If anyone is interested, here's my user review of TX-NR709:
In terms of functionality and features nothing in the TX-NR709 price range even comes close. Onkyo packed so much into it, that it's only logical that they had to make compromises when it comes to sound and amplification quality. However, my non-audiophile ears cannot detect any such compromises. In fact, in direct comparison to my previous Denon and Yamaha receivers in stereo the Onkyo sounds better, and it sounds *much better* and more detailed when it comes to surround sound, possibly thanks to the excellent Audyssey room calibration system that my previous receivers lack.
The main reason I preferred the TX-NR709 over lower end receivers and those from other brands is future compatibility. I don't intend to purchase a new receiver in the next 5 years, so I wanted something that doesn't make me regret not paying more for a feature I might need later on. Examples include dual HDMI out (I'm thinking about adding a projector to the TV), 4K support for higher than FullHD resolution (not that I see much need for that, but who knows), 4 ohm speakers compatibility (if I upgrade my speakers, I don't want the receiver to limit my choices) and a learning remote control to reduce the clutter on my coffee table. Audyssey MultEQ XT room calibration (which also calibrates the sub-woofer) rounds up a very nice product I'm not likely to regret. Well, at least not if it continues to work reliably.
I don't have many issues to report, but there are a few.
HDMI handshake. Occasionally when I turn the receiver on it reports that there's no signal from my HTPC. However, when I turn it off and then back it suddenly does see the signal. I guess it's the infamous HDMI handshake that some people refer to. Upgrading to the latest firmware seems to have no affect on this issue.
Feature clutter. There are too many needless surround modes. Going through all of them takes a long time. It would have been nice to be able to remove them from the menu altogether. The modes I'd be happy to get rid of include: Orchestra, Unplugged, TV Logic, Game-RPG, Game-Action, Game-Rock, Game-Sports, Theater-Dimensional, Neo:6, Neo:6 Cinema, Neo:6 Music. Luckily they don't usually display in one list and are also dependent on the mode button the user chooses (there are separate sound mode buttons for Movies, Music, Games and THX), so it's not that difficult to avoid the un-needed modes.
Confusing volume-related options. Here's a list of what's available:
- Dolby Volume (on/off - "automatically adjusts the difference in volume levels which can occur between different contents or source components")
- Dolby Volume Leveler (off/low/mid/high - "maintains the perceived loudness of all contents, coming from different channels or input sources.")
- Dolby Volume Half Mode (off/on - "Dolby Volume applies a bass and treble attenuation to the audio when the system gain exceeds reference level.")
- Audyssey Dynamic EQ (off/on - "enjoy great sound even when listening at low volume levels")
- Audyssey Dynamic Volume (light/medium/heavy - "This setting affects volume the most. It quiets the loud parts, such as explosions, and boosts the quiet parts so they can be heard")
- THX Loudness Plus volume control technology ("enjoy even subtle nuances of audio expression at low volume"
- IntelliVolume (set in 1 dB steps - "set the input level for each input selector individually".
Some of these modes are easier to understand than others, but overall my head is spinning. I have no idea how to best utilize these modes and whether it's a good idea to combine them or not. My solution for now is to turn them all off.
Phono source cannot be configured to use an external phono amp (which I have, a NAD device which is superior to the circuitry built into the receiver). It would have been nice to be able to switch to phono using the dedicated button on the remote, instead of having to use another source option. At least there's an option to rename it, but the name is only displayed after I choose the source.
Low-res splash screen turns LG TV out of Just Scan mode. Granted, LG is just to blame as Onkyo for this issue. However, if the receiver would stick to 1080P in all cases (including when it starts up and displays the splash screen) the TV would stay in the Just Scan aspect ratio instead of switching to 16:9. The result is that I have to manually change it back to Just Scan mode, otherwise the desktop is displayed truncated with the Start menu button and the Windows Taskbar mostly out of the screen.
I'm extremely happy with the sound, functionality and features of this receiver. I don't think I have it long enough to judge reliability or dismiss the bad reviews, I can only hope I won't experience them. As for the issues that I listed, I don't consider them to be significant enough to really affect my overall satisfaction from this product, which is indeed very high. If you're not bothered with these issues/nits and the TX-NR709 fits your budget then I can highly recommend this receiver.