Is Onkyo a Japanese company?


In general are the Japanese developed Receivers better than American or Europium Brands?

Yes Onkyo is originally a Japanese company. Onkyo means audio in Japanese.
However as Onkyo's website says 'Onkyo is a Global business with localized products, making high-quality entertainment available to the public world wide'

I dont think there is any truth in that. Rotel, NAD are examples of fine British receiver which are probably better than any Japanese receiver. Harman Kardon is a fine US receiver even though almost all receivers are probably built in China or other places Far East.

Where the corporate headquarters are and where the product is built is often quite different. McIntosh and B&K are both built, designed, and headquartered in the US. Most companies will design their products in the headquartered country and often have the assembly done in the Asian rim countries or China.

I know I wasn't talking about the assembly I was talking in general would it be common knowledge to say that the European and American designs are generally better than the Japanese designs?

Tough question......They are all great.....
I was thought to beleive european designs and production are great. I have alot of swedish , switzerland gear and its fantastic.... On another note most lower end Onkyos are made in Malaysia.........


I am sure I will offend someone here, but I will foolishly suggest a few things that I know after talking to quite a few marketing reps and a few of the audio product engineers that I have met over the years at audio shows.

Japanese electronics companies are very focused on what can be measured with mathematical precision. So power, distortion, slew rate, etc., defines what they think is good and an little else matters. If they can't show it on a piece of paper so that the boss (who is a professional manager and probably tone-deaf, as well) can understand it, it doesn't matter.

It was the English companies like Naim, Linn and a few others that started saying things like: "yes, but does it sound good?" Many American companies followed suit. They spend much more time working the "qualitative" end of the electronics rather than squeezing out another .01% of distortion like the japanese manufacturers.

What you have is a difference in philosophy: the Japanese companies like to be able to measure changes, hate the idea that a product may ever fail, want to squeeze every last ounce of excess cost out of the product, and pretty much figure that sound is sound and there really isn't much difference. The English school is just the opposite: does it sound good? is the only issue, extra costs are not a problem so put in the higher priced component, you can't hear distortion in modern electronics so it doesn't matter, and it doesn't have to look sleek as the more clunky looking the better.

Both schools of thought have their advantages. As almost all of this stuff is now made in China anyways (regardless of the label on the box), it is all about a difference in design. I hear differences in the sound made by different manufacturers, so I prefer the English/American model myself. But not everyone hears the differences, so the cost savings of Japanese product design are favored by these people. It really comes down to what works for you.

John Allen
I second Hawk's comments. They apply most especially to speakers in my opinion.

Hawk--you don't offend me, but you do offend scientific thought. Science is built on the fact that there is no effect without a cause. The notion that this isn't truly boggles the mind and I am glad the engineers at Boeing, NASA, and the best A/V companies don't believe that. Salesmen, marketting people, publishers pushing ad space, and their non-scientic converted minions push this nonsense---not engineers that build product. Do you honestly believe the engineers at Linn and Naim don't rely on measurements? If they don't, how can they successfully build anything with any degree of reliability and repeatability? If Linn and Naim don't want to build the most UN-obtrusive product I would be shocked and severely disappointed.

Let honest and intelligent people think about it--- what could possibly cause a sonic difference except a skewed frequency response, a high noise floor, or unusually high distortion? Only people with a belief system or an agenda could think otherwise.

What people are told in Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, and other such publications is arbitrary effect without cause. That's religion---not science.

And the distressingly sad fact is that most people believe them.

Oh great!We are back to the old "every amp sounds the same" crap again. Cause and effect? That is correct. Does every manufacturer use the same components in their products? Of course not. If they did then indeed they would sound the same buy since they don't of course they have a different sound. All one has to do is listen for themselves. Don't believe me or G-Man or anyone. Listen yourself and make up your mind. I have owned many, many amps and none of them sounded alike.And yes. Onkyo is a Japanese and a darn good one at that, especially the Integra line.

G-Man, I think you're taking Hawk too literally. I don't think he means a Japanese design lab is all sensitive precision equipment and a UK one is just guys in tweed jackets saying "Yeah, pretty groovy, man".

I think he means that the Japanese measure of a good piece of kit is more based around the measurable output. If "better" means a lower number for a given measurement, then the Japs are more likely to try and make that measurement lower.

The Europeans however, will generally pay more attention to the whole package, and specifically the quality of the sound and picture. This is a very subjective decision, so the design/build process is more about results within an acceptable range, so long as the final product does the business.

End result is that Far East products tend to be easier to reproduce in bulk by robots and European ones tend to need more human intervention. Review the car industry over the last 50 years for example.

Of course this is a gross generalisation, and the "global village" is continuously eroding the differences. Both philosphies have their advantages and designers are learning from each other all the time.

Both Europeans and Japanese have similar, if not the same, set of 'measurable' parameters which guide them in their receiver design. Is that correct?
If so, the receiver with 'better' measurable parameters should be better in components and/or design? Which should make it a better receiver?

would you say Marantz are of the samw quality of Onkyo?

Generally I would say yes. I have owned 2 Onkyo's and find them to be very good units. At the upper price levels like the Marantz8300 and 9300 I would compare them to Onkyo's Integra line like the 9.3 and 8.3. These are all very high quality receivers that have lots of power, inputs and great sound quality. Onkyo's have phono inputs while Marantz has forgotten lps exist. Couldn't go wrong with either.

Isnt the Marantz line supposed to be more 'musical' as opposed to the Onkyo's which are better suited for Home theater applications?

That is a generalization with some validity but I like both lines with music and movies. This would be a hard decision for me and would depend on the speakers I owned. I really like the Integra line and would have no hesitation buying one or the Marantz 8300. I own a Elite vsx45 and love it so that's what I would recommend but as always it depends on speakers and features. All three lines are great.

John Allen
Written on Sept 28 after G-man's reply to Hawk. I nearly missed a flight and didn't find a wireless LAN to post at my destination.

Hi Hawk and G-Man.

Science is the way we describe and understand the world. Technology is how we implement that, or try to.

There are always unintended consequences.

There is nothing you can hear that you can't also measure in some way. But the measurements are not a sufficient explanation of what it is to perceive sound: we do not have the technology or the understanding to provide a complete technical desription of that. Whether we ever will is another question. Our ears have extraordinary dynamic range, our signal processor is our brain. We can tell where sounds come from, and how they are moving, and resolve very faint sources of interest within the most complex sound fields, something experimental psychologists have called the "cocktail party effect".

To illustrate Hawk's point, we have discussed before receiver power ratings. Reduce "loudness" to something easily measurable, say dB for pink noise of 4.3 W at 1 metre, and you don't get anything that is a predicatable function with subjective loudness, which depends on many other things. Tell an amp to drive an 8 ohm load and measure its current and it is totally different to driving real speakers. I suspect Hawk is quite right, and so are you, G-man. Hawk says nothing that "offends scientific thought". I am not at all a new age traveller, but our senses are extroardinary tranducers, and out signal processor is the result of millions of years of evolution, honed to detect, identify and resolve the minutest signals from the environment. It is a massively parallel computer, with storage and processing capabilities that no-one yet undestands.

This is a bit off topic. Permit me to try to establish a bit of techno credibity. This comes from Munich Airport, between flights, where I discover, rather to my amazement , that I can acces the internet through a Wireless LAN supplied free (I think..) by Vodafone. I am en route to a meeting and will be out of it for some days. I was rather regretting being out of touch with you guys, but Apple's Airport saves the day, at least from here. If this is commonplace in the US and you are bored by such naivity, I apologize!

Hope you and other posters don't mind this ramble.

See, I knew I would offend someone! LOL! Anyways, thank you Tim for understanding that I was making a generalization regarding the approach, it was not meant to be literal.

Yes, everyone pays attention to the measurements, but I spoke at length some time ago (on an overseas flight) with an engineer from Linn and he was the one who suggested to me that all high quality parts pretty much preclude distortion from getting out of hand. They test, certainly, but they do not feel the need to get into a "numbers game" as to who has the highest output or the lowest dsitortion with their Japanese competition. Yet, that is exactly what the japanese sourced marketing materials will highlight. It is all a matter of approach or emphasis, and I have never asserted that one approach is the right one or the wrong one. I just prefer the european model because I do hear differences in sound. No, it isn't "Oh, I hear 0.01% less distortion!" It isn't that kind of epiphany. But after the last two receivers I have owned (both from Japanese giants), I have been disappointed that the sound wasn't better and endevoured to find what I do like. I have now found several good alternatives, where the measured things, like power and distortion, was not as good as what I already had, but if I close my eyes these alternatives sound much more like the performers are three dimensional rather than just reproduced by electronics. And that tells me that like the scientists of the middle ages, audio engineers of today probably have not figured out how to measure the right things, so I am left to describe products as I hear them to the best of my poor abilities.

Tell me please, if I have a good DVD player do I need a CD player, I know I can play CD's on my DVD player but I was told that for 2 channel music the dedicated CD players are better sounding, is there any truth to this?
Thank u

Absolutely not. A good dvd player will sound just as good as a similarly priced cd player. I have the Elite dv45 and it is great for music as well as movies.


There is some, I repeat, some, truth in it. It is not true if like elitefan, you have a high quality player. It can be true if you have a low quality DVD player which has put next to nothing into the audio section of the player (which is pretty common). Does your DVD player have digital outs? If so, you may wish to connect the audio through the digital connection directly to your receiver, which will then use the DACs in your receiver to decode the digital information encoded on the disks. Even if you have a good DVD player, you may wish to try it since a new cable really doesn't cost that much and you may be rewarded with significantly better detail and sound.

Thanks Hawk and Elitefan.
I am using the Toshiba SD1250 dvd old model it has 2 "eyes" one for DVD and one for CD,CVD It has both optical and coax digital out, I have used the optical out till now but just changed to coax.
I was thinking of getting a Marantz CD player CD5000 you think I will get better sound?
Thank u guys

John Allen
Hawk, you are right. The Linn engineer was right. There is nothing "unscientific" about preferring one sound to another. In fact, science is based on individual experience, not the word of authority, whether backed with test figures or not. This is so important, so little understood, sorry it leads off topic.

Gal, a good DVD-player will have great CD sound. The dedicated CD-only players with upsampling and so on are names like Linn and Naim, and they are very expensive. Even there I do not know what you gain.

If you are into music and audio quality, the real question now is whether you get anything more out of DVD-Audio or SACD. I read some DVD-Audio player reviews in October Hi-Fi News (on my flight) and am sceptical about the whole format, but tempted by the Cambridge Audio DV57 DVD-Audio player (plays CDs too). I think I bored everyone to death with my ignorance about DVD-Audio on another thread. It seems like something to consider.

John A.
"Is Onkyo Japanese?"

As regards design, production, and location, there is the following company with some background in producing traditionally "British" design audio brands in the Far East.

Audio Partnership Plc

The chairman also owns a large UK audio retail chain, an enviable position. The individual brands typically "fly the flag" in promotional material and seem to imply (without actually stating) they are still manufactered in UK e.g. "Since our first speakers rolled out of our factory doors in 1972... we are proud to continue the long tradition... blah blah....etc". Makes my toes curl, personally. I think it was Samuel Johnson who rightly called patriotism the last refuge of the scoundrel.

However, these guys do Ariston, Cambridge Audio, Mordaunt-Short, Gale, amongst others, names with considerable reputations if your memory goes back a decade or more.

As far as I can see, certain Mordaunt-Short and Gale speakers are now identical except for the badge. Before I knew about Audio Partnership, I bought a Gale sub which I was quick to audition because of the reputation and the name, and pleased to purchase, on its merits; also to recommend on this forum. One might feel tricked, but it still seems like a great sub for the price; this company has to continue to deliver a quality product. It was the old, tired independents who mistakenly thought customers would pay good money forever for a name. (Remember motorcycles, and cars...)

There are lots of issues here, many off topic. Are there any US or Canadian consortia like Audio Partnership Plc?

"Is Onkyo Japanese?" My answer is another Q: "Does it matter?" Probably the main thing is brand recognition. And that is a national phenomenon, even if you are not a nationalist. So we should not feel bad about favouring stuff that's been good as long as we can remember. Kenwood used to be Trio. Trio was a quality turntable maker; to me, Kenwood suggests noisy food mixers. Onkyo, to me, is new and unfamiliar, but that is me. NAD was unfamiliar when I bought my first CD player, in 1988, and I went instead with Marantz, thinking it was US (by then it was Phillips; it is now Japanese). It was still a good player for its time.

Building trust takes years.
« Previous Thread Next Thread »

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us