Test Report: Onkyo TX-NR1008 A/V Receiver

A check of Onkyo's Web site shows no fewer than 17 different A/V receivers on offer, an almost General Motors-like profusion of models. (I'm pretty certain, however, the U.S. government won't be stepping in on Onkyo's behalf should the consumer elec- tronics industry go south.) To be fair, a half-dozen or so are last year?s models, but still. C'mon, guys, 17???

However you want to count them, Onkyo's new TX-NR1008, which is a couple hundred dollars cheaper (and some 10 pounds lighter) than the identically powered TX- NR1007, lies pretty much squarely in the middle of this embarrassment of riches. Its lighter weight suggests that Onkyo is exchanging a bit of power-supply copper for silicon-based features, most obviously the seven HDMI inputs (one on the front panel!) and dual outputs, all in the gloriously 3D-capable version v1.4 being more or less forced on all manufacturers by the 3D police.

Visually, the TX-NR1008 is indistinguishable from the model it replaces, at least on the outside. But upon con- necting my tangle of HDMI cables, audio and video in- terconnects, and speaker wires and then powering up, I observed a subtly updated GUI, with new, translucent overlays and menus as well as readouts that, while slightly more graphical than the previous generation's, remain mostly text-driven, straightforward, and logical.

Since this new, nine-amp-channel Onkyo includes both Dolby PLIIz and Audyssey DSX modes, I deployed a matched quad of small, on-wall two-way speakers for the height channels employed by both and the width channels mandated by the latter. My next task was triggering the Onkyo's Audyssey MultEQ XT auto-setup and calibration routine using the supplied microphone. This proceeded as usual and yielded the familiar results: deeper and "tighter" bass, a more articulate and detailed-sounding midrange, and audibly more cohesive surround ambience. Nonetheless, as always, in the interest of apples-to-apples, I did the bulk of my critical listening with Audyssey room and speaker corrections disengaged.