Review Price £219.95
Set up and connections
In terms of rear connections you DO get, aside from the aforementioned HDMIs and universal port, there are two component video inputs and one component video output; four composite video inputs (with attendant audio inputs) and two composite video outputs; a subwoofer pre-out, an extra set of stereo audio inputs labelled TV/CD; two optical and two coaxial digital audio inputs; FM and AM radio antennas, and a stereo line out for providing audio to a second audio zone.
The speaker connectors, meanwhile, are sturdily made and able to take banana plug connections as well as standard raw cable feeds.
Setting the SR508 up is as easy as setting up any AV receiver ever could be. The speaker terminals are colour coded, all inputs are clearly labelled, and there’s a very simple set of onscreen menus to help you allocate the right input to the right AV source.
The menus for balancing the sound for your room are easy to follow, and there’s further automatic audio refinement via the Audyssey room acoustics and loudness correction system. Admittedly you only get the basic ‘EQ’ version of Audyssey, which isn’t as fulsome in its calculations as higher-level Audyssey options. But it would be unreasonable to expect anything more, and what’s there works well enough.
Other features of the SR508 include AV Sync Control (up to 100ms in 10ms steps), a sleep timer, RDS tuner support, and crossover adjustment.
The only significant feature absentee beyond the multimedia stuff noted earlier is that there’s no resolution upscaling through either the HDMIs or component video outputs.
What really matters about the SR508, though, is that it actually works! As in, 3D signals really do pass through the HDMI sockets without any apparent loss of quality, and HD audio formats really are played through a sensible partner set of speakers with a degree of quality that comfortably belies the receiver’s current £220 price.
Transitions around the soundstage, be they side to side or back to front, are handled with authority. Surround mix details are positioned accurately in the soundstage, and extremes of bass and treble information are handled surprisingly cleanly, without bass sounding baggy or trebles sounding harsh.
In combination these factors add up to a consistently coherent, tightly controlled soundstage that’s much more immersive and transparent - in the sense that you just appreciate the sound rather than the electronics producing it - than you would normally dream of hearing for just £220 notes.