Top positive review
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Bought it locally in a Best Buy, but doing the review here
on April 14, 2017
First thing I wanted to say, I was about to buy this item on Thursday night 4/13/2017 from Amazon, but ordering and shipping the item would not reach me till monday. Bought it locally in a Best Buy, but doing the review here.
I was very hesitant at first, I'm coming from the same model except it was upper model from this one but 3-4 years older lacking Atmos and DTS X, and newer updated feature. My older unit did have 30 watts more power and almost jumped to the matching similar unit, however, this one has more than enough and is updated with all newer sound codecs and older ones like DTS MASTER AUDIO, TRUE HD and legacy DOLBY DIGITAL, DTS, PCM etc. I choose this one because of the 4k 60fps, HDR10 pass thru, wireless AC and bluetooth. As a bonus it supports FireConnect and multiple streaming services like Pandora and Google Cast etc. Specs wise its up to date and supports everything out now in 2017.
The 2nd main reason for the purchase: It fits my home layout.
I have a 5.1 system installed and buying over head speakers in a month to make it 5.1.2. Jumping to newer upper models would only get me more power, visual changes and more speaker connections like 9.2, 11.1 etc so if you have no desire of adding more speakers to expand the sound, its not worth the jump because you'll pay for features you wont use. This 7.1 model will allow you to add two more speakers for Atmos and DTS X: (two speakers on top of your left and right speakers aimed at the ceiling to reverb back down or two on the walls aimed down). Which are easy installations than a 9.1 or an 11.1 and above system. The receiver allows you to select what layout you have. Menu is easy to use, simple, and very straight forward. Includes a setup microphone to determine distance and calibrates to avoid standing waves as well as speaker crossover.
After running the microphone calibration, you may need to fine tweak the crossover hertz rating on each speakers if you know them before hand. Sometimes auto calibrations changes them lower than they actually are, which can affect bass to your powered subwoofer. Lower the crossover on a speaker, less bass is pushed to the subwoofer, the unit 'assumes' the other speakers can push out heavy bass so it passes less bass signal to the subwoofer.
TIP: If you lack bass from a powered subwoofer after calibration, set all speaker crossovers to 80hz in the menu. Settings, crossovers, and switch them to 80hz. That should tell the receiver to allow the subwoofer to handle all low bass and midbass. If you have speakers that can output some bass, you can lower them but normally it's encouraged to let the subwoofer handle all bass no matter what setup you have. If you have satellite speakers (which have no bass) auto calibration should set them correctly (higher). This tip is only for more heavy duty tower/bookshelf speakers that lack built in 10 woofers.
TIP 2: Auto calibration does an excellent job measuring distance and also calibrates room resonance. This can be disabled and you'll run the receiver with whatever signal you send it. Quick setting on remote, AccuEx and set to off. You can also disabled Cinema Filter but not needed. (it only balances harsh recordings and makes it tamed for a home). When set to off, speaker distance stays active, but any fine tuning from the system is turned off. You have to make the choice, since each house sounds different.
PROS: Great sound, very clean, supports 4k 60fps,HDR 10, Playstation 4 and PRO compatible, Atmos and DTS X for object based surround (3D audio), more than enough power for a middle to large rooms, two wireless antenna, wireless AC blazing fast wireless speed and supports multiple digital radio stations like: spotify, sirius radio etc. Easy to follow and read menu, very straightforward not overly complex. Has two menu settings 'quick menu' for basic controls: subwoofer levels, on and off calibration settings. More compact remote which supports fast sound mode switching for movies, games and music. Keep pressing the button it cycles through various built in modes.. $799 to now $400 came out may 2016 and still getting firmware updates: latest one was Feb 23 which added: Support for FireConnect and enabled streaming from Network Services/USB/Bluetooth/Music server. Also Dolby Vision will be added in an update sometime in 2017.
CONS: It's very hard finding a con since the unit is pretty up to date spec wise and perfect price. If I had to nit pick, I would say the front chassis on the unit is not heavy aluminium like upper models. It's a brush, semi metal finish, semi plasticky, not solid metal. Sorta like a hybrid. Basic front design.
Final Thoughts. Completely worth the upgrade if you have a 5.1 layout and have no plans on jumping to 9.1 or 11.1 speaker system. You can take advantage of the 5.1 by adding the height speakers for Atmos and DTS X converting it into 5.1.2. My older unit had 30 watts extra per channel which allowed me to dial up the volume less to get more sound. You can do the same by just increasing the volume levels. No one plays receivers at full volume. The only benefit of higher volume would be less time to get to a higher volume level. Even though this unit has less power than my older system, it performers better, and much cleaner sounding than my old 3-4 year model. Very happy with the unit and only a day of playing with it.
ONKYO UPDATE REGARDING DOLBY VISION SUPPORT
“Dolby Vision, will be coming to the company’s 2016 lineup of network 7, 9 and 11-channel models, ranging from the TX-NR555 to the PR-RZ5100, via a firmware update scheduled for later this year (2017).“ (That also includes this unit, the TX-NR656). I verified this over the phone with a representative from Onkyo after reading a few articles online on it.