We’ve not heard much from Onix in recent years. Once a British hi-fi brand, born in the homes of a duo from Brighton in the late 1970s, it’s had pockets of success ever since before going quiet for extended periods of time.
Now in the hands of an overseas investor with a European distributor, the firm is back with the Onix A-25 integrated amplifier – created to mark the 30th anniversary of the brand’s classic OA-21 amplifer.Onix A-25 review: Design
Taking on the distinctive, but minimalist design for which Onix’s early high-end models were known, it certainly stands out from the crowd. As such, it’s bound to be a love-it-or-hate-it design for most… and we happen to love it.
Like the Cyrus 6a, the Onix takes on a relatively unusual half-width design (something Onix says it did first), with a solid, metal-constructed chassis and a black high-gloss front panel.
The large gold volume dial sits in the middle of this panel, with a gold power button on the right and a mode-select button on the left. Above it, you’ll find a blue LED underneath whichever source is selected. And that’s it.
A similarly simple approach occurs round the back, with just three line inputs at 30W per channel (including one balanced XLR input), pre outs and a bypass input for sidestepping the volume controls when using it as a power amp in an AV setup.
And in a bid to keep things really simple, there isn’t even a remote control. (Although if you’re loath to get out of your seat, there’s a version of the A-25 that works with its own proprietary remote – yours for an extra £50.)Onix A-25 review: Sound quality
Get the Onix up and running with a play through of Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Worth from Director’s Cut and it’s immediately obvious that this amp’s strengths lie in its midrange and treble.
The keyboard introduction has a sweetness to it that’s almost palpable, and brims with detail. The reverb effect on the notes is conveyed with a commendable handling of dynamics too, allowing you to follow every layer of the lingering notes as they fade into silence.
When it comes to bass, though, it’s easy to hear where the A-25 falls down. With all that concentration on the mids and treble, it seems to neglect the lower frequencies, leaving it feeling a little lightweight and ultimately lacking wallop, to use the technical term.
More after the break
However, for listeners who value subtlety over muscle, the Onix A-25 is certainly an amp to consider. Place it in the right system and it will really shine.