Onkyo TX-NR696 review: The new king of the do-it-all big black boxes

While both Yamaha and Sony have decided not to release new models in 2019, it may appear that AV receivers are in a holding pattern right now. It relies on brands such as Denon, Marantz and Oncio to keep the traditional black box alive against increased competition from soundbars and smart speakers.

Onkyo built us last year Preferred receiver under $ 500: TX-NR585, which has no direct replacement in 2019. Instead, the TX-NR696 is the brand new mid-level offer, and is a winner. The ६ ९ ६ is a high-performance and fully loaded facility at a relatively affordable price. Dannon AVR-750H The music sounds a little better and costs a little less, making it a solid second choice, but Onkyo provides more features and more well-rounded, dynamic sound overall. Along with the features, audio firm-fedness and flexibility of the best models at its cost, the TX-NR696 is ClearTips’s editor’s choice.

Read more: Best av receiver of 2020

A lot under the hood

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Sara Tew / ClearTips

The TX-NR696 is a 7 x 100-watt-per-channel receiver with an extensive list of features, including support for atmospheric Dolby Atmos and DTS: X formats. Compared with the competing Yamaha, which only includes four HDMI inputs on the rear of models such as the RX-V485, Onco includes a healthy six at the rear. The ports provide a pass-through to the latest 4K standards, including HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Other connections include pairwise component and composite video inputs, six analog audio inputs, three digital audio inputs (two optical and one coaxial) and a USB port.

Vinyl is in the middle of a revival Right now and the NR696 enables users to take advantage of it thanks to a dedicated phono input for turntables that lack the onboard phono pramp.

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Sara Tew / ClearTips

At 6.81 inches tall and large, Onkyo holds one of my favorite designs of previous years: the direct source button on the front panel. If you misplace the remote too much, you will appreciate being able to tap a button on the receiver to get the source you want.

ONECO’s BV of streaming protocols including Chromecast built-in, DTS Play-Fi, Spotify Connect, AirPlay and Bluetooth. The receiver uses a proprietary FlareConnect system that is essentially “mirror casting” for audio. It gives you a “mirror” of what is going on on one FlareConnect system for another, whether it is alone or throughout the house. Its most useful application would be streaming to a turntable or other analog source, although the onboard play-fi system has this feature and more.

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Button Button, which button has been found

Sara Tew / ClearTips

If you want to set up another room with a set of speakers, Onkyo offers a dedicated powered Zone 2.

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