The integrated amplifier; an evergreen Hi-Fi stalwart at the core of many Hi-Fi systems for decades. The Onkyo A9050 is a great example of the breed and the subject of today’s blog article.
Your Friend – The Integrated Amplfier
With the recent renewed interest in traditional two-channel Hi-Fi, it’s great to see affordable, functional and attainable equipment once again making an appearance. The Integrated amplifier is a hugely versatile, and often indespensable tool in a typical Hi-FI setup. Whatever your source material, whether you’re part of the vinyl revival, a hardcore streaming enthusiast or still “very happy with my CD collection thanks very much“, the Onkyo A9050 has you covered.
Sitting between the absurdly affordable A9010, and the flagship A9070 integrated amplifiers, the Onkyo A9050 occupies that oft-overlooked ‘mid-range’ sweet-spot. If you’re looking at building your first, proper, 2-channel Hi-Fi system, or just need a no-frills integrated for a spare room/study system, the A9050 warrants serious investigation.
The Onkyo A9050 – a mid-range bargain?
Let’s get this out of the way; there’s almost nothing new or revolutionary about the Onkyo A9050, and that’s no bad thing. There’s no unnecessary 3rd party licenses ramping the price up here. No ‘flavour of the month’ technology you’ll stop using in 2 years when it becomes obsolete. The Onkyo A9050 is the ‘Bacon Sandwich’ of the amplifier world – no surprises, great value and utterly satisfying.
The Onkyo A9050 is awash with inputs; there are (get this) five line inputs, three digital inputs and a phono input! Line inputs are provided on RCA connectors whilst the front panel is home to input 5’s 3.5mm stereo mini-jack. A nice touch for connecting a portable device, without rummaging around the back of the amplifier.
A welcome nod to today’s world of digital connectivity is provided by Onkyo’s inclusion of three, digital inputs. Inputs D1 & D2 are coaxial digital conections, whilst input D3 is an optical Toslink connector. Upto 24 bit 96kHz PCM digital sources are supported, with processing via a Wolfson 24bit/192kHz DAC – impressive for an amplifier at this price point.
For those enjoying the vinyl revival, a Moving Magnet phono stage is provided for connection to a turntable. My recent blog on the history of the Pro-Ject Debut turntable, can’t help but make me feel that the Onkyo A9050 and the Pro-Ject Debut would make a great pairing for an affordable vinyl set-up.
For those with an eye to future expansion, Onkyo has included a mono subwoofer output, a ‘pre-out’ for connection to an external power amplifier, plus a stereo line-out. The latter extremely useful for connection to an external two-channel recorder.
At this price point, it’s most likely that the A9050 will be partnered with speakers which trade sensitivity for bandwidth. Unfortuantely, that can make them something of a challenge to drive; thankfully the Onkyo A9050 is entirely up to the job.
The Onkyo A9050 delivers a weighty 75 watts per channel, generated by a discrete output stage featuring inverted darlington type circuitry. To put things simply, it’s an output stage which can deliver high current whilst staying cool – good for reliability and long life.
Should you find your speakers in need of a little ‘helping hand’ in reproducing that rumbling lower octave, Onkyo have included their ‘Phase Matching Bass Boost’ circuit. This promises to enhance the low-end of your music, without overwhelming that all important mid-range.
In summary then, the Onkyo A9050 does exactly what one would expect, at a price which seems like a misprint! At just £295, the Onkyo A9050 is a mid-range bargain which represents a virtual ‘no brainer’. Long live affordable, proper Hi-Fi and well done Onkyo!