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High tech, great performer, no problems

A Review On: Onkyo TX-NR717

Onkyo TX-NR717

Rated # 11 in Component Receivers
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Price paid: $500.00
wvu80
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Pros: Impressive list of up-to-date codecs, lots of speaker setup options, plenty of power for most living room applications

Cons: Not a con really, but there are so many features the setup can be intimidating to new or unsophisticated users

I will abbreviate the name to "717." Features: This is a 7.2 receiver which has both zone 2 and 3 capability. The spec sheet states that it sends 125 watts per channel to each channel that is driven. The "point two" refers to the two outputs which sends the same signal to two subwoofers directly from the 717. Speakers can also be directly wired for "wide" and "height" speakers. I bought the 717 so I could bi-amp my front speakers, which reduces the system to a 5.2 setup. I never planned to run 7.2, so this is exactly what I was looking for.

SETUP: The first thing the 717 will do when plugged in is automatically setup your speakers using Audyssey 2EQ, but there is some information the user must provide. The first menu will ask if the speakers are "standard" or "bi-amp." It will also ask if the speakers are 4 ohm or 6 ohm. If any of the speakers are 4 ohm, then that is the setting for all the speakers. The Audyssey 2EQ will then ask if you want a quick setup or standard. The quick setup takes sound measurements from one listening position, the full setup takes the same measurements, but from three listening positions. This takes about 5 minutes for the full setup, and is easy to do. An omi microphone is included and plugs into a dedicated eighth inch jack in the front of the 717.

SPEAKER SETTINGS: The Audyssey 2EQ then sends a sound signal to each of the potential speakers to see what you have. If you don't have a Wide speaker, then Audyssey figures that out. If you have one speaker such as a surround that has one of the wires not connected, it will stop and allow you to correct the problem, then continue. Audyssey 2EQ will calibrate a sub. All the speakers are then set according to how far from the seating each speaker is, and will set a crossover point for each speaker. Typically a small speaker will not handle lower of sub-sonic frequencies, so Audyssey does not ask it to process those signals, sending each speaker the signals which are optimal. On my setup it set the mains to 60, the center to 40, and the surrounds to 100 Mhz. I can overide those settings if I want later, for instance setting my main speakers to "full." This would allow me to have the full bass signals sent to the sub, and have the option to use the "double-bass" feature which would also send full bass signals to the mains. It is personal preference which ever sound the user likes best, but it is nice to have the choice.

LISTENING MODES: This is probably the most important part of this review, because these setting dramatically change how the sound is sent to the speakers using the electronics of the 717. If you want a fuller description, the manual is listed on-line in a PDF, and has a lot of useful descriptions of the various listening modes. Briefly, you can electronically listen to: the two front speakers only, in stereo; the center speaker only (for older movies where sound was mono, and you want sound to come out directly beneath the TV); 5.1 or 7.2 speakers only; the front 3 speakers only; all speakers mono, and all speakers stereo.

The ALL SPEAKERS STEREO mode is very enjoyable, and really adds punch to music, and plays LOUD if you want. There is a PURE AUDIO mode which I think is the most accurate. The other two modes I use is Dobly Pro Logic II which takes a two channel signal, such as a TV and creates a very enjoyable 7.2 signal, and NEO 6 does the same thing, but I think it has better bass with NEO 6, and centers voice directly out of the center channel, sending music to the mains and surrounds.

REMOTE: I use this remote to control my other devices, a TV and a Sony Blu-ray player. It is logically laid out and easy to use, even though I am all thumbs. I personally like using a bunch of remotes, but my wife doesn't, and the 717 is the only remote she uses for TV/AVR use.

OTHER FEATURES: I am already overly wordy, so I'll keep this short. I don't use the tuner or internet radio features, so I have no comment. I had one problem syncing my Sony BD BDX-BP510 with the 717, but turning OFF the "deep color" feature on the 717 solved that problem. Other than that, I have had this unit for 11 months and have had no problems. I have never needed to contact customer support, but they do have an Onkyo support forum which I thought was useful. I recommend the use of banana plugs for speaker wiring because is it quick and easy, but this unit will handle any kind wiring you want to use.

This reviewer is a 55 year-old male, tech savvy. I use the 717 with a 5.1 setup, and have used both bi-amp and regular mode. I don't use the 3D, tuner, internet, or 4k upscaling features. I have used the 717 with my PC, Sony BD player (which does do internet, such as Netflix, Youtube), and have run the video out from the TV to the AVR. There have been no HDMI issues. I highly recommend this unit, especially if you can find it in the $500 price range.

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