Stereo integrated amplifier with built-in DAC
Our take on the Onkyo A-9150 by Crutchfield's James Ralston
Clean stereo sound
When I saw the large volume knob placed smack-dab in the middle of the Onkyo A-9150's front panel, it instantly brought back warm and happy memories of my older brother's stereo from the late '70s. And, in some ways, this Onkyo integrated amplifier is a bit of a throwback. It's not wireless — there's no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on board. But if clean stereo sound is your goal, by all means, keep reading.
Old-school design details...
This amp is rated at a modest 30 watts per channel, but judging from our customers' positive reviews, Onkyo has successfully emphasized quality over quantity. Old-school design details like a high-current power transformer and twin custom capacitors supply ready reserves of current to drive your speakers with authority.
...meet new-school design details
And this amp comes with some forward-looking features, too. A high-performance AKM digital-to-analog converter and a proprietary Onkyo digital noise filter render your digital sources with detail and accuracy.
Onkyo's new Discrete SpectraModule™ circuitry ensures that the preamp stage delivers accurate, full-bandwith signals to the amp's output stage. Onkyo explains that this feature delivers natural-sounding transient response, for a more realistic soundstage and better instrument definition. All in all, that's a lot of amplifier technology for your buck, given the A-9150's modest price tag.
- 30 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) with 0.08% THD
- 60 watts x 2 into 4 ohms
- premium AKM 32-bit/768kHz DAC ensures high-quality sound from digital sources
- coaxial inputs support high-resolution audio signals up to 24-bit/192kHz
- Onkyo's DIDRC digital filtering reduces perceptible noise generated by digital devices
- Discrete SpectraModule™ for full-bandwidth signal reproduction with nuanced musicality
- high-current power transformer and twin custom capacitors provide ready power for demanding musical passages
- direct mode bypasses tone controls for cleaner sound
- signal-to-noise ratio: 107 dB (line 1), 82 dB (phono MM), 73 dB (phono MC)
- gold-plated phono input supports moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC) cartridges
- 4 digital audio inputs (2 optical, 2 coaxial)
- 5 RCA audio inputs (4 line in, 1 main in)
- preamp out and line out jacks
- front-panel 1/4" headphone jack
- front-panel switching for 2 pairs of speakers
- gold-plated, banana-plug compatible speaker posts
- detachable power cord
- remote control
- weight: 20.3 lbs.
- 17-3/16"W x 5-1/2"H x 13-13/16"D
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- Integrated stereo amplifier
- 6' AC power cord
- Remote control (RC959S)
- 2 "AAA" batteries
- Instruction Manual
- Product Registration/Warranty Information
- Onkyo Music brochure
Great sounding amp, very musical and precise. Nice clean controls and plenty of input capabilities. Could use a bit more phono gain, but overall a wonderful unit.
Lon, Elysburg, PA
Features and Specs
|Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms)||30|
|Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms)||Not given|
|Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms)||60|
|Minimum Impedance||4 ohms|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||107|
|Digital Music Features|
|Built-in DAC (Digital to Analog Converter)||Yes|
|High-resolution Audio Playback||No|
|Total Analog Inputs||5|
|Optical Digital Inputs||2|
|Coaxial Digital Inputs||2|
|Dimensions and Warranty|
|Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Labor Warranty||2 Years|
Integrated Stereo Amplifier: The Onkyo A-9150 is a 30W x 2Ch (8Ω, 20Hz-20kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, IEC) integrated amplifier that will appeal to music listeners of any format, from CDs and vinyl to digital streaming services. The A-9150 is comprised of a refined power amplifier featuring a customized high-current transformer; two large, custom-made audio capacitors; and discrete output-stage transistors that deliver fast, full-spectrum dynamics, lively transient response, and excellent speaker control.
Refined Power Amplification: In order to deliver a clear and natural audio image, it's vital that sounds of different frequencies arrive at the listening position simultaneously. Power amplification circuits feature custom topology that's carefully tuned for phase accuracy, wide-spectrum signal reproduction, and natural transient response. Fitted with hand-selected audio-grade parts, the amplifier delivers emotional, lifelike sound quality.
Three-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry: Most amplifiers employ a negative feedback (NFB) design that counters distortion by feeding back the opposite phase of the output signal into the input stage. Unfortunately, NFB is easily affected by inverse electromotive forces from the speakers, leading to an increase in circuit noise. Three-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry is a core Onkyo technology incorporating a low-NFB design that makes the sound more natural.
Discrete SpectraModule: Discrete SpectraModule is a separate circuit system that applies voltage to the analog audio signal before power amplification. The rate at which voltage can be applied, known as "slew rate", determines how much of the original signal bandwidth can be supplied to the power amp, and how fast the amplification system as a whole can react to dynamic changes in the signal. Fast dynamic response and lively transients (or how accurately notes stop and start and the rate of attack and decay) are vital to natural reproduction of sound and it was recorded. While many hi-fi manufacturers use mass-produced all-in-one Integrated Circuit (IC) chip to perform this task, Onkyo invested heavily in the design and manufacture of its own patented modular circuit system known as Discrete SpectraModule. The unit is capable of a slew rate in excess of 500 mV/μs, several times that of competitive products. The device ensures that the signal's entire bandwidth is supplied to the output stage circuitry, with high-voltage capability delivering instantaneous dynamic response and natural transient performance, which also leads to a more realistic soundstage and clearer instrument definition.
Customized High-Current Transformer & Custom Audio Grade Capacitors: Current has great influence on sound quality. High current is required for a better grip on the speaker transducers, improving control and accuracy. A customized high-output transformer and two huge custom capacitors inside the Onkyo A-9150 deliver current through discrete output-stage transistors that are kept cool by an aluminum heat sink. Speakers react instantly, with throw-range precisely controlled for accurate articulation even through dynamic and complex musical passages.
Hi-Grade DAC: Music on CD, as well as other high-quality digital sources, is reproduced with uncommonly high fidelity. AKM's premium 768 kHz/32-bit AK4452 digital-to-analog converter offers outstanding S/N performance, and is further enhanced with Onkyo's original DIDRC Filter technology. DIDRC Filter technology combined with a premium 768kHz/32-bit AKM DAC (AK4452), lets you enjoy a greater sense of realism from digital sources, with none of the unnatural "synthesized" feeling sometimes produced by digital processing.
DIDRC (Dynamic Intermodulation Distortion Reduction Circuitry) Filter: Since the advent of digital audio, signal-to-noise ratios have improved dramatically. However, the S/N ratio reflects static noise only, and takes no account of another type of noise that occurs as the byproduct of sound reproduction - dynamic noise. To reduce this type of noise, Onkyo has developed DIDRC technology for use in their hi-fi components. Despite being beyond the normal range of human hearing, frequencies above 100 kHz are susceptible to clock pulse and other forms of distortion from digital devices. Such distortion in the super-high-frequency range can generate "beat interference", which in turn affects the character or atmosphere of the original sound. By improving linearity and reducing distortion in the super-high frequency range, Onkyo's new DIDRC technology effectively reduces perceptible noise and delivers clearer-than-ever audio. The technology preserves the original recording's true personality without creating an unnatural "synthesized" feeling that's sometimes associated with lesser processing systems.
Phase Matching Bass Technology: The negative effects of phase-shift (or the timing difference between sound waves of different frequencies) can sometimes be heard in audio components when corners are cut in order to increase bass response. While most audio systems have some form of low-frequency enhancement system, often a bigger bass sound comes at the expense of midrange clarity, and results in a smeared or muddy sound. Onkyo's Phase-Matching Bass Boost technology avoids this problem by improving the phase timing to preserve the natural clarity of the midrange, allowing vocals and strings to shine, while maintaining a smooth, powerful bass response at all volume levels.
Solid Build Quality: Held in place by a 1.6mm full-flat chassis that tames resonance, the digital audio board is isolated from the analog circuitry. L/R channels are symmetrical to equalize signal path-lengths and minimize stereo playback errors. Coaxial digital inputs, phono input, speaker posts, and RCA line inputs are gold-plated and of excellent quality. Finished with an aluminum front-panel and volume control, the A-9150 presents as a component built to last.
Dedicated MM/MC Phono Circuit Board: The Onkyo A-9150 features a gold-plated phono input that supports signals from either MM or MC cartridges fitted to your choice of turntable. Separate phono circuit board has dedicated equalizers served by a top-quality customized head amp, which operates in discrete configuration for MC signals. Together with analog power amplification, this high-grade phono input design expresses the depth and vitality of music on vinyl.
Note: If your turntable has a built-in phono preamp that is non-defeatable, connect it to the integrated amp's analog line-level inputs (not the Phono input).
Analog Line-Level Inputs: In addition the Phono (MM/MC) input, the Onkyo A-9150 is also equipped with four gold-plated stereo RCA line-line inputs for connecting an external analog audio device. There is also a stereo RCA line-level Main input which allows the A-9150 to act as a power amplifier when connected to an external preamplifier.
Optical & Coaxial Digital Inputs: The Onkyo A-9150 Integrated Stereo Amplifier features two gold-plated coaxial (RCA) digital inputs and two optical (toslink) digital inputs that support 2Ch PCM with a maximum sampling rate of 24-bit/192kHz (not compatible with Dolby Digital or DTS).
Binding Post Speaker Terminals (A/B): The Onkyo A-9150 is outfitted with eight gold-plated, binding-post speaker terminals for connection of up to two pair of loudspeakers. The binding post terminals will accept bare wire (up to 10AWG), pin-connectors, spade-lugs, and banana plugs (single only). You can choose to connect one pair of speakers, two pair of speakers, or bi-wire a single pair of speakers. Bi-wiring uses both Speakers A and Speakers B terminals, separating the high and low frequency signals and providing improved bass and treble performance. There is an A/B speaker selector switch on the front-panel.
Note: If you use Speakers A or Speakers B, make sure to use loudspeakers with an impedance of 4-16Ω. If you use Speakers A and Speakers B, make sure to use loudspeakers with an impedance of 8-16Ω (connecting speakers with lower impedances may cause the protection circuit to activate).
Analog Line-Level Outputs: The A-9150 is outfitted with a stereo RCA Line Out and stereo RCA Preout. The stereo RCA Line Out can be connected to a recording device to record audio from on the integrate amplifier's analog line-level source inputs (1, 2, 3, or 4). The stereo RCA Preout lets you use the A-9150 as a preamplifier and connect it to a more power amplifier.
Note: Volume, Mute, Bass, Treble, and Balance are not reflected in the signal output from the integrated amp's Line Out.
Headphone Out: The Onkyo A-9150 features a front-panel 1/4" headphone jack for connection of a set of headphones, so you can listen privately to your music. When a set of headphones are connected, no sound is output from the speakers or preout jacks.
Tone Controls + Direct Mode: The Onkyo A-9150 Integrated Amplifier features Bass (100Hz), Treble (10kHz), & Balance controls that can be adjusted from the front-panel or included IR remote. The Direct Mode bypasses the Bass & Treble circuit and delivers a shorter, cleaner signal path for enhanced sound quality (Balance can still be used in Direct mode).
Remote Control: The included IR remote provides wireless operation of the Onkyo A-9150 Integrate Amplifier. By connecting an Onkyo component with an "RI" jack to the A-9150's "RI" jack using a 3.5mm minijack cable (sold separately), you can link both unit's power and input selection, while enabling operation from the A-9150's remote controller.
Auto Standby: When the Auto Standby function is activated, the integrated amplifier will automatically enter Standby mode if there is no operation for 20 minutes with no audio signal input.
Our Product Research Team
At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.
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