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Onkyo TX-SR607 AV Receiver - Onkyo TX-SR607
Initial setup is made simple by Audyssey 2EQ Room Correction and Speaker Setup, which uses the supplied microphone to measure the acoustic characteristics of your room and optimise the speakers accordingly. It takes measurements from three positions, making the process quite long-winded but it's worth the effort. During playback Audyssey's Dynamic EQ maintains these optimal audio properties at differing volumes, and it works in tandem with Dynamic Volume to rectify variations in sound levels between different sources.
But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the SR607 is quite simply delicious, delivering outstanding sound quality with movies and music. We started our tests with Mamma Mia! on Blu-ray and the Onkyo's presentation of its DTS HD Master Audio track (fed as an HDMI bitstream from a Samsung BD-P1500) is detailed, evocative and packed with energy. The songs sound fast and punchy with full-bodied lead vocals, but when it gets to the talky bits speech is clear and open, while surround effects are crisp and immaculately steered.
And with Hellboy II's more testosterone-fuelled Master Audio track on Blu-ray, the SR607 dishes out more thrills and spills than a trip to Alton Towers. Hellboy's climactic battle with the Golden Army is packed with taut, forceful effects like the blasts of Hellboy's gun and the clanking metal of the titular army - all pinged into the room with aplomb. The SR607 also demonstrates some terrific bass work, mustering deep, resonant thuds as objects smash against walls, while the punches and clashing swords during Hellboy's scrap with Prince Nuada sound sufficiently brutal.
Next up we wanted to test out the effectiveness of Pro Logic IIz and for that purpose we fashioned a makeshift front height speaker setup and pulled the Saving Private Ryan DVD off the shelf. We played the scene in which the team explores a demolished town in the driving rain, and the SR607 does a very convincing job of directing the ambient hissing effects to the height channels. Shots of Caparzo lying on the ground after being hit by the sniper's bullet are lent an extra sense of scale and envelopment that you simply don't get from a regular 'flat' setup, proving that Pro Logic IIz is a worthwhile addition to the features roster.
The SR607 also turns in an engrossing performance with music, in particular with our Frank McComb Live In Atlanta CD. The drums are suitably tight and rhythmic; the delicate background percussion is relayed out with crispness, while McComb's dancing Rhodes solos and soaring vocals are upfront yet easy on the ear.
Try though we might, the TX-SR607 is hard to fault. It delivers the sort of sparkling sound quality you'd expect from a receiver costing a lot more, while the feature list is similarly impressive - the highlights being Dolby Pro Logic IIz (if you can accommodate the extra speakers of course) and the inclusion of six HDMI inputs. But if you're not already sold, then its ultra-simple user interface and all-round versatility should just about seal the deal. The 1080i upscaling limitation is the only thing that might make you think twice, but it's a minor chink in otherwise magnificent armour.
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