Vintage motifs appear at the first glance at the Onkyo A-9150 integrated amplifier. The centerpiece of the component’s thick aluminum faceplate is a large volume control knob made from the same material. To the left of it are three smaller knobs – adjusting the bass/treble tone and channel balance. No buttons or menus – pure analogue. A similar façade could well have adorned an Onkyo amplifier released in the 70s of the last century – during the “golden age of Hi-Fi”.
But the continuity of generations in this model is not limited to design alone. The Onkyo A-9150 is equipped with a full-fledged phono stage, not only for MM cartridges, which is quite common in competitor amplifiers, but also for MC moving coil cartridges. The cartridge type switch is located on the front of the case. The phono stage itself, assembled on discrete elements, is placed on a separate board, while many manufacturers, in pursuit of a tick in performance characteristics, are often limited to one microcircuit on the common amplifier board. Thus, Onkyo has done full justice to the analogue audio recording format, which remains relevant today for many audiophiles and music lovers. This feature of the Onkyo A-9150 will be appreciated by music lovers who are just looking at vinyl and are not yet ready to purchase a separate high-quality phono stage.
Another feature of the Onkyo A-9150 amplifier is the presence of a DAC module that allows you to connect sources via a digital interface. There are two coaxial and two optical inputs supporting digital stream resolution up to 24 bit / 192 kHz. The DAC unit is built on the AK4452 chip from Asahi Kasei, capable of handling signals with parameters up to 32 bit / 768 kHz, widely used in the highest class audio equipment. The combination of this chip with a DIDRC filter, which makes it possible to increase linearity and minimize intermodulation distortion in the ultra-high frequency range, which translates into reduced noise and interference in the audible region, allows us to achieve the formation of the most realistic and accurate sound picture, in which there is no so-called “ “synthetic taste” characteristic of many digital sources. Having such a block in the amplifier will allow you to experiment with the DAC you are using, and perhaps give a second life to your CD player. Unfortunately, the Onkyo A-9150 DAC unit is not equipped with a USB port, which will not allow you to connect a computer as a source. Obviously, Onkyo has reserved this opportunity for its components in the higher price category.
The third feature that sets the Onkyo A-9150 apart from a number of competitors is the use of proprietary modules based on discrete Spectra Module elements for final amplification, which are distinguished by the highest slew rate of the output signal, reaching a level of 500 V/μs, and an almost flat amplitude-frequency response in the frequency range up to 1 MHz. Moreover, the A-9150 became the first Onkyo component built on these modules. In addition to this amplifier, the new Onkyo Discrete Spectra Module is used in the top models of KAWAI digital pianos.
It is impossible not to mention with kind words the ergonomics of the amplifier’s patch panel. Gold-plated connectors are spaced far apart, making it easy to connect the thickest interconnects, and serious screw-type acoustic terminals make it easy to clamp large-diameter cables. Moreover, like its ancestors from the 70s, the amplifier is equipped with two groups of terminals A and B with the possibility of both simultaneous operation (for example, when connecting speaker systems with two pairs of cables – bi-wiring) and switching between two pairs of speakers. You just need to make sure that in the first case, the nominal resistance of each of the two pairs of speakers is not lower than 8 Ohms.
The Onkyo A-9150 integrated amplifier is equipped not only with an output from pre-amp stages, allowing the use of external amplification or active speaker systems if necessary, but also with a separate power amplifier input, facilitating the integration of the component into a multi-channel home theater audio system. Such an input may be necessary if the speakers of a stereo system simultaneously serve as the front pair in a home theater. To avoid switching speaker cables when switching from listening to music to watching a movie, just connect the low-level output of the front channels of an AV receiver or theater processor to this input of the integrated amplifier. In addition to increasing convenience, this solution will relieve the load on the AV receiver’s power supply, which will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the quality of movie soundtracks. The Onkyo A-9150 is equipped with a neat, stylish remote control, and from it you can control not only the amplifier, but also various sources produced by Onkyo.
The presentation of musical material on the Onkyo A-9150 is distinguished by a combination of precise stage design and extraordinary airiness of the sound with a solid and at the same time fast bass register, carefully emphasizing the rhythmic basis of the compositions. The device has no genre preferences – the amplifier transmits the energy and viscous rhythm of heavy blues as easily and expressively as the polyphony of a symphony orchestra or catchy electronic passages. The music scene not only expands beyond the stereo frame, but also has high vertical resolution. The good power supply of the Onkyo A-9150 ensures thorough processing of the entire frequency range in the most intense moments of musical compositions. The bass remains clearly defined and elastic even in the lower part of the spectrum, and the highs delight with crystal clarity and excellent detail.
Onkyo A-9150 Specifications
Rated output power 2 x 60 W (4 ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 channels loaded, IEC)
Harmonic distortion 0.08% (20 Hz – 20 kHz, rated power)
Damping factor 80 (8 ohms, 1 kHz)
Input sensitivity/input impedance 200 mV/220 kohms (line input), 4 mV/47 kohms (MM phono input), 0.4 mV/120 ohms (MC phono input)
Output Sensitivity/Output Impedance 0.2V/2.3kΩ (Line Out), 1V/500Ω (Pre Out)
Frequency Response 10Hz – 100kHz (+1dB, -3dB, LINE 1 Input, Direct Mode )
Tone control ± 10 dB, 100 Hz (LF), ± 10 dB, 10 kHz (HF)
Signal-to-noise ratio 107 dB (line input LINE 1), 82 dB (MM-phono stage), 73 dB (MC-phono stage)
Speaker impedance 4 – 16 ohms (A or B), 8 – 16 ohms (A + B)
Headphone jack output impedance 390 ohms
Built-in AKM AK4452 DAC (32-bit/768 kHz)
Phono preamplifier for MM and MC cartridges
The amplifier topology uses a three-stage amplification circuit based on Darlington transistors yes
Direct mode turns off timbres for a cleaner, more natural sound
Phase Matching Bass function enhances the bass and does not introduce distortion into the midrange
Inputs 4 linear RCA, MM/MC phono preamplifier connectors, Main In for direct end section access, 2 coaxial (24 bit/192 kHz), 2 optical (24 bit/192 kHz)
6.3 mm headphone outputs, fixed line RCA, Pre Out (RCA)
Others 3.5 mm jack RI for connection via the system bus, ground terminal
Power supply custom high-current transformer, two custom capacitors with a capacity of 10000 uF
Power consumption 160 W, standby: 0.2 W
Remote control RC-959S, universal
Speaker output 4 pairs of high-quality gold-plated screws terminals
Dimensions (WxHxD) 435x139x331 mm
Weight 9.2 kg