Gone are the days when buying a surround-sound-supporting receiver with multiple HDMI ports meant spending an arm and a leg. These days, you can get a great receiver with support for a surround sound setup at well under $500/£600.
Like, for example, the Onkyo TX-NR676.
It’s not the only receiver in its price range with a great set of features features or a plethora of inputs, but there are few comprehensive packages that are as easy to assemble, set up and use as Onkyo’s.
Design and features
While some receivers can be a pain to set up – especially in large living rooms – setting up the Onkyo TX-NR676 was a breeze: Take it out of the box,
connect all your inputs and outputs, then turn on the receiver for the first time.
The receiver is able to handle all except the most beastly home theater setups: You’ll get a hefty five HDMI inputs with labels for things like gaming consoles, DVD players, computers, and so on – though of course you don’t have to stick with those labels if you don’t want to. You’ll also get two HDMI outputs – one main output, and one secondary output. If you’re only using one of those, you’ll probably want to stick with the main one, as it supports ARC. There’s also two component inputs.
Then there are the audio outputs, and there are lots of them, too. Using the connections on this receiver, you can setup stereo, 5.1 surround, or even 7.1 surround sound systems, which is a very pleasant surprise on a receiver in this price range. There’s even a set of stereo outputs for a second zone of speakers. When it comes to audio inputs, you’ve got two optical inputs and a hefty seven RCA inputs for various different devices.
Other bits and pieces on the back include an Ethernet port, USB port, and antenna inputs for AM and FM radio.
Spin it around to the front of the unit and you’ll notice a display to show you what you’re doing, as well as a nice large volume knob, a row of input buttons, and even a few more inputs, including an audio aux port, and an extra HDMI port. That’s perfect for those that sometimes need to plug their computer into the HDMI port but don’t want to have to disassemble their home theater system to get to a HDMI port.
Once everything is plugged in, you’ll be faced with the software setup process, which is also really very easy. Onkyo actually shows you an initial setup screen the first time you turn on the receiver, so all you really need to do is follow the on-screen instructions and you should be good to go.
Perhaps one of the best things about the receiver is the support it has for smart features. It can connect to Wi-Fi, after which it can stream directly from the likes of Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, and so on. If your streaming service isn’t supported, like Google Play Music for example, the receiver supports both Google Cast and AirPlay as well.
In terms of design and setup configurations, the Onkyo TX-NR676 is an extremely versatile receiver. It’s got plenty of physical inputs and outputs, plus the wireless support helps bring it well into the 21st century. Sure, more streaming services, like Google Play and Apple Music, would be nice – but the Cast, AirPlay, and Bluetooth support at least partially makes up for that.
Once the receiver is set up, it’s relatively simple to navigate – even for folks who might not have had a receiver in their house before.
For starters, the remote is pretty well-designed and quite easy to use: It’s got input selections at the top, basic directional controls under that, then volume controls, and some playback controls. It’s not bloated with dozens and dozens of buttons, but it’s functional enough to make the already-initiated happy.
That ease of use extends to the unit itself, too. As mentioned, there are a nice selection of controls on the front. You can toggle between the types of audio outputs from one of the smaller knobs on the bottom right, and tune your sound a little with the knob next to that.
In terms of expected sound performance, Onkyo has long offered a great sound-quality, and this receiver is no different. The receiver supports DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, which helps give sound a much more immersive feel to it.
We found that the receiver was generally great-sounding at all volumes. At low volumes, there was still plenty of clarity and detail, while higher volumes produced little distortion, which was nice to hear. Extremely tuned ears might miss a little detail in the high end at louder volumes, though the receiver still shoots well above its price range when it comes to sound quality.
Of course, sound quality has a lot more to do with your speakers than your receiver, but rest assured that the Onkyo TX-NR676 won’t be the point of fault in your sound system.
The Onkyo TX-NR676 is an excellent option even for those that don’t have a surround sound system. Not only does it future-proof your home theater in case you upgrade later, but it also offers plenty of modern options for streaming and music playback. There are similar options in this price range, like the Sony STR-DH770, but it doesn’t offer as many inputs, doesn’t have front-mounted inputs for ease-of-access, and more.
That being said, if you’re looking for a great A/V receiver and have a maximum budget of $400/£600, the Onkyo TX-NR676 is the way to go.