Having reviewed many Onkyo home cinema amps over the years, it's fair to say they've tended to deliver a powerful, muscle-bound and exciting sound– a fine medium through which to play explosive action flicks.
Which is why we were left a tad dazed and confused by the TX-SR507.
It may be an entry-level amp, but you still find yourself seeking more sonic thrills than the Onkyo can deliver.
Detail levels are decent enough for the money and dialogue sounds perfectly clear by entry-level standards. Safe isn't usually a word that we'd associate with Onkyo, but you get the distinct feeling that the '507 isn't willing to take a risk and stamp its authority on movie soundtracks.
Audio sounds far too safeRival machines have a dynamic edge – during the musical numbers of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, the best amps can reach the peaks and dive down to the troughs with greater purpose and desire.
More after the break
Two-channel performance isn't especially strong with the TX-SR507, but this is hardly a surprise from a budget machine.
The '507's entry-level status means advanced features such as video upconversion and upscaling are missing. But the amp is still fitted with four HDMI inputs, Audyssey's auto speaker calibration system and a universal port for Onkyo's optional accessories such as an iPod dock.
Operation might only be a case of navigating an on-screen display, but it's still smooth and effortless, and works well with the remote.
We were expecting the '507 to put up a stronger fight, but its rivals deliver more of a killer blow.