Complementing the new entry level receivers launched recently, Onkyo launches two new mid-range receivers – the TX-NR737 and TX-NR838 priced at $949 and $1299 respectively. They have just been shipped and you should be able to get them from stores now.
Both these receivers come with Bluetooth and built-in WiFi, plus the latest HDMI standard and HDCP 2.2 spec to support 4K UltraHD content; and are THX Select2 Plus-certified to comply with cinema standards for larger rooms.
Onkyo is proud of their audio standards and takes great pains to make them sound as good as they look. Smooth current delivery is their aim for their higher end receivers and not surprisingly the TX-NR737 and NR838 are endowed with Onkyo’s proprietary Wide Range Amplifier Technology (WRAT). At the core are a custom high-output transformer, extra-large customised capacitors and low-impedance copper bus-plates. They also feature dual Digital Signal Processing (DSP) engines and 24/192 Burr-Brown DACs.
Room calibration is by way of AccuEQ software which by design bypasses the front left and right channels leaving their sound as they are. The surround speakers are then calibrated for a balanced surround sound. With turntables making a massive comeback in the midst of burgeoning vinyl record sales, Onkyo has a Pure Direct Analogue Path (PDAP) feature that routes the audio path from the turntable directly through the receiver without being affected by the digital circuitry.
Connectivity wise, both models have 7 HDMI inputs; 6 on the rear and one MHL certified input on the front and supports 4K Ultra HD video at 60fps. The usual DLNA and Wi-Fi are built-in. DSD files and gapless 192kHz/24-bit FLAC and WAV are also supported. Bluetooth 2.1 is also built-in to both receivers to provide wireless streaming option.
These are good upgrades to last years’ models and with better audio fidelity and Ultra HD support these 2 new receivers should create quite a buzz with Onkyo users.
Read the full Onkyo TX-NR737 and Onkyo TX-NR838 reviews.
If having the latest and most advanced home theater receivers are up your alley, Onkyo might just have the fix you need.
Onkyo has just launched the latest range of network ready receivers that features 4K streaming and Ultra HD upscaling via HDMI. 2 models are announced so far, the TX-NR535 is a 5.2-channel receiver while the TX-NR636 ups the ante with and 7.2-channel output. Both receivers feature HDMI specified for 4K/60 Hz video, universal support for gapless hi-res network audio, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. In addition the TX-NR636 adds HDCP 2.2 compatibility to support the latest DRM copy-protection standard.
Onkyo TX-NR 636 Receiver
It is good to note that Onkyo has continued its tradition of not neglecting the audio aspect of their receivers making them fully enjoyable in a music only system as well as a full blown home theater setup. Both receivers feature gapless playback of almost any high-resolution file format including 5.6 MHz DSD, Dolby TrueHD, 192 kHz/24-bit FLAC and WAV, and ALAC to 96 kHz and 24-bit depth. If you have a big library of music on your smartphone or tablet it can be streamed via remote app and Wi-Fi to the home theater. The TX-NR535 and TX-NR636 come loaded with Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, SiriusXM Internet Radio, AUPEO! and TuneIn.
Curiously what is missing is the ubiquitous Audyssey calibration. Instead the receivers utilize Onkyo’s proprietary AccuEQ calibration system.
The suggested retail price for the Onkyo TX-NR535 is $499 while the Onkyo TX-NR636 retails for $699.
The new mid priced 7.1 channel Onkyo HT-R2295 outputs a respectable 130W per channel of power to all its 7 channels making it ideal for those who have large speakers. Priced at only $499, it is one of the highest powered speakers at this price range. It is also designed to be smart device friendly as it has a front-panel USB for lossless and compressed audio from your iPod, iPhone, or a flash drive.
With a full 7.1 setup, the soundstage is wide and well balanced between dialog and ambient surround that is well suited for movie buffs and serious music lovers. Room optimization is achieved by the ubiquitous Audyssey 2EQ acoustic correction. The are only 4 HDMI inputs so you have to be prepared to limit your source devices to just four.
If you want even more convenience in accessing music from your smartphone you can also get the optional UBT-1 adapter to enable Bluetooth wireless audio streaming. This is the latest version with a aptX® codec that delivers near CD-quality sound.
The Onkyo HT-R2295 is simple to use and packs a solid punch of amplifier power that will amply fill a medium sized room for an involving surround-sound experience.
Marantz has released a new receiver – the Marantz M-CR610 Wireless Network CD Receiver – perfect for those who want a good source for audio and yet cannot fit a full-fledged AV receiver into a space. This receiver come with a CD player and is also an AV receiver and networking streaming media player all in one.
There is plenty to like about this new Marantz. It streams music from the Internet, streams DLNA content from your networked PCs, plays CDs, features AirPlay support and even comes with a front USB port.
This machine might be small but it is by no means reference quality. For a dorm or office, this Marantz M-CR610 Wireless Network CD Receiver will give you the sound of a real stereo system with its small footprint.
Yamaha recently announced that it will support Spotify Connect, a home audio experience giving you control of your music across your mobile devices with millions of songs built in. Music streaming services has changed the way consumers access music. The integration of Spotify Connect within Yamaha products will provide customers with access to the vast music archive that Spotify has to offer.
Yamaha network AV receiver users that have a Spotify Premium account can now looking forward to enjoying instant access to millions of songs on their home entertainment system. Spotify Connect will be available on all 2013 released Yamaha Network AV receivers via a firmware update.
To use Spotify Connect, customers are required to download the Spotify app for a smartphone, tablet or laptop and have an active Spotify Premium account. If you own a compatible Yamaha network AV receiver and would like to try a Spotify Premium account, there is a free 30-day trial available. For more details, visit spotify.com/yamaha.
Spotify Connect compatible models:
AVENTAGE Preamplifier: CX-A5000
AVENTAGE series AV receivers: RX-A3030, RX-A2030, RX-A1030, RX-A830, RX-A730
RX-V series AV receivers: RX-V775WA, RX-V675, RX-V575, RX-V475
RX-S series slim AV receivers: RX-S600
HTR series AV receivers: HTR-4066
TSR series AV receivers: TSR-6750WA
Arcam FMJ AVR750
It’s been 4 years since Arcam last released an AV receiver and its new flagship AV receiver, the Arcam FMJ AVR750 AV Receiver is said to not only be the finest home cinema AV receiver Arcam has ever made, but also the best sounding stereo amplifier too.
This newcomer boasts clean lines and a dark-grey bodywork that reflect the familiar FMJ aesthetics. Its neatly laid-out rear panel holds seven HDMI inputs and two outputs that are ARC compatible, component inputs, four legacy phono AV inputs and a Zone 2 analogue output. Digital audio options include two optical and four coaxial. For even more external power, you will also find a 7.1 bank of pre-amp outputs.
This 7-channel design AV receiver uses multi-voltage Class G amplification and can be configured as a full 7.1 system, or as 5.1 with two channels serving a second zone.
The Arcam AVR750 sounds delicious to the ears already and it is easily the most accomplished Arcam AV receiver to date. Check back for the full Arcam FMJ AVR750 AV receiver review.
Anthem MRX 710
Look out for Anthem‘s all new MRX 710 and 510 AV receivers! Anthem announced just yesterday, the release of two receivers – the Anthem MRX 710 and 510.
These receivers sit at the top of Anthem’s range of receivers and these models look sleeker and are more advanced and hardworking than their predecessors.
Both these receivers offer 7 channels of audio output with 120 watts per channel for the MRX 710, and 100 watts per channel for the MRX 510. They also comes with an advanced version of Anthem’s proprietary room correction DSP system, the ARC 1M. Other upgrades include 7 HDMI inputs, one with Auto Return Channel (ARC), 2 HDMI outs, 4K video upscaling and pass through, drivers for IP control of select systems, iOS and Android controller apps, a host of available configurations, bi-amping of the L/R channels, and more.
3D (or high definition 3D TV) launched with great fanfare at the 2010 CES in Las Vegas. It seems that now, just 3 years on, 3D is no longer the buzzword. Less films are now offered in 3D and theaters are not keen on putting out more screenings as viewership is dwindling due in part to higher ticket prices for 3D screenings.
Quite a number of movie fans still prefer films in 2D and some are simply not keen on donning cumbersome 3D glasses for hours. These factors coupled with the fact that 3D content is not as readily available makes any upgrading to 3D less of an urgency.
With the advent of higher resolution Ultra HDTVs this year, 3D may even go the way of the dinosaur. Manufacturers have a new battle to fight so the talk about 3D being the new revolution of TV is simply not going to happen any time soon or if ever.
HDMI specifications haven’t changed for some time, which is a good thing. Every time a change in technology or some new technical specification come about there is usually a flurry of activity by manufacturers to gain market share by touting the latest and the bestest.
So after ten confusing HDMI specification updates, the last of which was ver 1.4, it is good news indeed to learn that HDMI 2.0 does not require any cable change. The current high speed HDMI cables (or Cat 2) will be able to carry all the increased signal and bandwidth upgrades of HDMI 2.0. Cable manufacturers are now required to label HDMI cables according to cable type, i.e. Standard, High Speed, or High Speed with Ethernet.
Types of HDMI cables
According to the recent press release by the HDMI forum, ver 2.0 is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI specification. It significantly increases bandwidth up to 18Gbps and adds major enhancements for higher video and audio resolution bandwidth.
Here is a summary of the HDMI 2.0 specs and features:
- Increased bandwidth up to 18Gbps
- Resolutions up to 4K@50/60 (2160p), which is 4 times the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution
- Up to 32 audio channels for a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
- Up to 1536kHz audio sample frequency for the highest audio fidelity
- Simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen
- Simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio to multiple users (Up to 4)
- Support for the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio
- Dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams
- CEC extensions provide more expanded command and control of consumer electronics devices through a single control point
It is good timing that HDMI 2.0 will arrive just in time as 4K Ultra HD TV hits the stores.
The delivery of digital music is slowly transforming from disc based to being file based. Many consumers are digitizing their CD collection and storing them as digital files and playing them back through a music streamer like the Squeezebox Touch. The range of music that are available for purchase as a download online are increasing by the day with online sources like HDtracks, iTunes and most recently SuperHiRez by Acoustic Sounds.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced last week that it will join manufacturers, retailers, music labels and artists in offering expanded support for and promotion of high-resolution audio (HRA). CEA is exploring various initiatives and plans to leverage opportunities to promote HRA at the 2014 International CES. With these latest developments, we will see a gradual demise of CD and standard resolution audio. Streaming music will be a whole new industry and soon overtake physical CDs in popularity.
Most receivers purchased in the last 2 years already support media streaming. Not only are compressed music files supported such as MP3, WMA, and AAC but also high resolution files such as FLAC, WAV, AIFF, Apple Lossless and even DSD, Sony’s leading format which have become an underground sensation in the computer audio community.
Depending on the receiver model, all you need is a PC running Windows with Windows Media Player installed or DLNA-compatible media servers. For quick access you can store music files on a USB thumb drive and play back from there. You can be sure as digital music streaming becomes more popular, manufacturers will see the opportunity to incorporate more such functions into the modern AV receiver.