The Japanese manufacturer Onkyo has revealed three new A/V receivers: the TX-SR393, TX-SR494 and TX-NR696. These are competitively priced Dolby Atmos 3.2.2 and 126.96.36.199 channel models that are compatible with the latest multi-channel audio formats and 4K HDR UHD video.
The TX-SR393 and TX-SR494 receivers are an overhaul of the Osakan company’s entry-level line-up. The key change is compatibility with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X tracks. These two models also stand apart thanks to their number of powered channels: 5 x 135 Watts for the TX-SR393 and 7 x 135 Watts (6Ω, 1hKz, 1% THD, 1 driven channel, IEC) for the TX-SR494. Therefore, the Onkyo TX-SR393 can be used for a 5.2 channel or 3.2.2 channel home theater system to enjoy Dolby Atmos and DTS:X tracks. The TX-SR494 stretches this configuration to 7.2 channels or 5.2.2 channels in Atmos. They handle all recent audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS-X, but also older formats such as Dolby True HD, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-ES, etc.
In a smaller footprint, the Onkyo TX-SR393 and TX-SR494 receivers now include the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual:X technologies which emulate surround sound and Atmos effects with a 2.1 channel home theater system without having to install speakers behind the listening area or on the ceiling. They are also equipped with the brand’s AccuEQ automatic calibration system to optimize the speakers’ restitution for the room’s acoustic properties and the listener’s position.
When it comes to picture, the two receivers are also up to speed with the currently available sources. They each boast four HDMI inputs that are compatible with all of the latest video signals: 4K UHD up to 60 frames per second, a 4:4:4 colorspace, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision. Their HDMI output is ARC compatible in order to receive sound from a compatible TV or projector.
Lastly, the Onkyo TX-SR393 and TX-SR394 A/V receivers feature a Bluetooth receiver for easy music playback from a smartphone, tablet or computer. However, they don’t include network connectivity to access streaming services and multiroom functions. To benefit from these functions, you will have to step up to the more high-end Onkyo TX-NR696 A/V receiver, specifically designed for streaming and multiroom.
The new Onkyo TX-NRX696 is a follow-up from the best-selling Onkyo TX-NR686 and is different from the latter with its THX Select certification, slightly more powerful amplification, and Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Assistant compatibility. The Onkyo TX-RN696 A/V receiver can deliver up to 175 Watts per channel (at 6 Ohms) compared to 165 Watts with the TX-NR686. It boasts 7 channels and a double subwoofer output, which allows you to build a 7.2 channel or 5.2.2 Dolby Atmos home theater setup. Like the TX-SR393 and the TX-SR394, it is compatible with the latest multi-channel audio formats, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual:X DSP modes are also included to emulate vertical channels when a multi-channel configuration isn’t an option.
Certified Hi-Res Audio, the Onkyo TX-NR696 A/V receiver uses high quality components, including a multi-channel AKM AK4458 DAC compatible with Flac and WAV files up to 24 bits/192kHz, and DSD files up to 11.2MHz. By comparison, its predecessor was limited to DSD files up to 56MHz. The new TX-NR696 also boasts the THX Select certification, guaranteeing a restitution true to the original recording, with a sound quality identical to that of professional cinemas, even at very high volume. To acquire this certification, the Onkyo TX-NR696 receiver had to undergo more than 2000 lab tests checking over 14000 different factors.
Unlike the entry-level models, the Onkyo TX-NR696 is tailored for audio streaming thanks to integrated Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity which allows you to access online music services such as Spotify, Qobuz, Deezer, Tidal and countless web radios via the TuneIn app. Several streaming protocols are also available, including Google Chromecast, DTS Play-Fi and Apple AirPlay. Of course, it is possible to stream music via Bluetooth from a compatible device.
Like its predecessor, the Onkyo TX-NR696 supports Onkyo’s FlareConnect and DTS Play-Fi technologies for multiroom management on multiple receivers, wireless speakers, and more. However, unlike the TX-NR686, the TX-NR696 is compatible with the Apple AirPlay 2 protocol for playback from one or more compatible devices. The Onkyo TX-NR696 is therefore the brand’s first A/V receiver to be compatible with AirPlay 2.
Multiroom connectivity isn’t the only domain in which the Onkyo TX-NR696 is innovative, as it is also one of the first Onkyo A/V receivers to be compatible with the Google voice assistant. Therefore, by pairing the receiver with a Google Assistant smart speaker, it is possible to ask the Onkyo TX-NR696 to play your favorite playlist on your usual music service, skip tracks, pause playback, etc.
Lastly, the Onkyo TX-NR696 provides 7 UHD 4K HDR HDMI inputs (HDR 10, HLG and Dolby Vision) and two HDMI outputs, one of which is compatible with ARC technology.
With the Onkyo TX-SR393, TX-SR394 and TX-NR696 A/V receivers, the Japanese brand has made it possible to create a 3.2.2 or 5.2.2 channel Dolby Atmos system for a reasonable price. Therefore, there is plenty to keep you waiting until early May and late June, which is when the Onkyo TX-RZ740 and TX-RZ840 A/V receivers, two models with 11 decoded channels for 9 amplified channels, will be revealed. They will be available in silver and black at around €999 for the Onkyo TX-RZ740 and €1,199 for the Onkyo TX-RZ840. The latter will also include Imax Enhanced technology.