It includes every format currently available on the market, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, 4K pass-through with HDCP 2.2 with HDR10 and Dolby Vision compatibility. Onkyo has quite a few proprietary sound enhancement modes, such as Music Optimizer, and I was happy to test everything it had.
The Onkyo TX-NR676 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver offers multiple Dolby Atmos/DTS:X set up options, including front or rear height, front, middle, or rear ceiling, and options for up-firing speakers which Onkyo labels Dolby Speakers. In addition the Onkyo TX-NR676 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver also has the ability to easily stream Spotify, Tidal and Pandora for music on demand as well as Chromecast built-in, Wi-Fi, Air Play, and Bluetooth for music and media streaming to your theater.
Onkyo TX-NR676 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver
- Dolby Atmos 5.2.2 processing
- DTS:X processing
- 7 channel assignable amps; including Zone 2 and Bi-Amp
- HDMI 7 in / 2 out including 1 Front with HDCP 2.2 and HDR
- 4K pass-through
- Chromecast built-in
- Intuitive GUI
- AccuEQ system calibration
- AccuReflex for Dolby Atmos/DTS:X calibration
- Built in Wi-Fi with easy access to Spotify, Tidal, Pandora and more
Onkyo had a phenomenal press release about their new midrange priced receivers, the TX-NR575 and the focus of this review the TX-NR 676, you can read it here. Since 1946, Onkyo has been passionately committed to developing audio products that deliver uncommon performance, quality, and value. Bundling proprietary technologies and innovations with other sound-enhancing exclusives, Onkyo continues to create award-winning products that are lauded by many industry-leading publications. The company’s philosophy is to deliver products that are superbly designed and built to a consistently outstanding standard of excellence. The results can be seen in the obvious quality of any Onkyo-manufactured product, even before it is turned on. Visit Onkyo’s website at www.onkyousa.com. Follow Onkyo USA at Facebook.
7.2 channel home theater receiver
AKM AK4458 384 kHz
32 bit processing engine
SURROUND CODES AND LISTENING MODES:
Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DD Plus, DTS:X, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS Neural:X, Onkyo Game Surround Modes
RATED POWER OUTPUT:
170 watts 1 channel driven @ 1% THD into 6 Ohms 1kHz FTC; 100 watts 2 channels driven @ 0.08% THD into 8 Ohms, FTC
NUMBER OF ZONES:
AccuEQ Room Calibration with AccuReflex phase calibration for object based audio
HDMI (7 rear HDMI 1-3 support 4K/60 Hz w/ HDCP 2.2 & HDR, 1 front HDMI w/ HDCP 2.2 & HDR), Component video (2), Composite video (2), SPDIF Coax (1) Toslink (2), RCA Analog rear (7), front (1), USB 2.0 rear (1), Phono M/M (1)
HDMI (1 main with ARC support, 1 sub for projector), Analog Subwoofer (2), Zone 2 analog (1), digital (1), Speaker Terminals (9 pair, 2 pair used for 7.1 or Atmos or Bi-Amp, 2 pair for powered Zone 2)
FM/AM 40 Presets
Remote Control, calibration microphone, Wi-Fi antennas, Tuner antennas
17 1/8" x 6 13/16" x 14 7/8" (435 x 173.5 x 378 mm)
Onkyo, TX-NR756, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Home Theater, Chromecast, Network, Receiver Reviews 2017
Onkyo has long been highly regarded for their renowned sound quality and attention to detail in builds and the TX-NR676 looks to continue that tradition, so I was interested to see if it was at all possible for a receiver in this price range, while blowing away my receiver for features, would be able to keep up in clarity and headroom with the amps. When the box was delivered to my home, I was shocked at the weight while carrying it in, it had far more heft than I was expecting. The specs state that there is 210 watts per channel, which raised my eyebrows a bit, and they went right back down again when, as suspected, it was at 6 ohms at 1kHz with 10% THD!!! with 1 channel driven. Upon looking for a more realistic number, I found the amp section rated at 100 watts per channel at 8 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, with 2 channels driven FTC. The recent redesign of Onkyo receivers has been a success in my eyes, the front panel had only the buttons I found useful such as direct access to a source, a large volume knob, power on/off and listening mode control. There is one front A/V input for the calibration microphone, 3.5mm audio jack and HDMI, however I feel the design could have looked just a little bit sharper if that was behind a door. Having 5 kids in the house means I have to either listen at very low volumes at night, or my preference which is to use audiophile headphones and I was happy to find a ¼” jack easily accessible on the front.
The layout on the rear is clean, well designed, and not overly cluttered by the overuse of redundant analog inputs that the majority of users in this mid-level range are not apt to use. Inputs include 7 HDMI w/ 2 outputs, 8 analog audio, 3 digital audio (2 Optical, 1 Coax), a USB input, 2 component video and 2 composite video. What really caught my eye was the inclusion of a MM phono input at this price range, having tested receivers 5x the cost that don’t include phono. While there is no video upscaling, I was pleased to see the inclusion of 4K/60 Hz passthru with HDCP 2.2 protection and both HDR10 and Dolby Vision supported. With the inclusion of premium quality AK4458 384 kHz/32 bit DAC I was looking forward to listening to some SACD’s and TIDAL streaming music. Also included was AccuEQ and AccuReflex, Onkyo’s version of room calibration software.
Most of the equipment I use has HDMI outputs, sans the JVC D-Theater and my turntable. The Onkyo has a total of 7, 6 of them in the back and 1 on the front panel. I started by connecting my Blu-ray player, STB, AppleTV, video game source, SACD player, HD-DVD player, the aforementioned JVC, and my turntable. Once all those were connected to the matching input labels in the rear, I tried to connect my speakers using my normal speaker cable, however the binding posts will not accept audiophile quality cables, in using other cables I found 16 gauge to be tight, 18 gauge would be much easier to install if using bare wire. The binding posts are tightly packed so getting bare wire in at the 45 degree angle proved to be a bit tough, I found it much simpler to just use banana plugs and everything went together perfectly. I was pleased by the silk screened lettering in white clearly designating where each speaker cable was to go, including labels for rear surround, bi-amp or height speaker use on the same binding post pairs.
While I never look at set up or owners manuals when doing reviews, I did this time as the Onkyo unit had a lot of technical terms I wasn’t up to speed on. The quick set up guide is more than adequate for new owners to be able to run all their equipment properly, the users guide was nothing more than a more detailed explanation of set up procedures and gave me no information about all the interesting terms I was looking for more information on. So off to their website I went to get the information I was looking for about things such as; Dynamic Audio Amplification, Fire Connect with Blackfire, and Play Fi. Awhile back I began purchasing all new movies in 4K simply because they came with the Blu-Ray version as well, but since getting them I’ve been more than anxious to try out Dolby Atmos/DTS:X and this receiver came packaged ready to rock at either 7.2 (the .2 sub signal is the same for both outputs, however my set up is 7.1) or 5.2.2 which is what I was most excited about testing. Additional speaker set up options include 5.2 with 2 channels for a separate zone, or using the additional 2 channels to bi-amp the front speakers, which I was going to test as well.
I have spent a lot of time, effort, and patience in setting up my room using SPL, RTA, and FFT analysis to EQ room issues with notch filters and other corrective measures, so I was interested to see how AccuEQ, which is the automatic calibration system for Onkyo, would fare upon set-up. I plugged in the included mic and left the room to let AccuEQ run through the process. Upon return I went through the settings and found that the system set all speakers to small with a 40 Hz crossover on the front 3 and the rear set to 50 Hz, which I hadn’t expected, as my Definitive Technology system consists of BP7001SC front, CLR3000 center, BPVX/P sides, and BP7002 rear, and a Sunfire Signature True sub. While I don’t run them full range in my system, I do however cross over the fronts at 40 Hz, and the rest at 60 Hz so I was pleased to see how well the calibration set up crossovers and distance settings. However, what I was most impressed with was the difference in sound from the before and after calibration set-up. I brought out my test equipment, and to my absolute amazement, what took me hundreds of hours of trial and error and listening tests to achieve, AccuEQ got very close but did it in less than 30 mins. To be able to test using overhead speakers, and since the system only allows 2 channels of height amplification, I did something highly irregular, I used my bipolar side speakers and went through the tedious task of setting them up in 3 of the 7 different height settings that the receiver will allow. I ran them middle overhead, rear overhead, and rear height. I then ran AccuEQ again but this time the system ran AccuReflex which is the calibration system to recognize and properly set up speakers for overhead effects.
My B&K AVR 507 receiver has been a very difficult piece for me to let go of for many reasons; amazing build quality with ample amounts of power, phenomenal levels of adjustability for room nodes, 7 channel s of DTS and Dolby surround formats, but the main reason it is still in use is due to the unrivaled sound of B&K products. What was once reserved for the upper echelon of high end Pioneer, Denon, and Onkyo units costing thousands of dollars, is now available in units, sub $1000, and the unit I have now added to my equipment rack has every advanced format available for the unreal price of $699!!! I could not have been more excited than to have been asked to review an insane amount of technology, for a price that just a couple years ago was impossible to achieve, kudos to Onkyo for the incredible TX-NR676, a piece of gear that I suspect will be hard to return after the review is finished.
With set up done, I grabbed some music, set up both Spotify and Tidal, and sat down to listen. While being able to log in directly to your accounts using Chromecast built-in and a Wi-Fi connection, logging in was incredibly tedious having to use the remote with a virtual keyboard for account name and password, which takes a long time for each program you wish to use. Having a voice program for entry, such as Apple’s use of Siri on Apple TV, would make set up a more pleasant experience. That aside, while having logged in to multiple programs I subscribe to, I ended up only using Tidal, which I can’t recommend enough, as the Hi-Res music program is head and shoulders above other music sites.
However, first up was the SACD of Norah Jones’s debut album and her voice sounded flawless at low volumes, but what made me happy was the lack of noise and absolute quiet in between passages when playing at reference level volume.
I found a little bit lacking was the small sounds I love to hear, such as fingers moving across strings, hands moving up and down piano keys, and the ability to close my eyes and place each instrument exactly where they recorded from. Bass notes were tight and controlled, however when first listening the bass seemed over emphasized, in checking the settings the auto-calibration set up the sub at 12 while I manually set mine to 5, and once backing it down to 6, the bass was absolutely tight and fully in sync with midrange transitions.
Next up was some Jason Aldean to turn up the volume and get the house rockin’.
I never sensed the amps straining to play at high volumes, or the distortion that so often happens when you push too hard with little to no headroom, and I believe part of that to be due to the fact that each Def Tech speaker has a powered sub built in, and they are very efficient, so little power is needed for ear bleeding sound to piss off the neighbors. Aldean’s music includes heavy use of electric guitar and drums, which when using low quality pre-amps or amps will cause everything to sound blended and mostly just noise. Using AccuEQ’s calibrated EQ settings, I was able to make small changes to clean up the sound and save it in one of the three user custom presets.
Moving on, I downloaded some 192/24 and 96/24 tracks from HDtracks.com to see if there was any difference in sound quality, and while listening to Gentle On My Mind by Alison Krauss from the Windy City album, the wispy and mesmerizing soothing of her voice was as clear as one could hope for.
Breathe by Faith Hill was so clear you could hear her breath at the end of a phrase, however I was still missing the sounds of finger transitions on acoustic guitar during quiet passages. The final listening test would come from vinyl.
I have a collection of well over 5000 albums, and while I love the sound and portability of Hi-Res downloads, for me there is still nothing like vinyl. Because my turntable is in my audio room, this would also be a good test of the amps power ratings, as my Martin Logan Request stats are very amp picky and drop into 2 ohm loads at high frequencies. I have been running the turntable into my classic Pioneer Series C20 pre-amp, which then runs to my Emotiva amp. I spend more time in this room than my theater room, so I am more than intimate with the correct sound I spent hours on hours moving the ML’s around to achieve. I tried a tube amp which failed miserably, but the Emotiva does everything I could ask, from tight bass, to wide open mids, and crystal clear highs.
Using the phono input on the Onkyo, it was very apparent this combination was not a good fit, as the ML’s are power hungry and it couldn’t keep up.
It made a difference using the bi-amp option which helped the ML’s keep the bass surprisingly tight, however ML’s are notoriously finicky about mid-range sounds and vocals and using the Onkyo it became apparent why as everything sounded “chesty”, like when a singer holds the mic down by their chest instead of using the mic closely which creates a far cleaner sound. I ran through album after album but it was the same every time, Alison Krause lost her signature wispy sound, Garth lost his noted hanging sibilance and to me this was just not a good fit until I heard the sound quality difference when activating the Music Optimizer button on the front panel. While this is supposed to enhance compressed digital tracks, it seems to use some kind of dynamic EQ’ing, it worked incredible on vinyl, tightening up the bass and adding clarity to mid-range voices that I had not heard before.
However, the average buyer of this receiver will not be listening to $5000 speakers with vinyl as their primary source, which meant only one thing, to do what this receiver came to do; rock my home theater. Movies included John Wick 1 & 2, Assassin’s Creed, and one of my all-time favorites, the 25th anniversary release of Top Gun . All 4 of the movies have very unique sound tracks, ranging from subtle use of wide open sound and space in the Animus scenes of Assassins Creed , to non-stop fast action flight scenes in Top Gun. I watched the movies using my Xbox One S through the 4K pass-through and then watched the same scenes with the HDMI connected directly to the TV and there was absolutely no discernable loss in picture quality. Wanting to test my Atmos set up, first up was the John Wick series back to back to test Atmos vs my usual 7.1 set ups. The use of Atmos for height was used somewhat liberally in both movies; most noticeable both times that John is caught inside abandoned cathedrals and warehouses, creating an immense feeling of being somewhere else. With my theater walls being black, dark gray carpet, and any lack of light, it was easy to feel somewhere else in the darkness.
Assassin’s Creed is a very original movie idea and is actually really well done. I enjoyed the movie so much I bought as it also happens to be my 14 year old daughters’ current favorite. We viewed the movie together and I watched her turn her head multiple times in response to the amazing surround soundtrack with occasional voices from prisoners to wind blowing, horses galloping, thrown weapons, punches, kicks, breaking furniture, breaking bones – there are so many effects picked up by the surround speakers you are left feeling pummelled.. There is a lot of activity in the back 4 speakers and this is a demo worthy 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack. This is one movie I will have to repurchase in 4K and test the Atmos soundtrack and Dolby TrueHD soundtrack.
And finally, I used the 25th anniversary Blu-ray of Top Gun which has an excellent 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack, although they could’ve cleaned up the picture quality a bit, as there is a lot of noticeable grain in some of the flight scenes over the desert. As I know this soundtrack intimately as best I can count, I’ve watched it over 100 times on many formats including VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and now Blu-ray.
As I’ve stated many times throughout the review, Onkyo tends to favor bass in this unit though it was incredibly tight and controlled and the music tracks blew away the Hi-Res 44.1/24 CD soundtrack I downloaded from HDtracks.com.
I will finish with some information about the remote. I immediately liked the small feel in my hands, but that also meant very small buttons. While the bright white lettering does stand out, I had to strain a bit at times. The inclusion of every valuable button for short cuts and direct input changes was there, I didn’t see anything I was missing. My favorite part of the remote was the center placed volume button with nothing surrounding it, it sits all alone and easy to use in the dark. I would like to see backlighting however at this price point I can’t think of any companies offering backlighting on their remotes.
THE ONKYO TX-NR676 offers an audiophile quality amp, every current audio format, 4K pass-through with all the necessary protection and HDR formats.
- Supports 5.2.2-Channel Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X™ Playback
- 100 W per Channel
- HDMI 7 In (1 Front*1) / Main Out, and Sub Out*2 Supporting 4K/60 Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision™, BT.2020, and HDCP 2.2 Pass-through
- Dynamic Audio Amplification with 4-Ohm Speaker-driving Capability
- 384 kHz/32-bit DAC and VLSC™ Filtering for Superior Clarity
- Ready for Chromecast built-in*3 and DTS Play-Fi*3
- Dual-band Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Spotify®, TIDAL, Deezer, Pandora®, TuneIn*4
- FireConnect™*5 Wireless Multi-room Audio
- Backlit remote
- Ability to get deep into menus (esp for music) without having to use GUI
- Improved binding posts with more spacing
I was very impressed in my home theater, the only downside was the inability to drive my large electrostats, though this isn’t the first amp that couldn’t.
While the mid-range priced receiver market is the most competitive and sought out range for purchase by consumers, the Onkyo TX-NR676 stands out in the crowd due to the emphasis on sound quality. It took everything I could throw at it and kept asking for more, with the Music Optimizer feature cleaning up not only compressed audio tracks but my vinyl as well. Onkyos’ Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry (VLSC), which takes the signal and completely removes pulse noise generated by the digital to analog conversion, made a noticeable difference in sound when comparing to high end external DAC’s I had on hand, allowing music played through the USB input to sound closer to pure analog such as high end tape or vinyl. The few times it didn’t satisfy me musically was due to comparison with products costing 10x as much, or pushing it far past what the general consumer would likely not push to. I highly recommend this unit and I will be sad to see it go.