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Onkyo TX-NR757 review: Feature-filled receiver packed with streaming goodness

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The Good The TX-NR757 offers a wealth of features, including copious streaming and connectivity options. The user interface and remote are easier to use than before. Sound quality is decent for the price.

The Bad Plastic front panel and knobs look good but feel cheap.

The Bottom Line The Onkyo TX-NR757 has plenty going for it, with abundant features, clean styling and very decent sound quality.

7.5 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Sound 7
  • Value 7

What do you think of when you hear the word Onkyo? Is it smart speakers? Is it vintage (or vintage-inspired) turntables? Or is it home theater receivers? You wouldn't be alone in thinking of the latter -- the company has been churning out big black AV center hubs since "Top Gun" was a thing.

We were fans of the 2015 Onkyo TX-NR646: It looked like it meant business and it was at ease with music as it was with movies. But things can always be "better," particularly when it comes to feature count. And the 757 ups the streaming features by a factor of... quite a lot. Coming soon is Chromecast built-in (aka Google Cast, promised by spring 2017) as well as the company's own FireConnect, plus your standard Bluetooth and Spotify Connect. You also get Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatibility.

At a street price of $600, the Onkyo 757 competes directly against the Denon AVR-S920W, our highest-rated receiver with Dolby Atmos. Between the two, we liked the Denon better thanks to slightly superior sound, but it lacks Cast, making the Onkyo a better fit for users of that streaming system. The NR757 isn't the flashiest model out there, and the cheaper TX-NR656 may be a better deal, but it's still worth a look -- especially for Onkyo fans looking to update their equipment.

Design

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Onkyo has simplified the look of the TX-SR757 over previous years. Where models such as the TX-SR646 had two rows of buttons -- one for functions and another for source selection -- this years' receivers only have one. The look is certainly cleaner and further "amplifies" the machismo factor. The function buttons are still there though, having been integrated into the LED display itself.

On the right you'll find a plastic-feeling volume knob and on the left are two new control knobs. The left-hand dial is for fine tone control and the other is to change the listening mode. If you're an audiophile or use the calibration routine, however, you probably won't use these.

The user interface has had a cut and color since we last looked at one of these units. It now boasts a full-color graphic interface that may not rival the Sony STR-DN1070's for eye candy, but at least doesn't look like it should be displaying machine code.

onkyo-tx-nr757-06.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

We'd like to think that Onkyo heard our concerns over the complexity of last year's remotes. This year's version has a slimmed-down set of controls and, best of all, a large volume rocker. This is the most used button by far on any receiver remote and having to search for it, as you did on the previous model, didn't make any sense.

onkyo-tx-nr757-05.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

Features

The Onkyo TX-NR757 offers nine amplified channels and this includes a dedicated Zone 2. While you can use two sets of surrounds with the remaining channels, the receiver's support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X means that you may want to try using the second pair for height effects instead. Using Dolby's nomenclature this would make the receiver a 5.2.2 model (with the last two digits indicating height).

Connectivity includes eight 4K-compliant HDMI ports in addition to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (Spotify, AirPlay and so on) and a dedicated phono input. The Onkyo has a powered Zone 2 in addition to a dedicated Zone 2 DAC for streaming and optical sources, enabling them to be sent directly to your second listening zone.

As with other Onkyo receivers we've seen, be aware you won't be able to use the receiver with a power amp, as it doesn't offer preouts.

The main differences between this and the TX-NR656 are a small boost in power to 110W (two channel) versus 100W, THX certification and system integrator features such as an RS-232 port and IR repeater. Do you need these things? If you even have to ask, then... no.

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