Receivers

Onkyo PR-SC5508 9.1 SSP and PA-MC5509 Nine-Channel Power Amplifier

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

With all of the features that are built into the 5508 you would assume it might take up a good bit of space, and you would be correct. The 5508 is nearly 8" high and weighs close to 31 lbs., so it is certainly not the smallest preamp on the market. Having that much size gives Onkyo room to shove every connection you could possibly need onto the rear panel without being too cramped.

All of the connectors on the rear are gold plated, and there are more than you could possibly need: 7 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs, 9.2 channels of balanced and unbalanced audio outputs, a balanced stereo input, a multichannel input, an MM phono input and all the legacy analog inputs you could need. There are also plenty of connections for integrating it into any home system: Three 12V trigger outputs, an IR repeater, an Ethernet jack, and an RS232 port. Unless you've kept every component you've collected for multiple decades, I imagine the 5508 will have you covered.

The front of the 5508 is very simple and clean. The input selectors are visible to make it easy to quickly jump to an input, or quickly switch back and forth between them. The volume control is a large, heavy knob that feels very nice to use and not at all loose or flimsy. Most of the controls are hidden behind a door that drops down to revel a large selection of controls and inputs. Overall, it is a very nice looking unit on a rack that doesn't draw attention to itself but has everything you need close at hand.

The matching 5509 amplifier is even more basic up front, with only a power button and a blue LED to indicate that it's been turned on. The 5509 is rated for 150 watts per channel at 8 ohm, and has both balanced and unbalanced connections for each channel. Compared to the preamplifier, the amplifier is sparse on the rear, with inputs and binding posts for each channel, as well as a 12V trigger input and an impedance switch for the speakers. If you can't use the 12V trigger there is a switch to enable Auto Power Down, but as I was using the 5509 I did use the 12V trigger. The binding posts will accept bananas and bare wire, but they will not accept spade lugs.