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Customer Review

121 of 128 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Receiver Overall, but Know All Features!, May 27, 2011
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This review is from: Onkyo TX-NR509 5.1 Channel Network A/V Receiver (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Overall, this is a good receiver and I have come to be very happy with it. However, there are some very important things that a prospective buyer needs to know about it first; I didn't know these things when I bought it but fortunately I was able to work around them.

The receiver doesn't covert between video formats. This may be a standard thing with receivers, but it was unbeknownst to me when I bought it and then read about it with dismay in the manual. What this means is if you have, say, an HDMI cable in the video out source on your cable/satellite/DVD running into the receiver, and then a composite video cable going out from the receiver to your TV, you won't get any video because it won't convert between the HDMI and composite connection.

The above is very important because the receiver's on-screen display menus will ONLY work over an HDMI connection, meaning you must be running an HDMI cable out from the receiver to your TV as well as out from your video source devices. I have an older TV without HDMI and was initially unable to do this.

I was ultimately saved because my TV has a DVI input, so I bought an HDMI->DVI converter and now all is well. But be aware of these things before you buy!

The receiver's on screen menus are great and it makes it easy to configure the set up items as well as listen to Internet music sources or an iPod.

I have a Verizon iPhone 4 and I can listen to any audio source from the phone whether it's mp3 music via the phone's iPod app or streaming audio from the TuneIn radio app. You control the iPod music from the receiver, but control the TuneIn app from the phone. It also charges my phone when it's plugged in and I now use the receiver as my main charging source (the receiver has to be on of course though to charge the phone).

I've been using Pandora a lot and it works well. The on-screen menus let you pick a station, add new ones, and like/not like a song. You can do all of this from the receiver itself if the TV is off, but it's not quite as convenient as doing it on the TV screen. Entering the account information the first time through the receiver was hell; you had to type each character individually through a tedious scrolling menu (this was before I discovered my DVI input and got the on-screen menus working), but I discovered later that you can also input account information for Internet audio sources through the receiver's web interface. I would definitely recommend the latter for setting up your Web accounts.

vTuner is a nice option for Internet streaming audio too. The way I've mostly used this is I went onto the vTuner web site, I found stations I wanted to save for listening, and then I went into the receiver web interface using a computer on my local network (you just type the receiver's IP address into a web browser), and under the "my favorites" tab in the web interface you can copy and paste the URL's of the stations into a saved list of favorites that you can then play from the receiver. Not every URL I used worked (some would just fail to play for whatever reason), but I was ultimately able to find some of my favorite shows on different stations that had working URL's. You can save up to 40 favorite stations in this manner.

One thing I wish the receiver had is a screen saver for the on-screen TV interface. I have an older plasma TV that is subject to screen burns and if you leave music playing with the on-screen stuff on the TV, it will never go into a screen saver mode. For this reason I generally listen to music with the TV off.

I've played with the iPhone app for controlling the receiver some too. It was easy to set up. It offers more limited functionality compared to the receiver's actual remote but is a nice option for controlling from another room. When playing Pandora, it will show the artist/track information from within the app too which is cool.

I hope this information helps prospective buyers!
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 9, 2011 9:56:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2011 9:57:46 AM PDT
phil says:
Hey Ian. Can you get song track data to display from any of your intenet radio stations (song title/artist, etc. - the meta data)? I can't seem to make it work, even if I add the station URL to a pre-set. Thanks in advance.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2011 9:59:29 AM PDT
I. Smith says:
I don't believe it displays the song track for the "my favorite" stations via vTuner; mine will just show the station name when it's playing, but admittedly, it's not something I've researched either.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2011 10:16:30 AM PDT
phil says:
Thx. I inputted the station URL outside of vTuner but still no go. Serious drawback for me, receiver will be going back without a resolution cause a big advantage of digital radio is the visual track identification.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2011 10:47:51 AM PDT
I. Smith says:
You do get that with Slacker and Pandora, FWIW and that has always worked very well for me on my receiver.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2011 7:07:44 PM PDT
phil says:
Yes and I don't understand technically why Pandora works but internet radio stations don't. That's frustrating because to me there is a difference between Pandora-style radio, with its user-defined and/or computer-generated playlists, and a station like Radio Paradise, where a real DJ is programming content. I'm reluctant to keep the receiver without the track display feature for 1000s of internet radio stations (those that broadcast track metadata). I'll have to keep looking for another iteration of network-enabled receivers. Thanks for your comments!

Posted on Jun 12, 2011 11:37:45 AM PDT
J. Mikkelson says:
Hi Ian, thanks for the thorough review. The video conversion issue is surprising since we have a 3- or 4-year old Sony that converts everything up to the component outputs, but that doesn't include HDMI inputs, so maybe digital to analog is a bridge too far in that game! I have a question on the Pandora interface via iPhone that I can't find an answer for on either iTunes app info or LG's site -- you said that track/artist info shows, but can you also thumbs up/down and/or skip via the iPhone like you can with the actual Pandora app for iPhone? We plan on using this receiver to supply music to multiple zones in our home and would like to be able to run Pandora from another room (via iPod Touch/iPhone app) without having to walk into the theater room to skip a song we don't care for. Thanks for being such an involved participant in discussions!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2011 12:42:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2011 12:53:42 PM PDT
I. Smith says:
If I understand your question correctly, yes, you can skip and thumb up/down on Pandora via the receiver and it updates your online profile with your preferences. I don't have the Pandora app on my iPhone so I can't speak to how it would run connected via USB to the receiver (it sounds like this is what you were thinking of doing; again, my apologies if I misunderstood). My guess is that it would work fine, but you'd have to do all of the controls from the iPhone and not the receiver just like you do when running an app like TuneIn via USB through the receiver. Also, bear in mind the phone would have to be right there with the receiver since it's connected with the USB cable. I have to say that if you were to connect an iPhone to the receiver and run Pandora this would be a bit of a waste since the receiver does it very well natively.

If you want to be able to control the receiver from other rooms, I'd suggest downloading the Onkyo receiver app to your iPhone. It lets you do the basic controls on the receiver from your phone as long as both the phone and receiver are attached to the same network, and it's really easy to set up. I can sit in my office when music is playing out in the living room (via Pandora or any other source) and control the receiver (adjust volume, skip songs on Pandora, change to another input source) all from the phone without having to walk back into the living room and touch the receiver directly. The Onkyo app will show the artist/track/album info on Pandora and let you skip songs, but there's no way to thumb up/down songs from this app. Also, I noticed that there is sometimes a delay in it picking up the song's track info; when I first opened it and music was already playing, no info showed, but then I skipped to the next song and it began showing all of that information.

Update: I added an image to the user images gallery for this product that shows a screenshot of the Onkyo iPhone app running Pandora that I thought might be helpful.

I hope that helps!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2011 5:39:54 PM PDT
J. Mikkelson says:

So, the second part of your response is exactly what I was looking to know - thanks! And also thanks for the image posted; it's interesting that they did not enable the thumbs up/down for Pandora, since that is what is supposed to fine-tune their "music genome" so I guess you just have to hope they mostly send what you like on that channel so you don't max out your "skip" allocation! Again, thanks and looking forward to getting this once we fit in into the budget!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2011 1:07:04 PM PDT
Al Lieber says:
Hey Ian. We have a ten year-old rear-projector Pioneer HDTV which refuses to die. It has S-Video, component video, and an RGB input jack. I really don't want to spend a fortune on say an Onkyo 270 7.2 receiver in order to get S-Video which btw, burns 756 watts and need something to replace our Sony 5.1 GX800ES AV receiver. What was the source for your HDMI >DVI converter? Thanks, Al

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2011 1:15:28 PM PDT
I. Smith says:
My TV has a DVI input, and I just bought an adapter that converts the HDMI cable into a DVI input and used a DVI cable between the two
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