Onkyo’s flagship AV receiver has landed and it is an imposing proposition, bursting with features and power. We take it into our demo room to see if we can handle it…
For starters, the amp weighs in at a whopping 19.5kg and it’s immediately obvious as to why. The chassis is thick and obviously durable, with measures clearly taken to dampen vibration and other mechanical interference. It’s clear that this receiver has been built with audiophiles, not just home cinema buffs in mind. With a dedicated phono-stage for connecting up your turntable added to its already dizzying amount of connections (8 HDMI in, 2 out, all HDCP 2.2), rest assured that every device you currently own will be at home with the Onkyo TXRZ3100.
On the inside, the TXRZ3100 combines high-current architecture with sophisticated digital amplification and filtering technology. Onkyo’s custom high output transformer is where quality meets control, and at 140W per channel across its 11 –channel output, this is absolutely necessary to keep your system (no matter how demanding) reined in and sounding at its best. Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry is a mouthful, so Onkyo have named it VLSC. This circuitry virtually removes digital pulse noise for a smooth analogue signal. TXRZ3100 features VLSC across all channels. This allows a digital input such as your HDMI, coaxial cable or optical to be converted in a smooth, clean analogue signal. Aiding in this is the high quality DAC (Digital Analogue Converter). The premium-quality AK4458 DAC from Asahi Kasei gives the most accurate playback of Hi-Res Audio files you may have or improves the quality of more compressed audio files such as mp3.
Feature-wise, the Onkyo will not leave you wanting. Replete with Spotify Connect, Deezer, Pandora, Bluetooth to name a few, as well as the very interesting Fireconnect, from Blackfire. This means that if you run out of speaker outputs on the rear of the unit, you can add additional Blackfire certified speakers and use the TXRZ3100 as a wireless multiroom hub. It also contains both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for the ultimate in 3D soundscapes. However, possibly most intriguing is the DTS Neural X feature, allowing the amp to upsample existing non-3D DTS content to DTS:X affording any existing Blu-Rays in DTS formats a new lease of life. With full 3 zones of control and a second HDMI output with full 4K/HDR output, the TXRZ3100 will truly command your entire home entertainment.
If the initial set up of such a complex amp seems daunting, this couldn’t be further from the truth! The AccuEQ set up mic makes it an absolute breeze, taking all of your existing speakers into account calibrating your set up. The AccuReflex feature further enhances this by ensuring that any ceiling speakers being used for Atmos or DTS:X playback are fully optimised and will not disrupt your stereo speakers at the front for when you’re listening to music. You can of course further calibrate the settings yourself, however the set-up mic will give an accurate and even response across all 11 channels that sound fantastic on its own or gives the perfect starting point to tailor your sound.
I hooked the amp up with a 5.2.2 set up (5 surround speakers, 2 subwoofers and 2 downward-firing height speakers) and chose Mad Max: Fury Road to test the Onkyo’s ample capabilities.
I was grabbed from the opening credits. The roar of the engine thundering through the room and pinning me straight to my seat. Tom Hardy’s (Max Rockatansky) opening monologue was delivered clear as day through the centre channel, while additional effects were placed with pin-point accuracy throughout the room. This clarity remained even in large battle scenes; the muscular sound of the Onkyo effortlessly dealing with complicated and busy scenarios. During the driving battle where Max attempts to return to The Citadel, the rumble of the engine is thunderous across the bass channels whilst the dialogue, gunfire and multiple screams and shouts remain distinct, well separated, clear and hair-raisingly engaging. There were points where I was so immersed, I hadn’t realised I was holding on to the sofa beneath me, the amp is extremely impressive.
Despite all of this raw, rampaging power, the Onkyo somehow remains surprisingly musical. This was particularly evident on Muse’s driving guitar riffs and solos throughout the Drones album. It sounded like you could be there in the stadium with them. On the other end of the spectrum, Newton Faulkner album sounded like an intimate studio gig. The Onkyo will give a truly excellent listening experience.
If you’re looking for a system that can control all but the most demanding of home AV set-ups, look no further than the Onkyo TXRZ3100! If your living room is a similar size to our demo room, you may find your neighbours have a few words to say, however… either asking to keep it down, or more likely arriving with popcorn and asking for a movie night. If you’d like to hear the Onkyo TXRZ3100, or any of our large home cinema range in our home-styled demo rooms, please give your local store a call to arrange a demonstration.
Author: Steve, Southgate store