Music, when you hear it in all its glory, has the power to lift the spirits and transport you into another realm. Driving you there in audiophile style is Onkyo’s newest hi-fi power amplifier, the M-5000R. Signal quality on the M-5000R is meticulously preserved by new AWRAT technology, while three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry provides extremely efficient power output. Massive twin toroidal transformers and four 27,000 µF capacitors work to stabilize the power supply and current, respectively. And to minimize errors in stereophonic playback, the amplifier incorporates a totally symmetrical alignment of power devices for left and right channels.
AWRAT (Advanced Wide Range Amplifier Technology)
The M-5000R employs a host of proprietary Onkyo technologies to ensure optimal audio performance.
Since the advent of digital audio, signal-to-noise ratios have improved dramatically. However, the S/N ratio reflects static noise only, and takes no account of another type of noise that occurs as the byproduct of sound reproduction—dynamic noise. To reduce this type of noise, Onkyo has developed DIDRC technology for use in our hi-fi components. Despite being beyond the normal range of human hearing, frequencies above 100 kHz are susceptible to clock pulse and other forms of distortion from digital devices. Such distortion in the super high frequency range can generate “beat interference”, which in turn affects the character or atmosphere of the original sound. By improving linearity and reducing distortion in the super-high frequency range, Onkyo’s new DIDRC technology effectively reduces perceptible noise.
Low Negative-Feedback Design
Too much NFB makes a system susceptible to counter-electromotive force from the speakers, resulting in a drop in perceived sound quality. To avoid this, Onkyo focuses on improving the frequency response and reducing distortion, without relying so much on NFB.
Closed Ground-Loop Circuits
The M-5000R employs a sophisticated closed-circuit design in which each circuit has a separate link to the power supply. This helps to cancel individual circuit noise and keep the ground potential free of distortion.
HICC (High Instantaneous-Current Capability)
Handling current loads up to 150 amperes, HICC enables an amplifier to immediately cancel the speakers’ reflex energy and instantaneously send out the next signal. The same high current required to achieve this also supports the amplifier’s ability to handle speaker impedance fluctuations.
Symmetrical Twin-Monaural Construction
Power devices for the left and right channels of the M-5000R are aligned symmetrically. Each channel has the same electrical and structural design, and signal pathways are uniform in length. This helps to minimize errors in stereophonic playback.
Quad Push-Pull Amplification Design with Three-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry
Three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry brings greater efficiency to the M-5000R power amp by employing a low-NFB design to maintain voltage stability and enhance transient response. Extremely sensitive to oscillations, this circuitry requires very advanced control technology in order to be incorporated into the amplifier. Breaking further new ground, the M-5000R employs two extra transistors for each channel in a “quad push-pull” design that significantly enhances amplification power.
The M-5000R incorporates two massive toroidal transformers that reduce magnetic flux leakage, improve efficiency, and keep the power supply stable. Also on-board are a sub-transformer and four 27,000 microfarad capacitors that work to make the current significantly smoother. Gold-plated, machined solid brass terminals ensure an extremely clean connection.
Don’t take our word for it, read what Audioholics magazine had to say.
Here’s a hint for you Onkyo, if you want us pay any attention to the rest of the gear you are announcing, make sure you don’t put out a great big amp with big analogue power meters on the front at the same time. Literally, Elle McPherson could walk in the room and we’d tell her to get out of the way so we could better see the amp. That’s how passionate we are on the subject.
Onkyo has been in the business of audio for a very long time and recently they’ve made a name for themselves shoehorning every feature that’ll fit into the lowest priced receiver they can. We can’t count the number of times in the last few years we’ve seen a new feature hit the market and we’ve said to ourselves, “Well, that won’t be affordable for at least three more years.” Without a doubt, the next year Onkyo has got it into a receiver at a price point we never would have thought possible. But that doesn’t mean they’ve lost their passion for high-end audio. They have unveiled their new M-5000R power amplifier, a 52 pound beast that promises to make grown men weep. Well, grown audioholic men.
The Onkyo M-5000R is just about as big as a receiver at 17″ x 7.5″ x 17″. It sports such technologies as Dynamic Intermodulation Distortion Reduction Circuitry (DIDRC) to counteract unwanted high-frequency interference. This eliminates clock pulses and other forms of distortion at frequencies that are above human hearing. According to Onkyo, these distortions can generate “beat interference,” which in turn affects the character or atmosphere of the original sound. Also, the M-5000R features audiophile-grade parts—such as massive toroidal transformers and gold-plated terminals—along with a new circuit board construction and separate chassis panels, to eliminate unwanted vibrations.
At its heart, the M-5000R is built on the advanced AWRAT amplification design proprietary to Onkyo. AWRAT (Advanced Wide Range Amplifier Technology) comprises DIDRC technology along with a low NFB design, closed ground-loop circuits, and high instantaneous-current capability. While the 8-ohm FTC rating is a conservative 80 watts, the amplifier’s remarkable current capabilities allow it to drive even the most demanding complex-impedance loudspeakers to high levels, with a dynamic power rating of over 450 watts into 1 ohm. To minimize errors in stereophonic playback, the M-5000R uses a perfectly symmetrical alignment of power devices for the left and right channels.
Power efficiency on the M-5000R is optimized by three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry and a new Quad Push-Pull amplification design that incorporates two extra transistors for each channel. Meanwhile, twin toroidal transformers and four 27,000 µF capacitors work to stabilize the power supply and current, respectively. A high-grade XLR input opens up the possibility of doubling power output via a BTL (bridged transless) set-up.
So, what does all this mean? Well, it means the M-5000R is built to not only provide clean amplification but also incredible amounts of power into difficult to drive loads for short periods of time. This means if you have a speaker that can dip into low impedances, you don’t have to worry about your amp smoking and catching on fire. The XLR input allows you to run the M-5000R as a monoblock (the two channels are bridged for you). No word on the power measurements in BTL mode but it is sure it be impressive. One thing that we don’t quite understand is why there isn’t XLR inputs for stereo mode. As it is, you either connect by RCA for stereo or by XLR for mono/bridged. On the back you’ll also find the normal on/standby mode switch, a 12 volt trigger, and a removable power cord.
Oh yeah, and Onkyo released a preamp and a CD transport to go with these but we don’t really care because they don’t have analogue power meters on the front. Fine, we’ll cover them too…the P-3000R Preamplifier accepts both analog and digital sources, with connectivity options including AES/EBU digital connectors and a USB input for PC audio. A high-quality 32-bit Burr-Brown DAC is provided for each stereo channel, to optimize audio performance. Meanwhile, PLL (phase locked loop) technology minimizes the effect of clock jitter, and bi-amping capability provides greater flexibility for audiophile applications. The real missing link here? XLR outputs so that you can connect to of the M-5000R amps in bridged mode. Instead, you are forced to either use a different processor or RCA inputs. A very strange omission indeed.
The C-7000R CD player employs a thermally regulated, high-precision clock with a state-of-the-art crystal oscillator. To further reduce potential interference, the player can be operated in analog-only or digital-only mode. Furthermore, analog and digital circuitry are physically separated and employ independent transformers: a massive toroidal transformer for analog, and an EI transformer for digital. The audiophile build-quality of the C-7000R is epitomized by a silent disc mechanism, a solid die-cast aluminum tray, and AES/EBU digital outputs.
So if you decide to run the full system with two bridged amps – well you can’t since the processor has no XLR outputs. Instead you are forced to use the RCAs and use just one on the M-5000R in stereo mode. Still you’re looking at just a few dollars shy of $5700. Now that’s a bit pricey. Is it worth it? Well, if you have the speakers and room to justify it, maybe. Onkyo sure has put a lot of tech in there to convince you that you are getting something for all that cash.
Do we need the M-5000R amplifier? Probably not. Do we want one? Oh yeah, you bet. If you are going to charge a bunch for your high end gear, you should shove them full of high end parts and technology. It seems that Onkyo has once again done that. The P-3000R Preamp has everything a budding audiophile could want except XLR outputs and the C-7000R CD player has all the bells and whistles. What’s most exciting about these sorts of products is not that we ever expect to own them but how they show that Onkyo is pushing their technological know-how. And knowing Onkyo, it’ll only be a few years before we start seeing all of this in their receivers. And those are something we can afford.