Quantcast

Answered Onkyo TX-NR686 no sound Zone 2

audiolab007

Novice Member
I bought the Onkyo TX-NR696 hoping to use Zone 2 line outputs to drive my stereo amplifier so I could improve the quality and simplify the wiring to my one pair of floor standing stereo speakers.

Boy was I wrong, along with most of the other writers here I found Zone 2 almost impossible to use. The restrictions and complex menu make Zone 2 a feature in name only.

Luckily I had an old QED speaker switching box (2 amps -> 1 pair of speakers). The surround and stereo amplifiers don't mind not seeing any load when on (don't try this with a PA - you'll blow it). So now I can easily choose between the 2 amps to drive the front pair of stereo speakers.

On a positive point the latest firmware update to the Onkyo TX-NR696 seems to have finally fixed the Chromecast feature which is nice
 

hsegallis

Novice Member
For the record, anything you have heard about needing more DACs, etc for Zone 2 digital playback is complete BS. It is nothing more than greed on the part of Onkyo and other mfgs. The fact that you can play "DIGITAL" sources such as Pandora on Zone 2 means there exists a DAC right after the Pandora decoder (which is simply a DSP output), followed by an AMP to your two Zone 2 speakers. Now the amp is reused which is why you lose two of your surround rears when you activate any Zone 2 playback.

But all that is needed is line-level switching of the SAME analog source that already exists right before the main channel amp when you play ANY source in the main room (including HDMI) If you want to get fancy, you use the same DSP that is obviously able to receive and decode a Pandora stream to down-sample a multi-channel source to L&R and output to the SAME DACs that are used for Zone 2. That will give you Zone 2 stereo and Main room 5.1 surround.

All this would cost them $ ZERO in hardware, as all the circuitry already exists (the HDMI switching requires 10X the circuitry of line level audio switching).

For this reason I will NEVER buy an Onkyo product again.
 

audiolab007

Novice Member
For the record, anything you have heard about needing more DACs, etc for Zone 2 digital playback is complete BS. It is nothing more than greed on the part of Onkyo and other mfgs. The fact that you can play "DIGITAL" sources such as Pandora on Zone 2 means there exists a DAC right after the Pandora decoder (which is simply a DSP output), followed by an AMP to your two Zone 2 speakers. Now the amp is reused which is why you lose two of your surround rears when you activate any Zone 2 playback.

But all that is needed is line-level switching of the SAME analog source that already exists right before the main channel amp when you play ANY source in the main room (including HDMI) If you want to get fancy, you use the same DSP that is obviously able to receive and decode a Pandora stream to down-sample a multi-channel source to L&R and output to the SAME DACs that are used for Zone 2. That will give you Zone 2 stereo and Main room 5.1 surround.

All this would cost them $ ZERO in hardware, as all the circuitry already exists (the HDMI switching requires 10X the circuitry of line level audio switching).

For this reason I will NEVER buy an Onkyo product again.
I suspect the chipset they use to build these amps does have this flaw built into it
 

Pdalton

Novice Member
Previously, I had my SONOS system up & running great - BOTH ways (in & out) - using my SONOS Connect with my Onkyo HT-RC360 receiver. [Connect's "Line Outs" to Onkyo's "Game" "Line Ins" & Onkyo's Zone 2 "Line Outs" to Connect's "Line Ins".]

The 360 died, so I now have an Onkyo TX-NR656 receiver using the same connection scheme. There is no problem playing material from SONOS through the Onkyo out of the main speakers connected to Onkyo 656. HOWEVER, content FROM the receiver does NOT play through the SONOS system.

I don't understand why this should be different from the 360, but I'm less concerned about why than in how to get it fixed.

I read the discussion above about the HDMI issue, so I more or less understand why the CD player [connected to the Onkyo via HDMI] might not play through Zone 2. [Would be resolved by connecting the RCA outputs on the CD to one of the RCA input locations on the Onkyo?]

Regardless of the CD, however, my BIG issue is that the source material I'm trying to output to SONOS is from vinyl albums playing on a turntable. The turntable is connected to a preamp and the preamp is connected to the Onkyo at the PHONO inputs. Selecting PHONO plays great through the main speakers attached to the 656, but no sound comes through the SONOS system, no matter whether Zone 2 is on or off or if I reselect PHONO while Zone 2 is on. I had been assuming audio from the preamp would not have been affected by that HDMI issue.

So IS the HDMI problem causing this issue, or is it something else?

Will it make any difference if I instead attach the SONOS Connect to the Zone 2 Speaker banana plugs rather than to the Zone 2 Line Outs? (I haven't tried this yet, as I'll have to find a couple of cables that have a single RCA plug at one end and two banana plugs at the other end.)

On this Onkyo TX-NR656, what IS the practical difference between the Zone 2 "Line Outs" and the Zone 2 "banana plug" speaker connections, anyway?
 
Regardless of the CD, however, my BIG issue is that the source material I'm trying to output to SONOS is from vinyl albums playing on a turntable. The turntable is connected to a preamp and the preamp is connected to the Onkyo at the PHONO inputs. Selecting PHONO plays great through the main speakers attached to the 656, but no sound comes through the SONOS system, no matter whether Zone 2 is on or off or if I reselect PHONO while Zone 2 is on. I had been assuming audio from the preamp would not have been affected by that HDMI issue.
In my research journey I made a couple of calls to Yamaha and Onkyo product support. I can't remember which one, but one of them explained that a turntable with a moving magnet cartridge (hope I have this terminology correct) can just plug directly into the ports on the receiver. However, a turntable with a moving coil cannot and you need an external preamp or adapter or something. I have yet to look into what kind of cartridge I have... But maybe that has something to do with your problem, IDK...?

This is frustrating. I did an unbelievable amount of research before purchasing my Onkyo TX-NR797 today - and the biggest thing I wanted to make sure of was that I could duplicate my previous 7.2 with "speaker A/B" arrangement (to accommodate my two porch speakers). I even called Onkyo product support twice and never was it mentioned that HDMI posed a problem for Zone 2 usage. Of course I find this thread *after* I've made my purchase and painstakingly hooked everything up.

So first of all I should say that I'm actually pretty happy with the unit. Sound, set-up, features, all good. I have even successfully been able to use Zone 2 for AM/FM radio, no problem. But I couldn't figure out why that worked but I couldn't stream audio from my PC or Wii out there (I don't really want to send Wii audio out there, it was just another data point for testing Zone 2 capabilities). And I guess now I know. I had read those excerpts in the manual but I was incredulous.

The thing about "speaker A/B" is that those channels are shared with other channels on the receiver, so when you use those B speakers along with the main, the power is shared and thus cut. I never found this to be a problem or even noticed, but I was happy to learn that this legit 9.2 system would be a step up from my previous system in that regard.

I'm going to try some other cables and see what happens, but I'm not sure what is meant by "When the AV component is connected to this unit with a digital coaxial cable or digital optical cable, change the audio output of the AV component to the PCM output." So like how do I do that for my PC? What are they trying to tell me to do? How do I change the audio output of my PC to PCM? And this is really annoying, because I was so happy to be able to do away with superfluous cables and just use simple HDMI for everything, reducing the rats nest of cables behind my cabinet.

But seriously, man, this thing was over $700, that I happily paid because I was getting exactly what I wanted and an upgrade. I could have gotten a cheaper Yamaha and now I wonder if the Yamaha would have presented the same issues...
The receiver I'm replacing was a 12-year-old Sony. I can't believe we haven't progressed farther than this in the industry.
 
Well, in case anyone cares, I'm a little closer. I was able to get PC audio into my zone 2 speakers by using optical cable instead of hdmi. And wow it's way louder using optical. It only works when I actually unplug the hdmi cable. Not ideal, because of course I don't want to be f'ing around with the cables in the back of my machine every time I want to listen to Pandora on my porch. So still so far I've spend a lot of money just to listen to radio on the porch when I could have simply used my old boom box from the 80's and been just as happy. But I haven't given up yet. Ever since I've been trying to upgrade my house to hdmi it's honestly been a huge pain in the ass. A lot of work and money and time spent, for very little reward. I'm beginning to feel like we've all been punked.
 
Also, I don't think this is just an Onkyo thing. Looking at the manual for the Yamaha model I was looking at, it looks like I would have had the same issue. I haven't looked into any other brands to this depth, but I suspect that in this price range this is pretty standard.
 

Rook008

Novice Member
I'm going to try some other cables and see what happens, but I'm not sure what is meant by "When the AV component is connected to this unit with a digital coaxial cable or digital optical cable, change the audio output of the AV component to the PCM output." So like how do I do that for my PC? What are they trying to tell me to do? How do I change the audio output of my PC to PCM? And this is really annoying, because I was so happy to be able to do away with superfluous cables and just use simple HDMI for everything, reducing the rats nest of cables behind my cabinet.
I also wanted to route my PC audio through an Onkyo Receiver using an Optical cable, but had to find and check a box so that the SPDIF (Optical) output on the sound card only output PCM audio and not audio in some other format. It's a Xonar audio card. This is the setting in the Xonar software (left side, close to the bottom):
Pic -[1].jpg

The sound card outputs 5.1 sound to the attached PC speakers and 2 channel sound through the Optical jack to the Onkyo.
 

Rook008

Novice Member
Oh, you got it sorted out, congrats. I probably should have read through the thread before posting. Please disregard my previous post then.
 
It's all good! I actually have more to report, just haven't had a sec. But a friend helped me come up with a workaround and i think i'm happy and where i want to be. More later, when my pinot noir has worn off hahah
 

Cfbif

Novice Member
It's all good! I actually have more to report, just haven't had a sec. But a friend helped me come up with a workaround and i think i'm happy and where i want to be. More later, when my pinot noir has worn off hahah
Look forward to hearing what you did. Same problem here. All I want to do is stream Spotify through my Roku to zones 1, 2, and 3 with all of the speakers playing in sync.
 

iheaka71

Novice Member
Hello, I have the Onkyo TX-NR686 and I am having a problem getting my external amp to work with the unit. Here’s what I’m trying to do: I’m trying to run the Onkyo receiver to my external amp and my two speakers, which are hooked up to my amp. I am not looking to use the Onkyo receiver for surround sound or anything like that. I just want to play music on my two front speakers, streaming from my Iphone Bluetooth, to the receiver.

What I have done: I connected two analog cables to the back of the receiver that reads, “Zone 2”. I have also connected the Bluetooth to the receiver and I noticed songs streaming on my phone but no sound is coming from the receiver. I have also changed the channel to 2.1 I think.

Please help.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
What I have done: I connected two analog cables to the back of the receiver that reads, “Zone 2”. I have also connected the Bluetooth to the receiver and I noticed songs streaming on my phone but no sound is coming from the receiver. I have also changed the channel to 2.1 I think.

Please help.
The main room speaker configurations and settings have no effect upon the zone 2 output. You'd also not get 2.1 in the second audio zone because the second zone is only 2 channels. The receiver doesn't level or calibrate the second audio zone or its speakers and the speaker configurations have no effect upon the second zone.

The main room speaker configurations do not apply to the second zone.


Note. Here's the reply I gave relating to the same question you asked in this thread when you PM'd me:

The TXNR686 has no pre outs for the front 2 channels or any of the other channels it can process. As such, you cannot use it as a processor and use external amplification to power the speakers with.

The zone 2 pre outs are limited as to what sources they can access and not all sources are accessible to the receiver's secondary audio zone. Also note that you'd have to select a source for the second zpne independantly of the main zone. The second zone doesn't automatically set itself to the same source as the main room.
PM.
 

iheaka71

Novice Member
The main room speaker configurations and settings have no effect upon the zone 2 output. You'd also not get 2.1 in the second audio zone because the second zone is only 2 channels. The receiver doesn't level or calibrate the second audio zone or its speakers and the speaker configurations have no effect upon the second zone.

The main room speaker configurations do not apply to the second zone.


Note. Here's the reply I gave relating to the same question you asked in this thread when you PM'd me:

PM.
Dante, thank you for your response. So does this mean that I cant use this as a pre amp for my tube amp? If I can, can you please help me with a step by step guide on what to do to get my tube amp to work with the unit? Will I be able to stream bluetooth to the receiver and to the external amp?
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Dante, thank you for your response. So does this mean that I cant use this as a pre amp for my tube amp? If I can, can you please help me with a step by step guide on what to do to get my tube amp to work with the unit? Will I be able to stream bluetooth to the receiver and to the external amp?

It wouldn't be the best option as a pre amp due to the fac that it has no pre outs for the main channels and those associated with the second zone will be limited as to which sources you can convey via that zone. You'd also not get any room EQ correction or bass management in the second zone and the receiver plays very little part in the processing of what is being sent to that zone.

You'd ideally want an AV receiver with dedicated front left and right channel pre outs, the cheapest of which and most comparable to the TXNR686 would be Yamaha's RXV685.

snapshot002.jpg



You should however still be able to use the Onkyo's second zone pre outs to convey audio sourced via Bluetooth to your external amplifier. I think that you'd have to initially select the Bluetooth source via the main zone prior to then selecting this source via the second zone though? You'd obviously then still not have the ability to use the receiver's bass management and various other processing in the second zone.
 
Last edited:

iheaka71

Novice Member
It wouldn't be the best option as a pre amp due to the fac that it has no pre outs for the main channels and those associated with the second zone will be limited as to which sources you can convey via that zone. You'd also not get any room EQ correction or bass management in the second zone and the receiver plays very little part in the processing of what is being sent to that zone.

You'd ideally want an AV receiver with dedicated front left and right channel pre outs, the cheapest of which and most comparable to the TXNR686 would be Yamaha's RXV685.

View attachment 1239023


You should however still be able to use the Onkyo's second zone pre outs to convey audio sourced via Bluetooth to your external amplifier. I think that you'd have to initially select the Bluetooth source via the main zone prior to then selecting this source via the second zone though? You'd obviously then still not have the ability to use the receiver's bass management and various other processing in the second zone.
Dante, thank you very much for your help. I will try that one out.
 

iheaka71

Novice Member
Another question I have for you: How about if I want to use this Onkyo just to play music on my two speakers with streaming music from my cell phone. Can you please give me a step by step guide to do that. I assume the speaker hookup should be as easy as hooking up the speakers to the left and right speaker outlet on the receiver. How would I get sound?
 

HughesYerDaddy

Novice Member
Hey all,
Well I just bought this same reciever as my prized Sony of 14 years lost one of its channels. I thought and was told that this receiver had the same capabilities and I’ve been screwing around with it for hours. Here’s my situation.

My old Sony STR-DE945 had the option to select speakers A, B or AB. I wired my house, 20 years ago with monster speaker wire from the receiver down into a hub in the basement. I then put volume controls in each bathroom from the speaker wire coming from the nub It worked like a charm. But my A channel blew so, I had no surround sound in the main room anymore. So I thought this Onkyo would do the same thing. But I haven’t been able to get it to work.

I connected the speaker wires into the back of the receiver into the zone 2s thinking that my speakers would work in my bathrooms again. But no luck.

So, I did what I probably shouldn’t, I just hooked in those wires in the center channel to see if that would work. And yep, they came on like a charm In all the bathrooms. So now I have my center channel and my speaker Wires that feed the bathroom speakers in the same output. Is this not a good solution?

Why can’t the zone 2 just have speakers run directly out of them? I sure would appreciate any help.
7B1AC63F-F9C3-47A0-914B-8D627BACFEDB.jpeg
 
Last edited:

HughesYerDaddy

Novice Member
Ok folks I figured it out. I just got off the phone with their support. What you have to do is run analog from the device you want audio from to the zone two. So since I’m not using a CD player Iran regular analog lines from my DIRECTV into the back of the receiver into the CD input. Then I went in to the menu and activated zone two. From their turn on your zone two and then select the source which would be the CD. Be sure you turn up the volume. In my case I have volume controls in my bathroom. It worked like a charm the sound comes through great. I’m not really concerned about getting analog versus digital audio in bathroom speakers.

I hope this helps
 

Larry4mf

Novice Member
Here’s a new issue I can’t seem to find answer to.
I have Zone 2 setup correctly On 686.
-I’m streaming music to it from Apple Music on IPhone using Onkyo Controller.
-There is no Volume control slider on the Zone 2 screen in the App. The Audio is low because it is set to its Power On volume.
-And the only way to control zone 2 volume is to change the remote to control zone 2 volume. Pressing Zone 2 button on receiver and manually adjusting volume knob doesn’t work.
-When I change remote And adjust volume with it, suddenly the volume control slider appears on the App Zone 2 screen.
And it works but disappears once I switch it back.
All I can do is set power on volume to something I can live with and just let it be. Or run upstairs and do the remote trick.
I previously had the older Onkyo and had no issues with App and this volume issue.
This is a new 686. Already performed factory reset but have not tried control with any other device like android etc. just tried with multiple Apple products.
I’m using 1.13.0 of the Onkyo Controller app with latest IPhone software .
 

tmunny

Novice Member
Thanks to all on this thread. I actually just found the root of the problem. It's a tiny disclaimer on Onkyo's spec sheet that says zone 2 cannot be powered by sources via HDMI. And since my AppleTV is my only source (and must be HDMI), I can never play the same source in zone 2 as the main room. I even have a second receiver running zone 2 speakers via the zone 2 out. The only thing I can do is listen to bluetooth in zone 2 (or presumedly any source thats analog / isn't HDMI). What a load of crap by Onkyo. My 10 year old Pioneer had this basic function.
 

Attachments

Trending threads

Latest News

Vizio announces Disney+ available on SmartCast TVs
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Audio-Technica reveals Kokutan and Asada Zakura headphones
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sky announces combined Sky Sports and BT Sport packages
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Qobuz drops MP3s and introduces Studio Premier Plan
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Micro LED TV alternative to modular design on the way?
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Top Bottom