Product review: Onkyo A9150 Stereo Amplifier

Over the last few years, I’d say the budget separate hi-fi amplifier market has streamlined itself a bit.

What tends to be the case, from my experience anyway, is the amplifiers that are released now tend to have something about them and really excel. Onkyo redefined the sub £300 market with its brilliant A9010 back in 2015. Hoping to build on its massive success we have the latest release from Onkyo, the A9150.

At first glance, it’s very similar to the A9010. The front panel looks exactly the same except for one noticeable difference. The size and weight. With dimensions of 435 x 139 x 331 mm and weighing 9.2kg, it’s definitely a heavier and meatier looking amp and hopefully, that will tell in the performance.

Before we have a listen, let’s first of all see what we can actually plug into this beast.

Ideally equipped for all your analogue and digital sources, the Onkyo A9150 is great all-rounder.

There are 4 RCA inputs and an MM/MC phono input. All of which are gold plated I must add. There are dual optical and coaxial inputs giving you maximum flexibility and this enabling you to use the A9150 as a hub for all your sonic needs. Throw in a standard 3.5mm input on the front and you shouldn’t have any connection issues whatsoever. One thing I should mention first, with regards to the fore mentioned digital inputs, is the addition of a high-quality 32bit/768 kHz DAC (digital to analogue converter). This should give the digital sources a smooth and encapsulating sound.

I’m going to use the award winning Cambridge CXC transport as my source. It’s a fantastic CD player and will really show us how good the DAC really is.

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic so I put some fast paced Blink 182 on and I’m good to go. With the quoted power of up to 60 watts per channel (at 4 ohms), I want to see how cranking up the volume is handled when something like these pop punk heroes of mine is blasting through it.

Almost instantly I can tell there are no problems here. As soon as the music kicks in there’s a sustainable smile to my face. Turning the volume up and blasting out some Blink 182 classics though this Onkyo feels just right. There is plenty of power to go around and there doesn’t seem to be a power chord out of place. Obviously, it isn’t the greatest piece of music to test out the amp but it’s a great start and something that I hope it can build on.

Enough of my nostalgia trip so let’s try something of a higher quality and use the phono in-built stage. Whilst connecting new equipment to this amp you can really feel the quality and finish. Each connection feels solid and of a high quality. So onto vinyl, we go.

Spinning a bit of Ed Sheeran’s chart topping album “Divide” on vinyl finally gives this amplifier the source it deserves. The MM phono stage does an outstanding job and there’s plenty to be excited about. The soundstage is fantastic and the album has a natural and elegant feel to it going through the A9150. It’s engaging and an absolute pleasure to listen to.

There’s definitely more to get your teeth into over its smaller relative in the A9010. It’s a significant upgrade and well worth the extra money you’d have to part with. Another thing I failed to mention is the addition of both a and b speakers so if you wanted to add another pair of speakers, you can. Another upgrade over the award winning A9010.

If you liked the A9010 then you’re gonna absolutely love the A9150. It really is an impressive amplifier that should have its rivals at this price very worried.

Want to hear for yourself then pop down to your local Richer Sounds for a demonstration.

Click to find out more about the Onkyo A9150 Stereo Amplifier.

Author: Bradley, Plymouth store

This article has 6 comments

  1. Thanks for the post. This is the only real hands on review I could locate regarding the Onkyo A0-9150. I have ordered one and will pair it with a set of Q Acoustics 3050 speakers. Originally I was going to get the A-9010 but they are now out of stock. I hope the A-9150 does good job! Thanks.

  2. Tirthankar,

    I’ve been running an A-9010 with the Q Acoustics 3050 for a week now and they sound great together.

    Before the Q3050, I had been using the A-9010 with a pair of Pioneer SP-BS41-LR and the Pioneer SW-8 subwoofer and it sounded very good.

    Besides missing the really low end bass, the A-9010 and the Q3050 combination sounds very similar to the previous combination with the Pioneers. I have the new A-9150 arriving tomorrow so hopefully it has some improvements over A-9010.

    • Hi briant

      How is the A-9150

      • I’ve been listing to the A-9150 with both Q Acoustics 3050 and Wharfedale Diamond 10.7, the A-9150 sounds very similar to the A-9010.

        The A-9150 has slightly darker tone, perhaps a little better (solid) bass.

        Is it better than the A-9010? Sure! Is the A-9150 2x better than the A9010 (as the price in USA suggests)? I don’t think so…

        • Briant,

          It has now been about 2 weeks since I have been listening to the A-9150 with the 3050 and Marantz CD6006 as source. The CD6006 is a very good CD player but I am finding that the DAC of the A-9150 provides a better sound. Any thoughts?

          • Tirthankar,

            The DAC in the A-9150 is a premium one (AK4452 768 kHz/32-bit). It’s supposed to be better than the other DACs in its class (such as the one in PM6006, CXA60). Besides the darker tone from the A-9150, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between its DAC vs the A-9010’s using the same source (optical from PC with FLAC, DSD/DSF files).

            Right now I’ve been listening to the CXA60 and the A-9010 with the Wharfedale 10.7, the CXA60 has more clarity and more weight/presence than the A-9010 probably due to the CXA60’s power rating. I often have to turn the volume down to suite my taste.

            For comparison, with almost identical sound level with sound meter, I’m running the CXA60 at 8’o clock, the A-9010 at 9 o’clock and the A-9150 at 10 o’clock.