ANything beat onkyo for ht receiver $500?

Need hdmi 1.3, 3 0r 4 inputs, would like to go Denon but they are a bit pricey...
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I have the TX SR-605 and it sounds amazingly natural and musical from bottom to top and the dynamics are fantastic. I can't really fault it except that it runs a bit hot. I doubt if any receiver under $1000 sounds noticeably better. Can't comment or compare the more recent SR-606 as I haven't heard it.
The HK AVR247 is cleaner and more neutral sounding, IMO. Also, better current deliver historically on the HK's. It's a consideration. Also, companies that mod them available.
Good luck
HK's have great sound for the money, but their reliability has been lower than the Japanese brands. Onkyos are pretty good for the money - you can get a new Onkyo TX-SR706 for under $500 on Amazon. I assure you this machine will sound good.

If you get an Onkyo, be sure to set the listening mode to "Direct" instead of "stereo" for all serious two channel listening. This makes a VERY BIG difference in the quality of the sound.

And yes, Onkyos run HOT, but that seems to be within design parameters for these receivers. To be on the safe side,allow room above for air flow and use in a well ventilated space.
Onkyo TX SR805/806 have 1.3A HDMI... 3 in, 1 out.

By lessening the load on the receiver, ie., more eff speakers or adding an amp, the hot running aspect becomes a non thing. My 805 drives the center, and two surrounds only. I use an outboard amp for the mains. Mine doesn't run any hotter than any other reciever I've owned. In fact I think my sony rec in another room actually feels hotter to me.

The 805 does sound pretty good though, especially if any budget issues are involved. it's a nice enough rec that I paid way more than any 500 or 600, as I got mine right after they first came out... and they come out pretty doggone often it seems.
705/706 and 805/806 are rated for continuous 4 ohm load - may have power reserves that allow them to easily handle more difficult loads than lower models rated only for 6 ohm loads.

Going from 70X to 80X gives 30 more watts per channel of power (100W to 130W) and about 10 lbs more chassis bulk. If you need the power, you could probably find a slightly older 805 with the features you are looking for used under $500.

I guess to answer the original question - no, nothing really better than Onkyo in each class for the money. Some makes just as good, but Onkyo has been on a roll in making value laden and good sounding receivers for quite a while.
Lol. I'm sorry but how does someone who's moniker is "knownothing" possibly be making statements of "truth?!". That is good for a laugh, ya gotta admit.
Um, but seriously, I've been selling every brand on the market - and played with as many piece - since early 90's, and I'd have to disagree. I've sold Onkyo, While Onkyo has definitely stepped up their marketing (admirably, I might that's where the success if gunna come from). I think the Denon and Hk's KILL the Onkyo, at the very least in the entry piece department! Infact, it's no competition, sound-wise. That's my take. But of course it's subjective. Still, the Denon is more musical and robust sounding, and the HK is more neutral, musical, clear, and hi-end sounding at under $500, certainly.
Heck, let's just do a shoot out! I mean someone could certainly go to Circuit city (before they go OOB) and get a Denon and Onkyo, then get an HK over at BB, and do a 3 way!!! Then we could get to the bottom of this mess - hehe
Anyone up for it? I don't have the time right now, nor a setup going right at the moment. But I AM curious.
Ok, so who's got the energy and time to do this!?
I do! I do! In a dedicated room too!

... uh... but I'll need to borrow someone's credit card for the Denon & HK buy in.

... but it will be a blind test too. ;-)
Yes Iplaynaked, I really do know nothing... but if you insist on fulfilling your moniker in the live test you suggest, I think I'll pass (particularly if you are the gender and age of most of the people who post on here!!!)...LOL :-)

Denon and HK are also good, and Sony and Yamaha make some nice receivers as well. Each one has a "house sound", and it may come down to preferences. For example Onkyo is relying on WRAT switching amps which provide a detailed and forward presentation - the opposite of Yamaha's more laid back "Natural Sound". I really like the HK's presentation, but do they hold up as well as the others? I have read they don't, and my mother-in-law has one and one of the channels on it crapped out after about two or three years of light use.

Will be curious to hear how it goes if somebody steps up to this challenge - keep the playing field level with all units going for close to five hundred bucks new on the street.
Comparitively speaking... Onkyo v Sony... the Sony is head and shoulders more a forward (geographically speaking) sound than is the Onkyo. the O is vastly more refined and laid back. S possesses much greater slam or impact and the bass has more authority.

Now owning one of each, albeit the Sony is of their 'es' line up from a few years back, speaker matching will make a very good bit of difference in each case.

I can run much higher eff speakers on either one, however I prefer to use lower eff on the Sony.

A better pc for the Onkyo does help out too... though not as grandly as I had hoped. All in all, each unit has a bit something different to offer sonically but I don't feel the Onkyo is anytjhing close to being an in your face or hard to take device... in fact I think it is close to being spot on with it's presentation, and most pleasing.