Onkyo introduces two network AV receivers that do several interesting things

Sections: Receivers, Uncategorized

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The Onkyo TX-NR838 network AV receiver

The Onkyo TX-NR838 network AV receiver

It’s always a good day for home audio when Onkyo announces a new AV receiver, let alone two. And that’s exactly what’s going down.

The TX-NR737 and TX-NR838 are “network AV receivers” that fit into the midrange section of Onkyo’s line. They’re each THX Select2 Plus-certified, which basically means they’re exceptional at producing high volume with minimal distortion.

So what’s the “network” part of their name mean? Basically, it means they’ve got built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and DLNA compatibility. You can stream high-res music files from PCs or media servers, again controllable through the smartphone app. Onkyo says file formats including 5.6 MHz DSD, Dolby TrueHD, and gapless 192 kHz/24-bit FLAC and WAV are supported. And of course, you can stream music from your smartphone or tablet to the receivers via WiFi or Bluetooth. App support for Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, Slacker, AUPEO! and TuneIn Radio is standard too.

If you’re into vinyl and analog audio, this is really cool: On the TX-NR838, you can select “Pure Direct Analog Path” mode and physically shut down all of receiver’s digital circuitry, so you have a pure analog path from the source to the receiver to the speakers. This mode essentially turns the TX-NR838 into a pure-analog power amp for as long as you’d like it to be.

Back panel of the Onkyo TX-NR838

Back panel of the Onkyo TX-NR838

Both receivers feature seven HDMI inputs — six rear, one front — two HDMI outputs. Four of the rear HDMI inputs and the front input support Ultra HD video at 60 frames per second. Both receivers feature HDCP 2.2 compatibility on one HDMI input and Main Out, which enables you to play copy-protected Ultra HD and HD video content. (Onkyo says many receivers without HDCP 2.2 can only pass-through such content in standard def.) The receivers also upscale low-def video to HD or Ultra HD.

The TX-NR838 not only provides two zones of audio, but also two zones of high-def video, controllable via a smartphone app. It also features 7.2 multichannel pre-outs, five digital audio inputs, and a 12 V trigger-out for Zone 2 audio.

An interesting feature of the receivers is “high instantaneous current,” which the company says “realizes ultimate speaker control for uncommonly accurate and musical audio reproduction, while effortlessly handling impedance fluctuations and the sudden dynamic changes common to movie soundtracks.”

Here’s some additional jargon that might be of interest to you: The receivers’ Wide Range Amplifier Technology (WRAT) “provides a custom high-output transformer, extra-large customized capacitors, and low-impedance copper bus-plates,” while their Three-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry amplification provides “a discrete low-impedance output stage with high-current transistors for instantaneous power and extremely low distortion.” They also feature dual Digital Signal Processing (DSP) engines and 192 kHz/24-bit Burr-Brown D/A conversion, along with Onkyo’s proprietary AccuEQ room calibration for balanced surround-sound performance. Their Advanced Music Optimizer DSP enhances the quality of compressed Bluetooth audio.

The TX-NR737 and TX-NR838 will be available in May, with suggested retail prices of $899 and $1,199, respectively.

More specs here.

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