1-on-1 Comparison

Side-by-Side Comparison

Onkyo TX-NR656 (North American version)

SCORE:
84

Highlights

  • 7.2 channels
  • 7.1 channel processing
  • 100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven)
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X capable
  • HDR10, Dolby Vision, 4K Upscaling, 4K Passthrough
  • AirPlay, Chromecast
  • Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • USB and Phono inputs

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Content

Overview

Onkyo TX-NR656 was introduced in 2016. It is equipped with 7 channel amplifier with 100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven) power per channel and is capable of 7.1 maximum channel processing. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, passes 4K/60Hz and upscales 1080p to 4K video signal.

We evaluated the a/v receiver and gave 84 overall score out of 100. Our ranking system is based on the amplifier specifications, audio and video features, connectivity, multizone capabilities, radio and many other details.

AMPLIFIER
79
VIDEO FEATURES
92
AUDIO FEATURES
87
CONNECTIVITY
84
MULTIZONE
77
MISCELLANEOUS
68
RADIO
92
OVERALL
84

Pros and Cons

In this section we present pros and cons of Onkyo TX-NR656.

PROS
  Dolby Atmos
  DTS:X
  DSD via HDMI
  Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.
  New HDCP Version
  HDR10
  Dolby Vision
  4K or 8K Video Passthrough
  4K or 8K Signal Upscaling
  Analog To HDMI Upconversion
  Chromecast Built-In
  Ethernet
  Wi-Fi
  Bluetooth
  Many HDMI Inputs
  USB Input
  Many Analog Audio Line Inputs
  Phono Input
  Composite Video Inputs
  Component Video Inputs
  Zones
  Analog Tuner
  Pandora
  Spotify
  Tidal
CONS
  No Front Wide Channel Support
  No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
  No IMAX Enhanced
  No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
  No eARC
  No HDR10+
  Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
  Few 8K Inputs
  No Analog Pre-Outs

Predecessor

Here we are comparing Onkyo TX-NR656 to its predecessor TX-NR646 and displaying the major changes.

UPGRADES Onkyo TX-NR656 vs Onkyo TX-NR646
VLSC (Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry) Front L/R channels vs
DTS Neural:X after firmware update vs after firmware update
Higher Resolution Music Playback via USB up to 192 kHz vs up to 96 kHz
High Resolution Audio Formats via USB FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, DSD, AIFF, AAC, Dolby TrueHD vs FLAC, WAV, WMA Lossless, Apple Lossless, DSD, AAC
Dialog Normalization vs
Dolby Vision vs
BT.2020 color space vs
Video Signal Upscaling 1080p to 4K vs
FireConnect vs
FlareConnect vs
Chromecast Built-In vs
Front A/V Inputs HDMI, Mini-Jack vs HDMI
Detachable Power Cord vs
Tidal vs
Bigger Power Supply 580 W vs 6.4 A
Higher S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A) 106 dB vs 100 dB
Higher DSD Sampling Rate via USB 2.8 MHz, 5.6 MHz vs 2.8 MHz, 5.6 MHz
Wi-Fi Standard IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n vs IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Wi-Fi Terminal Frequency 5 GHz, 2.4 GHz vs 2.4 GHz
Newer Bluetooth Version 4․1 + LE vs 2․1 + EDR

DOWNGRADES Onkyo TX-NR656 vs Onkyo TX-NR646
Music Playback via USB FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, WMA, MP3, DSD, AIFF, AAC, Dolby TrueHD vs FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, WMA, WMA Lossless, Ogg, MP3, DSD, AAC, LPCM, Dolby TrueHD
InstaPrevue Input Source Prevue vs
Less Analog Audio Line Outputs vs 1
Less Composite Video Inputs 2 vs 3
ONKYO-RI System Control vs
Pre-Pro/Learning Remote / vs /
SiriusXM Internet Radio vs
Independent Power Supply vs 2
Lower DSD Sampling Rate via HDMI 2.8 MHz vs 2.8 MHz, 5.6 MHz
Narrower AM Frequency Range 530 kHz - 1710 kHz vs 522/530 kHz - 1611/1710 kHz

For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Onkyo TX-NR656 vs Onkyo TX-NR646.

Audio Section

7 channel Amplifier

Onkyo TX-NR656 features 7 channel power amplifier. It is rated at 100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven).

  • Dynamic Audio Amplification: Onkyo TX-NR656 features Dynamic Audio Amplification which is Onkyo’s amplification philosophy that focuses on capturing the energy and dynamism contained in the audio signal and reproducing it without loss. Audio signals are not static like a test tone, but rather a countless collection of constantly moving waves. While static measurements such as S/N ratio and Total Harmonic Distortion are important, Onkyo believes that excellent dynamic and transient response is the key to emotionally involving sound. Dynamism - the “life” in music - is achieved when the amp can respond to changes in the signal instantaneously, so notes start and stop naturally and the nuances in attack, decay, sustain, and release are voiced with conviction. Onkyo home theater receivers represent the culmination of almost 70 years’ experience in amplifier design. The unique elements of their amplification system comprise high-current, low-impedance architecture to accurately control large speaker cones while enabling instantaneous response to dynamic changes, and discrete wide-range amplifier circuit topology to eliminate phase shift for clear and accurate audio imaging.

Speaker Configurations

Onkyo TX-NR656's 7 channel amplifier can be assigned for different speaker configurations.

  • Dolby Atmos Configurations: The following speaker configurations are supported for Dolby Atmos:
  • 5.2.2 with internal amplifier.
  • DTS:X Configurations: The speaker configurations for DTS:X are the same as for Dolby Atmos:
  • 5.2.2 with internal amplifier.
  • Configurations without height channels: There are also other speaker configurations available which do not include height channels:
  • 5.2, 7.2 with internal amplifier.
  • Bi-Amp: You can bi-amp front left and right speakers. During bi-amplification two amplifiers are used for one speaker. One amplifier powers the midrange and tweeter section of the speaker and another amplifier powers the low frequency woofers. Each amplifier is less loaded and performs better. In order to use this feature speakers must have 2 pairs of connectors.

Dolby Atmos

Onkyo TX-NR656 supports Dolby Atmos. It is a cinematic audio format in which sounds exist as individual entities, called audio objects. In Dolby Atmos, any sound can exist as an independent audio object, free of channel restrictions. They can be precisely placed and moved anywhere in your room, including overhead, to flow above and around you in three-dimensional space. Through the use of audio objects, overhead sound, and all the richness, clarity, and power of Dolby sound, Dolby Atmos turns your room into an amazing place for entertainment. The format supports up to 128 simultaneous independent audio objects in a mix for rich, realistic, and breathtaking sound. It recreates the director's original concept through descriptive metadata to provide customized playback for home theater and delivers sounds above you through overhead speakers, special upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

  • Dolby Surround Upmixer: If the content is not mixed in Dolby Atmos then the Dolby surround upmixer will expand the audio to all channels including ceiling speakers. The upmixer has replaced the Dolby Pro Logic II family with improved upmixing algorithms.

DTS:X

Onkyo TX-NR656 supports DTS:X. A technique used in DTS:X is similar to the one used in Dolby Atmos. Instead of a fixed number of channels, DTS:X defines object locations from the listener in polar coordinates. An a/v receiver then dynamically renders sound according to the current speaker configuration. The speaker layout employed by DTS:X is the sum of Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D. It has standard 7.1 channel base layer, a 5 channel height layer above the base layer on the front and side walls, and 3 rows of speakers on the ceiling.

  • DTS Neural:X: DTS Neural:X is an advanced upmixer that can take non DTS:X content and upmix it to the DTS:X speaker layout. It has replaced the DTS Neo family with improved flexibility.
  • DTS Dialog Control: This function adjusts the dialog levels during playback of the DTS:X stream. It allows you to separately increase the dialog levels in contrast with the background sound and hear dialog easily even under noisy circumstances.

Sound Processing

  • Advanced Music Optimizer: Compressed music enhancement in Onkyo TX-NR656 is done by Onkyo’s Advanced Music Optimizer. While MP3 or AAC files may sound fine through the headphones of your portable digital player, the limitations of these files can be exposed when played back through a quality home entertainment system. This is because a significant amount of high-frequency bit information is lost during the file-compression process. To counter this, Onkyo has designed the Advanced Music Optimizer to compensate for lost bit information and improve the quality of compressed audio signals. This results in a clearer and more expansive sound. Also included in this technology is a loudness correction feature that further improves the audio character of compressed files.

Room Calibration

Onkyo TX-NR656 comes with AccuEQ with AccuReflex™ room correction system and includes the calibration microphone.

  • AccuEQ: First, AccuEQ detects the presence of speakers and evaluates the impedance of each. Next, it pinpoints their distance relative to the main listening position using the mic and sets suitable sound-pressure levels. Then it selects the optimal crossover frequency so that deeper bass rolls smoothly off to the subwoofer. Finally, AccuEQ performs frequency response equalization based on room-acoustic and speaker data collected via microphone. The sound-field is now tailored around the listening position, resulting in a more immersive and realistic in-film experience.

Video Section

HDMI

Onkyo TX-NR656 features 8 HDMI inputs. It has 2 outputs which work parallelly and output the same signal.

  • 4K/60Hz Passthrough: All inputs pass up to 4K/60p (RGB/YCbCr4:4:4) video signal.
  • 4K Upscaling: Onkyo TX-NR656 can upscale 1080p to 4K from HDMI and analog sources.
  • Analog To HDMI Upconversion: The a/v receiver supports video upconversion, so you can connect your analog Component and Composite video sources and Onkyo TX-NR656 will output them via HDMI. This means that you will need only one HDMI cable to connect to your TV.
  • BT.2020 Color Space: BT.2020 or Rec. 2020 is a color standard which delivers a wider color gamut compared to Rec. 709. It covers approximately 75% of the total visual spectrum while the Rec. 709 covers only 35%.
  • HDCP 2.2 Copy Protection: 3 inputs and 2 outputs are HDCP 2.2 compliant which is a requirement for 4K/HDR copy-protected content transmission.
  • 3D Ready: Onkyo TX-NR656 is able to pass 3D video through HDMI.

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Onkyo TX-NR656 supports HDR (high dynamic range) video formats such as HDR10 and Dolby Vision. High dynamic range video has greater dynamic range than standard dynamic range (SDR) video with brighter whites and deeper blacks. The result is greater contrast and more details in dark and bright areas, better color and depth.

  • HDR10: HDR10 uses the wide-gamut Rec. 2020 color space. It sends static metadata via video stream to the TV which calibrates its screen brightness and color according to that. HDR10 supports 10-bit color which corresponds to 1024 shades of the primary RGB colors. It is technically limited to a maximum of 10,000 nits peak brightness, however common HDR10 contents are mastered with peak brightness from 1,000 to 4,000 nits.
  • Dolby Vision: Dolby Vision is a set of technologies developed by Dolby Laboratories for high dynamic range (HDR) video. It covers content creation, distribution, and playback. Like HDR10+, it includes dynamic metadata that are used to adjust and optimize each frame of the HDR video to the consumer display's capabilities in a way specified by the content creator. Dolby Vision allows for a maximum resolution of 8K up to 12-bit color depth, maximum peak brightness of 10,000 nits and a color gamut up to Rec. 2020. It uses Dolby's proprietary dynamic metadata defined in SMPTE ST 2094-10.

Multi-zone Playback

Onkyo TX-NR656 offers multi-zone playback which allows you to play different input sources in 2 different rooms.


Zone 2

  • Powered Zone 2: You can use the unit's 2 amplifier channels by connecting Zone 2 speakers directly to the speaker terminals. The remaining 5 channels will be left for main zone amplification.
  • Audio Line Output: If you have a dedicated integrated amplifier for Zone 2 you can connect it to the a/v receiver via line outs by sending fixed signal and then control volume on the Zone 2 amplifier.

Inputs and Outputs

Audio

  • Phono Input: There is an MM phono input with built-in phono stage for connecting the moving magnet cartridge output of the turntable directly to the a/v receiver.
  • Analog Line Inputs: There are 7 line inputs for analog audio connection.
  • Digital Inputs: 2 optical inputs and 1 coaxial input are available for digital audio connection.
  • Headphone Output: There is a 6.3 mm (1/4") headphone output jack on the front panel.

Video

  • HDMI:
  • Inputs: 8 (1 front)   Outputs: 2 (simultaneous)
    8K Inputs: 0
  • Composite Video: Connect you VCR, Laserdisc player and other old video equipment with composite video cables.
  • Inputs: 2   Outputs: 0
  • Component Video: Component video connection gives you the higher quality video compared to the composite video connection. So in case your old DVD player and other equipment do not have an HDMI output but have Component video output use this connection over the composite one. Onkyo TX-NR656 supports up to 480i/576i resolution on Component video connectors.
  • Inputs: 2   Outputs: 0
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Specifications

Here we list all the available features and specifications of Onkyo TX-NR656.

BASICS
BrandOnkyo
ModelTX-NR656
TypeA/V Receiver
CountryNorth America
Release Year2016
AMPLIFIER
Channels7.2
Front Wide Channel Support
Dynamic Audio Amplification
Non-Phase Shift Amplifier
VLSC (Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry) Front L/R channels
Optimum Gain Volume Circuitry
THX™ Certification
Continuous 6 Ω Rated
Certified 4 Ω Performance
Discrete Output Stage Circuitry
3-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry
PUSH-PULL Design
Independent Block Construction (Amp/Preprocessor)
Bi-amp Capability
BTL (Bridged Transless or Bridging)
AUDIO
Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Engine32-bit Digital Signal Processing Enginess
DACAKM AK4458 (8 Channels x 1)
DAC Specs384 kHz/32 Bit
Maximum Channel Processing7.1
Air Studios Monitor Certification
Dolby Atmos up to 5.1.2
Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
Dolby Atmos Music
Dolby TrueHD
Dolby Digital Plus
Dolby Surround Upmixer
Dolby Pro Logic
Dolby Digital EX
Surround EX
DTS:X up to 5.1.2
DTS Neural:X after firmware update
DTS Virtual:X
DTS Neo Neo:6 until firmware update
DTS-HD Master Audio
DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
DTS 96/24
DTS Express
DTS-ES
IMAX Enhanced
Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
PCM 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
Music Playback via USBFLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, WMA, MP3, DSD, AIFF, AAC, Dolby TrueHD
High Resolution Music Playback via USB and/or Network up to 192 kHz
High Resolution Audio Formats via USBFLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, DSD, AIFF, AAC, Dolby TrueHD
Multi-Channel Music File Playback via USB
Gapless Playback
DSD via HDMI 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
DSD via USB 2-ch Input
DSD to PCM Converter
USB DAC
Jitter Reduction PLL (Phase Locked Loop) Jitter-Cleaning Circuit Technology for S/PDIF Audio
DTS Dialog Control
Dialog Enhancement
Dialog Normalization
Dialogue Lift
Tone Control Front L/R Channels
Compressed Music Enhancer Advanced Music Optimizer (bluetooth included)
High-resolution Music Enhancer
THX Processing Mode
Audyssey Dynamic EQ
Audyssey Dynamic Volume
Audyssey LFC
Audyssey Sub EQ HT
Audyssey DSX
Phase-Matching Bass Boost
Direct Mode
Pure Audio Mode
Pure Direct Analog Path Mode
Virtual Speakers T-D (Theater-Dimensional)
CALIBRATION
Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic. AccuEQ with AccuReflex™
VIDEO
Enhanced ARC
HDCP Version2.2 (3 inputs / 2 outputs)
HDR10
HDR10+
Dynamic HDR
Dolby Vision
HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma)
BT.2020 color space
QMS (Quick Media Switching)
ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode)
VRR (Variable Refresh Rate)
QFT (Quick Frame transport)
3-D Ready
Video Signal Passthroughup to 4K/60p (RGB/YCbCr4:4:4)
Video Signal Upscaling 1080p to 4K
Analog To HDMI Upconversion Component**, Composite
Component Video Upscaling
Analog to Analog Video conversion
Component Video Maximum Resolution480i/576i
isf Certified Calibration Control
CONNECTIVITY
MHL Input
FireConnect
FlareConnect
Chromecast Built-In
DTS Play-Fi
Works with Amazon Alexa
Works with SONOS
AirPlay AirPlay
Apple Product Connection iPod, iPhone and iPad
Remote AppOnkyo Remote App for iPod touch/iPhone and Android-Powered Devices
InstaPrevue Input Source Prevue
Ethernet
Ethernet Switch
Wi-Fi
Bluetooth SBC, AAC
HDBaseT Compatible
HDMI Inputs8 (1 front)
HDMI Outputs2 (simultaneous)
8K Inputs
USB Input1 (Rear)
USB DC Out Port
Analog Audio Line Input7 (1 Front)
Analog Audio Line Output
Phono Input
Optical Inputs2
Optical Outputs
Coaxial Inputs1
Composite Video Input2
Composite Video Output
S-Video Input
S-Video Output
Component Video Input2
Component Video Output
PC In
Multi-Channel Input
Analog Pre-Outs0.2
XLR Inputs
XLR Pre-outs
Front A/V InputsHDMI, Mini-Jack
Speaker A/B
Headphone Out6.3 mm (1/4")
ZONES
Zones2
Powered Zones 2
Zone 2 OutsRCA Line Out
Whole House Mode
RS-232C Interface
+12V Trigger Output0
Remote (IR) Input/Output0 / 0
MISC
On-Screen Display Overlaid On-Screen Display (OSD) via HDMI with Quick Set-Up
GUI Languages7
Detachable Power Cord
uport
ONKYO-RI System Control
RIHD (Remote Interactive Over HDMI)
Pre-Pro/Learning Remote /
Smart Grid-Ready
RADIO
Analog Tuner FM/AM
Presets40
Digital Radio
Internet Radio TuneIn
Pandora
Spotify
Tidal
Deezer
Napster
SiriusXM Internet Radio
CONSTRUCTION
Solid Aluminum Front
Speaker Terminals9
Large Speaker Terminals9
Color-Coded Speaker Terminals
Transparent High-Grade Speaker Terminals
18mm Pitch High Grade Pre-outs
19mm-Pitch Audio Inputs
Gold plated RCA terminals
POWER
Power SupplyAC 120 V, 60 Hz
Independent Power Supply
H.C.P.S. (High Current Power Supply) Massive High Power Transformer
Toroidal Transformer
Power Consumption580 W
No Sound Power65 W
Standby Power0.1 W
GENERAL
ECO Mode / Hybrid Standby Function
Dimensions (W x H x D)435 mm x 173.5 mm x 378 mm
17-1/8" x 6-13/16" x 14-7/8"
Weight10.0 kg (22.0 lbs)
Warranty2 Years
SPECS
Power Output (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2100 W (0.08% THD)
Power Output (6 Ω, 1 kHz, 1 channel driven, FTC)170 W (0.9% THD)
Dynamic Power per Channel (3 Ω, Front)240 W
Dynamic Power per Channel (4 Ω, Front)210 W
Dynamic Power per Channel (8 Ω, Front)120 W
THD0.08% (20 Hz - 20 kHz, Half power)
Input Sensitivity and Impedance (Line)200 mV/47 kΩ (1 kHz, 100 W/8 Ω)
Input Sensitivity and Impedance (Phono MM)3.5 mV/47 kΩ
Rated Headphone Jack Output Level and Impedance330 Ω
Rated Headphone Power Output90 mW (32 Ω, 1 kHz, 10% THD)
Phono Overload70 mV (MM, 1 kHz 0.5%)
S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A)106 dB
S/N Ratio (Phono MM, IHF-A)80 dB
Frequency Response (Analog In)10 Hz - 100 kHz/+1 dB, -3 dB (Direct)
DSD Sampling Rates via HDMI2.8 MHz
DSD Sampling Rates via USB2.8 MHz, 5.6 MHz
Video Input Sensitivity/Output Level and Impedance1 Vp-p/75 Ω (Component Y)
0.7 Vp-p/75 Ω (Component PB/CB, PR/CR)
1 Vp-p/75 Ω (Composite)
Ethernet Standard10BASE-T/100BASE-TX
Wi-Fi StandardIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
Wi-Fi Terminal Frequency5 GHz, 2.4 GHz
Bluetooth Version4․1 + LE
Bluetooth Frequency2.4 GHz
USB Terminal5 V, 1 A
FM Frequency87.5 MHz - 107.9 MHz
AM Frequency530 kHz - 1710 kHz

* - 480i/576i and 480p/576p only
** - 480i/576i only
*** - no 1080p/24 upconversion
**** - 1080p signal is not converted

Successor

In 2017 Onkyo TX-NR656 was replaced by TX-NR676. Let us now have a look at some important changes that the successor brought.


UPGRADES Onkyo TX-NR676 vs Onkyo TX-NR656
Certified 4 Ω Performance vs
DTS Play-Fi vs

DOWNGRADES Onkyo TX-NR676 vs Onkyo TX-NR656
Optimum Gain Volume Circuitry vs
DTS Neo vs Neo:6 until firmware update
Video Signal Upscaling vs 1080p to 4K
Less HDMI Inputs 7 (1 front) vs 8 (1 front)
Detachable Power Cord vs
Lower Rated Headphone Power Output 85 mW (32 Ω, 1 kHz, 10% THD) vs 90 mW (32 Ω, 1 kHz, 10% THD)

For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Onkyo TX-NR656 vs Onkyo TX-NR676.

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