Mellifluous, Natural, Clean and Musical Sound
Dec 31, 2005 (Updated Dec 31, 2005)
a Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Sounds good on its' own - sweet with natural detail, good value, operation, coaxial output
Cons:The last half octave of bass is subdued, but, only critcal listening reveals any difference.
The Bottom Line: Very good sound quality on a wide range of music. Smooth, low-noise operation and CD changer convenience. Well built.
Santa brought me this six-disc changer to replace an aging Marantz 63SE single-disc player (entry-level hifi in its day) that, only since then, has finally given up the ghost.
Recommend this product?
Sound/wise the first thing I noticed, right out of the box, was the relatively closed in highs. But, after about 4 or 5 hours about 95% of that had dissipated and after a couple of days it seemed to open up altogether.
The second thing I noticed was how much of a step up this player's sound was overall. The general impression for me was of a mellifluous, clean and musical presentation that was very natural. Its best trait was heard most plainly in massed strings and brass. The sound was smooth while giving up absolutely nothing in detail. Whether strings or brass, the sound was pleasingly smooth, but still had sufficient bite when called for. Also, there was a fair amount of air around the instruments. Electric guitars and piano seemed solid and pure. Basically, a refreshing lack of digital glare - more so than I've heard in my system in the past - unexpected, for so little green.
Thirdly, was the bass, which a different animal than what I had been accustomed to. I've had players with better deep bass extension than the Onkyo, but they were much less controlled down low. The mid bass of the Onkyo is fairly robust - that, along with its overall slightly full and slightly fat bass character from about 30Hz on up, makes for convincing heft. But, the deepest bass, from about 25Hz on down, is all but missing-in-action - but, I don't think casual listening will reveal the difference on at least 95% of the music material out there - even classical. I have full range speakers, but, if your system doesn't go truly deep, this shouldn't ever be an issue at all. Also, after a week's worth of playing, the bass dynamics somehow seems to have caught up to my expectations - believable and convincing, now. In any case, the difference, fresh from the box, was relatively slight.
Lastly, sound/wise, sound staging was at least as good as I've enjoyed in the past, and I've had no reason to complain, then or now.
The remote, like so many of them any more, is a bit of a pain. Although the layout is o.k., the buttons are all the the same tiny size, shape and color - and the print is even tinier. Good luck with that.
I used to have a Pioneer laserdisc/CD changer whose carousel made enough noise to wake the dead. It was kind of slow, too. Random play wasn't often invoked. I can't say the Onkyo is silent - what changer is? - but, no matter how idle the conversation in your room may get, this mechanism isn't likely to distract at all. Oh, btw, I'd read too many horror stories online about trying to save a few bucks by buying reconditioned "B" stock. I bought factory fresh (without extended warranty) and I suspect you should do the same, as I have had no hint of trouble.
As an audiophile, I will some day opt for a high quality DAC to go with this Onkyo, thanks to its coaxial output, but, in the meantime, I'm more than satisfied with this changer's sound quality, build, operation and features for the amount of time it may take to scratch up enough dough for that. Very recommended.
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