Onkyo TX-NR636 in Black

Onkyo TX-NR636 7.2 channel network AV receiver

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"This new receiver replaces the popular TX-NR626 AV receiver but beefs things up with the ultimate UHD support out there. As always it sounds amazing and should be the centre piece of any high end AV system. Onkyo, as always you put a smile on our faces!"

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Details

Dolby Atmos upgradableThe Onkyo TX-NR636 AV receiver is new for 2014 and replaces last years popular TX-NR626. So is this an overhaul or more a spring clean to bring things up to date? A quick speciffcation comparison shows that there doesn't appear to be large differences between them, but the devil is of course in the detail.

The biggest changes revolve around two key elements; sound and video (perhaps unsurprisingly). This new model is geared up for Ultra HD/4K - much more geared up for it. Most the HDMI connections are rated at 2.0 which means they can handle 4K up 60 frames a second with 12 bit colour. This is quite a leap up from HDMI 1.4 which although it can handle 4K, can only handle a max of 30 frames per second at 8 bit colour. Why most? Well presumably for cost reasons three of the rear inputs don't support 60fps but still support UHD. However as there are five inputs that do (including the front one) and we can't think of how we'd use even those with all the equipment we have, we don't think this is an issue!

It also is compliant to HDCP 2.2 - the latest DRM management system that is likely to be adopted by studios for all future 4K film releases, whether by Blu-ray or broadcasts. This means, even if you aren't using the latest video formats now, this AV receiver will be ready to handle them when you are.

Audio is improved too, with two 32 bit DSP's handling all digital to audio conversions and creating your home cinema sound. Fast and smooth, the end result is a better overall sound, plus better and more capable decoding on the highest resolution audio soundtracks. Cue a big smile on your face as this receiver delivers sound well above its weight!

Interestingly there's one difference we aren't so sure on. Onkyo have moved away from the industry standard of Audyssey for setting up the perfect system, and instead have developed their own system called AccuEQ. It's untried and untested yet, so on a direct comparison it may be great - however experience shows that other manufacturers adpoting their own systems never quite reach the same levels of quality as Audyssey. Nonetheless we know why - the license fees on Audyssey adds quite a lot onto the price, so by developing their own in house versions they save you money. Our opinion? OK we'd prefer Audyssey - but as it has kept costs down and Onkyo's own system sounds pretty good we will live with it.

Other than that, differences are minor with some slight changes to connectivity. It's still wireless for the internet and has Bluetooth built in, and of course boasts dual HDMI outputs. The addition of an HDMI input on the front instead of a composite input is a blessed relief as using a Full HD camcorder has got a lot easier.

So overall would we buy it? The answer is yes, and ee think it will be a class leader much like its predecessor. Sure, we'd have loved Audyssey for the set up but we are happy with what we've got. The strange configuration of those inputs is made a lot easier by some incredibly clear labelling and we can't imagine any reality where we'd need seven UHD inputs running at 60fps (even in a commercial environment) so look beyond these little quirks and embrace one of the finest amps on the market.

Also known as: TX NR636, TXNR636, NR 636, NR636

Tech Spec

General

Model TX-NR636

Amplifier Section

Amplifier type Integrated
Maximum surround 7.2
Number of channels 7
Subwoofer pre-outs 2
Power rating at 6 ohms
Power per channel 160W
Total power rating 1,120W
Biamp capability Yes, by configuring channels
Multiroom 1 other room - different source and volume (Zone 2)

Audio Section

Surround sound processing Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Dolby True HD, DTS, DTS-HD Master Audio
Dolby Atmos Yes
Set-up microphone Yes
A/V setup format Onkyo AccuEQ
Supports ARC (audio return channel) Yes
Audio formats AAC, Apple Lossless, FLAC, LPCM, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, WMA, WMA Lossless
THX certified? No

Video Section

Is it 3D? Yes
Supported video formats 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 1080p24, 4K, Upconverts all signals to HDMI, Upconverts all signals to 4K
Stand-by pass through Yes
4K passthrough Yes

Tuner Section

Tuner AM, FM, Internet radio
Tuner features RDS
Tuner presets 40 in total

Inputs and Outputs

HDMI connections 7 in, (1 on front), 2 out
Component connections 1 in, 1 out
Composite connections 3 in, 1 out
USB connections 1, (1 on front), To playback from USB sticks, To playback from USB hard drives
Analog connections 6 in
Optical connections 1 in
Digital Co-axial connections 2 in
Phono connections Yes
Aerial connections 1 x AM input, 1 x FM input
Bluetooth Yes
Headphone output Yes, 6.3 mm

Networking

Is it Smart? Yes
Is it networkable? Yes, either by wire or wireless
Internet services DLNA (stream from your own computer), Internet Radio

Accessories

Remote Control Remote control included, Apple app available, Android app available
HDMI lead included? No

Measurements

Dimensions (W x H x D) 435 x 173.5 x 329 mm
Net weight 10.5 kg
Boxed dimensions (W x H x D) 570 x 297 x 423 mm
Gross boxed weight 13.0 kg