I recently got an Onkyo 3008, and thought I would post up some pics of the AVR, it's OSD, and some of my initial impressions. Please let me know if anyone would like additional/different pics; photography is one of my other hobbies, so I'm more than happy to take more shots..
First the mini-review.
Axiom M60v2, VP150, and QS8s for surround, surround backs (7 channel)
Epik Castle subwoofer
Dedicated theater, ~20X17
Room treatments (NO bass trapping, just for highs)
HTPC w/5500 series video card (HD bitstreaming)
I'm coming from a Pioneer 1018, a ~500 dollar AVR that's ~2-3 years old. This is a good AVR, and I've been happy with it. The biggest reasons for my upgrade is to get OSD (all my gear is behind me in a closet; I can't see what mode/volume/etc I'm in on the Pioneer on screen, and it's driving me nuts), better room correction, and dual sub balancing EQ correction. The Pioneer also supported HD sound, so that's consistent between the systems; as well as the speakers (everything is the same).
First off, for those who have been reading the 3008/5008 thread, I'm on my second 3008; the first one sent had a "hum/buzz" in the front two speakers (L/R). So my initial impression was "how about some QC!".
2nd AVR seems fine so far, the buzz/hum is gone..
As soon as I got the AVR I upgraded the firmware to the most recent available. I did it once via USB, and once via network. Both times it took a long time to finish (30+ minutes), but went without a hitch. As such, I can't comment on the "old" firmware or what the upgrades "fixed".
After running the FW updates, I then ran through Audessey. Easy process, took about 1-1.5 hours to measure 8 positions and calculate the results. The calculation took much longer than I expected (10 minutes or so), on the Pioneer the room calculation was much faster (but much less sophisticated). As you can see, I mounted the Audessey mic on my photography rig using some blue painters tape. I think that the tape adds a nice "color" and "transparency" to the final EQ calculations.
Anyway.. On to listening. I setup the default audio modes, a feature I didn't know I wanted, but man, I couldn't live without it now. For those who don't know, it allows you to select the default mode for different types of audio; stereo is output as 2.1, TrueHD is output at 7.1 in THX Cinema mode, etc. Once you set this, all the switching between modes is fully automated. Really nice when you have one source (HTPC) that can play tons of different types of audio/video files! I set stereo to 2.1 and the HD audio codecs to 7.1 THX Cinema mode.
First thing I played was music. Bass was significantly/dramatically better (depending on the source material). From the main listening position, it was tight, clear, and very easy to listen to. Also, stereo separation was better; there's a much higher "sense of space" with the new AVR. Not sure how to explain it, but I'm very happy with the results. Set the sub volume a little higher (apparently I'm a bass head, I like it louder than reference) but that was my only listening tweak. Music was much "easier" to listen to; probably because some of the ringing or smearing is being processed out by the room correction software in the 3008. Regardless, very happy with the music results!
On to video.. I've watched a few movies since the install (I haven't slept very much), and all of them were "improved" to "much improved" over the Pioneer. Again, the bass is SO much better that it's really hard to say if that's causing everything else to "sound better" too. The surrounds are much more noticeable (not in a bad way, just more ambient sound), and the system sounds better "blended" than it did with the 1018. I'm in love with the immediate OSD, for folks with gear in a closet (or out of sight) it's exactly what the doctor ordered! I haven't been through all the listening modes yet; I'm stuck on THX Cinema because I like the results so much! Overall, again, very happy with the video results.
General stuff.. This thing runs MUCH hotter than my Pioneer did (driving the same speakers and at the same volumes). It's not "dangerous" hot (IMHO), but much, much hotter than it's predecessor, that's for sure. Also, this thing weighs a TON compared to the Pioneer.. A TON! It's hard to move with one person (you can do it, but don't put in into a glass rack (which is what I have) without help!). The rear of this device is laid out really nicely! I'm very happy with it; easy to connect the speakers (takes bananas securely) and the source component(s). Audessey was easy to run, and correctly detected all my speakers and room layout both times.
The OSD (overlay and full menu) is pretty snappy (it could be better), much faster and nicer to look at the the older Pioneer. However, it's nothing "great", it's still mostly text; it get's the job done, but isn't going to wow you with graphics (I'd much prefer simple and fast over pretty and slow, so this works well for me).
AVR seems to be able to handle high volume just fine; I played some music at 5 under reference and it kept right up. Didn't hear any clipping or distortion; but, to be honest, my Pioneer was just as good at this volume and didn't get as hot..
All right, I think that's a reasonable overview of my experiences thus far. I'll continue to add to this thread as I get more experience with the device, and if folks would like more pictures, I'll also post them in this thread.
Hope this helps!