When purchasing a home theater, don’t stop at just a big-screen HDTV and a DVD or Blu-Ray player. You’re not going to have a truly great cinema experience until you have a great surround-sound audio system. That’s more than just a strong bass sub-woofer; you’ll also want multiple speakers to envelope you in the audio experience.
The Onkyo 608 fits the bill nicely, offering the audio quality and long list of features you’d expect only in much more expensive units. It’s still called a “receiver” from the old stereo tradition where the audio amplifier featured an AM/FM receiver. This Onkyo receiver adds audio surround-sound processing, video switching, and a lot more.
5.1 + 3 = 7.2?
You’re may be familiar with 5.1 channel audio systems. They add 4 more speakers beyond the old stereo systems, for a total of 6 speakers. Starting with the 2 stereo speakers, add a center-speaker for a more solid sound. Then two (left and right) more speakers in the rear behind the listener so they’re surrounded by sound. Finally add a sub-woofer for power at the really low frequencies so important to movie special effects. Now you have a 5.1 channel surround-sound system.
A 7.2 channel system adds 3 more speakers. First, there’s a second sub-woofer. Now the really low stuff is in true stereo. The other 2 speakers are usually used as extra-wide speakers in the front for an even bigger cinema effect. With a 7.1 channel system, you don’t get the second sub-woofer.
The Onkyo SR608 can also process the audio for placing the 2 additional speakers higher up in the front for a more 3-dimensional effect. Or (with the 608) you can use those speakers as a stereo in another room. You can even feed them a separate audio source than that of the main room. Yep, the 608 can feed 9 speakers, with several different options.
This home theater audio system isn’t just for movies and games. It also receives very positive reviews and comments for it’s sound quality and power – 100 watts per channel (though a bit over 700 watts total).
It’s also packed with audio processing capabilities. It features Dolby TrueHD, and can even improve the sound from MP3 and other compressed sources. The Onkyo 608 can automatically adjust equalization to precisely tune the sound to your particular room, and even includes a microphone. It can also automatically adjust tone for different volumes.
With receivers like the 608, you no longer need switchers or converters to connect all the components of your home theater. With 6 HDMI inputs, you should be able to handle as many digital video and audio sources you’re ever likely to have. Plus video and audio get switched together with a single remote-control command.
All video inputs are converted to 1080p resolution for the best viewing and no resolution changes when you switch sources. This isn’t flawless, however. If you’re watching slower video, such as the 30 frames-per-second you find on some cable channels, you’ll get a momentary flicker if there’s a data dropout on the input. The 608 doesn’t process this away, although many HDTVs will do this themselves.
Despite some special-case video glitches, owners love this receiver for movies, music, gaming and more. The Onkyo 608 is a modestly priced surround-sound receiver that offers the features and quality of much more expensive equipment.