Onkyo TX-NR676 Review
THE VERDICT
The Onkyo TX-NR676 is loaded with must- have features, plus it has solid sound quality. It does have a tendency to push treble, so if you have bright sounding speakers you may want to keep this in mind.

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Design8.5
Features10
Value9
Ease of Use9.5
Sound Quality8
The Good
  • The 676 has an excellent selection of features including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Chromecast Built-in, 4K support, and more.
The Bad
  • The 676 has a tendency to over accentuate treble, especially on bright sounding speakers.
8.5Overall Score

Onkyo has a track record that’s tough to beat. Their amps are consistently near the top of the AV receiver heap. However, the competition is tough this year.  Nearly every AV receiver today delivers solid sound quality, so what typically separates the best from the rest is their list of features. This is an area where Onkyo typically excels. The Onkyo TX-NR676 has nearly every option you’d expect to see on a mid-range receiver. From 4K video support, to multi-room audio and internet streaming, this receiver pretty much has it all.

 

Visually, the Onkyo TX-NR676 is the standard Onkyo affair. It’s big, blocky and bulky. If Marantz’s slim line receivers are a greyhound, then Onkyo’s 676 is a Great Dane. What it lacks in grace, it makes up for in form and function. If you lose the remote, the face of the 676 has most of the buttons you need to control the receiver including volume, input select, tone controls etc. The front display screen may not be fancy, but it’s easy to read which is pretty much all you need from an AV receiver.

Onkyo TX-NR676 GUI

The menu on the Onkyo TX-NR676 is clean, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. It’s a far cry from the stark menus that Onkyo used to ship their amps with. It’s honestly hard to find fault with it.

Onkyo TX-NR676 Remote

The remote is your typical black slab of plastic, but it’s incredibly easy to use with an over-sized volume button taking center stage. Onkyo did a good job of only incorporating the essentials on the remote and I for one hope we never see a return to the bulky scientific calculator style remotes of previous years.

 

Onkyo TX-NR676 Connectivity

Onkyo TX-NR676 Connections
Onkyo is never shy about loading up their amps with inputs and the 676 is no different. The receiver gives you an ample supply of RCA, component, and digital inputs. The 676 also has a zone 2 line-out if you want to setup stereo speakers in another room as well as a dedicated phono input. The amp includes an ethernet port for wired network services as well as built-in WiFi for wireless connections.

 

Added to the mix are 7 HDMI 4K compatible inputs and 2 outputs. The HDMIs support HDR 10, HDCP 2.2, Dolby Vision, and BT.2020. Essentially, this means that the 676 is more than ready to connect to the new batch of 4K TVs that are currently on the market.

 

Features

The Onkyo TX-NR676 is rated at 100 watts per channel (with 2 channels driven). In total, the 676 can drive a 7.2 channel system. Since it also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, you can use two of those channels to power overhead or elevations speakers in a 5.2.2 setup.

 

Internet streaming has changed the way we consume music and Onkyo, along with most AV manufacturers, has fully embraced this new paradigm. The Onkyo TX-NR676 supports a long list of services including Deezer, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and Tidal. AirPlay and Bluetooth also give you two additional methods to send music to the amp.

 

Once we got the 676 on our network, the most recent firmware update from Onkyo unlocked Chromecast built-in on the receiver. With Chromecast built-in you can easily stream from smartphones, tablets, and PCs. If you have multiple Chromecast compatible speakers around your home (e.g. Google Home), you can easily create your own multi-room sound system. The fun doesn’t just stop with Chromecast built-in. The Onkyo TX-NR676 also includes support for DTS PlayFi and FireConnect. Both multi-room protocols allow you to stream audio from components connected via different sources. Between the two, PlayFi is the more proven technology as there are more devices on the market that support the protocol. FireConnect is a bit of a wildcard right now. Until there are more products on the market, it’s difficult to say how useful it will be in the future. Oddly enough it feels like we’ve been saying this for the past two years so if it hasn’t taken off yet, I have to wonder if it ever will.

 

Setup

Upon first powering up the Onkyo 676, the amp’s high-def graphics will guide you through the initial setup process from connecting your components to calibration. Onkyo uses their own calibration system called AccuEQ which can also account for up-firing height speakers. Calibration is relatively painless and is wrapped up in about 5-10 minutes. We did have an issue where the 676 set our crossovers exceptionally high at 200Hz across the board. We rectified this by adjusting the crossover settings in the main menu once calibration was complete.

 

Sound Quality

Our first test for the Onkyo TX-NR676 was Warcraft on Blu-Ray. At one point in the movie, a group of humans is ambushed by a ferocious horde of Orcs. It’s at this time that the Archmage Medivh summons a forcefield comprised of crackling lightning.  Electricity seemingly rained down from the ceiling thanks to the 676’s command of the overhead height channels. On screen battles were joyously chaotic with the sounds of clanging swords echoing around the room.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy  Vol 2. is just as fun to listen to as it is to watch. Its throw-back sound track gave us a taste of the Onkyo 676’s musical chops. The receiver’s performance was crisp and detailed, especially with vocal performances. When we cued up the Knife’s “Silent Shout”, the 676 had no problem handling the electronic track along with the underlying bass beats.

 

In typical Onkyo fashion, the 676 doesn’t hold back in the bass department. Switching back to movie watching, we pulled up Ghost in the Shell on Blu-Ray. During the climactic final battle, bullets whizzed around and landed with a satisfactory thud.  As Major (Scarlet Johannson) was nearly blown to bits by a multi-legged, mechanized behemoth, the explosions were brutal and visceral.

 

One thing we did note with the 676, is that while it delivers an impressively detailed performance if you have bright sounding speakers the amp can be a little unforgiving. The end result is that higher frequencies may sound a little harsh. Luckily, on the Onkyo 676, you can tailor its equalizer settings which may soften the blow a bit.

 

The Verdict

As is usually the case with Onkyo amps, the TX-NR676 isn’t short on features. It’s about as future proof as you can get at this price point. Audio wise it has good sound quality, but if you have bright sounding speakers, partner them carefully with the 676. Because of this, the amp is just a notch below our favorite receiver so far this year, the Sony STR-DN1080.

 


Where to Buy:

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