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Onkyo TX-NR3010 review

A solid performance but lacks the subtlety to cut it as a complete all-rounder Tested at £2000

Our Verdict

A solid performance but lacks the subtlety to cut it as a complete all-rounder

For

  • Endless connectivity
  • Powerful sound
  • Good bass
  • Clean treble
  • Good online offerings

Against

  • No Apple Airplay
  • Lacks a layer of detail and subtlety with movies and music

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A solid performance but lacks the subtlety to cut it as a complete all-rounder

Pros

  • + Endless connectivity
  • + Powerful sound
  • + Good bass
  • + Clean treble
  • + Good online offerings

Cons

  • - No Apple Airplay
  • - Lacks a layer of detail and subtlety with movies and music

Japanese company Onkyo has a solid history in this market. It was the first to release a THX-certified AV receiver all the way back in 1994, and has picked up plenty of Awards over the years. We tested the TX-NR1010 at this price in our December 2012 issue, but that four-star product is now slightly cheaper, bringing the TX-NR3010 into sight.

Onkyo TX-NR3010 review: Features and specifications

It’s very much its brother’s brother, keeping much of the spec and a similar sonic character. You’re paying mainly for the extra channels: this is a 9.2-channel AV receiver compared with the 7.2-channel NR1010.

There’s an 11.4-channel analogue output too, and the company’s differential DAC mode that claims to double the processing power for up to 5.1 channels rather than just the front two.

You’ll get the same 160W per channel (into 8 ohms) and the same thorough coverage of socketry and features: 9/2 HDMI in/outs, two USB inputs (the front one can take a digital connection from iDevices), support for up to three zones of music and networking (wireless and bluetooth dongles are optional).

Get hooked up and you’ll find DLNA streaming of FLAC and Apple Lossless files, as well as integrated Spotify, Last.fm and internet radio. Onkyo now has free remote control apps for Android and iOS, which work nicely – albeit with a slight delay.

It’s still far better for entering text, though, and has nice features such as the ability to keep the app on for quick access even from your phone’s standby mode. InstaPrevue, which shows live thumbnails from connected sources to help you select the right input, is also a neat touch.

Onkyo TX-NR3010 review: Performance

The latest THX and ISF certification is on hand for video and audio optimisation, there’s 4K video upscaling, support for 3D pass-through, height and width channels and the latest Audyssey EQ calibration. The NR3010 certainly doesn’t lack badges and features.

It won’t be found wanting when it comes to power, either. Like the NR1010 before it, this Onkyo has no problem delivering solid, powerful hits, with good dynamics built on weighty, full bass. Treble is kept under control, with the crashes of broken glass and attack of gun shots in The Avengers sounding clear but not harsh.

The opening car chase scene in the film throws plenty of sounds in the air and the TX-NR3010 struggles at times to keep a rigid grip on the action, losing a little focus (and our attention a touch) as a result. Ultimately it’s an issue of detail: the Onkyo doesn’t quite match the best for insight.

This is made apparent listening to music in stereo, too, where voices miss a layer of subtlety and tracks can sound a little two-dimensional.

Onkyo TX-NR3010 review: Verdict

Power and features aren’t a problem for the Onkyo TX-NR3010, but it’s lacking that last layer of quality against the very best.

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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 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.


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