Onkyo TX-NR609 AV network receiver
Review AV receivers have made a concerted effort to keep up with TVs, consoles, set-top boxes and disc players in recent years by incorporating an Ethernet port to play your digital music collection over a network as well as internet radio and extras like Last FM and Napster.
Double bass player: Onkyo's TX-NR609
Onkyo's current range also adds Spotify as a big selling point. You'll need a Premium subscription but that also gives you access to its higher quality 320kbps bitrate. A wireless USB dongle (UWF-1) is available separately if you can't run a network cable into the back of the unit.
The newest in the brand's 600 series of mid-range receivers, the TX-NR609 has pleasing, minimalist styling and, unlike models lower in the range, it adds PC/console RGB video connectivity, the user-friendly Audyssey auto calibration, THX Select2 Plus certification and outputs for up to two subwoofers, in case you’re feeling ostentatious. There are six HDMI inputs with 3D compatibility, Audio Return Channel and a passthrough mode for one HDMI input when the receiver is in standby.
Its HDMI output carries 4K video upscaling, which unless you happen to run the local cinema, is beyond what most people need right now but it's reassuring to know it's capable of creating up to 2160 lines of vertical resolution. As it stands, its upscaling of video sources into conventional 1080p HD is well up to scratch.
A full complement of home cinema audio formats is supported, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. There’s also Dolby Pro Logic IIz for taking stereo or basic surround sound and polishing it for multichannel listening. This is of course optional, as is Audyssey’s auto set-up and DSX processing, which purists might want to avoid (the manual set-up is relatively quick and easy too).
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In professional audio we call those 'China Watts'
They are often absolute maximum instantaneous power, which is a figure that tells you almost nothing at all about the amplifier.
In this case it looks like it's probably not full china wattage, but peak power.
Amplifiers should also never draw their max. rating because that would usually be clipping, thus trashing the whole system.
I am still amused by the fact that no hifi parts uses professional connectors, and few have any balanced connections.
Probably 160W /peak/ to any of the speakers, but obviously not all of them at once.
I'm afraid Billy Bremner beat you to it
Speakers on the ceiling, speakers on the door
Speakers on the dashboard, speakers on the floor
I'm surprised you haven't realised that having a visual cue alters how we interpret sounds. For instance, when a car drives past on screen and goes out of the left edge of the shot, we instinctively expect the sound to proceed from front left to rear left as in real life, the car would now be behind us.
Music alone doesn't have that issue; we expect it to come from a static point, which as an audience is generally in front of us. You're still wrong about the hi-fi world settling for two speakers, though; quadrophonic systems have been around forever, for the same reason as 5.1 and 7.2 sound systems exist in cinemas (and I'm glad you've never heard of 22.2) - immersion. Having speakers in front and behind puts you in the middle of the music.
As for why you want two subwoofers: I believe the explanation is that a bi-directional system generates the bass more evenly, providing a smoother effect. (Of course you can also crank them both up to full power and destroy your enemies, assuming you do not live on a geological fault line.)
I've got the further up, but older, 806. And while I get a Phono stage, it's not that hot. It's just not worth looking for them on A/V amps these days, as they're such minority requirements the money doesn't get thrown at them even when they are present.
You're much better off buying a separate Phono preamp, like the ones from NAD or Pro-Ject, and not worrying about internal phono stages at all.
As for recording, I can't remember the last time I recorded audio, rather than ripped it - the MiniDisc recorder got removed from the hi-fi stack on the last tidy up because it had been so long since it was turned on. But still, it's a pity.
Q Acoustics 2000
I use a Q Acoustics 1000 set with my Onkyo 608, which were What Hi-Fi's best budget buy pretty much until the 2000 series replaced them.
The 2000 series can be bought as a 5.1 pack for around £500 - sub, centre speaker and four satellites. The satellites are small enough to use as rear surround if you fancy 7.1, so you can buy either an extra pair of satellites for around £110 or a pair of the floorstanding speakers (2020 or 2030, I forget which) for ~£160.