Price: £600 More info: Onkyo Size (WxHxD): 435x199x434mm Weight: 18kg Power rating: 7x 180W Surround modes: THX Select2 Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio/High Resolution Audio/Express, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Audyssey DSX Video inputs: 6x HDMI 1.3a, 3x component, 4x S-Video, 5x AV inputs Audio inputs: 2x phono, 3x optical, 3x coaxial Video outputs: 1x HDMI, component, S-Video, composite, Zone 2, 3 component Audio outputs: Zone 2/3 phono, 7.1 line-level multi-channel, 1x optical
Colours: Black or silver
Great sound, DSX and DPLIIz height and width surround channels, 1080p video upscaling
Bass can be a bit full-on, no front-mounted HDMI, no USB input
Onkyo has been shouting that it's the UK's best-selling AV receiver manufacturer for a couple of years now, and if its success depends on packing loads of features into economically priced boxes, then it's pretty easy to see why. With the TX-NR807, it's managed the trick yet again: with a full range of connection options, HD audio formats and standard def upscaling, it's much more than a full surround starter pack, but for an eminently reasonable price.
Like all powerhouse AV receivers, it's a meaty bit of kit, standing at 199mm high and 436mm deep. Svelte it ain't, but the curved lines in silver or black and most of its front panel controls hidden behind a flap at least give it a nod towards a stylish rather than industrial build.
The remote control is a good one - intuitively laid out and labelled, and easy to find your way around. The top section of buttons lights up in the dark too, which is nice, though we're not quite sure why this couldn't be extended to the number buttons.
Inputs behind the front panel include composite video, analogue stereo and optical digital but no HDMI or USB. There are no less than six HDMI inputs on the back however, along with 11 pairs of speaker connections. Eleven may seem a tad excessive, until you recall that the TX-NR807 offers Dolby Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX (Dynamic Surround Expansion) - the first sub£1,000 receiver to do so. The Dolby lets you add 'front height' channels with ambient effects at the front of the soundstage, while the Audyssey provides either front wide or front height channels.
This is still a 7.2-channel receiver though, so both features require you to move your rear satellite speakers to the front - which wouldn't happen with some of the higher-specced Onkyo amps with nine-channel sound options which would allow you to run riot with your speaker allocation. But that would certainly take you over the £600 asking price, and for that, what you get is still pretty impressive.
11 pairs of speaker outputs
It will play virtually any format you care to throw at it, including the Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio HD that Blu-ray fans will require, and there'ss a heap of listening modes too, including DTS Surround Sensation, DTS Neo:6, Theatre Dimensional, Dolby Pro Logic II/IIx and eleven of Onkyo's own DSP modes. Or you can get purist with Direct and Pure Audio modes which strip out all the processing.
There's full networking capability via Ethernet connection (DLNA 1.5), allowing you to stream music direct from a computer, as well as access internet radio including streaming services such as Last.fm and vTuner and software updates. You can set up sound preferences for a maximum of three different zones and there's standard def upscaling to 1080p from all of its various inputs using its Faroudja DCDi chip. All in all, it's a pretty decent bundle.
Audyssey MultEQ calibration microphone
If you don't want to get too fancy with your set-up, a standard 5.1 or 7.1 arrangement is relatively easy to fix. The dinky set-up mic is hardly sturdy but it works and the Audyssey MultEQ automatic calibration feature is easy enough for even surround newbies to follow. And once you have it set, Audyssey's Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume work away in the background to ensure your speakers stay at the optimum levels.
If you've got the room, the additional front channels afforded by the Audyssey DSX are really quite impressive, delivering a clearly noticeable and surprisingly welcome sense of scale.
There's plenty of attack too in the robust midrange and throbbing yet tight bass it delivers without any apparent strain. Crank up the low end though and it's a recipe for tooth-rattling assault. The standard bass punch isn't quite as effective here, and while there's plenty of boom, there's probably a bit too much for all but the most devout worshippers at the shrine of extreme bassity.
But while there's plenty of power when you need it, the TX-NR807 also has a gentle side when coaxed, and it doesn't shy on the detail in quieter scenes, with whispered dialogue coming through loud and clear, even through background noise. The high end too is refreshingly detailed while never appearing to stray into tinny territory.
The Onkyo TX-NR807 is a fully-specced, very capable AV receiver for its price. It's great to be able to try out the Pro Logic IIz and DSX modes without splashing out four figures though you may end up feeling a little cheated that you've had to sacrifice your rear speaker options to do so.
The sheer bass power that's available can get a wee bit much to be honest, but there's already plenty without having to crank it up unless your viewing room is getting on for tennis court proportions. All in all, it's a bit of a bargain.
This AMP looks and sounds really nice. In fact I wonder if anyone can offer some advice. I cirrent have a Harmon Kardon AVR 7300, how does this amp compare to that? I know the 7300 has no HDMI sockets or HiDef audio compatbility and that is what is attracting me to this. I suppose the real question is how much would an AVR 7300 be worth these days?