Onkyo TX-NR696 Review
Speaking of Onkyo, the first thing you think of is Onkyo receiver products. Indeed, although Onkyo’s product line is quite rich and comprehensive at present, the most well-known is its amplifier products. After years of hard work in the industry, the quality of its receiver products has long been deeply rooted in people’s hearts.
As a veteran audio manufacturer, Onkyo has continuously launched and updated its products in recent years. Especially for the proud AV receiver, with the development of 3D sound effects such as DTS-X and Dolby Atmos, Onkyo has spared no effort to launch more AV receiver products. From entry-level to high-end are included, and strive to bring more choices for users.
The newly launched Onkyo TX-NR696 7.2 channel receiver has become one of the perfect models on the market. THX Certification technology, redesigned internal circuits, to make sound performance to a higher level. Although TX-NR696 is defined as an entry-level, the function is not entry! It fully meets the user’s demanding demand for audio-visual entertainment.
Design: Hardware Upgrade, Newly Build
This TX-NR696 should be regarded as an upgraded version of TX-NR686. Although the appearance and channel design are similar to Onkyo TX-NR686, the internals of TX-NR696 are very different. Use a new HDMI circuit board with a larger area, higher strength, and better technology. And shorten the wire path, thereby reducing the interference on the A / V signal.
TX-NR696 is designed for 7.2 channels, and each channel can provide 175W output. In terms of appearance design, TX-NR696 continues the design style commonly used by Onkyo receivers in recent years. The black cabinet of aluminum alloy is rigid and cold, easy to mix and match with the home environment. The large knob is indispensable for users to adjust the listening mode and sound effects. The Pure Audio mode button allows users to get the best listening effect.
The display at the centre of the front panel can fully display the operation status of NR696. Below the display is a row of buttons for source selection. Users can operate them when there is no remote control in hand, which is intuitive and straightforward. The lower right corner of the front panel is equipped with an HDMI interface, which allows users to directly connect portable digital devices with HDMI interfaces or other devices for quick use.
There are still 3.5mm Audio and radio microphone input jacks next to the HDMI interface, which is convenient for users who need it.
As for the Onkyo tx-nr696 back panel, it is not much different from most AV receivers. Onkyo tx-nr696 is equipped with 6 sets of HDMI output interfaces, supports HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG HDR video formats, BT.2020 4K standard, 4K / 60Hz (HDCP 2.2) direct transmission. There are also other digital audio interfaces. Including 2 sets of digital input (optical fibre and coaxial), 4 sets of analog RCA input, vinyl turntable input, subwoofer output, 7.2 channel speaker interface terminals, and USB interface, etc. Complete functions, easy to use, enough to meet the needs of most users.
Besides, built-in Wi-Fi module, Bluetooth, and other wireless transmission technologies, from AirPlay, digital streaming, Internet radio to firmware updates, and other network applications can become a breeze. And TX-NR696 also supports multi-room playback function, using the built-in Zone 2 output function, you can transmit different sound sources through the amplifier to the device with RCA analog line input, and play music in the speakers of other rooms at home. Realize the characteristics of multi-room playback.
TX-NR696 is equipped with its own Dynamic Audio Amplification (Dynamic Audio Amplification Technology (DAA) and VLSC (Vector Linear Correction Circuit) technology. And DAA is the way to make ONKYO stand for more than 70 years. It uses exclusive customized high current low noise transformer, Capacitors, and discrete broadband amplifiers. The unique circuit topology prevents phase shift, resulting in better detail resolution, faster dynamics, and more energy.All channels can drive 4Ω speakers and are equipped with a newly designed SoC processor.
The SoC can perform multiple processing tasks simultaneously and support the latest 802.11ac (2x2MIMO) high-speed wireless network specifications. Also compatible with 802.11b / g / n dual-band routers. With a dedicated circuit board, the purpose of the independent power supply is for the processor to reduce interference further.
At the same time, ONKYO TX-NR696 also made a series of enhanced designs for the power cord. The front (L / R) and center channel amplifiers each have their independent dual transistors, which doubles the current drive capability, allowing users to hear excellent low frequencies, a spacious sound field, and more precise instrument separation. Just press the “Stereo Mode” button in the remote control, users can switch the currently playing music from the front speakers to any surround sound in the home.
Also, new functions have been added to the remote control. Through the independent “VOCAL” button, this function can identify the vocal frequency in the movie or music, and adjust the vocal output (a total of 5 levels of selection).
Complete Network Music Service
ONKYO has always been extremely rich in network music functions. TX-NR696 supports music streaming features such as TIDAL, TuneIn, Deezer and Spotify, AirPlay2, Chromecast, DTS Play-Fi, and FlareConnect.
At the same time, users can pair the NR696 with the existing Sonos home audio system. After connecting, you can use the Sonos App to wake up the device, change the input source, or set the volume level. Of course, the built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other standard configurations are also indispensable. Hi-Res music can be streamed through USB or network. It is compatible with 5.6MHz DSD, 24bit / 192 kHz FLAC, WAV, AIFF,ALAC, and other conventional functions.
All these network music services control can be accessed on TX-NR696 App.
Have More Realistic 3D Sound Effects
Although TX-NR696 is only an entry-level AV receiver, it can support Dolby Atmos and DTS: X three-dimensional immersive audio decoding like the previous generation. You can directly build a theater system of 5.2.2. And TX-NR696 is also equipped with Dolby Surround and DTX Neural: X technology. These two technologies can identify the spatial processes in traditional multi-channel audio tracks and mix them into 3D sound effects that can be used in existing sound object-based speaker configurations. When users do not have or do not want to build ceiling speakers, TX-NR696 can simulate the sound effects of the sky sound field through Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer or DTS Virtual: X technology, to achieve the effect of three-dimensional immersive sound effects.
TX-NR696 is also an AV receiver with THX Select certification. To obtain THX Select certification, you must pass thousands of rigorous tests involving all aspects. THX Select certification guarantees that the same reference level volume and sound quality as commercial theaters can be presented in a viewing room approximately 3.5 meters away from the screen. Among similar products, the pricing of TX-NR696 is quite competitive. It should be the cheapest THX Select certified AV amplifier on the market.
Strong Space Surrounding, Solid & Powerful Low Frequency
Come to the actual test stage. The speaker system uses TDG Audio SKYBAR system. This is an embedded speaker system and comes with ceiling channel speakers, which can form 5.2.2 channels. During the test, AccuEQ equipped with AccuReflex is used for sound correction. This correction system is very convenient and practical.
Let’s experience the movie clip “Blade Runner 2049” first. The sound of warships roaring past, the rushing sound of seawater, and the sounds of gunshots and fighting, from top to bottom, the whole sense of space and surroundings is strong, and the sense of low-frequency energy is sufficient.
Feel the highlights of “Number One Player”. The impact of the car, the fall of the iron ball, the friction of the tire, all kinds of sounds are mixed but not chaotic. The location of the sound is clear, and different sounds are still clear and audible. The details are abundant, and the tense atmosphere on the scene is fully displayed, and the overall presence effect is strong.
It is worth mentioning that no matter whether Dolby Atmos or DTS: X three-dimensional immersive sound mode is used, the overall sound effect is not much different.
Support Dolby Atmos Dolby Atmos, DTS: X three-dimensional immersive audio decoding, you can set up a 7.2 or 5.2.2 multi-channel system with the Onkyo TX-NR696. With Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTSVirtual: X technology, TX-NR696 can simulate the sound effects of the sound field above. It has also obtained THX Select certification and supports multi-room playback. For this entry-level AV receiver, the TX-NR696 already has a pretty good price-performance ratio. The overall sound performance is also satisfying. It is a reliable AV receiver.