Need input: Onkyo TX-NR717 or TX-NR709? (explain the value of Audyssey MultiEQ v. 2EQ) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-02-2012, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking to replace my 10+ year old Kenwood receiver which is beginning to give me trouble. This purchase would be the first step in upgrading my entire system, which is of a similar vintage as my current receiver. I don't want to have to replace this thing for another decade.
Full list of system considerations (Click to show)
This system is going to be used primarily for video (Blu-ray/DVD/HD cable). When we listen to music through it, it's primarily as background; it will not be used for critical or high-volume music appreciation.

Primary considerations (must have):
  • Component video out (to feed my existing HDMI-less CRT display, which I am not wishing to replace immediately)
  • Support for multi-room, multi-source configuration (minimum 2-zone, 3-zone would be awesome)
  • Support minimum of 7.1 channels
  • Price of no more than $550 (I'm not afraid of refurb/open box/gently used)

Secondary considerations (like-to have):
  • Networked w/ DLNA support (AirPlay support is not a priority)
  • Internet music support (preferably Spotify and Pandora)
  • Good Android remote app
  • Phono input (for the 2-3 times a year I break out the vinyl)
  • Support for 4K video (which is simply future proofing)

I'm leaning toward the Onkyo TX-NR717 or it's predecessor, the TX-NR709, which both seem to check all the boxes.
Lists of differences between the 709 and the 717 (Click to show)
Features/specs the 717 has that the 709 lacks:
  • Rear USB input
  • Powered/Line-out Zone 3
  • Streaming audio from non-Windows 7/DLNA source
  • THX Select2 Plus certified

Features/specs the 709 has that the 717 lacks:
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT speaker calibration (v. 2EQ for 717)
  • S-Video inputs/outputs
  • RS-232 input (I don't know why I'd miss this)
  • Activity based, "learning" remote (I use a Harmony remote anyway)
  • Solid aluminum front (further reading here tells me that the 709 has a plastic front, so this may be an error in Onkyo features list)
  • U-port for HD-Radio and/or iPod dock; I don't anticipate missing "HD-radio" and it appears this proprietary Onkyo port is now dead (or dying)
  • "Pure" mode ??

My initial inclination was toward the newer NR717, but in looking around a bit here, it seems that many are near-apoplectic over the downgrade from Audyssey MultiEQ XT to 2EQ. I have no experience with any speaker calibration system, so I don't understand why this feature is such a deal-breaker for some. I've read the information on Audyssey's site that attempts to explain the differences (copied below) as well as the "Official" Audyssey thread/FAQ, but I simply don't have enough depth of knowledge about this stuff to interpret it. From what I can take away, 2EQ doesn't include ANY subwoofer calibration and MultiEQ XT offers "16x filter resolution" v. "x" for 2EQ, though I have absolutely NO idea what that means.

I can accept that MultiEQ is better, but it would seem that this is a feature that I would use exactly once (unless I reconfigure the system or room) and it's something (speaker calibration) that I've been able to do manually with my current system (which sounds decent enough to me).
Flavors of Audyssey MultiEQ (Click to show)
FLAVORS OF MULTEQ

Audyssey room correction technology comes in four solutions: MultEQ XT32, MultEQ XT, MultEQ and 2EQ. While they are all built on the same core science, each is designed to operate within the constraints of the available DSP processing power.

MultEQ XT32
Our newest and most accurate room correction solution with more than ten thousand individual control points allowing finer details of the room’s problems to be captured and corrected. The ultra high resolution filters are applied to all channels including the subwoofers, with the most obvious benefit being heard in the low frequency range where correction is needed the most.
MultEQ XT
Our advanced resolution room correction solution with high resolution equalization filters for satellites and subwoofers. Most products with MultEQ XT are installer-ready and can be calibrated by an Audyssey Registered Installer to provide even higher performance for even the most demanding large or odd-shaped rooms.
MultEQ
Our standard resolution room correction solution that uses mid-level resolution filters for satellites and subwoofers.
2EQ
Our basic resolution room correction solution that uses basic resolution filters for the satellites, but does not apply a filter to the subwoofers.

* Up to 32 measurement positions with MultEQ Pro. Most AVRs with MultEQ XT32 and
MultEQ XT are installer-ready and can be calibrated by an Audyssey Registered Installer to
provide even higher performance for even the most demanding large or odd-shaped rooms.

I like the 717's rear USB input and support for a third zone, but I'd like to understand more about the Audyssey difference and why that apparently makes such a difference to many of those on this forum before I make a purchase I'll regret.

Sorry for being so long-winded, I've tried to make the essentials of the post as simple as possible while making the details of my situation available to those who care for more detail. Thanks in advance for your advice.
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-03-2012, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Can anyone help me understand why some feel that the TX-NR709 is superior to the TX-NR717 that replaced it? What advantages does MultiEq XT have over 2EQ?
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-05-2012, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I can't believe no one on this forum has an opinion on the 709 v. the 717. I'm leaning heavily toward going with the 717, mostly for the 3rd zone, but also because I don't understand the Audyssey thing.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-06-2012, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeJayK View Post

I can't believe no one on this forum has an opinion on the 709 v. the 717. I'm leaning heavily toward going with the 717, mostly for the 3rd zone, but also because I don't understand the Audyssey thing.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Hi DJK,

I think that you might get more responses over at the dedicated Audyssey thread. Personally, I love what MultEQ does for my system and upgraded to the 818 with XT32 from a 707 with only MultEQ just to get the best Audyssey correction currently available and the difference has been quite noticable. Going to 2EQ (really useless as it does nothing to correct the sub and very little to the sats) from your current XT would be a big mistake, in my opinion.

There's really not much to understand about Audyssey, just run it (takes about 15 minutes) and see if you like it or not by turning it on/off. If you don't like it, at least it has set your speaker volume levels, distances and delays and saved you the trouble.

The 709 has as many features as the 717 and much more if you throw in the better Audyssey EQ.

Good luck either way.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Murphy View Post

Hi DJK,
I think that you might get more responses over at the dedicated Audyssey thread. Personally, I love what MultEQ does for my system and upgraded to the 818 with XT32 from a 707 with only MultEQ just to get the best Audyssey correction currently available and the difference has been quite noticable. Going to 2EQ (really useless as it does nothing to correct the sub and very little to the sats) from your current XT would be a big mistake, in my opinion.
There's really not much to understand about Audyssey, just run it (takes about 15 minutes) and see if you like it or not by turning it on/off. If you don't like it, at least it has set your speaker volume levels, distances and delays and saved you the trouble.
The 709 has as many features as the 717 and much more if you throw in the better Audyssey EQ.
Good luck either way.

Thanks for the reply, and maybe you're right that the Audyssey thread is perhaps a better place for this discussion. That said, the point of my post is to discuss ANY and ALL differences between the 709 and the 717 (which replaced it in Onkyo's lineup). It just happens that the Audyssey difference is the feature that I understand the least.

Just so I understand, Audyssey is something you basically run one time and it balances the output of all of your speakers, correct? That's a task that I've always performed manually (just using my own ears) and while I'm sure it likely that an algorithm and a microphone could do a better job than I can, I'm still having a hard time understanding why that single feature (or lack thereof) is considered such a monumentally critical thing by many here. I guess maybe I just need to go into a shop and experience for myself the difference between Audyssey and the old-fashioned way.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeJayK View Post

Thanks for the reply, and maybe you're right that the Audyssey thread is perhaps a better place for this discussion. That said, the point of my post is to discuss ANY and ALL differences between the 709 and the 717 (which replaced it in Onkyo's lineup). It just happens that the Audyssey difference is the feature that I understand the least.
Just so I understand, Audyssey is something you basically run one time and it balances the output of all of your speakers, correct? That's a task that I've always performed manually (just using my own ears) and while I'm sure it likely that an algorithm and a microphone could do a better job than I can, I'm still having a hard time understanding why that single feature (or lack thereof) is considered such a monumentally critical thing by many here. I guess maybe I just need to go into a shop and experience for myself the difference between Audyssey and the old-fashioned way.

You already have that ability to do it in your own room using your speakers. Audyssey corrects for problems with filters as it finds them in YOUR environment. Simply run it and make up your mind as it takes all of 15-20 minutes to run through all 8 positions. I don't think that you'll be disappointed and find that after calibration your system will be taken to another level. And if you don't agree then, as I said before, turn it off.

I really can't give you a line item listing of what's different between the two AVR's, but I looked the 709 up at the Onkyo site and they seem pretty much the same feature-wise including the video processor that is also fantastic, IMO. I don't use any of the peripheral devices or zones other than internet radio.
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Murphy View Post

You already have that ability to do it in your own room using your speakers. Audyssey corrects for problems with filters as it finds them in YOUR environment. Simply run it and make up your mind as it takes all of 15-20 minutes to run through all 8 positions. I don't think that you'll be disappointed and find that after calibration your system will be taken to another level. And if you don't agree then, as I said before, turn it off.
I really can't give you a line item listing of what's different between the two AVR's, but I looked the 709 up at the Onkyo site and they seem pretty much the same feature-wise including the video processor that is also fantastic, IMO. I don't use any of the peripheral devices or zones other than internet radio.

Unfortunately, my current receiver (which is a 12 year old mid-level Kenwood) doesn't have any Audyssey system, or any automated speaker calibration of any sort. I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I currently had use of an Audyssey system -- this is the primary reason why I'm having a difficult time understanding the value of such a system.

As far as differences between the Onkyo 709 and 717, I attempted to enumerate them to the best of my ability in my original post:
Quote:
Features/specs the 717 has that the 709 lacks:
  • Rear USB input
  • Powered/Line-out Zone 3
  • Streaming audio from non-Windows 7/DLNA source
  • THX Select2 Plus certified

Features/specs the 709 has that the 717 lacks:
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT speaker calibration (v. 2EQ for 717)
  • S-Video inputs/outputs
  • RS-232 input (I don't know why I'd miss this)
  • Activity based, "learning" remote (I use a Harmony remote anyway)
  • Solid aluminum front (further reading here tells me that the 709 has a plastic front, so this may be an error in Onkyo features list)
  • U-port for HD-Radio and/or iPod dock; I don't anticipate missing "HD-radio" and it appears this proprietary Onkyo port is now dead (or dying)
  • "Pure" mode ??

The only difference that really stands out to me (aside from Audyssey) is the Zone 3 support (which would allow me to set up some speakers in my back yard which I could see myself using a few times each summer). I'm basically trying to weigh the utility of the third zone against the value of the Audyssey system.

Thanks again for your input.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-08-2012, 11:54 PM
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No, I'm sorry for the mix up as I just went back and read your original post and in the 1st sentence is says that you're replacing the 10+ year old Kenwood.
Somehow I got it into my head that you wanted to get the 717 primarily for the 3 zones and dumping the 709. Doh!

Anyway, I would think that you'd be very happy with the 709 and you could just use the old Kenwood for those occasions in the back yard.

As you mentioned earlier, people have very strong feelings about Onkyo only putting the rudimentary 2EQ in the mid line product this year and giving consumers either that or XT32 starting in the 818 and up. Audyssey blew me away when I first got the 707 (MultEQ) and even more today with the great XT32 in the 818. I wouldn't own any receiver that doesn't have high-end Audyssey or it's equal, ever again.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-10-2012, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Patrick Murphy View Post

Anyway, I would think that you'd be very happy with the 709 and you could just use the old Kenwood for those occasions in the back yard.

That sounds reasonable, although I'd love to be able to leverage the Onkyo's ability to stream Spotify to the third zone. I guess I can rig up something with my old receiver and my smartphone for zone three, though.

Thanks again for the advice!

Anyone else care to offer their opinion?
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-23-2012, 11:39 AM
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I am also looking at those two receivers. I am particularly interested in the the 709/717 due to the dual HDMI outs. My concern is I have read a number of posts/reviews about the HDMI outs failing in the 709. I'm not sure if this is something that was addressed in the 717.
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post #11 of 12 Old 10-23-2012, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris6145 View Post

I am also looking at those two receivers. I am particularly interested in the the 709/717 due to the dual HDMI outs. My concern is I have read a number of posts/reviews about the HDMI outs failing in the 709. I'm not sure if this is something that was addressed in the 717.

my 709 has been flawless...i've had an 805 as well that had no issues other than the built in stovetop.

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post #12 of 12 Old 01-21-2013, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DeeJayK View Post

That sounds reasonable, although I'd love to be able to leverage the Onkyo's ability to stream Spotify to the third zone. I guess I can rig up something with my old receiver and my smartphone for zone three, though.

Thanks again for the advice!

Anyone else care to offer their opinion?

Dee what did you end up getting?
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