Onkyo TX-SR608 review
The entry-level Onkyo SR308 meets most people’s needs and costs just £219. At almost double the price, the SR608 needs to offer quite a lot more.
There are certainly a lot more sockets. Six HDMI inputs is the most we’ve seen on an AV receiver. Best of all, one is front-mounted, making it perfect for a stills or video camera. The front panel also has minijack audio and AV inputs for an MP3 player and analogue camcorder. There are more phono, S/P-DIF and analogue video inputs on the back than we can imagine ever needing, and even a VGA input to connect a computer that doesn’t have a DVI or HDMI output. All analogue video inputs are digitised, upscaled and sent to the HDMI output, so the SR608 can act as a hub for all your AV equipment.
The amplifier outputs are all on binding posts, which are much more secure than the spring terminals used on the SR308 and other budget AV receivers. There’s a total of nine speaker outputs, giving 7.1 surround plus a stereo zone 2 output. Different sources can be sent to the two zones, and while it’s not possible to send HDMI sources to zone 2, you could connect a Blu-ray player’s analogue output to use it as a CD player for zone 2. The zone 2 speaker output can also be configured to be used as front-high or front-wide speakers, which might be useful if you’re planning to install a 20-seat auditorium in your living room.
Automatic speaker calibration is included, and as usual, there’s a massive choice of listening modes from Direct 5.1 and stereo downmix to various DSP-powered surround effects. It’s even possible to pre-define which mode is used for different incoming signal types for each HDMI input. The remote can be a little bewildering at times but it handles everyday tasks well.
This is a extremely well-equipped receiver, and it shares the same superior sound quality as the SR308. If you need a receiver that will do everything and pump all inputs over an HDMI output, this is the one to buy.