Onkyo TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 Home Theater Receivers

Overview and Profile

Onkyo TX-NR3009 Home Theater Receiver - Front View
Onkyo TX-NR3009 Home Theater Receiver - Front View. Photo (c) Onkyo USA

Introduction to the Onkyo TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 Home Theater Receivers:

Onkyo has completed their current 2011 Home Theater Receiver line-up with two additional entries: the TX-NR3009 ($2,199) and TX-NR5009 ($2,899). Both receivers incorporate extensive features, such as 3D compatibility, advanced audio/video processing, and internet streaming, as well as lots of connectivity options. Here is a look at what they have in common as well as their major difference.

Amplifier Characteristics

Starting off with the basics, the Onkyo TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 are rated at 140 and 145 Watts-per-channel, respectively, into 8-Ohms (measured from 20hz to 20kHz with 2 channels driven) via its nine internal WRAT power amplifiers.

Audio Decoding and Processing

The TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 feature audio decoding for Dolby Digital Plus and TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and Dolby Digital 5.1/EX/Pro logic IIx, DTS 5.1/ES, 96/24, Neo:6.

Dolby Prologic IIz and AuDyssey DSX

In addition to all the audio decoding formats incorporated into thed TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 both receivers also feature additional audio processing:

Dolby Prologic IIz processing. Dolby Prologic IIz offers the option of adding two more front speakers that are placed above the left and right main speakers. This feature adds a "vertical" or overhead element to the surround sound experience.

Audyssey DSX provides for the option of adding either height or an extra set of side placed wide channel speakers set between the front and surround sound speakers.

DTS Neo:X

DTS Neo:X is an audio processing format that can extract 9.1 or 11.1 channels of surround from 2/5.1/6.1 or 7.1 sources. For the TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 Onkyo has chosen to use DTS Neo:X in a 9.1 or 9.2 channel configuration. What is interesting is that both the TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 have a set of 11.2 channel preamp outputs and speaker connections for 11 channels, but only up to 9.2 channels can be operated at a time.

The active channels can be selected based on your listening preference for given source material. Here is a sample of available configurations:

A. Add surround back and front-height speakers to bring out ambient, non-directional sounds.

B. Add surround back and front-wide speakers to provide a more expansive soundstage

C. Add front-height and front-width speakers to create an immersive space without having to install rear speakers.

Loudspeaker Connections and Configuration Options

Speaker connections on both the TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 consist of color-coded dual banana-plug-compatible multi-way binding posts that are laid out in a very organized way along the bottom of the rear panel.

The TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 can be used in a full 9.2 channel configuration, or in a 5.2 channel setup in one room, with simultaneous 2 channel setups in up to two additional rooms. If you want to use 9.2 channels, you can still run additional 2-channel systems in additional rooms (referred to as Zones) by using the Zone 2 or Zone 3 preamp outputs. In this setup you will have to add an amplifier(s) to power the speakers in Zone 2 or Zone 3.

For the main zone, speaker connection options are provided for a front left and right channel A and B speakers, Bi-amping, or height and/or wide channel speaker setup when using Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Audyssey DSX, or DTS Neo:X.

If using DTS Neo:X processing a 9.1 or 9.2 channel speaker setup is required. To match your amplifiers to your speaker configuration, go into the TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009's settings menu to assign the amplifiers accordingly.

Audio Inputs and Outputs (Excluding HDMI)

Both receivers have five assignable digital audio inputs (three coaxial and three optical (2 rear/1 front) audio inputs. Two additional analog stereo audio connections are provided for a CD player or TV audio feed. There is also a dedicated input for a phono (turntable), as well as two subwoofer line outputs. In addition, both the TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 provide a set of 11 channel analog audio preamp outputs.

Video Processing

On the video side, both receivers also feature 1080p video upscaling for all video input sources using a IDT HQV Vida VHD1900 chip, but it doesn't stop there. Both receivers also incorporate Marvel QDEO video processing chips that provide further upscaling up to 4K (3840x2160) resolution - provided you have a 4K display.

To support its video processing, the TX-NR3009 and TX-N5009 both include ISF Calibration settings as well as additional picture mode settings, including: edge enhancement, noise reduction, resolution, brightness, contrast, hue, saturaton, color temperature, gamma, plus independent brightness/contrast settings for red, green, and blue. These flexible settings are very practical as you don't have to change your TV's picture settings for other components connected to your TV that do not go through the TX-NR3009 or TX-NR5009.

Video Inputs and Outputs

The TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 offer a total of eight (7 rear/1 front) 3D-compatible HDMI inputs and two outputs, as well as three component inputs and one output. There are four S-Video and four composite video inputs (which are paired with analog stereo audio inputs), plus a set front panel AV inputs. Also, as an added bonus, both receivers feature a DVR/VCR in/out connection loop and a VGA PC monitor input.

AM/FM, Internet Radio, Network Connectivity, USB

The TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 have a standard AM/FM tuner with 40 station presets that can be used for setting any combination of favorite AM/FM stations.

HD radio can be accessed via an optional accessory tuner.

The TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 both have music streaming and internet radio access (including Spotify, Napster, Last.fm, AUPEO!, Pandora, and Rhapsody, Sirius Internet Radio, and vTuner). The TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 are also Windows 7 Compatible and DLNA Certified for access to digital media files stored on PCs, Media Servers, and other compatible network-connected devices.

Two USB ports (1 front/1 rear) are also provided for a access to digital media files and firmware update files stored on USB plug-in devices, including iPods, iPhones, iPads, and USB flash drives. In addition, the USB ports can also be used to plug in a USB WiFi Adapter. There is also a rear mounted docking port for additional accessory plug-ins, such as an HD radio tuner or iPod dock for both audio and video content access.

Audio Return Channel

The TX-NR3009 and TX-NR-5009 both incorporate the Audio Return Channel feature. This allows, provided your TV is Auto Return Channel compatible, the transfer of audio from your TV back to the TX-NR3009 or TX-NR5009 so you can listen to your TV's audio through either of the two receivers without having to connect a second cable between the TV and home theater receiver.

Audyssey MultEQ XT32

The TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 also feature an automated speaker setup function called MultiEQ XT32. This feature uses a series of test tones to determine the proper speaker levels, based on how it reads the speaker placement in relation to the acoustical properties of your room.

You can also tweak the setting results manually after the automatic set up is completed in order to conform to you own listening tastes.

Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume

The Onkyo TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 also incorporates the Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume features. Audyssey Dynamic EQ allows for real-time frequency response compensation when the user changes volume settings.

Audyssey Dynamic Volume. stabilizes the sound listening labels so that the softer parts of a soundtrack, such as dialog, are not overwhelmed by the impact of loud portions of the soundtrack.

Remote Control App and Custom Integration

A downloadable app allows an iPhone or Android phone to be used for select remote control functions for both the TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009. Also, for those that want to incorporate either the TX-NR3009 or TX-NR5009 into a custom installation that includes centralized control, both receivers have the necessary connectivity, including assignable 12-volt triggers for Zones 2 and 3, IR serial remote in/out connection, Onkyo's proprietary RI control interface, and RS-232C PC control interface connection. Consult with a home theater installer for information on compatible custom remote control systems.

Difference between the TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009

As you can see, the TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 share a lot of features in common, but there is a difference that may, or may not, be important to you.

The TX-NR3009 has powerful 140 watt per channel amplifiers, as well as an impressive array of 24-bit Texas Instruments Burr Brown DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters) for each channel. However, the TX-NR5009 takes it up another notch with five more watts per channel, the incorporation of larger capacitors in combination with a heavy-duty Toroidal transformer, 32-bit Burr Brown DACs on all channels, and a 32-bit DSP (Digital Sound Processing) chip. Stripping off all the techie terms - what this means to the consumer is that the TX-NR5009 can handle just about anything you through at it with no worries about maintaining a constant strong power output level, in combination with with extremely low distortion and wide ranging sound processing capability.

My Take

Both the the TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 home theater receivers have everything you could possibly need in a home theater receiver, from solid audio and video processing, to an abundance of internet and home networking features. As far as I can tell, the TX-NR3009 will probably do the job in just about any size room just fine, and you probably wouldn't be able to hear the difference between it and the TX-NR5009. For most setups, the TX-NR5009 may be overkill. However, if you have cash to spare, you might find that the extra $700 for the "beefier" 145-watt per channel, toroidal power transformer-equipped, TX-NR5009 might be worth it to you.

For even more details, check out the Onkyo's official announcement as well as Onkyo's TX-NR3009 and TX-NR5009 home theater receiver product pages.