As the home theater market continues to rebound and grow, the A/V receiver wars are heating up again. Manufacturers competing for market share are bundling a number of compelling features into their products in an effort to win over consumers, and not surprisingly consumers are benefitting from this trend.
A great example of how market competition is providing consumers increased value is Onkyo’s TX-RZ810 receiver. This A/V receiver packages a robust multichannel amplification section, with processing that handle’s today’s hot object-based surround sound formats, lots of connectivity options and 4K compatibility.
The competitively priced TX-RZ810 not only offers options such as Dolby Atmos processing and streaming A/V options, the product also incorporates installer friendly options such as RS-232, 12-volt triggers, IP and IR control.
Features & Setup
The 7.2-channel A/V receiver is rated to produce 200 watts into 6 ohms and 130 watts into 8 ohms. The receiver produces dynamic levels as high as 300 watts at 3 ohms with the front channels and 150 watts at 8 ohms with the front channels driven.
Proving the TX-RZ810 can do more than effectively drive a surround sound speaker array, the receiver incorporates eight HDMI inputs that include compatibility with 4K at 60Hz and HDCP 2.2 content. It also supports HDR, the BT.2020 wide color gamut, and the SACD and DVD-Audio formats.
The multizone-capable receiver also includes six analog inputs that include a phono section, and digital inputs options for coax, optical and USB.
Getting into some of the flexibility of the TX-RZ810, the receiver utilizes a 32-bit digital signal processing (DSP) engine to drive its Dolby Atmos, TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus decoding. The receiver also supports DTS’ object-based format DTS:X and its lossless DTS-HD Master Audio format, and Onkyo’s selection of proprietary DSP modes.
The receiver’s network capabilities include Pandora, TIDAL, Deezer, Spotify; support for Apple AirPlay, and Onkyo says GoogleCast will be added with a future firmware update, along with the whole-house audio platform Fire Connect.
One last option that many dealers employ is automatic room calibration. The TX-RX810 also offers this feature in the form of Onkyo’s AccuEQ system.
Unpacking the receiver to set the unit up surprised me. It’s fairly good sized, but it is light. Removing my old A/V receiver and inserting the TX-RZ810, I connected a Dish Hopper 3 set-top box (STB), an Oppo Blu-ray disc player, an Apple TV and an Amazon Fire Stick all via HDMI. I then ran an Ethernet cable from the receiver to a Luxul network switch, and I connected an HDMI cable that ran from the receiver’s output to a BenQ projector.
After plugging the receiver into a Torus Power AVR 20 I entered the receiver’s setup menu.
Firing the receiver up, I was greeted by a message that said “Initial Setup Process …” and seeing that I had no connectivity I tried swapping outputs with no luck. Unplugging and powering the receiver up again produced a new menu message that informed me the receiver required a firmware update.
Following the receiver’s prompts I updated the firmware, which took seven minutes. After swapping HDMI cables from my old 1.4 version to 2.0 I entered the setup menu. Getting into the configuration I started by choosing the 7.1.2 mode, then I selected my crossover points for my speakers, then I finished up by selecting my speaker distances and output levels.
Moving onto some other setup options I named my sources “Dish,” “Blu-ray,” “Apple TV” and “Fire TV” to and finished the setup without much fanfare.
With the setup complete, I started watching Netflix. One of the first things I noticed with the receiver is how much more powerful its processing was compared to my first-generation object-based surround receiver. My height speakers seemed much more engaged to provide more fill in my surround listening experience, and on the video side, it seemed more transparent than my old receiver to produce a cleaner image with noticeably deeper black levels.>
Putting the receiver’s processing to the test, I watched Clint Eastwood’s Magnum Force on DVD with nothing but a Dolby surround mix. I thought the Onkyo effectively added ambience to this basic soundtrack to provide the aural support that is expected with Harry Callahan’s police work.
After running the TX-RZ810 hard for a few weeks to expedite its break-in period, I thought its soundstage was really starting to open up, and I felt was pairing nicely with my Triad soundbar to produce a big image that was much more immersive than the physical size of the Triad soundbar would suggest.
Another Dolby surround DVD I watched was the 80's classic War Games. Watching this movie with my 11-year-old daughter was a fun trip down memory lane. I was surprised at just how involving the 2.0 mix sounded with the Onkyo receiver, Oppo BD player, and Triad and Atlantic Tech speakers.
Later I ran through the auto EQ mode, which only took a few minutes. I started by plugging the included microphone into the front panel, and I was then prompted through the rest of the calibration process, which included speaker setup and pink noise bursts that determined distances, channel levels and crossover points.
After viewing the results with satisfaction (they were similar to my manual settings, expect I boosted the levels by 3dB to match THX specs) I watched more content, including “Zootopia” on Blu-ray, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” via the HBO Now streaming service, and Dolby and DTS’ latest demo discs to allow me to focus on the receiver’s processing capabilities.
My experience with the receiver was convincing. I know there are some that are hung up on specs, and the Onkyo’s specs look similar to other competitive products. With that said however, I found its power to be more than plentiful enough for real world applications, including thumping volume levels of all-night home theater activities.
It’s processing was also excellent as I noted earlier. Atmos content sounded excellent in particular, and non-digital content like Dolby Pro Logic and Surround was also enveloping. Its video performance also won’t get in the way of those that point a critical eye at picture quality. Its source switching was fast. I think that dealers that rely on auto EQ technologies, won’t have to worry about the accuracy of Onkyo’s software.
Given its features, price, power and overall flexibility, dealers should definitely consider the TX-RX810 as a foundational home theater and multiroom audio solution.
The Onkyo TX-RZ810 A/V receiver is available for an MSRP of $1,399.
CE Pro Verdict
- Plenty of real-world power
- Fantastic processing with nice channel separation; imaging
- Lots of input options
- 4K video compatibility
- Menu navigation could be easier
- Clear communication to alert users of which surround sound format is being decoded would be better (the LED window can be difficult to read)