Onkyo got its 2011 range of AV receivers off to a great start with the TX-NR609, which wowed us here at TrustedReviews towers with its lengthy feature list (including Spotify for the first time on an AV receiver), extraordinary sound quality and, most crucially, a very reasonable price given the sheer amount of goodies on board.
So it’s with a great deal of anticipation that we turn our attention to one of Onkyo’s step-up models, the TX-NR1009. It’s not quite the best AV receiver Onkyo has to offer (that honour goes to the TX-NR5009) but it’s just two steps down, meaning much of the spec will be similar. Its premium price tag gives Onkyo a chance to cut loose and show us what it’s really made of in terms of performance as well as throwing in its usual cavalcade of features.
It’s a 9.2-channel receiver with a colossal 180W per channel, a power rating that clearly satisfied the boffins at THX who have granted it THX Select2 Plus certification. That means it’s suitable for rooms up to 56 cubic metres, and you get a range of THX presets.
And if you’re wondering where all those extra channels are coming from, the TX-NR1009 adds a pair of surround back channels and a pair of front height and/or front width channels for use with the on-board ‘vertical’ sound modes, as well as a second subwoofer output for those moments when one bass box simply isn’t enough.
The design isn’t up to Marantz levels of gorgeousness but is elegant enough, looking like a piece of kit worthy of its price tag. It sports a fetching brushed black fascia with a relatively minimal layout and few controls or knobs to twiddle. The large, info-packed display panel is bookended by Standby and Pure Audio buttons at one end and a large illuminated volume dial at the other. There are input selection buttons on display too, but most of these are discreetly arranged in a row and don’t draw any attention.
However, flip open the flap at the bottom and you’ll uncover a treasure trove of buttons and sockets. These include menu controls, listening mode and zone selection keys, plus HDMI, USB, composite, optical digital audio and analogue stereo inputs.
Build quality is fantastic, inside and out. The bodywork is seriously sturdy and rigid, keeping vibration to a minimum, while on the inside the separate power and pre-amp blocks help keep interference at bay.
If you like lots of AV connections, the back panel will blow your mind. There’s a further seven HDMI ports on the back alongside two outputs, every single one of which is v1.4 and ready to channel high-bandwidth 3D images to a TV or anywhere else you care to send them.
There are more composite video, S-video, analogue stereo inputs than you’ll probably ever need, as well as two sets of component video inputs (and one output) and five digital audio inputs (three coaxial and two optical). These are joined by a set of 7.1-channel analogue inputs and 9.2-channel pre-outs. The unit supports bi-amping, and two pairs of outputs are provided to send audio to a second and third zone. Custom installers can make good use of the IR, 12V trigger, RS-232 and R1 remote control ports.
It doesn’t stop there either. You’ll find another USB port for playing back digital media, Onkyo’s proprietary Universal Port to connect optional peripherals like an iPod dock and DAB radio tuner, a D-sub 15-pin PC input and an Ethernet port.