ONKYO A-9030


Integrated amplifiers

Onkyo A-9030 is – at least by its looks – a typical Japanese amplifier with typical Japanses functionalities, similar to what Marantz, Denon, Sony or Pioneer offer. Where it goes apart from the aforementioned competitors is how it sounds - it is one of the best sounding entry-level amps.

Function and form

Ease of use

The impression of rather standard industrial steel chassis is much improved by a beautifully finished aluminum front panel, that hosts all necessary controls: a large volume knob in the center, tone and balance corrections (defeatable by DIRECT button), an input selection button, and one specialty of Onkyo, a Phase Matching Bass button.

The amplifier provides 2x65W into 8 ohms and uses what Onkyo calls WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology), which means minimum negative feedback, plus each circuit has a separate link to the power supply. This helps to cancel individual circuit noise and keep the ground potential free of distortion. High Current Capability (HICC) should better manage speaker impedance fluctuations, which can negatively affect performance.

The rear panel features two sets of speaker terminals (A/B), 4 single ended inputs (no XLR on this amplifier), an Auto Stand-by switch, and a phono output that supports MM cartridges. The A-9030 also supports headphones via a jack on its fascia, plus you can also use its pre-out output to connect a subwoofer (or a power amplifier). Contrary, it does not provide USB connection capability. The power cord is fixed.

Bass management


The bottom end of the A-9030 is tuneful and not exhibiting. It lays solid foundations to music without trying to get too much attention. Saying it is a ’lighter’ sounding amplifier would be incorrect – when I listened to Respighi’s Pines of Rome (Louis Lane, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on Telarc) the bass was full fledged and astonishingly articulated. It provided to me a lot of smacks and whams and made music be more dynamic and alive.

The Phase matching Bass button on the Onkyo’s fascia replaces usual Loudness boost, however improved. Onkyo explains that „While most audio systems have some form of low-frequency enhancement system, often a bigger bass sound comes at the expense of mid-range clarity, and results in a smeared or muddy sound. Our Phase-Matching Bass Boost technology avoids this problem by improving the phase timing to preserve the natural clarity of the mid-range - allowing vocals and strings to shine - while maintaining a smooth, powerful bass response at all volume levels.“

What I can say is that during my late night listening sessions, when the house went quiet and the listening volume decreased, by pushing the PMB button the music was not robbed of the articulation and tonal balance – I really found the PMB system not to be intrusive and I did not feel guilty for using it.

Clarity & delicacy


The Onkyo A-9030 quite skillfully balances on the edge of smoothness and the open and lively sound. The budget amplifiers are usually either veiled and muffled sounding, or they try to be overly analytical to the extent of stringency and steeliness. The Onkyo was like a good friend – it gave me a lot of information and I liked to spend time with it. The sound was non-fatiguing but it gave a sense of quickness, speed and liveliness that was startling. With live recordings there was the "you are there" feeling with quick and sharp transients and tons of dynamic shifts, both macro and micro.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

The Onkyo was one of the very few budget amplifiers that convinced me tonally. Like most of the Japanese audio i tis slightly on the warm side of neutrality. Thus the crashes of cymbals were enough metallic, yet they had the wonderful silky sheen, not unlike much more expensive Reimyo or Luxman amps. Smaller vocal textures, like ff or fff had a good sense of leading and trailing correctness, without any hint of sharpness or harshness in the upper frequencies This may be extremely useful especially if the Onkyo is paired with todays low-cost speakers that often sound too bright.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

When I listened to the interplay of voices in a vocal ensemble (Nordic Voices, Lamentations), I could hear very good separation of the voices in a tad more compact soundstage, where reverberations were less apparent, contours slightly blurred and dynamics flatter than with my reference amplifiers – but I have to mind you that with my amps are 60-times more expensive. For its asking price the Onkyo A-9030 is one of the best entry-level amplifiers I have ever auditioned.

Price as reviewed:11 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

CPT Praha, Praha, tel. +420 283 842 120

Associated components

  • Sources: C.E.C. TL 51XR, Audionet VIP G3
  • Amplifier: Mark Levinson No.326S, Mark Levinson No.432
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Kubala-Sosna Emotion, Audionet C100
  • Loudspeakers: Revel Ultima Studio2
  • Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2, Gigawatt LC-2



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