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Onkyo TX-NR626 - Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips



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Onkyo TX-NR626 – Performance

If you like your movies to sound fast and furious then the Onkyo TX-NR626 is the AV receiver for you. With a quoted 160W per channel in the tank it has no trouble filling the room, and when playing Avatar on Blu-ray, it reproduces the action with such power and intensity that you come away feeling a little bit violated – in a good way, mostly.

Onkyo TX-NR626

The Battle For Pandora chapter perfectly demonstrates its potency. As the Na’vi launch their attack, crashing helicopters and machine gun fire sound brisk and forceful, while on the ground stampeding direhorses tear through the forest landscape with a frightening rumble. The score pumps away In the background with urgency and agility.

During set pieces like this, the excitement stakes are raised considerably by fast, smooth steering and accurate effects placement, which makes you feel immersed in sound. Meanwhile bass has excellent weight, while dialogue is consistently clear, authoritative and natural in tone.

Onkyo TX-NR626

The Onkyo TX-NR626 also digs out lots of detail. During the movie’s calm ‘First Sortie’ chapter, it unearths myriad sonic textures from the gentle flutter of helicopter blades to the rustle of plants and leaves as Jake brushes through them. Chattering creatures in the background emerge crisply from the rear speakers, making the soundstage feel open and spacious.

However, a slightly bright edge can be heard on upper-mid and high frequencies, which means it’s not quite the unmitigated success it could have been. We love the fire and intensity it brings to boisterous scenes but at times it gets a little brash – particularly with piercing effects like metal hitting metal – forcing us to reach for the volume. Such ferocity has always been the Onkyo way but here it occasionally oversteps the line.

That aside, it’s an assured performance, blessed with strength, subtlety and swagger.Onkyo TX-NR626

Should I buy the Onkyo TX-NR626?

You’d have to be insane not to consider the Onkyo TX-NR626 fantastic value for money. For a shade under £500 it’s crammed with eye-catching features – including built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, six HDMIs, 4K upscaling, internet music streaming and DLNA. That’s an impressive spec in anyone’s book – AirPlay, THX and Apple support via USB are the only major gaps.

And when playing movies it delivers a dynamic, detailed and well-organized soundstage, underpinned by the sort of aggression we’ve come to expect from Onkyo. A touch of brashness in the highs, particularly with the volume up loud, blots the copybook a little, but it’s not serious enough to deny it a decent score – particularly with such an attractive spec sheet to back it up.

Onkyo TX-NR626 – Verdict

An exciting, muscular performance and an extensive feature list make the TX-NR626 another impressive midrange AV receiver from the Onkyo stable, although sound quality isn’t quite as accomplished as its predecessors

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Value 9


January 9, 2014, 11:47 pm

The sound is certainly good on mine, but I found it complicated and confusing to set up, and the Zone 2 feature is worthless.

When setting it up, I wanted to send my Mac's digital out to the PC channel on the amp, but it didn't work until I found both places where I needed to specify this. It gave me a great deal of flexibility, but at the cost of a very confusing setup.

As for Zone 2, I was very disappointed to discover that it only works with analog or "on board" sources. This means it doesn't work with any of my inputs, all of which are digital. So it's worthless. It works with "on board" sources, like the built-in Pandora support, but that's about it. Zone 2 is also very complicated to use. There's a complicated sequence of button presses to make changes to anything in zone 2, and the different sequences are inconsistent with each other. I even have to follow a specific sequence to change the volume in Zone 2 from my remote, even though the remote has 2 volume buttons! The instructions often tell you to hit the volume button on the remote, but never tells you which one. As far as I can figure out, one of them isn't used for anything.

On top of all that, the buttons on the exterior are labeled with very faint text that's impossible to read without a strong light. They probably wanted the text to be unobtrusive visually, but they took it a bit too far. I'm very disappointed.

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