Originally Posted by chuckp59
I considered the Onkyo 609 but you get what you pay for. So many features for $400 tells me they cut corners on the component quality.
My experience with the Onkyo receivers has been that the HD models do indeed have a major issue with the HDMI/DSP/graphics board design.
They have apparently released a service bulletin for the TX-SR606 to address a design defect. They replace a set of capacitors on the HDMI board and include small bypass capacitors with the replacement, if they are not there already, to bring the board up to its revision specification.
Unfortunately their 'work-around' does not actually repair the design defect. It appears they are trying to lower the effective series resistance (ESR) of the filter capacitors on the output of the local regulators on the HDMI board by adding small bypass capacitors to the output capacitors. Unfortunately, many people have reported that the 'fix' is only temporary. As soon as the high heat on the board dries out the new capacitors, the HDMI fails again. There is one person advertising a repair service specific to this particular failure on E-Bay who claims that ALL shipped receivers of several models of Onkyo receiver will eventually fail when the capacitors on the HDMI switching board dry out under normal use, with the rate of failure dependent almost entirely on how hot that board gets, according to my analysis.
After buying, testing, and repairing several used Onkyo receivers, and checking the customer reviews of the Onkyo products that have an HDMI input switch (including the dedicated preamp/signal processor units), my conclusion is that every Onkyo product that includes an HDMI input switch/DSP/video controller will eventually experience a failure of the HDMI input switch and possibly the HDMI upscaling and the on-screen menu will also fail, due to excessive heat related to inadequate cooling of the power dissipation on the HDMI board itself.
My TX-SR606 had already failed. Changing the capacitors per the allegedly ''official' Onkyo service bulletin that is posted on the Internet (by unauthorized third parties most likely) is only a temporary repair because the new capacitors will dry out too.
The board has at least two kinds of chip (one to three DSP and one or two channels of graphics controller, depending on model) that dissipate considerable power. There are no heat sinks on these chips and no fan blowing on this board and the capacitors are rated for 85C. The chips get hot and because the board acts as the sole heat sink, the board also gets hot, and then the capacitors dry out, and then the local regulators start oscillating and all sorts of DSP-related audio and graphics problems arise, beginning with slow sync-up of the HDMI input channels and progressing to total audio and video failure on the HDMI interface board.
The repair that will actually fix this problem consists of the following, in general:
- replace the capacitors on the HDMI board, or at least all capacitors that are potentially affected by this problem because they need all their original microfarads to keep doing their job, with 125C (mil spec rated) capacitors to try to keep them from drying out
- add a cooling fan, either on top of the unit or inside the top cover of the unit, that blows directly on the HDMI board
- keep the receiver in the open, and never place it in a closed cabinet or on carpet or put anything on top of it especially not magazines or vinyl LP records
Unlike the many people who so kindly posted a repair procedure on YouTube for the 606, and unlike the people who are repairing several models these units for a ridiculously low minimal fee on E-Bay, and unlike just about everyone else I know who has looked into this problem, it is my conclusion that every single Onkyo device with such an HDMI interface board will eventually fail unless they upgrade the capacitors and/or add a fan to the unit, and possibly also glue heat sinks on top of the graphics controller(s) and DSP processor(s). Of course once the unit is repaired it will most likely require adequate air flow around the unit to keep it from failing even with these modifications.
I consider all Onkyo HDMI receivers and processors to be 'defective by design' because of this one HDMI interface design problem. They could potentially push the failure far off into the future by using mil spec rated capacitors but it is likely that it will still fail eventually unless they actually reduce the temperature on that particular interface board.
Fortunately for the DIY crowd, anyone who is lucky enough to have a ready supply of cheap used Onkyo HD receivers such as Craig's List (the owners most likely already know about the HDMI failure even if they have not actually experienced it yet) can negotiate dirt cheap pricing and build up a collection of all the popular Onkyo models out there for a song. Then most of these receivers can be brought back to life simply by replacing all the capacitors on the HDMI board with mil spec components.
For the technically literate DIY crowd, the repair can be refined to just those capacitors that have actually experienced a failure or are likely to because of the function they are doing. Any capacitor that is actually providing a substantial energy reserve is using all its microfarads and is susceptible to causing an actual failure if lowering that capacitive energy reserve could impact performance of one or more functions.
For the rest of us, the correct solution is either send in your out-of-warranty product to the people on E-Bay who offer repair, or sell it on Craig's List for a song and buy something other than an Onkyo. This is a really sad commentary on the brand that it cannot add HD that actually performs in the long term without demanding from the consumer at least external thermal management that extends far beyond just making sure it has adequate room for unhindered air flow - it actually demands an external cooling fan too and that demand is not mentioned anywhere in the manual because it is of course ridiculous.
If I were the CEO and I actually understood the nature of this problem I would demand a permanent resolution to this problem for every Onkyo receiver that is still even potentially usable, including the entire installed base out there plus any that have already failed, because this failure has tarnished the brand and will inevitably begin to affect sales as word gets out that all of them probably fail eventually, many within the first year depending on how bad the thermal management is on the particular HDMI board design of the particular model and depending on the particular environment it is installed to and the usage pattern of the owner/operator.
If I were to buy a new Onkyo and did not want to replace capacitors I would plan on adding an external cooling fan on top of the unit smack dab in the right rear quarter where the HDMI board is. Just look at the HDMI input/output jacks on the rear panel and down through the vent slots in the top cover with a flashlight to find the chips on the board and place the external cooling fan right above them. The fan can be added simply with tie wraps if you are careful not to stick anything in the blades. There are many DIY internal fan modifications on the Internet that power the fan from the serial port on virtually all Onkyo models with HDMI. It should also be possible to power the fan directly off the main power with a simple regulator but then it would require a separate switch or the power would need to tap off somewhere after the power switch function i.e. on the output amp power supply or something.
For the completely technically illiterate, it should be adequate to simply have a small desk fan blowing down at the top of the receiver on low speed, just as long as it actually forces a considerable amount of flow through the vent holes of the case. I already do something like that with my laptop when I transcode movies or else it reboots. Onkyo is not the only manufacturer that is cutting corners on thermal management.
I like the Onkyo feature sets and I have a limited budget so I buy and repair these receivers for my own use at dirt cheap prices. There are literally dozens of them on the local San Francisco Bay Area Craig's List every single day of the year and the models keep changing toward the newer ones, but there are a substantial number of SD models out there too, and apparently they all sell for less than $100 (when they actually sell) despite the few luxury SD models that are advertised for up to $500 and never seem to sell.
So if all you need is a power amp, getting an old Onkyo receiver of any type with multichannel input and Pure Audio function would be a great stereo solution. If you need more than stereo amp you can use the direct mode and turn off the subwoofer and all the DSP functions like late night dynamic compression. loudness equalization, delays and level calibration (disable Audyssey calibration) etc. but keep in mind you will also have to pick a volume setting and keep it stable, possibly by setting the power-on volume setting to your required gain.