The TX-NR709 is the step-up version of the TX-NR609, which is the latest in a long line of great-value AV receivers from Onkyo to effortlessly combine top-drawer performance with an extensive feature list. Being the step up model, the NR709 boasts even more features, connections and power, making it even more formidable on paper, but with a higher price it’s aimed at AV aficionados. Like the TX-NR609 it’s a 7.2-channel affair, but key upgrades from the NR609 include a beefier 170W per channel, a few extra features and extra HDMIs.
Visually it’s very similar to the TX-N609 and TX-NR1009. Our sample comes in a sleek black finish, but it’s also available in silver, and although it’s a far cry from the sexy slimness of Marantz’s NR1602 the bodywork isn’t too heavy or imposing. The front panel packs in a lot of clutter but Onkyo has cleverly disguised much of it by placing the source select buttons in a ridge along the front. Elsewhere the large illuminated volume dial dominates the top left, there are composite, USB, HDMI, setup mic and headphones inputs scattered along the bottom and the top-centre display panel makes all the crucial information easy to read.
The rear panel is textbook. It offers all the sockets you need and plenty of them, with no less than eight HDMI inputs (including the one on the front), and if that’s not enough for all your kit then you need to get out more my friend. The best part is that they’re all v1.4, so if you have designs on a shiny new 3D TV and Blu-ray deck, you can rest assured that they’ll all work together harmoniously. There are also two HDMI outputs, stepping up from one on the NR609.
Elsewhere there are five digital audio inputs (three coaxial, two optical) and more component, composite, S-video and analogue stereo inputs than you’ll know what to do with. Significantly, this deck is geared more towards old-school audioheads than the NR609 with its 7.1-channel analogue inputs, 7.2-channel pre-outs and phono input for a turntable. A Zone 2 output is provided alongside sockets for custom install use (IR in, 12V trigger, RIHD remote control and RS232). You even get a 15-pin D-sub input for your PC, an Ethernet port for the on-board networking features and a universal port for Onkyo’s UP-A1 iPod dock or UP-DT1 DAB module. Happy days.