A Small Wonder !
It’s been almost 6 months now that I’ve had the Onyko CRN-765 in my set-up & hence feel it’s time that I wrote a review on this little wonder.
Appearance: The first look says its part of a typical micro component system that was quite popular from the ‘80s onwards in most homes, especially to be used in small rooms, bedrooms, but one should not treat the CRN-765 with similar disdain or at least that’s what I did when it first came along for the review. The fact that it kept surprising me each time I tried pairing it with different speakers speaks volumes of what Onkyo has been able to achieve with this all in one. A true sleeper in every sense of the word! Like most micro components, the CRN-765 is highly compact in dimensions 215 (width) × 119 (height) × 331 (depth) mm, makes it fit in any environment very easily & without having special requirements. Like all Onkyo products available in India, this one is also available only in black. It comes with a rather sufficient display with a large volume knob to its right & the CD Tray below it. Underneath the CD tray is an array of small buttons including the power button, USB Slot & a 3.5mm head phones jack all on the left side. On the right side are Eject, Stop & Play/Pause buttons under the large Volume Knob. Below these buttons come the Input, Tone & Return buttons with the prev/next rotating knob labeled as Menu Enter. The backend of the CRN-765 has the following: A Pair of Speaker Terminals Vertically aligned on the extreme left followed by a vertical grid which has a remote control, aux-in ports with Ethernet jack & USB slot. Underneath these are a set of a pair of line-inn’s & a single line out RCA female jacks. Next to them are the AM & FM connector jacks. Below them are optical & co-axial input jacks. The upper right side of the back end has the power socket pins to plug the power cord & that’s the rear, done & dusted. The CRN-765 comes with a full function remote which is like a wand in shape but is extremely easy to use & has well spaced & laid out buttons to make ease of use of all the functions on the CRN-765.
Associated Gear: Since this is an all in one, did not use another amp or source with it, but kept changing speakers to see how it performs with various types.
Used the following speakers to pair: Amphion Helium 410 DIY 3 Way Monitors Nibbana Audio Dvee Firestarters Nibbana Audio Dvee Fostex FE166En Drivers based Horn Loaded Speakers Fostex Sigma FE208 EZ Sigma Drivers based Horn Loaded Speakers Klipsch RF62ii FS
Technical Specifications: (Onkyo Website)
■ corresponding to DSD5.6MHz native playback (via network / USB) ■ corresponding to the reproduction of 192 kHz/ 24bit files, etc. Hi-Res sound of WAV / FLAC (via network / USB) ※ 1 ■ gapless playback corresponding to achieve a more natural music reproduction (during USB playback) ■ DLNA1.5 compliance, Home Media featured ■ adopted the flagship series “VERITA” AK4490 of AKM Inc. in DAC ■ full discrete DIDRC headphone amplifier equipped ■ radiko.jp, can play Internet radio Tune In ※ 2 ■ favorite portal site that can be synchronized to register the Internet radio station ■ allows digital connection with iPod / iPhone and USB cable ※ 3 ■ Supports remote app Onkyo Remote that can be operated from the iPhone and Android terminal ※ 4 ■ Equipped with bass enhancement technology Phase Matching Bass Boost own development ■ Adopt aluminum material with excellent damping properties in knob front panel and volume ■ tone control function that can arrange the balance of the sound to your liking ■ Music Optimizer to play compressed music files such as MP3 with higher quality
Performance: The heart of the CRN-765 arguably is the very decent for its output Amplifier section which has a modest rating of 22wpc @ 4 ohms, but we never felt it gasp when paired with the variety of speakers we had at our disposal, especially when we had a couple of 85 & 86 db sensitivity speakers paired to it. It does not lose its composure even when the volume is pumped to its limit which is a very strong characteristic of the unit. The brain of the CRN-765 is the DAC section which uses the flagship series “VERITA” AK4490 DAC chip of AKM Inc. This chip is hardly found in most of the mainstream DAC’s & we were very surprised to experience the rather outstanding performance of this chip as implemented by the boffins at Onkyo. To describe the performance very briefly, it makes the music sound musical with very high levels of details, whilst not going overboard with the analytical aspect. Clearly it has a very well defined balance of what one appreciates in a good DAC section of any audio gear. We played a wide variety of musical genres with the CRN-765 & invariably it came out trumps with everything we gave it. Maybe, that’s one of the reasons why it appeals so much to us & made us buy it post end of the review process!
Verdict: The Onkyo CRN-765 is kind of a sleeper product that one rarely takes interest in or thinks it will perform way over its capabilities. We initially did so too but after getting play time with it realized that this is very much a jewel that needs to shine in the spotlight. Compared to the offerings of the competitors in the market, at Rs.36000/- this sure is a bargain for not only new bies wanting to get something that takes care of the amplification & source but also seasoned audio junkies who can pair it with a variety of speakers in their main set-up or as a 2nd set-up in their bedrooms or any place where they like. The Onkyo CRN-765 gets big thumbs up from the HifiHunt Team!