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Onkyo TX-SR304 5.1 Channel Entry-Level Home Theater Receiver - Review

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Onkyo TX-SR304 5.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View and Remote

Onkyo TX-SR304 5.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View and Remote

(c) 2006 Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Bottom Line

The TX-SR304 delivers what it promises, both in terms of home theater and music reproduction. The TX-SR304 also offers features that are practical for the user.

Although not offering the extensive connectivity, features, and more complex audio/video processing of higher-end units, the TX-SR304 offers essentials for today's entry-level user: Excellent sound quality, HD-compatible component video switching for use with HDTVs, and an easy-to-use remote control. However, adding some front panel AV inputs and a dedicated turntable input would have added to its value. I give the Onkyo TX-SR304 a rating of 4.5 of 5 Stars.

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Pros

  • Great Sound Quality - HD-Capable Component video switching
  • Built-in Test Tone Generator makes setting speaker levels easier.
  • Adjustable Crossover setting to adjust for differences in speaker and subwoofer response.
  • Color-coded Speaker Connections.
  • A/B front panel speaker switching for driving a stereo speaker pair in another location.

Cons

  • No S-video Inputs or Outputs - the TX-SR304 only has composite and component video connections.
  • No Front Panel AV Inputs.
  • No Onscreen Display - all adjustment and setup functions are displayed the TX-SR304's LED panel.
  • No composite to component video upconversion.
  • No dedicated Turntable input.

Description

  • 5.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver with 65 Watts-per-Channel RMS (6 ohm load) at .7% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion).
  • High Current Transformer provides good sustained use capability.
  • Dolby Digital, Dolby Prologic II, DTS, and DTS Neo:6 (5.1 channel mode) decoders built-in.
  • 7 DSP (Digital Signal Processing) modes: Mono Movie, Unplugged, Studio-Mix, TV Logic, All-channel stereo, and straight Mono.
  • 192 KHZ/24-bit Digital-to-Analog Audio Converters: Provides conversion of digital audio signals to audible analog form.
  • Direct Input mode allows for bypass of internal audio processing circuitry for unaltered sound reproduction.
  • HDTV and progressive scan compatible (Y, Pb, Pr) component video connections and switching (3-in/1-out).
  • The TX-SR304 has three digital audio inputs (2 Digital, 1 Coaxial).
  • Built-in AM/FM Tuner with 30 Presets.
  • Wireless Remote Control. Front Panel Headphone Jack.

Guide Review - Onkyo TX-SR304 5.1 Channel Entry-Level Home Theater Receiver - Review

The Onkyo TX-SR304 is very easy to use and set up. The user manual is well illustrated and the rear connection panel is well laid out. The front panel has an uncluttered look and all buttons and controls are well-labeled and easy-to-read. The TX-SR304 also has a Silver Cabinet, which allows for easier reading of the controls. In addition, the TX-SR304's remote control is logically laid out.

I found that the TX-SR304 had no problem passing HD signals though the component video connections up to 1080i (I did not test any 1080p signals) through to both a Syntax LT-32HV LCD TV and an Optoma H56 DLP video projector. The TX-SR304 offers adequate composite video connection performance. It must be noted that this receiver does not have S-video inputs or outputs.

As far as audio performance goes, I was very surprised at how well the Onkyo TX-SR304 sounded. I used the TX-SR304 with a Klipsch Quintet III 5-channel speaker system, in conjunction with a Klipsch Sub10 Powered Subwoofer. The TX-SR304 delivered clean, non-fatiguing sound, even at higher listening levels: Both analog and digital audio input options delivered very good results.

Although the TX-SR304 does not offer the multitude of surround sound and DSP options of more expensive home theater receivers, what audio processing options it does offer are practical and deliver where it counts: Sound Quality.

Also, despite its modest rated power output (65 WPC) the Onkyo performs well in both in average small and medium-sized room, making it an excellent option for apartment and second room home theater systems.

While not having all the bells and whistles of home theater receivers in higher price ranges, the TX-SR304 offers practical, basic, features and solid audio/video performance.

For more details on the features and connections of the TX-SR304, check out my Onkyo TX-SR304 Photo Profile

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