Onkyo doesn't do things by halves when it comes to its range of AV amplifiers. There's a unit for every price-point – this model slots in between the entry-level TX-SR506, and the excellent TX-SR606, at £400.
As you might expect for your extra 50 notes, this model offers a few noticeable upgrades over the '506 in terms of specification. On the outside the two machines look nigh-on identical, but under that bonnet is where you'll find the crucial upgrades.
Most notable is onboard decoding of Dolby Digital Plus and the ability to accept high-definition audio as linear PCM via HDMI. The highest quality codecs, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, aren't accepted, however, so you'll need a Blu-ray player that can decode onboard to sample those.
Again, there's no upscaling of video content either.Take a peek round the back and you'll find three of the all-important HDMI inputs and one output, plus a couple of coaxial and optical digital input.
You also get audio outputs for connecting another zone of music and 7.1-multichannel inputs. It's the same remote control as seen on other models, and you also get the benefit of Onkyo's Audyssey 2EQ calibration system, as seen on higher-end amplifiers.
More after the break
Distinctive and dynamicWe load up the all-action Blu-ray disc of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, and send some PCM audio to the Onkyo. There's no mistaking that Onkyo AV sound – it's up front, powerful and no nonsense. Again there's plenty of bass weight, though it could be a little more articulate.
Indeed, the level of detail on display could be better all round. It's also apparent that the '576's control and insight is not up to the standards of the class-leaders at this price-point.
As we attempt to enjoy Mamma Mia! it's clear that the Onkyo isn't as deft and musical as it could be, while busier scenes find the receiver struggling to keep a lid on everything on screen.
It's a similar story with two-channel tunes, where the very best in this class have a little more flair and simple ability, the comparative lack of detail hindering the overall musicality.
It remains a solid performer, and if you have a BD player capable of doing the audio decoding, then this Onkyo's multichannel inputs will come in handy. Sonically, however, it's just not quite as capable as the elite at this price point.