Onkyo TX-NR809 Home Theater Receiver - Product Profile

Onkyo TX-NR809 THX Certified 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver
Onkyo TX-NR809 THX Certified 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver. Photo from Amazon

Introduction to the Onkyo TX-NR809

The TX-NR809 is a THX Select2 Plus Certified 7.2 channel home theater receiver (7 channels plus 2 subwoofer outs) delivering 135 Watts into each of 7 channels at .08%​ THD ​and features TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and both Dolby Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX processing.

On the video side, the TX-NR809 has 8 3D-compatible HDMI inputs with analog to HDMI video conversion and Upscaling.

The TX-NR809 employs two video processing chips. The ​IDT HQV Vida VHD1900 chip provides upscaling to 1080p, while the added built-in Marvell QDEO processing chip provides further upscaling up to 4K (3840x2160) resolution - provided you have a 4K display. An added video bonus is the inclusion of ISF Calibration settings.

Video Inputs and Outputs

The TX-NR809 offers a total of eight (7 rear/1 front) HDMI inputs and two outputs, as well as two component inputs and one output. There are four composite video and four S-video inputs (which are paired with analog stereo audio inputs), plus a front panel video input. The TX-NR809 also features a VCR/DVR/DVD Recorder connection loop and a PC monitor input connection.

The TX-NR809 upconverts all standard definition analog video input signals to HDMI video outputs, with upscaling, to simplify Receiver connections to an HDTV.

Audio Inputs and Outputs

The receiver has five assignable digital audio inputs (Three coaxial and two optical) audio inputs.

Two additional analog stereo audio connections are provided for a CD player and CD or Cassette audio recorder, and there are two subwoofer preamplifier outputs.

In addition, the TX-NR809 has a dedicated input for a turntable for the playing of vinyl records, as well as a set of 7.1 channel analog audio inputs and 7.2 channel analog preamp outputs (includes two subwoofer pre-outs).

Audio Decoding and Processing

The TX-NR809 features Audio Decoding for Dolby Digital Plus and TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1/EX/Pro logic IIx, DTS 5.1/ES, 96/24, Neo:6. DTS Neo:6 and Dolby ProLogic IIx processing enables the TX-NR809 to extract 7.2-channel audio from any stereo or multichannel source.

Dolby Prologic IIz and Audyssey DSX

The TX-NR809 also features 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 component to the surround sound field (great for rain, helicopter, plane flyover effects). Dolby Prologic IIz can be added to either a 5.1 channel or 7.1 channel setup.

In addition, 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.

Loudspeaker Connections and Configuration Options

Speaker connections consist of color-coded dual banana-plug-compatible multi-way binding posts for all main channels.

A useful speaker connection option is the ability for the TX-NR809 to be used in a full 7.2 channel configuration, or in a 5.2 channel setup in the main home theater room, with simultaneous 2 channel operation in a second room.

However, if you want to use the full 7.2 channels for your home theater environment, you can still run an additional 2-channel system in another room by using the Zone 2 preamp outputs. In this setup you will have to add a second amplifier to power the speakers in Zone 2.

In addition, for the main zone, speaker connection options are provided for a front left and right channel Bi-amping setup or for height or wide channel speaker setup when using Dolby Pro Logic IIz or Audyssey DSX processing. When using these connections, make sure you go into the TX-NR809's settings menu to reassign the amplifiers for those setup options.

Amplifier Characteristics

The Onkyo TX-NR809 delivers 135 Watts-per-channel into 8-Ohms (measured with 2-channels driven) via its seven internal high-current WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology) power amplifiers. With amplifier frequency response from 5 Hz to 100 kHz the TX-NR809 is up to challenge from any source, including Blu-ray Disc. The TX-NR809 is certified for 8, 6, or 4 ohm speaker impedance - Note: it is advisable not to mix speakers of different impedances.

Video Processing

On the video side, the TX-NR809 has eight 3D-compatible HDMI inputs with analog to HDMI video conversion and up upscaling. Two video processing chips are built-in. For 1080p upscaling there is the IDT HQV Vida VHD1900 chip. A second Marvell QDEO processing chip provides further upscaling up to 4K (3840x2160) resolution - if you have a 4K display. 4K upscaling may seem like overkill. However, as 4K capable TVs and video projectors creep into the market (there are already a few high-end projectors available and some TVs in the planning stage), the TX-NR809 is ready, if needed for that type of use.

Front Panel Display and LFE

The fluorescent front panel display makes setup and operation of the receiver easy and fast; wireless remote control provided. Also featured is an adjustable crossover on the Subwoofer LFE (Low Frequency Effects) pre-out channels.

AM/FM/Internet Radio

The TX-NR809 has the standard AM/FM tuner with 40 station presets provided that can be used for setting any combination of favorite AM/FM stations. The TX-NR809 is also HD Radio-Ready (accessory module required).

Internet Radio and Network Connectivity via Ethernet

The TX-NR809 has internet radio access (including vTuner, Pandora, and Rhapsody. Sirius Internet Radio, vTuner). The TX-NR809 is also Windows 7 Compatible and DLNA Certified for access to digital media files stored on PCs, Media Servers, and other compatible network-connected devices.

Audio Return Channel

This is a very practical feature that has been introduced in HDMI ver1.4. What this function allows, if the TV is also HDMI 1.4-enabled. is that you can transfer audio from the TV back to the TX-NR809 and listen to your TV's audio through your home theater audio system instead of the TV's speakers without having to connect a second cable between the TV and home theater system.

For example, if you receive your TV signals over the air, the audio from those signals goes directly to your TV. Ordinarily, to get the audio from those signals to your Home Theater receiver, you would have to connect an extra cable from the TV to the home theater receiver for this purpose. However, with audio return channel, you can simply take advantage of the cable you already have connected between the TV and the home theater receiver to transfer audio in both directions.

Zone 2/3 Options

The TX-NR809 allows for the connection and operation of a powered 2nd Zone. This allows a second source signal to speakers or a separate audio system in another location. This is not the same as just connecting additional speakers and placing them in another room. In addition, the TX-NR809 also provides Zone 2 and Zone 3 preamp outputs as well (external amplifiers required if using this option).

The Zone 2/3 function allows control of either the same, or separate, source than the one being listened to in the main room, in another location. For example, the user can be watching a Blu-ray Disc or DVD movie with surround sound in the main room, while someone else can listen to a CD Player in another room, at the same time. Both the Blu-ray Disc or DVD player and CD player are connected to the same receiver but are accessed and controlled separately using the same main receiver.

Audyssey MutltiEQ

The TX-NR809 also features an automated speaker setup function called MultEQ. By connecting the provided microphone to the TX-NR809 and following the instructions outlined in the user manual. The MultEQ 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. However, keep in mind that you may still have to some minor adjustments 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-NR809 also incorporates the Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume features. Dynamic EQ allows for real-time frequency response compensation when the user changes volume settings, For more specifics on how Dynamic EQ works in relation to volume settings and room characteristics, and how this can benefit the user, check out the official Audyssey Dynamic EQ page.

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. For more details, check out the Audyssey Dynamic Volume page.

Final Take

With the TX-NR809, Onkyo continues its tradition of packing in the features, including 3D pass-through, eight HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs, HDMI video and audio switching with analog-to-HDMI video conversion and separate processing chips for 1080p and 4K upscaling, advanced HDMI audio capabilities, as well as Internet Radio, HD Radio, and iPod compatibility.

Another bonus is the inclusion of ISF calibration settings which can be applied differently to each source if needed. This provides a lot more flexibility in setting up and using the TX-NR809 as a true centerpiece for both the video and audio processing needs of your home theater system.

Also, on the connection front, the TX-NR809 has a "Universal Connection Port" on the rear panel that accepts an accessory Onkyo HD-Radio Tuner or iPod Dock. Another included connection feature is a front-mounted HDMI input, which is great for Game Systems, such as the Sony Playstation 3 or high definition Camcorders. For more added flexibility, the TX-NR809 also has two subwoofer line outputs (thus the .2 reference in the 7.2 channel description).

There are also front and rear-mounted USB ports for connection of flash drives and other compatible devices containing media files. The USB ports are also compatible with Onkyo's UWF-1 Wireless LAN Adapter, which allows the TX-NR809 to be wirelessly connected to your home network and the internet.

Four things that I am very glad to see on the TX-NR809 are the 7.1 channel analog audio inputs, 7.2 channel analog preamp outputs, inclusion of S-Video connections and a dedicated phono turntable input.

Having a set of 7.1 channel analog inputs is very practical. If you have a 3D Blu-ray Disc player that has one HDMI output, but does have a set of 5.1 or 7.1 channel analog audio outputs, you can still access Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio Blu-ray soundtracks. In addition, if you have an SACD player or DVD-Audio compatible DVD player that does not have an HDMI output, you can still access multi-channel SACD or DVD-Audio content from those devices using analog audio connections.

If you are planning to purchase home theater receiver that offers a lot for a good price, the THX Select2 Plus Certified TX-NR809 may be just the ticket. It definitely offers a lot of practical features that complement the new generation of source devices, such as 3D-enabled Blu-ray Disc Players and Televisions, iPods, the internet, and your network-connected devices, while still offering extensive audio capabilities. The TX-NR809 is even ready for 4K resolution TVs or video projectors, should that be a need in the future.

For additional details, also check out the Onkyo TX-NR809 Official Product Page.

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