Home Theater Review

 

Onkyo TX-NR708 7.2 3D Ready Network A/V Receiver Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
5 Stars
Value
4 Stars
Overall
4.5 Stars

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Overall, I found the TX-NR708 to be far more adept at playing back movies, especially uncompressed audio formats such as DTS-HD Master Audio, than traditional two-channel fare, which isn't at all surprising considering it's a home theater receiver. While I don't generally use an AV receiver's internal video processing for anything other than upscaling, it's nice to know the TX-NR708's can offer a hand in helping get the most out of your HD image without harming it in any way.

Comparisons and Competition
No product exists in a vacuum and the TX-NR708 is no exception for there is more than ample competition, some of which is coming from its own stable mates. The Onkyo TX-SR608 offers much of the same features as the TX-NR708, including HDMI 1.4a support, yet costs $300 less. The TX-NR708 has preamp outputs and a bit more power making it better suited for larger home theaters and/or pulling double duty as an AV preamp down the road. Additionally, the TX-NR708 features network functions such as access to Pandora or other streaming sources. Nevertheless if these aren't important features for you, then you might consider buying the TX-SR608 over the TX-NR708 in order to save some money.

In the TX-NR708's price range there's also stiff competition from the likes of SonyYamaha, Denon, and Marantz, all offering 3D-capable receivers with similar, if not identical, features as the Onkyo.

For more information and help deciding which AV receiver is right for you and your budget, please visit Home Theater Review's AV receiver page.

The Downside
The TX-NR708 manages to pack an awful lot of performance into a fairly affordable package; however it's not perfect. For starters I found the Audyssey EQ to be a bit aggressive in its implementation, altering the sound and making the TX-NR708 sound a touch lean and forward with excitable bass, especially with regard to its two-channel playback. On the flip side, disengaging the Audyssey or switching the TX-NR708's "Pure Audio" feature to "on" resulted in a more laid back and soft spoken performance that required increased volume levels in order to bring it back to life. While the TX-NR708 does allow you to manually tune the TX-NR708's sound to your liking, I doubt many enthusiasts shopping for a sub $1,000 receiver will bother and/or know how. I must stress that even though I found some faults with the TX-NR708's sonic performance, that is by no means a deal breaker, for at its asking price the TX-NR708 sounds comparable and in some instances better than a lot of the competition. Also, keep in mind that when it comes to its home theater or multi-channel performance, the TX-NR708 performed much, much better, especially when playing back uncompressed audio formats such as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD.

The TX-NR708's binding posts are solid and aplenty, however the thick plastic surround around each of the posts makes connecting anything other than banana terminated or bare speaker wire impossible. This is not a problem exclusive to the TX-NR708, for many affordable receivers suffer from similar ailments.

While I liked the remote, especially the "home" button feature, I would've liked to see more backlighting. Yes, technically the TX-NR708's remote does have backlighting, however it's only activated once you've pressed the button as if to ask you "Was this the command you wanted?"

Lastly, the TX-NR708 does run warm, something I've noticed in a lot of Onkyo and Integra products. So be sure to allow for ventilation.

Conclusion
For just under $900 retail the Onkyo TX-NR708 does a lot of things right, including being at the bleeding edge of today's latest 3D and surround sound trends, which is very impressive, all things considered. While there are aspects of the TX-NR708's sound that didn't quite jive with me, its sound quality is on par with many of the receivers in its class and even better than some costing a little more. The TX-NR708 offers more connectivity and features than its sibling, the TX-SR608, for not that much more money. The TX-NR708 even manages to be slightly future-proof in that you can add additional amplifiers down the road, effectively turning the TX-NR708 into an AV preamp versus a simple receiver. If you're in the market for a well laid out, well equipped, Internet capable home theater receiver that can take full advantage of the latest 3D and uncompressed audio formats, then look no further than the TX-NR708 from Onkyo.

Additional Resources
• Read more AV Receiver Reviews from brands like Onlyo, Sony, SonyES, Integra, Sherwood, Sherwood Newcastle, Yamaha and more.

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