Along
with their high-end line of receivers, Onkyo has also released a new line of impressive AV
receivers for the discerning audiophile on a budget. Introducing the TX-SR353, TX-NR555,
TX-NR656, and the TX-NR757 AV receivers.  Aside from
the TX-SR353, these receivers are *Dobly Atmos-ready along with DTS:X decoding
which gives them a more customized listening experience (upon an upcoming
firmware update).  Onkyo’s VLSC (Vector
Linear Shaping Circuitry) is also applied to the three more expensive units
which, according to Onkyo, presents a “virtually, noiseless, smooth, analog
signal that brings out even the most subtle of nuances in music sources.”  The following comparison chart lays out a few
of the differences between the new products.





















Model TX-NR353 TX-NR555 TX-NR656 TX-SR757
MSRP $399 $599 $699 $799
Channels 5.1 7.2 7.2 7.2
Power, 
2ch, 8ohm,

20Hz-20kHz
80w, 0.08% THD 80w, 0.08% THD 100w, 0.08% THD 110w, 0.08% THD
Atmos Capable
No *Yes *Yes *Yes
DACs 24 bit 32 bit 32 bit 32 bit
isf Certified Calibration control No No No No
HDMI I/O 4/1 6/1 8/2(main/sub) 8/2(main/sub)
HDMI Ver. 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0
HDCP 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.2
MHL HDMI Input No No Front Panel Front Panel
Digital In
(Opt/Coax)
1/1 2/1 2/1 2/1
Phono In No Yes Yes Yes
Video Upconversion To 4K To 4K To 4K To 4K
Analog Preouts 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2
Powered Zone 2/3 No/no Yes/No Yes/No Yes(A+B)/No
Zone 2/3 No/No No/No Yes/No Yes/No
Line Out
Zone 2 HDMI
Weight 17.6 lbs. 20.7 lbs. 22 lbs. 22 lbs.

The Onkyo TX-SR353

This
17.6 lb. receiver is the budget AVR of these budget AVRs and at $399 has the
least frills of its bigger siblings.  It
has 5-way binding posts for the front channels only, whereas the center and
rear channels incorporate spring-loaded terminals.  Nonetheless it is still an Onkyo receiver,
which counts for something.  Like its
siblings, it incorporates the typical Onkyo discrete channel circuitry for all
channels, 0.08% THD to 2 channels (great for 2 channel listening especially
with its 192K/24 bit DACs), and 4K pass through.  Other features similar to the other models is
the built-in Bluetooth capability, AccuEQ, Subwoofer analog pre-out, USB input,
and the 2 year warranty just to name a few. 
If this is used in a multi-media system with a couple of components,
there are 4/1 HDMI input/output connections with Audio Return Channel to the
TV.

353front.jpg     353back.jpg

The Onkyo TX-NR555

At
$599 and 20.7lbs. the next step up in this line of receivers is a big jump from
the TX-SR353 in terms of features, technology, and weight due to more channel
amplification.  It still has 80w x 2 with
0.08% THD, but with 384K/32 bit DACs.  A
few of the major differences are the Dynamic Audio Amplification, 7.2 channels,
5 way binding post speaker terminals, and DTS:X/Atmos decoding for a 5.1.2
configurability.  It also has 6 analog
inputs including Phono, 2 more HDMI inputs, 4K upscaling, and many network
capabilities.  Another important feature
that the TX-NR555 has is Onkyo’s VLSC technology for a superior 2-channel
listening experience.  This feature is
pretty nice for those still spinning the vinyl.

555front.jpg      555back.jpg

The Onkyo TX-NR656

Of
all these budget AVRs, the TX-NR656 seems to be the better overall buy, but
that’s just my opinion.  For $699 this
receiver has more in common with the next unit up the TX-NR757 than the other
two including the same sound processing, inputs, 5-way binding posts, and even
the same weight at 22lbs.  This receiver
jumps up in wattage from 80w to 100w x 2 at 0.08% THD with the same Dynamic
Audio Amplification, VLSC, but now features Onkyo’s HCPS (High Current Power
Supply).  This AVR is also comes with 8
Analog/HDMI inputs, zone 2 line out, and AccuEQ with AccuReflex to calibrate
the 2 height channels especially for Atmos decoding.

656front.jpg     656back.jpg

The Onkyo TX-NR757

At
$799, the TX-NR757 features 110w x 2 at 0.08%THD, which is only 10 watts higher
than the NR656.  Unlike the other units
though, this model has a 12v trigger output for those who may have a concealed
automatic projection screen that drops down from their ceiling.  Another noteworthy addition is THX
certification and a THX processing mode to go along with the standard HCPS,
Dynamic Audio Amplification, and also the VLSC. 
If you’re not going with all 7.2 channels in one room, bi-amping the
front channels, or an Atmos 5.1.2 set-up, this receiver can have Zone 2
speakers A/B with 4 speakers instead of the usual 2 in a second room.

757front.jpg     757back.jpg

Conclusion



The translation of Onkyo
from Japanese is “sound harmony.” 
Despite these receivers being considered their budget line, consumers
get a sampling of what Onkyo supplies in their high-end units.  I believe they still embody the company’s
mission with all components working in “harmony” to produce an excellent audio
experience, with even the entry level TX-SR353. 
Hypothetically speaking, I would step up to the other models according
to the specs as they possibly reach that point of audio quality a little more
so.  The defining moment, of course, is
how they sound in one’s room due to room treatment, furniture, type of
speakers, etc.  If you happen to get one of these new
Onkyo’s in your theater room, please share your experiences in our forum and let us know if it has indeed helped you reach
yet another harmonic relationship towards audio bliss.

gene posts on April 11, 2016 00:29

Think that Onkyo receivers are only for discriminating audiophiles with lots of money to spend? Check out this preview of Onkyo’s latest round of impressive AV receivers for the discerning audiophile on a budget. Onkyo recently announced the TX-SR353, TX-NR555, TX-NR656, and TX-NR757 receivers and WOW do they look good for the price.

Check out our preview for the most up to date information on these “Got to have” budget AV receivers.

Read: 2016 Onkyo Atmos A/V Receivers Budget Line Preview