Onkyo TX-SR607: Could start world's longest domestic argument

When it comes to AV gear, domestic bliss is nothing short of impossible. Generally someone wants surround sound, but the other person can't stand lots of bass. It's a recipe for a big old barney

Ian Morris

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Take a look around. If you're at home, you might see your significant other. If you're at work, you might have a photo to hand. Look into his or her eyes -- are those the eyes of a forgiving, technologically tolerant person? No, we didn't think so.

Don't get us wrong. Crave loves its other half more than anything on the planet, but when it comes to large, heat-producing equipment that can power large numbers of speakers, there's a limit to what we can get away with. The Onkyo TX-SR607 is, therefore, not something we expect to be allowed to buy anytime soon.

The reason the 607 isn't spouse-approved is that it comes with the new Dolby ProLogic IIz system, which allows not only 7.1 surround sound, but two additional speakers, at the front, which are mounted high up. This extra channel of sound is supposed to involve you more in the movie. We can't help think it's more likely to involve you in a sizeable domestic argument.

A demo we heard with the animated phobia-fest Ratatouille illustrated this by creeping us out even more than it did in normal surround sound. Falling rain did indeed seem higher up -- as did the hideous squeaking of those ghastly CG rats. Less horrific films, such as The Island -- okay, it's horrific, but in a different way -- also sounded amazing.

But none of that is going to persuade your dearest to have stereo speakers, a centre speaker, two high-mounted front speakers, a subwoofer (or two), two surround speakers and two rear surround speakers in their pretty living room. And while we think every home cinema system should consist of such a glorious setup, we just can't see it happening.

On the plus side, the Onkyo TX-SR607 can help tidy up your AV gear. Pop it in a cabinet with all your stuff, and run a single HDMI cable to your TV -- suddenly, domestic bliss. It can also accept inputs from iPods via Onkyo's new universal port -- something that will make dinner parties a roaring hit.

Best of all, it's not going to further damage your already badly cracked bank account, because it's only £500. We'll be conducting a review soon, once we've managed to persuade our other half to go for a spa day or something. So check out the photos of the thing you'll never be allowed -- and use the comments to lust over it.

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We think the 607 is a pretty stylish machine. We're suckers for these things in black. Our live-in lovers, however, do not agree.
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The 607 is a little less deep than past models. No, we don't mean that in an existential way, just that it's slightly more compact. The 607 is still perfectly capable of debating philosophy and morality with you.
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An extra, front-mounted HDMI makes sense if you want to quickly plug in a laptop or games console without messing about with the spiders, cobwebs and cables that live at the back of your AV equipment.
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The speaker bindings are nice and chunky, which should mean you can get some decent quality cable in there. Subwoofer outputs are still provided by coaxial, but there are two now, to allow 7.2 or 9.2 surround sound.
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There are plenty of inputs on the 607 to attach your video hardware. There's a massive five HDMI inputs for your HD sources. There are also two component inputs and four composite connectors. For other audio, there's a pair of coaxial digital inputs and another pair of optical digital sockets.
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The universal port means you can connect Onkyo peripherals to the amp. It's not actually that universal if you think about it -- but given time, could be pretty useful.
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And there you go. The simple, innocent-looking setting that has the power to end your long-term relationship. Scary stuff.
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Finally, the remote is decent enough -- it's not Onkyo's top-of-the-range model, but it will still do the job.

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