Whether you listen to music from the cloud, MP3s, CDs, LPs, cassettes, or 8-track tapes, it's always in stereo. So while multichannel SACD, DVD-A, or music-only Blu-ray discs trickle out, only a very small handful of recently recorded music is available in multichannel sound. If there was any real demand we would have surely seen an uptick in the number of surround releases, but that's not happening. Stereo rules the music world, which is why high-quality hi-fis aren't going out of fashion. Onkyo's new A-9070 integrated amplifier and C-7070 CD player are both sound investments.
The two components' audiophile credentials are in order. The A-9070 boasts high-quality Wolfson 192 kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converters to improve sound quality. You can use the A-9070 as an integrated amp, or a power amp, or preamp. The amp is rated at 140 watts per channel into 4 ohms. Connectivity details include an independent headphone amplifier, a turntable input for moving-coil and moving-magnet phono cartridges, three digital audio inputs, four analog inputs, and gold-plated speaker posts.
The A-9070 is 17.2 inches by 6.8 inches by 16.9 inches and it weighs 39.9 pounds, which is a lot heavier than most 7 x 100 watt AV receivers. How can that be? Probably because the A-9070 is better built and has a larger and heavier power supply than most receivers. Which is why it probably sounds a lot better than most receivers.
It's not just for music; you could use the A-9070 in a stereo home theater. Just hook up your Blu-ray or DVD player's HDMI connection to the TV and the digital audio output to the A-9070's digital input (and make sure to change the player's output to "PCM digital").
Onkyo is also offering the matching C-7070 CD player. The unit features vibration-damping brass feet, a "floating" circuit board, a pair of Wolfson 192 kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converters, and Onkyo's Dynamic Inter-modulation Distortion Reduction Circuitry. The C-7070 connects to iPod/iPhone devices via the USB port, and can play music off flash-memory drives. The CD player measures 17.1 inches by 4 inches by 12.2 inches and weighs 14.1 pounds.
The A-9070 and C-7070 will both be available in November with suggested retail prices of $1,299 and $799, respectively.