Onkyo produced one of our favorite AV receivers from 2015 in the TX-NR646 and the company has now announced its replacement, unsurprisingly called the TX-NR656.
The receiver joins the company's 2016 lineup, which features only a couple of minor tweaks, one of which is multiroom capability, building on existing features such as Dolby Atmos and 4K compatibility.
The $699 TX-NR656 puts 170W into each of its seven channels (plus two subwoofer outputs) and also boasts compatibility with DTS: X and Dolby Atmos (with front heights being the main option). The receiver also includes a powered Zone 2 output.
Other receivers in the range includes two more Dolby Atmos receivers -- the 140W x 7 TX-NR555 ($599) and the 180 x 7 TX-NR757 ($799) -- in addition to the entry-level TX-SR353 ($399), which lacks Internet connectivity and Atmos surround.
Onkyo is one of the last companies to announce a multiroom music system, and this year the company will introduce BlackFire, a system that is also used by Harman Kardon in its Omni speakers. Is it too late to introduce yet another proprietary multiroom product to the market? The answer is almost certainly yes, because once Google enables Chromecast Audio and Google Cast devices (like the new Onkyo range) to operate fully together, you won't need to worry about learning a new app to control music in every room, you'll just continue using your favorite.
As a Wi-Fi-connected receiver, the TX-NR656 also offers Google Cast and Apple AirPlay in addition to Bluetooth streaming.
Like the 646, the 656 offers seven HDMI inputs and two outputs supporting HDCP 2.2 and 60Hz/4K/HDP signals.
The receiver also features the company's VLSC technology, which it describes as "high-frequency pulse-noise removal technology". The technology first appeared in the late 2000s and is a form of digital processing.
The TX-NR656, TX-NR555 and TX-SR353 will be available in the US in mid-April, while the TX-NR757 drops in May.
Updated Mar 15 2016 9:41: Clarified information on the company's VLSC digital filtering