£2000 worth of home cinema amplifier is a pretty ferocious proposition.
These heavyweight slabs of electronics have become ever bigger, ever more powerful and, in recent years especially, ever more packed with features.
Being the brains and brawn behind your surround sound experience remains the key task for this Onkyo TX-NR1010 AV receiver. But take a quick look at the associated logos for all the technology inside and you’ll soon realise quite how much more it can do.
Onkyo TX-NR1010: Tech specs
Perhaps that’s why it needs to be so darn big. It’s a brute, weighing in at 27.5kg. You might want to grab a friend to get it out of the box; and do double check you have space on your AV rack before you shuffle towards it laden with amplifier.
This machine is of course 3D Ready but more headline-grabbing nowadays is the 4K upscaling ability (one for the future for most of us). It is THX Ultra2 Plus certified – the highest THX certification around – and also snaffles Audyssey’s top-of-the-range MultEQ XT32 room calibration and correction technology.
Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X processing modes are present, which means this 7.2-channel amplifier supports height and width channels. All Dolby and DTS modes are here too.
Onkyo TX-NR1010: Music streaming
Internet connectivity is the other big area of growth and the Onkyo TX-NR1010 is as action-packed as any on this front. There’s Spotify and Last.fm, so you can stream and control your music directly from your amp provided you have premium subscriptions.
DLNA streaming with support for 24-bit/192kHz files is a nice bonus, too, though there’s no sign of Apple AirPlay on any Onkyo cinema receivers. The USB input on the front will work with smartphones and tablets, however – and there is the Onkyo 2 remote control app for those, too.
Onkyo TX-NR1010: Sound quality
We take our pick from the nine HDMI inputs and fire-up the Star Trek Blu-ray. And it’s not long before that familiar Onkyo sound comes slamming out of our speakers.
Move up the price range and Onkyo’s home cinema amps simply get more effortlessly powerful. There’s scale and tension to string-laden soundtracks, masses of weight and power when the ‘warp drive’ kicks in and authority to voices. Keep turning the volume up and, well, you’ll admit defeat before the 1010 does. It’s unflappable.
For all this power and scale, the Onkyo is far from a blunt tool. Effects steering is excellent; accurate and rapid. That said, it does lack a little transparency with subtle dynamics – at both ends of the sonic spectrum.
Detail retrieval is impressive but at this level we expect a little more clarity. Without it the NR1010 loses a little punch and precision. This is made more apparent when listening to two-channel music.
Onkyo TX-NR1010: Verdict
You can’t argue with the spec-sheet, nor the ability to fill a room with powerful sound, but when it comes to complete control of fine details, the Onkyo gives a little way to some tough competitors.