The Onkyo 807 is considered a "midrange" receiver but is definitely has high end features with high end sound. I will start off first by saying it definitely reminds me of when I first hooked up the legendary 805 receiver. Just recently having the Denon 4310 as well as other newer Onkyo models allowed me to compare it to the latest. So what does the 807 bring to the table?
Besides 135 watts per channel and two Subwoofer outs plenty! You get the new PLIIz Height sound along with Audyssey's DSX. Also DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD processing. SiriusXM presets, Audyssey MultiEQ, and excellent intuitive OSD, the latest Burr-Brown 192 kHz/24 Bit DACs and two TI (Aureus) 32 Bit processing DSPs. Not to mention my two biggest surprises, Ethernet UPDATING and scaling with video adjustments with Faroudja's DCDi Cinema Enhancement. Let's start with that...
I didn't expect the scaling to 1080p to be as good as it is. In the pics below you will see some 1080i material but definitely take note of the last few Seinfeld pics which were in 480i. I had the 807 send 1080p out for all those pics. Not bad at all! I was happy when I noticed you could also adjust the picture while still being able to see the picture. Adjustments included: Game mode, Zoom mode, Separate Adjust modes (1-3), Picture mode (Video, Auto, 3:2, 2:2), Edge Enhancement, Noise Reduction, Brightness, Contrast, Hue and Saturation. This is more than enough to tweak the image to an optimal setting. As you can see in th epics below HD movies looked sharp. Football looked colorful and the show Get Out had plenty of eye candy!
My other surprise. Onkyo has officially made Ethernet UPDATING for their receivers a reality. Within minutes of hooking up the 807 I was able to do its first firmware update. It lasted about 20 minutes. Not bad and I am very happy that the days of hunting Onkyo firmware updates is finally over!
So how does the 807 sound? Well with the vast amount of sound options all I can say is... Mid range receiver my ass! This receiver can handle any theater or room and still not break a sweat. Onkyo is going to have a hard time selling their newer high end receivers over the 807. It is that good. I really liked the PLIIz Height sound. I started with Jurassic Park and when the thunder started it absolutely roared in the Heights. Again, if you have the capability for Height speakers and get a newer receiver that does it you have to add them. It is a huge oversight if you do not. Since I have added Height to my theater I can honestly say 11 out of 14 guests (who heard them here) have added it to their own set ups. The others are still planning to! For more on Height read my other review... The Blu ray sound of DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD (with and without Height added) sounded terrific. Movies came alive and had plenty of impact in my theater. More than once I felt my jaw dropping! The Strangers had a huge IMPACT on the Height speakers. Everyone jumped in my theater when a smoke alarm detector suddenly went off into the Height speakers! Knocking and other scary noises became much more immersive. Watching the movie when it first came out without the Height speakers seemed less scary. Watching The Strangers in a completely darkened room with PLIIz speakers will be neck hair rasing! Back to DirecTV... Using Onkyo's TV Logic sound made me feel like I was in the Seinfeld audience. Movies also were impressive. As was the show True Blood. Voices were very distinct with creepy clarity. I say creepy because even my German Shepard thought someone else was on our theater! So how was the set up?
I added a few pics of the set up screens. Notice the cool interface in the pics. I wouldn't have expected the 807 to have these high end OSD features. Yes of course you get volume (even when doing 1080p/24 Blu ray titles on screen) but also many more. All at the simple touch of a button (Display) you can see HDMI res in and out, audio coming in and what sound mode you are in going out. Impressive!
The remote (pic below) is nice and down to the point. It also fits comfortably in your hand. Like all the Onkyo remotes you get direct sound mode buttons and input buttons. The most impressive button is the Audio. Tap that button and you can quickly switch Dynamic Volume, Re-EQ, AV sync, and many more. All options appear on your screen.
Using the mic (which is included) I was able to Audyssey within 20 minutes or so. It was very accurate again and I only had to tweak the levels slightly using my old fashioned sound meter. Audyssey truly makes life much easier. The 807's interface (pic below) also makes it easy.
Final thoughts... So how good is the 807? Using it both as a receiver and or a pre-pro I would say it should be fine for at least 3 to 5 years. Especially since you can update it easily over the Ethernet connection. The 807 has now officially replaced the 805 as the absolute best bang for the buck receiver on the market. It easily beats all receivers below it and many above it. You get terrific sound, great features and very good scaling which can be dialed in to best match your display. If you are looking for the best receiver for 1K and under then the 807 fits your bill...