Onkyo launches two 4K AV receivers for 2014

Onkyo has today announced two new home cinema amplifiers for 2014, both of which support 4K/60 Hz video and high-resolution audio streaming.

The new AV receivers are the 5.2-channel TX-NR535 and 7.2-channel TX-NR636 - successors to the TX-NR525 and TX-NR626.

MORE: Ultra HD 4K TV: everything you need to know

Both are said to be the world's first AV receivers to support HDMI specified 4K/60 Hz video. The TX-NR636 further improves on this by being the first AV receiver to support High-bandwith Digital Content Protection (HDCP) 2.2.

HDCP 2.2 will become the standard for future 4K studio releases, 4K streaming via internet service providers and terrestrial and satellite broadcasts. AV receivers without HDCP 2.2 support will be unable to playback content, converting it to standard definition.

Onkyo has also given the new models support for high-resolution audio playback. Most major file types are supported: DSD; 192 Khz/24-bit FLAC and WAV; and ALAC up to 96 KHz/24-bit.

MORE: High-resolution audio: everything you need to know

Users can pair their amp with the free Onkyo remote app for iOS and Android, enabling them to locate and stream high-res audio stored on a network-attached storage device (NAS) via DLNA. Bluetooth is also built-in for streaming from a mobile device.

Users are also able to stream audio from online music services such as Spotify, Deezer, Aupeo! and TuneIn Radio. Spotify Connect will be supported later in the year via a firmware update.

The TX-NR535 and TX-NR636 are based on custom high-current architecture for managing impedance fluctuations and sudden dynamic gains.

A large customised transformer, extra-large capacitors and discrete low-distortion amplifiers have been used, with the TX-NR636 benefitting from Onkyo's Three-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry on the front and centre channels.

Onkyo claims both receivers will deliver "clear, full-bodied sound with a revealing midrange and fast, punchy bass".

Onkyo's own AccuEQ calibration system is onboard to optimise surround sound performance based on the users' speakers and room.

The TX-NR535 (above) features six 4K/60Hz HDMI inputs and one output, which can pass 4K/60 Hz content through to a compatible display. A USB input is also onboard, which supports high-resolution audio formats stored on flash memory drives.

The TX-NR636 meanwhile (below) also features the same six rear 4K HDMI inputs, but adds a front HDMI input supporting MHL and two rear HDMI outputs. It has an MM phono stage for turntable connection and dedicated Powered Zone 2 terminals for multi-room audio.

Users are also able to assign their surround back channels to bi-amp their front speakers, and the receiver includes Dolby Pro Logic IIz 7.2-channel upmixing. It can also convert low-res video up to 1080p/4K thanks to Qdeo upscaling technology.

The Onkyo TX-NR535 will be available in black and silver finishes and will cost £400 when it's released in early April. The TX-NR636 will sport the same black and silver finishes when it's released in late April and comes with a £500 price tag.

MORE: Read all our home cinema amplifier reviews

by Max Langridge

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.