Onkyo TX-RZ610 Review
THE VERDICT:
The Onkyo TX-RZ610 is the total package. Its combo of great sound, features and ease of use make it one of the best mid-range receivers on the market.

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Design9
Value 8.5
Features9
Ease of Use9.5
Sound Quality9.5
The Good
  • Great sound quality. Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and 4K support round out its great set of features. Simplified interface and remote works wonderfully.
The Bad
  • FireConnect multi-room format isn’t as developed as Yamaha’s MusicCast.
9Overall Score

In 2015 Onkyo unveiled their RZ line-up of amps. If you’re the type that likes to spend hours tweaking and adjusting every minor detail of your audio experience, then Onkyo had you in mind when they designed the RZ series. The baby in the line is the Onkyo TX-RZ610. Now, when I say baby, the RZ610 has more than enough power and features for the average home theater owner, however being the entry level unit in the RZ range it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the more expensive units bring to the table.

 

Onkyo TX-RZ610 Design

The tank-like chassis of the 610 differs little from previous AV receivers that Onkyo’s put out. The front is clean and uncluttered with most of the buttons being small and unobtrusive. The large volume knob on the right side dominates the face of the Onkyo TX-RZ610. A row of input select buttons are tucked underneath the large display. On the far left a tone button and knob allows you to manually control treble and bass while a listening mode knob & dial lets you roll thru the listening mode settings.

 

I’ve reviewed numerous Onkyo amps this year and it’s no secret that I like what they’ve done with their remotes. Onkyo has stripped away all of the button clutter that’s plagued previous models. Onkyo used the extra real estate wisely by making the buttons bigger and more accessible. If I have any gripe at all with the remote, it’s that the buttons aren’t back lit. In the larger scheme of things this omission is nearly inconsequential.

Onkyo TX-RZ610 Remote

The on-screen GUI has also received a face lift. You’ll still see the text driven interface that Onkyo is known for, but this year Onkyo has spiced up the graphics. Underneath the visual updates, hides a well designed and intuitive menu. If you’re looking for more visual flair you can download the iOS and Android app from their respective stores. Open the app on a phone or tablet and it’s relatively easy to navigate through features of the amp. For me, the simplified remote felt easier to use. With the app I found myself swiping through multiple windows just to access the feature I wanted. With the remote I could access the same feature with just a button click.

 

Onkyo 610 Connections

Looking at the back of the Onkyo TX-RZ610 it’s easy to see that the 610 has a solid array of connection choices.  The amp offers up an impressive amount of analog audio inputs as well as a couple of component ports. It also has 3 digital (2 optical and 1 coaxial).  For custom installs, the unit comes with 12-volt trigger, IR, and RS-232 inputs. If you’re a vinyl junkie, you can use the phono input to hook-up your favorite turntable.

Onkyo TX-RZ610 Connectivity

The volume of HDMI inputs conjoined with the Onkyo 610 will be more than enough for most users. In all, the amp comes with 8 which includes 1 on the front and 7 on the rear. It also includes 2 outputs with the main including ARC. The 610 also has a dedicated digital to analog converter (DAC) to supply audio to a 2nd zone.

 

The 610 supports 4K video at 60Hz, 4:4:4 color space, HDCP 2.2, HDR and BT.2020. If you have 4K components, you’ll want to use the first 3 HDMI ports since these are the only ones on the amp that are fully UHD compatible. The Onkyo TX-NR610 will also upscale 1080p video to near 4K quality. Personally, I’m not a big fan of this since most 4K TVs are capable of upscaling so I don’t see this feature being very helpful on AV receivers. However, from a marketing stand point, its another “bonus” feature that AV makers can tout.

 

Wireless & Streaming Capabilities

Dual band WiFi and Bluetooth are built inside the Onkyo 610. Getting the amp on your WiFi is straightforward. If you have an iOS device it’s even easier since you can just copy the WiFi settings from your device over to the amp. The Bluetooth connection is also simple to initiate and perform.

 

As far as performance, Bluetooth has the same drawbacks that it always has with music sounding less dynamic and thin. This isn’t a knock against the receiver, its just that this is a common issue with Bluetooth and something that you’ll hear even on $3,000 receivers.

 

The 610’s built-in music optimizer is designed to re-invigorate compressed audio files by replacing information that was lost during the compression process. The optimizer does improve the audio quality of MP3s, however don’t expect miracles. What you will hear is music that has slightly more body and dynamics.

 

Internet streaming choices are pretty abundant on the amp. Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, Deezer and Tidal are all currently accessible on the 610. The one feature we’re still waiting for is Google Cast. According to Onkyo, a future update will bring the feature to their amps, but until then we can only wait. Apple users can also use AirPlay to fling music to the receiver. If you prefer to transmit audio over your network, the Onkyo TX-RZ610 is DLNA certified so it’s possible to send audio to it from a network attached storage device or a PC.

 

Onkyo is also beginning to dabble in multi-room audio. This used to be an area that was dominated by Sonos, however nearly every mainstream AV manufacturer is offering some type of multi-room solution. Onkyo’s multi-room choice is FireConnect. Similar to Yamaha’s MusicCast, it allows you to blast the audio of anything connected to the receiver to a compatible FireConnect speaker. However, good luck trying to find a FireConnect speaker. They’re few and far between so we’ll have to wait and see how this relatively new format pans out.

 

Audio Formats

Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are a given on modern amps. However, the two “it” formats are Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. These two formats allow for the placement of sounds in 3-dimensional space. This is chiefly achieved thru the use of over head speakers or specially designed speaker modules which reflect sound off of ceilings. The 610 can be setup in a 5.1.2 speaker arrangement. If you want more speakers you’ll need to upgrade to a 9 or 11 channel receiver.

 

Music lovers will also find a lot to be happy about. Not only does the Onkyo TX-RZ610 have a phono connection for vinyl turntables, but it also decodes WMA, WAV, AIFF, AAC, FLAC, DSD and Apple Lossless digital files.

 

Setup and Calibration

Onkyo has done a solid job making their amps easy to setup. Once you boot-up the receiver it will walk you through the initial setup with easy to follow instructions. If this is your first receiver you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting up and running. Of course if you’ve setup an amp before you can simply skip the instructions and just dive right into the fun stuff.

 

Calibration is done with Onkyo’s own AccuEQ. Unlike Audyssey which required multiple locations to take calibration measurements, AccuEQ only requires one. Tradition tells us that multiple positions are better than one, however after using AccuEQ on multiple amps I haven’t noticed a huge difference. On the Onkyo TX-NR757 I did have an issue where it set my crossovers to 200Hz, however that didn’t occur with the 610. The only issue I did encounter with calibration is that it set my front mains to large. I was easily able to correct that in the settings menu after the 610 was done calibrating.

 

Audio Quality

Onkyo’s have always struck a balance between features and sound quality. The Onkyo TX-RZ610 carries on that tradition. The 7.2 channel amp has a rating of about 100 watts per channel with two channels driven. Once you’re powering all your speakers, you can expect the power output to be greatly diminished from this lofty number. However, after pushing the Onkyo pretty hard I found that the amp had plenty of head room. Dialogue was crisp and accurate coming from the 610. At low levels dialogue was easily intelligible. Boosting the volume the amp rarely showed signs of distortion.

 

I used Warcraft on Blu-ray for one of my listening sessions and the Onkyo 610 handled the Dolby Atmos track with relative ease. Warcraft is an action filled romp which gives AV receivers plenty of opportunities to fail. Turning up the volume during one of the heavy action scenes I expected the dynamic sound track to fall apart, but the 610 refused to surrender under the onslaught. Dialogue was never over powered. Atmos on the Onkyo TX-RZ610 opened up the sound stage even more with sound effects sweeping overhead.

 

God’s of Egypt on Blu-ray uses a DTS:X sound track and the sound stage was on par with what I experienced with Atmos. The sound was expansive and wide. With DTS:X I didn’t quite feel the same level of immersion that I did with Atmos, but it’s still pretty good. The Onkyo 610 also proved to be a heavyweight in the low frequency department with it delivering thunderous bass when needed. Overhead sound effects aside, the rear channels in my setup also received a good work out with the amp easily panning sound around the room.

 

Curious to see how the Onkyo TX-RZ610 handled a video game sound track, I decided to try out one of the creepiest games in my collection, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard on the PS4. Yeah…that was a mistake. Between the game’s sound track and the 610’s active surround channels, I quickly became paranoid. Voices appeared at various locations around the room which definitely enhanced the intense fear that the game generates. Ambient squeaks, creeks and groans made the game incredibly unnerving. In other words, it was quite enjoyable.

 

Conclusion

The Onkyo TX-RZ610 is a fantastic receiver that has plenty of power for most home theater rooms. The amp also shows a great deal of agility and finesse. With its combination of acoustic prowess and impressive features, the 610 is one of the better mid-range receivers on the market.


Where to Buy:

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