Pros + Excellent sound
+ Easy to use zone 2 channel
+ Workable Wi-Fi functionality
+ Ability to set default sound level
Cons - Manual firmware update using a usb drive
- Remote takes some study to figure out
Summary I am from the 70's, an era where good sound was important. Your stereo components were a big deal. Day was that I could talk the talk and actually knew what all the arcane specs for receivers and speakers actually meant. The 80's brought the computer, the 90's brought the Net and this new millennium yields the A/V receiver that connects just about every bit of technology that might be featured at Best Buy.
The good news is that the A/V receiver can do dozens of things that didn't exist to be done even 10 years ago. The bad news is that all the new capabilities come with a steep learning curve. Do not expect to have this up and running in an hour.
Long to short, I decided it was time to replace my 20 year old Onkyo receiver with the Onkyo TXNR 515. The big upgrade was all of the new connections and capabilities. The downside was that the
new receiver was not equal to the old in terms of pure sound. On the other hand, my music still sounds great using the 515 and I don't know if I could actually tell the difference. The 80 watts seems to drive my speakers happily. The sound has been clean.
The 515 arrived in a large box and with all kinds of instructions and accessories. There is a Quick Start guide but, alas, no printed manual. You get to do that yourself or you can read the manual from the supplied disk or go online. The printed manual runs to over 100 pages. The day when you hook up the speakers, plug it in and press the power button are gone. Your relationship with the receiver is based on the included remote. The buttons on the remote are small and plentiful. Navigating through all of the setup menus and procedures was a challenge but most operations need only be done once. Setting up the wireless connection to the Net was easy. If you have a wireless network then get the $25 connector that fits into the front USB port.
Step One-Install the firmware update. I used a thumb drive to download the update from Onkyo's website. Connect your TV to the receiver so that you can use the on-screen menus to complete the initial setup. Getting used to the menu system takes a bit but everything works once you do.
Connecting the components to the Onkyo 515 was straight forward. I have a Panasonic flat screen, Tivo, a play station and an older CD player. The Play Station and the Tivo connect to the 515 via HDMI cables (buy these from amazon for $5 apiece-trust me) The receiver connects everything to the TV using a single HDMI cable.
I used the included microphone to calibrate my 5-1 speaker setup and was pleased with the result. The process took about 15 minutes and it is explained in the manual. This was very cool and amazing.
The Internet radio options are a huge plus. I live in rural New Hampshire and there are only two or three stations that I can pull in. Using the Vtuner option, I was able to listen to stations from all over the world with crystal clarity. It took me all of 15 minutes to program 8 of my favorite stations including one from Istanbul. Pandora is also running through the 515. If you haven't used Pandora, it is excellent, and like vtuner, it is free. There are other services supported that I haven't had time to explore.
At this point, I have the basics up and running and am very happy with the TXNR 515. There are many features that I have not looked at. This is a piece of equipment that will take a while to get to know. I did see some freezing and pixelization on my TV during one broadcast but am not sure that the cause was not my refurbished Tivo box which arrived last week. I will re-visit this issue if it becomes evident that the 515 is the culprit.
Certainly, this receiver offers a gateway to all of the new connected technology at a more than reasonable price. I am not crazy about the remote. The buttons are small any my fingers are not. It is a universal remote, so it can be programmed. A small quibble.
PS: for discount I suggest check at: Networkav-receivers.blogspot.com/p/onkyo-tx-nr515.html
I hope this review is helpful.
Pros Great sound, lots of inputs (see cons for the whole story on that), cool (and easy to use) GUI, lots of bells and whistles.
Cons You can only use 5 devices with this receiver. There is no way to access anything past the initial 5. Read the summary below to see why.
Summary Do not buy if you have (or ever plan to have) more than 5 devices plugged into it, because you will not be able to use them all.
I have 6 Devices plugged into the receiver. 5 through HDMI (Satellite box, Blu Ray player, PS3, HTPC and Roku) and 1 through Component (Wii).
Guess what? You cannot actually use more than 5 devices!!!
Per support, 'I am out of buttons'. Yep, you read that right...I have no more buttons available, either on the receiver or the remote.
You can plug devices into the 6th and 7th HDMI ports, or the single component video port, but you cannot access them! If you want to (in my case) use the Wii, you need to disable something else first. The suggestion I got was to disable the PS3 and then assign the game port to the component input.
Onkyo (who I normally love) designed a device with 7 HDMI ports that you cannot actually use all at the same time! There are no menu options ANYWHERE to access the 'extra' 2 ports.
If you only have 5 things to plug in, go for it. I am sure it is a great receiver otherwise. I am just floored that Onkyo built something that is actually unusable like this...