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Customer Review

74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tame the confusion of audio and video in your home; but with no warranty, October 15, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Onkyo TX-NR1008 9.2-Channel Network Home Theater Receiver (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
EDIT: Downgraded from 5 to 2 stars for spectacular warranty service failure on the part of Onkyo. See below.

You know how it is. Take a look at your entertainment area. How many pieces of hardware are sitting there? A TV, a cable box, maybe DirecTV; a CD player, maybe an iPod dock. DVD player? Blu-ray disc player? Old VCR? An Airport Express for AirTunes, perhaps? How about a PS3, an Xbox, a Wii? Apple TV? Slingbox? Hulu player? Mac mini media station? How many speakers you got? 5? 7? 9? Maybe there are speakers elsewhere in the house, and you'd like to be able to watch TV here and listen to music there? Do you like Pandora satellite radio? What about XM HD?

Of course, all your hardware is cutting edge, just bought yesterday, right? No? HDMI, component, S-video, coax analog video, coax digital video - how many formats you got? Your TV - is it 1080p, or 1080i? What about your audio? All digital? Digital optical, digital coax - or do we have some good old RCA jacks? White/Red left/right? Or are we talking about a full surround setup? Maybe you're like me and have a legacy pair of Tannoy bookshelf monitors, coaxial cones, that sound fantastic bi-amped. And maybe that last sentence sounded like the ravings of a lunatic.)

I don't know what you got. And neither do the good folks at Onkyo. So in this one grand box, they have provided doggone near as many solutions as you could possibly need.

For video, it can take 6 HDMI inputs, and send them to one or two outputs, a main (and if desired a sub) output. Upcoding can be disabled; or everything can be auto-upcoded; or you can force everything to upcode to a certain rez. Since my old TV only supports 1080i, I needed the ability to force up and downcoding to that format; the lower-line Onkyos only upcode to 1080p and that wouldn't have worked. There are also about a gazillion other ways to input video into this beast, and you can configure the machine to link any input to any button on your remote. For example, I have my PS3 coded to the 'game' circuit, whereas my DirecTV box is "CBL/SAT". The machine is fully HDMI 1.4a compliant, which means upcoming 3D will work right out of the box; and it supports HDMI audio return, although when you really find out what that is you may not want it.

For audio, it can take 2 optical audio, or 3 digital coaxial audio, or about 1 gazillion RCA-type audio inputs, amplify them, and output them direct to your speakers. If you want a 9.2 super surround setup, with R,L, center, R/L front high,R/L front wide, R/L surround, R/L surround rear, and a powered sub or two: this box gets the job done. However, in that case, there are no amps to spare for zone 2 or zone 3, which means that you'll need a separate power amp to power those separate zones.

If you want powered zones, you have to sacrifice some of your surround speakers. For me, I wanted 5.1 surround with bi-amped front speakers (the tweeters and woofers of the fronts are powered each by a different amp), so I lost powered Zone 2; I still have powered Zone 3. Zone 3 routes to a pair of outdoor speakers on my deck, so I can relax with Pandora Internet jazz (ah, Thelonious my old friend) while my lady is inside watching the cackling buffoons on Project Runway in all their hideous glory.

You do have to hook the machine up to a hub that is gatewayed to your Internet connection, and that has to be a wired connection. I use an Airport Express to bridge my home wireless network to a cat6 cable that connects to the Onkyo; this setup has the added benefit of AirTunes, which, via a mini-phones cable (or 3.5 mm mini optical to TOSLINK, your choice) serves up my iTunes library to the amp, and that process can be controlled from my Mac laptop or iPhone. Wow, it gets technical. Thank goodness the Onkyo menu is clear and easy to read. I will say, make sure the Internet is up, connected, and actively serving to your Onkyo before you power the Onkyo on for the first time; or you will have some difficulty getting connected later (you'll have to go into the Network setup area and 'save' the network settings. The firmware upgrade is highly recommended. It takes 45 minutes; the RHMI setting has to be 'off', and the amp has to be in USB mode for it to work; that was annoying.

Sound fidelity is awesome and the settings are intuitive. I especially appreciate the myriad ways of dealing with power-on loudness; you can make sure you never blow out your speakers, or your eardrums, by navigating the easy to use menu.

One thing I wish I'd known before I bought this unit: the powered Zone 2s and Zone 3s can only accept analog sources. That means that optical audio and coax-digital audio cannot be piped to your zone 2 and zone 3. Luckily, most devices that serve that kind of audio also output analog audio; you can just plug that audio into a separate input and route *that* to Zone 2 or 3 instead. Annoying, but understandable; probably saved Onkyo a few bucks. Internet radio behaves like an analog source for this purpose, and that's a blessing.

The remote, which is backlit and easy to use, can also be programmed as a universal remote, which is handy, although it is IR, not RF, so it will never truly be the Master of All Remotes.

Internet radio on this baby is AWESOME. I can't get over having my own Pandora station outside on my deck; Onkyo also contracted with a company called vTuner that provides about a thousand channels. The Pandora client is full featured, lets you reconfigure and approve/disapprove of music, and even shows the album cover art on screen. Pandora streams to this beast at 128 kbps joint stereo, which is PandoraOne quality - regular Pandora is 64kbps aacPlus joint, which is compressed and tinny - but you don't need to subscribe, and I've yet to hear an ad.

Let's not forget Audyssey DSX: it is a little mike that you put at ear height at each listening area (i.e., chair) in your quiet surround sound field, and the machine automatically configures each speaker level and EQ to preset specs. It works really well, and the task is something that took dozens of hours to do by hand in older surround sound setups.

So yeah, this baby tames the confusion, knocks out its opponents (there is nothing else available below the $5K pricepoint that accomplishes everything I mentioned above) and unifies the audio-video title, sort of like Mike Tyson did to the heavyweight championship. I think you gotta be a little bit of an AV geek to set it up, but my lady, who is not all that geeky, instantly understood the remote - it's pretty much nearly one-touch.

EDIT Sep 2011: The machine started flashing its red light one day about 11 months after I bought it, which by the manual suggested it had entered 'protection mode'. I unplugged it, disconnected all connections, and waited a day as the manual suggested, then plugged it back it. It promptly caught fire - I am talking about large orange burst of flame inside the unit. Not safe; plastic was burning. I shipped it to the authorized service center, which cost about $60. 3 weeks later, I received an email with photos of a few hairs inside the unit. I called and was told that the hairs invalidated the warranty, that it would cost $250 up front to receive an estimate for how much it would cost to repair the unit, and that if not, I could pay shipping to receive the defective unit back.

I didn't abuse this unit. I don't have pets who could have gotten hair into the unit. This means, to me, that the Onkyo warranty is a sham. There is no way a few hairs in the unit could have caused a fire hot enough to melt plastic - if the hairs were even really there before I shipped it; I doubt they were. Looking around on the Internet, I found plenty of stories like mine. Onkyo is well known for not honoring its warranty when it ships defective products.

Understand, then, when you buy an Onkyo receiver you are buying a disposable product whose warranty will not be honored; and which, therefore, essentially has no warranty. I have downgraded my rating considerably based on this fact, which I wish I would have known before purchase.
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Comments

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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 15, 2010, 8:04:51 AM PDT
olderman says:
This is a well written, intelligent, comprehensive, entertaining and even a professional review . However, while nothing personal, I am interested in some verification of the independence of this review. No doubt you are a prolific reviewer over a wide range of products. It would be helpful for some background that it is also independent and objective. From my own research, I have been leaning towards the purchase this receiver and this review supports that research.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2010, 12:57:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 15, 2010, 6:48:28 PM PDT
neurotome says:
Thanks for your comments. I'm just a guy, no affiliation, bought the amp from an Amazon third party vendor - with my own money - after doing a lot of Internet research reading manuals.

I may look like a prolific reviewer, but if you really look back through my reviews you'll see there's nearly 10 years spanned. I review less than 1 item per month.

I do belong to Vine, but my Vine affiliation had nothing to do with my purchase of this amp. Mainly Vine sends me books, that I read and review and get a few negative feedbacks on.

So yeah, no conflict of interest. I wrote most of it during the 45 minutes it took to update the firmware. I like to write a good, useful review; I enjoy it.

As far as being objective, I don't know that I would claim that. The review is my experience and opinion, which is pretty subjective stuff. I've owned the device for all of 3 days, and I had no chance to compare it to any of its competitors in operation; I just read about a dozen manuals: Pioneer, Marantz, Denon and Yamaha were the other brands whose manuals I checked out, and I checked out a number of the other Onkyo receivers at different pricepoints.

Posted on Dec 21, 2010, 12:06:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2010, 12:07:08 PM PST
Walter says:
The Pandora One service is actually 192Kbs, not 128Kbs. It appears that AV receivers, or devices other than PCs are not able to use this higher bit rate even when a Pandora One subscription is available. From the Pandora FAQ:
"Note: High Quality audio is currently available only for Pandora on your computer (via www.Pandora.com and the Pandora One Desktop Application). Pandora Mobile and Pandora Devices do not yet support 192Kbps streams."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2010, 8:24:46 AM PST
neurotome says:
Well, what's coming through to the Onkyo is definitely 128 kbps joint stereo mp3, as opposed to what I get on my (non-subscription) computer or iPhone, which is 64K stereo AAC. I find that odd, but it is what it is.

Posted on Jan 12, 2011, 7:00:02 PM PST
Ash Patel says:
Question, you wrote that Pandora is treated like an analog source so you can enjoy that in zone 2. Is the Windows media player connection also treated the same? Thanks so much!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2011, 3:42:15 PM PST
neurotome says:
Don't know - don't use it.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2011, 6:10:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 26, 2011, 6:27:22 AM PST
ctrade says:
Your comments are that of a well informed and educated audiofile. I am particularly interested in your opinion regarding the comparison of this reicever with the tx-nr1007. the 1007 is an older machine that cost more than this one, has more power, is heavier, why is this a better machine and or buy. I'm thinking about buying the better of these two help me decide.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2011, 9:47:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2011, 9:47:57 AM PDT
neurotome says:
There was a reason I picked the 1008, but I'm having difficulty remembering what it was. I think it may be that the 1007 isn't 3-D ready, so if I decide I want to buy a 3-D TV the 1007 won't work with it - in other words, if I recall correctly, the 1008 has the latest HDMI spec.

Thanks for your kind words! As I think I said, I'm no audiophile - I just love music.

Posted on Oct 14, 2011, 1:53:34 PM PDT
V. says:
I had a sony receiver that used to go into "protected mode" all the time. Found out it was due to faulty speaker wire. Replaced the wire, problem gone. I hope this helps you and others!

Posted on Oct 14, 2011, 2:29:36 PM PDT
olderman says:
This is crazy as many of the TX-NX008 units have experienced similar problems to the ones you have described. In fact Onkyo has admitted such problems and has committed to fixing those problems even if the unit is out of warranty. I recommend contacting customer service and a supervisor or even better, US Corporate HQ's and without emotion explain the problem. Let them know the response so far is unacceptable and you expect better. Given that there was a fire, requesting a replacement unit is not unreasonable. If you show some quiet persistence, I bet you will get results. It has worked for others. Let us know how it goes.
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