The Onkyo 809 is selling at bargain basement prices right now. It’s selling far under its normal MSRP of about $1099. It puts out about 135 watts per channel, is THX Select 2 Plus certified, upscales to 4K and comes with Audyssey MultEQ XT calibration.



Onkyo 809 Looks

Like all Onkyos, the 809 is an ordinary looking receiver. If you flip open the bottom panel on the front you’ll find a lot of the controls that you’d expect. However, you’ll rarely find a reason to use them since most of these can be accessed via the remote or the iOS app. The body of the Onkyo 809 is made of what feels like a heavy gauge aluminum. The unit itself is very heavy and BIG. The dimensions of the 809 are 17.1 x 17.1 x 7.8 inches, it’s a beast. Before you purchase this make sure you have enough room.


Onkyo TX NR 809 Connectivity

Onkyo TX NR 809

The Onkyo 809 has a huge amount of connectivity options, beginning with it’s 8 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs. If you need analog inputs the Onkyo TX NR 809 has them in spades too. It has 6 analog audio inputs, 5 composite video inputs and 2 out, 2 component in, 2 USB, 3 digital optical and 3 digital coaxial. The onkyo 809 also supports powered zone 2. The thing you get with the 809 is a lot of flexibility. With all of these connectivity options you can connect old or new equipment to your home theater and still have room to grow. On the front of the Onkyo 809, you’ll find 1 of the USB ports and 1 of the HDMI ports. The USB is perfect for plugging in your iOS device and streaming music directly thru the receiver. And for anyone that wants to connect a turntable to their receiver, the 809 also includes a phono input.


Onkyo 809 Setup

Setup of the Onkyo 809 is pretty straight forward and simple if you’ve setup an a/v receiver before. A nice feature on the 809 is that the speaker terminals on the back are color coded and it also comes with color coded labels as well, that you can apply to your speaker wires. This makes connecting your speakers to the receiver relatively easy. Something that you don’t get with the Onkyo is an instruction manual. Like most manufacturers today the manual only comes on a CD or you can download it directly from Onkyo’s site. However, to get it up and running the manual really isn’t necessary because….


The onscreen menu for the Onkyo TX NR 809 is easy, intuitive and works well. It’s not the prettiest interface but it’s easy to follow. The MultEQ XT calibraton works just as advertised. Plug in the enclosed microphone and place it at 8 different locations in your room and the receiver does the rest. The 809 did a surprisingly good job. In the past, when we’ve used the Audyssey EX calibration it’s gotten the speaker distances incorrect. The MultEQ XT was spot on with the distances. The iOS/Android app works well and it allows you to control some of the functions of the receiver, but if you really need to delve deeply into the Onkyo’s feature set you’re better off using the 809’s remote.


Onkyo TX NR 809 Video Processing

The Onkyo 809 as mentioned, upscales to 1080p and it works as advertised. The 809 also upscales to 4K however, since there aren’t any 4K TVs available and we were unable to convince Sony to lend us one for this review we can’t really comment on how well the 809 upscales to 4K. The Onkyo TX NR 809 also allows 3D pass through and supports ARC (audio return channel).


Onkyo 809 Audio

Believe it or not, some people believe most receivers pretty much sound the same. We disagree with this. The Onkyo 809 has a very full rich sound. A couple of Blu rays we tested it on were the Avengers and the Incredible Hulk. Avengers is a great test for any receiver. The 809 did an excellent job of filling the room with sound. In the final battle scene towards the end of the movie you could almost feel the laser fire zip past your head. The 809 also produced volumetric bass that filled the room and rattled the walls. Comparatively speaking, prior to connecting the 809, we had an old Onkyo 667 hooked up. The difference in the sound between the two was very noticeable. The 667 although a good receiver sounded a little strained at high volumes. The 809 which is rated at about 135 watts per channel, didn’t skip a beat when cranked up.

Once you get into the settings and features of the receiver you’ll see it has a huge variety of  pre-set sound modes. It, of course, decodes all of the major HD audio formats and then some. There are also a few THX sound modes to choose from. Believe it or not, out of all of the sound modes the THX options sounded the least appealing to our ears. Overall, the THX modes just didn’t seem to provide enough oomph.


Onkyo TX NR809 Negatives

There aren’t too many negatives to speak of. The one thing that still seems to be an issue, even with this model, is the HDMI board. Like other models though the recent firmware update from Onkyo has seemed to alleviate most of the HDMI board issues. Most of the 809s that have been recently manufactured are shipping with the updated firmware so chances are good if you purchase one now, it will already have the newest firmware installed.


Onkyo 809 Positives

To begin with, it sounds fantastic and would work great in a medium or large room. It’s ability to decode a large number of audio formats is great as is its ability to upscale to 4K. Past Onkyo receivers we’ve tested have a tendency to run very hot. The 667, that we mentioned earlier is like this however, the Onkyo 809 after having it cranked up for several hours was barely warm to the touch.



Anyone in the market for a new a/v receiver should strongly consider buying the Onkyo 809. Amazon appears to be one of the few retailers still carrying it since it’s been replaced by the Onkyo 818. But considering the 809 is nearly identical to the 818, but a fraction of the price it’s a real steal.


Manufacturers Contact Information

Onkyo (800) 229-1687  Denon (201) 762-6665  Yamaha (800) 4-YAMAHA

Pioneer (800) 421-1404 pioneerelectronics.comHarman Kardon (203) 328-3500 harmankardon.comSamsung 1-800-SAMSUNG

Seiki Digital 1 (855) 697-3454 www.seiki.comSony (877) 865-SONY sony.comSharp USA 1-800-237-4277


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