Onkyo TX-SR608 - Features and Menus

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Editors choice
Onkyo TX-SR608 front

Summary

Our Score:

10

User Score:

As for the inside, the key specs look encouraging. It’s a 7.2-channel receiver offering a quoted power output of 7 x 160W and THX Select2 Plus certification, making it suitable for rooms up to 56 cubic metres in size. That’s quite an accolade too – Onkyo reckons this is the first receiver in its class to don the THX Select2 Plus badge.

As is normally the case with Onkyo’s midrange machines, the feature list is so lengthy we’d need a week to get through everything. But highlights include Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing, which is now joined by Audyssey DSX – both of which let you expand the soundstage upwards as well as outwards by reconfiguring the surround back channels as front height channels.

Onkyo TX-SR608 silver

Whether or not you need two modes that essentially do the same thing is a moot point but Onkyo has bunged them both in anyway and choice is always a good thing, right? Actually, there is one big difference – Audyssey DSX can additionally create front width channels that make the front sound field seem even more expansive.

These are backed up by Audyssey 2EQ, which checks the acoustics of your room at three listening positions (using a supplied microphone) and adjusts the sound accordingly. Dynamic EQ then maintains these sonic properties at any volume, while Dynamic Volume keeps sudden volume changes to a minimum.

The TX-SR608 will also decode any HD audio format, and when you combine that with the bevy of other DSP and listening modes for movies, music and gaming, you have yourself a versatile audio performer. Digital to analogue audio conversion is handled by Burr-Brown 192kHz/24-bit DACs for every channel and the Jitter Cleaning Circuitry tidies up unwanted interference.

Onkyo TX-SR608 remote control

But it’s not only a whizz with audio – there’s also some serious video upscaling on board courtesy of the built-in Faroudja DCDi processor. You can up-res pictures to 1080p, which might come in handy if you’re not happy with the quality of your DVD player’s own upscaling circuitry. Pictures fed in through the component and composite video inputs can be upscaled and piped to a TV via HDMI.

Previous Onkyo AV receivers have been extremely easy to use, and the TX-SR608 is no different. It uses the same onscreen setup menu as previous models, using a straightforward list structure design with some attractive background graphics.

Here you’ll find a vast and detailed array of sound adjustments to cater for the needs of your speaker system, although if you use Audyssey 2EQ auto calibration, in theory you shouldn’t need to touch them.

There’s also a range of picture settings including Cinema and Game presets and a Custom mode that allows you to apply edge enhancement and noise reduction (although these can be bypassed using the Through setting).

What’s more, Onkyo has added a funky new menu that’s superimposed over the picture, making it even easier to access often-used settings. It’s a terrific new addition, enabling you to tweak most settings without missing a second of the movie. This, combined with the intelligently laid out remote, makes the TX-SR608 an absolute pleasure to use.

Neil Richardson

August 25, 2010, 1:27 pm

56 Cubic feet? Has to be a typo yes?

Ed

August 25, 2010, 1:31 pm

Yup, fixed.

Neil Richardson

August 25, 2010, 2:03 pm

Excellent. Been waiting for your review of this unit and you've told me all I wanted to hear. Off I go to justify the price to the missus.

bristol paul

August 25, 2010, 4:54 pm

This might sound like a bit of a daft question but what is the difference between this type of AV receiver and a 'standard' hi-fi amp? Is it that this can do everything that a hi-fi amp can do, plus the HD video and surround sound? In which case could a decent blueray player connected into this act as an alternative to a CD and amp combo in a hi-fi and avoid the need for two systems?

Geoff Richards

August 25, 2010, 5:42 pm

@Bristol_Paul: it's not a daft question at all. An AV receiver arguably performs three simple functions:





1) Drives the speakers (like a 'standard hi-fi amp')


2) Switches between multiple inputs / outputs


3) Performs surround-sound signal processing like Dolby TrueHD (or plain old Dolby Digital 5.1) and DTS Master Audio





In addition, some fancy models will perform video upscaling from SD sources like an old Freeview box to 1080p HD.





To answer your question, yes, all Blu-ray players (and indeed, all DVD players) will play back an audio CD. So in that regard, you would not require two separate systems.





I'm not an audio purist when it comes to listening to music, so the above solution does me just fine. However, I know that typical home cinema speakers are not "optimised" for plain music listening and "won't sound as good". Personally, I think the size, space and cost savings of one system vs two outweigh any minute quality differences (assuming your home cinema setup is decent to start with).





Of course, you might prefer to listen to music in another room, away from your TV (requiring a separate hifi, or even just an iPod dock). But if you just want to pop some Sinatra on while you do some ironing, a home cinema setup gets the job done in my book.

Kevin

August 25, 2010, 5:55 pm

HDMI 1.4 cables worry me as I have got 1.3 cables channeled in the wall and don't want to do that every time the standard changes! So, can someone explain to me if I actually need 1.4? I'm not bothered about the audio return and I understand the 3D passthru simply means you dont have to switch the tv to it's 3D option. Is there anything else that I might regret not having?





thanks,


Kevin

Orinj

August 25, 2010, 6:36 pm

@Kevin > Your HDMI 1.3 cables will handle the 3D content just fine. You don't strictly need HDMI 1.4 at all for 3D video. It'll work with HDMI 1.3 cables and AV equipment just fine, although the 3D flag may not trigger if the video pass-through isn't as clearly configured as hoped. HDMI 1.4 is a marketing shambles and mostly just adds Ethernet connectivity.

Kevin

August 25, 2010, 7:46 pm

@Orinji - thanks for the reply. Pity no-one thought to use Ethernet cables in the first place.

TechVegan

August 25, 2010, 8:39 pm

@Kevin:


Indeed, wouldn't our lives all have been cheaper and easier if they had!

RazorA

August 25, 2010, 10:03 pm

@Orinj - Good to know, I often thought what the point was of all these different standards in cables especially when they end up duplicating what another existing cable is able to do anyway.





@Ardjuna - yeah but then that's the beauty of capitalism. We're often told to buy things we don't really need. Remember the mess we have with mobile phone charges (that are only recently being addressed).

Frankf9d

August 25, 2010, 10:19 pm

@Geof & bristol_paul.





Surely the most significant difference between an amp and a receiver is the inclusion of a radio tuner, which will 'receive'. When I was a lad those amps with an FM tuner were known as 'tuner/amplifiers' but the American expression of 'receiver' took hold eventually.





I do believe a receiver is a better bet (subject, of course, to audio standards) for free software 24/7 and exposure to other musical genres.





I do appreciate you can use a Sky box (for instance) to provide radio stations through an amp, but a receiver it is not.

theDman

August 25, 2010, 11:09 pm

@RazorA Just like how I SEETHE with anger when I see headphones that have a large "iPod compatible" sticker/logo on them! AAARGH. Drives me insane.

ffrankmccaffery

August 26, 2010, 1:43 am

I'd just like to know what others think of video upscalers built into receivers? I've heard others describe them as gimmicks on all but the high end models. I myself have an Anchor Bay chipset built into my Denon 2310 and chose it primarily for that reason.

Gok

August 26, 2010, 2:18 am

Great review, TR!


Anyhow, I would like to get some answers regarding some features that are important to me:


Is this receiver network capable in any way (ethernet port,built-in wi-fi)?


Does it have USB port?


Can it play flac files through ethernet/wi-fi/USB?


Answers expected and appreciated!

GoldenGuy

August 26, 2010, 3:18 am

I've never looked at twice at AV receivers before but looking at that feature set with the 7.2 support and the elite THX certification, and the plethora of HDMIs all at the latest version, even I know this is outstanding value. Looks great in silver too.

rdsh

August 26, 2010, 9:17 am

@Gok


Page 1 of the review includes an image of the rear of the unit (click to enlarge) which shows no ethernet or USB ports. Also, the features page on the Onkyo website at http://www.eu.onkyo.com/produc... and the manual (which you can download from the Support page) make no mention of Wi-Fi.





You could however connect a PC/Mac as a workaround. The unit has a dedicated PC input socket (for video) which is output via HDMI OUT, as well as PC/Mac audio inputs.

TechVegan

August 26, 2010, 2:18 pm

@RazorA:


True dat.





@theDman:


Or like those monitors with Windows 7/Vista compatible logos - they would drive me insane if I wasn't already ;)

LetsGo

August 26, 2010, 3:23 pm

Does this receiver get hot in everday use?

Geoff Richards

August 26, 2010, 3:36 pm

@LetsGo: generally all receivers like this get "warm" with use, as there is a lot of circuitry under the hood that needs heat dissipating.





I have the Onkyo 705 and when watching TV at moderate volumes it gets merely warm (with clear air above it). However, crank up the volume and ask it to process 5.1 HD audio and it gets "hot" and the internal fan kicks in.

CountryBumpkin

August 26, 2010, 9:47 pm

I am really backward asking this question, but would an AV receiver if one purchased a speakers and a tv?

TrustedPhrontis

August 26, 2010, 11:39 pm

I have been waiting ages for Onkyo to do a 60* that also plays music fairly well, as well as doing the home cinema bit as well as they do. They now come out with one that not only plays film and music well but it at a really really good price; and I get made redundant! What a pi**er.

binishkumar

November 22, 2010, 4:56 am

hi.....i bought boston xs 5.1 speaker, am planning to buy onkyo tx-sr608...i wanna to knw the abt the combination? hope tis is a gud combination? and also i bought n exrra boston subwoofer n 2 speakers. can i b able to get 7.1 effect? but then how abt the second subwoofer? is it possible to connect 2 subwoofer in the same same room itself? if then can u tell me abt the placement of 2 subwoofer..?


plz help me replying to this thread at the earliest..!


thanks, Binish

vati

November 25, 2010, 8:11 am

How could one receive streaming internet radio with this unit, please?

speedalini

December 1, 2010, 5:37 pm

I've got an old school Humax PVR 9200T connected to my Samsung LE40C650 TV via a scart lead. How would I rig it up to this bad boy? (there's no component connection) cheers

corbius

December 23, 2010, 7:24 pm

Hi, after reading the review, I'm very excited about this product, but I'm unsure if it will suit well the JBL 4311 that I have. Also, is it possible to connect a turntable to it? I didn't see GND at the back of the amp. I would appreciate if anyone has an idea. Thanks, Corbius

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