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.
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.
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.
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.
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