Whether it’s spun, docked, streamed or plugged, Onkyo has a solution for just about any method of playing music, and the latest system to hit our test bench is one that pretty much does the lot. The Onkyo CR-N755 is a network hi-fi receiver that pretty much allows you to play music any which way you like – CD, USB, online streaming services, FM radio, external devices, Bluetooth or network. The only missing piece of the puzzle is a record player, but you could easily add one in.
If you hunt around, the CR-N755 receiver can be purchased with a pair of D-055 speakers as optional extras (for £150), but it’s also sold separately, allowing you to add your speakers of choice.If you're after some simpler, Apple centric devices, also consider the Onkyo ABX-N300, a sexy wireless music system with an Apple dock, and the Onkyo DS-A5, which provides a hassle-free way of adding Airplay to any sound system.
We were sent the receiver on its own, which is a beautifully built unit, made from a 1.2mm thick solid chassis, sturdy aluminium casing and gorgeous brushed metal faceplate.The large volume dial is robust and turns smoothly, while front panel buttons are firm and clicky. Every section is rigidly bolted together and the whole thing has a satisfying weightiness. The black finish makes it look sleek and stylish, but not exuberantly so, and there’s an alternative silver finish if you prefer.
On the front you’ll find a large LED display panel, with clear, crisp letters describing the selected input, volume and other key status info. If there are too many characters for the display width, the words scroll across. The slim CD tray is tucked discreetly below it, and surrounding these are buttons for Input, Tone, Return and playback. A small dial allows you to toggle through menu options on the display.
There’s also a USB port on the front panel, which can be used to connect storage devices and play music files, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack. The connections continue on the back panel with two analogue stereo inputs and one output, optical and coaxial digital audio inputs, a subwoofer pre-out and a 3.5mm minijack input. There’s a second USB port, which is useful as it allows you to connect Onkyo’s UWF-1 wireless LAN adapter or the UBT-1 Bluetooth adapter, providing two different ways of streaming music wirelessly to the unit.
The line up continues with an Ethernet port, the default method of connecting the CR-N755 to your network; a Remote Interactive (RI) port, which allows this unit to interact with other RI-compatible Onkyo devices like the DS-A5 dock; and FM/AM antenna inputs. Finally you’ll find two pairs of robust gold-plated binding posts for your speaker cables.
The CR-N755’s ability to play music from such a wide range of sources is its best asset. You can play CDs, plug an iPod, iPhone or flash drive into the front or back USB port or stream files from servers on your home network thanks to its DLNA v1.5 certification. Don’t forget that you can add Apple docking and AirPlay by purchasing Onkyo’s DS-A5 (£150).
As you’d expect the list of supported music formats via DLNA and USB is comprehensive – MP3, WMA Lossless, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, LPCM, Apple Lossless and DSD.
There’s also a wealth of online content to choose from, including Spotify, Simfy, AUPEO!, MP3tunes, Last.fm and vTuner, which puts thousands of internet radio stations at your disposal from all around the world. There are FM and AM radio tuners too but sadly not DAB.
The list of technology inside the CR-N755 underlines its audiophile intentions. The Three-Stage Inverted Darlington amp has filtered down from Onkyo’s high-end audio components, while noise is kept to a minimum through the use of a symmetrical channel layout and short signal paths between the amp and power supply stage. A 192kHz/24-bit audio DAC, Wide Band-Pass Filter, Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry, Phase-matching Bass Boost and Advanced Music Optimizer for compressed music files help enhance sound quality further.