Onkyo has announced two state-of-the-art network A/V receivers, the 5.2-channel TX-NR535 and 7.2-channel TX-NR636. Both feature HDMI specified for 4K/60 Hz video, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and universal support for gapless hi-res network audio. Onkyo is one of the first CE manufacturers to implement 4K/60 Hz capability in an A/V receiver, paving the way for Ultra HD video playback at a liquid-smooth 60 frames per second. This is great news for PC gamers who can now add wall-shaking surround sound to their 4K/60 Hz experience. Consumers who don’t have an Ultra HD TV, meanwhile, can be confident their A/V receiver is ready for future home theater upgrades.
The TX-NR636 is also the first A/V receiver to support HDCP 2.2. This latest DRM copy-protection standard will be adopted for future premium 4K studio releases, 4K streaming via internet service providers, as well as for UHD terrestrial and satellite broadcasts. This content will be unplayable (or converted to standard definition) when passed through non-HDCP 2.2-compliant A/V receivers. Compatibility is therefore essential to users who plan to enjoy premium content in the future.
Both the TX-NR535 and TX-NR636 are based on custom high-current architecture. High current is crucial for managing impedance fluctuations and sudden dynamic gains, and to ensure that power is instantaneously available at all times. A massive customized transformer, extra-large capacitors, and discrete low-distortion amplifiers are used, while the TX-NR636 adds Onkyo’s premier Three-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry on the front and center channels. Both receivers have been meticulously tuned to deliver clear, full-bodied sound with a revealing midrange and fast, punchy bass. Both are equally adept at steering DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD soundtracks through multiple channels or filling rooms with musical and engaging two-channel sound.
Onkyo continues to wholeheartedly embrace high-resolution music. The free Onkyo remote app for iOS and Android devices easily locates and streams network-attached hi-res tracks via DLNA. Both receivers feature gapless playback of almost any high-resolution file format. Music stored on smartphone and tablet can be streamed via remote app and Wi-Fi to the home theater, while users can browse and stream millions of available tracks on Spotify, Deezer, AUPEO!, and TuneIn from within the app.
Everything from initial setup to everyday operation has been made simple and stress-free. Both models include Onkyo’s proprietary AccuEQ room calibration system to optimize the surround sound to suit individual room acoustics and speaker setups. On-screen menus are overlaid via HDMI and adjustments can be made without interruption to the program. All major control functions are also available via the remote streaming app.
The TX-NR636 boasts six rear HDMI inputs and one front HDMI, along with two HDMI outputs. It has an MM phono stage for turntable connection, and dedicated Powered Zone 2 terminals for multi-room audio. The receiver includes Dolby Pro Logic IIz 7.1-channel upmixing, and converts low-resolution video (from legacy consoles or DVDs, for example) to 1080p/4K using industry-leading Qdeo upscaling technology. The TX-NR535, meanwhile, has six rear HDMI inputs and one output, and can pass 4K/60 Hz content through to a compatible display. Both feature a USB input supporting most lossless audio formats stored on flash memory devices.
Onkyo has raised the bar yet again by marrying next-generation technology with genuine high-fidelity audio performance, and by keeping its products affordable enough for average people. These two A/V network receivers offer supreme value, performance, and usability at the entry level. The TX-NR535 will be available later this month with a suggested retail price of $499 while the TX-NR636 will be available in next month with a suggested retail of $699.