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Onkyo Introduces its First IMAX Enhanced Products

THX Certified Select AV receivers debut with upgraded amplification systems, smart AV Receiver Technologies, and simplified multi-room audio distribution.

Onkyo USA  has released two high-performance AV receivers: the TX-NR797 9.2-channel network AV receiver ($699 USD/$899 CAD) and the TX-NR696 7.2-channel network AV receiver ($599 USD/$799 CAD), both THX Certified Select products support immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound formats, 3D sound virtualization technologies, simplified audio distribution, 4K HDR support, and new proprietary functions.


The TX-NR797 is the first Onkyo product to be released under the IMAX Enhanced program, which features DTS:X immersive audio decoding that is optimized to properly reproduce the full dynamic range of IMAX theatrical sound mixes available in digitally re-mastered IMAX Enhanced content.


The TX-NR696 develops 210 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10 percent THD, 1-channel driven) while the TX-NR797 produces 220 W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10 percent THD, 1-ch driven). Both products benefit from new anti-noise measures including a refined HDMI board, isolated network board, and strengthened power-supply line. Both welcome a quad-core SoC (System on a Chip), enabling high-speed 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO WiFi and evolved network functionalities.

The TX-NR696 plays Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats through 5.2.2 channels, while the TX-NR797 adds another pair of heights (5.2.4) or rear surrounds (7.2.2) for even deeper immersion.  Both include Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X up-mixers for legacy audio formats and both feature Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer, which creates a virtual surround and height effect from traditional speaker layouts without employing additional surround or height speakers.  The TX-NR696 also includes DTS Virtual:X, a DSP-based technology that creates a 3D soundfield from horizontal speaker layouts with DTS:X, DTS formats, and non-encoded stereo formats.

The HDMI board has shortened signal-paths and large, well-finished grounds to limit noise. The SoC board is isolated from analog audio signals. A more robust power-supply line assists with driving power.

The TX-NR696 and TX-NR797 AV receivers include a variety of online services such as Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, TIDAL, Deezer, and TuneIn, and makes them available around the home via Works with Sonos, Chromecast built-in, AirPlay 2, DTS Play-Fi, and FlareConnect. Works with Sonos certification lets the receiver tie into a Sonos Home Sound System by pairing it with a Sonos Connect, with control courtesy of the Sonos app. Multi-room capabilities extend to Chromecast built-in, enabling users to stream music from smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs, while Apple AirPlay 2 lets listeners stream music or podcasts from iPhone, iPad, or Mac to speakers throughout the house, all in perfect sync.  Voice control is available when used in conjunction with a Google Assistant-enabled device such as Onkyo Smart Speaker G3 or Google Home.

A DSP-controlled Vocal Enhancer function is accessed via remote keys or front-panel controls and provides five-step adjustment of vocal frequencies to alleviate the problem of inaudible dialog in-program. A one-touch volume memory preset saves the desired start-up volume, and the receivers will power up and prepare for playback when an input key is pushed. Audio via Bluetooth wireless technology is enhanced by Advanced Music Optimizer, which improves compressed audio playback quality.

The natural articulation of sound inside rooms of any size and shape is handled by AccuEQ Advance 9-point room acoustic calibration featured on the TX-NR797. It measures sound at nine positions to accurately calibrate and EQ speakers and subwoofers and remove standing waves. The system detects and compensates for background noise to ensure accurate equalization. The TX-NR696, meanwhile, features AccuEQ with subwoofer EQ, while both are equipped with AccuReflex phase-adjustment technology to optimize 3D sound-field clarity in listening environments featuring Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers.

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