|Onkyo TX-NR905 AV Receiver|
|Home Theater AV Receivers AV Receivers|
|Written by Thomas Garcia|
|Wednesday, 01 October 2008|
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Music and Movies
During my initial evaluation of Onkyo's TX-NR905, a variety of two-channel and surround sound material was auditioned, including MP3 files, Redbook CDs, multi-channel audio discs and various concert and movie DVDs. The Onkyo proved to be extremely competent during stereo playback, and equally excelled with multi-channel material. Sans any of the equalization or room correction capabilities, the TX-NR905 performance was textbook, equivalent to other high-quality two-channel components that I have recently used. Whether I was cranking my favorite tracks off singer-bassist Me'Shell NdegéOcello’s Peace Beyond Passion (Maverick) or enjoying the self-titled DVD-Audio version of Toy Matinee (DTS Entertainment), the TX-NR905 rendered each track accurately, exhibiting excellent low-level detail, extremely linear frequency response and authoritative dynamic range.
Obviously, engaging the Audyssey MultEQ room correction function substantially alters the criteria for evaluating the resulting overall sonic attributes of the playback system. Improvements or degradations to the overall sound quality are equally possible, depending upon the diligence of your calibration set-up. As noted earlier, the multiple attempts made to achieve the best results using the Audyssey MultEQ provided a universal improvement to both the stereo and multi-channel sound reproduction. Most notable was the cohesiveness of the lower octaves, with Audyssey identifying and correcting any existing room resonances.
This improvement was extremely evident during my playback of a two-disc DVD drum concert of Virgil Donati’s Live in Stockholm. Donati's percussive virtuoso is a real torture test for any multi-channel system. The speed and intricacy with which Donati plays often get congested and become ill-defined with an inadequately tuned system. After engaging the properly calibrated Audyssey system filters, the overall reproduction of the performance was globally improved. Articulation, attack and delineation of Donati’s percussive extravaganza were simply awe-inspiring, and the speed at which he plays was hypnotic. Uniformity of frequency response was clearly improved through the audio processor, and sense of space and placement of each individual drum and symbol were easy to delineate. .
Like the audio set-up, overall video quality will be largely dependent upon the thoroughness given to the calibration of the TX-NR905’s onboard Silicon Optix Reon-VX HQV video processor, along with your video display. Again, with the wide range of video processing and adjustability, there exists equally the ability to improve or degrade the overall visual performance. While viewing standard DVD movies and concerts, I enjoyed a discernible improvement in both resolution and picture quality by processing the discs through the TX-NR905’s Silicon Optix Reon-VX processor.
While viewing the HD DVD of Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning film Unforgiven (Warner Home Video), I was able to evaluate the performance of both audio and video reproduction as processed through the TX-NR905. The Dolby Digital soundtrack was proportioned correctly in the context of the movie. Outside of a few gunfight sequences, the soundtrack was supportive of the visual cues in the movie, with TX-NR905 providing good sonic localization and clean, intelligible dialogue. The surrounds were sensibly used and engaged at the appropriate times. Throughout the movie, it seemed as if the walls of my listening environment had disappeared and I was surrounded by open space. In the torrential downpour scenes, spatial clues delivered by the TX-NR905 evoked the sensation of being surrounded by the pouring rain. Visually, the video through my projector varied depending upon the calibration. When optimized, it was easy to delineate visual details of the vast scenery that is present throughout this western tale. In bright scenes, images were sharp and natural-looking, especially during the close-up shots of the characters.
The HD DVD version of King Kong (Universal Studios Home Video) proved to be extremely satisfying and entertaining with the TX-NR905 at the helm. The audio reproduction of this film was substantially more active and engaging than it had been on previous editions; it was able to keep its composure even at high volumes. With the audio properly calibrated, micro-details of the soundtrack emanated from every corner of my listening environment. With a reduction of the room's resonant peak, low-frequency articulation and quality were greatly improved. One of the standout improvements of implementing Audyssey MultEQ XT is the retrieval of undecipherable audio cues that become startlingly clear and evident when the loudspeaker system is properly calibrated and corrected to the listening environment. Even with the computer-generated sequences, King Kong proved to be quite stunning visually. Unlike Unforgiven, the vividness and saturation of color throughout the film wee quite eye-popping. Detail and saturation of the green foliage throughout the jungle scenes was impressive, offering a lifelike, three-dimensional quality to the picture.