AV RECEIVER REVIEWS

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 02, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,099 At A Glance: THX Select2, DPLIIz, full Audyssey suite • Home networking features • Activities Setup Menu organizes activities into macro commands of separates

Two Ways Up

This year my rent passed the $1,000 mark. There’s something about a four-figure number that intimidates people. My apartment doesn’t cost much more than it did before—my rent only increased by about 50 bucks. And by Manhattan standards, I’ve got a sweet deal. Yet, I’ve started looking at my bizarre L-shaped kitchen and closet-like bathroom with new eyes. Is this worth more than a thousand dollars a month?

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 06, 2013 0 comments
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price $1,099

At A Glance
Plus Integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth • Audessey Mult EQ Room Correction • THX Select 2 Certification • Excellent video processing
Minus Lean sonic character can be fatiguing

The Verdict
Chock-full of the latest features and connectivity, the TX-NR828’s less-than-warm sound was more suited to movies than music in our auditions.

Onkyo is like that kid in elementary school. You remember: The one whose hand went up first in response to every question from the teacher.

“Who was the first presi–”

“George Washington!”

“Onkyo, I haven’t even finished asking the question.”

When it comes to features, Onkyo aims to be there firstest with the mostest. Name a feature, and Onkyo’s usually got it, typically in a licensed version with a hip logo, and quite often before anyone else. For the consumer who wants the latest features and wants them now, Onkyo is generally an excellent choice.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Aug 14, 2014 13 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,199

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Ready for UHD with HDMI 2.0
Refined amplifiers headline strong sonics
Outstanding multiroom abilities, including dual HD-on-HDMI programs
Dolby Atmos capability
Minus
Proprietary auto-EQ had much subtler effect than previous-gen’s Audyssey

THE VERDICT
Onkyo’s usual benchmark audio and video get incremental upgrades, plus new features that include future-proofing HDMI 2.0 and Dolby Atmos.

Onkyo may or may not be the actual market leader in audio/video receivers, measured by unit sales, dollars, or any other B-school metric you care to name. But I’m fairly certain that, year in, year out, they produce more new AVR models combining performance, value, and innovation than anyone else. The TX-NR838 is a suitable example. On the face of things, the receiver seems identical to last year’s TX-NR828, which it replaces: unchanged power ratings, same basic specs, nearly identical quantities of inputs and outputs (this year’s version drops the composite count by one and kicks S-video to the curb altogether), and largely untouched cosmetics and user interface. But look a bit closer, and distinctions begin to come to light.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 20, 2016 0 comments

Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Crisp, clear top end
FireConnect wireless capability
Attractive, simplified remote
Minus
Atmos limited to 5.1.2
Single-position room correction

THE VERDICT
The Onkyo TX-RZ610 is an excellent-sounding receiver with sensible ergonomics and unusual FireConnect wireless capability in addition to the usual Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth.

Onkyo has long been an industry leader when it comes to packing the latest and greatest features into their under-$1,000 A/V receivers. The Onkyo story has been just as interesting behind the scenes. A few years ago, Gibson Brands—yes, the guitar people—acquired a majority stake in Onkyo USA, while also investing directly in Onkyo Corp. (Onkyo Corp. also invested in Gibson, Onkyo reminded me; each CEO now sits on the other’s board.) More recently, in the spring of 2015, Onkyo Corp. acquired Pioneer’s Home A/V division. Together, Gibson, who is in essence partnered with Onkyo, and Onkyo, under the aegis of its corporate parent, now market three prominent AVR brands, including Onkyo, Integra (aimed at the custom installation market), and Pioneer (it’s actually four brands if you count separately Pioneer’s offshoot premium Elite brand). In the small world of AVR manufacturers, that makes this American/Japanese duo something of an empire.

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Mar 17, 2016 33 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,599

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Equipped with Dolby Atmos, primed for DTS:X
Abundant clean, dynamic power
AirPlay, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi all on board
Versatile, usable, hi-res-ready streaming options
Minus
Only two height channels, whether powered or line
Failed to stream DSD recordings

THE VERDICT
Plenty of performance and features, and solid human factors, with an emphasis on core audio quality, at fair “flagship” pricing.

Producing a test report on a “flagship” A/V receiver is always a bit of a high-wire act. On one hand, the receiver represents the top of the line: Maximum power, maximum features, and maximum performance are all expected—and generally delivered. On the other hand, cruiser-class designs rarely offer much of real importance that a model two or three jumps down any given maker’s line doesn’t also do quite competently—and for roughly half the price, which means it’s the model that most folks eventually buy. This leaves the hapless reviewer with the unenviable choice of either damning with faint praise or condemning excellence for its expense.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 08, 2007 Published: Sep 08, 2007 0 comments
Getting Sirius—and XM.

Having hefted more than a few surround receivers into the spare berth on my equipment rack, I've earned the right to be blasé. This feeling usually turns to annoyance when I have to figure out which button on the remote control will get me into the setup menu. But all of these predictable emotions vanish when I hit my universal disc machine's play button and music starts coming out of five speakers (and a sub) in the Dolby Pro Logic II music mode. As someone who was weaned on stereo, surround still seems like something of a miracle. By the time I get around to playing a movie, I feel like a kid again.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 06, 2007 0 comments
For years, Onkyo has been known for decent, dependable gear – nothing super fancy, mind you, just good, respectable, hardworking stuff. That's not to say Onkyo's AV receivers are plain-Jane, stripped-down jobs, however. The company's newest introduction, the $599 TX-SR605, is a perfect illustration of how the opposite is true. Sure, it sports a faceplate that, after you get past the various logos and (thankfully removable) stickers splashed across it, is not much different – and often less exciting – than that which you'll find on any of a hundred other receivers. But, as the logos and marketing stickers attest, behind the average-looking façade lies a feature and performance package that should put the TX-SR605 on the short list of anyone who's currently in the market for a mid-priced AV receiver.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 18, 2008 0 comments

Product positioning in today's consumer world generally falls into three categories: budget, mid-tier, and premium. For example, BMW offers the 3-series, 5-series, and 7-series. All are nice automobiles, but with each step up in class, additional features and performance add value for the end user with a concomitant increase in price.

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Kim Wilson Posted: Aug 18, 2008 0 comments
If you want bang for your buck, look no further.

The great thing about technol-ogy is that everything eventually becomes affordable. The latest generation of A/V receivers certainly demonstrates this, and the Onkyo TX-SR606 exemplifies the extraordinary features and performance capabilities of AVRs under $600.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 29, 2009 0 comments
Price: $599 At A Glance: First receiver with Dolby Pro Logic IIz height-enhanced surround • Faroudja DCDi video processing • Audyssey 2EQ auto setup and room EQ

We’re Gonna Get High

The Onkyo TX-SR607 is the first A/V receiver to feature Dolby Pro Logic IIz, which adds front height channels to the existing 5.1- and 7.1-channel configurations. Now gird yourself for deep background and fierce opinion mongering.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 09, 2010 0 comments
toppick.jpgPrice: $599 At A Glance: First THX-certified 3D-capable AVR • HDMI 1.4a includes all current 3D formats • Width or height processing via Audyssey DSX

THX and 3D

Many tributaries feed the mighty Mississippi. South of the Twin Cities, the Minnesota River gushes in. In Wisconsin, it is joined by the St. Croix River, the Black River, the La Crosse River, the Root River, and the Wisconsin River. Then come the Rock, Iowa, Skunk, Des Moines, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Platte, Arkansas, Yazoo, and Atchafalaya rivers—all gliding in until the increasingly vast Mississippi ends its epic American journey at the Gulf of Mexico. I’m typing out all of this for two reasons. Contemplating the American landscape is an awe-inspiring pleasure—and pleasure is what I’m all about.

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Ultimate AV Staff Posted: May 24, 2006 0 comments

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 02, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,099 At A Glance: Onkyo’s first THX Ultra2 Plus–certified AVR • New THX and Audyssey algorithms • Five HDMI 1.3 inputs • Faroudja DCDi video

With Two Secret Sauces

When I compare the Onkyo TX-SR806 receiver with last year’s Onkyo crop, I see incremental but significant improvements. The most notable ones are licensed technologies from THX and Audyssey (more on them soon). But when I compare this product with the earliest A/V receivers (and in the process, look back on myself as I was then), I actually get dizzy.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 02, 2007 0 comments

In many respects, AV receivers haven't changed much in recent years. There have been no major breakthroughs in amplifier design. 7.1-channels aren't that new. Multichannel analog inputs have been a fixture for some time. Dolby Digital and DTS have been with us since the Jurassic Age&mdash;or at least since <I>Jurassic Park</I>. And FM and AM sections are about as exciting as <I>Halloween 14</I>.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2006 Published: Jan 11, 2006 0 comments
Gear from the Net that demands respect.

Outlaw Audio and Aperion Audio both pursue the decidedly nonmainstream business model of selling quality surround gear directly to consumers over the Internet. Back when I worked for an Internet startup—don't fall asleep now, or I'll poke you with a stick—my now dead-as-a-doornail company caught a lot of flak for facilitating Internet sales of audio equipment. Isn't it unwise to buy something you haven't heard?

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