Onkyo nails the surround sound sweet spot with its bold and brawny TX-NR838 receiver

For decades, Onkyo’s A/V receivers have been topping best-seller lists. The company’s well-earned reputation for producing high-performance, high-value electronics is built on its relentless pursuit of the latest technologies, and a dedication to high-current amplification that reliably delivers knock-out performance. But this year, Onkyo has really outdone itself with the TX-NR838, an A/V receiver that can pull off nearly every home theater trick in the book for the cool price of $800.

If you’re interested in Dolby Atmos surround sound but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend, then we can think of no better receiver to look to. After a 15-minute firmware update, the NR838 is ready to rock up to a 5.2.2 surround sound system — that’s two fronts, two surrounds, a center channel, up to two subwoofers and two Atmos speakers — with 130 watts of THX Select 2 plus-certified high-current power.

The receiver is outfitted with built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and two small external antennas facilitate excellent reception. Wi-Fi connectivity allows access to thousands of Internet radio stations, as well as Spotify connect. You can also stream high-resolution audio files up to 192kHz/24-bit, with support for nearly every file type, including FLAC, WAV, ALAC , and WMA. The NR838 also handles 5.6 MHz DSD and Dolby TrueHD formats thanks to top-notch Burr-Brown D/A converters.

On the video side, four of the receiver’s six HDMI inputs support 4K UHD video passthrough up to 60Hz, and HDMI 3 is HDCP 2.2-compliant for compatibility with future DRM restrictions. And thanks to two HDMI outputs, you can share HD video with two different displays at the same time.

On the decidedly more analog side of things, the NR838 is outfitted with a moving magnet phono input with RIAA equalization to accommodate turntables with no external pre-amp needed.

Aside from its robust feature set and ample power, the TX-NR838 just looks like it means business. It’s a little on the large side, so make sure you have room for it, but this 34 lb. beast just oozes quality, and will make a nice addition to any home entertainment setup.

Be sure to get a closer look by watching our first-look video. You can buy the TX-NR838 right now at Amazon.

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