Convergence in the Home Theatre with the Onkyo TX-NR809 amplifier
The Onkyo TX-NR809 is a dream mid-range amplifier for Home Theatre enthusiasts. Even more so, for those passionate about getting the most out the heart of a home theatre system and expressing their inner geek with demonstrating some cool mobile convergent capability.
I recently upgraded to this big boy’s toy after a massive fail purchase with a Pioneer SC-LX73 amplifier that fried itself within the warranty period and took pioneer over 5 weeks to repair, let alone attempt to even replace it. In the end, the good folk at JB HiFi (Belrose, NSW Australia) swung into action by refunding my purchase and steering me back on track by offering me the Onkyo TX-NR809 as a replacement.
This Onkyo TX-NR809 amplifier is simply brilliant.
I haven’t been this impressed by an amplifier since I first purchased my home theatre back in 1999. The specs alone are impressive for a sub AUS$2K device, but the high-end features, setup, high quality on-screen display & ease of use, make this a must buy for those looking for a mid-range all-you-can-eat buffet of interconnected convergent goodness.
Setting up a dedicated amplifier with other 3rd party home theatre equipment is challenging at the best of times, and all but a die-hard few, throw in the towel to let the professionals take the lead here. The Onkyo TX-NR809 has a decent self setup system that uses an included microphone to listen to the speakers you have active and allows the user to tailor the system for up to 8 listening settings. This means you can quickly & effectively setup your speaker type, distance to listening position, power ratings & sub-woofer in one easy to follow session.
One of the great features that have been introduced to modern amplifiers is Internet connectivity. Through either an ethernet cable or wirelessly with an optional USB wireless dongle, this amplifier is hooked directly into internet services for both updating itself with new firmware and playing streaming media. As soon as I was plugged in the system to my home network, it updated itself to the latest firmware with no network setup. A user-friendly menu system also allows you to listen to both internet radio services as well as connect directly to any DLNA enabled media server on your network.
The Onkyo TX-NR809 has up to 3 zones that you can setup for audio playback. That means that whilst you are watching & listening the latest Blu-Ray movie, two other areas (or zones) of the house can listen to other independent audio sources. The zone feature is house party magic when you activate to play the same audio across all zones at the same time.
Finally, the best for last, the Onkyo Android application is a geeky convergent addition to the amplifier and incredibly, it is free! Through the connectivity of your home network the mobile application can control your amplifier’s main features. This is fantastic for when you are in one of the independent zones of the amplifier and can fire up some music, either streaming from the internet or direct via a home networked media server. The android application can also play music directly from your device and stream it to the amplifier.
The rear panel shows the usual compressed myriad of interconnected bits & pieces one finds on modern amplifiers today, but I found the speaker connections to be placed well enough apart making it simple process to connect my Energy AC-300’s directly into it. Note also that it includes a PC, VGA interface too.
I’ve also ordered some Polk Audio OWM5s speakers (150W each) for the lounge room as the second audio zone, so I’ll update once they arrive from the US.
In summary, the Onkyo TX-NR809 is a sound mid-range amplifier investment for those looking to upgrade from older systems. With the price of large screen HD/3D plasma TVs dropping dramatically, this is exactly what you & your wallet been waiting for to join the full HD revolution.
Posted by: Shane Williamson