Onkyo TX-SR500 (black) review: Onkyo TX-SR500 (black)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Superb-sounding budget receiver; A/B speaker switching.

The Bad Lacks onscreen setup menus; minimal connectivity options; spring-clip connectors for the B speakers.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a budget receiver, put the SR500 on your short list.

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Budget receivers that exceed mere functionality are pretty rare, and truly outstanding budget models such as Onkyo's latest, the TX-SR500, are something else again. The design engineers not only wrung out every last bit of sonic performance from this one, but it's also a joy to use, and it looks nice. Budget receivers that exceed mere functionality are pretty rare, and truly outstanding budget models such as Onkyo's latest, the TX-SR500, are something else again. The design engineers not only wrung out every last bit of sonic performance from this one, but it's also a joy to use, and it looks nice.

The essential receiver
Onkyo didn't load up a pile of engineering breakthroughs, but all home-theater essentials are present and accounted for; you get Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS 5.1-surround decoding. The receiver delivers 65 watts to each of its five channels, and the power stage uses all-discrete output devices with extruded aluminum heat sinks for high-current capability. This is one budget receiver that can handle low-impedance (less than 8 ohms) speakers without distress.

The 5.1-speaker setup doesn't use the standard naming conventions of Large and Small, so we were a bit puzzled at first. The lack of onscreen menus didn't help the situation either. However, once we read the manual, we had the TX-SR500 up and running in less than 30 minutes.

Connectivity choices are ample for basic home-theater fun. Onkyo managed to sneak in 5.1 DVD-Audio/SACD inputs, as well as front-panel-mounted A/V and digital inputs for easy connection of camcorders or game consoles. Absent are component/HDTV-video switching, preamplifier outputs, and a phono input, so vinyl fans are out of luck. Onkyo makes up for that loss by throwing in a set of color-coded speaker cable labels that match the receiver's color-coded speaker connectors. You can hook up a second set of remote B speakers, but they're relegated to spring-clip fasteners rather than the more secure binding-post-style connectors used for the rest of the speakers.

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Where to Buy

Onkyo TX-SR500 (black)

Part Number: TX-SR500
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Response Bandwidth 10 - 100000 Hz
  • Color black
  • Additional Features Midnight Mode
  • Functions AV receiver
  • Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
  • Type AV receiver