Onkyo A-5VL Integrated Stereo Amplifier
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- 40 W/Ch at 8 Ohms, 1 kHz, 2 Channels Driven, FTC
- Burr-Brown (PCM1796) 192 kHz/24-Bit D/A Converters
- 2 Digital Inputs (Optical and Coaxial)
- Bi-Amping Capability
- Compatible with RI (Remote Interactive) Dock for the iPod
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Top Customer Reviews
So here's what I did: I purchased the Wadia 170i Transport ($399) which is the only product on the market which can bypass the iPod/iPhone's internal digital audio converter and output a true digital audio output via a digital coaxial cable (it officially only support iPods, but my iPhone works fine). I plugged this digital coax cable output (included with the Wadia) into the Onkyo A-5VL ($599) and added a high quality pair of bookshelf speakers (Boston Acoustics for $600 a pair). So, it is a total of $1,600 for the whole system, but it is more flexible and MUCH, MUCH higher quality and better sounding than a B&W Zepplin or mini system and even cooler in its low profile, audiophile system approach.
When I play a recording from my iPhone (Apple lossless format is best) on this system, the sound is AMAZING and rivals even much higher priced and much larger systems. The sound is effortless and pure (especially with direct bypass of tone controls) and can be played very loudly without losing quality or becoming harsh. I listened to some songs I had listened to many, many times, on my existing mini system (and high end car system) and I heard many instruments in the background that I never noticed before, which is another true testament to high quality amplification.Read more ›
Cons: Usability, sound quality
I had the A-5VL for about two weeks before returning it. I give the A-5VL 5 stars for features. It is a relatively powerful integrated amp WITH a high quality DAC. Better quality than the DAC in your typical A/V receiver, and WAAAY better than the DAC in your computer or ipod. There are simply no other hi-fi integrated amps at this price point (or anywhere near it) that have built in DACs. From that perspective, it's a great value.
The build quality is very solid. It is a heavy unit, and feels sturdy when you handle it. The knobs move smoothly with no play.
My problem with the unit is two-fold: usability and sound.
The amp has a remote, but it literally only does one thing: controls volume. The input selector is not motorized, so the remote cannot change inputs, and the unit has no standby mode, so the remote cannot turn the unit on and off. This was pretty frustrating to me.
The main reason I returned the unit is the sound. It was too harsh for my taste. Highs were shrill, and caused listening fatigue after extended listening. Mids sounded compressed and lacked detail. I know not everyone is a fan of "warm" sound, but this was far on the other end of the spectrum. Still, I suspect it's a taste thing, and some people may like it.
For reference, my speakers are Definitive Technology Studio Monitor 350's, and my source was a computer playing CDs and lossless compressed audio via an optical connection. Since I returned the unit I have purchased a Musichall A15.2 integrated amp and 25.3 DAC. The sound is MUCH more to my liking. Warm, but not too warm, extreme amounts of detail in the mids and highs, and GREAT presence in vocals, keys, and guitar.Read more ›
I have mixed feelings about this unit. I bought it as an Amazon Warehouse Deals open box and I'm sure it was fine when it left their warehouse. But it was packed with almost comedic negligence. It was just sitting on the very bottom of a large corrugate box with some brown paper tossed on top, and as a result it arrived beaten up. The front left foot had broken off due to in-transit trauma and was loose in the container. The volume pot and integrated motor drive was pushed into the unit and rattling around free inside the amp, and of course the volume knob was running loose in the shipper. Also, the speaker posts on the back were slightly pushed in. Whoever packed this box should be taken off the line and retrained or possibly given a job in a completely different field. It's hard for me think up an excuse for work this heedless.
A lot of people would have shipped it straight back, and perhaps I should have, because this first encounter with the thing might have colored my opinion of it. However, it was open box and the only one at a great price, so I decided to see if I could work with it. I opened up the case and put the volume pot back where it belongs and pushed the speaker posts back out. And I stuck the foot back on. I'll glue it there if I keep the unit. So now it looks like new, except for the foot, but only I know about this.
None of this is the fault of the unit itself; I mention it as a caveat for anyone looking to buy open box from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
*SECOND FIRST IMPRESSIONS*
The unit itself is very heavy for its size and immensely solid feeling. Inside its clean and well laid out, but the aforementioned volume pot is held in place with bent clips rather than screws.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I originally reviewed this on B&H where I bought this system. I initially gave it 4 stars because the system is well built and produces a great sound through my JBL and paradigm... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jeff Tiemann
I am a professional classical cellist. I listen exclusively to classical music, which places high demands on audio equipment: huge and often sudden dynamic changes, complex... Read morePublished 20 months ago by CelloStrydom
You would think if the transformer has a noticeable hum the company would take care of it ! Does seem certain manufactures with many products on their line have their lemons and... Read morePublished 22 months ago by MMH
I have always been an Onkyo fan and have bought several Onkyo components over the years. This purchase was a big mistake. Read morePublished on June 21, 2014 by B. Nicodemus
It has a noticeable buzz to it which is unacceptable for what is marketed as an audiophile grade amplifier. If it weren't for the buzz, this would be a great amp.Published on May 10, 2014 by Cary Brenson
Considering its price, I think the sound is very good. However, as many people have said, there is hum from the chassis (not related with volume, and not from speaker or... Read morePublished on January 13, 2014 by Andy Yang
I purchased an Onkyo A-5VL 9 months ago and I'm quite happy with it. I wanted an integrated amp primarily for listening to music, but that could also double as a 2-channel home... Read morePublished on August 22, 2013 by Chadd
This amp has a wonderful sound, however, I just could not get over the following:
-high heat output
-lack of preouts
-lack of loudness (Onkyo... Read more
I've been involved with stereo equipment for more than 35 years, I've never come across an all out bargain like the onkyo. Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by athan4