ONKYO TX-NR 1010 & 3010 & 5010 & 3009 & 5009 COMPARISON
Since the legendary Onkyo TX-NR1000 I have Reviewed twenty other Onkyo models. I have also had Denon, Pioneer, HK, Sony as well as a few others. By all means this does not make me an expert but maybe a little crazy. I would highly suggest you visit both AVS and HDJ forums for other opinions instead of leaving it up to just mine for a purchase decison. I have decided to change things up a bit and do an extensive comparison instead of a Review. Since Onkyo has announced their new line with pretty much most of the same specs as the past generation it just makes sense. Having already a 3009 in house I requested the others and found an amazing price on a 5009 from Amazon (more on that later). In sports they say stats don't mean anything which is why we play the games. In electronics specs (stats) mean everything! The last two years of Onkyo models prove it. Check out the Receivers page here on Onkyo's site (pics below). Those that have studied (tap on whichever ones you want to compare) will notice rather quickly they all have pretty much the same insides. Even last year's 3009 and 5009 have a couple of features the new models don't. With the 1010 being a 7.2 (can do 9 using pre outs) and the 3009, 5009 being 9.2 while the 3010 and 5010 are 11 channel capable the differences besides those are minimal at best. I could easily put the 818 in this comparison as well (think of it as very close to the 1010 without SubEQ) but I just did a dedicated Review to it which can be read here. I do not plan to dive to deep with the 1010 but for all intents and purposes when I mention the other models I also mean the 1010 unless specified. So besides getting a big arm and lower back workout what else did I discover? Read on... Let me take the easiest part of this comparison out early. Video Processing. It is exactly the same on all the above mentioned models. I used the same scenes with DirecTV programming with also a Test Pattern calibration disc to confirm. I have added a few pics below which I have used in my other Reviews. Trust me when I say that having the same VP is not a bad thing. Onkyo has the best on the market today using the HQV Vida chip and the Marvell Qdeo for 4K upscaling. I am more impressed everytime I watch a game or show on DirecTV at just how well it is. Especially when I compare other Receiver brands! Yes, I am talking about the Denon 4311 (using ABT 2015) and Sony 5700ES (which actually does not do any scaling). And if you want to further "enhance" your image with better detail and noticeable sharpness (which will not hinder the image) check out the Darblet here. It is one little amazing device (which is not expensive) that not only makes TV (think NFL with super POP) but also Blu ray 2D razor sharp while making Blu ray 3D have added depth with its uniform sharpness filling the entire screen! The Onkyo's HQV Vida chip and the Darblet are a great combo! Even without the Onkyos put out one heck of a clean, detailed image...
These first six pics are all with the Darblet "Enhancing" the image...
The rest of these pics are just with the ONKYO units using their HQV Vida chips to scale to 1080p.
So let's talk about the main purpose of the Receiver. Sound! I typically use my Receiver as a pre-pro but for this comparison I let the Receivers do all the talking. I started by first doing Audyssey then test driving my favorite Blu ray moments. Those and a few CDs. And of course a couple of my favorite football moments where the crowd went crazy! I was impressed how easy it was to set each one up and listen to how good each was. I had many asking where this Comparison was at but it did take some time calibrating each one then putting them through the paces. I will say I am tired of the Onkyo GUI now. Seriously, I think I know it better than my bike trail I used to visit every day of every summer growing up! Before I go any further let me say now the Remotes are pretty much the same. I have mentioned them in more detail in my other Onkyo Receivcer Reviews. Also using my BG Radia speakers (Review here) will make any Receiver better. The field was even since each Receiver was given the same exact prep work before testing. I will just get it out of the way now and say the 3009, 5009, 3010 and 5010 are better than the 1010 and 818. And in case someone is wondering the 1009 as well. Yes, I have had that one here before. The 1010 is not bad at all. You get pretty much everything but I want at least 9 channels (yes, you can use an AMP to get there) but for the purpose of this Review I went 100% Ampless! The 3010 and 5010 can get you 11 channels. Also there new Bluetooth wireless feature. Also, if you do use multiple zones for the first time we can now get away from red and white RCA cables to send the signal to them. Digital Multiple zone capability! Well it is 2012. Of course on the reverse the newer gen did lose Multichannel inputs. You have to get a 3009 or 5009 if you are still a fan. The times are changing though and I spoke with Onkyo about this. Their stance is "Digital" is where it is already heading and I doubt we ever see that feature on an Onkyo product in the future. They said usually when a feature is taken out it never comes back. I know most are using HDMI with their Blu ray players so this point is moot but there are a still select firm believers who enjoy their sound this way. Speaking of HDMI the newer gen does offer InstaPrevue which allows you to do picture in picture and see what else is on the other HDMI inputs. This is cool but I admit would be rarely used in my home theater. So what all this boils down to is different for each person's room needs and personal tastes. And if you are a pre-pro end user then it is much easier to just pick one! I do like the 3009, 5009, 3010 and 5010 having separate transformers (power supplies) and independent Block Construction for AMP and Processing sections. Now those alone in my opinion make the jump to the "higher ups" worth it. The tougher choice comes down to picking which one. There are a couple simple questions to make it wasier for you. Do you plan to do 11 speakers or 9? Do you plan to leave it in as a dedicated to one room AVR or do you plan to do multiple zones? Then of course the next hardest question year in and year out is the price difference wirth it between the 5010, 5009 and 3010, 3009? Will you be able to tell a difference between 192 khz/ 32-bit DACs and 24 bit? Will the slightly more power be noticable? I have to take the middle road so to speak but a lot of this depends on your room size. Bigger rooms definitely can benefit more. Sure either or will get the job done but for those that demand the absolute best have no choice. I will say if you never A/B them then by all means you will be 100% fine with spending less. It's when you put them up back to back and test drive them that there are very subtle differences but they are there. When glass breaks you get that little extra clarity which unless you are a purist or someone listening intently you might not notice. The explosions were to much alike to hear differences. Subtle breathing yeilded the same result as breaking glass. Same for crowds at football games. You sometimes can barely make out idle chatter in the crowd. Whereas you hear it still on the other models but just not as clear. Another great demo is the new Miller Lite Pop-Top can commercial. You can really hear a difference between models. It may be slight but its there. As they puncture the can it really sounds like they are in the same room with you! As the expression goes it is all in the details. I personally am stuck myself deciding between the 5009 I got from Amazon (for an amazing price) and just getting a 3010 for a little less. I am leaning the 5009's way.
I know this may be hard to read so go to their site to check out stats if needed. Most areas share exactly the same checks or features if you will. These models are all great performers and one could not go wrong with owning either or. As an experienced fan of Onkyo receivers I can go down on record saying the stats don't lie. Most will not hear a difference bewteen them. All are made about the same with the exception of the 5009 and its fancy looking top (pics below). It looks like a steel cage type of top. Pretty cool!!!
SO are you confused more? Only you can answer questions about your budget, speaker plans, room size and features needed. My original idea was to just keep a 3009 for awhile and call it a day. If it weren't for the 5009 I was able to snag for 1468.00 (which I am sure was a pricing error) I probably would have either did that or just grabbed a 3010. They had it listed as Used-Good which it was brand new in a little less than perfect box. The price difference between it and a 3010 is not much different so that is another reason why I am liking the 5009 even more. It is becoming a special collector's edition since it looks like it may be Onkyo's last flagship model to have the cool top, multichannel inputs, Neural Sound (which I hardly use), Universal Port, HDMI gold plated terminals (my favorite LOL) and S-Video inputs. . If I was purchasing a model without doing this comparison I would grab a 3010. Especially if I were doing separates. The differences again are very slight between the levels. If I had extra funds and did not mind splurging then by all means I would get either the 5010 or 5009. Times are changing and Onkyo has decided to move forward with them. Some look at it as cutting corners they look at it as obsolete features that are becoming dead weight. Just make sure you pay attention so you don't end up getting a model that does not match your set up's needs.
If anyone has any questions on which model is best for them feel free to email and I will be more than happy to make a suggestion. Just make sure you include your room size, speaker plans and if you want to use it for multiple rooms...
One last thing... Due to personal reasons I did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked testing the different sound modes. Yes they do the same on each model (speaker channels will vary results of course) but I mean from my own personal stand point. I still am liking DSX for football. Height for movies even though I have been starting to like DSX as well. It will be interesting to see what others are liking as we get deeper and deeper with these features being pretty much the same the past two years. I would love to hear (no pun intended) on what you like so far if you have any of these models.
I rated the Receivers on a scale of 1 to 10 using the following criteria. Overall sound (biggest category), features, specs, Video Processing (though they are all even) build quality (Separate Transformers, etc.) and speaker ability. Yes, they scored slightly better points for being able to do 11 channels verus 9. Also extra credit or consideration was given for having "step up" features or features that are no longer available on the newer units. Yes, I am talking about the 5009 here...
ONKYO RECEIVER RATINGS:
5010 - Score= 9.5
5009 - Score= 9.4
3010 - Score= 9.2
3009 - Score= 9.1
1010 - Score= 8.8
818 - Score= 8.6
1009 - Score= 8.4
If I really wanted to add to this I would rank the Denon 4311 at 9.0 (Video Processing is not as good but it does have 11 channel ability and a very thorough Audyssey XT32 Sub EQ calibration. Its excellent sound puts it close. I would also rank the Sony 5700ES at a 8.3. No Video Processing drops it off though it does have the best looking graphic user interface and the ability to do 9 channels. Also Ethernet switching! Still with just HDMI pass through as the only option that keeps it below a couple notches. As for the Onkyo 1009 it does have the same excellent Video Processing but lacks XT32. The 818 has the same Video Processing but it has XT32. Of course its lack of Sub EQ keeps it down a couple notches. I guess there needs to be reasons for the price differences. As for the new 3010 and 5010 being higher than the 3009 and 5009... It is mainly because of the ability to do 11 speakers. If you are doing 9 or 7 then the score would be the same. So are you still confused? Please keep in mind these are my opinions based on my room size and my speaker lay out. Not to mention my ears as and some of the guests I bribed to listen as well. Also Jaclyn's! Thanks for reading and I hope I have helped you... Somewhat.
Receiver Rating System Below
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SETTINGS UPDATED ADDED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE
UPDATED: FAVORITE SETTINGS:
Doing 11 speakers I absolutely love DTS NEO: X! We did Battleship the other night and it was the best sound I have heard to date. I used the 5010 with the Parasound A51. The 5010 did the Rears, Backs and Heights. The A51 hadle the Center, Fronts and Wides. The soundtrack was very immersive as was The Avengers (early copy) Blu ray 3D. Get this one! Definitely reference material. For FOOTBALL we love Dolby PLII Movie + DSX. Audyssey DSX does 9 channels (no backs) so to get the 11 speakers firing you just put it in Dolby mode. Good news is the front room sound is exactly the same! The rears also except now you get to hear the Backs going. This really puts you "at the game" with the crowd. I describe doing 11 total speakers as TOP SHELF SOUND! Whether it is a movie or sports you are captivated!