In the AV receiver segment (2), manufacturers and customers are always looking for the best ratio of features and price (1). With the Onkyo TX-RZ820, the Japanese manufacturer (5) is trying to mix a device in terms of multi-room, streaming, and video capabilities (3) (4) with a piece of solid amplifier equipment with nine power amplifiers and come up with a recommended price of almost 1,200 dollars. A bargain? Let’s have a look.
Our goal here is to review completely this receiver including the firmware update that it received in 2020. Is it a good idea now to buy the Onkyo TX-RZ820, several years after its launch, considering the firmware update of 2020?
Onkyo’s RZ series A/V receivers are now in their third generation, including the TX-RZ820 mid-range model. This raises the question: What’s new? The good news first: At 1,200 dollars, the RZ820 is exactly 100 dollars cheaper than its predecessor. So we have wondered what could have happened with the quality. Is it lower too? Let´s see.
Onkyo continues to update its TX-RZ AV receiver product portfolio. Already optically the TX-RZ820 for about 1200 dollars, alternatively in black or silver variant to have, gives itself clearly as “family member” to recognize.
And technically, the THX Select license, decoders for Dolby Atmos and dts:X, and a variety of multimedia features will make us happy. Seven powerful power amplifiers are on board the TX-RZ820. These are the highlights in the TX-RZ820:
- THX License
- Firmware update in 2020
- Dynamic audio amplification with 180 watts per channel
- Frequency response 5 Hz to 100 kHz and Vector Linear Shaping Circuit (VLSC) on all channels
- Support of Dolby Atmos and dts:X in maximum 5.2.2 (2 x subwoofer pre-out, 7 power amplifiers)
- A total of 7 HDMI inputs in the rear and one in the front, 2 x HDMI out. Support of 4K/60p, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision as well as HDCP 2.2
- Dualband WiFi with 2.4 and 5 GHz band
- AirPlay, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Tune In, Fire Connect for wireless audio playback in multiple rooms
- Zone 2 power output, Zone 2/3 preamplifier/line output, and 7.2 channel preamplifier outputs
- Google Chromecast available
- dts Play-Fi (via a firmware update, the latest was in 2020)
In accordance with its origins in the RZ series, this receiver has a clear, almost Bauhaus-like structure with cubist lines and round buttons. I almost feel it is a break in a style not to use a white matrix display for this, even if it is the satin green Onkyo tradition.
Operating elements and connections that the general user needs less frequently in everyday use, such as the connection for the measuring microphone for calibration or for headphones, are concealed under the bulky flap.
Here you can also access all menu functions for which you would otherwise need the remote control. The rear panel is richly equipped, from today’s standard HDMI inputs and double outputs with ARC for sound from TV without an additional stripe to a whole battery of analog inputs including two analog video inputs each as FBAS and component.
Important as an option for further expansions: All channels are also output as preamplifier signals, which allows the connection of better power amplifiers, active speakers, or even radio modules.
Onkyo’s TX-RZ810 impressed home cinema fans everywhere because of its excellent all-round qualities. So we have tested this one thoroughly in that area. What this one could do, the successor TX-RZ820 wants to make everything a little better. We test the AV receiver for you on these pages and we will discover if the promise is accomplished by Onkyo.
Onkyo has really impressed us with its RZ series: Here the top models of the Japanese manufacturer cover all the desires of movie and music enthusiasts from 7-channel to the full-grown 11-channel device.
We are taking a closer look at the mid-range model of Onkyo’s multi-channel receivers and putting the TX-RZ820 in our test analysis with the dedicated software in regards to home theater.
Pros And Cons
- Balanced, powerful sound
- Versatile Streaming/Multiroom
- fast navigation
- Despite the firmware update in 2020, we consider that the Denon AVC-X3700H is a much better option at the same price.
- VHF reception is noticeably noisy
Equipment and Features Of The Onkyo TX-RZ820
In any case, from the previous TX-RZ81,0 the engineers did not cut back on the quality of materials and workmanship. The 14-kilo (31 lb) receiver comes with a chic front panel made of aluminum including an aluminum flap milled from solid aluminum.
The housing appears robust, is flawlessly manufactured and sharp edges shine through absence. There were also no cosmetic changes, except for the name lettering, the Onkyo TX-RZ820 is practically indistinguishable from its predecessor.
Under the flap, there are buttons for device control, an HDMI input as well as a headphone and microphone socket. The large volume wheel runs smoothly, but is not very handy.
On the left, there are practical controls for quick adjustment of the sound programs as well as bass and treble. On the right, there are buttons in a row for input selection, but they are quite small, which also doesn’t help the legibility of the labeling.
With the connections on the backside, we see the first economy measure: From formerly 7 became 6 HDMI inputs. However, the remaining sockets are identical and the phono board has also been retained.
AM and FM antennas can be connected for analog radio reception. However, Onkyo has dispensed with the increasingly popular DAB+ tuner on the TX-RZ820, so it is on our short wish list – right next to an 11-channel processing. The new Onkyo can’t serve with that: Due to its 7 power amplifiers, the TX-RZ820 provides sound for a maximum of 7.2 or 5.2.2 speaker sets with 2 height channels. 7.2.2 or 7.2.4 configurations are not possible due to missing pre-outs.
With its 7 built-in amplifiers, the Onkyo TX-RZ820 fires a 7.2 or 5.2.2 speaker setup as standard. Thanks to 11 speaker terminals, 2 treble and 4 surround speakers can be wired simultaneously. However, if the treble speakers are active in 3D sound, the back-surrounds remain muted. If a normal 7.1 signal is present, the Onkyo switches off the treble speakers and fires all four surround speakers.
The Quick “Q” button on the remote control lets you choose between treble and back rear output via the on-screen display. The Onkyo will activate or deactivate the corresponding pair of speakers as desired – regardless of the incoming signal.
For example, stereo music blown up via the Dolby Surround upmixer can be listened to either with treble speakers or switched on back surround boxes. Of course, we also wanted to know if the Onkyo can be extended to an Atmos setup with 7.1.2 channels thanks to 9 preamp outputs, in the speaker configuration menu this option is offered.
But as with the TX-RZ810, the socket labeling of the corresponding pre-outs with “BACK or HEIGHT” didn’t bode well: So the TX-RZ820 also puts the height signal on the pre-outs when the treble boxes are activated, and the back rear signal when the back surround boxes are activated. So you are still spoilt for choice between 7.1 or 5.1.2 channels.
Unused power amplifiers can also be used for active sound reinforcement of a second listening room or for bi-amping the two main loudspeakers. Using the pre-amp outputs, the Onkyo outputs sound signals to two secondary rooms.
THX Certification Included
At decoders, Onkyo used DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. Of course, the DTS Neural:X and Dolby Surround upmixers are also on board, but cross-format upmixing, i.e. playback of the respective competitor format – is not possible with Onkyo. But the TX-RZ820 can offer a THX certification, which has become rare.
The “THX Select” seal of approval guarantees that the Onkyo TX-RZ820 has a home cinema-suitable signal post-processing and sufficient power for normal living room sizes.
In addition, there are of course the THX sound circuits like “Cinema”, “Music” or “Game”, which, however, refuse to work with 3D sound signals. A D/A converter from AKM (AK4458 with 384 kHz/32Bit) is responsible for the conversion of the digital signals into analog ones.
With the out-of-the-box configuration, everything remained the same: For example, setting the distances with 3-centimeter increments is sufficiently accurate, but not perfect.
The level setting is more precise with steps of 0.5 decibels. The crossover frequencies can be set between 40 and 200 Hertz for each channel group, but the two RCA outputs of the subwoofer channel cannot be controlled separately.
The equalizer is a success, offering 15 frequency bands between 25 Hz and 16 kHz for all channel pairs except the subwoofer, 9 of which can be used simultaneously. The subwoofer channel controls with 5 bands between 25 and 160 Hz.
Calibration And AccuEQ System
All speakers are calibrated by Onkyo’s AccuEQ system, which, with Accu-Reflex, also has phase correction for top speakers. However, AccuEQ only takes one measuring point into account, whereas the competition takes up to 8 measuring points.
Press the Quick Menu button “Q” on the remote control to access the Quick Menu, which is superimposed on the current image.
There you will find the most important audio settings, including the lip-sync function, activation of the AccuEQ calibration and equalizer, late-night switching, the music optimizer, and the Re-EQ circuit for smooth treble reduction.
Design And Ergonomics In The Onkyo TX-RZ820
The bulky design remains unchanged, from the outside it is hardly distinguishable from its predecessor, the Onkyo TX-RZ810, and is most clearly recognizable by the changed model name.
On the right side of the metal front is the large volume control, above which the many small buttons for source and zone selection are arranged in a row. In the middle of the aluminum front, are the display and a large metal flap, behind which eleven device keys and a centrally positioned control pad for operating the receiver are revealed.
Connections for a headphone and the measuring microphone as well as an HDMI input are available here.
Unfortunately, you will not find a USB interface here. On the far left of the front panel, the two rotary knobs with the pushbuttons above them provide direct access to the sound options and different playback modes.
With the inconspicuous “Pure Audio Button” you can get the best possible sound out of the TX-RZ820. Approximately 14 kilograms (31 lb) of combat weight, a large transformer, and a 14-cm housing fan mean that high-performance reserves can be expected.
It is similarly tidy and yet full to bursting when you look under the sheet metal hood. The entire electronics of the front panel are locked behind a Faraday cage and thus cannot induce any disturbing alternating fields into the power amplifiers, which supply the power inside the cage.
In order to make them also fully gas-proof, their massive cooling fins are air-conditioned in the heat case by a fan which is almost suspended in super-soft rubber buffers.
Even under full throttle, I could not provoke disturbing wind noises or even grumpy vibrations. Simple, but well solved.
Onkyo offers a wide variety of digital program sources, and all major streaming services can be controlled directly with the app.
Digital Internet radio or “normal” streaming via DLNA/UPnP can be handled easily with the on-screen menu and the infrared remote control. The same applies to classical multi-zone music, which the receiver itself controls.
If you want to control other streaming devices in the same house via Fireconnect, it can be done, and this is the only feature that I have not tested.
The somewhat noisy FM reception, on the other hand, seems a bit unloving and dusty.
A well-designed step-by-step wizard with lots of clear text and graphics helps with connecting and setting up the system. Markings and graphics on the connection panel are also helpful to the layman.
There are many ways to assign the output stages. In channels for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback, it is a bit bulky with only one pair. To be honest: With a surround system in this price range, the sound result is usually much better if you invest your budget in fewer and better speakers, i.e. 5.1 or 7.1.
This also applies to the limited energy reserves of the power supply unit, which can provide more thrust even with less loaded channels per power amplifier.
The already proven BW 805 D3 that we have utilized here, made little trouble for the powerful Onkyo, and played well balanced with a three-dimensional spatial image without any conspicuous features.
The HDMI board switched through all signals up to UltraHD with all options like HDR without complaint.
Pleasant is the ergonomically compact remote control. For this one, I would have wished for a home cinema-friendly button illumination at best.
The Japanese manufacturer now has the in-house calibration function called AccuEQ under control, and the results of the automatic measurement and configuration no longer required any significant post-processing.
The integrated streaming player seems to use a quite potent processor, which at least suggests the snappy and fast navigation even in very large file amounts.
Let’s now turn to the optical effect and processing of the Onkyo TX-RZ820. Another optical characteristic has been the green display of the black version for a long time. RZ style elements can be found in the form of the device feet with the grooves, the volume control knob, which also has grooves and the “keyboard of small buttons” on the right side of the front panel.
The TX-RZ820 is solidly built, and no doubt it looks good, but you have to like the completely different design compared to competitors. The front panel is accurately fitted, but unfortunately, the position of the volume knob does not meet our expectations. Typical RZ look: Small source selection buttons, large volume knob, and special device base
Controls for listening mode and sound adjustment. Slightly sluggish, and not rasterized.
Seen from the front, on the left, there are very nicely rastered and very good in the hand, smaller knobs for the listening mode and tone control. If you want to select the desired source directly on the device, you can use the small direct selection buttons on the right of the front panel.
The back is perfectly finished and corresponds to the level of the price range. We cannot fully subscribe to this for the enclosed remote control. Although it shines through its simple operation, it does not seem manufactured with noble materials. I think that it looks cheap. Furthermore, home theater aficionados will miss the backlighting of the keys when they are in the middle of a film
It’s good that the TX-RZ820 can alternatively be controlled with the graphically pretty and easy to understand Onkyo AVR app. The inner workings of the TX-RZ820 look quite clear. Few peculiarities of the chassis, no division of the interior into several chambers – some reason for “grumbling” can already be found.
And why the TX-RZ820 needs a fan as big as a fan for an entire one-room apartment remains Onkyo’s secret. Let’s hope that the huge fan at least runs quietly – that’s the only reason we can think of why Onkyo relies on this enormous size.
We really like the passive part of the cooling. A black lacquered aluminum heatsink is praiseworthy, even in this price range, some competitors rely on sheet metal heatsinks, which are not as efficient in heat dissipation as their aluminum counterparts.
Onboard are AK D/A converters (AK4458 with 384 kHz/32-bit), which are responsible for a precise conversion from digital to analog audio signals. As a speaker calibration system, Onkyo relies on AccuEQ, which after a not very enthusiastic start has now become quite good, despite modest adjustment and post-processing options.
The AccuReflex technology is used to integrate top firing modules into the overall acoustics with particular success. Those who use the Onkyo TX-RZ820 with Top Firing modules for the reproduction of the object-based audio formats dts:X and Dolby Atmos can of course also enjoy the two polishers Dolby Surround and dts Neural:X.
Pre-Out and Multi Zone Outputs
Speaker cable screw terminals
Everything that is essential can be found at connections. The AV receiver comes with a dedicated phono input and has 6 HDMI inputs on the rear (with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG). Another HDMI input is located on the front panel. There are also two HDMI outputs. The TX-RZ820 also upscales Full HD video signals to 4K
The Onkyo TX-RZ820 is fully equipped for multimedia. FireConnect is integrated for multi-room audio. For playback of streamed signals in other listening rooms, you can use the optionally available Onkyo FireConnect NCP-302 speakers.
As a further multiroom standard, dts Play-Fi is available via a firmware update, being the latest update in 2020. Google Chromecast is already on board.
This means that Onkyo, just like Pioneer, is pursuing a comprehensive streaming/multiroom strategy with the support of FireConnect, dts Play-Fi, and Google Chromecast.
It hardly needs to be mentioned that of course a WLAN module (dual-band and Bluetooth) is also included. Of course, Apple AirPlay is not missing either.
Difference Between The Onkyo TX-RZ820 And The Onkyo TX-RZ720
It should also be mentioned that the Onkyo TX-RZ720 is a cheaper alternative to the TX-RZ820 in the portfolio. With 999 dollars the TX-RZ720 is 200 dollars cheaper. We have listed the differences between the two models here briefly:
- Different design in the style of TX-RZ1100 and TX-RZ3100
- The front panel, flap, and volume control made of aluminum
- VLSC technology on all channels
- 5 watts more power per channel
- 7.2-Channel Pre-Outs
- “Whole House” mode for simultaneous music playback in different zones.
Now, what about setting up the TX-RZ820? As usual, there is a wizard for the 7-2 channel AVR to assist with the initial setup.
Step by step, the initial setup wizard guides you to your goal with easy-to-understand graphics and explanatory texts.
Onkyo’s AccuEQ and AccuReflex calibration procedures for Dolby Atmos-capable loudspeakers ensure fast and very effective adjustment of the speakers used in the listening room.
The calibration procedure works very well in practice; we only had to manually readjust the distance between the subwoofer and its level. The subwoofer was clearly set too loud for our taste.
Overview of commissioning AccuEQ insert is being prepared Graphics provide support for the initial setup wizard Choosing the right speaker setup Tips for setting up the microphone As always: During the calibration process there should be silence in the listening room Speaker recognition Connection setup Network connection Cable-based or wireless Now the Onkyo is in the network Multizone function yes or no?
The setup was completed without problems and the TX-RZ820 was put into operation. The AccuEQ calibration system works properly and offers a well-balanced sound after the calibration, with a clean front-rear balance.
Moreover, thanks to technical tricks, the top firing modules are integrated virtually seamlessly and effectively, whether the material is native or polished up via dts Neutral:X / Dolby Surround.
Features & Technology
Six HDCP 2.2-capable HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs are available on the rear panel, one less than the predecessor offered.
The Ethernet socket and a USB port with 5 volts and amps charging current are located at the same height. The TX-NR820 offers the now rather unusual connectors FBAS and component in a double version.
Eleven pairs of speaker terminals sit side by side on the back of the device, whereby the Onkyo can only supply seven channels with power at the same time. Anyone who wants to, can use the 7.2 preamplifier outputs and use the 820 as a pure preamplifier, for example, to drive even higher quality or more powerful power amplifiers or to convert to active speakers.
The RS232 interface, the IR-in socket, and the 12-volt trigger output allow integration into home control systems.
Three listening zones can be sounded in multi-room mode, of course with different contents, whereby “zone 3” is served via pre-out and “zone 2” draws its power from the TX-RZ820’s onboard resources.
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are offered by the TX-RZ820, although unfortunately there is no possibility of using more than two Dolby Atmos speakers. As a maximum expansion stage, the 820 allows a 7.2 setup or a 5.1.2 configuration.
Alternatives To The TX-RZ820
Without a doubt, the Onkyo TX-RZ820 is an excellent AV receiver. It sounds dynamic and offers a very good level of stability. Its features are lavish and it looks like a real AV device. It is easy to operate, so where is the “but”?
It is quite expensive and does not set any new highlights. The latter is not too bad. It is already everything fine at Onkyo these days, as the two “masterpieces” TX-RZ3100 (11-channel AV receiver) and PR-RZ5100 (AV preamplifier) prove. These two components are exorbitantly powerful and mark the affordable peak of what is currently technically possible.
Onkyo will certainly digest the fact that we see the TX-RZ820 in the league around 1,000 to 1,200 dollars, far ahead, but not lonely at the top.
Above all, the competition from the extremely harmonious and at the same time enormously powerful Yamaha RX-A870 is too great.
The Aventage receiver is also very lavishly and sensibly equipped and even comes with an increasingly popular DAB+ radio tuner. Moreover, in 2021, AV receivers costing just under 700 dollars are already extremely good: the Denon AVR-X2700H proved this to us in a major practical test, and we also did it many years ago with the X2500H.
It is powerful, sounds lively and at the same time very pleasant, has an extremely respectable video section and lots of HDMI terminals of the latest specification. So tough and comparatively inexpensive competition – it turns out that every manufacturer sets the standards in different classes every year.
Onkyo currently in the upper class/luxury league, Pioneer is also there, Yamaha is a power in the 1,000 dollars league and Denon is a major player in the popular middle class in 2021.
Video, Multimedia, And Streaming
Unlike its predecessor, the Onkyo RZ820 accepts HDCP 2.2 copy protection on all HDMI sockets; HDR formats HLG, Dolby Vision, and HDR10 are also supported.
The video scaler and sharpness function introduced in the previous model has been abandoned by the newcomer – the Onkyo outputs signals as they enter the device.
With FlareConnect (formerly FireConnect) and Google Cast, the TX-RZ820 supports AirPlay, Bluetooth, and WiFi-Direct, as well as other wireless protocols that allow streaming to the amp or compatible speakers.
Besides the free TuneIn web radio, the pay services “Tidal”, “Deezer” and “Spotify” are on board. The USB socket also reads Hi-Res formats like FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, and DSD.
A 384-kHz/32-bit AK4458 DAC from Asahi Kasei enables HiRes audio playback of 192-kHz/24-bit FLAC formats or DSD files at 2.8, 5.6, and 11.2 MHz via USB or wired network. Streaming DSD files via WLAN is not an option.
A playback of Dolby True HD is possible, but this only works via the USB interface. The Onkyo plays almost all known audio formats via USB or network.
All major streaming services can be operated directly with the free app on a tablet in a comfortable and clearly arranged way. With the small infrared remote control, which gets along with pleasingly few keys, and the on-screen menu this also works of course.
Internet radio is of course possible, even a classic FM radio is on board. And practically, the receiver also makes music via WLAN, Bluetooth, and AirPlay. Users of the Onkyo TX-NR820 only have to do without DAB+.
As usual with Onkyo & Pioneer, video capabilities are limited to the upscaling function, which upscales Full HD material to 4K.
This is done quite accurately, with good detail and natural sharpness. In the 007 film “A Quantum of Solace”, the relatively low tendency to scaling noise is pleasing, and the solid image stability is also to be praised.
All in all, an upscaling function that can be used calmly, if e.g. the Blu-ray player is already a bit older and uses a device of the entry-level class or from the lower middle class as Ultra HD TV.
Like its predecessor, the Onkyo TX-RZ820 performs well with the testing software: Two times 207 watts into four ohms and 143 watts into eight ohms are available at the speaker terminals.
At five times 75 watts into eight ohms and five times 29 watts into four ohms, the multi-channel measurement is over. Don’t panic, that’s because of our tough measuring conditions and the Onkyo receiver’s fast-response protection circuitry.
We are already familiar with this peculiarity from other models in the RZ series, and just like these, the TX-RZ820 shows no performance deficits in practical use.
All other measurement values are very good thanks to the bench, and the low power consumption in operation (80 watts at 5 x 1-watt output power) and standby (0.1 W) are also convincing.
Onkyo TX-RZ820 Problems
The issue here was that a user was watching a movie, and suddenly it stopped and no image appeared on the screen. It was a handshake issue with HDMI. Onkyo solved the problem in the TX-RZ820 in 2020 releasing a new firmware (1)
Stereo and multi-channel, the Onkyo TX-NR820 shows no weaknesses. It pulls through powerfully without exaggerating and pleases with its always agile yet balanced pace. Spatially, the AV receiver shines with its accurate staggering of actors in the width and depth of the virtual stage.
Whether jazz, pop, or rock – the Onkyo can do it all and convinces with many details, finest resolution, and its purified pace. We let all Dolby Atmos trailers run through and are thrilled how the Onkyo extends the listening level upwards with only two ceiling speakers.
With the action cracker “Mad Max: Fury Road” this also works perfectly. In this film, it quickly becomes clear that the 820 knows its craft: The Onkyo masters low-frequency rumbling, the rich engine sounds, floating word fragments throughout the room, and adrenaline-pumping special effects with flying colors.
The TX-RZ820 even surpassed the high power reserves of its predecessor by a few watts in the power measurement: On 7 channels it provided a proud 107 and 100 watts at 4 and 6 ohms load and increases to a lush 231 watts in stereo mode (4 ohms). In the listening test, the Onkyo played airy, slag-free, and dynamic to the point with active Pure Direct circuitry.
Orchestral music in a multi-channel mix filled our listening room, even at higher levels, powerful and tonally free of harshness.
The calibration with AccuEQ did almost everything right but set some crossover frequencies a bit too high. The equalized target curve gave the sound a more fundamental tone without brightening.
The automatic configuration that AccuEQ performs set the subwoofer level a few decibels too high for our hearing. For individual sound tuning the extensive equalizer can also be activated for calibration.
The well-functioning “Late Night” circuit for dynamic reduction can now also be activated for DTS, while the “Re-EQ” function for discreet reduction of treble did not work for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
Atmos-Trailer brought the amp into the home cinema in a spacious, closed, and with a plastic sound backdrop – almost like a big one. Even in the effective DTS:X action scenes like in “Jason Bourne” the Onkyo was a real hit with its massive but still precise sound, which didn’t sound sharp or strained even at XXL levels.
When it comes to music, the Onkyo is also appealing to difficult metal recordings.
Jazz sounded with dry and tight bass, audiophile recorded female voices with melodiousness and authenticity (I always test with music from Diana Krall). Since the TX-RZ820 did not cause any unpleasantness even when playing electro-pop or classical music, the Onkyo can boast of being a multi-talent.
A solid, very pleasing performance by the Onkyo TZX-RZ820 to say it clearly. It does not set any new records, but it will confidently establish itself among the best in its price league. The careful separation of effect levels also proves that the TZX-RZ820 was built with great care in design.
With hi-res files in FLAC format (stereo), the TX-RZ820 proves that it can also convince in two-channel mode. In Mark Knopfler’s “Basil” in 192 kHz/24-bit, it delivers a solid presentation of Mark’s voice and also reproduces the acoustic guitar very precisely. The resolution ability makes critics fall silent, but a 150 dollars cheaper Yamaha RX-A870 is not really worse.
This proves how good AV receivers in the $ 1,000 to $ 1,200 league have become. Diana Krall’s adaptation of the Eagles classic “Desperado” in Flac 48/24 is also pleasing, Diana’s charismatic vocal presence can be felt in the listening room at all times. Dynamic, with a stable stage, the Onkyo puts its weight into it. Jonas Kaufmann sings the legendary aria “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s opera “Turandot”, and the TX-RZ820 scores with a fine emphasis on vocal nuances.
Without question, the Onkyo can handle voices very well, and it doesn’t matter whether they are male or female voices. The multi-channel operation has already made this clear, and the Japanese remain true to this high level of vocal competence even in two-channel operation – fortunately.
And now we will listen to the Blu-ray of “A-Team” in dts TrueHD (English soundtrack). Using dts Neural:X we polish up to 5.1.2. In the dark warehouse where Hannibal is being interrogated, the TX-RZ820 creates a dense atmosphere.
The subwoofer is driven vehemently, the music score is expressed spatially vivid. The Onkyo brings out dynamic differences with impulse. As the individual members of the A-Team are introduced, the TX-RZ820 brings out the different environments with their background noise very well.
The TX-RZ820 takes it calmly when you listen with a clearly elevated level. As far as the performance of the power amplifiers is concerned, it also has to deliver. After all, there are already models in its price range with nine power amplifiers, which can also drive in a 5.1.4 speaker setup. Dialogue scenes show that the TX-RZ820 emphasizes voices cleanly and integrates well into the overall acoustic context. Well, we noticed some nice features on the TX-RZ820, including the massive presentation of rap music.
But what specifically distinguishes the 7.2-channel AVR? That you can drive decent levels, you can count on a solid spatiality, and that the impulse fidelity is impeccable: You can assume that at a purchase price of 1,200 dollars.
Moreover, Onkyo has had a small odyssey in recent years with regard to the overall acoustic design. From very homogeneous, harmonious, trimmed for safety in the high-frequency range to too much brilliance, a slightly metallic sound – we could observe many things acoustically.
Now a very pleasing compromise has been found, as we could already hear with the large models. Of course, we tested all current Onkyo speakers on the identical speaker setup (Nubert nuLine set) in order to have direct comparison possibilities – and listen: Even in action-packed scenes, the TX-RZ820 remains master of the situation, shootings, vehicle noises, voices, and screams, the music score: Accurate differentiation is made here, the numerous spatial levels are excellently sorted.
The events on the screen are always depicted with emphasis but at the same time with high precision in the A-Team film. If the action is quieter, as in the dialogue sequences in the black minivan typical of The A-Team, the Onkyo TX-RZ820 still provides a convincing spatiality.
Also from the beginning of the film, we listened to the Ultra HD Blu-ray of “San Andreas” in Dolby Atmos. The Onkyo TX-RZ820 delivers an excellent resolution and is even better than older models. Very good are also here, with a native object-based soundtrack, the two modules integrated into the overall sound. This is also noticeable in the expressive music score.
Everything in the Onkyo seems so natural, sovereign – without being able to equate this with “boring”. When the young lady has an accident with her Subaru Forester, the violent landslide is expressed with vehemence. Flying debris and rocks do not cause any problems for the Onkyo TX-RZ820, and quieter elements such as the young lady’s loud, hectic breathing are also very well integrated.
The power amplifiers are spontaneously available and unfold their performance in an outstanding manner with their direct response. The TX-RZ820 divides up acoustic events taking place in parallel with solid balance.
What do we learn from this? Acoustic quantum leaps are hardly possible today, the overall sound level has been too high for several years, especially in the upper price ranges. Improvements are made in detail but are so minor that owners of a device from 2015 or 2016 do not have to worry and immediately think about buying a new one.
If you own an older A/V receiver from before 2015 and now want to switch to playback of object-based audio formats, the TX-RZ820 is a perfect choice. Its homogeneous and coherent overall playback, coupled with excellent dynamics and appealing level stability, is, without doubt, the hallmarks of the new Onkyo.
A real superior device in the upper-middle-class: The Onkyo TX-RZ820 costs $1200 dollars and convinces with solid workmanship and impeccable material quality.
These two positive characteristics go hand in hand with an almost complete set of equipment and features.
However seven and not nine final stages are active inside the housing, but nine final stages will not be necessary for each home cinema friend compellingly still for a long time.
The seven power amplifiers of the Onkyo RZ820 offer an excellent performance potential and ensure a powerful and dynamic sound.
The equipment of the multi-channel receiver is sensible and comprehensive, the HDMI connection section supports practically all current standards. Overall, we like the TX-RZ820 for its balance, but at the same time, it proves that it’s difficult to raise the bar in its class every year.
The Onkyo TX-RZ820 looks great and brings enormous power in its sleekly designed case. This helps it to achieve a very controlled reproduction with the best spatial imaging and a rich low-frequency foundation. This and its extensive streaming and multi-room capabilities make it the top-sounding universalist for movies and music.
The Onkyo TX-RZ820 is clearly optimized for modern streaming integration and multi-room users. Its capabilities as a surround machine are great in terms of sound, but it’s more designed for users with a classic 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setup without ambitions towards immersive audio.
The timeless industrial design and the exemplary tidy remote control speak for long use, especially since the streaming and video capabilities are on the very latest level.
Therefore: Maybe not a great bargain, but a solid choice. Ample power as well as many network and streaming functions make it an excellent all-rounder. At 1,200 dollars, it also costs one hundred less than its predecessor, the Onkyo TX-RZ820 without actually losing any quality.
- THX Certified Select-Reference Sound (good for home theater fans)
- Dynamic audio amplification with 180 W / channel, a frequency response of 5 Hz-100 kHz, and VLSC on all channels
- Support for 5.2.2ch Dolby Atmos and DTS: X
- 7 HDMI inputs (1 front * 1) / Main output / Zone 2 output to support Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG, and 4K / 60p pass-through as well as HDCP 2.2
- Support for built-in Chromecast technology * 2 and DTS Play-Fi * 2
- 5 GHz/2,4 GHz Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Spotify, TIDAL, Deezer, TuneIn*4
- Multi-room wireless audio playback with FireConnect * 5, Zone 2 power output, Zone 2/3 preamp/line output, and 7.2-channel preamp outputs
- THX Certified Select for volume and sound in cinema-quality
- HDMI connections with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG, BT.2020, and 4K / 60 Hz pass-through as well as HDCP 2.2
- Zone 2 HDMI output (4K / 60 Hz / HDCP 2.2) for video playback in other rooms
- Support for 5.2.2ch Dolby Atmos Playback and Dolby Surround upmixing
- Object-based DTS: X audio playback and DTS Neural: X upmixing for older soundtracks
- AccuEQ acoustic room calibration with AccuReflex phase alignment technology for Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers
- Integrated intuitive operation with Onkyo Controller in several rooms * 6
- 5 GHz / 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi for stable network connection
- Wireless audio streaming with built-in Chromecast technology
- DTS Play-Fi for music transfer from apps to receivers and wireless speakers
- AirPlay audio streaming from iTunes and iPad, iPhone and iPod touch
- Support of high-resolution audio formats including DSD 11.2 MHz * 7, DSD 5.6 MHz / 2.8 MHz * 7, 192 kHz / 24 bit FLAC, WAV, AIFF, and ALAC as well as Dolby TrueHD * 8
- Support of the music services Spotify, TIDAL, TuneIn, and Deezer
- FireConnect for playback of network audio sources and analog sources in multiple rooms via compatible wireless speakers * 9
- Zone 2 power outputs for speakers and Zone 2/3 preamp/line outputs with dedicated D / A converter to support network, S / PDIF, HDMI, and analog audio playback * 10
- 7.2 channel preamp outputs, 12 V trigger output, and IR input
- Bluetooth wireless technology for connection to mobile devices, laptops, and PCs (version 4.1 + LE, profile: A2DP v1.2, AVRCP v1.3)
- Bi-amping support for front left / right channels in a 5.2-channel speaker arrangement
- Advanced Music Optimizer to improve the sound of compressed digital sources, also with Bluetooth playback
- 480i de-interlacing (480i to 480p) for older video formats
- 180 W / channel (6 ohms, 1 kHz, distortion factor 1%, 1 channel driven, IEC)
- Dynamic audio amplification system with a frequency response of 5 Hz-100 kHz
- A power supply unit with high power reserves (High Current Power Supply EI Transformer)
- VLSC noise filter technology (Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry) for all channels
- Optimum Gain Volume Circuitry
- Amplifier circuit without phase shift for clear and detailed reproduction
- Discrete output stage design for low distortion
- Sound reproduction with Dolby Atmos and DTS: X (5.2.2 channels)
- HDMI with support for 4K / 60 Hz, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), Deep Color, xvColor, LipSync, Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, DTS: X, DTS-HD Master Audio, DSD, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD (SACD), multi-channel PCM and CEC
- 384 kHz / 32 bit multichannel DA converter from AKM (AK4458)
- PLL circuit (Phase Locked Loop) for cleaning up clock inaccuracies in S / PDIF audio
- A 32-bit digital signal processor
- THX playback modes for movies, music, and games
- Virtual surround function at the theater level
- Direct mode for almost identical reproduction of the original sound quality
- Tone controls (bass/treble) for the front left / right channels, as well as independent tone, controls for zone 2 and zone 3, balance control, and volume control
- 7 HDMI inputs (6 rear, 1 front), main output, and zone 2 output
- Powered USB port (5 V, 1 A) for audio playback
- 2 composite video inputs
- 2 component video inputs
- 3 digital audio inputs (2 optical, 1 coaxial)
- 6 analog audio inputs
- Phono input (MM) and equalizer for connecting a turntable
- 7.2-channel preamp outputs
- 2 subwoofer pre-outs
- LAN input with support for IP control for smart home systems and setup via connected PC
- Serial RS-232 interface for external control commands
- 12 V trigger output (main, 100 mA) for the integration of external component control
- IR input for remote control
- 6.35 mm headphone jack (front)
- Speaker connections with hand screws
- 3.5 mm input for loudspeaker measurement microphone and microphone
- The aluminum front panel, volume control, and flap
- Setting the subwoofer crossover frequencies for each channel (40/50/60/70/80/90/100/120/150/180/200 Hz)
- AV synchronization (up to 500 ms in steps of 5 ms at 48 kHz)
- Graphic user interface with overlay on-screen display (OSD) via HDMI
- Brief instructions for set up via the user interface and an easy-to-understand connection diagram on the rear of the device.
- Energy-saving features for HDMI pass-through and network readiness
- Three-level display dimmer (normal / dark / darker)
- FM / RDS and MW station memory for 40 stations
- Rack-Montage-Kit (Optional)
- Standard-sized, user-friendly remote control
- Power supply: 220-240 V AC, 50/60 Hz
- Power consumption: 650 W
- Power consumption: (mute) 70 W
- Power consumption: (standby) 0.15 W.
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 435 x 201.5 x 395 mm
* 1 No support for 4K / 60p / 4: 4: 4/24-bit video, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, or BT.2020 on the front HDMI input.
* 2 Requires a future firmware update.
* 3 Pandora is only available in Australia and New Zealand.
* 4 The availability of the services may vary by region. Please check before purchase. An additional subscription may be required.
* 5 FireConnect is a technology based on Blackfire and is provided by Blackfire Research Corp., USA. Sampling rates of 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz are supported.
* 6 For iOS and Android devices. You can find the requirements for the operating system and device in the App Store or Google Play.
* 7 DSD playback via WLAN is not supported.
* 8 Dolby TrueHD playback only via USB input.
* 9 Playback via external analog inputs arrived via a firmware update in 2020.
* 10 Audio playbacks via S / PDIF or HDMI is not supported in Zone 3.
|Price in dollars||1200, 800 used in 2021|
|Dimensions (W x H x D) in mm||435/202/395|
|Weight (in Kg) / front panel metal (M)/ plastic (K)||14/M (31 lb)|
|Stereo power, PCM stereo (4 Ohm/8 Ohm), 0.7% THD (in W):||207/143|
|5-channel power, Dolby Digital (4 Ohm/8 Ohm), 0.7% THD (in W):||29/75|
|Signal-to-noise ratio PCM stereo, front, 5W, 1kHz (in dB)||98.2|
|Signal-to-noise ratio Dolby Digital, Front, 5W, 1kHz (in dB)||95.9|
|Distortion factor Dolby Digital, Front, 5W, 1kHz (in %)||0.013|
|Distortion factor PCM stereo, front, 5W, 1kHz (in %)||0.003|
|Channel separation, DD, 1kHz; F/F, F/C, F/R (in dB)||77.4/88.8/91.3|
|Power Conn. Standby/Passthrough/at 5 x 1 Watt output power (in W)||0.1/0/80|
|Max. Temperature increase above room temperature (in °C)||20|
|Decoder for all sound formats/THX||Yes /Select2|
|Dolby Atmos / DTS:X / Auro-3D||Yes / Yes / No|
|Formats USB||MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Apple Lossless, DSD 2.8/5.6/11.2 MHz, LPCM4 and Dolby TrueHD|
|Formats Network||MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Apple Lossless, DSD 2.8/5.6/11.2 MHz, LPCM4 and Dolby TrueHD|
|DSP programs/autom. calibration||4/ Yes|
|Takeover freq. f. Subw./per channel/man. Equalizer||11/ Yes /15-Band|
|Front port: FBAS/HDMI/Audio analog/digital/USB||No / Yes / No / No|
|Input. Audio: analog/phono/multichannel/optical/electrical||6/ Yes /8-K./2/1|
|Video inputs: FBAS/YUV/HDMI||2/0/8|
|Pre-Out: Front/Center/Rear/Subw./SB/FH/FW||Yes / Yes / Yes / Yes / Yes / No|
|Video Convert/Scaler/4K Passthrough/Upscaling||Yes / Yes / Yes / No|
|AV sync/analog level adjustment/input rename||var./ No / Yes|
|Multiroom (A/V)/iDevice compatible/AirPlay||Yes / Yes / Yes|
|Tone control/switch-off/headphone out||2/ Yes / Yes|
|FM Tuner/Internet Radio/Sleep Timer||Yes / Yes / Yes|
|Remote learn/pre-progress/OSD via HDMI||Yes / Yes / Yes|
|Network function/trigger outputs/RS232 or similar||Yes / Yes / Yes|
|Decoders/power amplifiers/housing colors||7.2/7 analog/black, silver|
|Miscellaneous||Onkyo AccuEQ / AccuReflex, Tidal, Chromecast, DTS Play-Fi, FlareConnect, IR Input, 12V Trigger Output (assignable) and RS232 Port|
|+||+ Dolby Atmos and DTS:X|
|+||+ opulent surround sound|
|+/-||– maximum 2 height channels possible|
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I am Chris, a musician. I work as an audio engineer in mastering and arranging bridges in existing songs and the arrangement and orchestration of chorus. In Firing Squad I test gear provided by local distributors during a couple of days and write a review. I also write about AV topics, amplifiers, speakers and headphones.