Frustrated Onkyo user - alternative to TX-NR868

okwestern

Member
I am wondering when Onkyo is going to properly address the HDMI board issue.
I've literally gone through the whole TX-NR6 line now. I've owned TX-NR616, 626, 636, 646, 656, 676B and my current 686. All exhibits drop out of sound and weird video anomalies. In my previous models I could force the sound relays to click in/out by selecting NET or some other source to release the relay for the current source, then back to PC (I have a Mac Mini connected) and it would engage the relay again and the sound would follow. On my 686 there are no relay clicking between the sources, just when I power on/off. So I have to power cycle it when the sound drops. Also, the picture sometimes goes completely green. Same power cycle takes care of it.
What irritates me the most is the picture blinking in and out when my Mac Mini wakes from sleep. I push the keyboard, the Mac Mini immediately wakes up, picture comes on the TV, but after 2-3 seconds the picture disappears, then shows for a second or so, then disappears again, before steady viewing.
I've come to the conclusion, Onkyo is not worth investing in anymore.
This post was mostly to vent some frustration about a brand (not model since they've had over 12 years and 8 models to fix it) and perhaps some advice about alternatives to the TX-NR868.
*I use the receiver with a Mac Mini (only HD) and Samsung 4K QLED to show my movies, play music (youtube, mp3 or Spotify).
*Video quality is key (along with of course audio)
*I usually do not use the amps built-in apps (like Spotify - horrible to search with a tiny remote).
*same goes with internet radio and such.
*iphone app is nice, but I almost never use it. so no priority.
*stable and reliable bluetooth. That's actually my other complain about TX-NR868. I have a hard time connecting with my iPhone. It says connected, and the phone plays (music app says Onkyo) but no sound.
*should communicate seamlessly with the Samsung TV (both HDMI-arc and the feature that turns on/off, adjusts volume and stuff). I've experienced rather new AVs and TVs that don't speak well at all (not powering each other and so on).
*i have 1 center, 2 front (bi-amped), 2 back + sub. Don't think I'll expand anytime soon, but that's a minimum.
*price should be +/- the TX-NR868, but no dealbreaker with more expensive if it's worth it.

If anyone has some advice for me, I'd appreciate it :)
 

John7

Well-known Member
I gave up on Onkyo receivers long time ago after having two £1.5k units die on me consecutively with HDMI board failures. This was despite having a pair of cooling fans extracting air through the lid of the units.

Went with Pioneer after and never looked back since. Can't seem to get Pioneer in the UK at the moment which is a shame as I'd like to upgrade.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Went with Pioneer after and never looked back since. Can't seem to get Pioneer in the UK at the moment which is a shame as I'd like to upgrade.
Pioneer are now owned by Onkyo. Both companies are bringing out Dirac enabled AV amps so I wouldn't discount both companies being major players when things get back to normal. It's highly likely that models from each will share components just as Denon and Marantz do.

As far as reliability is concerned I've had over 20 years of trouble free Denon ownership, currently have the X6500 which is made in Japan.
 

kevin7sub

Active Member
I'd like to second what @gibbsy said and add that along with Dirac they were able to release receivers with functioning HDMI 2.1 ports, without work arounds, external boxes or "future" firmware updates. Granted this may have just been a matter of timing behind the scenes but still goes in there favour.
I had a 609 which did have to go back and have the HDMI board changed but worked fine after that up until I sold it a couple of weeks back. I have an 818 sourced from here that I have had no issues with. Again this had the repair back in the day.
Onkyo have had a tough time recently. That whole hdmi saga cost them dearly. But it looks like they are coming through the other side and I for one would not discount them now.
 

okwestern

Member
I don't know the exact reasons, but from what I've read it's mainly two issues; bad caps (probably too low voltage rating which over time over-stressed them) and bad BGA soldering.
BGA solder failure is probably cheap manufacturing(?) and poor quality control during the process.
The caps is really no excuse. They use 4V caps on 3.3V rails and 6V caps on 5V rails. I'm not sure of the rail voltage for the 16V caps, but probably 12V. Any decent engineer would over-design quite a bit, unless they grossly close-rated them to make sure they fail after the warranty period.
 

kevin7sub

Active Member
I don't know the exact reasons, but from what I've read it's mainly two issues; bad caps (probably too low voltage rating which over time over-stressed them) and bad BGA soldering.
BGA solder failure is probably cheap manufacturing(?) and poor quality control during the process.
The caps is really no excuse. They use 4V caps on 3.3V rails and 6V caps on 5V rails. I'm not sure of the rail voltage for the 16V caps, but probably 12V. Any decent engineer would over-design quite a bit, unless they grossly close-rated them to make sure they fail after the warranty period.
I guess you would just expect the boards you sourced to work as advertised. Once they started failing it was too late. Then I guess it was deemed cheaper to repair/replace as and when required than recall and source new boards.
Hopefully it's all behind them now. But you won't be the only consumer that has lost faith in them and of course that is understandable.
 

Stefan_Tapp

Active Member
I've just ordered a new Denon AVR-X1700H to replace my TX-NR676, have had the intermittent dropouts for quite a while, got progressively worse especially on my PS5, now it's just ridiculous, trying to play something like Gran Turismo 7 is impossible as it constantly drops out for 5 - 10 seconds. Even if I switch it on from cold and select my Foxtel box (think Sky for you UK people!) it will constantly drop the audio.

Have been a long time Onkyo customer for as long as I remember, but time to change. Let's hope the Denon behaves!!

Stef
 

John7

Well-known Member
I don't know the exact reasons, but from what I've read it's mainly two issues; bad caps (probably too low voltage rating which over time over-stressed them) and bad BGA soldering.
BGA solder failure is probably cheap manufacturing(?) and poor quality control during the process.
The caps is really no excuse. They use 4V caps on 3.3V rails and 6V caps on 5V rails. I'm not sure of the rail voltage for the 16V caps, but probably 12V. Any decent engineer would over-design quite a bit, unless they grossly close-rated them to make sure they fail after the warranty period.
The problem with caps is the temperature rating. The caps were only rated at 85 degrees and need to be 105 degrees due to the excessive heat generated by the HDMI chipset, which is not fitted with any passive or active cooling and runs excessively hot, cooking the caps over time.
 

okwestern

Member
The problem with caps is the temperature rating. The caps were only rated at 85 degrees and need to be 105 degrees due to the excessive heat generated by the HDMI chipset, which is not fitted with any passive or active cooling and runs excessively hot, cooking the caps over time.
But this happened within the first weeks. I doubt the caps was sufficiently fried this early on to exhibit these symptoms. Especially since it comes and goes. If just a few weeks of use would cook the caps so much, it would really destroy them with a year or two. However, I don't see an increase in failure / problems. It is just super unstable (from day 1).
 

John7

Well-known Member
You're too patient with Onkyo. I would never buy one again after two failures with the same problem. If yours has failed within the first few weeks, I'd be returning it and look elsewhere.

The HDMI boards always run very hot in my experience and even passive cooling combined with active cooling (user applied by me) made naff all difference - the unit still failed with HDMI problems outside of warrany.

I've had (and still have) two Pioneer units (an SC-LX57 and an SC-LX701) with absolutely no issues, both have run cool and zero HDMI issues.
 

JonnyTester

Well-known Member
I am wondering when Onkyo is going to properly address the HDMI board issue.
I've literally gone through the whole TX-NR6 line now. I've owned TX-NR616, 626, 636, 646, 656, 676B and my current 686. All exhibits drop out of sound and weird video anomalies. In my previous models I could force the sound relays to click in/out by selecting NET or some other source to release the relay for the current source, then back to PC (I have a Mac Mini connected) and it would engage the relay again and the sound would follow. On my 686 there are no relay clicking between the sources, just when I power on/off. So I have to power cycle it when the sound drops. Also, the picture sometimes goes completely green. Same power cycle takes care of it.
What irritates me the most is the picture blinking in and out when my Mac Mini wakes from sleep. I push the keyboard, the Mac Mini immediately wakes up, picture comes on the TV, but after 2-3 seconds the picture disappears, then shows for a second or so, then disappears again, before steady viewing.
I've come to the conclusion, Onkyo is not worth investing in anymore.
This post was mostly to vent some frustration about a brand (not model since they've had over 12 years and 8 models to fix it) and perhaps some advice about alternatives to the TX-NR868.
*I use the receiver with a Mac Mini (only HD) and Samsung 4K QLED to show my movies, play music (youtube, mp3 or Spotify).
*Video quality is key (along with of course audio)
*I usually do not use the amps built-in apps (like Spotify - horrible to search with a tiny remote).
*same goes with internet radio and such.
*iphone app is nice, but I almost never use it. so no priority.
*stable and reliable bluetooth. That's actually my other complain about TX-NR868. I have a hard time connecting with my iPhone. It says connected, and the phone plays (music app says Onkyo) but no sound.
*should communicate seamlessly with the Samsung TV (both HDMI-arc and the feature that turns on/off, adjusts volume and stuff). I've experienced rather new AVs and TVs that don't speak well at all (not powering each other and so on).
*i have 1 center, 2 front (bi-amped), 2 back + sub. Don't think I'll expand anytime soon, but that's a minimum.
*price should be +/- the TX-NR868, but no dealbreaker with more expensive if it's worth it.

If anyone has some advice for me, I'd appreciate it :)

I've had issues with my Onkyo NR6 receivers as well (626, 656, 686) but never those you're having. I had an entire video board go on my 626, and had it replaced with a brand new one. And any other issues I've had have been with ARC, which I'm putting down to my tv rather than my receiver. The fact that its the exact same issue each time for you seems to point at something which doesn't want to play ball with the receiver, rather than the receiver itself. I'm not saying that's the case, but it could be. Have you tried a different make of receiver with similar functionality, to see how it performs with your equipment?
 

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