Reviewer after reviewer agrees that, for its price, the Onkyo TX-NR609 7.2-channel receiver is tough to beat. The sound quality with music and movies won't be as good as with an audiophile receiver costing thousands more, but it will be surprisingly close. Among features not normally found in this price class, the Onkyo TX-NR609 is THX Select2 certified, which means that it will deliver the same sound experience in a moderately sized listening room as you would enjoy in a movie theater. There's also THX technology to deliver the same tonal qualities at lower listening levels, just in case movie-theater-like volumes are a little too ear-shattering for you or your neighbors. Audyssey DSX and Dolby IIz technology let you wire up the receiver's seven main channels to power front height or wide speakers instead of the traditional rear-center speakers. A second subwoofer terminal lets you run two subs simultaneously in rooms where one just won't get the job done. Six HDMI 1.4a inputs -- including one on the front panel -- should take care of even complex home theater setups. Video upscaling is surprisingly strong for an audio component in this price class. You can also stream music from the Internet, including Internet radio stations and providers such as Pandora, Slacker, Napster, Rhapsody and more.
Complaints are few. Despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews for the receiver's audio capabilities, one reviewer knocks it down a peg on that front. Lack of AirPlay support (for wireless streaming from an Apple iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad) also disappoints. If AirPlay support is a must-have feature you can find it in other receivers in this price class, including the Pioneer VSX-1021-K (*Est. $550), which has lots of other Apple-friendly features as well. If you have less to spend, the 5.1 channel Onkyo TX-NR509 (*Est. $400) is worth considering. It's a solid performer sonically, especially with movies, and has the same networking features as the Onkyo TX-NR609.
The Onkyo TX-NR609 has been well reviewed, but most of the feedback comes from British reviewers such as What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision, TrustedReviews.com, Expert Reviews and TechRadar.com. On this side of the Atlantic, you can find opinions at CNET and About.com. Go to Amazon.com for user reports.
CNET's attention to detail can't be beat; reviewer Matthew Moskovciak takes a look at every aspect of the TX-NR609 and details both its strengths and its weaknesses. He appreciates the good connectivity (including 6 HDMI ports) and streaming Internet services built into the home theater receiver, but feels that while the TX-NR609's audio capabilities aren't bad, he prefers some other receivers in this price class a bit more. He also bemoans the lack of AirPlay support en route to delivering a 3.5 (out of 5) score.
Review: Onkyo TX-NR609, Matthew Moskovciak, June 7, 2011
TrustedReviews.com doesn't spend a lot of time looking at home theater receivers, but it takes notice of the Onkyo TX-NR609. Danny Phillips praises the unit's excellent audio and video capabilities and wide array of features before awarding the receiver a perfect 10 out of 10 overall rating and an Editor's Choice award. Still, he does note that "staunch audiophiles" may want a little more finesse while listening to music.
Review: Onkyo TX-NR609 Review, Danny Phillips, May 6, 2011
Danny Phillips also delivers an evaluation of the Onkyo TX-NR609 review, covering much of the same ground and makes the same points as Phillips's write-up at TrustedReviews.com, but does spend a little more time detailing the receiver's video upscaling prowess. Not surprisingly, the TX-NR609 again gets a perfect score.
Review: Onkyo TX-NR609 Review, Danny Phillips, May 2011
4. Expert Reviews
Tom Morgan spends the majority of this two-page review singing the praises of the Onkyo TX-NR609. He singles out the unit's design and front-facing HDMI ports as unique highlights, and noticed no audio or video interference while watching "Casino Royale." His closing remark sums up his review best: "We struggled to find any fault with the NR609, as it ticks all the boxes for connectivity, design and ease of use." Morgan, too, awards the receiver a perfect score.
Review: Onkyo TX-NR609 Review, Tom Morgan, July 1, 2011
5. What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
The editors of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision seem especially impressed with the Onkyo TX-NR609's streaming Internet options and the high quality of its audio in this relatively brief review, especially after configuring the unit with the included Audyssey 2EQ auto setup. They say the receiver delivers a "surprising leanness of sound," but in a good way: "The result is a presentation that communicates in spades."
Review: Onkyo TX-NR609, Editors of What Hi Fi? Sound and Vision
The Onkyo TX-NR609 draws a good number of user reviews at Amazon.com, and the vast majority are positive. The receiver holds a solid 4.1-star rating, with over 35 owners weighing in. Most reviewers give the unit a perfect score, but the few gripes involve issues with the switching and pass-through issues with the HDMI ports.
Review: Onkyo TX-NR609 7.2 Channel Network THX Certified A/V Receiver, Contributors to Amazon.com
Robert Silva offers a detailed Product Profile of the features found in the Onkyo TX-NR609, but doesn't put the unit through any first-hand testing. "Onkyo has incorporated high end features in a reasonably priced home theater receiver," Silva says in his summary. The receiver earns fifth place in Silva's mid-range receiver roundup ($400 to $1,299), but most receivers rated higher are also more expensive. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Onkyo TX-NR609 7.2 Channel 3D/Network Home Theater Receiver - Product Profile, Robert Silva