Onkyo TX-NR636 Review

ATMOS-pheric Onkyo

Onkyo TX-NR636 review

With a new line of AV receivers about to be released from Onkyo (TX-NR646 and TX-NR747) this year, we thought a review of the current TX-NR636 would be a good idea.

What´s Up With Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is since 2012 used by major Hollywood studios. The special feature of the format is that the sound is no longer bound to the front, side and rear speaker channels, but instead up to 64 loudspeakers can be driven individually. The sound mixer can thus distribute the sound to the room in a 3D matrix. Any coordinate can be assigned for each sound effect and a whole new sound experience can be created.

64 speakers? In the living room? Seriously? No, of course not. Don´t worry, the Atmos sound can be utilized with a 5.1 or 7.1 setup in the living room. The only condition is that a pair of overhead speakers or special upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers are used.

onkyo tx-nr636 setup

Ready For The Future - Even Without Atmos

The Onkyo TX-NR 636 is a 7.2 receiver with 160 watts of power per channel and also has a second 32-bit DSP, making it a good choice for the future. All HDMI ports support HDMI 2.0 and can thus process video signals up to 4K at 60 frames per second while also supporting the 21:9 format. Unfortunately, there´s so far not too many source devices and not much content available to make full use of these capabilities, but the integrated Qdeo™ Upscaler from Marvell scales normal HD material to 4K, and the quality is surprisingly good.

Still with the future in mind, the Onkyo TX-NR-636 supports the latest copy protection standard, HDCP 2.2. In connection with the playback of 4K material via HDMI 2.0 this is an important point - if the source material has copy protection on it, the whole HDMI HDCP chain must support 2.2, otherwise there´s a risk that the screen remains blank.

Onkyo TX-NR636 remote control

In addition to the latest features, the TX-NR636 also carries a variety of proven Onkyo technologies on board. It uses the three-stage Darlington circuit (WRAT), which should mean minimal interference in the amplified audio signal, and PLL technology (Phase Locked Loop).

Same Same But Different

The appearance and the processing abilities of the receiver has remained more or less the same compared to the previous model. The TX-NR636 is available either in silver or black, and it comes with a brushed aluminum front. As always, Onkyo uses very high-quality components in their receivers. The in- and outputs are evidence of quality and does not look cheap, and with a weight of 22lbs the Onkyo TX-NR636 can´t really be classed as a lightweight either.

Even with the connectivity of the unit, Onkyo does not hold back. Seven HDMI inputs (including a MHL compatible one on the front), 3 digital audio inputs (1 optical, 2 coaxial), as well as several component and analog video inputs provide full connectivity.

On the audio side, it´s also worth mentioning the MMC (Moving Magnet) phono input as such are no longer found very often in devices like this. A big plus if you´re a fan of vinyl.

In contrast to the phono input you´ll find a USB port on the front panel that can be used to play audio saved on a USB stick or MP3 player, and be used as a network connection which supports DLNA 1.5. In addition to standard formats such as MP3, WMA, FLAC, etc. it can also play high-resolution formats such as WMA Lossless, Apple Lossless, DSD 5.6 Mhz, LPCM and Dolby TrueHD.

In addition to these connectors the Onkyo TX-NR636 has integrated WLAN and Bluetooth for wireless playback of music. Also, the streaming services TuneIn Radio, Pandora, Spotify, AUPEO! and Deezer are all preinstalled.

Onkyo TX-NR636 inputs

Powerful and Expressive

We tested how good of a job the Marvell Upscaler would do with a standard definition DVD, in this case the movie The Matrix as it has a good variety between dark and light scenes and different color grading depending on whether you´re in the Matrix or the Real World, as well as an awesome sound mix.

At its best, watching DVDs is a somewhat bland experience, and this shows how quickly we have become accustomed to high-resolution material. The built-in upscaler in the Onkyo TX-NR636 made that clearly apparent, and sure, it made some visible improvements, but on a large UHD screen it is still quite easy to notice all the shortcomings in lower resolution images. With a Full HD Blu-ray on the other hand, 1080p scaled up to 4K looks a lot better with convincing rich colors and pinpoint sharpness and it will show movies in a new light, so to speak.

Also the sound is powerful and weighty. With 160 watts of power per channel it can easily fill a larger living room with sound. With music, both in stereo and multi-channel, the Onkyo sounded surprisingly exciting with a lively and energetic tonality, and painted an extremely precise sonic picture.

In movie mode, the center speaker caused some issues as voices often sounded a bit phasy - and that was probably due to the speaker system being calibrated by using the Room EQ system AccuEQ. If this was down to the speaker or the room we cannot say, but a manual adjustment and calibration of the speaker setup in the menu corrected the issue with a few simple steps. After the adjustment it sounded awesome again.

Overall, the TX-NR636 performed well over our expectations with an airy and powerful sound quality that you´d normally expect at a much higher price point.

Onkyo TX-NR636 price


The Onkyo TX-NR636 is an excellent investment in the future. Equipped with the latest features and ports, the 7.2 receiver will give you great pleasure for a long time. Above all, the native 4K support and HDMI 2.0 ports makes it future-proof. Even without Dolby Atmos the TX-NR636 convinced in the audio department. In addition, the integrated Marvell upscaler is another highlight, as SD, HD and Full HD signals look quite impressive scaled up to 4K, making it an ideal complement to an Ultra HD screen.


Onkyo - TX-NR636 7.2-Ch Network A/V Receiver
  • Current Price: $699.00
  • Ends: Nov 23, 2016 15:26:09 CET
ONKYO TX-NR636 7.2-Ch Network A/V Receiver
  • Current Price: $279.99
  • Ends: Nov 25, 2016 4:32:03 CET
  • Features
  • Specifications
  • IN THe bOX
# Channels 7.2
Power Watts/Ch (6 Ohms 1kHz, 2 Channels Driven, FTC) 165, 0.9% THD
Power Watts/Ch (8 Ohms 20-20kHz, 2 Channels Driven, FTC) 95, 0.08% THD
WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology)
H.C.P.S (High Current Power Supply) ✓ (Massive High Power Transformer)
THX Certified -
Continuous 6 Ohms Rated
Certified 4 Ohms Performance -
Discrete Output Stage Circuitry
3-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry ✓ (Front & Center Channels)
PUSH-PULL Design -
Independent Block Construction (Amp/Preprocessor) -
Toroidal Transformer -
Independent Power Supply ✓ (x2)
Bi-amp Capability For Front
Direct/Pure Mode - / ✓
192K/24 Bit DACs ✓ (Burr-Brown)
Dolby Atmos
32-Bit Digital Signal Processing Engine ✓ (Dual DSP for Powerful Advanced Processing)
Phase-Matching Bass Boost ✓ (for Deep Bass and Clear Mid-Range)
192K/32 Bit DACs -
DTS Decoder DTS-HD Master Audio
ONKYO GAME Surround Modes ✓ (Rock, Sports, Action, RPG)
Dolby Decoder Atmos, True HD, DD Plus, PLIIz
Advanced Music Optimizer ✓ (Bluetooth Included)
Pure Direct Analog Path Mode -
THX Processing Mode -
isf Certified Calibration Control -
AccuEQ Room Calibration ✓ (with Mic Included)
Dolby PLIIz
Analog To HDMI Upconversion ✓ (from 480i/576i)
PC Input (15 pin D-sub) -
Internet Radio Capable ✓ (Pandora, Spotify, Sirius/XM, Slacker, Aupeo!, TuneIn)
4K (up to 4096 x 2160) Upscaling ✓ (Marvell Qdeo)
HDCP 2.2 Copy-Protection Compatibility ✓ (1 in / 1 out)
XLR Pre-outs -
Front-Panel A/V -
iPod Ready ✓ (via optional DS-A5)
HDMI Support for DVD-Audio, SACD, Multichannel PCM
InstaPrevue Input Source Prevue
Zone 2 Line Out ✓ (Fixed)
Zone 3 Line Out -
Airplay ✓ (via optional DS-A5)
Component Video I/O 1 / 1
Wireless Network ✓ (Wi-Fi-Certified)
USB Input ✓ (Front)
Bluetooth ✓ (Built-in)
4K Passthrough
HDMI 2.0 4K/60 Hz- Capable HDMI Terminals
MHL for Mobile Device Connection ✓ (Front HDMI)
Composite to Component Video Upconversion -
Zone 2 Digital to Analog Audio Conversion ✓ (NET, USB)
Streaming Audio Formats ✓ (MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, AAC Stereo, Apple Lossless, DSD 5.6 MHz, LPCM, Dolby TrueHD)
HDMI I/O 7 / 2
HD Radio -
HDMI Support for 3D, Audio Return Channel and CEC
Whole House Mode -
Streaming Audio From USB memory
Digital Audio IN (OPT/COAX) 1 / 2
Powered Zone 2
Powered Zone 3 -
Supports Onkyo Remote App ✓ (iPod touch/iPhone and Android-Powered Devices)
Composite I/O 3 / 1
1080p Upscaling ✓ (Marvell Qdeo)
Zone 2 Video Out -
18mm Pitch High Grade Pre-outs -
Phono Input
HDMI Support for Deep Color, x.v.Color, LipSync
Speaker A/+B -
Streaming Audio From PC / Network ✓ (DLNA, Home Media)
Front Panel HDMI
Front-Panel Optical -
Analog Pre-Outs Subwoofer (x2)
Audio I/O 6 / 0
Multi-Channel Input -
Integration Access
IR Input -
IR Output -
RS-232 -
ONKYO-RI System Control
12V Trigger -
RIHD (Remote Interactive Over HDMI)
Smart Grid-Ready
Color-Coded Speaker Terminals
Auto Speaker Calibration W/Mic. ✓ (AccuEQ)
Pre-Pro/Learning Remote - / ✓
Bi-directional Remote Setup via GUI -
On Screen Remote Programming
Detachable AC Cord -
Warranty 2 YEARS
Hybrid Standby Function ✓ (to Reduce Power Consumption)
Activity Based Remote -
OSD Out ✓ (Advanced "Home" GUI)
Solid Aluminum Front -

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Old Price: $699.00
Current Price: $439.88