Had the TX-NR515 about a week now and I am absolutely loving it!
I have not experienced any of the problems mentioned in this thread (touch wood!). HDMI is solid and handshaking has not been a problem. I have 4 playback devices: Sky HD+ box (1TB Amstrad), Sony BDP-570 (3D capable), Sony PS3 (non 3D) and XBOX 360. I have 2 display devices: Philips 42inch LCD TV (non 3D) and Epson EH-TW8100 projector.
First my negatives. The amp arrived with its firmware update dongle and I duly followed the instructions to update before doing anything else. However, when I followed said instructions I couldn't get the option for Update From USB to appear. After further investigation I discovered that the amp already had the update installed. It would have been nice to have known that when the Firmware Update option is selected, it checks the version on the dongle and won't go any further if it's the same or older.
Anyway, I downloaded the latest update (11-04-2013) and the amp updated without a hitch and it only needed to be done once. After that was done I then connected all my devices and speakers (I have a 7.1 setup). Everything appeared to be fine. I had the projector in the Main HDMI output and the TV in the sub since we actually watch most things on the projector, even standard TV.
At this point I had my first disappointment. The amp has a really good OSD menu system, but this is only output through the Main HDMI. So when watching TV if you want to adjust the settings you have to use the amp's display. You can do it, but why would you want to when the OSD is actually pretty good?
The second disappointment was regarding the dual HDMI outputs, which many of the posts on this forum have talked about. I had hoped you could switch between Main and Sub to allow watching 3D without having to disconnect the TV, but sadly the amp obeys the EDID from the TV and keeps everything 2D. Switching between the two outputs does not 'disconnect' the unused display.
That's really it for the disappointments and my solution for the above, though not perfect, works well.
Some of the steps I took to resolve the 2D/3D issue didn't work, but that was due to my lack of understanding of how HDMI handshaking works. I didn't realize that even with the TV off it still affects the connections and so the system stayed resolutely in 2D. First I bought a 3D enabled 1x2 HDMI splitter
and connected it to the Main HDMI out. The TV and the projector were then connected to the 2 outputs. The benefit of this is that now both the TV and the PJ can display the amp's OSD.
Of course, I still had to disconnect the TV cable, by pulling it out of the splitter, to watch 3D. This was helped by the splitter having a handy reset button on it, which allows it to refresh the HDMI connections so that the Bluray only sees that a 3D capable device is connected.
To fix having to remove the cable I thought perhaps a manual HDMI switch might do the trick. And do you know what? It works! I happened to have an old manual 1 x 3 switch that I used before I got my previous Onkyo AVR (TX-SR608). It's still available here
. It doesn't handle 3D (I don't think), but that's not a problem. It only connects the TV to the splitter. Now to watch 3D all I have to do is switch to an unused port on the switch, refresh the splitter and switch on the Bluray and the PJ and it works! I just have to reverse the process to watch 2D on the TV. The PJ is happy whichever way round the connections are.
So connection wise it's: TV to manual switch -> splitter -> Main output. Everything else input and speaker wise is as you would expect.
The sound from this amp is amazing!! Especially considering the price! I have a veritable Frankenstein's monster of speakers. I built up my speakers over quite a few years, slowly replacing cheap surround speakers with much better speakers. I think they sound great and that's what counts for me. Fronts - Mission E82 floor standers, Center - Tannoy mC B/Eye, Surround - B&W Solids, Surround Back - Wharfedale Black Diamonds, Subwoofer - AE.
I really can't praise the audio from this amp enough! The tonal quality is transparent and clear, but with plenty of "welly". Everything from standard TV to multichannel audio discs (SACD, DVD Audio and Bluray Audio) sounds amazing! Far better than the TX-SR608 managed. It took a little work to get it the way I like it, but that's fine with me. I used the Audyssey setup to get a good basis for my settings. I would have to say that the Audyssey settings weren't as good as I expected, but after some tweaking the amp really came alive.
Also the volume is definitely much higher. On my old 608 I had to get to 50 or so before movies started sounding convincing. Not so loud you can't hear anything else, but loud enough to fully engage. The 515 only needs to get to 25 or maybe 30 for similar volume, but with greater clarity and oomph.
Incidentally, I also upgraded my remote from an All-For-One Touch to a Harmony 650 and although I have 6 devices (TV, PJ, screen, amp,Sky and Bluray) it is a tremendous controller. With a little bit of thought it makes controlling the equipment a doddle! I even piggy-backed the screen remote commands onto the PJ device so when I switch the PJ on or off the screen moves down or up as appropriate! Brilliant!
I know that it's, perhaps, early days with this amp, but so far this has to be one of the best buys I have ever made in the world of audio tech! I am very, very satisfied with this amp. It's a shame other people have had some poor experiences with it, but fingers crossed Onkyo may have managed to put the problems behind them.Edited by brianvic - 7/30/13 at 11:52am