203 of 207 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I recently upgraded from an Onkyo HT530 receiver to the TX-NR509 for its HDMI and some of the fancy extras (networking, USB playback, etc.)
Some thoughts on the receiver:
HDMI issues from last gen of Onkyo receivers?
Doing a little research before buying, I was worried that the HDMI handshake issues that popped up for the TX-SR508 and TX-SR608 owners would be present here, but so far so good. Currently using it with a PS3, no issues so far. Will definitely update this if I come across issues.
The old receiver didn't have the Audyssey EQ configuration, using it was interesting. The set up process ended up pretty darn accurate in terms of automatically configuring speaker distance and values I'd normally have to put in by hand on my old receiver. +1 for painless initial setup!
Great On-screen display
The OSD is actually pretty clean and makes the menus easy to navigate. I'm not used to being able to configure so much without staring at the receiver's built-in display (which is actually pretty cool to look at). The OSD for network-based playback is a bit simple, but it gets the job done.
Mediocre Network-capabilities (Fixed via new firmware!! See update below)
A large part of spending a little more for this model over others I was considering was the networking capabilities. It was very cool to have it connect online and download a firmware update. Hopefully this means there will be an improvement on the next part: the DLNA playback for the receiver. This is where I have the most trouble.
I have PS3 Media Server set up on my home server and it diligently serves media to the PS3 via the gigabit network without problems. The TX-NR509 is able to see it and connect to it, but that's when the problems start. I haven't pinpointed the cause of it yet, but from what I've noticed, folders that contain "lots" of sub-folders or files (I'm just talking about over 20-30 here) cause the receiver to error out and force you to go up a directory/level and try again. Some directories only containing 1 file refused to open (I couldn't figure this one out). Letting it sit there and populate the contents of the folders didn't help either.
I was hoping I could play music off the server without turning on the PS3 and television, so the DLNA problems I'm experiencing are a little discouraging. Luckily, it's possible that Onkyo can remedy this through a future firmware update.
From Rodney's review, I tried the free Android app OnkyTroller on my phone to control the receiver. It does the job, but the app looks pretty ugly and seems somewhat limited in terms of functionality. Still, very cool idea. I noticed simply browsing through DLNA directories using my phone caused skips in music when playing from the network (too much network activity for the receiver to handle?).
-The TX-NR509 only gets warm after hours of use (way cooler than my old HT530)
-I love the 'Dynamic Volume' function of the receiver, it prevents opening theme songs of TV shows from blasting and helps us hear softer dialogue without fiddling with the remote
-This receiver is pretty tall compared to the one it replaced, plan accordingly if space is limited
Update: January 2012
Onkyo has been pushing out several firmware updates since my review in May 2011. The small bugs in the DLNA network playback capabilities have been ironed out and I'm able to navigate through all directories on the server with no issue. That was my biggest issue with the receiver that made me give it 4/5 stars, so I've updated my rating as well.
Lastly, I highly recommend grabbing the free, official Onkyo Remote app for Android. Not only can you push music from your device to the receiver, you can use it as a remote to visually navigate through your network or Pandora/music stations without turning on your TV. The official app is available for Apple devices as well, but it's slightly different/stripped down, making the Android version the more robust of the two.
119 of 126 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Overall, this is a good receiver and I have come to be very happy with it. However, there are some very important things that a prospective buyer needs to know about it first; I didn't know these things when I bought it but fortunately I was able to work around them.
The receiver doesn't covert between video formats. This may be a standard thing with receivers, but it was unbeknownst to me when I bought it and then read about it with dismay in the manual. What this means is if you have, say, an HDMI cable in the video out source on your cable/satellite/DVD running into the receiver, and then a composite video cable going out from the receiver to your TV, you won't get any video because it won't convert between the HDMI and composite connection.
The above is very important because the receiver's on-screen display menus will ONLY work over an HDMI connection, meaning you must be running an HDMI cable out from the receiver to your TV as well as out from your video source devices. I have an older TV without HDMI and was initially unable to do this.
I was ultimately saved because my TV has a DVI input, so I bought an HDMI->DVI converter and now all is well. But be aware of these things before you buy!
The receiver's on screen menus are great and it makes it easy to configure the set up items as well as listen to Internet music sources or an iPod.
I have a Verizon iPhone 4 and I can listen to any audio source from the phone whether it's mp3 music via the phone's iPod app or streaming audio from the TuneIn radio app. You control the iPod music from the receiver, but control the TuneIn app from the phone. It also charges my phone when it's plugged in and I now use the receiver as my main charging source (the receiver has to be on of course though to charge the phone).
I've been using Pandora a lot and it works well. The on-screen menus let you pick a station, add new ones, and like/not like a song. You can do all of this from the receiver itself if the TV is off, but it's not quite as convenient as doing it on the TV screen. Entering the account information the first time through the receiver was hell; you had to type each character individually through a tedious scrolling menu (this was before I discovered my DVI input and got the on-screen menus working), but I discovered later that you can also input account information for Internet audio sources through the receiver's web interface. I would definitely recommend the latter for setting up your Web accounts.
vTuner is a nice option for Internet streaming audio too. The way I've mostly used this is I went onto the vTuner web site, I found stations I wanted to save for listening, and then I went into the receiver web interface using a computer on my local network (you just type the receiver's IP address into a web browser), and under the "my favorites" tab in the web interface you can copy and paste the URL's of the stations into a saved list of favorites that you can then play from the receiver. Not every URL I used worked (some would just fail to play for whatever reason), but I was ultimately able to find some of my favorite shows on different stations that had working URL's. You can save up to 40 favorite stations in this manner.
One thing I wish the receiver had is a screen saver for the on-screen TV interface. I have an older plasma TV that is subject to screen burns and if you leave music playing with the on-screen stuff on the TV, it will never go into a screen saver mode. For this reason I generally listen to music with the TV off.
I've played with the iPhone app for controlling the receiver some too. It was easy to set up. It offers more limited functionality compared to the receiver's actual remote but is a nice option for controlling from another room. When playing Pandora, it will show the artist/track information from within the app too which is cool.
I hope this information helps prospective buyers!
105 of 112 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I bought this from another vendor when it was on sale. This receiver is a good receiver for the price, but you get what you pay for. It has great features which is why its such a big seller. These power some brand new Energy RC-10 speakers. Internet radio GUI is fairly plain and the search function does not retrieve the same results as when you search online through a PC. But other than that, it works great. USB works quite well, although once in awhile it won't play the next song. Easy fix though, all you have to do is press next. Setup is straight forward and easy. Audssey 2EQ makes things convenient also.
Now my biggest complaint...the receiver inherently has an audible noise floor. As the volume is turned up, there is a hiss that gets louder and louder. When I surf through my PS3 menu and the volume is about 35 (range is 0-80), you hear an audible hiss from the speakers. Keep in mind I am sitting about 5 feet away from the receiver. This hiss is much very apparent with all listening modes besides stereo and direct. It's not a problem with music, because the hiss is drowned out by the music. But, with movies where there are scenes that are more quiet (which happens pretty often) that hiss will annoy you to no end.
I've exchanged receivers twice thinking that it was a defect, but each time I exchanged it, the hiss was still there. I've ruled out every single possibility: speakers, wire, connection, grounding, and any possible source of interference. I've taken it to a neighbor's house and when everything is hooked up, that hiss is still there. I've unplugged every single input on the receiver to rule out my other devices, and the hiss is still there. I even went to a Fry's demo room to test out their demo model, and the hiss is there.
I would stay away from this receiver if you are an avid movie watcher. That hissing noise is unacceptable. Also, I didn't read too much into this issue, but I heard Onkyo has HDMI switching issues. Not sure if this applies to this model however. If you listen to music only and aren't too critical, music sounds just fine.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Bought this receiver from another vendor after Amazon ran out of stock. It's a very capable receiver and offers a lot of bang for your buck.
My HT system consists of the following: a 46" LED-LCD Sony Bravia, a pair of Polk Audio TSi200 bookshelf speakers for the L/R channels, and a Polk Audio CS10 center channel speaker. I might add a subwoofer soon to make it a proper 3.1. Here are a few things i discovered on my own the hard way, that i would like to share with everybody:
First of all, note that the screenshot in the Amazon description above is a bit misleading. That belongs to the 509's older brother the 609. If you select the NET input, you will not see that
black screen with the icons of the various internet services. You will just see a basic list. White font over black background. Not very high resolution either, so doesn't look very sharp on your fancy HD screen. However, you operate the NET feature from your smart phone, where it looks much better, and sometimes even shows album art.
Also out of the box, your firmware will likely be outdated. PLEASE UPDATE your firmware. It's not very hard to do. The latest version was released by Onkyo on December 16th 2011, and it offers support for Spotify, fixes some Audyssey equalization bugs, and (thank God) made the DLNA work. Initially I struggled with having my Windows Media player "play to" the receiver, but after the upgrade, it worked like a charm.
Speaking of Spotify, you HAVE TO BE A PREMIUM MEMBER to be able to stream it to the 509. Initially I wasn't, and I spent 30 min trying to log in. It gave the non-descriptive "Error logging in". I called Onkyo support and they weren't sure why, and told me contact Spotify. I then read at the very bottom of a random page on the Spotify website that you have to be a premium member to stream to receivers. Moreover, they say that if you are a premium member, "most tracks" are available for streaming at 320kps quality. It's hard to verify what quality you're getting because it doesn't display the bit rate anywhere.
Out of the box, the 509 was expecting a subwoofer and surround satellite speakers. As a result, it sets the L/R speakers to "Small". That means the bass management will take the low frequencies from the left and right channels and send them to the subwoofer. If you do not have a sub, PLEASE go to the setup page, and turn the sub off (which will make your L/R speakers "Large"). That will make your speakers play the full range of frequencies. Moreover, the distance of the speakers to the listener is preset to 3.7 meters (which was too long for me). After i adjusted those numbers to reflect the correct distance, and made my speakers "Large", my Polk speakers sounded SO MUCH better. They sounded so flat initially. Alternatively, do the Audyssey EQ which should theoretically adjust all these numbers for you.
One last thing, I was pleasantly surprised by how well my receiver interacted with my Sony Bravia. Which is probably a common feature now. If you turn the HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) option on, your HDMI output to the TV will act as an input. So if you're watching a youtube video on your TV, the audio will be sent down to the receiver to be played on your nice speakers. Similarly, if you turn the Onkyo off while watching TV, your TV will react by turning on its own speakers. And your cable signal will pass through your receiver via HDMI even if it's off. Nifty!
- Very competitive price given the available features. It offers most of the features of the 609 for roughly a 150$ less. For an entry-level receiver, it is a big-time winner.
- Available app for iPhone (or other smart phones) is very convenient. Moreover, there is another (none-free) app called oRemote that gives you even more functionality.
- DLNA setup went relatively smooth (ONLY AFTER INSTALLING LATEST FIRMWARE UPDATE).
-There is only ONE USB connection (located at the front). You can either use that to hook up the wireless dongle (bought separately) OR your iPhone/iPad/iPod. In other words, you have to disconnect your wireless connection to plug in your Apple product. Inconvenient, but not a deal breaker.
-The graphical interface is very basic and not what you see on the Amazon description page. Solution: use your phone app instead.
-As a lot of reviewers pointed out, the 509 does not convert your analog/component video input into digital. So it cannot up-sample your SD analog video input into an HD digital video output. The 609 does. But that's a non-issue if all of your inputs are HDMI.
-USB dongle is a bit overpriced, but totally worth it if your router is in a separate room.
-Even though is supports Zone 2, it only gives you zone 2 pre-outs. Which means you need a separate amp. If you need a zone 2, get the more expensive 609.
Hope this review makes you reach a more educated decision when you shop for your receiver.
Update January 2012:
I have been using this receiver for almost two months now and i'm still reasonably pleased. Here is what's new:
1- Onkyo recently updated their iPhone/iPad apps now to offer support for Spotify. I uploaded screenshots of the app (along with screenshots of the basic built-in GUI for comparison). Here's the bad news: it doesn't work as well as the previous version! It is very slow and regularly hangs requiring to restart the app. I hope they keep improving it.
2- I finally added a sub and did the Audyssey room equalization. If you are not aware what that does, the concept is simple. It tries to correct the sound to make it more balanced in particular locations of your choice. For the engineers in the audience, that means that they compute frequency-domain filters to attenuate some frequencies and boost others. Now Audyssey has 4 flavors. MultEQ XT32, MultEQ XT, MultEQ and 2EQ, from most to least advanced. The 509 only offers 2EQ, which computes filters of limited resolution in the none-sub frequency range (higher than 80Hz or whatever you sent it to in the setup page). It was easy enough to perform, and I was pleased with the end result. If you don't like it you can always turn it off.
3- I experimented a little bit with zone 2. As i mentioned earlier, you need a separate amp to drive your Zone2 speakers. My only complaint is that the interface is a bit limiting. If your Main and Zone2 start playing Pandora for example, and you switch your main to DVD/Cable, your Zone2 can only keep playing Pandora. You cannot navigate back to switch to Spotify or DLNA, unless you do it through the Main. I was hoping the phone app would fix that, but it has not so far (as it stands, the app barely works for Main). Moreover, i noticed a slight lag between the two zones if you are playing the same input. I will update this review to share with you any breakthroughs I have with Zone2.
4- The DLNA feature started acting up. If you "play to" to the receiver from Windows Media Player, sometimes it hangs and skips. After some debugging I figured that the problem was with my wireless router. I did a firmware upgrade on the router and now DLNA works with no hiccups. If you experience similar problems, check your router.
Hope this review helps some confused folks out there.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Onkyo TX-NR509 5.1 Channel Network A/V ReceiverI had a previous Onkyo Receiver and was very satisfied. I read this 2011 model on the manufactures web site, and started getting online prices. I placed my old receiver on CL, and sold it within an hour.
Onkyo must have redesigned the internal circuitry, as this receiver is louder, crisper and more responsive. The USB input is great, no more burning CD's. In addition, the network connection is nice but I am not putting it to use at this writing.
I choose this model over the 609 as I never used the TXH circuitry, and my listen room is not that large. Still, regret not spending the extra money not getting the built in equalizer.
So, I highly recommend, and high remarks to Amazon.com for price, and fast delivery of the product.