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Onkyo TX-NR906 AV Receiver review



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Onkyo TX-NR906 AV Receiver


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Not so long ago we cast our eyes (and ears) over Onkyo's TX-SR576, a great value entry-level receiver that offers Dolby Digital Plus decoding and superb audio performance for the money. But Onkyo's ability to deliver this sort of amazing sound quality at the lower end of the price scale left us tingling with excitement at the prospect of what its high-end models are capable of - and now we've got the chance to find out with the TX-NR906.

It's the replacement for the universally adored TX-NR905 and as you'd expect for a receiver costing well over a grand, its specification is absolutely staggering, providing the perfect demonstration of how today's AV receivers have gone from simply decoding movie soundtracks to performing a wide range of essential functions, not all of which are audio related.

Perhaps the most impressive of its talents is its networking capability (indicated by the ‘N' in the model name), which allows you to stream MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, FLAC, and Ogg Vorbis audio tracks from a networked PC, as well as listen to internet radio stations using the vTuner portal.

And like many of today's AV receivers, the Onkyo boasts 1080p video upscaling, but this is no ordinary upscaler - at its heart is the HQV Reon-VX chipset from Silicon Optix, recognised as one of the world's most advanced video processors. Most companies would stop there, but not Onkyo - the TX-NR906 is also the world's first AV receiver to feature video calibration facilities courtesy of the Imaging Science Foundation, which allow you to tweak the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and gamma levels on each video input.

But audio is the TX-NR906's raison d'être, and on that score it leaves no stone unturned. It blasts out 7 x 230W of room-filling power and is equipped with three Texas Instruments Aureus 32-bit DSP chips, which allow the unit to decode any format you throw at it, including Dolby True HD, DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS HD. It also gets the George Lucas seal of approval with its THX Ultra2 Plus certification, which incorporates THX Loudness Plus technology - a new processing algorithm that enhances sound at low volumes.

You'll also find a wealth of other audio wizardry courtesy of Audyssey, including a MultiEQ XT mode that checks the characteristics of your room and system (number of speakers, their size, distance from the listening position and crossover frequencies) using test tones and a setup microphone placed at up to eight positions around the room, before automatically setting the optimum EQ levels. This can be used in conjunction with Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ, which process the sound in real time to level out the varying volume levels of different types of material, and to maintain consistent sound quality when the volume is adjusted.

The scary thing is that these are merely the highlights - there's a plethora of other listening modes and high-powered audio circuitry on board, and we'd need a separate website to list them all (check Onkyo's website for a full spec run-down).

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Hans Gruber

October 11, 2008, 6:01 am

Safe to say, you like this then. Even if it is a tad on the expensive side.

Chris Beach

October 11, 2008, 3:18 pm

well compared to the equivalent Denon or Yamaha its not actually that bad price wise.

My 705 was the cheapest of the three in the same feature set, in fact the onkyo trumped the Yammy (my previous make) in the video stakes.

Hans Gruber

October 11, 2008, 9:22 pm

How long, on average, would something like this sit in the average AV user's living room I wonder? I guess that's a better measure of economy:performance.

Note to TR staff: As an old Forum user, I can't sign up and re-register since my email provider is no longer accepted. Could you either provide a list of acceptable free domains as a forum post or um, re-enable some of the major free ones? Thanks.

Danny P

October 12, 2008, 2:15 am

Yes I absolutely loved it - it really is an awesome piece of kit.


October 31, 2008, 1:59 pm

I am considering buying one of these, but have heard the Onkyo's have a tendency to run quite hot? I wondered whether Danny could comment on this and how quietly it runs?

Paul Bishop

November 3, 2008, 8:06 am

I have observed many folks making comment about higher power recievers running hot. Well the answer must be yes... This Onkyo is 7 channels x 230 watts.. 1630 watts !!! put 16 100 watt light bulbs in a box the same size and see if the box remains cool!!!! If it did run cool then I would want my money back. I paid dearly for real power.. not just some phoney number.. BTW. I do have a onkyo 700 series it is just great.. It lives upto everything it claimed it would..

Nice Guy

November 26, 2008, 6:49 am

I have an NR906 and the reason I 'took the plunge' on a complex piece of kit was my experience with Onkyo. It is a seriously reliable and well built product...across the range. Onkyo reminds me of a company that spends all its money developping a product and leaves nothing in the kitty to market its virtues. Not a criticism, opposite infact, it makes it appealing to people who do a bit of research.


December 26, 2008, 9:28 pm

I have a question, I'm considering buying NR906, I wanted to ask what speakers are recommended for the NR906.


February 22, 2009, 9:58 am

Hey, Danny P, great review! I'm trying to decide between this receiver and Pioneer's SC-07. Any chance you will be reviewing that receiver? Or perhaps comparing the two?



June 29, 2009, 3:57 pm

Well I bought it after a long research on the net and reading users and professional reviews. I got it to replace my good old Kenwood receiver which served me for more than 13 years and still kicking good sound. I got the TX 906 to work with my old set of Bose speakers 601-series 3 + 301- series 3 + Kenwood wide center speaker and I added Bose 161 to complete the 7.1 formation along with Samsung LCD series 6 (Full HD). With the automatic set-up, I got a very low sound out-put, which give me a scare. After a call to the distributor/dealer technical adviser, I changed the set-up manually and I got the sound right with setting the picture to 1080p. It worked fine with my DVD and PS3 in term of sound, but the picture up grading did not really work which was the main purpose of the investment. I was very impressed with my old speakers as they giving me enough base eliminating the need for an additional subwoofer, but then I added Yamaha 900SW

not to give the system an execuse. All the surround sound options are available depending on the sources, i.e. you don???t get all options for all type of sources which defeats the purpose of buying it. I was disappointed with picture up-scaling which was the main reason for buying it to watch my old home movies (which were transferred into DVDs) with in HD resolution, but no effect what so ever. In general, the receiver delivers part of what it promise to do which I assume other in the same caliber will do the same since they all use the same technology (chips). To be fare, it did up-scalling on the analog sattelite receiver, but not on CDs,DVDs & VHS.If anybody can recommend anything to improve the picture up-scaling from any source and how to get DTS, DTS trueHD...etc., please do.


July 29, 2014, 8:08 pm

I've had my Onkyo TX-NR906 A/V receiver for five years now and I've had problems with it the last nine months. The receiver started popping through my speakers and occasionally a loud blurting sound would come from the speakers and scare the hell out of everybody in the room. Now I lose sound in my right channel after it pops for a few minutes, and then I eventually lose sound altogether. Onkyo technical support basically suggested I reset it which I've done several times now. They emailed me a firmware update which they were not very comfortable with. It did not work twice. I've done all the normal troubleshooting like check all connecting cables, and bypassed the receiver by running my satellite dish Tivo directly to my TV and problems stopped. So I know the problem is with the Onkyo. Onkyo tech-support thinks it may be a digital signal processor DSP (which I believe should not go out after only five years). THIS WAS A $2000 RECEIVER! And yes, I do experience the same problem with heat, so I connected a PC fan to the 12 V trigger and run it automatically when I power the AVR up. I regret purchasing this receiver because I now have to send it off for an expensive repair or buy a new one.

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