So I started with the 805 Onkyo. Then I purchased the 605 to be used with my outdoor theater set up. I then jumped at a chance to get the 875 so I could compare it to the 805. Knowing my goal all summer was to eventually end up with the 905 I moved the 875 out. I then went back to the 805 until just yesterday I received a 905. So what does this tell you? Either I have waaaaay to much time on my hands or I just can't make up my damn mind!
So for starters I am very happy with the performance of the 805. As I posted many times already if you do not need the HQV REON chip then you should be happy with the 805. The sound is very solid and I can say I was very happy using the Ultra2 cinema mode for Dolby TrueHD and uncompressed soundtracks. The passthrough HDMI 1.3a handled all sources I thru at it. And I mean all of them. I was sending my XA2, 94HD and JVC HM100u thru the which would then pass it to my crystalio II (as seen in the picture)...I would directly send in my DirecTV sources and 360 ELITE to the crystalio II. I was satisfied so much that I decided to splurge and add the 605 for my outdoor set up. The HDMI switching between my Panny BD10a and A2 was a big plus. I know the 605 does not make 5.1 into 7.1 but I do not use 5 speakers for outside anyway. I also did hook up the 605 in my set up indoors. It is a nice receiver but it does lack the umph and sound quality of the 805. And with the price difference there should be a noticeable difference. THX ultra 2 AVRs usually cost a bunch more! The 805 is the BEST receiver in its class and will definitely push the bar much higher!
Moving on to the 875. I liked it at first. Then the more I thru at it the more I started to notice a few things. The HDMI 1.3a is not as reliable as the 805. There were more times when I would get a resolution error even though it would go away and pass the signal like normal. That is a small gripe but that adds a few more seconds between switching inputs and getting the picture. I was never able to achieve a handshake (and I tried about 30 different things) with y D-VHS player. I know it is just a vcr but as my sig says, I have 92 movies in 1080i which look amazing being deinterlaced into 1080p by my VP. That is not the end of the world but it was bothersome to know that the 805 handled it perfectly. The 875 had really good sound to. Since I was able to compare it with the 805 I was able to determine that they are nearly identical. The 875 has a little more power but that is hard to notice. I was not happy with the lack of a picture menu on the 875. I felt that onkyo dropped the ball on this one. Some say who cares, but since I am a tweaker, I need that menu. Many will be happy getting the 875 but since the 905 can be found for 200 more (when they are finally showing up) I would really consider investing in the 905. Which leads to...
The 905 story... I have only had it for about 28 hours now. Trust me though, I have put it thru the paces. On paper these 3 receivers are a lot alike. In fact, on paper some football teams are supposed to blow out other ones. Which sometimes does not happen which is why the games are still played! The 905 is better than the 875 and 805. I know it costs more but sometimes it is hard to tell where the extra cost goes. Not for me. I have spent so much time with these new onkyos that I know them inside and out. Maybe it is better because it has separate power supplies. Or maybe the Vector Linear shaping circuitry!
Maybe it is the massive toraoidal transformer plus the 2 separate for video and audio. Whatever it is the sound is more clear. I have used The Matrix Dolby TrueHD a lot lately. I could hear a distinct difference in some of the scenes. That's not to say the 875 and 805 are not good. In fact all three of them kicked butt with this soundtrack. The 905 is just a little bit better. I am spoiled because I am coming from their TX1000. I have to admit the 905 is very close to it. I could still hear differences in the TX1000s favor when using the 805 and 875. Not as much with the 905. So I am liking the sound from the 905! I figured it would have the same hang up over HDMI and I was right. It does not play my D-VHS player. I am just sending it straight to my crystalio II. I have also spoke to onkyo today and they are aware of some of the issues others are having and are working on them. I also like the fact that the 905 will have firmware updates just like the TX1000. With the nice picture menu adjustments already on the 905 I am excited knowing that they will be adding more features (hint hint). Which is another reason why to go with the 905 instead of the 875. As far as digital inputs (optical and coax) I know there are not as many as other receivers. Especially in the optical department. I have been using a monoprice optical to coax converter (which was 12 bucks) and it works perfectly fine. I have 3 direcTV receivers that I like to use at different times. I have 2 of them permanently hooked up thru the 905. So with them, my 360 ELITE and D-VHS you can see I need to use all of my digital audio inputs.
Details... The OSDs are done nicely. The 875 and 905 have a better set up menu but the 805s is still no slouch. Remotes are all the same. I never had a troublesome remote. The Audyssey! This can be really a good asset when done correctly. I purchased a tripod recently and the differences were very noticeable. I just got a compact one from walmart for 18.88. I put it in my seats extended to ear level and did all 6 of my seats. i liked the results much better this way. If you are going to spend the cash for anyone of the receivers then getting a cost-effective tri pod is a must.
I like the audyssey for setting crossovers, distances, speaker types, you know, the little things!
I then use my trusty radio shack old fashioned sound meter to tweak the speaker levels. Afterwards, I was very impressed hearing the dialogue coming out of the center channel. People were sounding like they were sitting next to me talking in the theater. I did end up raising the rears and backs somewhat but I feel like I have achieved really good sound now. And since I have 7 subwoofers leaving it at -15.0 is a good idea. I have an Ultra, Supersonic, DIG 600(pinnacle) , and 4 smaller ones (MTX Lolita's) you feel and not really hear against the seats.
I have pics of my theater on page 59 of the 805 thread. I didn't think people would want to see them twice.
Other details... I know many are concerned about the amount of HEAT these receivers make. I will say I have had all of them on (2 805s, 605, 875 and now 905) for very long periods of time and have never had one shut down on me. I do not consider it an issue. Just don't touch the top!
Also, I have sent 1080p/23.98 and 60 thru all of these receivers and have never had an issue. I am very excited that the 905 is a first generation receiver with HQV REON and is doing this well with up conversion. It does give my very high end crystalio II a run for the money. If I was not used to my VP's nice features (pip/pop, great user face, ability to firmware upgrade with usb flash, great pic Q and not to mention very good looking unit) I would be completely happy with the 905. Just think what the next one will bring! I really believe the VP market will be shrinking once the Denons, yamahas, HKs, marantzs and Pioneers start using advanced deinterlacing chips like the 905. Why spend 3,000 or even 2,000 on a high end VP when you get it all in a single unit for less?
My final thought... I plan to keep the 905 in my theater for more testing but more importantly to enjoy (and review Blu ray and HD DVD titles at Hidefpreview.com) watching and listening to movies! The Ultra2 cinema mode is my sweet spot for all of these excellent receivers. Anyone of them will get the job done nicely. If you are not going to go for the 905 then I would highly suggest getting the 805. If you never hear the 905 you won't be missing anything. The 805 is that good! But if you do splurge and grab the 905 you will be happy you did when you realize where the extra money went.
Onkyo has done a great job with this line. Success breeds followers and with this group of receivers they have positioned themselves nicely. Other manufacturers have some catching up to do!