Companies that contribute in the world of home theater systems made some significant breakthroughs this 2010 with the introduction to 3D technologies for home theaters. These manufacturers led the way in producing various components related to 3D from the active shutter glasses to blu-ray players and AV receivers. It is up to the known AV receiver manufacturers not only to complete the 3D home theater harmony but also to directly compete with some of the top contenders like Denon and Pioneer. Onkyo is taking the high road by updating their existing high-end lineup with the 9.2 channel Onkyo TX-NR3008.
Latest Update: The Onkyo TX-NR3008 is now on sale at Amazon
Design & Connectivity
The TX-NR3008 looks identical to the outgoing TX-NR3007 model. It is a well built and sturdy unit finished in nice brushed aluminum housing heavy internal components inside.
The large Master Volume on the right side of the receiver serves as the receiver’s only knob. The large display in the center is subtle and readout is clear and unobtrusive. The prominent THX logo reminds the user that it is THX Ultra2 Plus certified. Just below the display is a series of 13 buttons with one of them on the far left just below the power button serving as the “Pure Audio” button. The rest of the other buttons on the center are primarily for changing the input source.
The lower section, behind a flip-down panel, consists of tuning/preset buttons, zone select buttons and several useful inputs – one HDMI, composite video in, USB that is iPod/iPhone compatible and a headphone jack.
More than adequate connectivity options are available on the back panel. Lining the top row are 7 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs. Other video inputs include 3 component video and 5 composite video. For analog audio there are 7.1 multi channel inputs and a full 9.2 channels of line level outputs for those who wish to use external amplification. An Ethernet port is provided for internet connectivity. In addition there is a Sirius port and a Universal port that can be used for connection of optional Onkyo dock for iPhone/iPod or HD Radio tuner.
The Onkyo TX-NR3008 is filled with features, technologies, and ample connectivity options for even the most ardent home theater enthusiast. The HDMI inputs are all version 1.4a which are 3D compatible. The specification also allows an Audio Return Channel (ARC) which enables the TX-NR3008 to send audio data to the receiver without requiring an S/PDIF connection. The 3D pass-through allows live 3D content as well as future 3D gaming titles to work properly.
The TX-N3008 also fuses the best of Dolby and Audyssey technologies to give out a lively and interactive sound experience to the viewers. Audyssey leads the pack with some interesting technologies found in other top commercial home receivers including the MultEQ XT32. This is a more powerful version of the MultEQ as it supports the 9.2-channel configuration that the TX-NR3008 offers. It works by gathering time-domain and frequency measurements from as many as 8 different positions resulting to the best sound quality possible.
Both the Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume technologies which are also Audyssey powered help optimize these frequency responses as well as the dynamic range regardless of the volume level. It works with the Dolby Volume technology to provide a balanced listening experience at fine-tuned loudness settings. Users can configure this optimal setting to span all of the input sources to normalize the playback volume.
The TX-N3008 is classified as a home receiver that can take advantage of audio content hosted on the Internet. With support for popular Internet radio channels such as the ones from Pandora, Sirius, vTuner, and several others, users can access a number of audio formats online just by using the Internet connection. This high-end Onkyo model is also Windows 7 compatible so it can take advantage of the new streaming features that lets Windows 7 users stream to a remote device like the TX-N3008. Its compatibility with DLNA 1.5 allows more interaction with these specific wireless platforms.
Onkyo incorporated a High Current Power Supply to drastically improve the audio performance. At the same time, this power supply has features of a power transformer resulting to lesser noise production, wider dynamics, and better power efficiency.
HQV Reon-VX takes care of the 1080p upscaling and other advanced video processing methods to allow even the old VHS and DVD titles to look good on the outputted displays. It does an exceptional job in filtering artifacts and jaggies leading to an improved display. The signal noise is further reduced using Onkyo’s very own Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry technology. All of these enhancements to the audio quality makes the Onkyo TX-N3008 one of the few devices to get the THX Ultra2 Plus certification which is an extremely high-standard for overall audio performance.
A good demonstration of the TX-NR3008’s capabilities is the Monsters vs Aliens Blu-ray title which is one of the earliest 3D Blu-ray titles. It doesn’t really rely on a lot of gimmicks to make the 3D technology felt. Aside from an early segment with a huge rubber ball jumping out at you, the 3D is highly effective in giving a sense of space and scale. There are some signs of color bleeding in the 3D renders but as a whole, the TX-NR3008 handled the 3D version in the scale demanded of the movie.
The impressive soundtrack of Monster House 3D was used to test the audio codecs. The DTS-HD Master Audio track has excellent clarity and good overall balance. Dialogue is presented as crisp and clear and it truly sounds great. The film has an abundance of audio effects throughout which the TX-NR3008 handled with aplomb. You could hear the film’s music coming through clearly as well and balances nicely with the rest of the mix.
The Onkyo TX-NR3008 is positioned as a high end receiver intended to power larger home theater systems where good sound quality is paramount. Onkyo has put out all stops to make this unit sound good and at the same time added the latest enhancements from Audyssey and an excellent video chipset from Reon for a most satisfying home theater experience, be it in three dimension or two.
More user reviews:
• “I’m very happy with it; easy to connect the speakers and the source component(s). Audessey was easy to run, and correctly detected all my speakers and room layout both times. Bass was significantly/dramatically better. From the main listening position, it was tight, clear, and very easy to listen to. Also, stereo separation was better; there’s a much higher “sense of space” with the new AVR. Not sure how to explain it, but I’m very happy with the results. I’ve watched a few movies. Again, the bass is SO much better that it’s really hard to say if that’s causing everything else to “sound better” too. The surrounds are much more noticeable, and the system sounds better “blended” than it did with the 1018. I’m in love with the immediate OSD, for folks with gear in a closet, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered! I haven’t been through all the listening modes yet; I’m stuck on THX Cinema because I like the results so much! Overall, again, very happy with the video results.” – M.J.Fink (FL,USA)
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