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.
Onkyo TX-SR500 (black)
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.
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