It's 2017, and despite the mainstream popularity of sound bars there are still people who prefer the flexibility and power of a real AV receiver. While the mechanics of your basic receiver have never really changed -- they still switch inputs and drive large sets of speakers -- they now boast more features than ever before.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 is a classic example of a modern receiver. It's a competent sonic performer, boasts an almost overwhelming number of gizmos and is reasonably priced. Given that most receivers, including the Onkyo, sound similar to one another -- good with movies and not terrible with music -- it's arguable then that it is the features that will sell this receiver. And there are few models that will match the TX-NR575 this year or even next in that regard: Dolby Atmos, built-in Chromecast, 4K HDR, it's got the lot.
At its price, the Onkyo would be the go-to product if not for the Sony STR-DN1080 ($598 at Crutchfield), which boasts even better sound quality and in terms of features only misses out on the other streaming system: But unless you have Play-Fi speakers already it's hardly an essential feature. In Australia, the Onkyo is clearly cheaper and makes the decision easier, but if you're paying the same money for either, the Sony is the better choice.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 is available for $549, £500 or AU$1,199.
Right from the source
Here's a question CNET doesn't often put to its readers: How do you feel about brutalist architecture? If you answered, "I love it," then do we have the receiver for you! Seemingly sculpted by the designers of communist mausoleums, Onkyo's receivers have long been characterized by a minimalist, imposing look. And we love it, too.
This latest model retains one of our favorite design perks of Onkyo receivers -- dedicated source buttons -- and arranges them across the front of the unit. The LED readout above it is a familiar Onkyo green and very readable from a distance.
Unlike some competitors, Onkyo has included a full-HD onscreen menu on its receiver, and it's relatively easy to use. Setting up speakers is easy with the helpful onscreen guide, for example, and most functions are easily accessible.
The remote control is Onkyo's familiar bee-colored clicker, and based on previous experiences we have no complaints about ergonomics or usability.