Onkyo tx-sr601 @ 4 ohms?


I am thinking about purchasing the Onkyo TX-SR601 model receiver. I will be purchasing the magnepan MMG speakers. These speakers are rated at 4 ohms. I was wondering if this specific onkyo will handle the lower ohm raiting? Should I expect any problems (heat) with the onkyo?

thanx in advance..

Onkyo is only rated for 6+ ohms. Unless you are thinking of putting two speakers in series, for an 8 ohm load, this would not be recommended.

Don't do it. I have the MMGs and the Onkyo cannot handle that load. Get the NAD 742, or check out the Harman/Kardon 325. Those are the only two affordable receivers that can deal with the 4 ohm load of the MMGs. You will get better sound than the Onkyo, as well.

BTW, the MMGs are the finest speaker for under $1K available in this country. Great choice.

I emailed Onkyo directly and this is their reply. In the product manual, it states that it is 4 ohm capable.

Thank You for contacting Onkyo USA Product Support.
Sorry, "TX-SR601" is rated at 6-8ohms, only.
Again, thank you for contacting Onkyo USA Product Support,
if you need further Assistance feel free to call us at 800-229-1687.

and crutchfiled said it was okay to use a 4 ohm load...this is what they said..

Thanks for your e-mail, and for shopping the Crutchfield web site.
In answer to your question about the Onkyo receiver, I have great news!
This receiver will push 4 ohm speakers. The high current amplifier is
designed to deliver very clean clear power. You can add this great
product to your cart here:

I wouldn't trust Crutchfield one bit, not because they aren't honest, but they realy don't know what they are talking about. Fact is, the MMGs are not only a 4 ohm speaker that is only the nominal rating--in some parts of the audio spectrum is is substantially lower. When you call Magnepan to order the MMGs, they will ask you specifically what does it say on the back of your receiver. If it doesn't specifically say that the receiver is rated at 4 ohms, they won't even sell you the speaker because the risk of damaging the speaker is so great. On the Onkyo, is says minimum 6 ohms for the A speakers only. However, if you have both fronts and rears going, you must use 8 ohm speakers all around.

Despite the so-called high current capability claimed in the Onkyo literature, it is simply not true. They have reduced that term into meaningless marketing fluff. Here are two reasons why: First, if you go to the Onkyo website, you would find that they rate the channels separately, i.e., fronts - 80 wpc, Center - 80 wpc; surrounds - 80 wpc., etc. They can't rate them as 80 wpc x 5 because when they rated their own receiver, they did it with only two channels driven at any one time. This hides the fact that they have an undersized power supply!

Second, there have been numerous equipment test reports on lower priced Onkyo receivers (not the THX certified Onkyo receivers) which clearly show that when testing all channels at the same time, the power drops to something like 30 wpc! So don't tell me that this is a high current amp. It simply isn't so.

If you want a HT receiver to drive MMGs, you only have two real choices for under a grand--the Harman/Kardon and the NAD. Now, if you only want a two channel receiver, there is a great Denon that is meant to handle a four ohm speaker load, the DRA-395 (largely because it has the same power supply as the 3803, but only has to drive two channels!). But if you want a HT receiver, capable of handling the MMGs, you must go with the receivers with the quality amp sections: NAD and H/K.

BTW, MMGs all around make an incredible Home theater system!

Well I am thinking about the NAD T742 or Marantz 5300...I am leaning toward the NAD at this point. I am wondering if the NAD will handle the 4 ohms well?

there are a few great recievers that handle 4 ohm loads. just have to look. and most are gonna sound great. just take your time and look

A Future Sound
Home/Car/Boat and RV Audio and Video Source

NAD 742 is a very nice receiver!

I got one for really cheap price ($449) and this receiver gives new life to my speakers (Bose 301). Although I am going to upgrade my speakers, by changing my old crappy SONY to NAD, I am really impressed by my old speakers. You really got to try the NAD one.

One of the reason for me to buy NAD T742 is that I am looking for some fine 4 ohm speakers like Polk Lsi7 or Lsi9. NAD should handle these babies quite well.

BTW, I think another way to solve the 4 ohm problem, but still keep the fancy function of the Onkyo or Denon or whatever machine. Adding a power amp would be nice, just make sure those receiver have some pre-out.

Get the NAD--it is the only receiver rated to handle even 2 ohm loads, so a 4 ohm load is easy for it.

Robert Gatt
Deffinitly go to NAD. I had the T750 afterwards upgraded to the T751 and now to the T762. The last 2 wiegh about 18 Kg, and are built like a tank. The T751 was not that much flexible by the limited options within the menu, but the wattage was rated to 60*5 at any load, 3/4 of the unit was made up of a very large power supply/fan and heatsink for the amplification. This amp handled any load, it could even tackle 2 ohm peaks. The only limiting factor was the software and decoded only DTS and DD, no prologic2 etc. The T762 tackle all the software issues, as it is one of the most flexible amps I have ever seen and is installed with an enormous Turiodial Power supply with all the decoding technology except for DTS 96/24.
One can check out how these amps are rated, where other manufacturers rate only *2 NAD Rates 60*5 or 100*6. This means that the Power supply (at any load) gives the required wattage with out any losses. I would deffinetly recommend NAD if you are looking for some serious amplification!

I have the MMGs and the Onkyo cannot handle the load. Heck, I smell ozone when I play them with my Denon 3803! Heat will be a problem, but your sound will suffer as the Onkyo does not have the current to really drive the MMGs. furthermore, you will have a problem with the receiver shutting down (protection mode) because the power supply can't keep up.

I would also suggest that you get the NAD 742 at Saturday Audio. It is a wonderful receiver and a great buy, Your MMGs will really open up and give you the best sound you could imagine.

Hi, Hawk:

I want to buy Magnepan speaker, I already had HK225 receiver but I don't know if it can handle 4 ohms speakers. From the specification, the HK325 and HK225 almost have the same power level. Could you give me some information? Thanks a lot.


I am not as knowledgeable about the AVR 225 and I question whether it can handle a 4 ohm load. In checking the H/K website, I notice that the back of your receiver says 8 ohms at the speaker connections and the product specifications on the same website only specifies the power output at 8 ohms.

I suggest you contact H/K product support to see if the 225 can handle 4 ohm speakers. Go to the H/K website (www.harmankardon.com) and click on product support. I think you can send your question by e-mail.

Sorry I could not help more.

Hi there, I am going crazy trying to pick an amp for my new home theater. I first need feedback from people about 5.1 vs 7.1 I am doing this in a basement, 15 foot wide, 28 feet long, 7 foot ceiling. Second, how do you pick an amplifier. I have people telling me Denon, Onkyo, HK. How do you go about making a decision? I also do not know how to find your responses to this query! Can someone send me a link to my email address? Thanks,

Neal drnbn@comcast.net

Is this room going to be used only for HT?
Multipurpose room?
What is your budget?

Just some things to consider.


Have you picked your speakers yet and what is your budget? Anon is also correct in asking what use are you going to put this system to. If you can answer these questions, we can help you.

I need some help. I just bought the Denon 3803 and have it setup on a 7.1 channel setup. When my side left speaker is on, receiving test tones, the receiver will shut down after sending it a signal for a few seconds or if I increase the sound. I have tried to switch the positive and negative connections to see if that was the problem and it doesn't appear to be. Does anyone have any suggestions?


What speakers do you have? It sounds like you have a very low impedence speaker and the Denon is shutting down into protection mode perhaps due to the low impedence. Unfortunately, the Denon is not meant to drive 4 ohm speakers.

Yamaha RX-V740. 2-8 Ohm. Easily.

"Despite the so-called high current capability claimed in the Onkyo literature, it is simply not true."

You're wrong. It's true. High current power transformer is something different, than just simply a transformer. Don't mix it.

"they rate the channels separately, i.e., fronts - 80 wpc, Center - 80 wpc; surrounds - 80 wpc., etc. They can't rate them as 80 wpc x 5 because when they rated their own receiver, they did it with only two channels driven at any one time. This hides the fact that they have an undersized power supply!"

On the back panel, at the AC Outlets I see the following: "AC 220-230V, 50Hz, 550W" (European model).

Well.. first of all, 80 x 5 is wrong. 80 x 6. The only unpowered channel is the subwoofer, the ".1" after the "6".
I go further: 80 x 6 = 480 Watts (at maximum load or volume level, of course). Let us have a look at the facts, that even at this high load, there's still enough reserve in the transformer to supply not only the speakers, but of course all other electronic parts, which I guess don't consume as much as the remaining 70 Watts. (480 -> 550).
And if they even do, what then? This is just like food what you buy in the supermarket. Most of them are even some (1-2 or more) days after "best before date" still not even edible, but completely okay, microscopically examined, too! Producers of food always date their "best before" time some time earlier than actual, in order to avoid sicknesses and illnesses at consumers, who consume the manufacturer's food at the last good day. I hope, you all here understand, what I'm telling you.

This is the same with transformers and electric devices. For safety reasons, a 650-600 Watt transformer (which is ACTUALLY at it's damage-causing limit here) cannot be labeled as "650 Watt" or "600 Watt", there must always be some reserve before the transformer would begin to smoke and burn down at it's limit. Right?

I'm still going much further: these transformers won't burn or smoke even at this limit for a short time, for half a second or so... they can handle the too much current streaming through them, for a second or less. And even Music or Action DVD-s don't contain scenes, where constantly at the maximum level high-energy-consuming deep-bass signs are played but not at a rate where it's volume level changes several times in a second (like an explosion), I mean now pure sinus waves of let me say an example, 20 Hz or even lower.

So I don't think, the transformer of the Onkyo TX-SR601 would be undersized, or that the effectiveness of the receiver can drop at a level of 30 Watts per channel. :))) No way.

These were only numbers, you could say now. Now let me tell my OWN EXPERIENCES:

Onkyo TX-SR601 power test on the following mediums:

Dire Straits - So far away, Walk of Life
Marylin Manson - This is the new s.hit, mobscene, kaboom-kaboom
Paul Oakenfold - Swordfish soundtrack - whole CD
Paul Oakenfold - Cream Anthems 2001, CD2
Ferry Corsten - Trance Nation 2002 CD1
DJ Krush & Toshinori Kondo - MU-GETSU
DJ Krush & Toshinori Kondo - SUN IS SHINING
DJ Krush - Days End feat. Kazufumi Kodama
Massive Töne - Deutschrap
The Herbaliser - The Hard Stuff
The Herbaliser - Battle of Bongo Hill
Thievery Corporation - Un Simple Histoire
Thievery Corporation - Assault on Babylon :)
DJ Tiësto - Summerbreeze CD
Kruder & Dorfmeister - Conversions :)
Kruder & Dorfmeister - K7 Flavour mix
Dom & Roland - Kill a Bullet

The Lord OF The Rings - The Two Towers
The Mummy II
Michael Flatley - Feet of Flames
Pearl Harbor

The test system:
Custom-made speakers. All channels 8 Ohm impedance.

L/R Fronts (each):
2pcs. of 4 Ohm (each) Mac Audio Mac Absolute 301 30cm (12") speakers in a vented box, mid-high-range speakers in separate box, 3-way 2nd order passive filter, crossover frequencies at 120Hz and 3,2KHz.

Center: the same, but smaller speakers (20cm/8" subs) and all speakers in the same box.

L/R Surround: identical to the front boxes.

Rear Center: identical to the Center box.

Subwoofer: no. (for what?) :)

Cables: Coincident CST1

Well, we friends put the Onkyo to it's limits, I think.

On Stereo mode, with all channels enabled (DSP ON), Distortion began at Dom & Roland - Kill a Bullet (drum'n'bass) at about 90 of the absolute volume meter. Since it's scaled from 0 to 100, we can say, it was 90% of the volume level. Here the Onkyo reached it's maximum, we couldn't get out more power of it without distortions in the sound field (especially, bass). The boxes were of course capable of handling this power, even 4-6 times more. The sub section with the Mac Audio speakers is extremely robust and powerful, mid-high-range section consists of 4 x 8Ohms speakers (mid and high too, so all together 8 small speakers in one box).. they're parallel connected (4 Ohms), and two serial lines are then serial connected (8 Ohms) to maintain volume level equalness and the nominal 8Ohms impedance of the whole box.

I can only tell you, this wasn't the maximum of the whole system regarding power, but the Onkyo isn't weak at all...

Just have a look at the Yamaha RX-V740 Specs:
Power Consumption: 320 W

Same power category, 5 Watts more than Onkyo on 8 Ohms ...

and YESSSS :) We also tested the RX-V740. On the same system. Well. Huh ! Not bad! :) But far away from the Onkyo's power.. It wasn't capable of driving the speakers so much and strongly on all channels, as the Onkyo did !

And I still didn't mention the sound quality..

So the conclusion is, that there CAN be some receivers on the market, which have undersized transformers or which aren't capable of delivering the power, stated on it's papers, but if I would buy such a receiver like these ones (in this price category!), it would be hard to convince me about deciding for another brand like Denon Marantz Harman Kardon or Yamaha..

Another thing is this 4-Ohm. What manufacturer says, cannot be taken valid all the time! My Onkyo 601 was tested with ALL SIX CHANNELS at 4 Ohms and it still ran at absolutely maximum power and beautiful sound (beautiful of course not on the maximum level).

(Magnat Shockwave 1200-s, ALL SIX of them. 30cm/12" speakers. Passive filter, separate boxes, no sound... the same but a bit "smaller" system than above).

So don't believe to people who say it couldn't handle 4Ohm speakers. My old Yamaha RX-V692 from 1998 was one of the top models at that time and it was told me, the receiver was capable of driving 2-Ohms speakers. I tried it, it did. No burn down-s, no overheat, nothing!

It's still a protection circuitry in these receivers for protecting sensitive parts of too much current or excess load.

But I've never heard of stories, where an Onkyo just burned or overheated because of using 4-Ohm speakers. :) Stupid thing.

Nominal impedance 4 Ohms... it's of course in some frequencies higher, in some freqs lower (1-2 Ohm) for just a millisecond or more... these receivers are so designed, that their limits aren't so close to it's specifications, in order to avoid - once more said - damages to speakers, the receiver or both. This can be a good effect of business, we could say. It wouldn't be quite fair, if a receiver, rated AT LEAST at 6 Ohm, would burn down or damage speakers at 4-Ohm load. Even if the manufacturer couldn't be caught responsible in this case, because of the mis-using the receiver-speaker system by the user, it would affect it's image, marketing, sales and what people say about their products.

So anybody can say anything, these Onkyo-s can do something... just as the minimum 2-Ohms rated Yamaha receivers at 1 (!) Ohm speakers.

Just test it. The fact's what are telling you the truth, not the papers. And of course the opinion of other testers, who also pushed such devices to their limits. :)

Peace !

I also agree that the Onkyo can handle the 4ohm load.

I have the Onkyo TX-DS696 (4 ohm switch on back) which is rated at 100w/channel.

I read an article on the SoundVision site, that stated the Onkyo DS696 only did 46w/channel when all channels were driven.

However I have the following spec:
TX-DS696 (6ohm certified)
Dali 5005 L+R, Centre C100 Speakers (All 4ohm)
BIC Venturi V820 Rear Sorrounds (8 ohm)

I can run the volume to 90% without any audible distortion.

The only thing I wish is that I wouldn't have to turn the unit up to more that 70% to have max volume, wheras currently I am looking at 90%.

So, in fact the Onkyo does a very good job with 4 ohm speakers, and you can mix and match with 8 ohm as well.
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