Saturday, December 21, 2013

Onkyo TX-NR626 7.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver Review

There is a lot that goes into a surround sound receiver. Long gone are the days of a surround sound receiver just providing surround sound from your video source. Now they provide audio processing, video processing, and wireless connectivity, to name a few. Even entry level receivers provide additional functionality. But if you are willing to pay a bit more, you will get a lot more. Enter the Onkyo TX-NR626.

Features and Specs:

# Channels7.2
Power Watts/ch95W (8ohms 20-20kHz, 0.08%, 2 Channels Driven, FTC)
Power (8ohms 20-20kHz 0.05%) /Ch -
THX Certified-
Continuous 6ohms Rated
Certified 4ohms Performance-
All Discrete Circuitry
3-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry✓ (Front & Center Channels)
Independent Block Construction (Amp/Preprocessor)-
Toroidal Transformer-
Independent Power Supply-
Bi-amp Capability For Front-
DOLBY DecoderTrue HD, DD Plus, PLIIz
DTS DecoderDTS-HD Master Audio
Dolby PLIIz
ONKYO GAME Surround Modes
THX Processing Mode-
Audyssey DSX-
Audyssey Dynamic EQ
Audyssey Dynamic Volume
Direct/Pure Mode- / ✓
Music Optimizer✓ (Advanced)
192K/24 Bit DACs✓ (Burr-Brown)
isf Certified Calibration Control-
Audio I/O6 / 0
Phono Input
Digital Audio IN (OPT/COAX)1 / 2
Digital Audio OUT (OPT/COAX)-
Composite I/O5 / 1
Component Video I/O1 / 1
Front-Panel A/VL / R / V
Front-Panel Optical-
USB InputFront
HDMI I/O6 / 2
HDMI Support for 3D, Audio Return Channel and CEC
HDMI Support for Deep Color, x.v.Color, LipSync
HDMI Support for DVD-Audio, SACD, Multichannel PCM
PC Input (15 pin D-sub)-
Component Video Upconversion-
Analog To HDMI Upconversion✓ (from 480i/576i)
1080p Upscaling✓ (Marvell Qdeo)
4K (up to 4096 x 2160) Upscaling✓ (Marvell Qdeo)
4K Passthrough
Multi-Channel Input-
Analog Pre-OutsSubwoofer (x2)
Speaker A/+B-
Powered Zone2
Zone 2 Line Out
Zone 2 Video Out-
Zone 3 Line Out-
iPod Ready✓ (via optional DS-A5)
Airplay Ready✓ (via optional DS-A5)
HD Radio-
Supports Onkyo Remote App✓ (iPod touch/iPhone and Android-Powered Devices)
Internet Radio Capable✓ (Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, Sirius/XM, Slacker,, Aupeo!, TuneIn)
Streaming Audio From PC / Network✓ (DLNA, Home Media)
Streaming Audio From USB memory
Wireless Network✓ (Wi-Fi-Certified)
Bluetooth✓ (Built-in)
Integration Access
IR Input-
ONKYO-RI System Control
12V Trigger-
Pre-Pro/Learning Remote- / ✓
Back-Lit Remote-
On Screen Remote Programming
Bi-directional Remote Setup via GUI-
Activity Based Remote-
Color-Coded Speaker Terminals
Auto Speaker Calibration W/Mic.✓ (Audyssey MultEQ)
OSD Out✓ (Advanced "Home" GUI)
Solid Aluminum Front-
Warranty2 YEARS
Amplifier Section
Speaker Impedance
All Channels115 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.7%, 2 channels driven)
Front L/R95 W (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08%, 2 channels driven, FTC)
115 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.7% THD, 2 channels driven)
Center95 W (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08%, 2 channels driven, FTC)
115 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.7% THD, 2 channels driven)
Surround L/R95 W (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08%, 2 channels driven, FTC)
115 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.7% THD, 2 channels driven)
Surround Back L/R95 W (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08%, 2 channels driven, FTC)
115 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.7% THD, 2 channels driven)
Video Section
Component Video Frequency Response
Video1 Vp-p/75 ohms (Component)
0.7 Vp-p/75 ohms (Component PB/CB, PR/CR)
1 Vp-p/75 ohms (Composite)
Tuner Section
FM/AM Preset Memory
FM87.5 MHz–107.9 MHz
AM530 kHz–1,710 kHz
Dimensions (W x H x D)
Weight21.6 lbs (9.8 kg)

The receiver came well protected in a standard box with pictures of the receiver, with it's features and specs on the box. Opening the box revealed a well protected receiver, surrounded in Styrofoam. Also included was the remote, owners manual on CD, batteries, and mic. The materials used in the construction was mostly metal. The quality of construction was good, as was it's fit and finish. The Onkyo TX-NR626 was put together well, and also had a good weight to it.

Reading the manual, this Onkyo TX-NR626 is far from entry level, and is loaded with features. Let's start with the more standard receiver features: 7.2 channels for dual sub outs, 95 watts per channel, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, 192K/24bit DACs, 6 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs. Then there are the more advanced features like built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, 3D ready, 4K pass through and 4K scaling, zone 2 line out, powered zone 2, Audyssey multEQ, Dynamic EQ and Volume, and MHL. Then there is the remote application for iPhone and Android. AS stated, the Onkyo TX-NR626 is pretty loaded with features.

Some of the features are common in a receiver, like the 95 watts a channel and 7 channels of amplification. Powered 2nd zone means you can devote 2 of the 7 channels to a 2nd room like a den. I did like the dual sub outs. While most don't use dual subs, using 2 can correct some room acoustics like nodes. Six HDMI inputs means you have room for plenty of components. The two HDMI outputs is also handy. You can have the main output for your big screen, and the 2nd for the front projector for when you want to go really big!

The built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are very cool features. Now you can access your online music accounts like Pandora and Spotify. You can also access content on your portable device through Bluetooth. Add MHL and now you can access the video content on your mobile device through the TX-NR626. Onkyo takes it even a step further with their remote application. By downloading and installing the app on your iPhone or Android device, you turn your device into a remote control for the receiver.

The Onkyo TX-NR626 also has the Marvell Qdeo chip built-in. This is one powerful little chip. It is actually a video processor. Thanks to this chip, the receiver is able to do great looking upscaling up to 1080p and beyond to 4K. While 4K displays are rare, at least your receiver will be ready for the day when you have one.

The Audyssey Trio of features in Audyssey MultEQ, Dynamic EQ, and Dynamic Volume, are very useful features. MuliEq helps to correct the sound based on room acoustics, Dynamic EQ constantly adjusts the frequency response and surround levels, for true loudness correction. Dynamic Volume monitors the volume in real time, optimizing the dynamic range while maintaining the desired sound level. All of this helps to ensure the best possible sound.

Now it is time to see how it all comes together and performs. Connecting and setting up the receiver was very simple. I loved the updated GUI, which made set up a cinch. And of course with the included wireless mic, setting up the tuning and crossovers was just as easy. It was just a matter of plugging in the mic and running the program with the test tones. The receiver did all the work. While the results were not dead on, they were actually pretty close...close enough for all but the most demanding listeners.

Listening to the tuner was ok. Living in a rural area, there aren't a lot of stations that come in well. There are only two stations that came in solid. That's the same performance I get out of my cell phone. I would have expected better tuner response.

I really liked the extra features on the TX-NR626. It's built-in Wi-Fi worked great for internet radio. Pandora and Rhapsody are there.  To access Spotify it will need to be a premium account. Bluetooth worked good as well, as I was able to pair with my cell phone and listen to my content stored there. Connecting an MP3 player through the USB connector was also easy. Navigation was simple, and it sounded great.

HDMI switching worked great. I loved having all of the inputs. Having a cable box, blu-ray, PS3, Xbox, and Wii, I still had room left over. Switching between sources worked well without any glitches.

Video also looked excellent on my flat screen.  Blu-ray looked the way blu-ray should. Colors were well saturated with good resolution and contrast. The Qdeo processor seemed to do a great job. DVD doesn't magically upscale to the same quality as native blu-ray, but DVDs did look good. Blu-rays were beautiful. I only wish I had a 4K display on hand to test that upscaling. But at least you know you are covered when you do eventually take that plunge.

The audio side of things also come out well. Dolby True HD and DTS-HD master Audio came through with all of their aural bliss. To be honest, I was not expecting a lot from the amplifier section. Not that it is bad, just not as good as I am used to with their upper tier series. When it comes to amplifiers, I like to use the horsepower and torque analogy. Horsepower doesn't do everything. Torque does matter. And watts per channel, like horsepower, isn't the whole story. While the TX-NR626 doesn't have the same headroom as their upper tier series, I was still impressed. The TX-NR626 provided plenty of power, even for high volume listening. Movies were dynamic with plenty of resolution. Imaging was very good, and the soundstage was sufficiently large. Music had the same level of performance. The level of transparency at it's price point was quite good. Styx Renegade had nice vocals with very good texture and timbre. Resolution was also very good. Vocals were also pleasantly smooth. Percussion was crisp and clean, with good punch in the drums. Rusted Roof: Send Me On My Way had similar performance. The acoustic guitar was crisp with nice resolution. The Flute was really clean with good air. Percussion was really clean. The vocals sounded really natural, smooth with good texture, and threw a nice big sound stage, and good dynamics. The drums had nice midbass extension. There were multiple DSP Modes as well, although I am more of a purist and don't usually use them. But they did work and were fun.

The Onkyo TX-NR626 is an amazing receiver at it's price point. It is a mid level receiver for Onkyo. It features so much more than Onkyo's entry level models, and yet doesn't have near the build quality or have the robust amplifier section of their upper tier. Yet at the $599 MSRP price point it can't be touched. In bang for the buck, Onkyo delivers a TKO! Onkyo hit it out of the park! The Onkyo TX-NR626 is worth every penny, and then some. This fun receiver performed very well, and even got me singing along to the music. After all, isn't that kind of experience that it's all about? Based on it's design, features, quality, and performance, the Onkyo TX-NR626 has earned our Highly Recommended Award. Kudos to Onkyo on this engineering achievement. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at