• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Is the difference between digital and stereo that much?

Earl

Standard Member
I have been looking at getting an Onkyo A-9377. It is an integrated stereo amplifier. While looking at it on the Onkyo website, I had a wee browse through their other products, and came across the A-933. It's similar to the other model, except that it is a digital amplifier.

Now, I doubt that anything would change my mind on getting the A9377, as it is just about in my budget, but i was just curious as to the difference in quality between the variations. Would the differnce between stereo and digital really be that obvious?
 

sanejo

Established Member
I assume you are referring to DAB? DAB is still stereo but has an enhanced channel list. DAB is also stereo for all channels, i.e. Radio 5 live is stereo not AM mono.

Personally I would not buy any product that did not have a DAB tuner. The analogue signal will be around for a while, but it is possible that anything you buy now has the potential to be around for longer. You're going to buy a fairly significant built in redundancy.
 

Gadgetcity

Established Member
I have been looking at getting an Onkyo A-9377. It is an integrated stereo amplifier. While looking at it on the Onkyo website, I had a wee browse through their other products, and came across the A-933. It's similar to the other model, except that it is a digital amplifier.

Now, I doubt that anything would change my mind on getting the A9377, as it is just about in my budget, but i was just curious as to the difference in quality between the variations. Would the differnce between stereo and digital really be that obvious?

Your question makes no sense. They are both stereo amps. The A-933 is analogue in and analogue out. Don't get confused by the word 'digital'. It is being used as a buzz word in this context.
 

jdp1962

Established Member
The Onkyo A-933 is an analogue stereo amplifier, as Gadgetcity explains. I can't even find an A-9377. What is it?
 

Earl

Standard Member
Lol, i did that myself. many times!

It's just, that there seems to be, at least, about a £150 difference between them, and the difference appears minimal
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Looks like you are paying extra for the subwoofer preout and 10 wpc less on the A-933 :thumbsdow

You're right to stick wth your original choice
 

Earl

Standard Member
and the 9377 has a pre out which, unless i'm mistaken, can be used on a subwoofer anyway!
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member

scorpion88

Established Member
The direct answer is no.:rolleyes:
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
LOL yes - No!

but a sub can be added via a different route
 

S Bibby

Established Member
Your question makes no sense. They are both stereo amps. The A-933 is analogue in and analogue out. Don't get confused by the word 'digital'. It is being used as a buzz word in this context.

Onkyo do make Digital Amps but I've never heard one - the specs don't seem that bad but I've read that they have problems with distortion.

Onkyo A-9555 - Integrated Digital Amplifier | Model Information | Onkyo USA Home Theater Products

Up to now, Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) has been used as an efficient method of amplifying audio signals. Theoretically, this method should result in accurate analogue-to-digital conversion. In reality, a digital amplifier generates a lot of “noise spikes” from sources external to the modulator circuitry.

Source - Onkyo Europe - Imaginative Sight & Sound
 

scorpion88

Established Member
Have a look at some reviews of Onkyo digital amps - they sound pretty good.

Here's one.

Nick

Have you ever heard a sample? they are abslutely awful and shame on you for suggesting such an abomination. Their analogue amps (both stereo and home cinema) are bad enough to be thrown straight into a skip and not even worth re-cycling if that's possible. Please OP do not buy an Onkyo but if you do don't blame me

Scorpion
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
Have you ever heard a sample? they are abslutely awful and shame on you for suggesting such an abomination. Their analogue amps (both stereo and home cinema) are bad enough to be thrown straight into a skip and not even worth re-cycling if that's possible. Please OP do not buy an Onkyo but if you do don't blame me
Scorpion
I sold an Integra class D power amp (much the same thing as above) a couple of weeks ago, and I have an Onkyo AV amplifier for review at the moment.

When you say bad, awful, etc, do you mean the A-933 that the OP was asking about, or the A-9555 I linked, or something else?

Nick
 
Last edited:

Earl

Standard Member
scorpion.

sort of off my own topic then, but what would you recommend, that would offer the same as the 9377.(phono, pre outs etc), for a budget of about £250

earl
 

scorpion88

Established Member
I sold an Integra class D power amp (much the same thing as above) a couple of weeks ago, and I have an Onkyo AV amplifier for review at the moment.

When you say bad, awful, etc, do you mean the A-933 that the OP was asking about, or the A-9555 I linked, or something else?

Nick

As far as I am concerned Onkyo gear is not in the same league as for example; Marantz, Yamaha, Denon, Sony, Nad, Harman Kardon etc etc.

They are just over-hyped tanks of machines with over exagerated specs, loads of unwanted features, so hot you could (almost literally) fry an egg on their top casing, ugly as Deirdre Barlow but nonetheless popular mainly because of WHF which gave every new product 5*.

The OP is much better getting a traditional integrated amp with an external DAC if necessary. Of course if he has a decent source such as the Oppo 980 (see link) that will be unnecessary IMO.

Oppo DV-980H Universal DVD player: Audio Performance Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

Thankfully times have changed.

Stephen:devil:
 

scorpion88

Established Member
scorpion.

sort of off my own topic then, but what would you recommend, that would offer the same as the 9377.(phono, pre outs etc), for a budget of about £250

earl

I would have no idea without auditioning first. I never recommend before listening do you? If I may say so your budget may be rather limited for a quality machine with all those features with that meagre budget.

All the Best

scorpion
 

Earl

Standard Member
well. As of yet, I wouldn't recommend anything, as i'm very much a newbie to all this.
Basically, at the minute i'm doing my research into the area: trying to get as much info as i can before buying the best i can with the budget i have.
 

scorpion88

Established Member
I sold an Integra class D power amp (much the same thing as above) a couple of weeks ago, and I have an Onkyo AV amplifier for review at the moment.

When you say bad, awful, etc, do you mean the A-933 that the OP was asking about, or the A-9555 I linked, or something else?

Nick

As far as I am concerned Onkyo gear is not in the same league as for example; Marantz, Yamaha, Denon, Sony, Nad, Harman Kardon etc etc.

They are just over-hyped tanks of machines with over exagerated specs, loads of unwanted features, so hot you could (almost literally) fry an egg on their top casing, ugly as Deirdre Barlow but nonetheless popular mainly because of WHF which gave every new product 5*.

The OP is much better getting a traditional integrated amp with an external DAC if necessary. Of course if he has a decent source such as the Oppo 980 (see link) that will be unnecessary IMO.

Oppo DV-980H Universal DVD player: Audio Performance Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

Thankfully times have changed.

Stephen:devil:
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Easy scorpion.. easy!

I think much the same as you with regards to onkyo, but dammm!!! Down Boy:rotfl:

Have a look at the HK980 or HK3490 which actually has digital inputs
 

scorpion88

Established Member
Easy scorpion.. easy!

I think much the same as you with regards to onkyo, but dammm!!! Down Boy:rotfl:

Have a look at the HK980 or HK3490 which actually has digital inputs

You are right Don. I actually own the HK980 which I am blasting out right now.

However, I do not withdraw my remarks about Onkyo.;)

Cheers Mate

Scorpion
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
They are just over-hyped tanks of machines with over exagerated specs, loads of unwanted features, so hot you could (almost literally) fry an egg on their top casing, ugly as Deirdre Barlow but nonetheless popular mainly because of WHF which gave every new product 5*.

The OP is much better getting a traditional integrated amp with an external DAC if necessary.
Unless I've completely misunderstood, I think that's all that Earl was asking for - a reasonably priced stereo amp, nothing more.

In the reference to a digital amp, that meant a switching amplifier, as opposed to a linear amplifier. It was nothing to do with digital inputs, which are (fortunately) still fairly rare with stereo amps.

I wonder what you're talking about with specs, features and appearance? Which amps do you personally have direct experience of?

Cheers, Nick
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I think Nick Peacock is right. We are comparing two very straight forward stereo amplifiers.

Though I don't know much about the internal workings of a digital amp, I know that, much like switching power supplies, digital amps are very efficient. That is good for the manufacturer, but not necessarily good for the consumer. It means smaller heat sinks and smaller power supplies for the manufacturing process. But, for the consumer the results are variable. Some digital amps sound fine, others, not so much.

I think in at digital amp, but remember my knowledge is limited, the analog signal is changed into a pulse train, where the pulse width and amplitude reflect the original signal. That pulse train is then, later on converted back to analog on the output.

This is the same principle in switching power supplies. If you ever lifted any old electronic equipment, you know they weigh roughly the equivalent of a boat anchor. That is because of the linear (think analog) power supplies. Switching or digital pulse power supplies can use much smaller and lighter transformers to yeild the same power as an linear power supply.

Lower cost, lower heat, but equal power. Very efficient.

I suspect the same principle has been applied to digital amps. They have found a way to make the power output of the amp variable in proportion to the input signal, but to use less power along the way.

This description is more of an illustration, than an example, but I think it servers the purpose.

Now there are some hardcore Old-School people out there who simple would not have a digital amplifier, but I say, give a listen and if you like what you hear, then problem solved. I'm personally uneasy about them, but if I heard one I liked, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

I think Onkyo has a problem with the Continuous FTC/RMS power rating. It is indeed the most difficult. In Europe, Onkyo is not real forth coming with their power ratings. Rather than continuous, the use DIN and EIA, as well as Dynamic Power ratings. Those number tend to be very high because they are easier power tests. But, they also reflect more real world listening situations, where as the more standard FTC/RMS does not reflect actual listening.

So, you need to read the power specs very carefully on the Onkyo's.

For example, the Onlyo A-9377 is 90w to 4 ohms (EIA), and 80w to 8 ohms Dynamic. Which implies about 40w to 50w by an estimated continuous standard to 8 ohms. That is still decent power.

However the Digital A-933 is 80w to 8 ohms (DIN), and 110w to 8 ohms Dynamic Power. That makes this a more powerful amp than the A-9377. Not hugely more powerful, but definitely more. I'm guessing something in the 50w to 60w range, though I can't be sure. Remember, Dynamic Power best reflects actual music listening.

Keep in mind, I'm not criticizing Onkyo amps. I've got an older TX-8011 Receiver which is about 50w channel. I'm very happy with it, and got it for a very fair price.

So, in general, the Digital A-933 is a more powerful amp, and cost roughly £400 to £500. The Analog A-9377 is a less powerful amp and cost roughly £300.

It you need the power, and like the sound, and can afford the extra money, there is nothing wrong with the Digital amp. In terms of features, the A-933 doesn't appear to have tone controls, but a small panel flips down to reveal tone and speaker switch controls.

Again, I would ignore the Digital aspect, and concentrate on cost, sound, and features. But also look at other amps you can get for the same price.

NAD, Cambridge Audio, and Marantz are good alternatives in that price range. Also, at closer to £600, the Rotel RA-06SE. Near £500, you should be able to get more powerful amps in the roughly 70w continuous to 100w continuous to 8 ohms.

At closer to £300, the 50w/ch continuous to 8 ohms NAD C326 is extremely highly rated.

If you are by chance looking for a high value amp, meaning a lot of amp for a very modest amount of money, consider Harman Kardon. Either the HK3390 Receiver or the HK980 integrated amp, both with 80w continuous per channel to 8 ohms, are in the roughly £270 to £315 range.

Hope that helps.

Steve/bluewizard
 
Last edited:

The latest video from AVForums

Spielberg, Shyamalan, Aronofsky, Chazelle, Eddie Murphy and Mel Gibson - all the latest movies
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom