All the lossless audio codecs are supported. Connect a Blu-ray player via HDMI and the receiver will happily chew through Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA. Of course, Dolby Digital and DTS audio are both supported, either via HDMI or S/PDIF.
There's only one thing missing from this system -- RCA jacks for 7.1-channel analogue audio. That's probably not a massive issue for most people though, and not enough for us to justify marking the receiver down.
As soon as we hooked up our Klipsch reference speaker system and powered the TX-SR607 up, we fell in love. Like all Onkyo's hardware, the TX-SR607 has a really wonderful sound to it. This little beauty actually sounds almost as good as its big brother, the TX-NR906.
The whole point of an AV receiver is to take your movie soundtracks and breathe life into them. The TX-SR607 manages this with considerable skill. We tested a massive library of films and other material, and were delighted with its performance.
Blu-ray movies with a thumping Dolby TrueHD soundtrack were just divine. We deployed our favourite test clips for surround-sound systems. First, we used xXx: State of the Union (or xXx: The Next Level, as it's known in the UK), which always gives the subwoofer a decent workout. Our test clip involves blowing holes in the surface of the planet -- the bass in this scene is a great test for an amp. Happily, the TX-SR607 passed with a double thumbs up, although there were protests in the rest of the office, as tea was spilt and teeth chattered along to the sonic awesomeness.
Secondly, we used a clip from The Dark Knight Blu-ray disc, namely the scene where the Joker opens fire on police vans in Gotham City's underground road system. The sound of gunfire and its echoes gives the rear channel a proper workout. We were blown away by the clarity of the audio and the wonderful sound steering from the TX-SR607 -- and, of course, the original sound mixer.
Regular TV can also benefit, as many programmes have a Dolby Pro Logic soundtrack. The Jeremy Kyle Show doesn't get much benefit out of the TX-SR607, but, if you watch a movie or US TV import, you can get some decent surround sound out of this AV receiver.
One of the things we love about the TX-NR906 is its ability to handle music. Although the TX-SR607 is less than half the price of that system, it too handles music very well. We suspect this is thanks to the Dolby Music mode, which seems to do a good job of steering music to all the speakers, while pushing a decent amount of the vocal out via the centre channel. However it works, we really enjoyed playing music on this system. It's not a match for a high-end stereo system, but it's very competent for day-to-day use.
It's worth pointing out that, like all Onkyo AV gear, this little chap gives off plenty of heat. Amplification is always prone to produce heat, because it's not a very efficient process, but the TX-SR607 is one of the hotter-running machines we've encountered. That said, we never had any problems with it and it never cut out because it was too hot. Putting anything on top of it is out of the question though, and you should make sure it's in a well-ventilated area if possible.
For the money, we think the Onkyo TX-SR607 is a corker. In fact, it would still be a corker if it cost another couple of hundred quid. The only sensible alternative we can suggest is one of Onkyo models from last year's range. With a new line-up coming in, it's entirely possible you could snag a bargain with an older model.
No review of an AV receiver would be complete without reminding you to spend as much on your audio gear as you do on your screen. Trust us, a lovely receiver like this needs a set of terrific speakers to make it come alive. So get saving now.
Edited by Charles Kloet