Onkyo TX-NR626 AV Receiver Reviewed
By: Sean Killebrew,
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If you're unfamiliar with Onkyo, then you might need to get out more. While the company manufactures everything from Blu-ray players to amplifiers, it's best known for its feature-packed AV receivers. I've owned more Onkyo products than I care to mention, but this is actually my first review of one. Earlier this year, Onkyo announced its new receiver line, which consists of the TX-NR929 ($1,399), the TX-NR828 ($1,099), the TX-NR727 ($899), the TX-NR626 ($599), and the TX-NR525 ($499). As always with Onkyo receivers, they're bleeding-edge in terms of their feature set.
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The subject of this review, the 7.2-channel TX-NR626, falls right in the middle of the new line and is rated at 95 watts per each of its seven channels. If you happen to have your music files stored on, say, a NAS drive, that's not a problem with the Onkyo. If you happen to have all or most of your music stored on your smartphone or tablet, that's not a problem, either. It doesn't matter if you're an Apple person or a PC/Droid person, the Onkyo will allow seamless playback of your audio files (even hi-res files) with remarkable ease. Some of the highlights in terms of feature set include full networking capability courtesy of built in Wi-Fi, built-in Bluetooth, six HDMI inputs (four of which support 4K pass-through, while all six support 4K upscaling using Marvell's Qdeo chip), two HDMI outputs, and an ARC, or Audio Return Channel, for those with networking televisions. Even those who own turntables are covered with a phono input, which is somewhat rare at this lower price point. The list of features is truly exhaustive and can be further researched on Onyko's product page. Suffice to say, you'll be hard-pressed to find something missing from this list.
Onkyo has always packaged its receivers intuitively and solidly, and that's certainly the case with the 626. In this instance, the company even went so far as to include stick-on bands to identify which speaker wire is which; this is especially helpful if you're running a seven-channel system. Once I got the receiver out of the box, I set about connecting it to my reference system, which consists of the Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player, a pair of Focal 836W speakers as my mains, complimented by Episode in-wall speakers for my center and surrounds, the SVS SB-13 Ultra subwoofer, the Cambridge Audio DacMagic, a Music Hall MMF-2.2 turntable, a MacBook Pro, and both Amarra (iTunes) and Decibel (high-res files) playback software. All of my cabling comes courtesy of the good people at WireWorld. It's worth noting that, thanks to the Onkyo's expansive feature set, I also used my iPad and iPhone to test both Bluetooth audio playback and the dedicated Onkyo control app. The app has earned some poor reviews in the app store, although I imagine that's mostly due to user error rather than poor coding on Onkyo's behalf, as I thought it worked like a charm.
Next, I began the incredibly simple and newbie-friendly process of auto calibration, which comes courtesy of Audyssey MultEQ. Not only was I impressed with the ease of auto setup, but I also felt that the overall layout and design of the OSD (onscreen display) was stellar. There's not much more to say about configuring the Onkyo, as it was just so damn simple and straightforward. The only minor hiccup was the fact that the Audyssey software had the bass volume too high; even after running the setup a couple of times, I still had to manually dial the subwoofer back a bit.
Read about the performance of the Onkyo TX-NR626 receiver on Page 2.