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Onkyo TX-SR383 7.2-Channel AV Receiver Inflates Power but Not Price

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Onkyo TX-SR383 AV Receiver

Onkyo TX-SR383 AV Receiver

Summary

  • Product Name: TX-SR383 7.2-Channel AV Receiver
  • Manufacturer: Onkyo
  • Review Date: March 30, 2018 01:00
  • MSRP: $399
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
  • Power: 155 W/Ch (6 Ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 Channel Driven)
               80 W/Ch (8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, FTC)
  • Input Sensitivity and Impedance    200 mV / 47k Ohms (Line)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio:    106 dB (Line, IHF-A)
  • Speaker Impedance:    6 ohms–16 ohms
  • HDMI I/O:    4 / 1
  • HDMI 4K/60 Hz- Capable HDMI Terminals:    Yes
  • HDCP 2.2 Copy-Protection Compatibility    Yes
  • HDMI Support for High Dynamic Range    Yes
  • HDMI Support for 3D, Audio Return Channel and CEC   Yes
  • BT.2020 Support    Yes
  • HDMI Support for Deep Color, x.v.Color, LipSync    Yes
  • HDMI Support for DVD-Audio, SACD, Multichannel PCM   Yes
  • Power Consumption    270 W
  • Room Calibration:  AccuEQ
  • Dolby Decoder:    True HD
  • DTS Decoder:    DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Dimensions (W x H x D)    17 1/8" x 6 5/8" x 12 7/8"
  • Weight    18.1 lbs

 

I was recently asked by a budget minded customer if I could recommend a Home Theater in a Box in the $400 range for his new home. Since I knew the home already had speakers built into the walls I highly recommended checking out some of the base model Onkyo receivers, and with money left over, for an inexpensive sub from Monoprice.  Had I known that Onkyo was releasing a discrete high current 7.2 channel receiver for $400, the decision might have been a little harder. The TX-SR383 from Onkyo provides a choice of native 7.2-channel soundtrack reproduction or a 5.2-channel surround-sound layout with powered audio distribution to a pair of stereo speakers in Zone 2.

TX-SR383 rear.png


On the video side, we liked the four HDMI inputs and one output supporting 4K/60p, HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), 4:4:4 color space, and BT.2020 color-standard video pass-through as well as HDCP 2.2.  The CEC-compliant HDMI output also has an ARC (Audio Return Channel) to enable amplification of TV broadcasts from ARC-ready displays.  In addition, HDMI pass-through is available when amplified sound is not required.

Backed by 155W/ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 channel driven) and supporting DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD movie soundtrack – with either Surround Back or Front Height speakers to enhance theater-realistic immersion -- the easy-to-use TX-SR383 is ideal for the latest 4K entertainment.

- Onkyo Press Release

Whoa! That’s a lot of information crammed into one press release blurb.  So, let’s break it down. First, we've noticed a recent trend with the latest AV Receiver releases.  Instead of publishing unclipped full bandwidth power with two-channels driven into 8 ohm loads per FTC mandate, many of the major AV receiver manufacturers are now touting power with only one-channel driven, at 1kHz, into a 6-ohm load and 10% distortion.  This type of testing scenario inflates the power rating up to almost 2X the former FTC way of rating power.  Only when you search for the fine print on the manufacturer's websites or spec sheets do you find the two-channel continuous ratings, which in this case is 80 watts/ch. 

For more information on the manipulation of power ratings in Atmos AV receivers, watch our Youtube video on the subject. 

The AV Receiver Power Ratings Game YouTube Discussion

The second part of the quote isn’t quite as noxious. You can setup a 7.1 system with height channels, but the use of the word “immersive” insinuates 3D sound support such as DTS:X or Dolby Atmos, of which this receiver has neither. Instead, the TX-SR383 supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD lossless surround codecs. In fact, we'd highly recommend installing a pair of surround back channels over height channels for this type of product if you're able.

TX-SR383.png

 
The TX-SR383 does come with pretty good room calibration software with AccuEQ. AccuEQ Room Acoustic Calibration sets speaker parameters such as distance, output level, crossover, and EQs to present a cohesive audio image optimized for unique room sizes and speaker positions.

Music Streaming and Bluetooth Audio Support

The TX-SR383  also comes with Bluetooth Version 3.0 wireless technology that supports the AAC codec for high-quality audio transmission, while compliance with Qualcomm aptX audio enables high-quality music playback with compatible smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. Also, the Music Optimizer, developed by Onkyo, uses a DSP algorithm to restore lost bit information for objectively better sound when playing compressed audio files. You can touch a key on the remote to enable Music Optimizer listening mode on a variety of input sources, including Bluetooth audio, and MP3, WMA, and AAC files via a front-panel USB input.
 
With a variety of network HDMI devices available to bring streaming audio and video to the family room, the TX-SR383 includes a rear 5V/1A USB outlet to power devices that require it. Users can add room-filling amplified sound to their favorite movies and TV programs on-demand via subscription services, and enjoy premium sound with music, podcasts, and online audio-video media streamed via smartphones or tablet apps.

Don't Overstate What You've Got

With 80 W/Ch (8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, FTC) the TX-SR383 just misses the mark of the magic 100 W/ch or more most serious Audioholics want, but it does come with a slew of input options, 7.2 channels, and the latest in video passthrough technology for a mere $400. If you know you’re never going to install the height speakers for use in Dolby Atmos or DTS:X setups, and you have a small to mid-sized home theater room with a strict budget then this receiver is definitely worth a second look, even with the inflated power ratings.  Just don't go bragging to your audiophile friends you've got a 155 watt/ch Onkyo receiver for only $400. You really have about half that, or you can just tell them -3dB if it makes you feel better. At Audioholics, we are all about understating and overdelivering, not the other way around. We wish more receiver manufacturers would be of the same mindset so it gives us something to gush rather than complain about when we get these devices on our test bench.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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