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New Home Theater Receivers From Onkyo Feature Dolby Pro Logic II Processor Print E-mail
Friday, 20 April 2001
Onkyo has introduced its first home theater receivers to use Dolby's new Pro Logic II processor, which delivers modern 5.1-channel surround sound from older, two-channel analog audio sources such as videotapes, CDs, satellite and cable TV receivers, Laserdiscs, and LPs. These three new receivers, including the company's least expensive model, also allow consumers to enjoy superior video and sound quality from the latest DTS and Dolby Digital DVDs. Dolby Pro Logic II brings many of Dolby Digital’s sonic advantages to analog playback. When used with videotapes or Laser Discs encoded with analog Dolby Surround, the new decoder enhances the spatial experience and better differentiates sound sources. It changes the surround channels from mono to stereo, to make images more stable, and increasing channel separation. It even brings realistic surround to music CDs, LPs, and other purely stereo sources, making music more enjoyable to listen to on a multi-channel home theater system.

In addition to including Dolby Pro Logic II, the new entry-level Onkyo TX-DS494, step-up TX-DS595, and higher end TX-DS696, each offers many new and upgraded features compared to previous models the same price points. In particular, the Onkyo TX-DS696, at $829.95, is one of the only under-$1000 A/V receivers to offer component video switching capable of handing HDTV (High Definition Television) and progressive-scan video signals. With a video bandwidth exceeding the 50 MHz professional standard, the TX-DS696 can deliver a video image quality unmatched at this price point.

The TX-DS696 also has an innovative YC Separator/Mixer that reconciles the incompatibility of composite and S-Video signals. This circuit, for example, allows using the S-Video connection to a TV or video monitor, even if some of the video sources only have composite video outputs.

This receiver and the TX-DS595 ($529.95) also add Onkyo's new A-Form Listening-Mode Memory, which can store individual processing modes selected for each input, recalling those settings each time a source is selected. They also gain Onkyo's popular Smart Scan Controller, a jog dial control that makes programming and features setting easy, and the company's IntelliVolume feature, which eliminates the need to readjust volume with each change of sources. The TX-DS595 and TX-DS696 both gain more advanced remote controls that are preprogrammed to operate other components from Onkyo and most other popular brands, have command learning capabilities, and up to 16 user-programmable multi-step macros.

Onkyo's least expensive receiver, the TX-DS494 ($329.95), also improves upon the exceptional value of its predecessor the by adding S-Video connection capabilities and a new pre-programmed remote control.

The TX-DS494, TX-DS595, and TX-DS696 have five-channel amplifiers rated, respectively, at 55 Watts, 75 Watts, and 100 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms. They all use Onkyo’s highly-regarded Wide Range Amplifier Technology (WRAT) with extend frequency response to 100 kHz. Each channel uses discrete output devices fitted with extruded aluminum heat sinks. The power is delivered via multi-way binding posts that can be used with banana plugs and heavy-duty audiophile speaker cables. The high-definition digital audio circuitry includes 96-kHz/24-bit D/A converters on all channels and a DSP section with multiple soundfields that can be customized by the user to manipulate room size, equalization, and ambience for various types of music. Late-night modes keep dialog clearly audible without letting explosions and other sound effects wake nearby family members. And the speed-sensitive digital volume control employs Optimum Gain Volume Circuitry to keep soft signals well above the noise floor. The premium radio tuner section provides FM and AM reception, and includes a phono input for connecting a turntable.

The Onkyo TX-DS494 and TX-DS595 are currently available from Onkyo dealers nationwide; and the TX-DS696 will be available in May.

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