Onkyo TX-NR709 AV-receiver

Onkyo's TX-NR709 ups the audiophile ante of the much-loved TX-NR609, and has a back panel busier than Oxford Street. In come binding posts for all speaker terminals, biamping ability, 7.1 phono inputs and 7.2 pre-outs, which is strictly speaking 7.(1 x 2). You can hook up a grand total of 11 loudspeakers, together with the possibility to appreciate 7.1 audio at any one time through the usual 5.1 configuration, plus either encompass back, front high or front wide expansion.

There is likewise a dedicated phono input an additional coaxial input signal and an extra pair of 3D-ready HDMI sockets, including an additional output signal, which enables the simultaneous connection of two screens.

Sadly absent from this connectivity convention are built-in wi fi and support for Apple's AirPlay. The latter is popping up on receivers throughout the area, so the TX-NR709 appears somewhat old fashioned here.

Onkyo's amps have the catwalk appearances that gave them a distinctive edge in the style stakes, but the TX-NR709 is not unpleasant enough in appearance albeit with minimalistic black buttons and controls which are impossible to distinguish in low light. What is pleasant is the simple luminescence of the volume knob and also the clarity -character dual-line display.

Setting up the AVR is done by hooking up a screen plugging in the provided Audyssey mic and using HDMI. You then pick either Quick Start for a one listening position calibration or MultEQ XT, which calculates all of the parameters that are regular and uses eight positions but takes 20 minutes rather than two. Using MultEQ XT resulted in my listening room, perhaps caused by ambient noise or interference in badly askew spaces for a number of speakers. The QuickStart option, was bang on.

Manual adjustments are easy to make thanks to awesome menus as well as a practical remote control. Seasoned enthusiasts will whizz round the machine at leisure, while novices to the home cinema scene should find setting up trying than installing TV display or a Blu-ray deck.

The only thing that feels a touch antedeluvian is the online radio experience. Vtuner, for instance, provides access to a remarkably diverse selection of worldwide online radio stations, but drilling down into its complicated folder structure is boring.

The TX-NR709 is a midrange version, but its operation is comparable to a higher- strength, balancing excitement and end one with fine control. With Master and Commander's Dolby Digital transmission on Sky HD, the distinctive clearness of a violin playing as the ship ploughs along is exquisite, while waves crashing on deck have you reaching for your waterproofs.

On Wall-E's DTS-HD MA soundtrack, clanging and the clanking during the miniature robot's courting resonates masterfully. The nuances of the robots' voices as they say their names is frequently lost with amps which are less able of subtlety.

While the TX-NR709 can pick out the finest detail, it lacks some heat, especially with music and vocals. Nonetheless, the unbelievable clarity of Hilary Hahn's SACD of Vaughn-William's The Lark Ascending has all the sublime emotion that a amplifier that is warmer may also deliver.

In summary, that is a feature- packaged AVR will delight home cinema enthusiasts using operation and its cost. And that's starting to sound like the catchphrase of Onkyo.

Onkyo TX-NR709 AV-receiver photo