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Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Plenty of connections
Wi-Fi and Ethernet
Good sound overall
Not the best price
The Onkyo TX-8140 gives buyers a number of modern features, but comes at a serious premium over the competition.
The Onkyo TX-8140 finds itself somewhere in the middle of what I would consider attainable stereo receivers. At an MSRP of $299, it’s not a bargain like the $129 Sony STR-DH190, and it’s not as lofty as the feature-packed Marantz NR1200 at $599. This puts it in a bit of an awkward position of offering the features that budget receiver buyers are missing out on, but at a price hike that might just be a bridge too far.
As far as appearances are concerned, there is no getting around the fact that the Onkyo TX-8140 is on the bulkier side of receivers these days. Looks are subjective of course, but I tend to prefer when manufacturers keep it clean and small on the exterior if at all possible, especially since there is a remote control to handle the functions anyway.
It’s not game over for this receiver, however—solid performance, a good reputation, and a nice array of input options make the Onkyo TX-8140 a good buy for some buyers, even if it’s a narrower field. After all, the TX-8140 gives you six audio inputs, phono, optical, coax, A/B speakers, subwoofer pre-out, Wi-Fi, USB input, Ethernet, and DLNA streaming from your PC/network. That’s certainly enough to keep things interesting.
The Onkyo TX-8140, measuring 17.3x5.9x12.9 inches (HWD) and weighing in at 18.3 pounds, is definitely on the heftier side. Particularly where the thickness is concerned, the Onkyo is significantly thicker than the Marantz NR1200 at 4.1 inches, and even the Sony STR-DH190 at 5.25 inches. It’s also got a slew of buttons and knobs on the front of the device that I think most of us could live without, especially if it made for a cleaner look. Some of the more expensive models that Onkyo produce like the 9.2 channel TX-RZ920 get around this issue by using a pop-out panel cover that can obscure the lion’s share of the buttons in the center of the console.
Included on the front are input, bass, treble, balance and volume knobs, and a tuning/preset 4-way selector. You will also find power, memory/menu, tuning/play/pause, display, sleep, setup, enter, return, dimmer, speaker a/b and 4 “BGM” buttons, which let you create internet radio or AM/FM radio presets. Again, did we need dedicated buttons for these on the front?
I don’t know why I chose this particular hill to die on, but I loathe cluttered designs. I’m sure this won’t even register as an issue for plenty of buyers, so don’t let me weigh you down. What I do like is the inclusion of a USB port on the front, useful for playing music, and of course the 0.25-inch headphone jack.
The rear of the device is certainly very busy, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that—everything here is essential, hidden away, and necessary for the functionality of the device. Users will find 6x audio inputs, 1x audio output, 1x phono input, 2x optical ins, 2x coaxial ins, 1 subwoofer out, an Ethernet port, and the 4x pairs speaker terminals (capable of connecting two sets of stereo speakers). Luckily the speaker terminals on the Onkyo TX-8140 support banana plugs, my favorite connector type, but unluckily, they do not support bi-wiring/bi-amping.
Setup of the Onkyo TX-8140 is fairly straightforward, but users may run into issues connecting the device to their home network using Wi-Fi. To join a network, you first select from the available networks sorted by SSID, and then enter the password. Maybe you can see the issue here.
With only a direction pad and a dot-matrix display, you’re forced to scroll through the list of characters one at a time, as if entering your high score on an arcade machine. Instead of merely entering your initials though, you’re forced to bear the humiliation of punching in the dozen-character password character by character as you contemplate your $299 purchase.
With only a direction pad and a dot-matrix display, you’re forced to scroll through the list of characters one at a time, as if entering your high score on an arcade machine.
But wait! If your router has a WPS button on the back, you can go ahead and connect that way and save yourself the grief that the WPS button was designed to eliminate in the first place. I did things the hard way in the interest of thorough testing, but I suggest you learn from my sacrifice and look for that WPS button instead.
Luckily this was my only real complaint—despite my melodrama the Onkyo TX-8140 is a relative breeze to set up.
The Onkyo TX-8140 held up fairly well in my tests, although there were a couple of spots where I felt it lacked the clarity I saw from some of its competitors. At 80W per channel, loudness was certainly far from an issue, but the TX-8140 had trouble articulating some of the finer details in a more intimately recorded solo piano album by Nils Frahm. It might not be an incredibly pronounced deficit, but I had just finished listening to this album on three different receivers and two different combinations of speakers, and the Onkyo TX-8140 had the most difficulty out of the bunch.
This was not the case, at least not to my ears, when listening to the tight, punchy electronic music of Oliver, or the funk/hip-hop/R&B blend found on Anderson .Paak’s album Malibu. I was mostly satisfied with the Onkyo TX-8140’s sound, just not in every scenario, and not with more delicate music.
I was mostly satisfied with the Onkyo TX-8140’s sound, just not in every scenario, and not with more delicate music.
One area that I didn’t run into any issues was in film and television scenarios. Everything from whispered vocal details to boom, crashes and other onomatopoeic film moments were heard clearly and fully. This is definitely a nice receiver for the movie watchers and game players of the world.
This is definitely a nice receiver for the movie watchers and game players of the world.
The Onkyo TX-8140 has what I would describe as a healthy set of features for the price. One cool feature in particular that you might consider taking advantage of is the “wakeup” functionality of optical port 1 (labeled “GAME”). When connected, the receiver will wake from its sleep state and automatically select the right input as soon as it detects playback.
Bluetooth also worked seamlessly for me—I didn’t run into any errant connection drop-outs or difficulty finding and pairing with my devices. And Wi-Fi, once connected successfully, seemed to have no issues maintaining its connection. Onkyo also offers the Onkyo Remote app as a means of selecting inputs, making volume adjustments, and music selection on a variety of internet music sources.
The USB port in the front can be used to play your audio files. The receiver supports WAV and FLAC files up to 96 kHz/24 bit when playing through this method. Over the network this is even greater, supporting 192kHz/24bit.
Thanks to the line-level subwoofer out, you can connect a subwoofer with a built-in amp as well. Keep in mind, however, that when switching to the B speakers, the subwoofer output is disabled. If you want to learn more, check out our article on how to connect a subwoofer to a receiver.
At an MSRP of just $299, the Onkyo TX-8140 is priced fairly if we’re being generous, and a little on the expensive side if we’re not. This is mostly because the AVR market offers some very stiff competition from above, below, and all around. Buyers that absolutely know they need the kind of features offered by the TX-8140 like Wi-Fi, subwoofer outs, and a limitless supply of audio inputs might still want to consider this amplifier, but it would still be wise to comparison shop a bit.
Among the other receivers we tested was the Sony STR-DH190 (see on Amazon), which at an MSRP of $129 is an absolute bargain compared to the Onkyo. For this dramatic reduction in price, you do lose out on a number of features, such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and subwoofer pre outs, but not all that much else.
I actually preferred the sound of the Sony STR-DH190, if only by a hair. The Sony also offers a little bit more power per channel at 100W versus the Onkyo’s 80W. Buyers with simpler needs would be wise to think long and hard about what they need before pulling the trigger.
A good receiver in a tough market.
The Onkyo TX-8140 is a perfectly fine receiver that has a little too much competition to make it an instant recommendation. I had enough concerns about the functionality, design, and sound to make me think twice. It will still be the right choice for plenty of buyers, but make sure it meets your needs before clicking the buy button.
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