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Style Name: New Receiver|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As luck would have it, my basis for comparison is the similarly priced Yamaha RX-A830 7.2-Channel Network AVENTAGE Home Theater Receiver, perhaps one of my favorite receivers built. For reference, I tested both receivers using the same speakers in the same room with the same audio sources.

Out of the box, the Onkyo is a heavy monster, weighing in nearly ten pounds higher than the Yamaha. While an old rule of thumb seemed to dictate that the heavier a receiver was, the better the components were, Yamaha seems to suggest that their hybrid power supply makes for a lighter receiver. Whether or not one's inherently better than the other, I couldn't really say. I do know this, though: the Yamaha puts out much less heat. With the Onkyo being considerably larger (as well as heavier), this made airflow a concern for me.

Port-for-port, jack-for-jack, the two are really close. The Onkyo has an extra coax audio input, but that's about the only difference. Both have a decent GUI that lets you do port renaming and matching, both have mobile apps to use on your phone or tablet... it's until you really start scratching that you see the differences. And to me, here's what the key ones are:

Network audio: Both have basically the same services. Actually getting to the services is much, MUCH more intuitive on the Onkyo, where the Yamaha receiver buries them and makes it hard to switch from one service to another.

Wireless audio: The Yamaha is Airplay compliant, which means that it takes virtually no effort to play music from your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Mac, as long as everything is connected to your home network. On the other hand, the Onkyo can use Bluetooth devices, and doesn't need to be networked to do so. While Bluetooth isn't quite as easy to setup, and has range limitations that AirPlay doesn't, it does open you up to devices not made by Apple.

Visual presence: The Onkyo looks more "serious", the Yamaha looks more beautiful. In the GUI, the opposite is true. The Onkyo looks much more refined than the Yamaha.

Audio quality: I really wrestled with this one, tried all sorts of different sources and audio fields, and I'm begrudgingly saying that I preferred the Yamaha's sound. Getting the Onkyo to create boisterous "Best Buy Demo" sound is easy. Getting it livable is another matter. It seemed I could never strike the perfect balanced sound with the Onkyo, despite lots of trial and error. On the other hand, the Yamaha produced outstanding warm sound that was generally easier to manipulate. I also felt that in Dolby Digital decoding in particular, the Yamaha receiver was more accurate.

I know some people have expressed quality concerns about Onkyo, and to be honest, I've experienced them myself on an older system. (In fairness, I had a Harmon / Kardon that also had its fair share of visits to the repair shop) I can't say that in and of itself is a determining factor, but line by line, if you're comparing this to the Yamaha RX-A830 (and you should), you'll find that the largest differences are 0.01% improved THD and 30 watts/channel in favor of the Onkyo. If those are dealbreakers, this is the receiver for you. If not, I'd give the Yamaha some serious consideration.
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on July 25, 2013
I am a former owner of a TX-NR818. I have received this newer model, TX-NR828, in replacement of my old unit which could not be fixed. When it worked, it worked great I have to say (you can check my review).
This did not turn out to be good thing because, based on specifications, the 828 model is an obvious downgrade of the 818 (in general it appears to be the case of the whole 2013 line of receivers when compared to their 2012 predecessors).
This is a legitimate marketing choice of Onkyo: reduce features, specifications and price at the same time, but I am not sure it will pay off for them. For the prospective buyer who was thinking to purchase the 818 and can no longer find it anywhere, I would overlook this 828 and stretch the budget for a 929 (when released).

I resisted the temptation of leaving it untouched inside the box and gave it a fair try. I am now on day 5.
Sadly, all I was forecasting turned out to be true. The sound quality does not really hold a candle to the TX-NR818 and I hope you will trust my words. Bedsides the Audyssey equalization, now downgraded 2 steps backwards from MultiEQ XT32 to MultiEQ (nearly entry level), I suspect that something has changed for the worse also in the amplifier section. The reduction in weight is likely because they adopted a digital power supply (like Harman Kardon did for the x700 line of receivers) and that may not be the culprit. I believe something has changed in the actual power delivered by this receiver. I used to listen my reference Blue Ray (Avatar) at just 35% of the volume with the TX-NR818, while here I had to go above 50% (I settled for 54% but having no precise instruments available, I cannot guarantee the very same sound pressure of the 818 at 35% was given: just a rough measure of power stating clearly that this unit is much less powerful than the previous one). The sound is also drier and colder than the 818: this might be because of the low-end vs high-end Audyssey equalization. I really disliked what I heard during music listening (32-bit FLAC). It reminds me the sound I got from the Pioneer SC-1222K right after running full MCACC: the problem here is that with Audyssey you cannot fine-tune anything, while MCACC allows you to perform all the tweaking you want from the results obtained after full calibration. So the Pioneer can be brought to a more acceptable, less "clinical" type of sound, while the Onkyo 828 stays there, unless you go into pure direct mode, which anyways I never liked in any Onkyo or Denon receiver (for some reasons, all Audyssey-equipped receiver end up sounding really brittle and lifeless when Audyssey is disabled; Harman Kardon receivers do not show this tendency when you disable EzSetup).
If you just watch TV and movies the difference in sound vs. the TX-NR818 may be less noticeable (you would still notice the power drop, though), but in music mode it is, well..., crude.
GIU remained the same: not nearly as good as Harman Kardon and Denon have to offer, however acceptable, way better than Pioneer.
Functionality of my unit appears to be fine, at least for now.
Some welcome addition are to be found in the Internet radio section, now equipped with a wider choice. Tune-in radio works well and sounds better to my ears than V-tuner. I am not a member of Spotify so I could not test this (already present before).

All in all, this receiver turned out to be exactly what I expected by reading its specifications: an obvious downgrade to its predecessor, the TX-NR818.

UPDATE 20-AUG-2013
I have sold that unit and now have acquired a TX-NR929. Ok, this one performs exactly like the 818 and has a few extras which I do not use (WiFi and Bluetooth). Further good news is that I could not find any bug in this first week of ownership. Indeed if you cannot find any more a brand new 818 this would be the way to go, albeit for considerable more $$$. Even if you can, you will want to keep in mind that all the 2013 models use a new HDMI board which hopefully resolves the well-identified major risk factor of the 2012 models.
The major difference in sound is not just in the better integrated bass ensured by Audyssey XT32, but also less fatiguing treble, overall more detailed and balanced sound which does justice also to music listening, while the 828 appears to be geared toward movies (should I say "action" movies?) instead. And more reserve of volume too.

And, having said that, in terms of musicality also this one is no match for the Harman Kardon AVR-3700 which is the only AVR I will be keeping.
1515 comments| 96 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 24, 2013
I received my NR 828 at noon today on Christmas eve expecting to spend hours with the manual & set up after reading some of the reviews but within 2 hours I had everything up and running and was down to fine tuning my settings for different inputs. My inputs include:
1) Network wireless - took it 2 tries but that's it
2) A couple of Bluetooth devices including phone & MP3 player
3) Blue Ray
4) Xbox 360S
5) HD Cable Box DVR
6) Toshiba DVD Recorder Player
7) Two computers with Creative Z and X Fi digital audio output with HDMI
all output to a 60 inch Sony and a 40 inch Samsung - pre-amped out to L R Center LR Surround and LR Back speakers with a powered subwoofer and Aura Bass Shakers in my couch.

Everything works great and sounds fine. I've been in loudspeaker manufacturing and Pro Audio for all my working life as owner of a sound reinforcement company and subwoofer manufacturer and wanted something to replace my Onkyo DTR 7.2 with all the new Bluetooth and Networking capacity this box offers.

My only problem is the need to multi-task at times - playing WSOP on xbox while watching a basketball game so I have to figure out how I'm going to do that - seems pretty simple with all the additional inputs on my screens.
But don't be dismayed or put off by reviewers who claim to have serious set up problems. Yes the setup is complex by virtue of all of the various arrangements that can be achieved - but once you get how the menus work with the remote it's not that difficult to get whatever you want - and the alternative would simply limit the choices.

I am extremely happy with this purchase - particularly with the "factory refurbished" price.
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VINE VOICEon September 16, 2013
Style Name: New Receiver|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I formerly owned a Sony Bravia home theatre in a box, one of those entry-level deals that major retailers typically have on their shelves. I received my new Onkyo TX-NR828 and decided to upgrade my speakers to a set of Polk Audio TL1 speakers and a Polk Audio powered 10 inch subwoofer to better complement this new receiver. I was a little hesitant to get this particular Onkyo model based on some of the other reviews, but I soon realized that this was a major upgrade compared to the home theatre setup I had previously owned.

The initial setup of the Onkyo TX-NR828 took about an hour to complete. You will definitely want to run the Audessey calibration wizard after getting the receiver wired up. The Audessey calibration allows you to place the microphone in up to 6 locations around the room. After calibration is completed the receiver will use the measurements to compensate for bad room acoustics and set timings based on speaker distances relative to the viewers preferred seating locations. I was very impressed with the accuracy of the measurements and how much better the calibration made the overall experience sound.

The Onkyo TX-NR828 is packed with settings to fine tune your experience. Expect to spend about a week learning what all the settings do. It's easy to think of this receiver as primarily an audio device since it plays a central role in your surround sound experience however, the video processing capabilities of this unit are equally impressive.

The user interface is easy to understand and the included remote control is comfortable in my hand. The only issue with the remote is that there is no back-lighting for the buttons, so trying to locate certain buttons in a dimly lit room can be a challenge.

The streaming features of this unit allow you to listen to most of the major streaming services like Pandora and Slacker radio online. The streaming interface was easy to understand and worked well. I haven't tried linking my cell phone to the receiver wirelessly to stream media on demand yet.

This receiver is definitely an upper-middle class model in regards to its features, sound quality, and pricing. I can't compare this unit to other Onkyo receivers since this is the first Onkyo I have owned. I will say that so far this receiver has been a pleasure to own and its features and sound are well worth the price if you are looking for an upgrade for your tired old entry-level home theatre.
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on November 20, 2014
I was skeptical since several reviews were not so great and conflicted with reviews that were good - but after checking features and price points, the TX-NR828 is what I went for. This replaced a 15 year old Pioneer VSX series which I wanted to keep forever it was so good, but increasing center channel failure forced me to reluctantly replace it.
The Onkyo set-up and performance is flawless. I've pretty much maxed out its potential with BD, Satellite, Streaming music apps, turntable, reel to reel tape, ... using both digital and analog connectivity as needed.
Due to my multiple connections and being picky on the customized settings, set-up took a total of 3 hours (including programming remotes, using speaker optimization process, etc), but was very straight forward and easy as long as you follow the instructions methodically.
I saw some reviews that complained about longevity of these, so I'll leave 4 stars and up it to 5 stars if it keeps working as perfectly as it has been the past two weeks.
Now this is the one I want to keep forever and never have to replace.

--------------
I'm revising my 4 stars to 5 stars now after a few weeks of use. It is great!!!
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on April 10, 2015
Was excited at first because I kept hearing good things BUT I'm now thinking I should have kept with a THX Pioneer receiver. Apparently the first issue I came across was the problem with the remote not working, yep, apparently it happens to most people but luckily there is a wifi app to control it but it would be nice to not have to use my phone to adjust the volume or to have to unplug everything to have it serviced. (I've heard it's not only a common problem but for some people it comes back after being fixed; this is the first items I've had with this remote problem.) Now, I don't only have a GAME1 and GAME2 console so it would be nice to rename the inputs. Does anyone know how to rename them so I don't have to use a cheat sheet to figure out if I've selected the correct input ...luckily I've plugged the TV tuner into the TV input. But I'm using all the inputs with a PS, XBOX, and Wii (with my Pioneer I could label them exactly that way). Oh and if you have a bad speaker like I did then you have to disable/remove it for it to continue through it's calibration and start all over again (ok so it was bad and needed to be removed). But all in all with the difference between this receiver and my old one with all the same speakers and equipment I can tell this isn't a step up. Oh and I don't think it upconverts my Wii component video to HDMI to 720 to 1080 because my monitor which isn't 480i/p compatibly wouldn't display it so I had to buy an adapter to plug the HDMI into the Wii which was about $25. ...but all in all I just don't get that quality acoustic impact I once had. Will have to see about getting the remote board fixed and see if they find something else wrong which might make it sound better.
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on January 20, 2016
I bought this unit almost 1 1/2 years ago, when it at a great price and had the features I liked and wanted. The WiFi and BlueTooth are awesome additions, and the power, clarity, and loads of HDMI's make this a great buy.

Recently, however, I ran into a huge problem. Being as it's getting cold, somehow I ended up with a mouse in the house that I didn't know of. I've never had this issue, so it was a surprise to me when watching a movie at a pretty high volume, suddenly, the sound stopped, Check Speaker came on the screen and two loud pops, complete with bright flashes and smoke.

Apparently, Sr. Mouse decided to crawl behind my TV/Audio stand and chew through some wire. It was the surround left channel. Remember, it was at a high volume, so I'm assuming the protection circuit wasn't tripped fast enough and it blew the amp channel for the rear left. This is a disappointment as any unit I've had in the past was very quick to trip. I can repair the unit myself, however, a call to Onkyo repair and support resulted in me speaking with a person completely ignorant as to what a MosFet or Transistor was. He didn't have the schematics available nor did he try to locate them for me to get a part number. His only goal was to sell me a whole new board at close to $300. Not going to happen when I can fix it for the cost of parts an maybe an hour of my time.

My other complaint is their firmware "upgrades". It seems to remove options, like Spotify. Yes, Spotify is still there, however, you have to stream from another device using spotify to the TX-NR828, which is rediculous considering when Spotify was a built in option, I could simply use the remote to navigate leaving my phone of tablet out of the picture.

Other that these issues, I love this unit. It should have went into protection, but didn't, but my home theater sounds better than most up to date movie theaters so when I watch a movie, this unit does NOT disappoint.
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on May 14, 2014
I received my 828 (refurbished) yesterday. I always buy refurbished from the manufacturer if I can. They are tested more than the new ones and actually you cannot tell these from the new ones. Plus the $599 price at Amazon can't be beat for a device that originally sold for $1,000 dollars. So I am ahead,right? Yes!

I ordered speakers along with the Onkyo receiver. I decided after much reading that for the price/performance you cant beat the Sony speakers. I bought the SS series to stay within a match of sound. For the front I have the SS-F5000 floor standing. For the center channel I bought the packaged of center and small surround in the SS-CR3000. I am using the small surrounds that came with the center as surround high fronts in a 7.1 set up. For my main surround speakers I complemented the F5000 with the SS-B1000.

Having replaced a very good Samsung theater in a box, the HT-E5500W, it has a built in 3D blu ray player, I cannot say how good I feel for upgrading my whole system. Things I noticed already. I don't have to turn the volume as loud because the sound is so crisp and clear that there is no necessity for pumping the volume if I don't need to.
The vocals are so clear, loud, that I am still trying to figure out why I waited this long to jump into a system like this. The sounds for blu ray and 3D movies is more than awesome. Totally theater awesome! My blu ray player is an older model that still puts out fantastic images and sound. I feel that there was no need to replace it. It is the Samsung BD-C6800, which I also bought refurbished a few years ago and has not giving me any problems.

The Onkyo TX-NR828 has all the bells and whistles that I will need for, I think, the next ten years. It is ready for the next generation of televisions format, 4K. So when the time arrives to move there, my little beast here is already set up and waiting for those gorgeous new displays. Having built in wireless networking is also another thing I was looking for. And setting this up couldn't have been any easier.
Some of the people that have problems setting wifi in their receiver might just haven't read any of the literature that comes with the receiver. There is not much of it, but enough to get you through the initial set up phase.
The device is big and weights some 30 pounds. I have not noticed any heat built up, as some people have observed. I keep it in a type of close cabinet but without no other device on top of it. So I know it gets good ventilation. I left it on all day and night, and this morning it felt just like any other receiver I ever had.

So for just one day enjoying this receiver and the complementary speakers I am more than happy. I always like the sound of Onkyo receivers, and the 828 has not disappointed me. I am impressed with the build quality and total package. I barely have scratched the surface of all the things the 828 can do, but the little I have explored have been exceptional.
Even at the full price of $799 that I believe Amazon has the new 828's for, that is still a bargain for all the included technology in this receiver. If you buy the $599 refurbished, don't let anyone opinion make you think otherwise, you have got a fantastic deal of a receiver that will give you pleasure for many years to come. Enjoy!
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on March 15, 2015
Best receiver for price. OK..You've read them, good reviews,bad reviews. Most say OMG it's a downgrade from the 818, or it's not as good as the 838. Well let me say, that both statements could be true. However the other things to consider with this model are build quality (chassis design of their higher end models...very robust, and an increase in weight due to construction and heavy duty transformer, this receiver has an impressive and clean look. ), sound quality (discrete amp design ), TXH /4 ohm rated, functionality, and last...PRICE!!! To upgrade to the 838 or a 929 requires a serious upgrade in cost. Is it worth it?? It depends on your circumstances. I will say though that the 828 delivers awesome value for the price since it has such a warm /powerful sound. For those of us that have 4 ohm speakers the THX certification is an assurance that the amp can power them at reference level. A phono input is a huge thing if you (like me) still enjoy vinyl and don't want a separate "phono peamp" in the mix. Also visit reviews of ANY manufacturer of AV receivers...there are always those warning you "don't buy this piece of junk". I believe it's possible to get a lemon of any product. I also believe that ONKYO USA will stand behind their warranty. I know this because I used to sell ONKYO products for years and NEVER had a problem with their service dept. on any issues. Just talk to them...they are there to help. IMO there is no better value than ONKYO no matter what price range you find yourself in. This particular model though, at this price, is a true opportunity to get above average value in build, sound quality, and features that is very hard to surpass...
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on February 3, 2014
Got the refurbished 828 as that was 599 and found it to be brand new. I couldn't tell that it was refurbished in any way. Setup is so easy and the onscreen navigation is a huge help. The speaker setup was a breeze. I played Blu Ray through it and it was amazing. All setup in 1 hour - I am sure I can always keep playing with it but I got a lot for the 1 hour I invested in it. Love it - awesome receiver for the price
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