REVIEW | Onkyo TX NR818 7.2 Channel Receiver
Chris Murray | On 22, May 2013
The Onkyo 818 is the successor to the successful Onkyo 809 7.2 Channel Receiver and it packs quite a wallop. It’s THX Select 2 Plus certified and is rated at about 135 watts per channel. It has a bevy of sophisticated audio and video processing features and it can usually be found selling under it’s MSRP. If you’re considering purchasing a new a/v receiver then you may want to give the Onkyo TX-NR818 a good hard look!
Onkyo 818 Appearance and Quality
Well, if you’ve seen the previous model, the Onkyo 809 (which we reviewed here) you’ll see that nothing’s really changed as far as the appearance. Onkyo doesn’t put a lot of effort into design. All of their receivers are big and boxy. The one thing that is nice about the Onkyo 818 is that the front control buttons are concealed behind a bottom panel that opens up. When it’s closed, the front of the Onkyo TX-NR818 looks pretty neat and tidy.
Try to lift this bad boy and you’ll notice that this sucker’s heavy. It weighs in at about 47lbs which means you’ll probably be limping around the house for a few weeks if you drop this on your toes. The front of the Onkyo 818 has a brushed aluminum appearance and for all intents and purposes it seems well-built.
Onkyo TX NR 818 Connectivity
Something that you get in the upper mid-range receiver market is flexibility. Many of the receivers in the $200-$400 range eliminate analog connections to help keep the price down. Receivers like the Onkyo TX-NR818 give you a huge variety of connection options. So if you have any old analog equipment your hanging on to you can still have an updated receiver with all the modern conveniences of today and still use your older electronic devices.
A few connections that may truly interest you are the 8 HDMI inputs (including one in the front), 2 HDMI outputs, and 2 USB (made for iPod/iPad) inputs. One of the HDMI inputs on the Onkyo 818 is located on the front of the receiver and is MHL compliant. So what does this mean exactly? This means that if you have an MHL compatible device such as a camcorder you can display the video in full 1080p HD with 7.1 surround sound. The USB inputs which are on both the front and rear of the 818, allow you to plug your iOS device or flash drive directly into the receiver and playback a variety of audio file formats such as MP3, WMA, AAC, and FLAC.
The Rest of the Best:
- HDMI: 8 in/2 out
- Phono Input: Yes
- Digital Optical In: 2
- Digital Coaxial In: 3
- Composite: 5 in/1 out
- Component: 2 in/1 out
- Powered Zone 2: Yes
- Powered Zone 3: Yes
- Zone 2 Line Out: Yes
- Zone 3 Line Out: Yes
- USB: 2
Onkyo 818 Setup
One of the biggest differences between the Onkyo TX-NR 818 and it’s predecessor the Onkyo 809, is the calibration system used. The Onkyo 818 uses Audyssey’s MultiEQ XT32 room calibration software whereas the 809 utilized MutlEQ XT. With the XT 32, the Onkyo 818 is able to adjust for your rooms acoustical deficiencies and adjust your speaker system accordingly. The 818 takes sound measurements from 8 locations in your room, and uses thousands of control points per channel (including the subwoofer) to achieve optimal sound quality. Audyssey’s MultiEQ XT32 has a reputation in the home theater industry for being one of the top calibration suites and this is one of the reasons why.
Onkyo TX NR 818 Video Processing
The Onkyo 818 uses two different video processing engines. It uses the Vida VHD1900 to upscale analog video sources. In order to upscale video content up to 4k, The 818 uses its Marvell Qdeo video processor. It also usese HQV StreamClean to “clean-up” online video content so that your online video content is cleaner.
One caveat is that some reviewers and purchasers have noted an issue with the video playback which has affectionately been called the 24 fps bug. This occurs when the Onkyo 818 converts 23.976 (24000/1001) frame per second (FPS) content found on most Blu-ray discs to 24.000 FPS on output, which results in repeated video frames however, not everybody has noted this problem. Many purchasers have used the Onkyo 818 and have had no issue at all with the video playback. Onkyo has released a firmware upgrade which addressed this issue and it’s highly advisable that you upgrade your 818 if you believe you’re having the same issue mentioned above.
Onkyo TX NR818 Special Features
The Onkyo TX NR818 being a network receiver, gives you access to a huge amount of internet radio stations (Pandora®, Slacker™, SIRIUS XM®, Last.fm, vTuner, Rhapsody, Spotify, and AUPEO!). Being DLNA compatible you can also push music to it from a DLNA compliant media server on your network. The 818 supports both zone 2 and zone 3 playback which means you can play music in the main room and Zone 2- or, alternatively, Zone 3- at the same time, or play a different audio source in either room.
Onkyo TX NR818 Negatives
The Onkyo 818 does have a few flaws. For one Onkyo still refuses to support AirPlay and the 818 does not have built-in WiFi. You need to purchase a separate dongle to go wire free. Also, the 24 fps video bug mentioned above can be a problem if you don’t upgrade your firmware.
Onkyo 818 Positives
Despite the negatives above, the Onkyo TX NR 818 has enjoyed very positive reviews from professionals and customers alike. Most have loved the sound quality. And while the interface is a little archaic by modern standards, most have found it easy to use and navigate. Even though the lack of AirPlay is unfortunate, the fact that it gives you a huge amount of internet radio stations to choose from nearly makes up for it. Also, the video processing received high praise from most.
The Onkyo 818 is a very good a/v receiver. If you already have an 809 it’s probably not worth the upgrade since both of these are very similar. However, if you’re in the market for a new upper mid-range receiver, then the 818 is probably near the top of the list.
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