Music 2.0: Where stereo rules

Think about it: How much multichannel music do you own? Not so much? Not any, is probably more like it.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read
Matching SACD player and stereo amplifier from Onkyo Onkyo

Face it: Most people listen to music on CD, LP, radio, or some form of downloaded file, and each and every one is a stereo format.

Even high-resolution formats like SACD have stereo mixes, so it's no surprise that Onkyo just introduced two new stereo components: An integrated stereo amplifier, the A-5VL, and a stereo SACD player, the C-S5VL.

The amp seems like a rational alternative to a feature-laden AV receiver, jam-packed with so much wizardry you need to read and comprehend a 100 page user manual to get it to do much of anything. Stereo is simple; no need to navigate multilayer menus to turn the bass up or down. No, with the stereo Onkyo amp, all you'll ever do is select the input--CD, aux, radio, etc.--and adjust the volume. Then sit back and enjoy the tunes.

The 2-times 40-watt integrated stereo amplifier features the latest version of Onkyo's VL digital power amplifier technology. Digital it may be, but that didn't stop the designers from including an MM/MC phono input stage for analog-loving audiophiles with turntables. Stereo home theater, HT 2.0 might clinch the deal for some buyers. Just plug a Blu-ray or DVD player into the amp, and you're good to go.

The amplifier is compatible with Onkyo's RI (Remote Interactive) iPod dock and charging stations, making it simple to integrate an iPod or iPhone into your home audio system. The C-S5VL SACD player and A-5VL integrated stereo amplifier are available at suggested retail prices of $599 and $699, respectively.