Onkyo TX-NR555 Review
THE VERDICT:
The Onkyo TX-NR555 has an impressive complement of features mated with great sound quality. If you have a large home theater room it may struggle a bit, but place this amp in a small or medium size room and it will perform impressively.

See Price on Amazon

Design8.5
Value8.5
Features8
Ease of Use9.5
Sound Quality8.5
The Good
  • Its authoritative audio performance makes it great for home theater use. 4K video, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support makes it nearly future proof.
The Bad
  • Higher frequencies can lose some detail when played at high volumes. Inconveniently placed USB port.
8.6Overall Score

In most ways the 7.2 Channel Onkyo TX-NR555 is identical to last year’s 545. Both amps have built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. Both handle a variety of hi-resolution audio files including Dolby Atmos. And both are well equipped to tackle 4K video.  However, this year Onkyo has placed added emphasis on ease of use. The 555 has received a revamped and simplified remote. The control app is also a beneficiary of an overhaul making it more intuitive than ever.

 


RELATED: Onkyo TX-RZ610 Review


 

Onkyo TX-NR555 Design and Appearance

The black box which is the Onkyo TX-NR555 has your typical AV receiver design elements. Its utilitarian appearance shows a preference for function over form. Its face has the normal array of buttons and knobs. Volume, input select, and listening modes can all be selected on the front panel.

 

The remote of the Onkyo TX-NR555 has a surprisingly simple design. You won’t find an extraneous button anywhere on the slender stick. The design mirrors what we’ve seen from other manufacturers this year. The buttons are large and well placed. Some may feel that Onkyo’s simplified the design too much, but I think they’ve nailed it.

Onkyo TX-NR555 Remote

The design changes have also carried over to Onkyo’s app which is free to grab from the iOS and Google Play stores. The app is much improved over previous iterations. The interface is smooth, clean and intuitive. Between the revamped remote and the updated app it’s readily apparent that Onkyo put a larger emphasis on user experience this year.

 

Connections

Onkyo TX-NR555 Connections

At this price point, you don’t expect receivers like the Onkyo TX-NR555 to come loaded with input options. However, Onkyo is well known for going above and beyond in this arena.  The 555 comes stocked with a healthy selection of connection choices. In all, it has a total of 6 stereo RCA inputs, 1 phono input, 2 component inputs, 3 digital (2 optical and 1 coaxial), 1 USB and 1 Ethernet input. The front of the unit also has auxiliary and headphone jacks.

 

The aforementioned USB input is located on the back of the receiver which left me a little perplexed. Having the USB port in the rear makes it difficult to access. Especially if you have the receiver housed in a cabinet or entertainment center. They’ve done this with nearly every receiver they’ve produced the past couple years so this isn’t unique to the Onkyo TX-NR555.

 

On the back of the receiver is a row of 6 HDMI inputs and 1 output. The amp is fully 4K compatible and supports Ultra HD video at 60 Hz, 4:4:4 color space, and HDR with BT.2020. Curiously, only the first 3 HDMIs support HDCP 2.2 copy protection which is needed to watch encrypted 4K content. Some of Onkyo’s competition enable HDCP 2.2 on all their HDMI inputs, so it’s a little odd that Onkyo only does this with the first three. Despite this, the Onkyo 555 is still well equipped to tackle 4K video. Even if you’re not planning on buying a 4K TV in the near future, it’s good to know that your AV receiver will be ready if and when the time comes.

 

Streaming and Multi-Room Audio

Wireless audio has slowly crept into nearly every aspect of our daily lives. A few years ago it was rare to find an AV receiver that included Bluetooth or WiFi. Nowadays, both features have become standard on most receivers. The Onkyo TX-NR555 is no different. It includes both WiFi and Bluetooth, plus it’s DLNA compliant which means you can stream music over your network from a PC or network attached storage device.

Onkyo TX-NR555 Review
Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, and TuneIn are all viable streaming options on the 555. Google Cast is expected to become available with a future firmware update.

 

In addition to its streaming functions, the Onkyo TX-NR555 also supports a powered zone 2 with a dedicated digital to analog converter (DAC). Onkyo this year has also cooked up its own flavor of multi-room audio called FireConnect. FireConnect is a lot like Yamaha’s MusicCast. Essentially, if you have a group of FireConnect compatible speakers in your house you can send audio from the AV receiver to any of those speakers. The caveat here is that they must be FireConnect compatible and currently there are very few FireConnect compatible speakers on the market. In a year or two that may change, but until it does, this feature on the Onkyo 555 won’t be useful for most.

 


Other Articles You May Like: UE Boom 2 Review


 

Audio Formats

The Onkyo TX-NR555 uses its Asahi Kasei 384 kHz/32-bit Hi-Grade DAC  to handle both compressed and uncompressed audio files. MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, FLAC, WAV, OggVorbis, AAC, Apple Lossless, DSD 5.6 MHz and LPCM can all be decoded by the amp. As expected, the Onkyo 555 can handle both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. However, it can also decode Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Since both of these formats allow for the addition of overhead channels it’s possible to set the 7-channel TX-NR555 in a 5.1.2 Atmos/DTS:X speaker arrangement.

 

Setup

Like other Onkyo amps we’ve tested, the TX-NR555 does a good job walking you through the initial setup from start to finish. Onkyo has improved their graphical interface making it vastly superior to what they had in place on their amps a few years ago. If you’ve setup an AV receiver before you can probably skip most of the initial setup instructions. However, first timers will find the on-screen prompts intuitive and helpful.

 

For calibration, the Onkyo TX-NR555 uses AccuEQ. Onkyo previously used Audyssey to calibrate their amps, however a few years ago Onkyo dumped Audyssey in favor of their own calibration system. For the most part, I’ve received good results with AccuEQ except for one peculiar issue that’s popped-up this year on some Onkyo amps. I’ll touch upon this a little further down.

 

Plug in the included calibration microphone and the amp blasts out a series of test tones through the speakers. The NR555 then sets the appropriate crossover settings, speaker distances and levels for your system. If you’re using Dolby Atmos modules, the Onkyo 555 can also account for sound delays that are a result of reflected audio waves. This feature which Onkyo calls Reflex Optimizer makes sure that sound from the Atmos modules reaches your ears simultaneously with the audio from your other speakers.

 

The anomaly that I encountered during calibration of the 555 is that it incorrectly set all of my speaker crossovers to 200Hz. I had the same issue with the TX-NR757. While this wasn’t the end of the world, this did require me to go in to the settings and adjust the crossovers manually. This doesn’t appear to be a wide spread issue, however if you do a quick search online you’ll find others who have experienced the same problem. In the case of the 757 when I consulted Onkyo’s tech support they were a little stumped by the issue. The bottom line is that if you get this amp, check the calibration settings after you run the AccuEQ setup and adjust as needed.

 

Sound Quality

One of the first Blu-rays I tested on the Onkyo TX-NR555 was Guardians of the Galaxy with its DTS-HD Master Audio sound track.  The 555 has a very similar sound to the TX-NR656 that I just demoed. Like its big brother, its aggressive and visceral low frequency performance added volume and depth to audio tracks. The final battle in the skies of Xandar was all encompassing as the ships whizzed from front to rear with ease. The TX-NR555 also includes a DTS:Neural X up-mixer. Essentially, this takes non-DTS:X sound tracks and up-mixes them so that they take advantage of height channels if you have them as part of your system.

 

With Neural:X, I immediately noticed a level boost in the Atmos speaker modules. The end result is that the additional height information created a taller sound field. It wasn’t as convincing as a native DTS:X mix, but the additional layer of sound made the Guardians of the Galaxy track sound more expansive.

 

The Dolby Atmos mix in Terminator Genisys proved to be equally engaging on the Onkyo TX-NR555.  The 555 immediately made its presence known. It handled the Atmos track with flair and ease never submitting to the brutal frenetic pace of the movie. Turning up the volume really let the 555 unleash its low frequency power, however it also displayed one of the amps weaknesses. Rated at 80 watts/channel at 8 Ohms, the amp began to show some tell-tale signs of distortion with some higher frequencies losing detail and sounding sharp and harsh.

 

As far as musical performance, the Onkyo TX-NR555 won’t deliver the same musical quality as a dedicated 2 channel amp, but the receiver performs better than you’d expect. Hi-res music sounded crisp and clear coming from the amp. The 555’s mid-range was surprisingly smooth and rich. At medium-high volumes the amp had no problem reproducing a bevy of classical instruments with it easily replicating the distinct sound of each. It wasn’t until I pushed the amp to its breaking point that it struggled to produce the unique tonal quality of each instrument.

 

The Verdict

The Onkyo TX-NR555 is a solid option for anyone who wants a full featured AV receiver that won’t break the bank. Its audio quality for movies and music is on par with other amps in this price range. If cranked up, higher frequencies do suffer from some loss of detail meaning this may not be the ideal amp for large rooms. However, for small or medium sized rooms you’ll find it to be a solid performer.


Where to Buy:

See Price on Amazon





Please like & share:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)