We also ran through the DVD version of this disc to check its upscaling prowess and again the results are impressive. Diagonals are processed without stepping on the rotating bar and flag clips, plus fine detail is sharp and stable. Switching to our DVD copy of Sin City, the picture boasts pleasing depth and detail clarity, but after enjoying the razor-sharp Blu-ray pictures these fuzzier SD images are inevitably a bit of a come-down.
One of the areas that usually sets pricey players apart from their budget rivals is sound quality, and the BD-SP807 is no exception. Hooked up to Onkyo’s TX-NR807 receiver with analogue cables, we give it a work out with a performance of ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’ by Jane Monheit and John Pizzarelli in Dolby True HD, found on a Dolby sampler disc.
The quality is spellbinding – it digs out high frequencies and subtle detail with conviction and adds richness and body to the double bass. Monheit’s voice is also conveyed with a spine-tinglingly smooth and pure tone. Our favourite movie test scenes also sound great, particularly the tense finale of Children of Men – with crisp gunshots and meaty explosions going off all round the soundstage, you really get lost in the scene.
Using the HDMI output garners similarly thrilling results, and we were blown away by the quality of CD playback too, which sounds as good as a decent dedicated CD player.
Star Wars prequels aside, George Lucas usually shows impeccable judgement on all things cinema related, and sure enough his company’s endorsement of this Onkyo deck’s performance is completely justified.
It displays hi-def discs with meticulous detail and delivers sensational audio quality with both hi-res soundtracks and CDs. It’s clearly aimed at buyers with plenty of cash to splash who want the best pictures, sound and build quality but can live without the latest, flashiest Blu-ray features.
That may be the case, but we can’t let the lack of features slip by completely unnoticed – yes performance is important, but don’t high-end shoppers deserve things like Wi-Fi, PC streaming and built-in memory too? If LG and Panasonic can manage it at much lower prices, why not Onkyo?
That’s not our only complaint with the SP807. Disc loading is tediously slow, the cheapo remote is an eyesore and there isn’t really enough to distinguish it from rival players from the likes of Denon and Marantz.