Onkyo TX-NR1009 review

A hugely exciting amp, with a powerful yet refined sound Tested at £1300

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Powerful-sounding yet refined, the NR1009 really is an amp to get excited about


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    Extensive spec

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    solid build

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    good video processing

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    produces a dynamic, detailed and downright listenable sound


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    There’s nothing to grumble about

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

The battle for AV amp supremacy is brutal at around the £1000 mark, but history and previous form suggests that if there’s one company that can hold its own, it’s Onkyo.

On paper, the TX-NR1009 looks like it has all the credentials of a top receiver. The subtle, smooth-fronted design is, dare we say, attractive compared to Onkyos of old, and the amp feels sufficiently sturdy.

The inclusion of Dolby Pro-Logic IIz, Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X means front height, width and surround back speakers can be used in variety of configurations, with nine channels of amplification and two subwoofer outputs to choose from.

Seven HDMI inputs lurk around the back, while a front-mounted HDMI socket will come in useful for cameras, camcorders, and other HDMI-equipped peripherals.

Great with video, excellent with audio
Internet connectivity opens up a raft of online services such as Napster, Last.fm vTuner internet radio, while Spotify Premium subscribers can also stream their favourite tracks and search for new ones.

High-tech video processing from HQV is included and you can calibrate the picture for each source. The Onkyo does a good job upscaling a standard-def TV or DVD feed.

But it’s sound quality where the Onkyo really earns its stripes, producing a muscular yet expertly controlled sound that works well with The A-Team’s bombastic audio.

On the flipside, there’s also a sprinkling of subtlety and finesse that helps to bring the best out of more delicate movie soundtracks.

You’re looking at a hugely capable amp for the money here – one that could prove
a worry for the current class-leaders.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test