Everything you need to know about Onkyo TX-NR906

Posted on October 6, 2010


Quick setup guide

1-1. Monitor Out:

  • Monitor Out:  choose HDMI Main or Sub.
  • Resolution: Auto or native resolution of your display.

2-2. Speaker Config: make sure your speakers are not set to Full Band after Audyssey setup. If they are, see further down on “What to do if Onkyo’s Automatic Speaker Setup (Audyssey MultEQ XT) sets your speakers to Full Band” and set the LPF of LFE to 120hz.

Set Double Bass to Off to avoid that the low frequency content is sent to BOTH the full range speakers and the subwoofer. If they happen to overlap in frequency response then you get double the bass — not good!!

2-3. Speaker Distances: make sure distances are not that far off from reality. Remember it is the actual delay that is configured expressed in distances, not the physical distance to the speaker as measured with tape measure.

2-4. Level Calibration: make sure none of the trim levels are at -12 or +12 dB (–15 to +12 dB for the Sub). If they are, check the Audyssey setup guide again. If you want to verify them with a SPL Meter, set it to C-slow and to measure 75dB with the internal test tones from the receiver at the exact same place where you placed the microphone for the first reading.

2-5. Equalizer Settings:

  • For listening to Music set Equalizer to Dynamic EQ.
  • For watching movies/TV, set Equalizer to Dynamic EQ . For low volumes, Dynamic Volume might be a better choice.

2-6. THX Audio Setup: set Loudness Plus to Off and Preserve THX Settings to No. (see further down about THX Loudness Plus)

3-7. Audio Adjust->LFE Level: If you find that LFE channel sounds (effects) are way to loud and bassy, it might be that the LFE channel is boosted +10dB twice. It should be done once, in the bass management. So if it is boosted in the mix or by the player, you need to adjust it down with -10dB in the receiver.

4-1. Source Setup->IntelliVolume: for MUSIC only sources, set it -10db. (see “Boomy Bass with Dynamic EQ and music”)

5. Listening Mode Preset: select your favourite listening mode for each input depending on type of input format, such as these for CBL/SAT:

  • Analog/PCM: PL IIx Movie (any analog or PCM signal)
  • Dolby Digital: Ultra2 Cinema (any Dolby signal except 2.0)
  • DTS: Ultra2 Cinema (DTS probably not likely for CBL/SAT?)
  • D.F. 2ch: Neural THX 7.1 (for 2.0 digital sources)
  • D.F. Mono: Mono Movie (for 1.0 digital sources)

6-2. OSD Setup: set Immediate Display to Off. Affects image quality, down conversion of 12-bit to 10-bit and may cause problems with 1080p24 getting through if set to On.

7. Hardware Setup –> HDMI

  • Audio TV Out: Off
  • Lip Sync: Disable
  • x.v.Color: Disable
  • Control: Disable

Audyssey setup

First, read the Audyssey setup guide by clicking here, then follow the guide to run the automatic speaker setup which calibrates your AVR.

What to do if Onkyo’s Automatic Speaker Setup (Audyssey MultEQ XT) sets your speakers to Full Band?

The decision to designate a speaker to Full Band is up to the manufacturer. Audyssey recommends that if you have a subwoofer all speakers should be set to Small. In Onkyo products this is done by setting a crossover frequency for each speaker.

  • If you have a subwoofer: Set the crossover for any speaker found as Full Band to 80Hz (or higher) and let the sub handle as much of the lower octaves as possible because:
    • the resolution of the Audyssey filter for the sub is 8x higher than that of the satellite speakers and can thus solve more low frequency problems and
    • you don’t tax the receiver amp with the low frequencies and thus get more headroom which means improved performance of your amp for the satellite speakers.
  • If you don’t have a subwoofer: The front speakers will always be set to Full Band. The bass management system redirects the bass from the other speakers to the front L and R. If any of the other speakers were found to be:
    • Small (i.e. have a crossover frequency showing) then leave them there or
    • Full Band then set them to 80Hz.

If you feel that you want to change the crossover frequency that was found to a higher value, that is OK. Turning it down to a frequency below what was found is not a good idea because the MultEQ filter will not be operating in that range. See the following pictures for base management and crossover explanation:



Audyssey equalizer settings

The Audyssey features build on each other and these are the available equalizer settings:

  • Equalizer Off
  • Equalizer Manual
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT + Dynamic EQ
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT + Dynamic EQ + Dynamic Volume (Light)
  • Audyssey MultEQ XT + Dynamic EQ + Dynamic Volume (Heavy)

Audyssey MultEQ

The biggest part of what MultEQ is calibrating is the frequency response of the speaker. It tries to undo the problems that are added by the room. They come from standing waves and reflections from the walls, floor, etc. The Audyssey Reference target curve is flat in the bass with rolloff in the high frequencies that starts at 4kHz and goes down gently at 10 kHz and then slightly steeper after that to 20 kHz.

It also calculates the proper delays for the speakers, displayed as distances, so that sound from all speakers arrives at the same time at the first measurement position. It is also the reason that many complain that the sub is found to be at the “wrong” distance. What they forget is that the signal from the sub is delayed by the electrical filters in the sub (the low pass filters that can’t be turned off), as well as the physical distance to the listener. The correction must include both.

If you want to use an SPL meter to measure the speaker levels, then you must make sure that MultEQ is ON and Dynamic EQ is OFF. Or you can leave them both on and turn the volume to 0 because Dynamic EQ is inactive at that volume.

Audyssey Dynamic EQ

Addresses human hearing changes as the volume is lowered. The first thing that diminishes at lower volumes is our perception of bass, so Dynamic EQ boosts it according to a set of curves that match human perception. The second thing that changes is our perception of surround impression, so Dynamic EQ boosts the surround level as you lower the volume.The idea with Dynamic EQ is to turn the volume down to where you like it and it will adjust the response and surround envelopment for you. It’s made for listening at softer, not loud, levels.

Audyssey Dynamic Volume

For the past several years, receivers have included a dynamic range compression method called Night Mode and now DRC for TruHD content. It is supposed to solve the problem of content getting too loud, but it has failed to do so for a number of reasons including  wrong setting of the flags during production, inability of the method to adjust the reaction time, and no capability for perceptual loudness correction when the volume is turned down. Audyssey Dynamic Volume was designed to address the problems described above and with its ability to look ahead it can vary the reaction time to increases in loudness so that no artefacts are heard.

Dynamic Volume is designed around a known quantity: dialog level in film. The idea is that the user should set the level for the dialog volume they want. Then, depending on the range you have selected (Light, Heavy), Dynamic Volume will keep the loudest and softest sounds within that range. The idea is not to squash everything to one volume level. You still want to know that some things are louder than others, but that they stay within an acceptable range.

Audyssey allow some customization in the Dynamic Volume settings because this is a preference. Denon decided on three modes (Midnight/Evening/Day), Onkyo has two (Heavy/Light). Light is very close to Day and Heavy is very close to Midnight:

  • Dynamic Vol (Light) prevents loud and soft sounds from being much louder and softer respectively than average sounds.
  • Dynamic Vol (Heavy) affects volume the most, causing all sounds to be of equal loudness.

THX Loudness Plus vs Audyssey Dynamic EQ

Roughly speaking Audyssey Dynamic EQ and THX Loudness Plus is attempting to solve the same thing.

THX Loudness Plus compensates for the tonal and spatial shifts that occur when the volume level is reduced. By automatically raising the levels of the ambient sound, you experience the true impact of movies, music and games regardless of the volume setting.

Audyssey Dynamic EQ is the first loudness correction technology to solve the problem of deteriorating sound quality as volume is decreased by taking into account human perception and room acoustics. Audyssey Dynamic EQ selects the correct frequency response and surround volume levels moment-by-moment. The result is something never before possible—bass response, octave-to-octave balance and surround impression that remain as they should be despite changes in volume. This is the first technology to carefully combine information from incoming source levels with actual output sound levels in the room, a pre-requisite for delivering a loudness correction solution.

THX Loudness Plus and Audyssey Dynamic EQ/Dynamic Volume can’t be on at the same time because they would interfere with each other.

The manual and the Onkyo implementation in the menus is extremely confusing. The preserve THX selection is Onkyo’s way of letting you engage THX for everything except loudness correction. Setting Preserve THX settings to No means Audyssey Dynamic EQ / Audyssey Dynamic Volume will be active in THX listening mode depending on the setting. This setting is only available if Loudness Plus is set to Off.

Boomy Bass with Dynamic EQ and music

Music content is not mixed to a standard reference level. It varies by recording. Film uses the same reference mix level for every movie. Dynamic EQ in the 2008 products is keyed off film reference. When you run MultEQ the trims are set to achieve film reference with the master volume at 0. At that point Dynamic EQ does nothing. As you turn down from there it starts to apply compensation in the bass and in the surround levels to match human hearing changes. But, if the music you are listening to was mixed at totally different reference (usually higher) then Dynamic EQ will not know that.

The solution is to turn down the input trim for the source input that you are using. Then you will have to turn the master volume up to listen at the level you like. Dynamic EQ is fooled into thinking that the level is higher and therefore it applies less compensation. If you turn it off completely you will be missing out on
the bass content as you start to lower the volume. On the other hand, if you listen at or near 0 then it probably doesn’t matter much whether you have it on or off.

Input trim on the Onkyo is the 4-1. IntelliVolume setting:

  • 0 dB: This is the default setting and should be used when listening to movies.
  • 5 dB: Select this setting for content that has a very wide dynamic range, such as classical music.
  • 10 dB: Select this setting for jazz or other music that has a wider dynamic range. This setting should also be selected for TV content as that is usually mixed at 10 dB below film reference.
  • 15 dB: Select this setting for pop/rock music or other program material that is mixed at very high listening levels and has a compressed dynamic range.

Above values taken from newer models which include an Dynamic EQ Reference Level Offset.

Digital headroom / Does Audyssey MultEQ cause clipping?

Digital headroom is the amount of headroom you have in the digital domain and is blissfully unaware of the amplifier power that comes after it in the analog domain. Your iPod has a 1W amplifier, yet it has the exact same digital headroom as your 100 W receiver.

The digital range is defined as the range from the softest to the loudest signal that can be represented. For a 24 bit system, this corresponds to about 120 dB (roughly). The maximum signal level is defined as 0 dBFS (FS=full scale). If you exceed 0 dBFS in the digital domain you will be clipping. If you have signals that are too low in level (say -100 dBFS) then you will start to get close to the noise floor and will start to hear hiss. So, a well designed product is designed to never exceed 0 dBFS internally and not hit the noise floor.

Now, let’s talk about MultEQ. It is an equalization solution that creates filters that operate on the signal at all times. These filters have both boost and cut. A boost is basically a multiplication that amplifies the digital signal and therefore great care must be taken so that the result of that multiplication never exceeds 0 dBFS. In the case of MultEQ the maximum possible boost is 9 dB. So, when this max boost happens (rarely, but it does happen) we have to make absolutely sure that at no time the signal exceeds 0 dBFS. To do that, we drop the digital signal level by 9 dB before MultEQ is applied. Then 9 dB is added back in in the analog domain of the amplifier. That means the system is unity gain and there is no loss of level because of MultEQ. 

High frequency roll-off with THX Re-EQ and/or Audyssey

THX site: THX Re-EQ is a compensation technology taking soundtracks that are mixed for large cinemas, where speakers are placed farther away from you, and re-establishes the accurate tonal balance for your close range home theatre speakers. Without THX Re-EQ, higher frequencies sound excessively “edgy” or “bright.” With THX Re-EQ, the movie soundtrack is true to the original immersive cinematic experience.

Onkyo Manual: With the Re-EQ function, you can compensate a soundtrack whose high-frequency content is too harsh, making it more suitable for home theatre viewing.

The Audyssey target frequency curve is flat in the bass with a slight roll-off in the high frequencies. The roll-off is not based on the type of content. It takes several factors into account including:

  • the difference in listening conditions that exist in the mixing environment and the home;
  • the changes in speaker directivity that occur at higher frequencies, which affect the balance of direct and reverberant sound.

Both of the above apply to movie and most properly produced TV content. If you have THX Cinema Mode = OFF and THX Re-EQ = ON then you will have double the roll off in the high frequencies. Quick test at 16khz show a 4db roll-off for Audyssey and about 5-6 for THX Re-EQ.

The discussion about Audyssey Flat/Reference and THX with Re-EQ or not prompted me to go through all the listening modes, about 30, on my Onkyo TX-SR876.
Since it is not possible to manually select Audyssey Reference or Flat with Onkyo, the below info might be helpful for Onkyo owners. As before, I played a 16khz test tone and checked the level with a SPL meter with Audyssey MultEQ enabled (Dynamic EQ/Volume turned off) and came up with four categories of listening modes:

  1. modes that use the Audyssey Flat Curve and THX Re-EQ can be On or Off.
  2. modes that use the Audyssey Flat Curve and THX Re-EQ can not be applied.
  3. modes that use the Audyssey Reference Curve and THX Re-EQ can be On or Off.
  4. modes that use the Audyssey Reference Curve and THX Re-EQ can not be applied.

Basically, anything with THX is either 1) or 2) with the exception of Neural THX 7.1 which seemed to be a 3). Anything with THX combined with Cinema or EX fell into 1). Anything with THX combined with Music or Games fell into 2). The modes you can end up with double high frequency roll off from Audyssey Reference curve combined with THX Re-EQ category 3) were:

  • DTS Neo 6
  • Dolby Prologic Iix Movie
  • Dolby Digital EX
  • Neural THX 7.1
  • Dolby Digital

These modes use Audyssey Flat and can have THX Re-EQ On or Off and the default on On:

  • Dolby PLIIx THX Cinema
  • DTS Neo 6 THX Cinema
  • Neural THX Cinema
  • THX Cinema
  • THX Surr EX
  • THX Ultra2 Cinema

These modes use Audyssey Flat and no THX Re-EQ can selected On or Off:

  • Dolby PLIIx THX Music
  • DTS Neo 6 THX Games
  • DTS Neo 6 THX Music
  • Nueral THX Games
  • Nueral THX Music
  • THX Games
  • THX Music
  • THX Ultra2 Games
  • THX Ultra2 Music

These modes use Audyssey Reference curve and can have THX Re-EQ On or Off and the default is Off:

  • DTS Neo 6
  • Dolby Digital
  • Dolby Digital EX
  • Dolby PLIIx Movie
  • Neural THX 7.1

These modes use Audyssey Reference curve and no THX Re-EQ can be set On or Off:

  • Dolby PLIIx Music
  • Dolby PLIIx Studio-Mix
  • Dolby PLIIx Orchestra
  • Dolby PLIIx Unplugged
  • Stereo
  • Theatre Dimensional
  • Dolby PLIIx TV-logic

Video settings

1-1. Monitor Out

Monitor Out: Use to choose which type of monitor output is being used (Analog/ HDMI Main/HDMI Sub). The following parameters are memorized for EACH Monitor Out:

  • Resolution:
    • Through: Output resolution is the same resolution of input signal.
    • Auto: Output resolution is the highest resolution that TV corresponds that it can handle.(only available for HDMI Monitor out.)
    • 480p/720p/1080i/1080p: Output resolution is the specified resolution. (1080p is only available for HDMI Monitor out.)
    • Source: Output resolution is the specified resolution in Picture Adjust.(You can specify an individual resolution of each source.)

The following parameters are added to or subtracted from adjustments made for each input in 4-4. Picture Adjust menu. Example:1-1. Monitor Out Brightness is set to (+5), 4-4. Picture Adjust Brightness is set to (-5), Monitor Output Brightness will be (0).

  • Brightness: -50 to +50 (Changes by about 1 [RGB 0-255] in 1 step increments.)
  • Contrast: -50 to +50 (Changes by 0.8% in 1 step increments.)
  • Hue: -50 to +50 (Changes by 1 degree in 1 step increments.)
  • Saturation: -50 to +50
  • R Brightness: -50 to +50 (Changes by about 1 [RGB 0-255] in 2 step increments.)
  • R Contrast: -50 to +50 (Changes by 0.4% in 1 step increments.)
  • G Brightness: -50 to +50 (Changes by about 1 [RGB 0-255] in 2 step increments.)
  • G Contrast: -50 to +50 (Changes by 0.4% in 1 step increments.)
  • B Brightness: -50 to +50 (Changes by about 1 [RGB 0-255] in 2 step increments.)
  • B Contrast: -50 to +50 (Changes by 0.4% in 1 step increments.)

4-4. Picture Adjust

These parameters are memorized for each source:

  • Game Mode: On, Off (If set to On, Video processor latency is lowered. However, some parameters such as Edge Enhancement, Mosquito NR are not available.)
  • Zoom Mode: Normal, Full, Zoom, or Wide Zoom.
  • ISF Mode: Custom, Day or Night. (Default Gamma for Day Mode is between 1.8 and 1.9, Default Gamma for Night Mode is between 2.2 and 2.4)

The following parameters are memorized for each ISF Mode: (To make changes to the following parameters: Push and hold the Display button on the remote control for 8 seconds. If you exit the Setup Menu or return to 4. Source Setup the parameters of ISF Mode Day or Night are locked again.)

  • Resolution: Through/Auto/480p/720p/1080i/1080p (When you choose Source in 1-1. Monitor Out -> Resolution, this parameter is effective.)
  • Brightness: -50 to +50 (Changes by about 1 [RGB 0-255] in 1 step increments.)
  • Contrast: -50 to +50 (Changes by 0.8% in 1 step increments.)
  • Hue: -50 to +50 (Changes by 1 degree in 1 step increments.)
  • Saturation: -50 to +50
  • Picture Mode: Auto/Video/Film (Auto- Automatically detect and process accordingly, Video- 20 fps, Film- 24 fps. Picture Mode function will not work if the source component (DVD player, etc.) is outputting progressive scan video.)
  • Edge Enhancement: Off/Low/Mid/High (Use to make the picture appear sharper. Edge Enhancement function has no affect when the video resolution is down-converted, for example from 1080p to 720p.)
  • Mosquito NR: Off/Low/Mid/High (Use to remove shimmering or haziness that sometimes appears around objects in the picture. Can be issue with overly compressed MPEG content.)
  • Random NR: Off/Low/Mid/High (Use to remove indiscriminate picture noise such as film grain.)
  • Block NR: Off/On (Use to remove block distortion that can sometimes appear in the picture. Can be an issue with overly compressed MPEG content.)
    (The NR (Noise Reduction) functions support all video input signals up to 480p/576p.)
  • Gamma: -3 to +3. Example: If gamma of your monitor is 2.2:
    • -3: total gamma is 1.6.
    • 0: total gamma is 2.2.
    • +3: total gamma is 2.8.
  • R Brightness: -50 to +50 (Changes by about 1 [RGB 0-255] in 2 step increments.)
  • R Contrast: -50 to +50 (Changes by 0.4% in 1 step increments.)
  • G Brightness: -50 to +50 (Changes by about 1 [RGB 0-255] in 2 step increments.)
  • G Contrast: -50 to +50 (Changes by 0.4% in 1 step increments.)
  • B Brightness: -50 to +50 (Changes by about 1 [RGB 0-255] in 2 step increments.)
  • B Contrast: -50 to +50 (Changes by 0.4% in 1 step increments.)

Other useful stuff

Blue Mode (Blue Only Filter): If Blue Mode is On, R and G of output signal become 0. To turn Blue Mode On/Off: From the front panel, push and hold HDMI OUT then push MEMORY.

ITU Conversion (SD -> HD): Press down HDMI Out and RT/PTY/TP button (DIMMER for US model) to bring up ITU Conversion (SD -> HD) On. Press RT/PTY/TP to toggle On/Off.


How to modify the ISF Day/Night Presets?

  • Menu, Source Setup, then Picture Adjust
  • Go down to ISF Mode and change to either Day or Night
  • Hold down Display on the remote for 6-7 seconds

ISF Day and ISF Night will now have all the same options as Custom and can be used as Presets, leaving the menu the options will be hidden again automatically. Standard setting for ISF Day seems to be simply -2 on the gamma and +1 on the gamma for Night.

How to enable/disable the Music Optimizer?

In Remote mode: Receiver, press down the DIRECT button on the remote until (about 5 secs) Music Optimzer: Off is displayed on the OSD. Toggle on/off with left/right arrow.

How to adjust the Monitor Out picture settings without entering fullscreen OSD Setup?

In Remote Mode: Receiver, press down the DISPLAY button on the remote until the settings appear on the OSD. Select setting to adjust with up/down arrow, change value with left/right arrow.

How to adjust the Picture Adjust settings (Zoom etc) without entering fullscreen OSD Setup?

In Remote Mode: Receiver, press down the Input Selector button on the remote until the settings appear on the OSD. Select setting to adjust with up/down arrow, change value with left/right arrow. Note: the manual says you should use the DISPLAY button but that is not correct.

Miscellaneous Setup->OSD Setup->Immediate Display

This setting determines whether operation details are displayed onscreen immediately after an AV receiver function is used.

  • On: Displayed (default).
  • Off: Not displayed.

For optimal video performance, THX recommends that Immediate Display be turned off. Also, the OSD overlay graphic seem to be 10-bit so any 12-bit HDMI signal feed to the receiver gets down converted to 10-bit which can cause strange image errors which looks like bit depth mismatching.

What about aspect ratios? (4:3 and 16:9)?

For each individual video source input, you can specify a zoom mode for how the video should displayed. So you could have Full set for DVD and Normal for your cable box and so on. Please note that the receiver does not change the aspect ratio automatically if the source aspect ratio changes, you have to change
it manually in the menu. See picture for the different zoom modes.


How to see what input your receiver is getting?

Press down DISPLAY on the front panel until it shows

  1. the sound format, such as Dolby Digital 5.1, and then
  2. the input and output video resolution, such as 576p/50 -> 1080p/50

Pressing down DISPLAY on the remote will only show the sound format and then go into the picture settings mode described above.


On the front panel, press down Display and keep it pressed down while pressing Standby, release both buttons and then press Tone to display:


Not sure about the meaning, but seems like 47 is the temperature in celsius. If there is a – after FAN, the fan(s) are not engaged, possible values are L(ow), M(edium) and H(igh).

  • from 60 C it will start on L (low)
  • from 65 C it will go to M (medium)
  • from 75 C it will go to H (high)

When temp goes down again the fans will run longer, well into the mid 50 C zone, below 55 C they will stop.

Hardware Reset/Factory Default

On the front panel, hold down VCR/Tape and then Standby buttons at the same time. The front panel display shows Clear.

What input and output resolutions are supported?

It will upscale component input to 720p and 1080i through component but only for non-Macrovision sources. For copy protected video, it will switch to 480p if set to 1080i. So when viewing a DVD, some parts may be copy protected which prohibits upscaling to 1080i (swicthes to 480/576p) and some parts may not be copy proteced which allows for upscaling to 1080i which might cause changes in resolution when contents differ in that aspect. And please note that it only accepts up to 1080i input over component video cable and it will not convert HDMI to analog component video.

What Audio formats are supported through HDMI?

The AV receiver’s HDMI interface is based on the following standard: Repeater System, Deep Color, Lip Sync, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, SA-CD, and Multichannel PCM

Supported Audio Formats:

  • 2-channel linear PCM (32–192 kHz, 16/20/24 bit)
  • Multichannel linear PCM (7.1 ch, 32–192 kHz, 16/20/24 bit)
  • Bitstream (DSD, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS-HD Master Audio)

No processing of the 7.1 analog audio inputs

No Audyssey or bass management are in effect when 7.1 analog audio inputs are used. Audyssey is completely disabled and the Bass and Treble controls are also disabled and the crossovers also seem to have no effect in the receiver on that input and I can’t access the trim levels either from the remote. The only listening modes available with Multichannel are: DIRECT and PURE AUDIO.

Posted in: HIFI & HT