Onkyo TX-NR626 Receiver Review

Discussion in 'Write Your Own Review' started by Adam, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    (The following is from a review that I wrote for Amazon, hence my wording and "star" ratings below. I didn't add a video to that review, but I did record some video if people here are interested. I'd have to edit it, though, and add a voice over.)

    I had the opportunity to audition both this model and the Denon AVR-E400, and while both have their advantages, I'd choose this Onkyo in the end.

    I read about and discuss receivers on an audio/video forum (Audioholics) a lot, and the things that I recommend that you look at when shopping are: connections (does it have everything that you want/need), auto calibration (a huge plus, IMO), features (can it do everything that you want), power (can it play as loud as you want and still sound good), ease of use, and the remote control. Price, of course, also weighs into it - I never want to spend more than I have to in order to get what I want, but I don't want to spend less and then be unhappy for years because I bought something that doesn't do what I want.

    BOTTOM LINE
    If I were buying a receiver in this price range today, I'd buy the Pioneer VSX-1123. That's almost exclusively because I prefer Pioneer's MCACC auto calibration system over Audyssey (explained below), and the VSX-1123 has about the same connectivity and features as this model. If I wanted a receiver with Audyssey in this price class, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this receiver. While it is less refined than the Denon in regards to setup and the onscreen menu system, it wins hands down with its connections and features. If you're interested in my reasons, I've provided details below.


    DETAILS
    I wrote a pretty long review for the Denon AVR-E400, which is also a nice receiver to consider. I'm providing similar information below. The details section is a bit lengthy, but I think that $500-$600 is a lot of money, and I hope that you find it helpful in your search for a new receiver.

    Connections: 4.5 Stars
    This Onkyo offers a lot compared to other 2013 receivers in this price range. A phono input is rare these days, even more so on a ~$500 receiver. A big plus, IMO, is that even though you can't run 7.1 in your main system and a pair of speakers in a second zone at the same time, the Onkyo has enough connections for you to hook up all of those speakers and toggle between them in the menu system. That's nice because other receivers like the Denon AVR-E400 would require you to physically connect/disconnect speakers to pull that off. The dual-HDMI outputs is also very nice, and something that I found lacking on the Denon.

    Auto Calibration: 3 Stars (might be 5 stars for you, though)
    Auto calibration is a wonderful thing, and if you've never used it, I think that you'll love it. Audyssey seems to work pretty well and sounds good in the location where I set up the mic and ran the calibration. My biggest complaint, and why I won't be using this receiver, is that it cannot store multiple configurations. In my room, I have two main seating locations - one is centrally located relative to the speakers, while the other is off to the side. The relative distances between the speakers and those two locations (and hence the optimal timing and volume levels for each speaker) are significantly different. MCACC (at least the version on my Pioneer and the VSX-1123) can store up to six configurations, so I can have one for the central location and another one for the side location. Audyssey, at least on this receiver, can't do that. I can place the mic in both locations during setup, but it still sets the timing based on the first mic location. If you have a seating arrangement in your room where everyone sits pretty close, then this might not matter to you, and you very well might consider Audyssey to be a five star system. A lot of people love it. I just didn't realize that it couldn't do multiple configurations until I started using it, so I wanted to point it out. That was a big disappointment to me. One other note - while it will ask you during Audyssey setup if you want to turn on Dynamic Volume (which applies dynamic range compression), it automatically turns on without asking Dynamic EQ (which is a more advanced version of the old Loudness controls). If you don't like Dynamic EQ, you need to disable it individually for every input.

    Features: 4 Stars
    It has pretty much everything that I want. I love the ability to rename the inputs (e.g. "PS3"), but I do wish that it had an input selector knob (or set of buttons) compared to the series of input buttons on the front panel. HDMI pass through in standby mode is also very nice. The networking features (like internet radio and DLNA) are also cool, but not something that I'll use often. I never could get the Wi-Fi to connect (even though it could see networks), but it worked great over a hard line. One thing this is outstanding is that you can access the menu system through the front panel - not all receivers can do that. If you've ever lost your remote control, you know why I think that's so nice. :) It's not a show stopper to me if a receiver doesn't have it, but it's a great feature if it does. I also really like how this receiver can decode DSD from SACDs. A couple of nits, though: (1) I do wish that I could set the volume display to relative values (i.e. dB offset from the reference level) versus it's absolute 0-80 (I think it's 80) scale. They might update that ability in a firmware release, because other Onkyos will let you select which scale you want, and (2) I wish that the front panel display would show the sound mode in large letters, versus what it does which is show the input source in large letters and the sound mode in incredibly small text that I have to be right up next to it to read. The Denon actually shows both in large letters, which is nice.

    Power: 5 Stars
    This has plenty of power for me. I don't tend to listen very loudly, so I don't need a lot of power. However, I checked out its capabilities at pretty loud volumes just like I did for the Denon (and the following is from that review because it applies here). One of my test cases to check out power is Fleetwood Mac's "The Dance" DVD. I know, I know..."How old is this guy?" :D I use it because it's 5.1 and therefore uses five of the amp channels to some extent, and because it has short dynamic power requirements for things like guitar string plucks. The reason that I added a power amp to my first Pioneer, besides the real reason of just wanting to try one out :), is that I could tell that the music wasn't as crisp and clear at high volumes. For lack of a better word, it sounded muffled. The dynamics just weren't there, and it's because that Pioneer didn't have enough juice for the peaks (like guitar string plucks and cymbals) at higher volumes (at my normal listening volumes, though, that Pioneer was fine). So, I tried that exact same disc with this receiver - and it did great. Even with it being MUCH louder than I'd ever normally listen, the dynamics were still there. No need for any external amplification in my case, which is nice because this amp doesn't support that capability.

    Ease of Use: 4 Stars
    Honestly, I have no trouble using receivers that some other people consider complicated, so I'm probably not the best judge. This receiver, though, does seem very easy to use. While the Denon has a class leading menu system that makes this menu seem clunky in comparison, the menu on this Onkyo is a lot more refined than the one on my 2009 Pioneer. So, it's all relative. Overall, setup was easy as is using it from day to day. I'm not sure if this falls under this category, but I experience some glitches with the HDMI connections in that they seemed to lose sync (or whatever the right term is) occasionally. The screen would turn black (or black with white lines moving on it) and I'd lose audio. If I switched to another input source and then back again (just clicking them on the remote), then it synced back up and worked fine. I have hopes that a firmware update will fix that.

    Remote: 5 Stars
    Here's one reason that I'd pick this over the Denon. I really like this remote. The Denon doesn't have a universal remote, but this one does (as has every other receiver that I've owned since the mid-90s). It's really easy to use, although some might find the smaller buttons a bit challenging.

    Build Quality: 4 Stars
    This unit seems to be nice and solid. It's built like most receivers that I've owned in this price range and doesn't really stand out (which isn't a bad thing). The volume knob seems a bit cheap, but I use the remote most of the time and don't really care. Onkyo has gotten a bad rep lately for running hot and having consequently reduced reliability, but only time will tell if that impacts this receiver. This model does have a large (yet quiet) fan to help cool the electronics off. The fan pulls air from the bottom to the top, so you'll want to leave some space above the receiver (which is true for most receivers, whether they have fans or not, to help air movement and keep them cooler). I haven't noticed any excess heat or had issues with the fan, yet.

    Packing: 3 Stars
    I added this section to the Denon review because I felt that they did a great job with packing that should be mentioned. The packing on this Onkyo was more standard. Nothing great, nothing horrible. Just a plain cardboard box with some printing on it. You have to get the receiver and the foam packing all out of the box and then pull the packing off each side before you can set the receiver down, which is a bit awkward. That's an area where the Denon was easier to deal with.

    Overall: 4 Stars
    The inability to store multiple configurations for Audyssey in my living room is too big of a drawback for me and why I gravitate to Pioneer's MCACC system. Those of you that sit in one location wouldn't have that complaint and might just love this receiver. This is a good unit with some nice features, plenty of power, and an excellent set of connections. It deserves some serious consideration, IMO. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll respond as soon as I can. Thanks.
    Adam,
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  2. Cos Audioholic General

    Cos
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    Great review, but I am surprised you gave the remote 5 Stars. It looks exactly like the one I have with my Integra 30.5 and I really dislike it. While it has universal remote features, the buttons are small and mushy with no backlight.

    Does the 626 have built in Wi-Fi? I have it on the Integra and it was really easy to set up. I would be curious to see what kind of security you have on your wifi - WPA/2 Personal vs Enterprise or if you firewall is blocking access of the 626.

    I definitely agree with you on the way it measures volume and the fact that the display is a little small.
    Cos,
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  3. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    Thanks!

    As for the remote...I hear ya. Perhaps I was swayed by having just come from the Denon AVR-E400 remote, which I hate. I'm a huge fan of receivers having universal remotes (and they are so inexpensive these days, it seems like they should have them). I've never had a Harmony or the like, so this remote did pretty much everything that I expected. I did at times wish that the buttons were backlit, but my Pioneer remote doesn't have that feature either except for the TV buttons, and I've gotten used to not having them. So, as with all things, my ratings are relative and subjective. :)

    The 626 does have built in WiFi. The setup menu was easy, but I never could get it to connect. I honestly don't know why. I tried every one of the security options, and none of them worked for me. I normally don't have any issues setting up WiFi, so either I was making a mistake, or it wasn't getting enough reception (but it was located very close to my Belkin access point that works great). However, because I could hard wire it, I just did that and it worked well.
    Adam,
  4. mklg Audiophyte

    mklg
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    Hi!

    We are thinking to buy the nr626 system.

    I only have one doubt. It's about the consumption.

    Do you know about the consumption when the system is off? I have read about hight consumption of other onkyo receivers.
    mklg,
  5. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    Welcome to the forum!

    I haven't measured the power consumption myself, so I can only quote what Onkyo states in their specs. They claim that it consumes 0.15W in standby mode, but that consumption can reach as high as 8.6W if you have HDMI pass-through or "Network Standby" enabled.
    Adam,
  6. mklg Audiophyte

    mklg
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    Thanks a lot for your answer .

    I've been reading reviews of this model and some of them says that you can hear a slightly bright edge on upper-mid and high frequencies.

    Could you give me your opinion about it as a final user.?

    Enviado desde mi GT-I9300 usando Tapatalk 4
    mklg,
  7. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    Sorry for the delayed response. I didn't notice anything in the upper-mid or high frequencies that stood out to me as being abnormal, but my hearing tops out around 14-15kHz. This Onkyo sounded to me like the Denon AVR-E400 that I tried.
    Adam,
  8. mklg Audiophyte

    mklg
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    Thank you!

    Finally we are thinking about get this configuration:


    Receiver: ONKYO TR-NX626 (160 W/canal a 6 O, 1 kHz)

    Center: Wharfedale Diamond 10.CS (20 - 150 W, 6 O)

    Front: Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 (20 - 100 W, 6 O)

    Surround: Polk OWM3 (20 - 100 W, 8 O)

    Sub: not for now, near in time

    Thanks a lot !!

    Enviado desde mi GT-I9300 usando Tapatalk 4
    mklg,
  9. Darkwing_duck Audioholic

    Darkwing_duck
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    You know what would be really neat? If you could review its video processing capabilities with test material like spears and munsil or something!
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  10. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    Thanks, that would be neat. I admit that I'm not going to do it :D, but that is a good idea. I don't use the video processing in my receivers, but I like the idea of adding that to the review.
    Adam,
  11. Darkwing_duck Audioholic

    Darkwing_duck
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    Why not? I would love to know how the video scaling and up conversion performs especially with cable stb!
  12. ullemann Enthusiast

    ullemann
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    Hello I'm a newbie here and I am trying to read through the forum(s) for the answer to the question: "which AV is best suited for my case?".
    The 626 seems very intersting to me, but I have not fully understood how the WIFI internet radio works:
    Can I type into the receiver's control interface the URL of any web-radio site ( or radio server ), then connect direct from the AV to that site and then listen to the music, i.e. without need for a computer that is switched on and works in he background - or do I have to receive the signal on my computer, elaborate it ( with whatever application, for instance Windows Media Player ) and then transmit the music with the WIFI feature to the AV ???
    Thanks for any help !!!
    Ullemann
  13. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    Welcome to the forum, Ullemann!

    I did listen to some internet radio while I had it hooked up, and you definitely do not need your computer running to have it work. The Onkyo connects directly to the internet radio site and plays. It can find local stations, and there are some national ones programmed in. I never tried to add a radio station myself when I had this hooked up, but I just skimmed through the owner's manual. It looks like you can add up to 40 internet radio stations, and if I'm reading it right, you can add the URLs either through a connection to a PC or directly into the Onkyo's menu system.
    Adam,
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  14. ullemann Enthusiast

    ullemann
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    Thanks, Adam !

    Hello Adam - that was a quick and helpful reply ! Many, many thanks !

    I am using now a smartphone. I connect that to the internet with WiFi over an access point, then I select the radio station that I like and route the internet radio music from my smartphone with bluetooth and a bluetooth adapter to my stereo system. But, that is a lot of key and button punching when I want to listen to the internet stations. And sometimes the bluetooth connection is not smoothly working.

    With your reply/experience, it looks like I can play those stations like any other FM radio station. That is what I want and what I am looking for: turn on the AV and select an internet radio station. No computer, no smartphone, just the AV and its remote control.

    Thanks again ! Ullemann
  15. ullemann Enthusiast

    ullemann
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    Hi Adam -

    you have a beautiful dog there ! It looks like it has a good character ..... !
    Over the last 13 years we had up to 6 doggies, all from the dog pound. Now we are down to 2 - the other ones died of old age ( or old age related problems ) after a good life with us.
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  16. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    Thanks! Yeah, she's a real sweet pooch. Her name is Niki.
    Adam,
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  17. ullemann Enthusiast

    ullemann
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    Hi Adam - give Niki a hug ......... and a nice Sunday to you !
  18. ullemann Enthusiast

    ullemann
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    Hello Adam - I bought the Onky 626.
    I was able to connect with TuneIn to the desired stations that I had on my list. Relatively simple and fast. These stations were not on TuneIn's list. I searched for them ( from within TuneIn ) and I found them immediately and saved them as "Presets". That made my day.

    BUT : the manual is a disaster = there is no printed book/booklet. There is a CD that needs to be read on a computer screen.
    Unfortunately there are, many times, on one page several references to other pages and that means I have to jump back and forth repeatedly. That is a real pain in the neck !!!
    Shame on Onkyo for this "cheap" approach. I have set-up only the most important features ( like setting up internet stations ) because of this difficulty to handle the manual.
    The manual for the 626 is 140 pages ...... so you can imagine that I cannot quickly print it on my home printer. Also, with 140 pages it necessary to bind them.
    I have to go to a print shop for that - it costs me about 23,00 US$.

    Besides that, I still have to find out all the goodies. But, it seems to be a fine purchase.
    Thanks and Bye
    Ullemann
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  19. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    Hi, Ullemann. I'm glad that you got your internet stations all tuned in!

    For the electronics manuals, I'm actually a fan of those. I download the PDF files off of the manufacturer's websites to help people out on this forum. With the PDF versions, it's a lot easier for me to search for key words. However, I can understand your frustration in that it's not how you like to use the manual.

    If you have any specific questions, please just let me know and I'll try to help.
    Adam,
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  20. ullemann Enthusiast

    ullemann
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    Thanks, Adam ! Have a great day !
    Ulleman

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