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Review of Onkyo TX-SR705 THX-certified home theater receiver with HDMI switching and upconversion

December 28th, 2007 by Maxim · 5 Comments · 18,930 Views

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Onkyo TX-SR705 home theater receiver will set you up for the next 5 years or more. It has everything the modern home theater needs: the power, loads of inputs, 7.1 audio, up-conversion of SD-video via HDMI to up to 1080p/24p.

What I was looking for: a home theater receiver with many HDMI inputs, HDMI pass-through, up-conversion, 1080p, lots of inputs, and maybe the possibility of streaming files over network, but not necessarily, because I already have a D-Link DSM-520 HDMI media player. I wanted an FM-tuner too. It had to have inputs on the front panel as well. It had to decode all modern digital audio formats. I did not really cared for 7.1 because my home theater is small and I was just fine with 5 speakers and a sub-woofer. 7.1 was just “nice to have” for future.

What I considered: Onkyo TX-SR605 was the first thing that popped up on Google search results. The price was perfect for my budget. But after I did some research, it turned out that it didn’t have THX certification (SR705 has THX Select2 certification). SR-705 also has DSD processing, which 605 does not. The 705 has 7-band speaker equalizer, 605 – 5-band. Both support XM and Sirius radio. Both can output two zones, so you can have music in two rooms. Another receiver I looked at was Yamaha RX-V3800BL. It had comparable decoding capabilities, optional iPod attachment and XM support, up-conversion to 1080i (not p) and more power, but fewer inputs. It could also be hooked up to the home network to stream audio files onto it. It also has an MP3 and other compressed audio enhancements. It also offers a 3-room capability. But it costs almost 3 times as much as Onkyo 605 and more then twice of what 705 costs. “No, thanks”.

What I got: Onkyo TX-SR705 receiver from Vann’s with free shipping and no sales tax for $649.99. The box arrived by UPS ground in just 2 days. It contained the receiver, the back-lit remote with batteries, AM antenna, FM antenna, printed manuals including wiring diagrams and automatic setup microphone.

Features:

  • THX Select2 Certification for a Better Class of Home Theater
  • Processing 1080p Video and High-Resolution Audio via High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI 1.3a)
  • HDMI and Component Video Up-conversion for a Single Output to High-Resolution Displays
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT for Powerful Room Acoustics Correction
  • HDMI V1.3 repeater (3in/1out, 1080p compatible)
  • HDMI video up-conversion with DCDi technology
  • Dolby Decoder (Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD) and DTS-HD decoding (DTS-HD Master Audio)
  • DSD processing
  • 32-bit DSP
  • Lip-Sync
  • Optional iPod dock
  • 7.1 channel audio with 2-nd room preamplifier at 100W per channel
  • 7-band Speaker Equalizer
  • Sirius radio ready

Connections:

  • 2x digital optical input, 1x output
  • 3x digital coaxial inputs
  • SIRIUS antenna input
  • XM antenna input
  • 3x HDMI inputs and 1x output
  • 3x Component Video in and 1x out
  • AM radio antenna and FM radio antenna inputs
  • 1x S-Video OUT
  • Front, Center, Surround and Surround-Back speaker terminals
  • RS-232 port for connecting your receiver to home automation equipment
  • Zone-2 LINE-OUT
  • PHONO IN for connecting a turntable
  • RI-remote control port
  • GND – a ground screw for connecting turntable’s ground
  • Analog CD in
  • Tape IN/OUT for connecting voice recorders
  • 4x (composite video + S-video + analog audio inputs)
  • 5.1 and 7.1 pre-out terminals if you want to use the receiver solely as a pre-amp
  • IR in for second IR receiver you can put in 2nd room
  • A North-American power outlet to power another component through the receiver

The looks: the unit is pretty thick (tall). Mine is black, and they also make them in silver. It has a very bright back-lit display, and I always dim it when I watch movies because if I don’t it’s distracting. All inputs are clearly marked, the front panel has a 5-way knob. Everything you can do with your remote you can also do through the buttons on the front panel. There’s no fan, and the unit operates very quietly, but it is a 700W amplifier and it gets very hot. Probably the main reason the unit is so tall is because it has a huge heat-sink. Nevertheless, it gets so hot you can not hold your hand on top of it. So place it in a well-ventilated area. I wonder how it’s going to live through summer…

TX-SR705 remoteThe remote: it’s light, big and convenient, but I am not using it because I have Logitech Harmony 880 Universal Remote (Maxim’s review).

TX-SR705 back
The set up
: manual is written well, but all inputs are marked very clearly and the only thing I read from the manual before setting it up were safety warnings (make sure you don’t burn your speakers!). Another thing I did not figure out on my own without help of the manual is how to connect my 5.1-speaker system I inherited from my 7-year old Samsung all-in-one home-theater. But the manual cleared it up. Time for connecting all components: 6 minutes. Since this unit has 3 HDMI inputs – that’s what I used to connect my cable box, D-Link DSM-520 HDMI network media player and Toshiba HD A35 HD DVD player. The latter is set up to up-convert all signal into 1080p. The one HDMI output of the receiver goes into one of two HDMI inputs of Sharp Aquos HDTV.

After the unit has been powered on, I used buttons on the front panel to navigate the setup menus – I didn’t want to use provided remote, and Harmony 880 remote wasn’t programmed yet. No problem. The menus are simple to navigate and are intuitive. I enabled HDMI output and HDMI audio decoding. Without the latter, the sound will be passed-through to the TV set.

Then I plugged in provided setup microphone. The receiver immediately switched into set up mode and I followed on-screen instructions. The setup process sends test audio signals to up to 9 sitting positions in your home theater to measure distance from speakers to the ears of the audience. It then uses this distance and frequency response information to synchronize video with audio (light travels through the air much faster then sound, so the receiver has to emit sound a few milliseconds earlier then corresponding video is reproduced on the screen). This process takes about 15 minutes. Alternatively you can navigate to the audio settings menu and enter the distances and frequencies manually.

Then it was a good time to setup Harmony remote. Went online, deleted Samsung receiver and added Onkyo receiver into the setup. Assigned inputs to be switched through the Onkyo receiver and uploaded the new configuration to the remote. Took about 15 minutes: connection between the remote and laptop was rather slow. Tested the remote: everything is working.

Radio: I don’t listen to AM radio, but just made sure it’s working. The antenna wire was very short – very inconvenient. I used AM antenna from Samsung – it’s same design but the wire was a little longer. FM radio was scratchy on many stations. The trick is to keep the antenna as far as possible from the unit and other electronics, or it will pick up static noise.

SD/HD video: Cable TV looked nice vie either component or HDMI. Since all of my components are now connected through HDMI, the receiver is just passing the HDMI signal through. I have not tried up-converting analog signal into HDMI yet, other then trying component connection from cable box to the receiver output on Sharp TV over HDMI. In both cases the TV recognizes the signal format and up-converts everything to its native 1080p. SD up-conversion doesn’t look so good, but the quality of SD digital cable picture is not great to begin with. HD DVD playback and regular DVD playback on Toshiba HD A35 HD DVD player looks awesome because this player has a very good upscaler and outputs everything in 1080p; receiver simply passes the signal through into TV, while decoding the audio.

Sound quality: pretty good when playing CDs, descent when playing MP3 files streamed over D-Link DSM-520 (with audio streamed over HDMI connection). I need better speakers. There’s no noise and sound is very clear.

The Onkyo TX-SR705 receiver supports multiple ways of hooking up your speakers: you can connect just the center speaker, or two speakers for stereo, or center and two surround speakers, or usual 5.1 or 7.1 configuration. You can also connect a powered sub-woofer through line-in, but my sub-woofer is passive (non-powered). I did not know how to connect it and there was nothing about it in the manual. I called support but I was on hold for too long and hang up. Sent a support request online about 5 days ago, but got no reply yet: maybe it’s because it’s Christmas time. My solution for now for connecting passive sub-woofer is to connect it to the center speaker channel. I can still get the bass this way, but of course DVDs and HD DVD have separate audio stream for the sub, so right now I am not getting it. However, during the sound setup process I described above, the receiver detected that there is no separate sub-woofer, and it adds that channel’s audio stream into center speaker, so partly I get some response from the woofer this way. Check back for update on solving this problem. One way to do it would be to get a 7.1 speaker system instead of reusing the small speakers I inherited from my old Samsung home theater.

Summary: a descent feature-packed receiver with support for all modern signal formats and many many inputs for a very reasonable price.

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Tags: Hardware · Home Theater

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 admin // Feb 8, 2008 at 6:25 am

    *** UPDATE ***
    Regarding my earlier problem with passive subwoofer. I solved by getting rid of the old 5.1 samsung setup entirely and purchased Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1 Surround Sound Speaker System from Van’s for $269.98
    They look and perform awesome, and have removable speaker covers and 230W powered sub-woofer.

  • 2 admin // Feb 8, 2008 at 6:25 am

    *** UPDATE ***
    Regarding my earlier problem with passive subwoofer. I solved by getting rid of the old 5.1 samsung setup entirely and purchased Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1 Surround Sound Speaker System from Van’s for $269.98
    They look and perform awesome, and have removable speaker covers and 230W powered sub-woofer.

  • 3 admin // Feb 8, 2008 at 6:25 am

    *** UPDATE ***
    Regarding my earlier problem with passive subwoofer. I solved by getting rid of the old 5.1 samsung setup entirely and purchased Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1 Surround Sound Speaker System from Van’s for $269.98
    They look and perform awesome, and have removable speaker covers and 230W powered sub-woofer.

  • 4 Stash The Vampede // Dec 31, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Reply  |  Quote


    What is the video processor that is used in this receiver? Also does the A35 pass though 1080p24hz to this receiver, the receiver pushes it through the same AND the Sharp TV display the 24hz signal?

    That’s the panacea of home theater — sure looks like you are close to it!

  • 5 admin // Dec 31, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Reply  |  Quote


    I don’t know the answer to the first question. The second question depends on the Sharp TV you have. I believe the receiver will pass through ANY HDMI signal to the TV as is. The TV will then convert it to it’s native resolution of 1920×1080 progressive scan, 60Hz. That is, a 24p signal is converted to 60 frames per second. On new high end models, if Fine Motion setting is on, it can even upconvert it to 120Hz – twice the refresh rate – for smoother motion.

    Toshiba HD A35 uses Anchor Bay Technologies’ (ABT) ABT1018 chip for video processing and up-scaling SD into HD.

  • 6 admin // Jan 1, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Reply  |  Quote


    If you look at the manual, the receiver will pass through everything unchanged if input is the same as output, for example:
    1080p HDMI in = 1080p HDMI out
    1080i component in = 1080i component out
    720p HDMI in = 720p HDMI out
    However if you TV only supports 720p, the receiver will downscale 1080p into 720p.
    The maximum this receiver can upconvert into is 720p. If you need 1080p upconversion on the receiver, consider Onkyo 875 or Onkyo 905 receivers. For my setup, I am happy with upconverting HD DVD player for movies; cable TV is passed through as is through HDMI, including 1080i HD channels and 480i SD channels: the Sharp TV converts it to 1080p, its native resolution. For streaming HD over the network, the D-Link DSM-520 otputs sound and video in 1080i anyway.

  • 7 admin // Feb 7, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Reply  |  Quote


    *** UPDATE ***
    Regarding my earlier problem with passive subwoofer. I solved by getting rid of the old 5.1 samsung setup entirely and purchased Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1 Surround Sound Speaker System from Van’s for $269.98
    They look and perform awesome, and have removable speaker covers and 230W powered sub-woofer.

  • 8 Mark // Feb 13, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Reply  |  Quote


    Have the TX Sr 706 –

    Bought it to upscale fox and my HDD player. Needed multizone receiver.

    This amp has a manufacturing problem with upscaling component leads from both Fox and other hardware. When there is a lot of colour change (especially bright colours), the processor drops out and the screen balnks (but not the sound). Tried a replacement AMP same model – same problem. Onkyo are looking into the problem but it looks like a full refund job – Not happy

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