Onkyo TX-NR626

Onkyo's TX-NR626 is a value-packed A/V receiver with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even a turntable input, but it's just short of being our top pick.


8.2
CNET Rating


A/V receivers are supposed to have inputs and outputs for everything, but manufacturers have been surprisingly slow to meet modern needs, especially when it comes to wireless audio streaming. The AU$1099 Onkyo TX-NR626 is an exception, offering both built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which makes it much easier to use with increasingly ubiquitous smartphones and tablets.

Design

A/V receivers are big and boxy by nature, and Onkyo's models may be the boxiest of them all. The TX-NR626's sharp edges and large, flat front panel give it a muscular, brutish look that doesn't exactly blend into a typical living room.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

It also has a busier front panel than most, especially compared with the more modern-looking Sony STR-DN1040. It wouldn't be our first pick for aesthetics; if you want something that looks nicer, look at Marantz's NR1403 or a compact integrated amplifier.

The Marantz NR1403 has an undoubtedly finer figure.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The included remote is good, as far as A/V receiver remotes go. The white buttons make it easier to select things in a dim home theatre, and important buttons, like volume and the directional pad, are well-located. It's not as simple as the Denon AVR-E400's clicker, but it's also miles better than the inscrutable remotes included with the Pioneer VSX-823-K and Yamaha RX-V475.

There are six HDMI inputs on the back panel, including an MHL-compatible HDMI input, which is a neat feature that enables you to use a Roku Streaming Stick, among other devices. There's also quite a bit of support for legacy devices, including a dedicated phono input for turntables, which no other receiver at this price has.

The TX-NR626 is also hip to modern tech, including built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Bluetooth is especially welcome since it's the easiest way to stream music from nearly any smartphone or tablet. Wi-Fi is also nice because it allows you to take advantage of the TX-NR626's networking features without a wired Ethernet connection, including DLNA, smartphone control, firmware updates and streaming services, such as Spotify, Pandora and internet radio.

If you're looking for more detailed feature comparisons, check out our giant A/V receiver spreadsheet, which compares the TX-NR626 with other 2013 models as we review them.

The TX-NR626 features Audyssey's MultEQ automatic calibration system, which automatically adjusts the receiver's settings based on measurements it takes with the included microphone.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Sound quality

Sound-quality evaluations of A/V receivers (and other amplifiers) are controversial. Some say all A/V receivers sound the same but others disagree, and we're not likely to settle that argument any time soon.

What we can say is that A/V receiver sound quality has much, much less effect on overall sound quality than speakers or room acoustics, so you're better off spending your home theatre budget there. CNET's sound-quality evaluations are strictly subjective, with resident golden ear Steve Guttenberg comparing similarly priced models in an identical listening environment using the same speakers.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The TX-NR626's subwoofer volume was too high to proceed with our listening tests, so we manually turned it down, and the "Black Hawk Down" Blu-ray still sounded forceful. The skinny Aperion 4T towers sounded more powerful and full than we're used to, but with action movies, the added heft was a plus.

Mike Garson's "Jazz Hat" CD sounded wonderful on the TX-NR626, Garson's piano had terrific presence and weight, and the sax, bass and drums were all nicely developed. The stereo sound stage was almost 3D in its depth and spatial presentation.

Conclusion

Onkyo's TX-NR626 trumps most A/V receivers in overall value, but it can't quite top Sony's formidable STR-DN840. Still, it should definitely make your shortlist of A/V receiver picks, especially if you've still got a turntable.

Via CNET.com

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