Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
Tremendous value, great performance
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.