REVIEW | Onkyo TX NR 515 Possibly The Best Receiver
Chris Murray | On 21, Feb 2013
The Onkyo 515 is another addition to Onkyo’s 2012 av receiver line-up. As usual, Onkyo manages to cram as many features into this unit as they can, while still making it affordable. Unlike it’s little brother the Onkyo 414, the 515 is a 7.2 channel receiver and is rated at a pretty decent 100 watts per channel. Like many of Onkyo 2012’s offerings, the Onkyo TX NR 515 gives you the ability to access various internet radio stations such as Pandora, Spotify and Rhapsody.
Features at a Glance
- 100 Watts per channel
- 7.2 Channels
- 3D capable
- Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Dolby TueHD,
DTS-HD Master Audio
- Ethernet Network Connection
- 4K Upscaling
- Internet Radio: Pandora, Rahpsody, Spotify Last.fm, Aupeo and Sirius XM and more
- Powered Zone 2 Line Out
- Audyssey 2EQ Room Calibration
- 8 HDMI Ports
The Onkyo TX NR 515 Appearance
Onkyo isn’t a company that focuses heavily on aesthetics and the Onkyo 515 lives up to that. The aluminum front has a brushed metal look and the button/knob layouts on the front are well layed out. The entire design of the Onkyo 515 celebrates function over form. This isn’t a bad thing. Once you place the Onkyo TX NR 515 in your entertainment center it will blend into the background. After all, a good av receiver should be heard and not seen!
Onkyo 515 Connectivity
The 515 has an impressive array of connectivity features. It has 8 total 1.4a HDMI inputs, including 1 on the front and 1 HDMI output, 5 composite video inputs and 1 output, 1 ethernet port, 1 component video input and 1 output, 2 optical digital/coax inputs and 1 USB input. The nice thing about the Onkyo 515 is that it’s a nice compromise if you have older av equipment that doesn’t support HDMI. Many receivers are starting drop these older legacy connections, but if you have older av equipment the 515 will give you the ability to still use some of your older equipment.
Alright, so lets talk about what you get with the Onkyo 515. The 515 is packed with features, some of which you’d expect to only be available on more expensive receivers. To begin with the 515 is capable of pumping out 100watts of power per channel. It’s 7 HDMI inputs come 3D ready and offers upscaling via HDMI up to 4K. I know, I know, who really needs4K upscaling just yet? This may be true right now, however, 4K just like 1080p a few years ago, is the next evolution in TV technology (whether we like it or not). For those of you who aren’t aware 4K is roughly 4x the resolution of 1080p which will give you a sharper more detailed image. As TV sizes get bigger and bigger it will become more important for your TV to offer a higher resolution. The Onkyo 515 will be able support 4K resolution if and when it becomes standard.
Like most mid-range receivers on the market today, the Onkyo TX-NR 515 comes network ready. It comes with the usual suspects of internet radio services including; Pandora, Rahpsody, Spotify Last.fm, Aupeo and Sirius XM to name a few. The 515 is DLNA compliant so it’s able to connect to any other DLNA compliant server on your network. The one draw back to the 515 is that it doesn’t offer AirPlay support, however if you connect to the USB or HDMI ports on the front of the unit you can easily attach your iPod or iPad. This brings us to another important feature of the 515, since it supports the new MHL standard it’s possible for you to display full 1080P video and/or still images on your HDTV. One thing to remember is that the Onkyo 515 does not have built in WiFi. In order to network the 515 wirelessly you need to purchase the separate WiFi Dongle.
Onkyo’s has taken some heat in the past for its outdated user interface, however the graphical interface of the 515 is a step up. For the most it’s intuitive and easy to navigate thru the menus. Some purchasers have stated that they’ve experienced a few hiccups when using the interface, but for the most part it functions well. Onkyo also has an app for iPhone, iPad and Droid devices that allows you control most of the main features of the receiver
Calibration / Sound
The Onkyo 515 uses Audyssey 2EQ for sound calibration. In order to calibrate the speakers in your system. Audyssey measures sound output at 3 positions in your room. It then uses a algorithm to adjust your speakers based on their output performance and your rooms acoustics. Overall, the 2EQ calibration is fairly accurate. Occasionally, Audyssey inaccurately calculates the speaker distances and it’s not uncommon for it to be off a foot or two. This can easily be fixed in av receiver settings Along with the 2EQ room calibration the Onkyo 515 also uses Audyssey Dynamic EQ which maintains tonal balance when listening to content at different volume levels.
Customer Satisfaction with the Onkyo 515:
The Onkyo 515 has remained one of Amazon’s top sellers. Amazon has been routinely discounting this receiver and that coupled with the shear number of features that are packed into it have made it a best seller. It’s been getting overwhelmingly positive reviews from customers. Below we’ve outlined the customer opinions (both positive and negative) of the Onkyo 515.
Onkyo 515 Negatives:
The biggest gripe with the 515 has been HDMI issues. This same issue also pops up with other Onkyo models as well. Onkyo released a firmware update which fixed many of the HDMI issues users were experiencing. It’s recommended that if you purchase this receiver the first thing you do is update the firmware preferably via a USB drive. This may help you avoid the HDMI problems that have plagued other purchasers. A few have also commented that the user interface isn’t as user friendly as it could be and can be confusing at times.
Onkyo 515 Positives:
Most reviewers have praised the Onkyo TX NR 515 for it’s sound and its huge variety of features. Nearly 70% of reviewers on Amazon have given it a 4 or 5 star rating. The streaming internet radio features were listed in many of the positive reviews as being a strong selling point as well as the powered zone 2. Some reported that the above firmware update also fixed the HDMI issues they were experiencing prior.
Onkyo has a reputation for offering great sounding receivers at an affordable price. The Onkyo 515 is no exception. At the price it’s currently selling at it’s a steal. It has plenty of connections for the average person and enough power to push a good set of speakers. One of it’s few drawbacks is that it doesn’t offer Airplay support and doesn’t have built in WiFi. As mentioned above, some users have experienced HDMI issues however the firmware update released by Onkyo has seemed to alleviate some of the reported problems. The bottom line is that the 515 is one of the best bang for your buck receivers on the market today. Just remember to upgrade you firmware as soon as you hook it up!
Onkyo 515 Pros:
- iOS and android app work well
- Access to Internet Radio
- Graphic On Screen Interface is intuitive (for the most part)
- Good Upscaling to 4K
- Ethernet Network Connection
- Wifi Adapter Available as an Option
- 7.2 Channels
- Lots of HDMI ports
Onkyo 515 Cons:
- No Airplay Support
- On screen interface can be clunky at times
- 2nd Zone Setup Can be Awkward and Complicated