Appearance:Our review unit came in Matt Black finish which looks sober & pretty much sleeper. Fit & finish is better than the Marantz PM6005 & Yamaha AS500 which are its direct competitors. A silver version, which is available in Europe is sadly not available for us in India. The remote provided is well made & nice to operate as well, with well spaced out buttons.
Specifications: (From Onkyo) • 75 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms (at 1kHz) with 0.08% THD • Wolfson® 192kHz/24-bit DAC ensures high-quality sound from digital sources • Dynamic Intermodulation Distortion Reduction Circuitry (DIDRC) reduces perceptible noise generated by digital devices • Three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry reduces distortion to inaudible levels • Closed ground-loop circuits minimize individual circuit noise and reject ground potential distortion • Signal-to-noise ratio: 110 dB (line, IHF-A), 80 dB (phono MM) • High-output power transformer and twin 10,000µF capacitors provide ready power for demanding musical passages • Built-in phono preamp for use with moving magnet (MM) cartridges • 3 digital audio inputs (2 coax, 1 optical) • 5 RCA audio inputs, including MM phono input • Preamp out and line out jacks • Audio L/R Pre-Out • Subwoofer Pre-Out • Speaker A/B Drive • Gold-Plated RCA Terminals • Gold-Plated, Banana Plug-Compatible Speaker Posts • Front-panel 1/4″ headphone jack • Front-panel switching for 2 pairs of speakers with Switch for 4 & 8 Ohms speakers • Gold-plated, banana-plug compatible speaker posts • Detachable power cord • Remote control • Weight: 8.2 kg. • 17-1/8″W x 5-1/2″H x 13-1/16″D
The A-9050 Integrated Stereo Amplifier offers the best of both worlds-classic analog power and the latest in digital audio processing technology. Whether you are a fan of vinyl, or just want to experience your computer based library with proper hi-fi sound, this is the amp for you. There are three digital inputs linked to a Wolfson 192 kHz/24-bit DAC, which allows you to exploit the potential of lossless music files. There are plenty of inputs. We find two coaxial digital inputs and an optical input sitting at the back, and among those we find four analog line inputs and a phono input. This gives you the best of both worlds. Digital signals are decoded by a Wolfson DAC with 24 bit/192 kHz resolution. The input signal does not allow a higher sampling frequency than 96 kHz. The analog inputs provide an opportunity to get even better sound by using an outboard DAC. The built-in DAC is very good sounding and very convenient for connecting a TV and other digital sources. It is not warm by any extent, but neither is it harsh. A-9050 has a button labeled Phase Matching Bass. It really doesn´t have very much to do with the phase as it is more of a loudness button. After trying it, we used it intermittently depending on the recordings heard. We preferred to use the Direct function that disables the tone controls, resulting in a cleaner and more transparent sound. But the options of dialing the sound to your liking are available so the individual can tweak the same to suit his requirements, which is a bonus. A sub woofer out is another welcome addition as one can add a sub to boost the bass if one has Book shelf speakers or even to augment the bass of Floor standing speakers. Another feature that adds value to the A9050, is the Pre-Amp out Jacks that can allow you to add a power amp to the chain & use the Pre-Amp section of the A-9050. An interesting option for the tweaking freaks!
Performance: The demo gear consisted of:
Onkyo A-9050 NHT Audio Super Zero 2.1 NHT Audio Classic 3 NHT Audio Super 8 Subwoofer NHT Audio B-10D Sub Woofer DIY 3 Way Speakers NHT Audio Super Zero 2.1 NHT Audio Classic 3 Amphion Helium 410 Epos M12i BIC America Venturi DV84 BIC America Venturi DV64 Acoustech PL89II Acoustech PL200 Speakercraft V12 BIC America F12 NHT Super 8 NHT B-10d Oppo103 Marantz CD6005 Samsung Blu Ray Player
Music heard from below Albums: Morph the Cat – Donald Fagen Best of Suzanne Vega – Suzanne Vega Greatest Hits – Megadeth Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards – Joe Satriani Rockstar OST Asshiqui 2 OST Zara Mcfarlane – Until Tomorrow Making Music – Zakhir Hussain Inferno – Marty Friedman Hella Good – No Doubt Blood In Blood Out – Exodus Happiness is Not Included – Veronica Mortensen Mutadis Mutandis – Juliette Orangutan – Isao Suzuki Quartet Time Out – Dave Brubeck Best of Chemical Brothers The Onkyo amp has good weight in the bass frequencies, which was evident both when playing singer/songwriter and heavier rock/metal. Bass guitars sound big and full-bodied and kick drums feels punchy with good attack. There is a lot of energy in the harmonics as well, and a crisp projection of cymbals. Onkyo A-9050’s biggest advantage is that it has both the fundamental tones as well as the harmonics in order when playing high and low volumes, and it can play really loud. What we would have liked is better resolution. Playing music for a couple of hours at a stretch leads to one issue & that is common to all Onkyo Amps, HEAT! The A9050 also does heat up quite a bit if used continuously for more than 3 hours but we never experienced any drop in performance due to it. Still, one does get alarmed at the amp heating up & we recommend it be placed in a well ventilated surrounding, be it a audio rack or on any other furniture.
Verdict: The Onkyo A-9050 is a very unappreciated & ignored option available to us at the moment. Yes, the Marantz PM6005 & the Yamaha AS500 are getting all the attention but in our humble opinion, the A-9050 is a capable performer on its own & will most definitely hold its ground against the others. A lack of awareness of Onkyo’s presence in the stereo products market is one of the reasons why capable models like the A-9050 are being over looked. Maybe Onkyo India is not actively pushing the stereo products as much as their home theatre options. Sincerely hope that they start doing so as the A-9050 is serious value for money considering the options it provides to a music enthusiast. The Onkyo A-9050 get a thumbs up from our team!