Viewing Review: Ahead of its time receiver still provides quality sound over the years. - AVS Forum
Ahead of its time receiver still provides quality sound over the years. Edit
by SPDICKEY Combined Rating: 4.0
Onkyo has a formidable track record in the field of home cinema amplifiers, and the TX-NR609 got off to a flying start when I got it back in 2011. Back then, it was a mid level in price but high...
Pros Cons
  • Great sound quality, integrated internet audio services, excellent build quality, ROHD commands over HDMI to compatable devices
  • Not as small as some receivers. Airplay would be nice if I had a Mac.
Onkyo has a formidable track record in the field of home cinema amplifiers, and the TX-NR609 got off to a flying start when I got it back in 2011. Back then, it was a mid level in price but high quality in features that roped me in.

Even after upgrading my home theater system with more HDMI devices, a Panasonic Viera plasma TV and TiVo Premier 4 DVR my opinion hasn’t changed. This is still one heck of an amp for the money – a real show-stopper. Fed the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the Onkyo serves up surround sound of the highest order.

The ‘609 has a strong-armed, speaker-thrashing side which is all too ready to come out when a movie demands it, but this Onkyo is more than a bare-knuckle brawler.

Truly communicative with music.

There’s a level of gracefulness, subtlety and refinement that allows it to engage with the listener on many more levels. Harry Potter’s musical score sounds wonderfully detailed and dynamic. As Hermione erases her parents’ memories, the somber accompaniment leaves a lasting impression.

This natural tone, combined with excellent detail and dynamics, gives the ‘609 a real advantage with CD playback. There are very few receivers at this price that are as comfortable playing music.

In terms of socketry and features, it’s as well-equipped as any rival, and it’s arguably also one of the best-looking, thanks partly to a smoother, more sophisticated finish compared with previous generations of Onkyo amp. RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI) means my several year old Onkyo controls my new plasma's volume control via HDMI and automatically turns on and selects the correct input when the TV is turned on, great for the wife who wants one touch simplicity.

THX Select2 Plus certified
The ‘609 is THX Select2 Plus certified, opening up various THX-approved surround modes and settings. The provision of six HDMI inputs (five rear, one front) is in line with rivals, as is the vast array of video and audio inputs on the back – which include a couple of digital coaxial and optical inputs.

There’s an FM tuner built-in, though I never use it since off air reception is iffy in my canyon location.

The Audyssey 2EQ automatic speaker calibration is simple and succinct, while the inclusion of both Audyssey DSX and ProLogic IIz gives you the choice of front height, front width or surround back speakers as your sixth and seventh channels of surround sound.

A fully fledged network receiver

The ‘NR’ in its name indicates that this is a fully fledged network receiver. Via the ethernet socket on the back you can access Pandora and Spotify premium internet radio, while there’s DLNA compatibility for accessing music and video stored on other devices on your home network.

You can log-in to your Spotify account via the remote control and on-screen menus, and then play back your favorite tunes and playlists. You can connect and stream music directly from an iPod or iPhone, but Mac users will need to note, there’s no AirPlay functionality to take advantage of.

Still, this is hardly grounds for any major criticism – and nor should it be, given just how superb this home cinema amplifier sounds.
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