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Another Unjustified Claim That The New Onkyos Are Underpowered


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#1 of 72 OFFLINE   Chuck C

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Posted June 25 2001 - 04:48 PM

This person seems to think the new Onkyos are underpowered because they are 1) lighter than their predecessors and 2) the S&V article has got the consumer convinced that their is a serious problem with the amp selection.

Here's the post (from ar.com):

WARNING!!!!

Unfortunately, Onkyo went cheap on the poweramp section of the receivers it released this spring (2001). This applies to the 494, 595, and 696 (as well as the Integra 5.2 and 6.2). The new models all weigh significantly LESS than the models they replace. And the new models have a impedance switch on the back which is another bad sign.

Onkyo wants people to believe these new models have more power than their predecessors. Maybe they do have more power into 8 ohms with one channel driven. But check out Stereo Review's Sound and Vision magazine - July/August 2001. They tested the 696 model, and discovered it only puts out 74 watts into a 4 ohm load - one channel driven @ 1Khz. This is 1/2 of the 8 ohm power. Healthy poweramp sections should put out MORE power into lower impedances. Also, with 5 channels driven at the same time, the output is only 46 watts (8 ohms @ 1KHz). And it doesn't matter how you have the impedance switch set -- it still limits the 4 ohms power output by about 50%.

These results for the 696 are worse than the results for 575 and 474 models which were reviewed in previous issues.

And I'm sure the new 595 is worse than the new 696. (but probably not much worse as it's only about 2 lbs less)

Onkyo is misleading people with their power output specifications in these new models.

It's sad because I went to a local dealer who carried the Onkyo 696 as well as the Harman Kardon AVR-510. They were both the same price, and he said "the Harman Kardon is overpriced". I said "why is that?". He replied "it's only 70 watts x 5, vs. the 100 watts x 5 of the Onkyo". Little did he know that the HK 510 weighs about 9 lbs more than the Onkyo! and the HK has more than double the power into a 4 ohm load and more power with 5 channels driven. The HK is a true high current amp unlike the new Onkyo's.

But Onkyo is smart with their marketing. Their new receivers will be an easier sell, with the inflated power specs.

http://www.audiorevi....ct_50647.shtml

So new Onkyo owners and experts, what the frig?




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#2 of 72 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted June 25 2001 - 04:59 PM

Has this been independently confirmed, with the appropriate test equipment?
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

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#3 of 72 OFFLINE   matt smithy

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Posted June 25 2001 - 05:03 PM

I am thinking of buying the new 595 one but i dont eant to if it is underpowered.

#4 of 72 OFFLINE   JohanK

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Posted June 25 2001 - 05:27 PM

I'm not gonna tackle the S/V specs but the weight issue is something that one can speculate about.

Thinking out loud, it seems reasonable to suggest that the 3 largest factors in the weight of a receiver are chassis, power transformer and heatsinks, respectively. I would think the inclusion of the 4/8 ohm switch is consistent with the heatsink area being reduced (so the UL/CS rating can be obtained). The power drop issue seems to point to a 'too small' or lighter transformer (since the 'power drop' occurred with switch at 8 ohms also (hope I read that correctly)). This is just speculation anyway, so I'll shut up now.

[quote]

...and the HK has more than double the power into a 4 ohm load and more power with 5 channels driven. The HK is a true high current amp unlike the new Onkyo's.

[quote]

Sounds like an HK ad, no?

(I'm sure HK receivers are fine pieces of gear (I have a HK amplifier myself) but this sounds too much like marketing dribble, IMHO.)

Anyway, if one is happy with their receiver, then why worry about someone else's opinion?

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#5 of 72 Guest_MaxY_*

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Posted June 25 2001 - 06:40 PM

While I don't want to tackle an article I have not read I can say one thing.

It is very Common in this industry for Companies to over inflate Wattage Figures!!

You want an interesting example just look at the way Yamaha rate the Same receiver differently depending on wether it gets the RX-V name plate (More accurate and lower numbers) or gets the HTR Nameplate (Over inflated less accurate) Now we are talking about the same exact unit.

They Measure the RX-V with a 20hz-20khz signal which will produce a lower yet more accurate number.

They measure the HTRs with a 1khz signal which gives them a higher rating number that is less accurate.

We are talking about units that the only difference is the color of the lettering on the front and the number.

Now back to Onkyo
I don't know how much this has to do with this but...

This guy has an Integra 7.1 unit made by Onkyo and is having problems with the kind of pops you get from using an underpowered amp.
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#6 of 72 OFFLINE   Scott Strang

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Posted June 25 2001 - 06:41 PM

Given Sound & Vision's origin, I would suggest that the reason that sample got a bad review is due to one or both of the following: 1 Onkyo won't buy as many ad's as before and S/V's management is pissed about it. 2 The review sample had something wrong with it. I find it hard to believe that Onkyo is willing to go the same route as Sony, Kenwood, etc. and risk tarnishing their good name. Sony and Kenwood apparently didn't care or think that it would make a difference. I stress to anyone who reads the article in S/V to consider the source. Sound & Vision = Stereo Review; that's enough for me. ------------------ All work and no play is good for you; helps build character.

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Posted June 25 2001 - 07:13 PM

Just went and Dug up S&V and checked it out.

They are claiming the unit drops to under 50 wpc when 5 channels are driven. The specs on their wattage is with a 1khz signal @ 8ohms rather then a full range 20hz-20khz signal which would actually make the number go lower then that.

S&V has a Bad Unit or Onkyo is going to an extreme that has never before been seen when it comes to over-rating amps.

I suspect that the truth is somewhere inbetween. My Bet is that Onkyo made a batch or maybe even all of them with a serious problem with the amps. They may not realize how serious the problem is yet.

I can also say that unless S&V made a typo then a statement like that would wind them up in a legal battle because if it is not true this would be a true case of liable.


One way or the other I would be very leary of purchasing one of these units or it's Integra match until you knew for sure what the real story was.

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#8 of 72 OFFLINE   Jeremy Anderson

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Posted June 25 2001 - 08:28 PM

From the SPECIFICATIONS page of the 696's manual: "Continuous Average Power output (FTC) All channels: 100W per channel min. RMS at 8 ohms, 2 channels driven from 20Hz to 20kHz with no more than 0.08% harmonic distortion." Now here's my question... It says ALL CHANNELS... but then it says 2 CHANNELS DRIVEN. So how in the hell did they actually rate this thing? It can't just be in stereo, because further down the page it says DYNAMIC POWER OUTPUT (STEREO): 2 x 115 W at 8 ohms. And what is DAMPING FACTOR: 60 at 8 ohms? It's all so damnably confusing! Either way, I'm replacing my JVC RX-778VBK with the Onkyo 595 this week. It's bound to be better than not having DTS!

#9 of 72 OFFLINE   Jim_C

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Posted June 25 2001 - 08:38 PM

>>You want an interesting example just look at the way Yamaha rate the Same receiver differently depending on wether it gets the RX-V name plate (More accurate and lower numbers) or gets the HTR Nameplate (Over inflated less accurate) Now we are talking about the same exact unit. They Measure the RX-V with a 20hz-20khz signal which will produce a lower yet more accurate number. They measure the HTRs with a 1khz signal which gives them a higher rating number that is less accurate.<< I'm not sure about this but I was under the impression that certain types of distribution chains require certain types of ratings. IOW, I believe that the HTR line has to use the 1Khz rating method to be able to sell in mass market chains like Sears and Best Buy. Places like Tweeter, which sells the RX-V line, use the full 20hz-20Khz rating method. I'm not sure why this is the case (it doesn't make much sense to me) but I have read this in numerous threads. Perhaps this is why they are rated differently. Other than this the two lines are virtually identical. Same parts, same amps, etc. There's an section in the FAQ's on the Yamaha website that talks about this. FWIW... ------------------ You want to upgrade again?!!
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#10 of 72 OFFLINE   Bhagi Katbamna

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Posted June 25 2001 - 08:48 PM

"Wanna Know why? Because the Mags are a bunch of Chicken Sh#ts that fear angering advertisers and getting sued. They would sooner lie to the public then condemn an advertisers product." Completely agree. This month's Stereophile has a review by Sam Tellig of an Audio Physic and a B&W speaker. They are both priced within $200-$300 of each other (between $2500 and $2800). A reader would have the reasonable expectation that he would like one of them better. I am sure he did like one of them better. Cannot see anywhere in the entire article where he says which one is better or which one he likes better.
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#11 of 72 OFFLINE   JohanK

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Posted June 25 2001 - 08:48 PM

[quote]

"Continuous Average Power output (FTC)
All channels: 100W per channel min. RMS at 8 ohms, 2 channels driven from 20Hz to 20kHz with no more than 0.08% harmonic distortion."

So how in the hell did they actually rate this thing?

[quote]

You would read the rating as: all channels can put out 100W @ 8 ohms with <= .08% THD from 20Hz to 20kHz when using two channels during the testing.

115W dynamic power for a 100W RMS amp is not too high...translates to .6 dB dynamic headroom (using dB = 10 log (115/100) ). Damping factor is ratio of speaker impedance to an amp's output impedance...it is supposedly a measure of how well an amp can control a speaker's drivers (woofers in particular since tweets are relatively easy to control). 60 is not a high figure; whether or not damping factor is important is of some dispute but I've read in an amp design book that 150 @ 8 ohms is a nice figure to obtain.



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#12 of 72 OFFLINE   Jeremy Anderson

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Posted June 25 2001 - 09:08 PM

Max, see my post in that thread you linked for what is the most likely explanation for that guy's Integra problems. I'm 99.9% that his problem is driver bottoming from the extreme bass of Toy Story 2's intro, and not any weakness of the receiver or the Polk RT2000p's powered subs.

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Posted June 26 2001 - 05:13 AM

Jeremy,
That does sound like a good way to explain that guys problem. Not everybody is having it though.


It does not explain how S&V tested the unit in question hear and found that it was only putting out a measly 50 wpc @ 8ohms with a 1khz signal with 5 channels driven.

I would like to see what Onkyo has to say about that?

Max

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#14 of 72 Guest_MaxY_*

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Posted June 26 2001 - 06:10 AM

Jeremy,
Don't know if you have continued to watch that other thread but it seems someone posted to it and said they had the same problem with the same Sub as you did on TS II. They said it turned out there was something wrong with the amp in the sub and Polk replaced it and the problem went away.

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#15 of 72 OFFLINE   chris c

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Posted June 26 2001 - 06:12 AM

"I stress to anyone who reads the article in S/V to consider the source. Sound & Vision = Stereo Review; that's enough for me." While I agree that both journals are pretty much worthless, I think you have your logic backwards. Stereo Review is the magazine that liked everything and never seemed to be able to tell a difference between anything (soundwise anyway). So, if they have a problem with an entry-level receiver I would be very afraid. FWIW I used to have an Onkyo and it blew up. Seriously. A friend had two of them fail. Maybe Houston gets the lemons?

#16 of 72 OFFLINE   Bob_M

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Posted June 26 2001 - 06:24 AM

>It does not explain how S&V tested the unit in question hear and found that it was only putting out a measly 50 wpc @ 8ohms with a 1khz signal with 5 channels driven.< Maybe 50 Watts is all you need. Say the ratings came back at 80 Watts would everyone be happy? What would that worked out two 1-2 dbs more. I do here what you all are saying but the public is demanding more and more fetures into these guys and they want the price to stay the same. Corners needs to be cut somewhere and power is a good place considering most people are using sub/sats with all spekers set to small. The noise result were all good if I remember correctly so sound quality has been maintained. Bob

#17 of 72 OFFLINE   John-D

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Posted June 26 2001 - 06:42 AM

The only thing that intrigues me is that how people will go at lenghts quoting S&V measured ratings when they are favourable and once they come up with something like this, all sorts of doubts are being cast at the testing method. While I agree it's extremely unusual to think that Onkyo would come short of their rated power; their units have been one of the few that give very close to rated outputs when tested independently, it seems like Onyo's given in to the low-fi market demand. Onkyo seems to have chosen to compete with Kenwood, SONY and Yamaha HTR's instead of HK and NAD.. at least at that price pint. I was alarmed to see the 4/8 switch and total weight figures when the 595 was released. I've had people snub me at this board for warning prospective buyers of mating these new receivers with low efficiency speakers. Nothing against Onkyo, I'm an Integra owner myself, but times are changing, maybe Onkyo is keeping up. That said, the 575x and even the 575 are one hell of a buy right now... unless of course DPL-II is a must have for you. ------------------ The things we own end up owning us
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Posted June 26 2001 - 07:05 AM

[quote]

Maybe 50 Watts is all you need. Say the ratings came back at 80 Watts would everyone be happy? What would that worked out two 1-2 dbs more. I do here what you all are saying but the public is demanding more and more fetures into these guys and they want the price to stay the same. Corners needs to be cut somewhere and power is a good place considering most people are using sub/sats with all spekers set to small. The noise result were all good if I remember correctly so sound quality has been maintained.

[quote]


Bob,
Interesting response there.

First off you seem to be thinking in terms of Watts=Volume and while there is some truth to the statement...

The biggest reason to want higher power ratings is not to increase the level of volume possible, instead it is to increase the quality of the sound at a given volume.


Now the Assumption that everyone is using Sat/Sub systems is just plain scary to me. Do you really think that the majority of people or using Sat/Sub systems? I would like to believe that the majority are at least concerned enough to be using Bookshelf sized speakers or better.

Sure they may use the speaker size set to small and yes this does lighten the load on the amp but that is no excuse to undercut your rated power by 50 watts.

Max

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#19 of 72 OFFLINE   AndrewG

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Posted June 26 2001 - 07:07 AM

So what's the story new 494, 595, 696 owners? I have a 595 coming this week from J and R. I will be replacing a prologic 444 and I will be happy to report my experiences after I get a chance to do some playing around. Are there new Onkyo receiver owners who have replaced similar "reported" wattage receivers (or lower for that matter) and can report on their experiences so far. I am really hoping that S&V had a defective unit. I purchased the 595 because I expected an Onkyo reported 75 watts to be more than enough, although I was a little hesitant when I saw the 4/8 ohm switch. In the Onkyo literature from a few years ago they were explaining how their high current amps didn't require 4/8 switches like those found in cheaper receivers. However, I do remember that those older receivers had a problem with meeting UL specs.

I hope some new owners can shed some light on this topic, I will try as soon as I can Posted Image

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#20 of 72 Guest_MaxY_*

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Posted June 26 2001 - 07:10 AM

Jim,
That is interesting what you are saying about Mass market store requiring the 1Kz measurement instead of the much more accurate 20hz-20khz signal.

If that is the case then it appears that they have made a decsion to try and deceive the public in an indirect way. This way when JSP walks into a Mass Market place he sees high numbers and his eyes light up while he would then compare to a stereo store and could look at exactly the same unit and and think oh this one does not compare look at the low wpc rating.

This is a bothersome thing if you are correct.

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