Onkyo TX-SR875 A/V receiver - Review

Onkyo TX-SR875 A/V receiver - Review

Onkyo TX-SR875 A/V receiver - ReviewIf you want to experience cinema-style surround sound in the comfort of your own home, you're going to need some sort of surround sound system. You can pick up all-in-one systems from as little as S$300, if you look around. At the top end, you could spend many thousands of dollars.

The Onkyo TX-SR875 sits proudly at around S$2,599 (US$1,709.89), which puts it somewhere in the middle of the market. It's also the big daddy to some of Onkyo's more wallet-friendly machines.


The clear advantage of this receiver over most others on the market is its amazing support for the latest audio formats used on HD-DVD and Blu-ray. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are both supported. Obviously, the more standard DVD sound formats are fully supported, too, so you'll be able to get the best out of Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks.

The added bonus of the SR875 is that it can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio over HDMI 1.3a, a feature not all amps have. This means that as long has you have a high-definition disc player that supports HDMI 1.3a, you can get the very best digital sound direct to the Onkyo, with no distortion or loss.

We tested a whole bunch of material, from DVDs like the remastered James Bond movies, to our favorites like Serenity and King Kong. We're pleased to say we loved the sound the SR875 produced. We were blown away by the powerful bass and fantastic quality and clarity of dialog. Clear sound is one of the best reasons to buy a surround sound system--on the SR875, dialog leaps out at you and you have full control over sound levels so you can tailor the sound to suit your needs.

The Onkyo makes the setup procedure a pain-free experience. In the box, you get a microphone that you put at the location where you generally watch TV. A couple of button presses later and the Onkyo generates test tones that are used to set the speakers to the appropriate level. This takes a while, but unless you move your furniture around, you'll probably have to do it only once. You can also tweak the levels by hand with minimal hassle.

The Onkyo provides an onscreen menu system that enables you to set the receiver up and access the other features. This is mirrored on the front panel display, but it's far easier to find your way around by using the on-TV menus than from the front panel.

The remote control is a beast, but it offers every feature you'll ever need. It also has a backlight, which means you can use it easily in total darkness. Video projector owners should find this feature especially handy, as they spend a lot of their time sitting in complete darkness.


It's hard to really find anything wrong with the SR875. The price is probably a little too high for casual surround sound enthusiasts, but if that's the case Onkyo has a whole range of cheaper A/V receivers that might be more appropriate, such as the TX-SR605.

In terms of styling, we really think it's a nice looking kit. But it's enormous and incredibly heavy. Moving it around is very nearly a two man job. But such heftiness is a sign of good quality, and let's be honest--you're never likely to want to take it on holiday with you, so the weight is unlikely to be bothersome.

We tested the Onkyo with some fairly high-end speakers, and to get the best out of this amazingly powerful system, you'll probably have to spend a few quid on a good speaker system. This will increase the cost of the setup considerably, but the good news is if you have speakers already, the Onkyo will make the most of them. In addition to the Jamo speakers we tested the SR875 with, we also tried it with some cheaper speakers we happened to have knocking about, and the results were still excellent.

If you are planning to integrate the SR875 into your home theater, be warned--it kicks out more heat than some ovens. You should never, ever put anything on top of it, unless you like the smell of burning and the sensation that your house is being burned to the ground. The Onkyo needs to be well-ventilated, and we'd advice against locking it in a cabinet unless you can be sure it's well-ventilated.


Whatever you want to listen to--be it movies, TV or even music--the Onkyo TX-SR875 does a fabulous job at reproducing it. Setup is simple, the machine is attractive to look at--in a deeply geeky way--and although it costs a grand, it performs as well as systems costing quite a substantial amount more.