Onkyo is a big proponent of the "it's getting better all the time" school of design. Case in point: the TX-SR601 receiver, which replaces the company's. The 2003 model not only boasts more features than last year's unit, but at $500 (list price), it costs $30 less.
The SR601's brushed-aluminum faceplate looks clean enough, yet it still houses all of the necessary buttons and controls. It comes in your choice ofor silver. The receiver puts out a fair amount of heat, so don't plan on placing it in an enclosed cabinet or on closely spaced shelving--it needs breathing room. The SR601 is almost 17 inches deep and weighs 26.7 pounds.
Onkyo has been using the same large, partially backlit remote for years. We don't have a problem with that--it's easy to use.
As A/V receivers are complicated devices and can be confusing to hook up and use, Onkyo now provides a toll-free customer-service number--technical-support personnel are standing by, seven days a week to answer your questions. You also get a two-year parts-and-labor warranty.
The SR601 employs Onkyo's Wide Range Amplifier Technology (WRAT) to deliver 85 watts per channel into 8-ohm loads, and 110 watts into 6 ohms. The High-Current Power Supply (HCPS) transformer and high-capacity filter capacitors allow the SR601 to drive low-impedance speakers without strain. You also get the full complement of 6.1-channel Dolby and DTS processing modes.
We liked the speaker setup program's versatile satellite/subwoofer crossover control. You can select between 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, or 150Hz crossover options to help fine-tune your subwoofer/satellite system's sound.
The receiver's Zone 2 capability can power stereo speakers in a second room and process separate stereo sources simultaneously for each zone/room, or it can send the same signal to both. A 12-volt trigger output can activate a component (such as a separate power amp) located in the second zone.