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Onkyo A-5VL - A game changer - Page 4

post #46 of 65

@bixby, thank you for the detailed reply. 

 

When you factor in the cost of upgrading/replacing the old, dried out caps and other parts, the price on vintage gear does become quite a bit higher.

 

@xenic, I look forward to reading your impressions!

post #47 of 65

I would like to hear more impressions on this amp!

post #48 of 65

Sorry for the long wait everyone!  Mine should be delivered to me tomorrow.  I'll give it a plenty of listening time with different music and post up my impressions sometime this weekend.

post #49 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooster View Post
 

Congratulations to the OP, great find!!!

 

That looks like an outstanding product. It looks great, offers excellent flexibility and a price that makes rational sense. If you want the other side of the coin have a look at this:

 

Meridian prime headphone amplifier : https://www.meridian-audio.com/en/collections/products/prime-headphone-amplifier/41/

 

Little flexibility, a wall wart (a kings ransom will buy you a proper power supply) and a ridiculous price. The looks? I won't even go there, decide for yourself.

$1250 for additional wal mart power supply? There is even typos on the web page like this.

 

 

One is a 3.5mm stereo socket for the connection of earbuds and similar devices, which presents an output impedance of 2Ω to suit these devices. The other two sockets offer an exceptionally low impedance (around 3mΩ):basshead::basshead:

post #50 of 65

I thought about getting the A-9050 with an extra digital input, pre-outs, subwoofer out and remote standby power and input selection. The specifications between the A-5VL and theA-9050 are a bit odd here. The smaller and less powerful A-5VL is 6 pounds heavier than the A-9050? The A-9050 has less power at 4 ohms vs. 8 ohms? The A-5VL has power ratting for 2 ohms the A-9050 does not. That means that the A-5VL has good power reserves. While I noticed a few users complaining about hum on the A-5VL I can see that there are two big transformers for the A-5VL at the front not in the back. For a digital amp the power supply size and weight is surprising on the A-5VL.


Edited by john57 - 12/22/13 at 9:04am
post #51 of 65

Deleted.  I thought my post didn't submit, so I ended up writing it all over again and resubmitted.

Sorry!


Edited by xenic - 12/22/13 at 6:07pm
post #52 of 65

Setup

·         Headphone: Sennheiser HD 650 (stock cables, no mods)

·         DAC/Amp: Onkyo A-5VL

          Settings: S/PDIF input from desktop computer; Direct mode turned on to bypass the separate bass/treble/balance adjustment on the unit.

·         Volume:

o   Desktop S/PDIF output volume: 100 (MAX)

o   On amp: between 9 and 10 o’clock (knob starts in between 6 and 7 o’clock)

 

Pros

·         Separate dials to adjust Bass, Treble, and Balance on the fly.

·         Can act as a preamp to bookshelf speakers.

·         Has a high-quality DAC built in

·         Class D amp – very efficient and runs cool unlike most Class A amps (for every watt of output power, Class A amps usually waste at least 4-5 watts as heat)

·         Price -- at $329.95 on Amazon.com, it's hard to beat its performance and versatility at this price.

 

Cons

·         Background is not completely black at MAX volume. After pausing a song, there is white noise.  This white noise lasts about 5 to 7 seconds before completely going away.

o   At regular listening level—10 O’Clock for me—I couldn’t detect any white noise.

o   White noise may be a problem if you turn your knob past 12 O’clock, but please bear in mind that this is probably beyond the “safe listening level” that many audio products talk about.

 

Potential Issues

·         No 192.0 kHz sample rate playback (despite it being in specifications)--although, I might've not had the correct settings to run it since most my music is 44.1 kHz.

·         Barely audible hum (need to put my ears next to the unit to hear it; it's really a non-issue for most people).

 

Music Impressions

“Adagio for Strings, Op. 11a” by London Philharmonic Orchestra

·         + Lush mids and mid-lows

·         + Brings out even the subtle low bass (great extension)

    ~ The high notes between 5:30 and 6:00 don't sound as rolled off.  It may be perceived as slightly sibilant.

 

“6:00” by Dream Theater

·         + Hi-hat and snare drum really pop

·         + Bass is tight and the amp drives the song to sound very dynamic

    – Drum intro doesn't sound as good as I hoped. The soundstage feels a little confined and I don't hear the drums moving from left to right and vice versa as clearly.

 

“Darte Un Beso” by Prince Royce

·         + Great instrument separation.  You could hear all sorts of percussion instruments, guitars, and etc.

·          Again, there isn't as much left/right separation and the song can sound hectic at times.

    ~ To enjoy the song, I had to turn off "Direct" mode and lower the bass settings as the song was sounding a little muddy due to too much bass.

 

“A Woman” by Bebe Mignon

·         + Female vocal really stands out to the point where you could feel the emotions conveyed by the singer.

·         + Even the smallest details such as the vocalist's taking breath, making small noises can be heard, which was something I couldn't hear before playing it unamped.

 

“Unison (Mikkas Remix)” by Porter Robinson

·         + Amp provides an electrifying experience when listening to this song.  It offers clarity in the mids/highs and an extra oomph at the lower region to make the song sound very dynamic.

·         + All the small electrical buzzes, fizzes, and distortions can be heard clearly.

 

“Don't Know Why” by Norah Jones

·         + Let's be honest. The song sounds good even without an amp, but with the amp, it makes the song sound more personal.

·         + Vocal sounds as if it's sung directly to me.

 

 

Conclusions (Tl;dr)

·         Onkyo A-5VL is a great DAC/Headphone and Speaker Amp that offers multiple inputs and ouputs.  Considering its versatility and performance, it's surprisingly cheap ($329.95 on Amazon.com) compared to many other standalone headphone amps.  I will be returning the unit due to much needed desk space, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the unit. I think at this price, it's really hard to beat if you are looking for the most bang for your buck and need to connect headphone and speakers at the same time.

 

 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to let me know.  I'll be keeping the unit for another week or two, so use me as your resources if you are curious about anything.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

--xenic

post #53 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenic View Post  I will be returning the unit due to much needed desk space,

 

You didn't know the size of the unit and your desk before you ordered it? I hope they hit you with a hefty restocking fee.

post #54 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooster View Post
 

 

You didn't know the size of the unit and your desk before you ordered it? I hope they hit you with a hefty restocking fee.

There will be a hefty shipping cost to return a 24lb unit. Some companies like Schiit do charge a restocking fee. Some will call it a rental fee. I have no business in telling Zenic what he will do with his. I just ask for his opinion on the A-5VL.

post #55 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooster View Post
 

 

You didn't know the size of the unit and your desk before you ordered it? I hope they hit you with a hefty restocking fee.

Did I ask you to pay for any of the return shipping?  Not sure why you are so spiteful  :blink:

I'm just you're having a bad day.  Hope you feel better soon.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by john57 View Post
 

There will be a hefty shipping cost to return a 24lb unit. Some companies like Schiit do charge a restocking fee. Some will call it a rental fee. I have no business in telling Zenic what he will do with his. I just ask for his opinion on the A-5VL.

 

Yeah, if you have any questions or want me to try any specific tracks with the amp, please feel free to let me know.  I realize it's not always easy to try all these audio components, so I'll try to help if I can while I have this unit.

post #56 of 65

 

Zenic,

 

If you disconnect the input or switch to a unused input do you still hear the hiss at maximum volume? You are just using the headphone output and not using the speaker taps at all? The Sennheiser HD 650 has an impedance of 300 ohms and if you are getting good volume levels with it that usually a good sign. Therefore the headphone jack should powered low impedance headphones just fine in most cases.

Can you clarify this statement you made, “The high notes between 5:30 and 6:00 don't sound as rolled off.  It may be perceived as slightly sibilant”?

You said that the Onkyo A-5VL runs cool but do you feel any heat on top anywhere? The A-5VL being in a low profile case you should feel some heat on top.

 You did say that you heard a barely audible hum from the two large transformers in the A-5VL.  That would be another possible drawback to an amp in a low profile case. I suspect that if the A-5VL were in a large standard case like the Onkyo A-9050 you may not hear the transformer at all due to more air space distance on top of the case and less heat maybe be felt as well but it is easier for heat to escape in a low profile case.

Drum intro doesn't sound as good as I hoped. The soundstage feels a little confined and I don't hear the drums moving from left to right and vice versa as clearly.” So you saying less perceived stereo width or separation?

post #57 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by john57 View Post
 

If you disconnect the input or switch to a unused input do you still hear the hiss at maximum volume? 

 

If I disconnect the input while selecting Digital 2 (S/PDIF), I don't hear the hiss.  When I switch to Phono, I hear the hiss (and it's a lot louder than the hiss I hear from Digital 2).

 

Quote:

 Originally Posted by john57 View Post

 

You are just using the headphone output and not using the speaker taps at all?

That's correct.

 

Quote:
 Originally Posted by john57 View Post
 
Can you clarify this statement you made, “The high notes between 5:30 and 6:00 don't sound as rolled off.  It may be perceived as slightly sibilant”?

Onkyo A-5VL gives ample power to my HD 650, enough to make high notes sound full and not rolled off, which I thought it sounded before.  In fact, it drives the high notes to the point where I feel somewhat uncomfortable due to how shrilling it sounds.  This may, however, be due to how I am used to hearing all the highs rolled off before I had this amp.

 

Quote:
 Originally Posted by john57 View Post
 
 You said that the Onkyo A-5VL runs cool but do you feel any heat on top anywhere?

Of course there is heat.  But I can safely put my hand down even after 12+ hours of runtime.  It's definitely not "hot" by any means.

 

Quote:
 Originally Posted by john57 View Post
 
Drum intro doesn't sound as good as I hoped. The soundstage feels a little confined and I don't hear the drums moving from left to right and vice versa as clearly.” So you saying less perceived stereo width or separation?

Yes, I think you said it way better than me.  The stereo separation wasn't as apparent for me as I had heard before and felt as though sounds were more cramped towards the center.

post #58 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenic View Post
 

 

If I disconnect the input while selecting Digital 2 (S/PDIF), I don't hear the hiss.  When I switch to Phono, I hear the hiss (and it's a lot louder than the hiss I hear from Digital 2).

 

Onkyo A-5VL gives ample power to my HD 650, enough to make high notes sound full and not rolled off, which I thought it sounded before.  In fact, it drives the high notes to the point where I feel somewhat uncomfortable due to how shrilling it sounds.  This may, however, be due to how I am used to hearing all the highs rolled off before I had this amp.

 

Of course there is heat.  But I can safely put my hand down even after 12+ hours of runtime.  It's definitely not "hot" by any means.

 

Yes, I think you said it way better than me.  The stereo separation wasn't as apparent for me as I had heard before and felt as though sounds were more cramped towards the center.

Zenic,

 

You should not hear the hiss when you select the factory default which is CD when nothing connected to the CD input. The  A-5VL comes with shorting plugs on the phono input and should stay on until you have a turntable connected to the amp.  The A-5VL even has a Moving coil cartridge button for those turntables that uses them. It is like a pre-amp within a pre-amp. Nevertheless you will hear more hiss on the phono input as expected since the manual states 100 dB for the line inputs like the CD and 65 dB for the phono stage.

 

I wanted to say I agree mostly to what you said and I have more to say about soundstage that I wanted to share and it is not just the amp that was the issue.  I received my A-5VL two days ago by the way. I just finished recalibrating the factory setting for the DC servo control on my A-5VL. My A-5VL came with about 15mv of DC at the outputs and I was able to get a steady 6mv of DC offset at the outputs. I was able to download the service manual for the  A-5VL and I learn a few things about the amp topology that will confirm or deny a few things that some users may have about the amp.  I took some Hi-res photos of the A-5VL interior.   I also have the Emotiva Mini-x and I will compare the A-5VL to it. They are both common ground amps. These means it will be easy to use the speaker taps for my planner headphone as well. I need another DAC and the Emotiva DC-1, Audio GD compass and even the Onkyo DAC-1000S costs more. Then I said to myself why get a dedicated DAC when I can get an amp with both analog and digital inputs and have greater flexibility down the line?


Edited by john57 - 12/24/13 at 12:08am
post #59 of 65

From the service manual

 

The DAC is the   PCM1796BD pair(one for each channel)

Headphone output is using the  NJM4556 op-amp not from the main power drivers to the speakers.

Nevertheless the headphone output is very good and can drive my Fostex T50RP quite well and loud.

 Volume processor is the R2S15211FP

 Dual EI core transformer very elongated the most I have seen and there is a third smaller yellow transformer

No Toroidal transformers are used.

Digital audio driver IRS20954S specially suitable for class D operation

NE5532A I/V converter

IRFB4020 IRFB4020 TO- 220 -3 MOSFET N output driver for the speakers circuit layout seems to be DC coupled

40,000 uF of power supply storage capacitance.  TK branded capacitors, 50v or Toshin Kogyo is the manufacture. Seem to be Japanese

Very large power supply the largest I have seen for a 40 watt digital amp. Compatible to the Emotiva UPA-200 power supply. The UPA-200 has the same weight as the Onkyo A-5VL

post #60 of 65


I have shown here with a black circle is the trim pots for adjusting the DC offset at the speaker taps. Onkyo specs are for no greater than 10mv. Mine was 15mv. I readjusted to about 7mv which is the best I can do without drifting. The pots are quite touchy and should have been a multi-turn pot instead of the 340% pot as shown here. Heavy white sealant around the inductors including the white bands on the AC input inductors on the far left center. The sealant is to prevent coil "whine" noise. You can see the third yellow transformer next to the AC inductors coils, left center. It looks a bit crooked but it is mounted exactly as shown on the circuit board printed layout.

I wanted to point out that the yellow transformer gives out 15v and then goes thru a resistor divider network for 12v for the rest of amp needs.

 

You can see the two heat sinks on either side of the circuit board in the middle. You can see the output devices sandwiched between the top of the circuit board and the heatsink flange. Noticed that the heatsinks are touching the bottom of the amp case since the heatsinks themselves are small to dissipate the heat and being coupled to the bottom will help with the heat. 


Edited by john57 - 12/29/13 at 12:02pm
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