Onkyo TX-SR606 A/V Receiver Real-World Performance
I used a variety of Blu-ray discs in my audition of the TX-SR606, with the Panasonic BD30 set to output a bitstream of the high-resolution audio. First up was the Fox Blu-ray release of Jumper, an average film with reference-quality audio and video. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is aggressive and loaded with demo material. David Rice (Hayden Christensen) has the ability to teleport himself anywhere in the world, and each "jump" delivers a sonic boom that resonates throughout the room. The Onkyo handled the many "jumps" with exceptional impact and clarity.
Next, I checked out the Disney release of M. Night Shymalan's Signs on Blu-ray, which offered a completely different yet just as pleasant audio experience. While Jumper hits you in the face with action-packed sequences, the PCM 5.1-channel soundtrack on Signs is a much more balanced affair with an engaging score, discrete sound effects, and effective silence. The 606 seamlessly blended the soundtrack's dynamics with amazing clarity.
Paramount's Blu-ray release of Cloverfield is an audio joy, but if you get the least bit motion sick, I would avoid the film. The constant camera movement made me dizzy, but the reward was a nearly perfect Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. The Onkyo's ability to dispense tight, sternum-thumping bass was clearly demonstrated with one of the most bass-intensive mixes I have ever heard. In addition, panning effects moved effortlessly around the room, and dialog intelligibility was perfectly clear from this budget-class AVR.
Listening to CDs in default mode without the Audyssey room correction, the AVR was very bright, with an emphasis on the high end at the expense of the mid-range and bass. Employing Audyssey vastly improved the audio experience with both stereo and multichannel recordings.
Jimmy Buffet's classic song "Margaritaville" sounded lifeless with no room correction, but with Audyssey enabled, Buffet's six-string came alive, and the smooth rhythm of the lyrics had me looking for the tequila and margarita mix. The bass was powerful and dynamic within the 2-channel soundstage. Engaging All-Channel Stereo mode demonstrated the impressive power of the Onkyo's internal amplifiers, which never sounded strained, even at very high volume.
My only real concern is that the TX-SR606 ran hot. After two hours of 7-channel music playback, the external temperature of the unit was 135 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by a Raytek MiniTemp gauge. Granted, I'm running seven 4-ohm speakers (Onkyo rates the unit down to 6 ohms), but I gave the 606 plenty of ventilation. Placing this AVR—or any high-power device—in an enclosed cabinet without adequate ventilation is not recommended, so be sure to plan accordingly. Also, if your speakers have a nominal impedance of 6 ohms or higher, the 606 should not run as hot as it did with my 4-ohm system.