Reviewer after reviewer agrees that, for its price, the Onkyo TX-SR608 7.2-channel receiver is tough to beat. The sound quality with music and movies won't be as good as with an audiophile receiver costing thousands more, but it will be surprisingly close. Among features not normally found in this price class, the Onkyo TX-SR608 is THX Select2 certified, which means that it will deliver the same sound experience in a moderately sized listening room as you would enjoy in a movie theater. There's also THX technology to deliver the same tonal qualities at lower listening levels, just in case movie-theater-like volumes are a little too ear-shattering for you or your neighbors. Audyssey DSX and Dolby IIz technology let you wire up the receiver's seven main channels to power front height or wide speakers instead of the traditional rear center speakers. A second subwoofer terminal lets you run two subs simultaneously in rooms where one just won't get the job done. Six HDMI 1.4a inputs -- including one on the front panel -- should take care of even complex home theater setups. Video upscaling is surprisingly strong for an audio component in this price class.
Complaints are few, but some say that the automatic speaker setup program isn't as sophisticated as those found on some competitors. If you have less to spend, the Sony STR-DH810 (Discontinued) is worth considering. It's a solid performer sonically, especially with movies, and has nearly as many features.
The Onkyo TX-SR608 has been well reviewed. The most comprehensive report is at Home Theater magazine. AVGuide.com looks at the receiver as part of a report that focuses mainly on much more expensive choices. The podcast review produced by HTGuys.com is worth a listen, and the report at HomeTheaterReview.com is worth a read. A number of British reviewers have also weighed in, including What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision, TrustedReviews.com and TechRadar.com. Go to Amazon.com for user reports.
1. Home Theater Magazine
Home Theater magazine bestows a Top Pick award on the Onkyo TX-SR608 receiver. Mark Fleischmann says that it "offers a definitive feature set at an amazingly low price." Fleischmann complains about the graphical interface, but only a little. Some complaints are voiced here and there when playing challenging musical selections, but none at all when it comes to movies.
Review: Onkyo TX-SR608, Mark Fleischmann, August 2010
In a not exactly fair roundup of audio/video receivers, the Onkyo TX-SR608 is plunked in the middle of a report that's otherwise comprised of receivers costing at least $1,000 more, and sometimes much more. No, David doesn't vanquish Goliath, but pound for pound the TX-SR608 more than holds its own. Yes, Chris Martens says, better and far more costly receivers sound a little better, but the receiver provides "more of a 'high-end' sound than one might have expected given its price."
Review: The Perfect Vision Guide to AVRs, Controllers & Amps, Chris Martens, Aug. 25, 2010
The Onkyo TX-SR608 earns a perfect 10 out of 10 overall rating and an Editor's Choice award at this British site. Danny Phillips says that the home theater receiver is a pleasure to use and a pleasure to listen to. The ample feature lineup is another and very significant plus.
Review: Onkyo TX-SR608 Review, Danny Phillips, Aug. 25, 2010
Reviewer Ken Taraszka says that Onkyo did a "commendable job" in producing a home theater receiver that hits the "sweet spot" between value and performance. Few negatives are cited with the TX-SR608, and those mostly are in comparison to more expensive videophile receivers rather than ones in the same price range. Looking at music, the TX-SR608 is said to provide "85 percent of the sound for a lot less money" than a top-of-the-line receiver reviewed earlier. For movies, it stands up well to a reference receiver that costs three times as much.
Review: Onkyo TX-SR608 Home Theater Receiver Reviewed, Ken Taraszka, Aug. 9, 2010
Richard Stevenson finds lots to like in the Onkyo TX-SR608 7.2-channel home theater receiver. Listening to music, he says, "the Onkyo sounds rich and fulsome with a transient attack that leaves most mid-priced receivers wounded and bleeding." Video upscaling is also excellent, able to bring DVDs to near-HD quality. Add in a strong lineup of features and an attractive price, and the result is "a solid Best Buy receiver that leaves its peers trailing in its wake."
Review: Onkyo TX-SR608 review, Richard Stevenson, June 18, 2010
6. What Hi-Fi?
This brief review at this British site covers the most important points. Though falling a little short of perfection, the Onkyo TX-SR608 is called the "highest specified amp in its class," as well as "one of the most user-friendly receivers we've seen."
Review: Onkyo TX-SR608, Editors of What Hi-Fi?
In this podcast review (transcript provided), Ara Derderian and Braden Russell review the Onkyo TX-SR608. Much time is spent discussing the effectiveness of Dolby Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX height and width channels, which are said to add only subtle benefits with most material. Overall, the Onkyo TX-SR608 should "meet or exceed most expectations," the reviewers say.
Review: Onkyo TX-SR608 Review, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell
The Onkyo TX-SR608 has accumulated a good number of reviews (over 50) and a solid 4-star rating. Most users are pleased. A few received defective units. A number of negative reviews deal with HDMI issues on earlier Onkyo receivers.
Review: Onkyo TX-SR608, Contributors to Amazon.com