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on August 5, 2007
This receiver does a great job. It replaced a 7 yr old Denon 1601 that quit working one night. It drives my 5.1 Polk system at least as good as the older Denon, which always sounded great. At this price, good sound quality is probably a given, so this review is more about the features that set this unit apart. Let's talk video first.

The nice thing about the video processing is that you can hook anything up to it, and it will send the video feed to your TV through one cable. Its basically a big switch, letting you easily change between A/V sources. You just leave your TV on the input through which it is connected, and it feeds the TV whatever source you pick, and sends the audio through the speakers. I hooked up my Samsung DLPSamsung HL-S5688W 56" 1080p DLP HDTV to it via the HDMI output. I used the two HDMI inputs to connect my Samsung DVD player and my Comcast Motorola HD-DVR. I also hooked up my Samsung VCR through a composite input and RCA cables for the VCR's audio. The Onkyo basically passes anything its sent through the HDMI inputs out through the HDMI output. You don't get any upconverting if you use the HDMI inputs and are outputting via HDMI. If you feed it 1080i through the HMDI inputs, it will output 1080i. Feed it 1080p, and you get 1080p output. (I've set my DVR and DVD players to send it 1080 input.) This is not true of the component inputs. It will send those inputs out as 720p, even if you feed it 1080. Just use the HDMI inputs for your 1080 sources. If you have more than two 1080 sources, this Onkyo might not be for you, since it only has two HDMI(1080 capable) inputs. I guess you could get an HDMI switch HDMI 3 Ports Switch With Remote (or some other brand) if you needed it in the future, or just watch your third HD input (video game, maybe) at 720p, or maybe your TV has another HDMI input itself. Another oddity is that it won't send digital sound out the HDMI that you associate with the component video inputs. This is only a problem if you need the TV to produce sound. I use the 5.1 speakers for all sound, so I don't care. The video it outputs seems to be a little better looking than video straight from the source, but I'm not sure its noticably different.

(A word on upconverting of video. Its just interpolation. Upconverting tries to add lines were there were not lines in the original source. Its not going to make SDTV look like HDTV. It might make it look a little better, but its in the eye of the beholder, and some sources seem to look better upconverted than others. Too me, it isn't worth much. My DVR can upconvert, as can my DVD player and even my TV. I've tried them all, and don't think any of them can improve an SDTV picture much. If you want to try this receiver's upconverting, there's a hidden menu to turn on upconverting 480 HDMI input to 720p, but it will also make it downgrade 1080 HDMI input to 720p. Holding down the aux and power buttons will activate the hidden menu. I leave it off, which is called auto mode, but have my DVR upconvert 480 to 1080 before it sends it to the Onkyo. Other things in the hidden menu are standard video settings like sharpness, contrast, etc.)

I also like the remote. Its fairly small, yet controls all my equipment very well, even the Comcast/Motorola DVR. My wife has put away all the other remotes, so that's a good sign. She can operate the entire system with the included Onkyo remote. My 65 year old parents even figured out how to use the entire system, so the remote must be pretty good. It helps that the Onkyo's switching simplifies everything so much. Another feature that is nice is the front panel inputs. You can hook up your digital camera very easily that way. It even has an optical audio input on the front.

The setup is pretty straight forward, especially if you have some experience setting up home theaters. If not, the manual explains things well enough, and a little Internet reading will get you all the way there, if you are like me and enjoy tinkering with the settings. The onscreen display is great. You do have to use the menu system on the front panel to tell it to output the setup menu via the HDMI, otherwise the blank screen will frustrate you. The Audessey auto-speaker calibration does a fairly decent job of configuring your system for your room, measuring distance and equalizing the volume, setting timings and equalizing sounds. I think I improved it by using the manual 5 band equalizers, though. I thought my center speaker sounded flat, so I tinkered with the equalizer and am much happier. I tried messing around with Audessey's crossover settings, but couldn't improve them any, though. Audessey also correctly set up the speaker distances.

One main reason I bought this thing was the future proofing features. It has the Dolby TrueHD and the DTS-HD, so if those every come out I can use them. I can also upgrade to a 7.1 speaker system, but my living room really isn't configured to handle that many speakers. It also offers I-pod connectivity and XM and Sirrius satellite radio connectivity, should I ever want those.

Some common complaints I've read are speaker popping noises and that it runs hot, and some people think that overheating causes the popping. I don't have the popping problems, and I don't think it runs too much hotter than my older Denon. I have it in a decently ventilated cabinet, though. I don't think it would do well in a closed up cabinet without any airflow. My ventilation is simply a crack at the bottom front, and at the top back. Hot air rises out the top back, pulling in cool air from the front bottom. I have about 6 inches of space between the receiver and the top of the cabinet. The receiver is a bit tall, so you should measure your space before your buy it. Make sure you can allow for this ventilation space on top of it.

Lastly, I like some of the many different listening "modes". Dolby Prologic IIx is better than the old Prologic on my Denon. It improves the surround effects of non-DD or non-DTS TV shows. It has the 5-channel stereo that I liked so well in the Denon, too. The other modes seem like gimmicks, though. It does do a good job of picking the appropriate mode, but you can also tell it what to use as a default mode for each source. For example, if the TV feed is in DD or DTS, it uses DD or DTS, but if its in Prologic, you can specify to use Prologic II cinema. However, if your TV show is a concert, you can change it to Prologic II music.

In summary, the Onkyo will simplify your system, allows for future expansion, is easy to use, sounds great, and costs less than anything else out there with this feature set. I recommend it.
3636 comments| 371 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon October 24, 2007
I purchased this receiver to replace a five year old Sony. The sound is amazing but there are several strange feature constraints.

-Excellent sound quality
-Intuitive auto speaker setup using the included remote microphone
-On-screen setup is a nice feature that's usually not included in this price range
-720p up-scaling for composite and component inputs look great
-HDMI output video quality is excellent - comparable to a direct connect between the TV and video source

-Only two HDMI inputs
-Lacks compatibility with separate HDMI switches
-Can't use a digital audio source for zone 2 (no iPods, XM radio, Satellite, etc.)
-Can't display on-screen status (i.e. volume) via HDMI output
-There's an intermittent audio delay of 10-30 seconds between changing HDMI input selections
-On-screen setup is very rudimentary (but easy to navigate)
-Remote IR sensor is less sensitive than Sony receivers
-Limited display information on the receiver itself (i.e. active speakers, multi color indicators, etc.)

I originally planned to get around the 2-port HDMI input limitation by using a separate HDMI switch. However, audio would intermittently drop out after switching inputs. I returned this unit and upgraded to the 705 model primarily for the third HDMI port. If you only need two HDMI ports and don't plan to use the zone 2 feature, this is the best receiver for the price.
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on June 13, 2007
While I have been an A/V buff for many years, I do not go off the deep end buying a myriad of equipment to play anything and everything. I carefully research every piece of gear before I buy(ad nauseam, if you listen to my girlfriend) to do what I want and have the flexibility to handle upgrades in associated components. That said, I have to admit I didn't wait for the TX-SR605 be on the market for more than a week before I purchased one. No magazine reviews, Amazon listings, online blogs, etc had reviewed one when I purchased mine the day after the receiver hit the shelves on the West Coast.
This receiver should handle most A/V enthusiast's needs for the next several years. The OSD is very straight forward and the listening field calibration(mic included)works well to get you started. It could use a third HDMI input (available on the next unit up, TX-SR705, for $200 more) but with the up-conversion, it will handle component level inputs with no visible difference(IMO). I purchased the Sirius receiver add-on which integrates and plays flawlessly. I also bought the associated Onkyo iPod dock for my Nano(another homerun). This unit is not THX certified (a dubious certification these days for equipment designed homeowner use) but is available on the next models up in the range. The unit will, however, handle all the new (some as yet unreleased) Dolby audio expansion codecs. There are enough assignable inputs to handle most homeowners systems for years to come. I am quite satisfied with this unit and have no reservations.
My gear rack includes:
Pioneer Elite PRO-1140HD 50" plasma TV
ONKYO TX-SR605B Receiver
OPPO DV-981HD DVD player
Xbox 360 with HD-DVD
Playstation 3 (only for the BluRay player, of course)
Scientific Atlanta 8300HD cable box
Harmony 676 remote "to rule them all"
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on June 13, 2007
Got the Onkyo 605 (replaced the RX-1200) this morning and spent about an hour setting it up. The experience was very positive and I had no problems what-so-ever.

In summary, it seems to be a solid receiver if you can live w/ inability to matrix "Multi Channel PCM" to 7.1 and lack of component -> HDMI switching > 720p.

My set up:

Toshiba XA2 (HDMI input to receiver); HDMI audio set to "Auto"

XBOX 360 (Component 1080i output connected directly to 60A2000 RPTV); optical input to receiver.

Klipsch 5.1 RF

I tried a couple of 5.1 SD-DVDs and it looked like receiver applied PLIIx to them (I only have 5.1 at present though). The True HD soundtrack from the Matrix HD displayed as "Multi Channel PCM" and PLIIx wasn't applied as expected.

The 1080p pass-through on HDMI seems to be working just fine w/o any noticeable degradation of PQ (component transcoding to HDMI is limited to 720p from what I have read though, but that doesn't concern me).

Here's a run down of the steps (for newbies) and my own experience with them:

a) Read the manual first!!!

b) Connect your speakers (preferably using banana plugs from Radio Shack etc.). Make sure that you get the polarities right before turning on the receiver. Run the Audessey setup by plugging in the provided microphone. In my case, it detected that I had inadvertantly unhooked my left front speaker and completed w/o problems after that .

c) If you prefer an on screen display, connect a S-Video from the receiver cable to your TV / monitor. You may want to adjust the aspect ratio 4:3 or 16:9

d) Connect the HDMI inputs (if any) and assign the appropriate HDMI input. In my case the XA2 was connected to HDMI input 1. The HDMI output from the receiver was connected to the TV's HDMI input.

e) Make sure that you set HDMI Audio Out to "Yes"

f) If you prefer to see the OSD over HDMI, set the HDMI Monitor to Yes. You will no longer see any output on the SVideo. If you make a mistake on this screen, you can revert by pressing the arrow key on the receiver to switch back to SVideo.
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on July 6, 2007
I was in the market for a new receiver that would handle HDMI switching duties for my LG BH-100 BluRay / HD-DVD player and Tivo Series 3. The receiver needed to support the new Dolby Digital and DTS high bit rate codecs to fully take advantage of the features of the BH-100. I was very pleasantly surprised to find everyting I was looking for in the Onkyo TX-SR605S for $500.

I have used the player for a month now and have been completely satisfied with its features and performance.

Highly recommended!
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on November 28, 2007
After a lot of procastinating, I finally decided to upgrade to a receiver with more features. I chose the Onkyo 605, and it's worked out very well.

1) The price/performance ratio on the 605 is very good. You get a sophisticated, relatively high powered receiver that doesn't have many weaknesses.

2) Connectivity is about all you can ask for at this price point. You have 2 HDMI input connections, and 1 HDMI output. There are both optical digital and coaxial digital connections for audio(for gear that can't do HDMI), and the usual component, S-video and two channel stereo inputs and outputs.

3) The receiver can process the newer, higher level audio formats (TrueHD, DD+ etc) via HDMI. Right now most hi-def dvd players decode these before transmitting to a receiver, but in the future if players send an encoded signal in the newer formats, the 605 will be able to handle them.

4) Connections are easy to make. The speaker connections accept banana plugs, or you can use bare wire. From what I remember, the spade type connectors for speakers may not work well due to the way the connectors on the 605 are constructed. The rest of the audio and video connections are well laid out, but, since there are a ton of them, things are a bit cramped in back. Also, if you're used to running all of those component video cables, and various audio cables, using just a couple of HDMI cables comes as a revelation (and welcome relief to cable clutter).

5) Setup goes quickly. The owner's manual is generally easy to follow, even for novices, although it does help if you have some knowledge of home theater components for the more advanced procedures. The menus are pretty basic, and very easy to navigate. Once you go into the menu and turn on the On Screen Display function, everything pops up on your tv.

6) The Audyssey audio setup deserves special mention. It allows you to do away with your spl meter, and you don't have to manually enter speaker distances, location, etc. You just plug in a microphone (attached to a long cord) and move it around the room. The receiver generates test tones and does all the calculations internally. The receiver can tell which speakers are full range, what the distance is to each speaker, etc, you don't have to do anything (except have the speakers connected). I was very pleased with the results overall (although I'm bumping up the volume on my subwoofer a little).

7) Fit and finish are very good. The 605 is a nice looking receiver that seems to be well constructed. Although there are an overload of black components in the AV world, I think the black 605 looks a little better overall than the silver (and I actually have the silver due finding it cheaper at one store). The remote is easy to use, with a pretty good layout, but there sure are a lot of buttons (by necessity of course).

Also, just a footnote. There have been reports of Onkyo receivers running on the hot side. My 605 actually runs cooler than my Comcast (Motorola) HD-DVR. It does run hotter than my old Sony DB930 receiver, but it's not scorching hot like I had been led to believe, and a few inches of clearance all the way around seems to be sufficient, at least from what I've seen so far.
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on December 23, 2007
I thought I had performed a thorough evaluation of home theater receivers, Onkyo seemed to have great ratings and a good "bang for buck" value. I however got a lemon, and have found out that 30% of the units are bad for HDMI operation.
Google "Onkyo popping". My receiver pops after about 20 minutes of HDMI viewing, and the popping noise is very annoying and begins to increase. I had to buy an expensive fan to help reduce the popping, but this has not stopped the problem. Onkyo told me to reset the unit- and this did not work. The unit is very cool with my special fan, but the popping continues. Onkyo was supposed to call me back (after the 30 minute wait on the phone), but that promise was never kept. My wife wants to kill me because we spent a bunch of money on our home theater and it is not fun to watch with the popping noise.
I have never left a review in my life, but this seems to be the only way to voice my disappointment that Onkyo refuses to even accept that there is a problem, despite the 15 pages of complains.
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on January 13, 2008
-Don't let the negative review given by one user spoil this for you. If you want a bang for the buck receiver that can decode the new HD audio codecs(DD+, TruHD, DTA-MA), then this receiver is for you. this receiver can also upconvert and pass through video signals without a hitch. all receivers shipped out now have the most up to date firmware. (had the negative poster searched, they could have figured out how to do this via the net--i did!!)
-set up is truly a breeze. plug in and assign your sources, plug in and set up your speakers and let Audyssey do its thing. this calibrates for a flawless soundfield.
-i have had this receiver for 7 months and simply love it. you really can't go wrong with this receiver.
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on December 1, 2007
This model had it all - all the features you could want. I posted a glowing review back in 2007 when I bought it. Well, I just sold its dead carcass on eBay for $55 (July, 2011). First the subwoofer output died, then the right channel started dying randomly, then the sound would cut out entirely, and finally it would just turn itself off randomly. It had nothing to do with volume or temperature as far as I could tell. The problems got much worse shortly after the warranty expired until it would sometimes turn on and sometimes not. It seems like they tried to pack too many goodies in for the price.
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on September 9, 2007
I have owned Onkyo products in the past(amps, pre-amps, receivers, etc). They seem to last forever. This Onkyo entry is all that it appears to be. It reproduces sound--all HD formats--flawlessly. It has two HDMI inputs, and one HDMI output to the TV. There is no picture degradation. It can be set up in less than 30 minutes. The remote can be programmed by the Harmony Remote series. I wish only that it was a little more powerful (perhaps 110 watts per channel instead of 90). Still, the sound, even at lower volumes, is crisp and clean.
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