Onkyo TX-NR656 review & specs

Onkyo TX-NR656 – capable of much!

Onkyo TX-NR656

Are you doubt to take Onkyo TX-NR656 or not? I will help you. I had a chance to test the receiver Onkyo TX-NR656. I use only a couple of days, but I have already thoroughly studied it. This device has kept all the best from the previous models and completely got rid of their disadvantages. And I would like to share with you my thoughts on this receiver, to weigh all the pros and cons, so that it would be easier for you in your choice. And I hope that this review will be useful to you.

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The Onkyo TX-NR656 has a very elegant appearance. Buttons and knobs look pretty attractive. In the lower left corner are the tone controls and the listening mode selection. In the center of the front panel is a black display with a green indication. Under the display are the source selection buttons. Connectors on the back side are also made qualitatively, all connections are very dense. The device weighs 10 kg and has dimensions of 435 mm in width, 173.5 mm in height and 378 mm in depth. According to the manufacturer, the receiver is suitable for speakers with a resistance of 6-16 Ohm, but during the test with 4 Ohm acoustics, there were no problems.

AV receiver TX-NR656 has a very thoughtful, competent layout. Extra wires are not present, the wiring is made very carefully, and the transformer is securely screwed to the base. The disadvantage can be considered a radiator, which is made of sheet metal because it is not as effective in removing heat as an aluminum radiator

The graphics menu is very neat without unnecessary embellishments. I liked the setup wizard with its concise, understandable texts and a nice graphical interface. On the remote control, there is a very convenient button with the designation "Q", which is pressed by the quick menu, which contains all the necessary functions.


It satisfied my expectations and went beyond. Unlike the older model, 656 allocates additional high-altitude audio channels Atmos, and a new calibration, tuning, and DSP-processing of audio are attached to it. The truth here is not without strangeness: the current basic function will be completed with the distribution kit of the company later.

The fully-loaded Onkyo TX-NR646 delivers up-to-date technologies like improved format Dolby Atmos and DTS-X surround formats, additionally to AirPlay, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Its sound quality is superb for film replay with exciting sonics and class-leading dynamics. It’s very good property includes eight HDMI inputs (one front, seven rear) and 2 outputs additionally to a phono input.

The Onkyo TX-NR656 has enough multimedia capabilities and fully supports the playback of high-definition audio formats. Also, full support for Hi-Res formats. I was very pleased with the high output power of the amplifiers.


Onkyo TX-NR656 creates a new, yet untested sound color. If you like, it is more modern, stretched deeper into the scene and unobtrusively higher, which even more clearly shapes the outlines of images, even very distant ones. The most important advantage of the Atmos receiver in eliminating the last signs of masking weak images with strong.

When I started watching the movie, I noticed that the soundtrack fills the space with an expressive bass. You can hear the exact transmission of wind noise to the meadow, on which one of the characters was disguised. As the Airbus A-400 starts and picks up the engine, you begin to feel the charm of the home theater and enjoy the excellent calibration of the up-directed columns thanks to the AccuReflex technology. Everything sounds like a whole. Very revealing was the episode in the opera house. Classical opera music sounded with a very pleasant tonality and I again felt the effect of full space filling.

The film begins with a small car chase. Road noise mixed with music is played very well. In scenes with gunfights, a clear feeling is created that you are directly in the midst of whistling bullets. Scenes with dialogues differ simply by impeccable detail. At the moment when the doors of the large hangar began to open, it becomes clear that the receiver has enough power reserve to reproduce a wide range of low frequencies. Dialogues in a large hangar are reproduced very realistically.

When I listened to music I realized that Onkyo is the leader in the field of resolution in its class. Male vocal passes through all channels and is perfectly reproduced with clear contours. The female voice is also not devoid of charisma, with a good leveling of the vocal contours.

Sound Quality

I do not want to waste your time with specs, but I must. This unit sounds absolutely amazing. And the ability to run a second set of speakers with even a unique supply is an extra bonus. The sound quality is superb and therefore the originated to balance speakers was simple and worked well. Onkyo TX-NR656 has excellent acoustic properties. Built-in amplifiers in all tests showed very stable performance and here Onkyo can leave behind most of its competitors. For such a powerful AV receiver, it's not a problem to swing a sufficiently serious acoustics without the help of an active subwoofer.

I am very pleased with the quality of sound that this receiver produces for my surround sound system. The receiver copes well with a large number of sound effects simultaneously, but at the same time, each individual sound is audible very clearly. In addition, the sound of musical instruments is very clean, the percussion does not have enough dynamics. Even if the receiver cannot fully reveal all the details of the music scene, its resolution is still impressive. In general, for its price range, TX-NR656 has simply excellent sound. The one factor I will say that looks strange to me is that the sound drops off to an indiscernible level at the volume setting of thirty.

I would like to say a few words about the AccuEQ calibration system. When it first appeared, frankly speaking, it could not withstand any competition from such systems as Audyssey (D M), YPAO (Yamaha) and, of course, MCACC (Pioneer), but the new version of 2016 is really good. The sound became clearer, the volume balance improved and, in general, the sound became more even, which is very commendable. Moreover, in comparison with several previous generations of receivers, TX-NR656 made a huge step forward.


First of all, I note that I like the versatility of management and connectivity for one second to any of my gadgets: tablet, smartphone, clock. Everything works through airplay and via Bluetooth. I connected an external hard drive to 1 terabyte – everything is playing. You can control the menu by hooking up an HDTV using a mobile application on your tablet or phone. The application is not done clumsily, as in Denon, but everything is nice and thoughtful.

Built-in Wi-Fi for listening to music from a networked laptop, free net radio, and music services, includes support for Pandora, Spotify, and TuneIn (subscription needed for a few services). Apple AirPlay for music from an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or pc running iTunes, plays high-resolution digital music files via USB device or a networked pc, plays DSD files (up to five.6 MHz) from network and USB storage devices.


I found the setup to be simple and straightforward. Works good and sets up easily with initial setup. Has two menu settings 'quick menu' for basic controls: subwoofer levels, on and off activity settings. When you manually adjust the speakers, using the on-screen menu, you can adjust the frequency of absorption individually for each channel (40/50/60/70/80/90/100/120/150/180/200 Hz).

When I set up wi-fi on the receiver, everything worked without a hitch. And generally speaking, I had no problems with the setup, everything was very simple and understandable. I think that you will not have any problems too. This product is really cool.


In general, 656 is built more rationally than the others before and after it by serial number. At least, this is the situation for today, when I write these lines. Works nicely tho' and also the sound is what you'd expect with an Onkyo. Bass is tight and you'll be able to hear the complete acoustic spectrum. If you are interested in the perfect synchronization of sound with the image (and to whom it does not matter?!) – then it is at your service, and with the remote control, without getting up from the couch.

In addition, even despite the complete absence of internal processing of video signals, the Onkyo TX-NR656 is a quite good AV receiver with a build quality and elegant design. I can safely recommend this product.

Common features


Onkyo TX-NR656






4.0 of 5




Digital player

Internet radio

Network audio player

Amplifier class

Audio formats



Apple lossless






Built-in decoders

DTS neural:X

DTS-HD master audio


Dolby atmos

Dolby digital plus

Dolby surround

Dolby true HD

Power device

Operational power consumption

580 W

Standby power consumption

0.1 W

Built-in display






Total output power

690 W

Output power per channel

100 W, 170 W

Output impedance per channel

6 Ohm, 8 Ohm

Frequency response

20 Hz-20 kHz

Total harmonic distortion

0.08 %

Number of channels


Signal-to-noise ratio

106 dB

Connectivity interfaces



IEEE 802.3

IEEE 802.3u

Signal processing

HDMI pass-through

up to 4K

Video conversion/scaling

3D pass-through

Upscaling via HDMI

up to 4K

Connector type

AV inputs


Optical digital inputs


Coaxial digital inputs


HDMI inputs


HDMI outputs


Optical digital outputs

has not

Coaxial digital outputs

has not

Subwoofer outputs






Media content source





Tuner type


Tuner bands


Preset station qty


Additional features

A-B speaker switch

AIR Studios monitor certification

Three-zone capability


Advanced sound retriever (ASR) technology

Apple air-play support

Audio return channel (ARC)


Deep color


Auto power off

Pure direct mode

Dual-zone capability

Smartphone remote control

Sound features

Sound output mode

Surround Sound

Audio D/A converter

32bit / 384kHz

Surround sound effects

Neural Surround. Theater-Dimensional Virtual Surround

Surround system class

7.2 channel

Digital sound processor (DSP)

DSP preset qty

Digital content protection

HDCP 2.2


Built-in clock

Sleep timer


Shipping size

22.5 x 18 x 11 inches

Product weight

22 pounds