We used to call these things surround sound receivers or home theater receivers, but it seems that as the technology evolves the home theater is only a portion of what they’re all about.
The receiver is an essential part of any audio/video or home theater system, yet its basic functions (switching sources and piping audio signals out to your speakers) are increasingly getting boiled down to simpler products like soundbars. For people who choose the later solution in their homes, I want to make something very clear: you’re missing out. And all the fun packed in this Onkyo HT-RC370 is among the things you’re missing.
The HT-RC370 is a lot of receiver for under $1,000 ($849 to be exact). Its core audio features include 7.2 channel surround capability delivering 100 Watts per channel. It handles your input device switching with an amply-outfitted back panel complete with six HDMI inputs (even I don’t have six HDMI sources), two component, plus the other analog inputs you only use for a Wii console. Two optical and three coaxial, plus plain-old analog audio inputs handle the audio signals that don’t come from HDMI sources.
To drive those seven speaker channels the receiver uses Onkyo’s Wide Range Amplifier Technology (WRAT) and three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry, which among other things, helps limit distortion. The unit also uses Burr-Brown 192kHz/24-bit DACs to turn those audio bits into something your speakers can understand.
Oh, did I mention this model is THX Select2 Plus certified? No, well that’s important.
That about covers the basics, but it’s all the other goodies that make this receiver a multifunction multi-function.
First, the system is reasonably simple to calibrate. For a mid-priced model, I was surprised to find an Audyssey microphone and Audyssey MultEQ XT room correction. After I’d plugged in all my sources and the speaker wires, I hooked up the Audyssey mic and started the calibration routine. The receiver sent out a series of test tones (shhhh, be quiet while this is happening) to balance and adjust the speakers.
Overall setup was straightforward. You don’t need to be a home theater expert to plod your way through the various menus, but a little familiarly with terms will help you get the most out of it. Luckily the trickiest part for most novices, the speaker setup, is mostly automated via the Audyssey application.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.