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Onkyo TX-NR609 - Features and Setup

By Danny Phillips


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Onkyo TX-NR609


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Spotify will be most people’s feature highlight given the growing popularity of this music streaming service, which puts something like 10 million songs at your disposal. It’s available with one press of a button and the interface is neatly integrated into the onscreen menu system. Music is organised into categories like What’s New and Starred, plus you can access playlists and view cover art. Integrating this feature into an AV receiver is an idea so brilliant that it’s a surprise that no-one’s done it before.

It’s joined in the network menu by a bunch of internet radio services including vTuner, Napster and Last.fm, plus the DLNA and Windows 7-certified NR609 allows you to stream your MP3, WMA, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, AAC and LPCM files.

The other big news is that this is the world’s first AV receiver to offer video upscaling to 3840 x 2160 (4K) resolution, courtesy of the built-in Marvell Qdeo chipset. Of course, that’s of no use to your current hi-def telly but with 4K sets on their way – including Toshiba’s glasses free TV, which they reckon will be out ‘in the next 12 months’ – it could have some practical use in the not-too-distant future, although we’d be curious to see how good a DVD picture upscaled to that sort of resolution can actually look. For now, it’ll also upscale SD video to the usual 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolutions.

Onkyo TX-NR609

Elsewhere the NR609’s THX Select2 Plus badge means it’s optimised for medium-sized rooms (up to 2,000 cubic feet) with a viewing distance of 10-12 feet or more from the screen. The amplifier musters a meaty 7 x 160W of power and the presence of two subwoofer pre-outs means bass junkies can hook up two subs for extra low-end firepower. There’s also a superb array of sound modes on board, spearheaded by a choice of two ‘vertical’ surround technologies, Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz. The former offers a choice of extra front height or front width channels, whereas the latter only provides front height. We’re not sure you need two modes that do essentially the same job, but the presence of both is another illustration of how far Onkyo pushes the boat out when it comes to features.

Alongside this fancy processing tech is a wide range of Onkyo’s own modes courtesy of the advanced 32-bit DSP chip, including four specifically designed for gaming, plus the Theater-Dimensional mode offers virtual surround and an Advanced Music Optimizer spruces up compressed audio.

When it comes to setup, the TX-NR609 is surprisingly straightforward, a far cry from the complex, impenetrable machines of yesteryear. Key to its success is the excellent onscreen menu, which uses a similar layout and colour scheme as the SR608 but with updated fonts that lend a little extra clarity to menus. It’s responsive too, and we had absolutely no trouble hooking up to a network and using the various web radio features.

Getting the sound just right is also a cinch thanks to the automated Audyssey 2EQ setup mode. It uses the supplied mic and test tones to ensure the correct settings for your speakers, plus it makes adjustments to counter any problems with acoustics. And when activated, Audyssey’s Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume constantly tweak the sound to maintain the correct volume and dynamic range.

The remote is the same as the TX-SR608’s, which isn’t a bad thing. A few keys are a little small for comfort but the essential controls are easy to locate and everything is clearly labelled. It’s also styled in a fetching gloss-black finish, which always looks good on the coffee table.

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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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