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Onkyo TX-NR609 - Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips


  • Editors choice
Onkyo TX-NR609


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With so many features to cram into the TX-NR609, it’s amazing that Onkyo’s engineers had any time to get it sounding as good as it does. Its performance with our Blu-ray test discs is awesome, achieving levels of power, precision and clarity that you might not expect from a midrange receiver.

We started with Avatar, and the relish with which the Onkyo gets stuck into its big battle sequences is infectious and downright exhilarating. The deep muscular sound of the army’s missiles blasting chunks out of the Pandoran forest will leave you (and your neighbours) breathless, backed up by crisp high frequencies, clear, direct speech reproduction and a sense of scale and surround imaging that brings you closer than ever to the real cinema experience.

Onkyo TX-NR609

Iron Man 2’s Monaco Grand Prix scene is equally impressive, showcasing not only the Onkyo’s muscularity but also its consummate control, which stops the scene’s brutal effects from straining or sounding harsh at high volumes. So as a result, the roaring, raspy engines of the F1 cars sound ferocious, sliced-up cars hit the ground with a convincingly solid metallic crash and effects are masterfully steered around the expansive soundstage. Onkyo’s sound is smoother and easier on the ear than previous generations, and that’s in evidence once again, but not at the expense of dynamism or attack.

It also shows great subtlety when conveying calmer scenes with lots of delicate detail or gentle ambience in the background. It easily teases out these sounds, giving the impression of depth and texture that makes it wonderfully immersive.

With music, a little more finesse wouldn’t go amiss just to tease out those some of those finer musical details with demanding material, but unless you’re a staunch audiophile you’re unlikely to be disappointed by the Onkyo’s handling of SACD and CDs. There’s a lovely sense of balance across the frequency range, while the inherent smoothness and warmth shines through, even when using it without a subwoofer.


We didn’t think it was possible for Onkyo to improve on the superb TX-SR608 but incredibly it has. Everything we loved about last year’s model can be found on the TX-NR609 but mixed in with a bunch of new features that feel like so much more than mere gimmickry – network functionality is enormously useful, and there’s real longevity and value in having Spotify on board.

And don’t forget that it’s THX Select2 Plus certified, supports iPods, plays a wide range of audio formats from USB devices and offers loads of connections and processing modes – not to mention automatic setup, terrific onscreen menus and 3840 x 2160 upscaling, which may not be useful now but might be when 4K TVs inevitably become the norm. With this sort of spec sheet you’d expect it to cost a lot more, so at around £500 the TX-NR609 feels like a real bargain.

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May 6, 2011, 8:46 pm

Hmm i'm never convinced by your Hi-fi reveiws, Onkyo's you have reveiwed well in the past actually in action in a average size room have been underwealming. Mostly Due to poor power supplies meaning they reach no where near there output figures and they struggle with reasonable size speakers.

Will be interested when there are more private reveiwers to see if this is the same.


May 7, 2011, 2:24 am

You can currently get a 608 for £330 very easily, and I got one for £290 last Monday.

I'd seen that the 609 had come out, but when I compared the specs there certainly wasn't £170-worth of differences.

For the USB play, if I decide I really want that, I'll probably be better off spending the £210 I saved on a DACMagic.

The network play is interesting, but personally I think that a PC UI will be better than one built into an amp. With services like Spotify the UI is crucial.

I'm very happy with the 608 so far by the way; an absolute bargain for the price. Get 'em while you can; they're starting to get scarce.


May 7, 2011, 3:52 am

"Attractive new external design"

Sorry, I know that is totally subjective, but compared with what exactly? Their hideous old units? Perhaps (I have a 605 btw). But compared with a Denon, Pioneer or Yamaha they look truly ugly. Actually I'd go as far as to say I personally prefer the look of Onkyo's older units...

I know performance, value and features are far more important but I don't think its wrong to want something to look reasonably attractive in your AV rack as well.

Ricardo Gonzalez

August 31, 2011, 11:47 pm

It my first ONKYO and being honest I think I play bad luck but...

Yesterday in the noon FedEx left my the new Onkyo TX-NR609, I was very happy for these, but after hours for read the manual, and connect the new AV Home theater, all the family has a big surprise, The sound reproduction is very, very bad, it was frustrating as the past 6 hours after work in the installation and calibration of equipment the sound is very low quality, lack of power in the sound volume, follow all instructions in the manual I and my child repeat them several times, we got the internet to research how to solve the problem, see if the problem of calibration of equipment and apparently is not, it's just that this ONKYO plays a total lack of brilliant sound and quality. I feel frustrated and not to do, maybe I could give advice on what to do with the TX-NR609.

Currently I have a T.V. Vizio LCD 42 "120 hz and a Home Theater brand JAMO DVR-50 ( http://www.jamo.com/na-en/products/dvr-50-description/ ) model with 2 Bose front speakers and 2 rear speakers, 1 front and Sub Boofer JAMO ( http://www.amazon.com/Jamo-A340-HCS7-Theater-Speaker/dp/B001211V5E ).

The Onkyo can not do the up scaling 4k, when is connect to Sat dish for a regular sound in TV program you need to put up 50% a loud volume. well One of the must important thing because I brought the Onkyo was for Marvel Qdeo chips but really doesn't work well, The PS3 has a better upscaling than onkyo.

Good Luck!


November 7, 2011, 4:37 am

10 out 0ff 10??? are you saying it sounds better then the NADT748? Which got a 8 out off 10 I think you need a hearing test. I have not heard a good Onkyo yet and this one sounds how it looks bloody horrible

Shawn OBrien

January 13, 2014, 9:02 pm

This model is prone to issues with the HDMI board losing all sound. It happens right at 2 years so it could be a intentional fault, it seems to be very common at 2 years! The recourse is 300 quid repair or a 300$ trade in for a new one.

Edgar Rollins

January 23, 2014, 2:49 pm

Just started doing this.Just purchased a new HDMI cable hoping that was the problem.Any solution for this ?Should i use rca cables .


January 24, 2014, 4:55 pm

No. you have to get the HDMI board replaced. If you call the company (or look on line) they will authorize a free repair as they know this is their problem. Even if its out of warranty. I think they did right by me. I am still waiting for repair as it will take a month.
You can try to replace the board yourself. I am sure its doable with a little effort on your part.

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