Onkyo has long been a favorite of mine when it comes to mass-market receivers at relatively low price points. The TX-SR706, reviewed here, is no exception. For $899 retail, it is astonishing how much Onkyo is able to pack into its rather unassuming gray-black chassis. While not a looker when compared to other similarly-priced receivers, the TX-SR706 focuses its attention on features the modern home theater enthusiast wants and needs, mated to a sound quality that is so un-receiver-like that you're bound to double take more than once during a listening session.
The front of the TX-SR706 is all budget receiver all the way. There are numerous buttons and controls, none of which are hidden from view behind the standard trap door. No, sir, "You paid for those buttons, you might as well see them" must have been the mantra at the Onkyo factory. Truth be told, the TX-SR706 shares its case work with many lower-priced models, which is why its asking price is so low.
The TX-SR706 is THX Select2 Plus-Certified and features four HDMI 1.3a inputs and a single HDMI monitor output. The TX-SR706 features full 1080p upscaling, made possible by its Faroudja DCDi Cinema video chipset. The TX-SR706 can also scale legacy sources to 1080p, making it a must-have for today's HD video fan. On the audio side of things, the TX-SR706 features Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio, as well as many lesser codecs, and is satellite radio-ready.
The TX-SR706 boasts 100 watts across all seven of its channels, powered by its WRAT or Wide Range Amp Technology amplifiers. If 100 watts is too little power for your needs, the TX-SR706 has a full 7.1-channel complement of preamp outs, effectively turning it into an A/V processor. The TX-SR706 features Audyssey MultiEQ for automatic room correction and speaker calibration, as well as Audyssey's Dynamic EQ for loudness correction when listening at low levels so as not to wake the neighbors.
The remote is a bit of a departure for Onkyo, in that it is more stylish and thoughtfully laid-out then most, though its backlighting leaves a lot to be desired. Still, for under a grand and available almost everywhere, the TX-SR706 is one hell of a complete package in terms of performance for today's modern consumer.
• Though only utilizing 100 watts per channel, the TX-SR706 proves to be plenty strong for loud passages through semi-inefficient speakers. The inner detail, soundstaging and overall musicality of the TX-SR706 is very surprising, giving it a far more audiophile-acceptable sound than most receivers.
• The video scaling and processing found in the TX-SR706 is good and among the best in its class, though don't expect it to turn water into wine.
• Having true Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio support is almost unheard of at the TX-SR706's price point.
• Audyssey's latest room EQ gets closer to sonic nirvana than previous incarnations and is a noticeable improvement over no EQ at all in most situations.
• The setup menus and interface are topnotch and so easy to navigate that even a caveman could do it.
Read about the low points of the TX-Sr706 on Page 2.