Now in its 70th year of operation, Onkyo has officially unveiled details about four new AV receivers due to be released during April and May 2016. Ranging in price from budget to solid mid-range levels, Onkyo’s new receiver lineup looks to offer excellent price-to-performance qualities.
Three of the new receivers (TX-NR757, TX-NR656 and TX-NR555) bring both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X (firmware update required) to the table, in addition to full 4K UHD video compatibility (4K, 60 Hz, 4:4:4 color space) and HDCP 2.2 security support. That means the receivers are capable of passing-through High Dynamic Range UHD material in addition to security encrypted UHD media from streaming services. They also feature a new level of Onkyo’s proprietary AccuEQ calibration suite called AccuReflex; Onkyo originally developed AccuEQ in order to move away from its former relationship with Auddysey. Basic AccuEQ sets channel levels, distance, and crossover for system speakers, while also applying equalization to front left and right channels. AccuReflex is an immersive sound inclusion that aligns the phase of up-firing Atmos speaker modules with sound coming directly from other speakers. Onkyo’s media literature only references correction applied to Atmos module speakers (not down-firing ceiling speakers), which is noteworthy.
Aside from the NR757, NR656, and NR555 carrying current immersive sound and UHD video technologies, Onkyo has included music playback capabilities with AirPlay, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, Google Cast, and Tidal. They also carry a new multi-room audio option called FireConnect. Developed in concert with Blackfire Research, FireConnect allows the receivers to send wireless audio signals to optional Onkyo compatible speakers due to be released later this year. We’ve seen this kind of technology offered by other manufacturers and it's a big convenience value-add to buyers looking for easy to use wireless systems. Initially the receivers will only ship FireConnect enabled and will require a firmware update to be fully functional.
Here are some specifics about each of the new models:
Priced at $799, the THX-Certified NR757 weighs-in at 22-pounds and offers 110 Watts of power per channel (8 Ohms, 2 Channels). It carries 7.2 channel capability (meaning 5.2.2 Atmos is its onboard Atmos configuration ceiling) with connectivity options ranging from eight HDMI and analog inputs, phono, two optical ports, composite video, and rear USB. An AKM 384 kHz/32-bit D/A converter controls hi-Res functionality. Its internal guts feature Onkyo’s Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry (VLSC), which filters pulse noise generated in digital-to-analog conversion.
The backside of the NR757.
TX-NR656 and TX-NR555
The 7.2 channel TX-NR656 ($699) and TX-NR555 ($599) offer 100 and 80 Watts per channel performance (8 Ohm, 2 Channels), respectively. The NR656 offers similar connectivity options to the NR757, while the NR555 has two fewer HDMI and analog inputs. It appears they carry the same DAC and VLSC circuitry as the NR757, making the biggest differences across all three models to be in the amplification sections.
The SR353 is Onkyo’s new affordable option ($399). It carries 5.1 channel capability with 80 Watts per channel performance (8 Ohms, 2 Channels). While Onkyo has included full support for 4K video (HDMI 2.0a, 60 Hz, HDR, 4:4:4 color space, and HDCP 2.2), immersive audio is removed on this model and replaced with support for legacy codecs. The SR353 has four HDMI, three analog, one USB, one optical, and two composite video inputs; buyers will be glad to see inclusion of Bluetooth audio streaming and a step-down DAC (192K/24 Bit). AccuEQ (sans AccuReflex) is also onboard.
The backside of the SR-353.
The TX-NR656, TX-NR555, TX-SR353 are due to begin shipping mid-April while the pricier TX-NR757 should be available in May.
Image Credits: Onkyo