The 8 Best Onkyo Receivers
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in August of 2018. Having been in the business since the 1940s, Onkyo is no stranger to high-quality audio products. Today, in addition to premium speakers, they offer a wide range of receivers, with models to fit every budget and suited to every type of listener. Whether you are setting up a complete surround sound AV system or simply looking for a unit to connect to your CD player, you'll find it here. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 11, 2020:
In updating our ranking, we wanted to double check that everything on offer here was still being manufactured by the company, and we found a few notable upgrades in that search that are worth mentioning. One of the nicest new models to come out relatively recently is the Onkyo TX-RZ1100, which, at 9.2 channels, doesn't have the same 11.2 channel array as the TX-RZ3100 THX-Certified, but boasts nearly identical features in almost every aspect. That includes particularly high-quality digital-to-analog conversion at 384 kHz and 32 bits.
Of course, there are simpler models than these for anyone looking to either spend less money in the first place or keep their setup confined to a single zone in the 5.1 tradition. Something like the TX-SR494 Hi-Res is ideal for this, though it does have fewer inputs than many other models, and neither HDMI nor USB located on the front panel.
We also updated the previous list's CD player to their newer CS-265 Home Audio. This does a good job recognizing rewritable CD formats while providing you with a simple audio solution for small spaces like bedroom or offices. Its speakers are mid-range at best, however, so don't expect to hook this up as your primary home theater setup.
August 14, 2019:
If you're in the market for an Onkyo receiver, the company has most likely won your loyalty, whether through past experience or at the recommendation of a credible authority. Determining what kind of receiver is best for you depends upon what kind of audio/video setup you'll be using it for.
If you're only using your receiver to power a pair of bookshelf speakers, and you don't expect to expand into a home-entertainment system, then it's not necessary to consider A/V (audio/video) models. Most of these support five-, seven-, or nine-channel setups for surround-sound purposes. If you just want a receiver to reproduce audio — from a turntable or your laptop, for example — your needs will be met best by a stereo receiver. However, slowly, even stereo receivers are beginning to feature video capabilities, such as our #9 choice, the TX-8270, so it's good to know that the option to connect your stereo speakers to your television does exist with a model like this.
If you are looking to wire a multi-channel, surround-sound system, your options will vary in accordance with the number of speakers you want to set up. The units we've chosen on this update fall somewhere in between two and eleven channels, and the price changes accordingly. Our top pick, the TX-RZ3100 THX-Certified, can support eleven channels with a whopping 140 watts at 8 ohms per channel. This is totally unnecessary for most people, though, so for more standard needs, you'll want to look to the other options that'll get the job done while still fitting the budget.
If the options presented by Onkyo don't meet your needs, we have a list of the best receivers across the board, which includes an array of A/V and stereo receivers, just like this list. If you're sure you want a receiver to power a surround sound receiver, you can compare the options you've just seen with other companies' products, which we've compiled here.
PR-RZ5100 As one of the company's premium AV receivers & processors, this 11.2-channel unit can serve as the hub of a large, surround-sound home-entertainment system. Between its THX Ultra2 Plus certification, seamless digital streaming capabilities, three-room source outputs, and a plethora of other features, it's one of the best receivers money can buy. onkyousa.com
Why An Onkyo Receiver Is A Smart Choice
But their real brand recognition comes from the litany of products they produce that reach beyond audio.
If you’re in the market for a new receiver, you’ve probably found yourself mulling over a few of the top brands out there, and the name Onkyo has undoubtedly come up with some regularity. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if you’re something of an audiophile, but a lot of consumers would more easily recognize names like Sony or Yamaha in this field. And that has less to do with a pricing issue than you might think. It’s true that certain more recognizable brand names have gained ubiquity in part by offering both high-end offerings for discerning listeners as well as entry-level options with a surprising amount of quality. But their real brand recognition comes from the litany of products they produce that reach beyond audio. You could go out and buy a Yamaha motorcycle if you wanted to.
Onkyo, by comparison, is something of a specialty company, focusing on consumer audio electronics and not a whole lot else. That means that all of their targeted research and development goes squarely into creating the best possible audio gear for discerning consumers. And that’s been the way they’ve done things since the company formed in Japan just after the Second World War. And Onkyo offers products in just as wide a price range as some more recognizable brands, giving consumers on a budget the opportunity to invest in some serious audio gear without breaking the bank.
Recently, in March of 2015, Onkyo purchased a significant stake in Pioneer’s Home Electronics Corporation, folding that company’s infrastructure and research into their ongoing product development. This has resulted in a slew of excellent developments under the Onkyo umbrella, including a partnership with Sonos that makes Onkyo one of the most popular receiver brands for use with whole-home audio systems.
What To Look For In An Onkyo Receiver
Onkyo offers a wide variety of receivers for users looking to set up everything from state-of-the-art home theaters to multi-room music systems. Their 9.2 and 11.2 options allow you to create surround sound environments in more than one room, or to ensure that guests at a house party are all treated to the same high quality output of the same music no matter where in the house they roam. In this instance, you’ll want to make sure that the receiver has comprehensive zone controls that let you assign certain performance parameters to each and every available channel.
Having a THX-Certified receiver ensures that your screening room lives up to the standards adhered to by the top tier of professionals from the best theaters in the world.
These devices really shine in the home theater environment, however, as many are THX-Certified. THX, for those of you that don’t know, was a system developed by Lucasfilm to ensure that The Return of the Jedi screened with the highest possible audio quality available at the time, and the company has continued to push the boundaries of theatrical audio to new heights. Having a THX-Certified receiver ensures that your screening room lives up to the standards adhered to by the top tier of professionals from the best theaters in the world.
If your home theater is used for more than just watching movies, you’re going to want your receiver to have as many inputs as you can afford. That way, you can hook up things like cable boxes, streaming boxes, game consoles, and more, allowing you to switch among sources without needing to swap out any plugs. And if you’re using your new receiver for music enjoyment, as well, you might want a dedicated phono input. One of these will ensure that your chosen receiver has the built-in phono preamp that a record player needs to function properly.
You’ll also find that your receiver will become the very center of your entertainment system, acting as a relay for all those input sources before sending them to your television. It can split your video and audio signals here, sending the soundtrack to a film flooding into a set of surround sound speakers, while it sends your video signal to the television or projector. Within this relay, you want to ensure that you won’t lose any resolution or video quality, so make sure that you choose a model with clean 4K passthrough if you’re watching a 4K source on a UHD television.
Building Out The Perfect Home Theater
Now that you’ve settled on the Onkyo receiver for your home theater, you’re going to want to figure out all the rest of the components that will make your space truly special. It should be your goal to acquire all of these over time, even if your budget only allows for a few from the outset.
Obviously, a receiver isn’t particularly useful without a good set of surround sound speakers, and you can start with something as simple as a 2.1 stereo combination in the beginning, with investments in a center channel and satellite speakers a little down the line.
Hopefully, you’ve gotten a big enough screen that there shouldn’t be a bad seat in the house, but you’ll still want all those seats to be comfortable.
Once you’ve got your sound squared away, you’re going to need a high-quality display to work in conjunction with it. The ultimate goal here would be a 4K projector, but the most reliable of these are still on the pricey side. For the time being, you can settle for a top-tier HD projector or make an investment in a large 4K television.
To ensure that both your TV and projector screen provide you with the best possible image no matter the time of day, you can get your hands on some blackout curtains. These will block out any and all sunlight or ambient street light coming in from outside, increasing the perceived contrast ratio of projector displays and keeping glare off your TV screen.
The last thing you’ll want to consider is your seating arrangement. Hopefully, you’ve gotten a big enough screen that there shouldn’t be a bad seat in the house, but you’ll still want all those seats to be comfortable. You can achieve this with couches, but it’s probably smarter to find some theatrical recliners that can kick back with ease and also hold onto things like drinks and popcorn to prevent spills.