With the Onkyo TX-NR515AE, those last two letters of the model name are significant. They denote the fact that this receiver supports Apple AirPlay. It sells for $1099, but there is also a TX-NR515, which is identical in every way except that it does not support Apple AirPlay, and sells for $999.
Having that choice is rather good. Do you have an AppleTV unit? Well, you already have AirPlay, so why pay extra to have it in your AV receiver? But if you don’t, and you have a moderately recent iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, then look for that ‘AE’ at the end of the model number; we reckon it’s worth the extra ton.
Actually, with this receiver it’s a bit hard to see what, if anything, has been left out. Compared with the premium TX-NR818 (see p99) it loses out on phono inputs, a bit of connectivity, and that unique crossover support, but otherwise surprisingly little.
Perhaps the biggest difference is in raw power, with this unit’s seven amplifiers rated 80W across the full audible bandwidth into eight ohms at a higher than usual 0.7% THD.
With those seven amps you have a fair bit of flexibility. Two can be set to provide the rear surround channels (for 7.1 source sound, or Dolby Pro Logic IIx processed sound) or the front height channels (for Dolby Pro Logic IIz), or to drive Zone 2 speakers. Separate spring-clip speaker connections (the rest are proper binding posts) are provided for this last function, making it easy to switch between a 7.1-channel and 5.1 plus zone set-up.
Thank you for searching out Sound+Image Magazine’s equipment review of the Onkyo TX-NR515AE originally published in Sound+Image July / August 2012.
This equipment review is available as a low-resolution pdf version of the original magazine pages - it looks nicer than us throwing a load of words up the screen here.
You can download it here: Onkyo TX-NR515AE Review.pdf