Onkyo TX-SR608

3D video playback in the home is set to be the next big thing in home entertainment. The 7.2 channel Onkyo TX-SR608 is one of the first receivers available that is ready to support the new 3D technology. Although the TX-SR608 is positioned as an “entry-level” receiver, you get cutting edge technologies and new features far beyond what you’d expect from a receiver at this price range.

For a start, you get 6 of the latest HDMI ver1.4a inputs. HDMI 1.4a brings compatibility with the new 3D video format, as well as an ARC (Audio Return Channel) from your display back to the receiver.

In recognition of the TX-SR608’s outstanding quality and performance, it has received the THX® Select2 Plus Certification, a first for an Onkyo ‘600 series’ receiver.

Latest Update: The Onkyo TX-SR608 is shipping and now on sale at Amazon!

Onkyo TX-SR608 AV Receiver

Onkyo TX-SR608 AV Receiver

Design

Made from high quality aluminum, the TX-SR608 retains the black fascia similar to previous Onkyo models. The layout is simple and functional. The receiver is flanked by a standby button on the left and a large volume control on the right. The center digital fluorescent readout is clear yet subtle so that it does not affect movie viewing in a darkened room. Below the display is a row of mode selection and source select buttons. These buttons have a nice tactile feel. A headphone jack, mic input, aux input and an HDMI input complete the front face layout.

Previous models tend to run hot. So Onkyo has listened to feedback and placed a large heat sink and a good sized fan about 5″ in diameter just below the top grill. The fan runs quietly and keeps the receiver cool.

The remote control is very well organized and offers added functionality as it is programmable. You will be able to store your favorite set up options and use them quickly at the touch of a button. The buttons are differentiated by color, shape, and layout. This enhances the usability, which reduces the time for familiarization.

Connectivity

Onkyo TX-SR608 Back Panel Connectivity

Onkyo TX-SR608 Back Panel Connectivity

For an entry level receiver you get plenty of connectivity options. There are 5 HDMI inputs and one HDMI output located at the top row of the back panel for ease of connection. The 6th HDMI input is on the front panel.

There are 2 component video inputs and 4 sets of composite video inputs. What’s new is a Universal port and input port for SIRIUS satellite Radio. Onkyo currently offers an optional iPod dock and an HD Radio receiver for the Universal port. There’s an analog RGB video input for connecting your PC. A full set of color coded speaker terminals occupy the right half plus an additional set of speaker outputs for the 2nd zone.

As expected for a receiver at this price range, there are no multi channel analog inputs and no pre-outs.

Actual user review:
“The Onkyo TX-SR608 is an amazing receiver for the cost. One of the best aspects of this receiver is the way it handles the volume control. First of all you can set the volume level that the receiver on turns on so you are not overwhelmed with a loud volume right away. Also you can set a maximum level so you don’t accidentally turn the volume level too high. Audyssey Dynamic Volume is perfect when you don’t want huge fluctuations in volume so that dialogue, music and surround effects don’t drown each other out. This means you don’t have to constantly turn volume up and down during a movie as it maintains a more consistent level of volume. In order to use Audyssey Dynamic Volume you MUST run Audyssey 2EQ Acoustic Room Correction first. Place included microphone on a cheap tripod for this; DO NOT HOLD IN YOUR HAND as I have read some have;this can have an adverse effect on sound output. Set the Dynamic Volume to the Compression Mode you want(Light, Medium, or Heavy as Off is Default) set Re-EQ function to ON as well. The instruction manual is very detailed and easy to understand. Default settings are underlined in the instruction manual.” – M.Luellan (IL,USA)

Features

Onkyo put in considerable effort in getting these new generation of AV receivers as future-proof as possible by including the latest industry standards and features.

All video sources, regardless of resolution, are upscaled to 1080p with the Faroudja DCDi Cinema processor. Audio processing incorporates 24bit/192kHz Burr-Brown DACs, lossless Dolby and DTS codecs, and the expanded surround formats of Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz. Three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry and jitter-cleaning technology work to ensure precise and faithful audio reproduction.

Here’s a summary of the features:

  • HDMI 1.4 Support for 3-D Video and ARC – the 3D-ready HDMI 1.4 inputs on the TX-SR608 let you simultaneously connect 3 high-definition sources such as a Blu-ray player, a gaming console, and a cable/satellite tuner
  • 192 kHz/24-Bit Burr-Brown DAC – High-quality Burr-Brown DACs work to optimize analog audio performance on the TX-SR608. These DACs perform advanced 24-bit signal processing and support sampling rates of up to 192 kHz. They also work to reduce jitter so you get better sound for movies as well as for music playback.
  • Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz – Two new surround-sound technologies from Audyssey and Dolby offers new ways to set up the speakers in your home theater system. Audyssey DSX lets you incorporate “front wide” speakers in place of the usual surround back speakers, allowing you to expand the width of the soundstage. These channels help to produce a more realistic soundstage and a more immersive listening experience. Alternatively, Audyssey DSX can reconfigure the TX-SR608’s surround back channels to deliver “front height” channels. These channels carry ambient, non-directional audio that adds a new vertical dimension to your movies and games. Dolby Pro Logic IIz provides a similar front-height speaker option that likewise works to create a more enveloping home theater experience.
  • Audyssey Room Correction Technologies – Audyssey 2EQ Acoustic Room Correction tailors multi-channel audio for your home theater speaker set-up by measuring three room positions and applying a resolution filter to the satellite speakers to correct for room acoustics. Audyssey Dynamic Volume automatically compensates for annoying volume fluctuations in audio content during jarring commercial breaks. Finally, Audyssey Dynamic EQ maintains a consistent bass response, tonal balance, and surround-sound effect at different volume levels, so you can enjoy the natural dynamics of your content regardless of the volume.
  • New overlaid On-Screen Display – On-screen set-up menus appear overlaid on the video image you’re watching. This means you can adjust the settings immediately, without having to switch back and forth from a blank screen background.
  • Universal Port for Single-Cable Connection of Onkyo Dock for iPod or HD Radio Tuner (sold separately)
  • PC-compatible analogue RGB video input – Multimedia fans and gamers will now be able to route the video output from Desktop/Media Centre PCs or laptops directly to the TX-SR608 and then through to the TV via HDMI. Another first for Onkyo.
  • Front-panel audio input for direct connection – If you have an iPod or other MP3 player, you can connect it to the TX-SR608’s front panel for quick and convenient audio playback. Your player’s compressed digital music files can then receive a quality boost from the receiver’s Music Optimizer technology.
  • Play Different Audio Sources in Two Different Zones

Setup & Performance

The manual provides clear instructions which makes setting up a snap. The speaker terminals and HDMI ports are clearly labeled. The graphical on-screen display (OSD) is well laid out and makes setup pretty straightforward.

This initial review was done with 2D playback.

When it comes to picture and sound quality, Onkyo usually over delivers. Colors are rich and have the right hue without overemphasis on any color. And the sound is just sumptuous.

On the Live Free or Die Hard blu-ray which has a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, you will immediately notice the rich spacious surround sound right from the Fox logo. Then, when the film starts, the TX-SR608 resolved all the fine details, from soft shuffling of feet to the thunderous impact of the spectacular car crash in the tunnel scene. It handled the active sub-woofer in a vice-like grip producing bass that is deep and controlled, yet maintaining clear dialog amidst the chaos. The sheer realism of the entire frequency spectrum is just impressive.

The picture quality is pristine and razor-sharp. You could easily make out every last pore on Bruce Willis’ skin without trying. Blacks are deep but not the best we’ve seen. Shadow details remain clearly visible throughout, though skin tones were slightly skewed given the heavy use of blue. Nevertheless, the overall picture quality is above average.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons blu-ray, which is also mastered in DTS-HD Master Audio, was used to check out the the finer aspects of SR608’s audio circuitry. Even from the very first movement it is hard to believe that we are dealing with an equipment that is in the sub $600 price range. The strings were lush and filled the corners of the room, never sounding shrill nor aggressive. The solo violin’s tone was silky and deftly positioned in the center while the rest of the orchestra occupied a soundstage that was enveloping and rich in details. Even the harpsichord came out beautifully, not the least bit wooden or hard sounding, which is often the case with budget receivers.

Even after several hours of driving the SR608 at high volume levels, the unit remained relatively cool to the touch.

Bottom Line

If you’re on a tight budget and just want a good receiver that just plugs and plays, the Onkyo TX-SR608 qualifies. By a wide margin. It has a performance good enough to satisfy any avid home theater or music enthusiast and is future-proofed in case you decide to go the 3D route.

Onkyo has long been known as a leader in home theater. They certainly are here to maintain that reputation with the TX-SR608.

More user reviews:

I have been an audiophile for a long time have done tons of research and been lurking on home theater forums for years and when the Onkyo 8 series was first released i was one of the first people in line for a pre-order… AND I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED!

This receiver is simply amazing, easy to set up and fully adjustable the onscreen menus make operation and customizing your sound stage easy enough for the first timer yet gives enough options for the expert to have full control. The sound is amazing! I paired mine with the SKS-HT870 7.1 speaker system (also Onkyo) and I have been doing nothing but marveling at the crispness and depth of sound that this receiver is capable of.” – D.R.Harrison (NE,USA)

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Anyway, I absolutely love my new Onkyo 608. I never review stuff, but I wanted to give props to this receiver. I was debating between this one and the new Pioneer 1020. However, I’ve heard that the amps in the Pioneers don’t compare to the amps in the Onkyos. Though I cannot verify the truth of this, I do believe that the amp in the Onkyo is of a very high quality. I have already noticed a tremendous amount of power increase over my previous Yamaha receiver. This puts out a lot more sound, and I absolutely love the ability to take advantage of HD audio. I noticed a huge fidelity difference in the compressed Dolby Digital track for Dark Knight and the Dolby True HD. The track was intended to include a lot of bass, and the HD includes all of it. The regular Dolby did not compare. Thus, HD audio is definitely worth having if you own a blu-ray player. Just like video quality (some transfers are better than others; aka reference quality), not all sound tracks will have a huge difference, but to me, it’s still worth it. Back to the Onkyo: I love it. There are so many settings that you can tweak. If you like the ability to configure your equipment, you will love this receiver! You can also bi-amp with this receiver, which is nice if you don’t have 7 speakers.” – Bob (USA)

The Onkyo TX-SR608 pushes my Polk Audio speakers very very well (2 @ 70 monitors, 4 @ 50 monitors, 1 @ cs2 center, and powered PSW505). Volume hardly goes past 1/2 way…anymore and the neighbors start calling cops im sure. Loads of options and can be tweaked until you are blue in the face. Got sub set @ 80hz, front main 70’s set @ 60hz, all 4 surround 50 speakers set @ 80hx THX, and cs2 center set @ 80hz THX. One really really nice thing about the Onkyo 608 is how cool it is and stays @ room temp with the built in fan. I’m loving this receiver so far and would highly advise anyone to purchase without a 2nd thought. More receiver than I need with no need for separate amp.” – C.Michael(Alabama,USA)

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