Pros: 7.2 support, network support, Audyssey 2EQ, 8 HDMI inputs
Cons: Poor upscaling/deinterlacing, intrusive on screen display, need current firmware
Audio: On the audio side I have no complaints. The sound is great coming from my Polk speakers. There is plenty of power to watch movies at ear bleeding reference levels if you want. “Black Hawk Down” at -10db was enjoyable, “A Knights Tale” at 0db reference was clear and precise, although too loud for my tastes. There are lots of internet streaming options built in to the receiver, Pandora worked well and sounds good. The iPhone app also performed as advertised and I have used it to control streaming music without any issues.
Video: The video upscaling/deinterlacing appears poor. A 1080i source from my DVR converted to 1080P gains a lot of artifacts and is unwatchable. The receiver is set to upconvert out of the box, you need to set the receiver to pass HDMI video without molesting it. Thankfully my display performs this task without issue so the feature was not needed but if it’s a reason you are considering this receiver look elsewhere. This also gives me no confidence in the 4k upscaling this receiver says it can do although I have no 4k display to test it. The receivers AV sync features work as expected. My display does not support the HDMI display sync but the standard AV sync works well for me.
Display: The on screen display is intrusive because of the huge gray box it places behind the text for contrast. This could have been smaller to cover less of the screen, although it can be turned off. There is no way on this model to display what audio format is output. You have to press the display button several times, it briefly shows up on both LCD and monitor and then goes back to showing you which source you have chosen. The 717 and up have this feature, my old Onkyo had this feature as well and I do miss it.
Setup: Setup was simple despite the necessary usb firmware update. I set the receiver beside an HDMI display, turned off all HDMI control on both the display and the receiver and then performed the update. The process took about an hour. Once this was complete I replaced my current receiver with the new unit. It does support banana clips but my bare cables worked as well as expected. Answer a few questions at startup once everything is connected then perform the Audyssey 2EQ setup with the supplied mic. I adjusted the crossover on all of my speakers back to 80Hz from 60 and 70Hz but that is from personal preference. It did measure the speaker distances correctly. Overall the 2EQ performed the same as it did 5 years ago when I first experienced it. The remote is lackluster which is not an issue for me as I use a universal remote for everything but initial setup. The on screen display is clear and easy to read. Initial navigation takes a bit to get used to but once you get the hang of the back button it’s easy enough to quickly change settings. Again this is not a big deal to me because once I achieve the settings I want I probably won’t enter these menus more than once a year.
Conclusion: Most of my complaints are nitpicks and the audio is what really matters. Music sounds better than my older unit. Movies also sound clearer with less distortion at high volume but I attribute some of that to the higher quality audio format that HDMI allows over Optical. Overall I am happy with the purchase especially at this price point and would recommend it to anyone willing to perform firmware updates via USB.