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Onkyo TX-SR607 AV Receiver - Onkyo TX-SR607
Moving onto the feature list, there's loads to get your teeth into. First the basics - the SR607 decodes Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD, Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES Discrete/Matrix and DTS 96/24. It also features a wide range of listening modes, including DTS Neo:6, which can be used in conjunction with DTS Surround Sensation to generate a virtual 5.1 surround effect from two speakers. There's also a long list of Onkyo's own DSP modes, including Orchestra, Unplugged and Theater-Dimensional.
But the most significant of these listening modes is undoubtedly Dolby Pro Logic IIz, which makes its debut on this receiver. For those who are unfamiliar with the technology, a quick recap - it performs all the same tricks as Pro Logic IIx, delivering a multichannel surround sound effect from any source, but Pro Logic IIz adds a height element to the soundstage by directing the low-level, non-directional elements of the soundtrack (such as rain and other ambience) to the 'front height' channels.
To get the benefit of this, you'll need to install a pair of speakers high up above the TV, either on tall stands or on the wall. It's hardly convenient, but Onkyo reckons it's worth the effort as it adds a convincing 3D effect that's said to heighten the realism of movies and games without compromising the integrity of the source mix.
The technology is incredibly versatile and can be used with any source to generate a 9.1-channel soundstage with front height channels from stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 sources. It's particularly useful for Blu-ray discs, many of which already feature 7.1 soundtracks - Pro Logic IIz simply adds the left/right vertical height channels.
But a receiver full of features is one thing; making those features easy to implement is quite another. Thankfully, using the SR607 is a piece of cake thanks to two key factors - the excellent onscreen menus and the intuitive remote. The former is a masterstroke, using a basic but attractive graphic interface with options displayed in clear, simple lists - just like the NR906 in fact, except without the ISF settings. You can do everything from here, including input assignment and speaker configuration, plus the menu is replicated on the front display if you haven't connected it to a TV - but that's equally easy to use.
The gloss black remote, meanwhile, is surprisingly uncomplicated for such a multi-faceted machine. Onkyo has somehow kept the button count to a minimum without leaving anything out, and each section is clearly separated - in particular the input, sound mode and volume keys, which are easy to find at all times.