Excerpt: With gas approaching $5 a gallon in some parts of the country, most consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending in order to make ends meet. If you have to drive an SUV (like I do), then a trip to the local gas station could set you back $100 to fill the tank. In times like these, your quest to find the greatest bang for your buck might even extend all the way to your equipment rack.
Excerpt: very year, Onkyo’s home cinema hubs top the bestseller lists, appealing to punters looking for an amp that delivers maximum bang for their buck. And this year, the company clearly intends to retain its position at the top. The 7.2-channel TX-NR609 is the most advanced model in Onkyo’s first wave of 2011 receivers, offering full network capability and a couple of exciting world firsts. Chief among these is its ability to stream music directly from Spotify.
Conclusion: Onkyo hasn’t become the grand poo-bah of AV receivers for nothing. It offers so much tech for such reasonable outlay that it leaves rival manufacturers lagging behind. Each generation grows in stature, performance and feature-set too, with sometimes jaw-dropping additions being crammed into increasingly powerful boxes. And this year’s stand-out feature, Spotify and Internet music streaming, is certainly an eye-catcher (or should that be ear?).
Pros: Hearty, tangible sound control, Spotify, Napster and Internet radio access, compatible with every format under the Sun
Cons: Audyssey Dynamic Volume ain’t all that, sister
Summary: The features-to-pricing ratio on the TX-NR609 could easily lead you to believe that Onkyo would had to have had cut corners somewhere on this receiver, but that’s plainly not the case. From the rich, detailed sound of the 7 channel amp to the painless mic set-up and slick Spotify interface, it’s a real winner. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better receiver in the sub-£500 price bracket than this one.