A Need for 4K
4k devices and issues
The Answer Was a New Receiver
I have been a huge fan of Denon over the years, but when I started looking for a receiver that would fit my needs, Onkyo TX-646 was the one the checked every box at less than $400. The Denon S920W was similar in specs, but was priced at around $200 more when I bought the Onkyo. Of course, I wanted numerous HDMI inputs and the Onkyo has 8 of them! I wanted two 4k outputs to feed my HP monitor and a 4k monitor that I was going to eventually buy to replace my Westinghouse. Since I was buying a receiver, I also wanted it to be Airplay compatible and have internet access. The Onkyo checked every single box. Here are some of the specs from Amazon:
- DTS:X is a next-generation object-based surround sound technology that includes height to deliver a fully-immersive listening experience
- Supports Dolby Atmos Up to 5.1.2 Channels for captivating, multidimensional sound
- High instantaneous current enhances speaker control for accurate and dynamic audio reproduction with 170 W/Ch. (6 Ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9% THD, 1 Channel Driven, FTC) and 100 W/Ch. (8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, FTC)
- 4K/60 Hz-Capable HDMI 2.0a Terminals for UltraHD and supports HDCP 2.2 for premium 4K/Full HD video streaming and broadcast
- Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Airplay with Pandora and Spotify to stream virtually any audio from your smartphone, tablet, or PC for clear and powerful sound
The one thing I would want in a living room setup would be Audyssey's MultEQ XT32 incredible room correction software. I have it my current receiver and it made a HUGE difference in the sound quality. That being said, my office is a lot easier to room correct because it is small, doesn''t have numerous doorways, etc.
The Onkyo room correction was even ideal for this space. You put the included microphone in one spot and it takes measurements of each speaker and determines cross over points of each one. It is just so much easier than Audyssey'ss approach which requires you to move the microphone to 4 to 8 positions. I believe Onkyo's approach would be a limitation in my living room, but ideal in my office where I don't want to go to that much trouble. The other downside for living room use would be lack of pre-outs, but I will discuss that more when I talk about living room updates.
Onkyo is working like a dream
I want to mention that my iMac does put out 4k (3820x2160) over thunderbolt, but the native screen resolution maxes out at 2560x1440, so that one screen will lag a little bit behind the other screens in the office. Adding a new 5k iMac is on my wishlist, but it is far from the top because I can still use my other screens when I need that extra bit of detail. In fact, I would expect that I will update my laptop before I get around to doing anything with the iMac. I may wait until Apple stops supporting it with updates and see what is out there at that point. It may make more sense to just update the display and use a laptop for everything. Kind of a wait and see situation since it is so far off in the future. It is hard to rationalize updating the iMac when it still looks great next to the HP monitor and I doubt that very many people could see much difference in resolution given the 27 inch screen size and the distance from the seating position.
One thing I want to say about this Onkyo is that it sounds fantastic. I was using my old receiver in the room with 2 channel audio only, but the Onkyo has influenced my decision to put together a 5.1 system in the space and I couldn't be happier, especially for the less than $400 price tag (though I spent another $75 for a center channel and I will eventually want to replace the sub I stole from the bedroom).
If you have a similar situation, I can give this receiver my highest recommendation for price for performance. Not sure if anything out there currently comes close and I looked around quite a bit.