As multichannel receivers go, Onkyo products have never been considered supermodels. Take the TX-NR906.
In the kindest possible way, this machine is the Vinnie Jones of AV amplifiers: uncompromising, menacing and mean-looking. The untidy fascia is dotted with no fewer than 14 buttons – and that's before you delve behind the drop-down aluminium panel.
Chock-full of featuresSerious attention has been paid to the video processing of the amplifier as well as the audio side.
The Onkyo is certified by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and, as a result, comes with special video calibration settings (including hue, saturation, contrast and brightness) that can be accessed for each individual input so you can fine-tune the picture to your heart's content.
Alternatively, you can pay a fully-qualified ISF engineer to come out and calibrate your system. The Onkyo is also equipped with a HQV Reon-VX processor that can upscale video to 1080p.
More after the break
The net result of both of these features is that the Onkyo produces a picture that's definitely no worse than the competition, but you'd be hard pressed to notice a significant improvement in picture quality over its rivals.
Power pumped up to the max Thankfully, the TX-NR906 is much more capable than Vinnie when it comes to dealing with movies. If you lust after pure power, the Onkyo won't disappoint.
This amplifier has more muscle than a pumped-up Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. It's hardly surprising, given that the 24kg TX-NR906 features an upgraded power supply and huge toroidal transformer that pushes the power output up to a whopping 220W per channel.
In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, when our hero is attacked by a swarm of tooth fairies, the Onkyo receiver hits you with a wall of sound.
The dynamics of the gunfire, combined with those of the swarming fairies and accompanying music score, are so intense that they come quite close to overpowering the listener.
Switch to two-channel playback and this lack of finesse is once again evident: Prince's Kiss has real slam and attack, but it fails to connect with a sense of resonance.
This Onkyo receiver might not have the sonic class of some of its competitors here, but it's built to last and blow your mind with the aid of those foundation-crumbling dynamics.