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on April 18, 2007
I purchased this receiver to replace a sickly Harman Kardon AVR-100 which had served me well for many years. In my search for a replacement, I was presented with many choices with a never-ending list of features. I was satisfied with my HK receiver, which didn't handle S-video or component video switching (let alone HDMI), so I had to think through all these options on my new choice.

It turns out that my television (purchased last year) has more video inputs than I can shake a stick at, and I would rather not pass video signals through any switches or extra connectors that could only serve to degrade picture quality. So I determined that video switching was not important. But then another detail shows up -- many modern higher-end receivers use on-screen menus to manage their functions. For me, that would mean switching the TV to a separate video input just to tweak my receiver. Not ideal.

The Onkyo TX-SR504 receiver does not have on-screen menus, which works just fine for me. And it doesn't switch HDMI signals either, or up-convert to component video for that matter. But even though it is "lower-end" on the video handling feature list, it is exceptional on the audio side, which is what really matters to me. And over my old HK receiver I'm provided with two more surround channels and several more modern surround decoders.

One nice surprise was the handling of digital audio signals. My television has an optical digital audio output, along with the analog outputs. Unlike my HK receiver, when I set up Video 1 to use optical digital inputs, the receiver automatically drops back to analog if no digital signal is present (digital audio is only present on digital channels). A nice touch which may be common, but the upgrade made my system a bit easier to use.

The last thing I'd like to note is that the power output level of my HK receiver was specified at 40W/ch, and that was always way more than enough for me. I like Harman Kardon's philosophy of providing high-current and fast transient response at lower power levels, rather than quoting a higher level that may be impossible to maintain with very high dynamic-range sources such as movie soundtracks. The power levels quoted by today's receivers should all be taken with a grain of salt, and with some skepticism. The Onkyo is rated at 75W into 7 channels, while my HK was 40W into 5 channels. Yet the HK has a significantly heavier chassis, mostly in the power suppy, and I know that to deliver more power to the speakers means you need to funnel more power through your power transformer.

At the price the Onkyo TX-SR504 was offered at, it was a no-brainer. I am very satisfied with my purchase, and very pleased with the performance of the receiver.
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on June 7, 2012
I bought this a few years ago and have just replaced it with a newer model with HDMI inputs. Overall the Onkyo is a good little receiver for the money but with a couple shortcomings.

The lack of HDMI inputs is of course the biggest one if you want to use it for surround sound. You have to run the HDMI output to the television then run a digital output to the receiver, either coax or optical. Or run the optical directly to the receiver for sound and the HDMI to the monitor for picture.

The other issue I had was losing voices during movies with a lot of background sound. It was difficult getting it adjusted so that you could hear the voices well but not have the levels too high during action scenes. I tried two different brands of center channel and found Polk to work better than the JBL that I originally used. And the issue might have been partly my lack of understanding of the controls, but I tried a lot of different setups and still wasn't satisfied with the results.

Having said that, the sound was great when adjusted correctly. Full and rich on movies, which is what I mostly used it for, rather than music. The AVR I replaced it with has more adjustments and is clearer, but is not as dynamic as this receiver was.

Overall, I would say buy it if you have a small setup in a bedroom (I may use it with a center and two bookshelves) and are on a budget. But there better options.
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VINE VOICEon April 16, 2007
My setup is an older Hitachi UltraVision 61" HDTV, (2) B&W 604 front, B&W CC6 Center and (2) B&W 601 rear speakers. I was ready to spend much more money to replace my dead Sony receiver but since my HDTV does not have HDMI inputs I didn't see the point.

This receiver is perfect for my application. I only have component video inputs from my cable box and DVD player. For the audio, my cable box uses the single coaxial input. My DVD player uses a TOSLink connector and my PC uses one of the other two TOSLink inputs. This leaves me with the ability to add one more component video and TOSLink audio device.

NOTE: In a 5.1 setup connect the rear speakers to the center channel surround and set the rear channel speakers to "None" in the configuration. If you don't connect the rear speakers this way you simply won't get surround sound.

The receiver has plenty of power and is intuitive to setup and use. The remote is a easy to setup but you have to press several buttons to switch sources because there is no macro function (like on the higher end receivers). That's not a problem for me because I use a Sony RM-AV 3000 remote control which does have macro functions.

Don't be mislead by the low price -- This receiver packs in a lot of features for the money. If you don't need to switch or upconvert to HDMI, then this is the right product for most mid-end applications.

As far as the XM hookup goes; I'll never use it. I have Sirius and I use the streaming Internet audio from my PC through a 50' TOSLink cable to listen over the receiver. In my PC, I have a Creative X-Fi sound card with the optional Digital I/O module.

The only thing missing from the receiver is a TOSLink output.
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on April 28, 2007
I purchased this product to replace a older RCA receiver that was on its last leg. I did not want to spend an excessive amount of money, but wanted a high quality product. I was in disbelief when I saw the price of the Onkyo. However, after purchase and setting up the unit, this receiver cannot be beat. It is a great value and has excellent sound quality. There are a fair amount of connections S-video, component, digital, and composite (No HMDI). At 75 watts/ channel sound quality is excellent and fills a medium size room with no problem. Caveats: no component video conversion, no onscreen setup menu, no zenith DVD codes for the remote. Although not perfect, I highly recommend this unit.
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on May 18, 2007
I just bought my second TX-SR504 for my "Daddy's Room" (the first one is still down in the living room). These things are just fantastic. If you're looking into getting a home theater setup, with surround speakers and a new, flat-panel, high-def, big ol' TV, but you're a little daunted by all the choices you've got in components, this receiver is a terrific start.

Don't let the lack of HDMI inputs or outputs discourage you. Component video cables can carry high-def signals just as well (some, including me, would say they do it better) as HDMI. Also, if you're going to use this to drive your speakers, then go with a nice optical audio cable (or a digital audio cable). If you're thinking that component video can't handle 1080p signals, well, that's not true, it's just that most equipment out there only outputs/accepts 1080p through DVI or HDMI. That was a concern for me at first, as I just got a new 1080p TV and (just today) ordered an upconverting DVD player (DENON DVD-1930CI Universal DVD -CD - SACD Audio Video Player). But no one says your video signal MUST go through your receiver; it's really most important for audio. So, I'm just going to connect the DVD player directly to the TV with an HDMI cable (by the way, don't pay monster prices for HDMI or DVI cables -- the beauty of all-digital signals is that they either get there or they don't; there is no degradation) and then also use an optical cable for the audio to the receiver. And with the now ridiculously low price on these, I couldn't find a reason not to buy this one.

The main reason I'm getting the DVD player referenced above is its SACD capability, and then I realized that I would need something with 5.1 analog audio inputs in order to take advantage of that. I checked the back of this receiver and voila! There the inputs were.

Bottom line: there are better, higher-end, more expensive receivers out there with more inputs, higher wattage ratings, HDMI-switching, what-have-you. But if you just want a great receiver for your entry-level home theater setup, you absolutely cannot beat the value of this one.

One final note: a great thing to pick up to tie all of your components together and make your life easier is a good all-in-one remote. I'm recommending this one: Logitech Harmony 550 Universal Remote. Trust me, it'll make your digital life a whole lot easier.
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on May 14, 2007
I bought two SR504s to setup for others who wanted good sound and convenient video switching but also didnt want to spend much. So far its working great. From my experience low end Onkyo components have incredible value and the SR504 is no exception. Very good sound for the price. I am usually a fan of Marantz components for their warm sound. The SR504 sounds similar and at times even better because the midrange and bass has a stronger presence. Lots of power too, I can go up to as high as 75% on the volume before I start hearing a bit of distortion. But that is due to the limitations of the speakers, which were leftover from a mini system. Only a few cons I could come up with:

1. No "system power" button on remote. Would be more convenient to just hit one button to turn on all components instead of hitting Receiver - power on, TV - power on etc. Also the universal remote I have from Time Warner wouldnt power on the SR504. I want to say no learning function on the remote either but this is a low end receiver.

2. Receiver runs hot after about an hour. Onkyo does back it up with a two year warranty so Im not really worried.

3. No OSD setup.

In the end, all these are just minor inconveniences. For the price, the SR504 is a steal.
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on June 17, 2007
After shopping for a short time for new receivers, it became apparent the "V" part of their A/V capabilities was becoming irrelevant. My last receiver was purchased over 9 years ago. My new HDTV has so many inputs, it has now become the hub of my entertainment system.

I'm using a single optical output from my HDTV as the input to this receiver. So far it's working great. It has all the newer Dolby and DTS decoding built-in and the price point is just right. Configuration settings are thorough without being overkill. Power is clean - hiss is barely detectable at low volume levels with my ears resting on the speakers.

I didn't need the HDMI switching nonsense found on the newer models. It seemed like lip service to a new format without actually providing value. Another complaint is the remote control IR is underpowered. The range of control (+/- 30 degrees from center) is exactly as the manual describes, but I've become accustomed to more latitude in that area.

Get this receiver for its clean power, digital decoding, and exceptional price. I'm very pleased.
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on May 31, 2007
Unfortunately, I had to return this Onkyo because it made my speakers sound just OK. I bought it based on reviews here and at Circuit City. It's highly rated, but my Monitor Audio Bronze B4 speakers sound great on my Marantz SR4001 (about $500) After hearing the speakers in the store on a Marantz SR4230 and then this TX-SR504, they sounded flat. The speakers are only $600, so I didn't think they'd be over the Onkyo's head. I used the digital audio connection, but the Marantz SR4230 only has analog and it STILL sounded way better. I will say though that the Onkyo was much better with my old SONY SS-U211 speakers than with my old NIKKO amp. Unless you're buying a more expensive receiver, it's best to hear it with YOUR speakers first. I thought I could just base it on other peoples ratings, but I got disapointed. I may have been able to just get a better Onkyo.
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on July 10, 2007
After going through 2 Denon 160"X" receivers that each failed after a couple years of moderate use, I decided to try Onkyo. This is put together very well and sounds great through by Bose Acoustimass 9 set up. The remote is so much better than Denon. 75 watts per channel is plenty if you have neighbors and/or don't need to have your ears bleed to enjoy movies and music. As others said, it gets hot so ventilation is key. DO NOT put anything on top of this unit and leave at least 3 inches of clearance on top. If you're really into all the HDMI video upconverting features you need to get a higher-end model. I use the Linksys wireless music bridge and play MP3's and internet radio stations from my living room computer via my network and into the receiver through an optical cable. I'm happy with this unit so far and the price was right.
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on August 27, 2007
Quite a bit of performance and many different user-selectable options with this receiver. I am very happy with my purchase. My (video) family / entertainment room is about 20' square, and has a 7.1 speaker setup. This reciever meets my needs and performs admirably for the price, despite its modest output (70W). Super clean sound, various pre-set options, customizable speaker setup choices, etc. More than sufficient - replaced a lower-wattage Denon unit & upgraded speakers (Polk) at the same time. Definitely my recommendation among all others in this range, and I compared features / pricing and shopped quite a bit. I probably won't utilize all the features (i.e. XM) just now, but potentially in the future. This is your best bet in this price-performance range.
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