Onkyo TX-SR304 5.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver Review

Onkyo TX-SR304 5.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver
Onkyo TX-SR304 5.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver. Images provided by Onkyo USA

Home Theater is definitely becoming more popular, and although "purists" demand the finesse of high-end products, there is an increasing number of lower-priced receivers that enable the mainstream consumer to get in on the action.

One example is the Onkyo TX-SR304. With a 5.1 channel configuration, enough power for an small or medium-sized room, and the basic audio decoding/processing and connections you need to get started, the TX-SR304 may be good choice for you. For all the details, keep reading this review.

Onkyo TX-SR304 Features and Specifications

Setup and Performance

The Onkyo TX-SR304 is very easy to use and set up. The user manual is well illustrated and the rear connection panel is well laid out. The front panel has an uncluttered look and all buttons and controls are well-labeled and easy-to-read. The TX-SR304 also has a Silver Cabinet, which allows for easier reading of the controls. In addition, the TX-SR304's remote control is logically laid out.

I found that the TX-SR304 had no problem passing HD signals though the component video connections up to 1080i (I did not test any 1080p signals as the TV used only accepts up to a 1080i video resolution input signal) through to both a Syntax LT-32HV LCD TV and an Optoma H56 DLP video projector. The TX-SR304 offers adequate composite video connection performance. It must be noted that this receiver does not have S-video inputs or outputs.

As far as audio performance goes, I was very surprised at how well the Onkyo TX-SR304 sounded. I used the TX-SR304 with a Klipsch Quintet III 5-channel speaker system, in conjunction with a Klipsch Sub10 Powered Subwoofer. The TX-SR304 delivered clean, non-fatiguing sound, even at higher listening levels: Both analog and digital audio input options delivered very good results.

Although the TX-SR304 does not offer the multitude of surround sound and DSP options of more expensive home theater receivers, what audio processing options it does offer are practical and deliver where it counts: Sound Quality.

Also, despite its modest rated power output (65 WPC) the Onkyo performs well in both in average small and medium-sized room, making it an excellent option for apartment and second room home theater systems.

While not having all the bells and whistles of home theater receivers in higher price ranges, the TX-SR304 offers practical, basic, features and solid audio/video performance.

What I Liked About The Onkyo TX-SR304

  • Great Sound Quality - HD-Capable Component video switching
  • Built-in Test Tone Generator makes setting speaker levels easier.
  • Adjustable Crossover setting to adjust for differences in speaker and subwoofer response.
  • Color-coded Speaker Connections.
  • A/B front panel speaker switching for driving a stereo speaker pair in another location.

What I Didn't Like About The Onkyo TX-SR304

  • No S-video Inputs or Outputs - the TX-SR304 only has composite and component video connections.
  • No Front Panel AV Inputs.
  • No Onscreen Display - all adjustment and setup functions are displayed the TX-SR304's LED panel.
  • No composite to component video upconversion.
  • No dedicated Turntable input.

The Bottom Line

The TX-SR304 delivers what it promises, both in terms of home theater and music reproduction. The TX-SR304 also offers features that are practical for the user.

Although not offering the extensive connectivity, features, and more complex audio/video processing of higher-end units, the TX-SR304 offers essentials for today's entry-level user: Excellent sound quality, HD-compatible component video switching for use with HDTVs, and an easy-to-use remote control. However, adding some front panel AV inputs and a dedicated turntable input would have added to its value. I give the Onkyo TX-SR304 a rating of 4.5 of 5 Stars.

More Info

For more details on the features and connections of the TX-SR304, also check out my supplementary Onkyo TX-SR304 Photo Profile

NOTE: Although the TX-SR304 had a successful run from 2006-2008, it has long since been replaced by more recent models, which can be viewed on the home theater receiver portion of the Onkyo website.

Also, if you are interested in other, more current options in the same price range, check out my periodically updated list of Home Theater Receivers, priced at $399 or Less.