Onkyo Professional PR-SC885 Preamp/Processor User Interface
With as many cutting-edge features as this pre/pro offers, I was surprised at the relatively primitive text-based onscreen display (OSD). Recent AVRs I have reviewed from Denon and Sony offered much better OSDs compared with the Onkyo Pro's, which doesn't seem to have changed much since I owned an Onkyo TX-DS989 AVR just after the turn of the century.
When it comes to OSDs, I don't want the audio and video to be cut off when I enter the menu system—for one thing, this prevents me from using external test signals to set up the pre/pro. Granted, once the unit is installed, venturing into the setup menu is a rare occurrence, but changing a setting is not a simple task. I do give Onkyo props for the ease of navigation and setup, but the OSD needs to be upgraded to an overlay system in next year's model.
A few years ago, my wife laid down the law—either get one remote to control everything or get out of the house, which is why I prefer my Universal Remote MX-700 for everyday use. Still, I could almost live with the remote supplied with the Onkyo Pro. It has a lot of features I especially like—for example, it feels comfortable in my hand, it can be lit up with the push of a button on the side of the remote, and its buttons have a nice tactile feel. You can even program up to three macros, but they are labeled 1, 2, and 3, which isn't much use for the babysitter unless you leave a note describing what each macro does. For everything other than the initial setup, I migrated all the commands to the MX-700 in order to keep a roof over my head.
The aesthetics of the PR-SC885 are simple yet elegant. A variety of buttons on the front panel access sources directly (DVD, VCR, etc.), and a flip-down panel hides other functional buttons. In addition, the Aux-2 inputs (S-video, composite video, stereo audio, digital TosLink) are hidden behind the panel. The display on the front panel is easy to read, even from eight feet away, and it's dimmable if you want a completely darkened room.