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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 8 July 2012
My old Sony receiver was getting old and was becoming harder to manage inputs and wasn't helped as the front panel display had become almost impossible to read! Looking for a replacement saw this device get rave reviews and though I know you should listen to equipment before buying I purchased this item. I have not been disappointed.

Swapping out the Sony for this unit took about 7 hours but most of that was to do with the cabling rather than any issue with the device. The set up is pretty easy once everything is connected. Plug in the supplied microphone and let it do it's stuff. The result sound was different from the Sony in that you felt you were just hearing the source with the amp adding little to the sound. Music was enjoyable and movies were involving. Just what I wanted. Plug in an iPod/iPad to the front or rear USB socket and you can control the device on screen but it isn't as fast as using the iPod device itself. Copes with older devices reasonably well. Video passing through the device doesn't appear to be degraded and older non-HD sources upscale and look pretty good. Watching something on Freeview sends the sound through the HDMI cable to the receiver without any complex switching required.

Pros: Loads of connections and pretty easy set-up, great sound, HDMI control works with my Sony TV. Remote controls most functions of other devices (CD, TV, Sky+ etc) but could do with a record button for DVD recorders or Sky+ so it cannot be a complete replacement remote.

Cons: Some HDMI inputs can be difficult to select (it would be useful to cycle through them) and the network features can be a little slow.

Overall, so far I am really pleased.

Update:

The more I use it the more I like it. Using the iPhone/iPad apps to control the device adds functions not available on the remote and the recent app update is a further improvement. My only gripe about the receiver is the speaker terminals do not accept banana plugs. The terminals are quite close together and even using moderately sized speaker cable does make it difficult to connect your speakers. Connecting the right side speakers first and then the left made it a bit easier.

Couple of things to remember or try; once you have set the receiver up lock the settings so they cannot be accidenly changed and if your main speakers allow it bi-amp them (unless you are running a 7.1 setup). Doing this gave music an effortless quality to it.
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on 20 December 2012
Felt I had to write a review to counter the many negative ones. My Onkyo 515 is running the latest firmware, which is installed via USB or network, a very simple process, and there is a video on Youtube by Onkyo giving you a runthrough of how to do it, if you need the help. Although you should not need help with the network install, as you will find it in the Onkyo's excellent OSD (on screen display) menu.

I have suffered none of the HDMI issues that have been reported, and it runs perfectly. My new Onkyo replaced an ageing Yamaha 630, an excellent 5* machine in its day, and I would say this Onkyo is superior in the acoustic department (same speaker setup: Mission floorstanders/Mission centre/Eltax surround/5.0), I run it in 'direct' mode, for all inputs as I do always, this means you hear sound as it was produced, ie pure stereo for music; 5.1 as 5.0 in my case; no processed sound. According to reviews, it rates in line with 4* or 5* peers Yamaha 673/Denon 2113/Sony 1030. Don't just read the What Hi-Fi reviews, there are reviews on it from 'expertreviews' 5* and 'trustedreviews' 9/10, just google search Onkyo TX-NR515.

Frankly in terms of value, no other peer brand can come close in terms of connectivity. In particular the 2 HDMI outs, while designed for those with a projector and TV, I use both outs to my TV, and one for 'Game' mode, where you get faster TV response for videogaming, the other for normal movie viewing. Also dual opticals/coaxials, would prove useful for anyone running a CD player/streamer etc. USB on the front and back, means you could hide a HDD around the back with mp3s onboard, for example. It's remote is very good (for receivers that is,) only Denon's more simplistic remote betters it, IMO (in my opinion,) and it is King to Yamaha's and Pioneer's offerings. I have used it via my tablet computer also, streaming music via 'BubbleUPnP' and it works fine. 4K video upscaling helps futureproof it, my receivers in the past have lasted ten years+ so this is an imortant consideration. Aesthetically, it is what it is, a solid lump of brushed metal! But it does have nice clean lines, and a decent dimmable display. Also has built-in access to several internet sites for music, such as Spotify/LastFM/DLNA access to music on my server, using Serviio in my case. As well as hundreds of worldwide internet radio stations, absolute rock/90s; planet rock, are my preferred stations, and you can 'favourite' them for quick access.

I will try to counter some of the criticisms in the other reviews:

* One of the complaints in a review is that it runs hot, and does not have fans (!) It runs no hotter than my old Yamaha, nor my Yamaha 667, and who the hell would want fan noise, if they could avoid it? Everyone knows you should try not to stack AV kit, and leave it open to air. You would not know it was warm unless you put your hand on top of it.
* My TV (2011 Samsung PS51D8000) has a menu option, to not turn off HDMI connected devices, so I do not suffer this complaint "stop the TV from turning off the AMP.". Although, I agree this might be annoying if every time I turned off my TV the receiver turned off when I did not want it to. Maybe your TV has the option, it's part of the TV's Consumer Electronics Control (HDMI-CEC.)
* I have tested it a little with mp3s over the network, and it is 100% stable in my experience.
* One reviewer, in his illegible review, seems to think there are not enough inputs, try comparing this Onkyo to any similarly priced peer and it clearly comes out tops, in this department. I currently have a Blu-Ray player, Xbox, and two PCs plugged in, and I think there are three spare HDMIs over, plus one on the front.
* I will say again, I have experienced no HDMI switching issues, or having to turn it on and off to get a picture, or whatever.

In conclusion, I will say I am 100% satisfied with my Onkyo 515. I have over the years had Pioneer, Yamaha, and Sony receivers, and have had no complaints about any of them, and this Onkyo is no different. It simply offers the best value-for-money over peers, in my opinion. Price at time of purchase £299.
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on 15 September 2012
After 4 weeks of owning this unit, its going back......

When it works it works very well, actually its stunning...

But it has many issues, some software but some also hardware related that Onkyo aren't really admitting.

There is a known issue with the HDMI board not being well made and probably lacking enough power. There are many (many many many) reports of units not out putting a HDMI signal from standby, requiring an unplug to get working again. Check the Onkyo forums for the pages of unhappy people.

There are some oversight software issues too. Using HDMI control on a AMP and TV is good, except there is no option to stop the TV from turning off the AMP. Why does this cause an issue, well you use the TV to navigate internet radio stations, DNLA music and all the other net options, but once you've found what you want you turn the TV off and then the Amp also turns off..... 'Doh' - I know the Yamaha 2012 range has an option to stop this.

Playing MP3's over my network sometimes causes the unit to lock up, again have to unplug.

Unit also has no fans, gets very toasty when running 5 channels at volume, make sure you have nothing above....

So until Onkyo confirm they have fixed the HDMI board issue, I would not buy this unit, mine has gone back.. Its a shame as when working it really is an amazing piece of kit.
33 Comments| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 May 2013
I'm not a stranger when it comes to setting up AV receivers, but this one was very frustrating to say the least. This was only because I was trying to be too clever for my own good and a quick flick through the manual solved this. I downloaded the latest PDF from the Onkyo website.

My 515 came with a USB stick with some firmware updates already included. These are out of date so I made a backup of the files to my PC, deleted the files on the stick and then downloaded and saved the latest firmware to the USB.

Do not connect any network equipment to the amp otherwise the firmware update facility will not see the USB (press USB button to switch between front and rear USB ports). Do not connect the auto calibration microphone either. The OSD is quite good and easy to navigate, please read the manual first as there are many tweaks that you can do to this unit. When I first powered on the amp and tried to do the firmware update, the remote would not work. Once you power on the amp, you may have to press the "WHITE RECEIVER" button to get it working.

The unit will display COMPLETE when update is done. Power off the unit and connect the ethernet and setup MIC and do the initial setup. The auto setup is quite accurate, but you will probably still play around a bit.

For network connectivity, I have mine wired in to an ethernet hub. Remember to set up any accounts you need for the internet based apps on a PC first. vTUNER works very well and has quite a number of local UK stations which can be added to a favorites menu on the NET main screen.

I have a Zyxel NSA 320 NAS and once I allowed the 515 access to it, the 515 connected to the NAS via DLNA and streamed music without issue.

The Onkyo remote for apple or android is quite good for adjusting some of the settings on the amp and has an extra feature that allows you to stream any MP3's on your phone, mine is a note2 to the 515, over your home network. I found this to be a nice surprise and it worked quite well.

I have has Sony's in the past, but this unit outperforms the all. I am now hearing sounds from my blu-ray/HD movies that I never heard before, bullets flying around all over the place, proper sound from the rears.

WOW, I've been missing out on a lot of sound effects all this time.
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on 15 September 2012
Am probably not adding much here on top of other people's reviews, but this AV amp is great. Sound quality is nothing short of awesome. Auto calibration works a treat. Only tried using the internet radio functioality so far, but this worked well so assume the other supported internet functionality is also up to scratch. The only improvement I could suggest is for image & video playback support for DLNA. The amp only supports music playback over DLNA. I guess for the price though this isn't a big issue.
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on 29 August 2012
I bought this amplifeir for replacing my old Onkyo (12 year old) which was still working but had lost some bass.
This one is obviously a lot more modern, with all those HDMI. Really easy to connect. I really like the auto config of the speaker, as you can put your speaker wherever you want and the amplifer will play with the out strength to give a perfectly balanced sound.
The only disapointment was with airplay, as I couldn't find how to use it. Not sure you can... Spotify works well but the interface is really poor, same with the remotes on the Ipad. I have an apple TV anyway, so it works well.
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on 11 August 2013
I read a lot of reviews on many sites before purchasing this amp. I was slightly apprehensive as there seemed to be a lot of negative posts, but I decided to take a chance anyway as the amp I was replacing was an Onkyo TX SR-608 and I have been very happy with it. Why am I replacing it? To able to add 3D to my home cinema. The 608 is supposed to handle 3D, but unfortunately mine was one of the first models so the firmware wasn't quite right.

This amp is just amazing at this price! It would be amazing at its original price! The audio is truly superb, from stereo to DTS HD 7.1. I have a 7.1 setup and it has never sounded so good. Crisp, clean highs; natural mids; and an expressive and competent low end. Surround placement seems nigh on perfect with effect positioning moving around the room effortlessly.

I enjoy listening to SACD and DVD Audio discs and this amp is revealing detail in the music that I have been unaware of before.

I haven't experienced any of the issues some of the posts I'd read have mentioned. I think it's fair to say that generally people will be quick to complain and slow to praise. Considering the popularity of Onkyo products I would have to suspect that we are only seeing a tiny percentage of owners with problems.

I didn't give a full five stars for one reason only and even then I think I'm nit picking. The amp comes with a firmware update on a USB stick and the instructions are quite specific about doing the update before anything else is setup. I tried to do the update and nothing worked as described in the instructions. I initially thought that something was wrong. It wasn't until I visited the Onkyo site that I discovered that the amp already had the same update as was on the USB stick only there is nothing I could see to indicate this on the amp display when trying to do the update, not without knowing what version is on the stick.

Anyway, I downloaded the latest firmware onto the USB stick and the update performed without a hitch. After setting up and adjusting the speakers; and setting all the source inputs it has worked as it should.

I really couldn't be happier. Superb!!
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on 7 August 2013
I purchased this unit recently, as i have owned other Onkyo receivers before. I find this unit fantastic and easy to use. It is running the latest 2013 firmware which onkyo kindly provided on the internet which fixed any previous software problems such as the HDMI terminals. However, you need to complete this via USB only as Network can fail. The update fixed all these issues and i am very impressed with the unit and how they fixed it. The sound quality is amazing, as you would expect from a brand such as Onkyo. I would highly recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a reasonably priced AV Receiver with good features.
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on 27 September 2012
The firmware on this device is full of bugs. The biggest of which is a fault when you leave it in standby and come back to find that it will not produce a picture on the hmdi out number 1. It just gives you a blank screen and you have to turn the device off at the wall by either pulling the plug out or as I have done with a remote control plug. There is a 25 page Onyko forum sit describing the problems and to which Onkyos' only reply is that 0.03% of people have been affected. Remember that is 25 PAGES people! The problem is Worldwide as there are people on there from US, NZ, UK and others. According to reports this is a problem with firmware and/or a hardware fault with this device and the 616. So the moral of the story is to AVOID no matter what the price!
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on 28 October 2013
This is a very comprehensive AV unit. It is 3D ready and is 7.1. My only complaint is the very detailed instruction manual is only available online and a bppklet containing same is not included with the equipment.
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