Onkyo TX-NR646 AV Receiver Review
In the world of sound, there’s always something new to hear, and accordingly, there’s always a new receiver for those new extra sound features. In the year 2015, those new things were “object oriented sound”, Atmos, and DTX. So, of course, with those new evolutions in sound technology, companies fell over themselves to deliver receivers that delivered these new technologies as integrated features. Onkyo’s contribution to his was, of course, the TX-NR646, which while not significantly different from its predecessors does have some nice new features. With that in mind, let’s dive right in and take a look.
Appearance: Okay. Let’s get one thing out of the way from the get go. The Onkyo TX-NR646 is ugly. Ugly as in ‘with a bizarre, almost retro look to it like a much older piece of consumer electronics from a bygone era.’ What I’m getting at is that this not the cool new gadget you want to show off as a piece that ties together your home theater. If that’s what you were looking for, keep looking. This isn’t it. The whole thing is squat and visually unappealing.
Remote Control: Here again, this is kind of a turn-off. The remote control is excessively crowded and counter-intuitive. This, not surprisingly greatly impacts the usability of the device. There’s a steep learning curve associated with learning what buttons do what. Not ideal for the casual user though aficionados of audio electronics may be reasonably comfortable with it.
Okay, so right out of the gate this gadget has a lot going against it, but don’t write it off just yet. Believe it or not, it also has some pretty amazing features. And, now that we’ve dealt with the negative ones, we can focus on the positive.
Basic Stats: It’s a 5.1.2 Dolby channel surround sound home theater with an incredibly immersive sound quality. Onkyo receivers have a consistent tradition of providing users with excellent
Connectivity: The receiver has 8 HDMI inputs and two outputs all of which have HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. Additionally, it has Ethernet connectivity, integrated Wi-Fi, and Airplay (for Mac and iOs users). Also, iOS and Android apps are integrated as well, allowing you to control your receiver through your smartphone and tablet devices. Pretty much anything that you need to connect and play through your receiver is connectable.
Sound: Here is where the Onkyo TX-NR646 really shines. Not only is its sound rich and immersive, but expansive as well – giving depth and a sense of place to the viewer. This is an ideal piece for home theaters and definitely built with that in mind. This receiver is a definite enhancement to any consumer level home theater. And, as a nice extra, for all you vinyl enthusiasts, you can even hook up a turntable to this receiver. There’s no reason your classic records have to suffer just because you’re upgrading.
Now, we mentioned the ATMOS and DTX integrated technologies at the beginning of this article. At the time of this receiver’s release in 2015, there wasn’t much in the way of available software or media to really support that. That hasn’t actually changed. There are a handful of movies that support this standard, but the demand just isn’t there. While this might be a nice extra, it is not, in and of itself, a reason to buy the receiver. Purchase it for its versatility, full, rich sound, and cinema skewed immersive properties. These all make it a worthwhile purchase.
Well, there you have it. It may not be very pretty or intuitive, but it is incredibly easy to use. Preferring utility over style, Onkyo has designed a receiver that’s very competitive with many of its sleeker counterparts and for the money (around $700) it delivers a lot bang for the buck. For that price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a richer more immersive experience than this one, and (with the ability to integrate all of your devices) this receiver could very quickly become the cornerstone of your home theater set up. Remember, a home theater is first and foremost for your enjoyment. Bear that in mind and you’ll be happy to purchase the Onkyo TX-NR646 . Good luck and happy listening. Go out and buy one today!