Tag Archives: onkyo

3 Home theater receivers with multiroom and 4k under 499$

The living room audio Receiver can be the most powerful part of your multiroom setup or its achilles heel. Any decent receiver connected to a pair of decent speakers can output higher quality music than most stand alone multiroom speakers. But what good will it do if they lack multiroom technology?

Im currently in the market for a new home theater receiver and multiroom support is a must. Along with support for 4K UHD, Audio return channel, 7.2 surround, HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2 and decoding of the usual HD audio formats. But without multiroom techniques, it would end up collecting dust for most part. Or i would have to buy an external streaming player and connect it to the receiver.

So let’s take a closer look at three receivers that supports the criterias above:

Denon AVR-X1200W

AVR-X1200W is part of Denons 2015 lineup and has Spotify Connect, AirPlay, Bluetooth and DLNA 1.5. Denons own Heos system is not built in. X1200W can drive speakers in a second zone if not all 7 speakers are in use for your home theater setup.

The output is 80W at 8 ohm. It has basic support for DTS Atmos (5.2.2), which can bring 3D surround with ceiling speakers. DTS X will come in a firmware update later this year.

Sony STR-DN860


The STR-DN860 has Google Cast, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth and DLNA. The STR-DN860 is fully integrated with Sonys multiroom system so it can be grouped together with Sony stand alone speakers, in their Song pal link app, to play music in party mode.

The output is 95W at 8 ohm. It also has Miracast. STR-DN860 does not have Dolby Atmos.

Onkyo TX-NR545


The TX-NR545 has Spotify Connect, AirPlay, DLNA and Bluetooth. Which are the same techniques that the AVR-X1200W supports.

The output is 65W at 8 ohm. TX-NR545 has basic Dolby Atmos support (5.2.2) in that two of its 7 speakers can be used for it. The TX-NR545 does not have DTS X.


From a multiroom perspective, the STR-DN860 is the strongest receiver with its support for Google Cast, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, DLNA and works well with Sonys other multiroom products. The other two supports the same, except Google Cast.

From a home theater perspective, the AVR-X1200W is the strongest receiver with both Dolby Atmos and DTS X support. The TX-NR545 comes second, due to its Dolby Atmos support and the STR-DN860 third. Even though they all support the usual HD formats.

So the AVR-X1200W from Denon seems like the best overall choice, when weighing in both multiroom and home theater aspects. With the STR-DN860 from Sony as close runner up due to its even stronger multiroom support. But maybe the better integration with the other Sony products (and Google Cast) makes me go in that direction. Its a hard choice.

Onkyo TX-NR609 review

If you are serious about your sound, you will need a dedicated receiver in one or more zones in your multi-room solution. Probably in the living-room, hocked up to surround speakers, your zone player of choice, a big screen tv, a HTPC media center (or Tivo or other) and a game console (Xbox or PS3) . The receiver needs to have multiple input types like coaxial and optical digital (SPDIF), hdmi and a couple of RCA and 3.5mm analog inputs. It is also important that the receiver can decode audio through the hdmi inputs, not only pass it trough to a tv.

So what kind of a receiver fits those requirements? Well the Onkyo NR609 does. So lets take a closer look at it. The NR09 is Onkyos middle-class model and has all of the above and more like:

* 7.2 surround support for the latest HD audio formats.

* iPhone and Android remoting app that lets you control what source to play, volume, bass, current playlist (if using DLNA, Spotify or other supported streaming service) and more.

* Spotify support. The receiver has an integrated built-in spotify player that requires a premium account. Spotify can be remoted by the Onkyo Android app or through the on screen display.

* Automatic audio setup for multiple listening positions.

* Network ethernet input which enables DLNA streaming from your local network and firmware upgrades trough the Internet.

* Two zones support. It is possible to have a set of speakers for an additional zone attached to the NR609.

* Auto turn of when idle for a specified time.

I have been using the Onkyo for three weeks now and can conclude that it delivers great sound and it does so intelligently. It adapts its settings automatically between digital surround and stereo. The calibration lifted the sound even more and the android app finally got Spotify support on October 31. The receiver also looks great and has a smooth light ring around the volume control when turned on. The on screen menu structure feels a little strange at first. The receiver does not support Airplay, so not the optimal solution for an Airplay based multi-room system.