You can't expect the Onkyo to sound as good ad a £500 amplifier. However, as MP has indicated, certain amps sound better with certain speakers, so if you don't like the sound of CA, for example, then you're going to enjoy the Onkyo more if it's sound is better suited to your ears. But is it a better amplifier than the CA? Probably not.
You can't expect the Onkyo to sound as good ad a £500 amplifier............. But is it a better amplifier than the CA? Probably not.
Why not? It was around £400 when it was first released, no?
'Better' is subjective. Considering the feature set of the Onkyo, you could say that it is much better than far simpler equipment even at higher prices.
I think only a direct back to back comparison would be needed to determine audio superiority, rather than supposition.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
Once we get down to "is it a better amp than..." then it misses the boat. This isn't a dyed in the wool integrated. That said, yours truly's been through his fair share of amps (not quite as many as matthewpiano, but a few nonethelss) at prices up to around £1300 (the Leema Pulse), a little less for Harman's HK990 (around £1000 at full price) and older amps of varying pedigree such as the Sansuis I used to have.
I'm a picky beggar at the end of the day. If I wasn't, I'd have picked and stuck with the Leema. I could've had it for £700, likewise the Harman. They were good amps, excellent even and the HK even had an onboard DAC, so some boxes were definitely ticked. I think it's safe to say that I know what a good amp sounds like in the heart of a well partnered setup.
Yet, here I am with the Onkyo. People are losing sight and looking at the current price; when it first appeared, I think it was £500. Then, not unlike Leema's Pulse amp, it dropped to around £399, then at sale time it went sub-£300 and now it's £249.
That doesn't, like the Leema, make it cheap tat. It's well constructed and Onkyo are no mugs; they know their game.
There was an earlier comment around "how can they do it for so little?". Like most large companies, I imagine they've made the most of economies of scale and were able to deliver the amp for the price they did to the market.
Also like matthewpiano and plenty of other owners out there who's subsequent findings I share, the Onkyo delivers what it does with aplomb. Money well spent and if, like Plastic Penguin, you've no intention of listening to it (I have no idea why not, if only to hear it for interest's sake if nothing else or to discard it as unsuitable if shortlisting) then that's fine. This amp though, continues the Japanese approach to development - take an existing type of product, look at the potential market and what it wants and deliver innovation and quality thereon. The fact it's at the price it is doesn't mean anyone's being shortchanged, and all I'd continue to say to anyone humming-and-hawing from the sidelines over it is to try it out. I've had it a while now and play it every day; radio in the morning, CDs in the evening, TV sometimes, offboard DAC others...I've yet to be disappointed.
Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy DC4 speakers / Marantz UD-7007
AVI Lab Series & Marantz CD63 MkII KI CD players / various cables
I'll second that; why not? I thought it was £500 on release, but it was a while back - could've been £400. Same principle though really.
Um - it's not a straight amplifier, is it? There's a features trade-off there.
Features don't necessarily mean lower sound quality as long as they are implemented sensibly. Let's not forget that the technology needed for implementing streaming capabilities etc. isn't actually that expensive.
Sources: Rega RP3/Elys 2 - Roksan Kandy K2 CDS Phono Stage Cambridge Audio 540P
Amplification: Exposure 1010
Speakers: Dynaudio DM2/6 Stands: Atacama Nexus 6 + Blok 300
Cables: Chord Co. and Merlin
Head-Fi System: PC/Spotify Premium - Rotel RCD965BX - Musical Fidelity V90-HPA - Sennhesier HD595
Listening to MUSIC!
Maybe, but without testing, it is nothing more than assumption, that the sound quality will be lower.
I have always held the belief that the only thing that really matters with hi-fi is what you hear with your own ears, and whether it allows you to enjoy the music. The music has to be at the heart of it for me and (though it is a personal choice that anyone is entitled to make) I have never understood those people, who are out there, that spend huge sums of money on hi-fi equipment but only have small music collections or, worse, restrict themselves to a few demonstration quality recordings.
The Onkyo is a great product. In the last week I have been listening to lots of CDs, so I've been using the Onkyo more as a traditional amplifier than anything else. At no point in all of this listening have I been distracted from the music by feeling the need to question the performance of any part of my system, including the Onkyo.
Whether or not the Onkyo compares favourably with other, more traditional and more expensive amps no longer interests me. I know for certain that it gives me far more enjoyment than the Arcam A18 did because it doesn't sap all the life out of the music as that amp did. I also know that I enjoy it far more than the Cambridge 740A because it doesn't strip everything quite as bare - the 740A really can get very dry and analytical sounding. Does this mean the Onkyo is better? Well, there are no absolutes in all of this. To my ears, yes, the Onkyo is better than the A18 or the 740A, and what I hear with my own ears is really all that matters to me.
Everything you and RS says is valid, based on what I've read. I personally can't my head around the fact that around the price bracket there are shed-loads of surround sound amps that also do a very good job with stereo these days - can't really see how the 8050 can breach that particular market.
Amp: Leema Pulse; Source: Naim CD5i-2, Denon 260MKII, Pro-ject XP I; Speakers: PMC TB2i
Formerly known as plastic penguin
In terms of sound quality, not based on what reviews or forums say, but what your ears tell you, which AV amps compare with your Leema?
Genuine curiosity here - I've always told my mates not to buy surround because they sound dire in stereo. Then again, most of them don't want five or seven speakers either.
And that is what makes AV amps a compelling argument for alternative means of amplification. You get so much more for your money than a simple amplifier.
Except sound quality
...and you even get that too. Amazing eh?
No idea - never compared. But my question is relevent not only because that sector is crammed with multi-channel receivers, but also been topped by Onkyo themselves. Didn't Onkyo win an award in 2011 in one of the sub-£1,000 bracket?
http://www.whathifi.com/review/onkyo-tx-nr609 and http://www.whathifi.com/review/onkyo-tx-nr808 and this one http://www.whathifi.com/review/onkyo-tx-sr608
is this debate even worthwhile? you're trying to convince one another that an amp for 250 GBP can't be as goo as an amp for 500 GBP. I'm personally not so much surprised if it isn't so. you have one encased in plastic with plastic knobs and controllers and the other encased in steel with alu face plate and knobs and BAM! here goes 250 GBP. at that price point SQ will not be affected much by value of components.
IMO if you even want to start thinking about resolving nuances buried within acoustic music you're aiming at amps around 2000 GBP. and also there's the issue of the speakers too. 500 GBP speakers will not be able to resolve faithfully electrical signals a quality amp sends. passive components in crossover network will definitely not be of highest quality. I mean 10 - 20 % tolerances for budget caps is simply unacceptable. just to give you an idea how much sound quality costs; a minimalistic 1st order xover made of 1% tolerance Mundorf components may easily cost more than a set of budget speakers. and where's cost of drivers, cabling, enclosure, finish, variable manufacturing costs, marketing R&D, fixed corporate costs, etc, etc.... that's why some bookshelfs may cost 5000 - 10 000 GBP.
however, I'm not saying that budget end sounds bad. some cheap all-in-ones may sound better than some budget separates aspiring to hi-fi. because they are not trying to be hi-fi and only pour syrupy, cosy, pleasingly coloured sound into your ears. if budget end tries to be too much hi-fi then it usually ends up being utterly unlistenable.
Giro, InTheGroove, Digit, ClassicOne, MG12
You're wrong on that, oldric. It's when you go second order crossovers using mundorf components the price skyrockets .
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