On my quest to build my budget home theater, that would allow me full access to the beauties of blu ray i.e. loss less audio I came across an amazing deal on this Onkyo receiver! $257! WOW, in my budget and now in my home theater!
I will be honest, when I started out building my home theater i had not heard of the Onkyo Brand, as I started to take the hobby a little more seriously i found out that Onkyo had been making audio equipment for many, many years! They used to really cater to high end consumers but they have gone main stream, and one of the products that really put them on the map was the 605! The first receiver that would offer full decoding of the latest and greatest lossless audio sound tracks! When I saw it, I just knew I had to have this gem!
When you start looking into Onkyo receivers you will notice that there is a newer model of this receiver on the market, the 606. The only difference between these two receivers is that the 605 has 2 HDMI inputs and the 606 has 4 HDMI inputs, otherwise, they are the exact same receiver in every way shape and form, so unless you need the extra HDMI inputs I would suggest saving yourself $150 and get yourself a 605 if you can find one!
The first thing you will notice about the Onkyo receiver is the size of the beast! Much taller than most home theater receivers the Onkyo weighs in at an impressive 25lbs! At 25lbs 17″ wide, 7″ tall and 14″ deep, the Onkyo certainly has a presence about it and it will quickly become a main feature of your setup! So with it being such a beast, how easy on the eye is this monster? Actually, very easy on the eye. The front casing has a nice matt black finish to it, lots of electronics nowadays have glossy finishes which I personally do not like, the matt black finish on the 605 is just right! There is a very nice LCD display on the Onkyo that displays green text when powered on. The controls on the front panel are very well laid out and very nicely labeled!! The slathering of trademarks in regards to the audio codecs that the receiver can decode are done in a very tasteful manner and I must say, it is very nice to see the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA logos on the front! The only thing I do not like about the front panel is are the connections on the front! They are in the bottom right hand corner, uncovered, glaring at you, I wish there was a cover for them but that is a minor flaw!
Just how easy is it to setup and configure the 605? Honestly, it is a little more difficult than I was used to. I came from the land of home theater in a box system, where you quite literally plug and play, not so much with the 605. There are many, many options and controls on this puppy so a full read of the instruction manual is a must if you want to get the most out of your new receiver. Turn the receiver around to the back and you might be a little overwhelmed if you have not seen the back of a receiver before! The connections are numerous and look a little daunting, but honestly there is nothing to be afraid of! You will find the following:
Speaker connections for full 7.1 audio. they are screw connectors so that you can use banana plugs if you so desire.
2 HDMI Inputs and 1 HDMI output
2 Optical audio Inputs
2 Coaxial Audio Inputs
AM and FM radio Antenna Connections
5 sets of composite (red, white and yellow) RCA input connections
5 S video Inputs
5 sets of YpBCr connections
1 set of Multi Zone connections (more on that later)
and sirus radio / xm radio antenna input
1 I-POD input
So as you can see, there are plenty of connections available to choose from so, this receiver will fit right in to any home theater! The easiest way to connect the receiver to your components is via HDMI. My set up is very simple. 1 HDMI cable from my cable box into the receiver! 1 HDMI cable from my Playstation 3 into the receiver, then 1 HDMI cable from the Receiver to the TV. By the way, the only way you will be able to enjoy loss less audio is via HDMI. Optical cables do not have enough bandwidth to carry the codec. Connecting your speakers is very easy as well. Speaker wire from your speaker to your receiver, find the correct terminal and screw down the screw so that the metal connector makes the connection with the bare speaker wire!
Now one thing you absolutely must do with any home theater is calibrate it! I will not lie to you, even I became a little nervous with this task due to the obscene amount of options that this receiver has. 2 awesome things about this receiver! Number 1 Audyssey setup and number 2 Onscreen GUI. The GUI or Graphical User Interface means that you can set up the receiver via a menu you can see on your TV screen, lots of receiver have complicated menus that you have to navigate from the built in LCD on the receiver! Not so with the 605, you can see exactly what you are doing on your TV! You can however navigate the menu system on the receiver itself if you desire to do so! There are 8 menu options within the main menu, quite honestly if you do not want to setup your receiver manually you can use Audyssey!
The 605 comes with a microphone that you plug into the front of the receiver. When you have all of your speakers connected and are ready to setup your speakers, plug in the microphone! If you are setup to use the GUI a menu will appear on the screen! Then all you have to do is follow the on screen instructions! It will ask you to move the microphone around to various points of your room! When you have moved to the correct location the receiver will send bursts of noise to each speaker connected to the system. It will measure speaker distance from the microphone and Speaker volume levels from the microphone and will calibrate your speakers for you! It works very well indeed and only takes about 10 minutes to complete! Most people will be very happy with the results that they get from this. However I wanted to set up manually!
When doing a manual setup you can go through the menu functions one by one. You basically set all of the variables by yourself. Speaker distance, individual speaker volume levels, subwoofer volumes and crossover settings. If you are comfortable doing this, then this is the way to go! You can really fine tune the receiver and the sound that you will hear! If go into the system and want to play around, feel free, there is no damage that can be done to the receiver! If you are worried about losing settings that sounded good, make a note of all of the settings before changing them!!
Now that you have the receiver setup, it is time to sit back and relax and listen to your favorite music or watch your favorite movie and bask in the glory of successfully calibrating your system. This receiver can decode just about every audio codec known to man!
DTS-HD master audio
Dolby True HD
Dolby Digital Plus
Every codec that is used today, this receiver can decode, which is mighty impressive given the price tag. This receiver is powerful and will pump out 90w of power at 8ohms to each speaker in your system, which believe me, is far more powerful than most people will ever need in a home theater. The receiver bought my speakers to life! I thought they sounded good before, but man oh man had I been missing out! The biggest thing for me though, is the receiver ability to decode the new loss less codecs. Dolby True HD and DTS-HD MA! You have not watched or heard a movie until you have experienced loss less audio! It has been like seeing every movie I own for the very first time again! Absolutely splendid! Crisp, Clean, Clear dialogue and highs, awesome mids and earth shaking lows! This receiver can do it all!
2 more features this receiver boasts! Multi Zone and built in Sirius and XM decoders. The Multi Zone is very cool! You can attach a separate pair of speakers and place them in an entirely different room. From that room you can listen to something completely different from what is playing in the room where the receiver is located! I have speakers in my garden that are connected to the receiver! So if I am inside watching a movie, my wife can be out in the garden if she wants to be and can listen to her music! Awesome feature!
For those of you that are subscribers to XM or Sirius, all you need to do is connect your antenna, input you subscription code and away you go! You can listen to you satellite radio on the 605 as well! And of course if you want to connect your I-POD to the 605 you can do that too as it has an I-POD connection! Onkyo really thought of everything with this receiver!
Well almost everything! If there is one thing that is not great, it would be the remote control! Small, Clunky, hard to read labels! Looks like they went back to the future and got the remote from 1982, I really fail to understand why companies fail to spend a little more on the remote seeing as how much time the end user spends with it! That is my only gripe though about the whole package! I can sure over look that!
The Onkyo 605 has surpassed all of my highest expectations! It can do everything that I need it to do! It has bought my speakers to life and has put the biggest grin on my face! I smile every time I turn the receiver on! For the price paid, the features are second to none! I challenge anybody out there to find a receiver that can do everything the 605 can for under $300! You will be looking for a very long time! Perfect for the home theater builder that has a budget in place!