Ever-more capable home theater receivers are representative of a recent trend, with the latest example being the Onkyo TX-NR809 Network A/V Receiver. More than just an amplifier for distributing discrete audio signals to speakers, the 7.2-channel receiver includes major audio and video upgrades compared to last year’s TX-NR808 model.
The Onkyo TX-NR809 adds both IDT's HQV Vida VHD1900 video and the Mavell Qdeo up-scaling and processing circuits. Vida upscales all 480i/p and 576p video sources to high-definition 1080p. It also scales 720p to 1080p. Qdeo, meanwhile, performs full 4K (3840 x 2160) up-scaling of 1080p sources. The TX-NR809 also includes Imaging Science Foundation's ISF Video Calibration technology for the first time at this price point.
The Vida processor incorporates Auto HQV and HQV StreamClean to enhance video images in real time and eliminate noise in compressed video. With multi-cadence tracking, expanded 12-bit color processing and four field, motion-adaptive de-interlacing, Vida optimizes the quality of both standard- and high-def pictures.
For audio, the receiver adds Audyssey's MultEQ XT advanced automated calibration and Dolby Volume for optimal listening at any sound level. There are now frontand rear USB ports for digital storage devices and Onkyo's optional wireless USB adapter. A direct digital connection via the front-panel USB port lets you access MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis and AAC audio files stored on a USB flash drive or iPod/iPhone.
The receiver also offers improved home integration capabilities with Zone 2/3 pre-outs and a bi-directional remote control with onscreen RC setup for attached components, plus macros for four activities.
The Onkyo TX-NR809's powerful 135-watts-per-channel amplifier section carries THX-Select2 Plus Certification. Each of the seven amplifier sections employs the company's low-negative feedback Wide Range Amplifier Technology (WRAT) and three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry. In addition, TI Burr-Brown 192 kHz/24-bit DACs are used on each channel to ensure that all digital signals are accurately converted to analog sound.
The Onkyo TX-NR809 employs several different audio processing technologies to help improve room acoustics. The new Audyssey MultEQ XT room-correction technology allows full spectrum acoustic measurements from multiple locations. Audyssey Dynamic EQ provides loudness correction and Audyssey Dynamic Volume to maintain an optimal listening level and dynamic range. Home theater enthusiasts eager to explore expanded ambience with height and wide loudspeakers have the option of using Audyssey DSX high or wide channels or Dolby ProLogic IIz height channels. The receiver also includes Dolby Volume processing technology to optimize any listening level.
The TX-NR809 has one front- and seven rear-panel HDMI inputs, dual HDMI outputs with lossless audio processing using Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio Decoding. There’s also a full set of legacy analog and digital connections, including multi-channel audio, stereo, optical and coaxial digital inputs, even a phono input. There are two component video inputs, plus composite and S-Video inputs for four devices. It also has multichannel analog preamp outputs for possible use with a separate component power amplifier.
This receiver is certified for Windows 7 and the Digital Living Network Alliance, and it can play a variety of digital audio file formats via a home network or attached USB device. It’s capable of wireless connectivity via Onkyo's optional UFW-1 wireless USB adapter. An iPod or iPhone can easily be connected via the front-panel USB, or with optional dock, connected via Onkyo's proprietary Universal Port. This U-Port can also be used for an optional HD Radio Tuner and forthcoming wireless devices. The network connection provides Internet radio and streaming music services, with preformatted service packages for Mediafly, Pandora, Slacker, Napster, Rhapsody, vTuner, Sirius XM Internet Radio and Last.fm.
The TX-NR809 is Onkyo's first 2011 AV receiver to use a bidirectional, preprogrammed, and customizable RI remote control. When connected to the Internet, it maintains up-to-date RC control codes for connected devices. With the receiver's overlaid graphic menus, users can complete setups while viewing their program. The remote also includes macro presets for four activities. Additionally, the receiver has bi-directional Ethernet and RS232 ports for control, IR input and output, two 12-V triggers, firmware updates via Ethernet and USB, GUI Navigation via HDMI, powered Zone 2, and Zone 2/3 pre-outs.