Onkyo TX-NR5007 review: Onkyo TX-NR5007

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MSRP: $2,699.00

The Good Excellent sound quality; attractive design; great build quality; plenty of connectivity options; flexible.

The Bad Expensive; very large and heavy.

The Bottom Line The Onkyo TX-NR5007 is certainly expensive, but it competes with other companies' products that cost much more. Incredibly powerful, it retains its audio fidelity no matter how hard you drive it. It's ideally suited to people with dedicated home-cinema rooms, plenty of space and a video projector, but it's also wonderful in smaller rooms -- just don't turn the volume up too high, as we suspect it can demolish walls

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8.8 Overall

We've spent plenty of time with the Onkyo TX-NR5007 AV receiver -- so much, in fact, that the company has now announced its replacement, the TX-NR5008, which adds reasonably minor updates. But the TX-NR5007 is still available, and, as new models filter in, it's likely that good deals will start to emerge.

Currently, the high-end TX-NR5007 isn't cheap. At around �2,000, it's a considerable investment, costing about twice what most people spend on a TV. Add in a good set of speakers, and you're going to be spending quite a sack of cash on this bad boy. Allow us to explain why we think it's a good idea to do so.

Big, black and beautiful
Our TX-NR5007 had a black colour scheme, which we adored. It's also available in silver, which we aren't so keen on. It's a personal choice, though, and your decision may depend on what the rest of your AV equipment looks like.

Although it's huge, and weighs about as much as a yacht, the TX-NR5007 is surprisingly lovely to look at. The buttons on the front are concealed beneath a drop-down flap that keeps the receiver's face free from clutter. All you'll see are a range of input buttons, a volume control and the chunky power switch.

Onkyo's TX-NR5007 offers more types of port than Oliver Reed's drinks cabinet

The back is a different story -- there's no way to conceal the huge selection of inputs and outputs found here. There are 11 speaker binding posts, nine HDMI sockets -- two outputs and seven inputs -- and more composite and stereo audio RCA jacks than it's healthy to count. There are six digital audio inputs, divided equally between optical and coaxial, and you'll find dual subwoofer RCA jacks too, in case you want twin-sub action in your home cinema.

The remote control is pretty awesome too. It's larger than the ones that come with Onkyo's cheaper systems, but feels comfortable in your hand. Its controls are generally within easy rich of your controlling digit.

Power has its price
If you're wondering why the TX-NR5007 is over four times as expensive as Onkyo's excellent TX-SR608, the answer is simply that it's hugely powerful. The TX-NR5007 is THX-Ultra2-Plus-certified, which means it's aimed at rooms of up to 914 cubic metres, with a viewing distance of more than 3.66m between the screen and your eyeballs. Put simply: the NR5007 is aimed at people who have huge rooms and video projectors.

Does this mean you can't use the TX-NR5007 in a small room? Certainly not. But you probably won't be able to get the amp up to the reference level of the THX Ultra2 Plus certification. The reference level is designed to produce the same fidelity and volume of sound as the director hears while a movie is being edited. Ramping up the AV receiver to the reference level in a small room would probably prove unbearably loud.

It's hard to make equipment that works like this, and building amps of sufficient quality is quite an expensive process. But, whatever the reasons for its cost, the TX-NR5007 is undoubtedly very expensive, and not everyone will want to spend this kind of money.

Don't want to go deaf?
Unless you want to become deaf, listening at the reference level isn't a good idea, and doing so will probably seriously annoy your neighbours. To get around this, Onkyo has included the THX Loudness Plus system, which aims to produce the same audio detail at lower volumes than the reference level.

We like this feature, as it's in no way practical to listen to audio at the reference level. If you want to buy the TX-NR5007 for a smaller room, you shouldn't let its awesome potential power put you off, because this receiver is just as capable at lower volumes.

HDMI input central
There are no less than eight HDMI inputs on the TX-NR5007. Seven of these are located on the back panel, with the eighth being an easy-access socket mounted on the front of the receiver. This means you can plug a games console in without rooting around at the back of the machine -- something you'll be thankful for when all your equipment is connected up.

Despite the remote's size, it's easy to use