Home Theater Systems Buying Guide
Home Theater Receivers Buying Guide
Onkyo has long topped my list of favorite AV manufacturers, largely because the company consistently delivers exceptional gear backed by cutting-edge technologies. Case in point is its budget-priced “NR” badged AV receivers, a series that represents the perfect intersection of engineering and affordability, capable of transforming your living room or home theater into a super-hub of entertainment. Whether you’re a movie fanatic like me, or a true stereo enthusiast, the TX-NR676 7.2-Channel Network AV Receiver is a great choice for 4K movies, crystal clear music, and wireless streaming flexibility. And at under $400, the TX-NR676 is one of the most enticing entry-level receivers on the market.
Immersive sound has exploded from a buzz word into a true industry changing technology, and it’s something my own home theater will never go without. While the TX-NR676 is fully capable of driving a traditional surround sound setup consisting of seven channels and two subwoofers, it also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio using a 5.2.2 speaker arrangement. Whether you choose to mount immersive presence channels on the ceiling or opt for Atmos enabled speaker modules, you’re guaranteed to experience 3D audio that transports you into the action like never before. That experience is enhanced by the TX-NR676’s AccuEQ Room Acoustic Calibration software with AccuReflex. Using the included microphone and a simple-to-follow setup procedure, AccuEQ and AccuReflex tap hi-tech algorithms to perfectly tune your system in a matter of minutes.
If multi-room audio is on your want list, the TX-NR676 can be configured to support a second zone of hardwired stereo speakers. But if you’re looking for true freedom and flexibility, the receiver can manage a whole-home wireless system using one of three onboard technologies: FlareConnect, DTS Play-Fi, and Chromecast built-in. When paired with Onkyo’s user-friendly Controller App (available for both iOS and Android), you can instantly stream music from your favorite sources (including a turntable) to compatible wireless speakers, such as Polk Audio’s MagniFi Mini Home Theater Sound Bar System, placed around your home.
Of course, we all enjoy the convenience of streaming tunes, and the TX-NR676 is packed with support for popular services such as TIDAL, Pandora, and Spotify, placing massive catalogs of music at your fingertips. You can also play music stored on your home computer or handheld device using Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth, and networked Wi-Fi playback.
One of the best reasons to purchase an Onkyo receiver? Their dedication to versatility and providing every possible feature you could want or need. While most receivers only use their USB for firmware updates, Onkyo's USB port does double duty serving as a connection point for music libraries stored on external hard drives or thumb drives.
Thanks to the DTS: Play-Fi app, you can browse your entire library simply and
easily, right next to your streaming services like Spotify and TIDAL. Just connect your external drive via the USB port
on the rear of the 676, give your system a few minutes to catalog your
library, and you’re in business. Have a collection of Hi-Res music? Don’t
worry, Onkyo and Play-Fi can handle that, too, thanks to the Asahi Kasei DAC
inside (more on that later).
The heart of the 120V compatible TX-NR676 is a beefy high-current amplifier section that delivers an impressive 100 watts per channel (8 Ohms, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 channels driven), which is more than enough power to drive relatively demanding speakers. And for situations where a bump in power is needed, you can configure the receiver to supply compatible speakers with two channels of juice (bi-amping), which dedicates equal power to the tweeter/mid-range and bass components of a speaker.
The receiver’s audio precision is achieved using a 32-bit/384kHz Asahi Kasei AK4458 digital-to-analog converter paired with unique Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry, which opens a world of sonic clarity and detail rarely heard in this price class. That makes for spectacular listening sessions whether you’re playing compressed music enhanced by the onboard Music Optimizer or pure Hi-Res audio files via the receiver’s rear-panel USB port (AIFF, FLAC, WAV, DSD, and ALAC up to 24-bit/192kHz are supported).
Much like immersive sound, 4K Ultra-High definition video is hands-down my preferred format for movies and other content. Each of the TX-NR676’s seven HDMI ports (including one located on the front) supports 4K/60Hz video, HDCP 2.2, 4:4:4 color sub-sampling, BT.2020 wide color gamut, and a variety of High Dynamic Range standards including Dolby Vision and HDR10. That means you can simultaneously connect a variety of 4K sources – such as an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, a gaming system, or cable box – while enjoying every form of currently available 4K content. The TX-NR676 will even accept older analog composite and component video sources, converting those signals to be usable with both digital HDMI outputs.
The TX-NR676 7.2-Channel AV Receiver represents an astounding value on a number of fronts. While its wallet-friendly price point is obviously attractive, the receiver’s design and functionality are what headline the show. Onkyo has endowed the TX-NR676 with tech that makes for stunning 4K video playback, while delivering audio output that’s true to the source. And the inclusion of whole-home audio is icing on the cake, making this one of the most delicious $400 receivers on the market.
While you can purchase the TX-NR676 directly from our website, I invite you to stop by our Ardmore and Montgomeryville, PA store locations to experience all it has to offer in person!
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