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Lifewire / James Huenink
Easy surround sound setup
Lots of flexibility for inputs
Six HDMI inputs
Entrancing surround sound
Poor streaming and Bluetooth implementation
Zone 2 speakers have awkward controls
The remote is too basic
With DTS:X and Dolby Atmos support, the Onkyo TX-NR575 7.2 channel home theater receiver should be a great buy, but poor feature implementation makes us balk at its price.
We purchased the Onkyo TX-NR575 Home Theater Receiver so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Now that we have ubiquitous low-cost 4K TV’s, and 8K is just around the corner, we need high definition sound to match our HD screens. Does the Onkyo TX-NR575 meet that standard? Let’s take a look.
Before you dive in, check out our guide to choosing a home theater receiver.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 looks like your standard AV component, a metal body with a black plastic face and plastic buttons and knobs. It’s generic enough to fit right in with most existing systems.
The most important exterior design feature for any kind of AV equipment, however, is the location of the controls and the input/output ports. The Onkyo TX-NR575 places all of these where you’d expect and labels them clearly. There are even instructions for proper speaker wire installation on the back of the unit. We liked that all the speaker posts are screw-on so we didn’t have to fiddle with those annoying spring-loaded posts. Each is clearly labeled, and there are even instructions. With so many speaker posts, 7.1 channels, and zone two speakers, it would be easy to mix them up.
The front control panel buttons are all sensibly arranged, too, including individual buttons for the long list of video and audio inputs. At almost seven inches, the Onkyo TX-NR575 is taller than most home theater receivers we’ve tested. It fit a little snugly into our entertainment unit, so you’ll want to check on the height before you buy.
We put the Onkyo TX-SR373 through a series of tests with music, movies, and video games on a set of Monoprice 5.1 speakers. The first thing we noticed is how much of a difference DTS:X and Dolby Atmos makes when we were watching TV or playing video games. Older sound formats pulled some of the front channels to the surround speakers, but the Onkyo TX-NR575 kept voices directly in the front, which means the more subtle ambient sounds and background music can hum in the background.
The sound of a helicopter’s blades thrumming overhead was so convincing we glanced out our window before we realized it was in-game.
This was especially good for video games. We played Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeros, which features a ton of ambient sound and aural directional cues. The constant rain trickling in the background amplified the immersive qualities of Kojima’s prequel, without ever overwhelming the audio cues. The sound of a helicopter’s blades thrumming overhead was so convincing we glanced out our window before we realized it was in-game.
We listened to a variety of music to test audio playback—some Debussy, Green Day, John Coltrane, and Taylor Swift. In both the jazz and rock, we really liked how crisp the cymbals and hi-hat were under the rest of the music. The Debussy features several harp arpeggios and the highest notes popped nicely. When we played Taylor Swift’s song, “...Ready For It?” The bass was so prominent that it was annoying, like when you drive up next to a car with so much bass your ride rattles a little. It’s nice to know that the Onkyo TX-NR575 has that kind of power, but we had to turn the bass down 5 dB so it wasn’t overwhelming. We did like how the midrange vocals came through clearly even with the thundering bass.
We also tested out the Onkyo TX-NR575 by watching Across The Universe on Blu-Ray, with its eclectic sound and focus on music. The same DTS:X that made special effects better also made the songs in the movie sound less full and powerful because they were coming only from the front speakers.
The menus are easy to use, and they offer a ton of customizable options for sound. There are options to control individual speaker channels, assign inputs, and manage the level of treble and bass. The quick menu appears over the image on the screen, so you can adjust the bass and treble without using the TX-NR575’s screen or stopping our stream.
We were disappointed that a lot of the customizable features aren’t available on the remote control. The TX-NR575’s less expensive cousin has treble and base, listening modes, and several other options right on the remote, but they’re absent here. It becomes even more difficult when you try to activate the zone two speakers.
The remote is pretty complex, and takes some time to get acclimated to. It’s very poorly designed and possibly the worst feature. The iPad app controller makes this easier, but it should be easier to control a home theater receiver using its dedicated remote.
We all know the most difficult process in setting up a home theater receiver is cutting through the jungle of wires behind our TV’s. Once we got past that the process was pretty easy, though more complicated than lower cost 5.1 channel receivers. The Onkyo TX-NR575 has nine sets of speaker terminals, and you can use them in a couple of ways. You can add speakers six and seven to add more depth to the surround sound, and they can be arranged behind, above, or on top of other speakers, in lots of different configurations. You can also use terminals six and seven as bi-amps for compatible speakers, an option you can select in the setup process. The zone two speakers are designed to play music in different rooms, controlled through the same central hub as your primary setup.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 has a lot of connection options, including six HDMI inputs and nine speaker terminals. There are analog and digital inputs and outputs scattered across the back of the device. There are plenty of options for AV-in even if you don’t use HDMI.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 has a lot of cool features that the no-frills, low-cost home theater receivers don’t. It has built-in Wi-Fi, so it can connect to audio streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, or Tidal, and it also supports Airplay. The built-in Wi-Fi also makes it possible to update the device’s firmware straight from the internet. Native music streaming had quality sound, but the menus were awkward, making us wonder why we wouldn’t just run Pandora through our mobile device via Bluetooth.
Bluetooth playback was buggy, sometimes not working at all.
We were also surprised by the internal Chromecast, theoretically a cool feature for casting Netflix from our iPad right to the TV, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get video to work on the internal Chromecast, only audio.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 also has Bluetooth connections, supporting SBC and AAC codecs. We were surprised that a receiver that costs this much doesn’t support the higher quality aptX codec, especially since Onkyo’s lower-cost receivers do.
Bluetooth playback was buggy, sometimes not working at all. There was also a substantial pause between sending a command on the iPad and hearing the change on the receiver.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 goes for $379, which runs higher than its midrange competition. What do you get for that price boost? It offers Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, which improves the audio experience over older formats, and it has direct connections to the internet for streaming music. If any of the extra features had better implementation or worked more seamlessly, we’d recommend it more highly, but the price is high for difficult controls and menus.
Yamaha RX-V485: The Yamaha RX-V485 is in the same price range as the Onkyo TX-NR575, coming in at $400. It has support for only 5.1 channel instead of the Onkyo’s 7.2, but the Yamaha has features the Onkyo TX-NR575 doesn’t. Its MusicCast system connects it to wireless speakers in multiple rooms, a setup that considerably easier than Onkyo’s awkward zone two system.
The Denon AVR-S530BT: The Denon AVR-S530BT is a much lower cost option with an MSRP of $279. The $100 savings comes at a cost: no Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, and no Wi-Fi. It also has a little less power, 70 watts per channel. If your main concern isn’t top quality sound, a receiver at this cost with these features makes more sense than spending $379 on the Onkyo TX-NR575.
Quality sound with poor feature implementation.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 is a great receiver that’s seriously hampered by a hefty price tag and broken promises. We loved the quality sound, especially the clear treble we heard when listening to classical music or jazz, and the DTS:X/Dolby Atmos surround sound was great. But poor features that just didnt’ work, like music streaming and Bluetooth, make us wary of its high price.
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