In action the TX-SR576 quite literally delivers a lot of bang for your buck with movies. We connected a modest speaker system comprising Mirage Omnisats and a Velodyne MicroVee sub and fed it with a 5.1-channel PCM signal from a Toshiba HD DVD deck playing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Flipping straight to the scene in which Harry battles the dragon, the SR576 immediately sucks you in, with its clean and transparent sound quality that heightens the epic feel of this stunning sequence. It's snappy and dynamic, and there's real force and depth behind effects like the dragon beating its wings or shooting out fire. Furthermore, the tinkle of breaking glass and tiles as the beast jumps from roof to roof reveals impressive top-end detail.
Bass is in plentiful supply too, and when the volume is pumped up high it copes admirably, maintaining a cohesive soundstage that gets nice and aggressive without sounding too brash or bright, which suggests that Cinema Filter is doing a good job. The Hogwarts kids' hammy dialogue sounds direct and realistic as well, and surround effects are delivered with a great deal of finesse. The Onkyo also does a fine job with DVD soundtracks, delivering a crisp and well-controlled rendition of the Star Wars Episode I pod race sequence. Overall this is a very impressive movie performance for the money.
The TX-SR576 works wonders with Dolby Digital Plus material too. We played the ‘Safari' clip from a Dolby demo Blu-ray disc on a Samsung BD-P1400 and were blown away by the crispness and energy of the sound, particularly from the sparkling rear channels.
Also impressive is how the Onkyo made our speakers sing with music playback, turning in a rich and soulful performance with Frank McComb Live In Atlanta on CD, while Roxy Music's Avalon on SACD (fed in via the analogue inputs) sounds as silky and atmospheric as you'd expect.
The TX-SR576 is a very impressive AV receiver with a vast array of innovative features and admirable performance that belies its budget price tag. Particularly impressive is its Dolby Digital Plus decoding, which is a real boon for Blu-ray owners on a budget.