Onkyo TX-NR709 review

Punchy, powerful and delicate with detail, the Onkyo TX-NR709 is truly excellent Tested at £800

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A truly excellent home cinema amp and a high bar for rivals to reach


  • +

    Authoritative, dynamic sound

  • +

    subtlety and detail in abundance

  • +

    nice to use

  • +

    eight HDMI inputs

  • +

    good network functionality


  • -

    No Apple AirPlay

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 TX-NR709 is a high-spec, high-performance machine a clear gap above its £500 sibling, the awesome Onkyo TX-NR609. Power is up from 100 to 110W per channel, which translates into a more muscular, authoritative sound.

During the final scenes of Ninja Assassin, the Onkyo explodes into life, delivering round after round of punchy automatic gunfire. Effects soar and flit accurately and precisely between channels.

But this added venom and power doesn’t mean the amp has to sacrifice any of the refinement and detail that Onkyo has started to instil in its AV amps.

Trust is an intense film, and the NR709 communicates its harrowing realism with consummate ease. The sense of drama and despair in the voices of Clive Owen
and Catherine Keeners’ characters is heartfelt and impressively authentic.

Generous set of features
The Onkyo loses none of its resolution and clout in stereo either, although we’ve yet to come across a multichannel amp that can trouble a similarly priced stereo one.

Besides spoiling you for sound, the Onkyo is just as generous when it comes to features. Eight HDMI inputs have been fitted, as well as twin HDMI outs.

The NR709 is also THX Select 2 Plus-certified, and comes with Audyssey’s advanced MultEQ XT speaker calibration in tow.

An Ethernet connection allows for DLNA streaming and the ability to access vTuner internet radio, Last.fm and Spotify services.

Video upconversion is included, too, while the amp will upscale past 1080p right up to 4K resolution, even though punters can’t lay their hands on such content. Yet.

2011 is turning out to be a cracking year for Onkyo: the TX-NR709 joins the TX-NR609 to make a pair of truly exceptional home cinema receivers. Take your pick.

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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