyo TX-SR308 review



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Onkyo TX-SR308
  • Onkyo TX-SR308
  • Onkyo TX-SR308
  • Onkyo TX-SR308
  • Onkyo TX-SR308


Our Score:


User Score:

Onkyo is on a high after scooping another gong for the TX-SR608 in our 2010 Awards, but if that feature-packed receiver is beyond your budget then its baby brother might be more up your street. Naturally for an entry-level model, many of Onkyo’s juiciest features have been stripped away to reach an attractive price point, but if its performance is half as good as the SR608 we could still be onto a winner.

It’s a 5.1-channel receiver offering 100W per channel, and most significantly it can handle 3D signals through its HDMI v1.4 sockets, which is great news at this price.

First under the spotlight is the SR308’s design, and we’re pleased to say it’s a pleasant looking unit with a smart black finish (also available in silver if you prefer). That said, if clutter’s not your thing you might not be enamoured by the busy front panel, which is teeming with big dials and buttons, although these make it possible to control every aspect of the Onkyo’s functionality if you don’t have the remote to hand.

The buttons on the front panel let you flick through the various listening modes and sources, plus there are keys for controlling menus. The central display panel is bright and provides a comprehensive range of information about the incoming signal and current settings. We’re slightly disappointed by the lack of front sockets, which makes to hard to temporarily connect external sources, but at least there’s a headphone jack and an input for MP3 players. A ‘Music Optimiser’ button for boosting the sound quality of compressed files is found on the left.

The rear panel looks sparse compared with the SR608, although it should suffice for those with simple systems. There are three 3D-ready HDMI inputs and one output, which is the bare minimum for any AV receiver, enough to cover a Blu-ray deck, games console and Sky box. It doesn’t leave room for any expansion though, so if you’re likely to add more HDMI-equipped kit in the future it’s worth stepping up to the SR608.

There are three digital audio inputs too – two optical and one coaxial – and five sets of analogue stereo inputs. On the analogue video side you get two component inputs and one output, plus four composite inputs and two outputs. Other sockets include a subwoofer pre out, radio antenna inputs, a universal port for Onkyo’s optional peripherals (including iPod docks and DAB radio tuners) and an RI remote system control port.

Interestingly, only the front channels are given binding posts – the rest of the speakers have to be connected to springclip terminals, a sign of the SR308’s budget nature. The small holes don’t make it easy for you to connect thick speaker cables and the connection isn’t as sturdy as binding posts.

Onto features and surprisingly Onkyo has left out automatic calibration, arguably more useful on an entry-level product like this. Still, making sonic tweaks is quite an easy process as we’ll discover later. The TX-SR308 can decode all of Blu-ray’s HD audio formats, which is easy to take for granted but it’s worth remembering that not all receivers in this price class offer this feature (Yamaha’s RX-V367 won’t do it, for example). It also handles multichannel PCM, DSD and DTS 96/24 signals.


December 13, 2010, 2:35 pm

Just a comment on reviews of AV recievers in particular. It would be quite useful to know what speakers they were tested with, as from my understanding some combinations sound different to others.

Silent Shark

December 13, 2010, 2:41 pm

Thanks for this review. I'm in the market for a budget AV receiver, and this with it's HDMI 1.4 compatibility fits the bill perfectly, as I won't have to worry about upgrading if I get any 3D equipment.

Now all I need to find is a budget speaker pack...


December 13, 2010, 4:51 pm

Two things:

1) Any chance of info on how hot this thing runs? My one consistent complaint with Onkyo over the years has been their tendency to cook anything above them.

2) No auto setup option is a massive shame on a budget deck. I know why they made that decision but so many of these are bought by people after their first home cinema experience that the auto stuff is a huge bonus for them.

Mark 41

December 14, 2010, 5:30 pm

I bought this early this year and can say im very pleased with it,it's the silver version though as im sick of black !! also bought silver Tannoy 7.1 speakers with it, and the sound is excellent ! my volume never goes beyound 45 on the scale to 100 !!.At the time i bought the whole kit from Peter Tyson ,you can find them on the web !!

Chris 14

December 18, 2010, 12:24 am

Yeah this is pretty loud by the time you get to 45, though maximum scale is 79 I believe, not 100. I'm driving Canton 60s with mine which obviously lack a little lower mid-range but otherwise sound very good and look very pretty.

It does run quite warm, most certainly too warm to consider covering the top vents with anything. I do have equipment above mine but it's raised up on a couple of 30mm blocks.

A few other points that may be of interest:

It's a huge box (but then they all are)

The HDMIs are independent of the analog inputs (i.e. there's no upscaling), so if you're connecting a Wii as well as a BluRay, you'll need an analog cable to the TV as well as an HDMI. This factor alone makes all those lovely inputs on the box a little pointless as you might as well just run the cables straight to the telly and use this as a basic audio amp. It's actually advantageous to do that if your TV can store different settings for different inputs. (although you lose the on-screen display). Thus I am making no use of the HDMIs at all and using both optical INs in the traditional manner.

Almost as pointless is the FM tuner when you can get most stations on Freeview.

The second set of speaker outputs is great for driving a speaker pair in the kitchen.

Hope that helps!


December 20, 2010, 6:45 am

@Danny Phillips - When talking about the SR308's connectivity, you say that "if you’re likely to add more HDMI-equipped kit in the future it’s worth stepping up to the SR608". How about only stepping up to the SR508 or SR578? I know they don't have as many connections as the SR608, but still significantly more than the entry level SR308. Or can't you recommend models that you haven't reviewed? I just thought since they're part of the same product line, so they use mostly the same parts, and you've now reviewed the two models (SR308 & SR608) on each side of them. The SR508 and SR578 both have Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey processing (except for Audyssey DSX) so their performance might be closer to the SR608's, while their prices might be closer to the SR308's.

Your thoughts?

@Mark 41 - I was just wondering why you'd buy a 5.1 channel AV-receiver with a set of 7.1 speakers? Or am I missing something here...?

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