Product review: Onkyo TXNR656 AV receiver


For a long period of time the Onkyo 6 series has had pride of place in the Plymouth demonstration room, being the unit that drives our cinema set up. This year is no different and as soon as we had an Onkyo TXNR656 available we got it up and running. But does it live up to previous versions?…

Like its predecessors, the TXNR656 is perfectly able to drive whatever its connected up to. Currently for us that includes a full 5.1 Monitor Radius system with Cambridge Audio ceiling speakers as the height channels, and really manages to get the best sound out of whatever it is run into. Watching the 4K version of Mad Max it really makes the most of the Dolby Atmos soundtrack to deliver some really awesome surround sound; from the beginning scene where the monstrous V8 engine begins to roar you can really get a sense of exactly where the sound is supposed to be coming from. When focusing on the sound it produces as a whole, the TXNR656 really delivers a powerful atmosphere with great separation and perfectly detailed dynamics. This is in part due to Dynamic Audio Amplification, HCPS (High Current Power Supply), PLL (Phase Locked Loop) and VLSC (Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry), which allow the Onkyo to be super dynamic whilst still being rich in detail and smoothness personified. Click here to find out more about Onkyo’s dedicated technology.

Not only big on sound but big on features, it offers a whole spectrum of them that you can get into. Of course the main obvious ones are the inclusion of both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X (allowing the unit to get involved in object based and three dimensional surround sound), but also adds Fireconnect powered by Blackfire. This makes it possible to create a wireless surround by adding compatible Onkyo speakers. Speaking of wireless (this time streaming), the unit has all the major players – including Bluetooth, Airplay and Google Cast all built in, with the Wi-Fi connectivity also allowing you to stream music via DLNA, gain access to internet radio, use subscription services such as Spotify Connect and Tidal, and also link up to a Windows PC for music playback via Windows Media Player. To make sure that all of this streaming sound gets played at as well as it can the Onkyo uses an AK4458 384 kHz/32-bit DAC and also outputs at 160w. It also supports 4K image resolution at 60Hz.

The TXNR656 comes complete with a full array of digital and analogue connections.

The TXNR656 comes complete with a full array of digital and analogue connections.

Connectivity is something that Onkyo never have a problem with and this unit carries on that trend by having a whole plethora of ins and outs for you to connect up to. For visual connections it comes with 8 HDMI inputs (3 of which come with HDCP2.2) and 2 HDMI outputs (also with HDCP2.2), 2 component, and 2 composite inputs for any of your older equipment. Audio connections include 2 digital optical and 1 digital coax, a USB port for digital audio playback, a 3.5mm jack input and 8 analogue audio inputs, (one of which even has a phono-stage to allow you to dust of some vinyl’s and connect your turntable).

For me right now the Onkyo TxXNR656 is not just a well priced piece of AV equipment, but is also a definite must have if you need to get your 4K TV Dolby Atmos/DTS:X system up and running without spending the earth.

If you have any questions about this unit or any others you may be interested in then don’t hesitate to pop into your local store or give them a call.

To find out more about the Onkyo TXNR656, click here.

Author: Hal, Plymouth store