Onkyo TX-6500 MKII

Onkyo TX-6500 MkII

This is one of the less common receivers – the Onkyo TX-6500 MK II. It was made by Onkyo from around 1978 to 1981. They made a series of receivers with the entry level unit being the TX-1500. From there was the TX-2500, the TX-4500, the TX-6500 and the monster TX-8500. I believe they were 40, 60, 100, 160 watts per channel respectively. So, the TX-6500 MkII chimed in at 100 watts per channel.

Onkyo TX-6500 MkII Lit

The TX-2500 and TX-4500 were Onkyo’s last ditch effort to survive in the audio market around 1977. They had originally entered the U.S. market selling speakers in a collaboration with Mitsubishi but that did not go well.  So, they put everything they had into the development of their receiver line. The receivers actually sold very well and turned the company back around for a while. A little later the TX-6500 and TX-8500 were developed and then the MK II line of those receivers came out with minor variations from the original line.

The Onkyo TX-6500 MKII featured a smoked glass front dial cover with 4 heavy duty looking bolts holding it in place. The receiver is really a very nice looking unit when it is lit up. It also features a very good phono preamp circuit.

The TX-6500 measures 540 x 190 x 435 mm or 21.3 x 7.5 x 17.1 inches. They are somewhat of a sleeper receiver among collectors but that is slowly changing. They sell from around $300.00 to $500.00 depending upon condition and aesthetics.

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21 thoughts on “Onkyo TX-6500 MKII

    1. You should be able to hook up a CD player through the Aux input or even the Tape input. I use the Aux on my receiver. Just don’t use the Phono input as that could cause some distortion due to the RIAA equalization factored into the phono circuit amongst other things.

  1. i was able to hook up a tape player,cassette to the unit,however not sure about the aux input you mentioned. where is that located on the unit? D

    1. OK, I’m looking at the back of a TX-6500 now and I see it doesn’t have an Auxiliary input. That’s ok. You should still be able to use the Tape input. The phono input signal is run through a pre-amp section in the receiver so you don’t want to use that. The Tape input is not so it should work fine. You’ll just have to get a stereo audio RCA cable for the iPod you have. I’ve seen them on eBay for just a few bucks. It has the 3.5mm iPod connector on one end and two RCA connectors on the other that would hook up to your Tape 1 or Tape 2 “Play” inputs. Radio Shack might have them as well. Belkin makes one that’s model number F8z360tt07. Search for that and you can see a picture of it. You may want a longer or higher quality cable but that will give your search a start. Good Luck!

  2. just want to hook up a component cd player. so ill try tomorrow hooking it up through the tape 2 input. it was just very confusing hooking up stuff in the back and in the front of the unit there’s only phono 1 and 2 and nothing else. thanks for your help. very helpful. are you a technician?

    1. Nope, not a technician but I have about 20 vintage receivers laying around. I thought you were trying to connect an iPod. That’s what most people want to do. The Tape input should work fine for a CD player. I’ve hooked them up that way on other receivers so it should work on the TX-6500. I bet it will sound good too!

      1. I should add that if you need any technical advice regarding vintage receivers check out AudioKarma.org . The guys there are very knowledgeable and helpful as well.

  3. thanks ill try hooking up the cd today. ive got one channel that seems to be fading or cutting out somewhat. if i have to take it in for repair, what will they be doing to remedy that problem and what am i looking at for cost? ive tried spraying the inputs with electrical cleaner,however i believe the issue is more extensive. i dont mind spending a few dollars on this awesome vintage receiver. the cassette i got yesterday is also vintage with the wood cabinet. its a akai gxc709d

    1. If the sound cuts in and out or is “scratchy” when you turn any of the knobs or push any of the buttons then they most likely need cleaned. Sometimes it’s the volume knob but many times it can be the FM Muting button or even the input selector knob. Basically if utilizing any knob or button causes the issue to exacerbate then they all need cleaned. It’s usually not difficult. It’s the potentiometers inside the unit, or Pots as most call them, that are dirty. I would start there first. I haven’t been inside a 6500 so I’m not sure how difficult it is to get to the pots. Usually you just need to take the cabinet off but sometimes the bottom plate of the unit has to come off as well. You’ll need some electrical contact cleaner. I use De-Oxit as it seems to work the best but Radio Shack has their own brand that’s not bad either. The pots are on the back side of the knobs and are round goldish colored things with a small hole in the side. You just spray the cleaner into the side of the hole and then turn the knob back and forth from the front a few dozen times. If you got some of the cleaner in the hole, which isn’t always easy, then you should be able to feel the knob loosen up as you turn it back and forth. It will smooth out. Do this for all the knobs and button switches you can get to then let it dry out since the cleaner will get on everything but the pot sometimes and try it out. I’ve found that the pots usually require quite a bit of cleaning. They weren’t really designed to be cleaned and the hole is small and not always at an angle you can get to easily but cleaning them usually takes care of most of the problems. Plus a non-tech can do it themselves. Most techs around here are about $60-$100 an hour and should be able to clean the pots in an hour. Probably $125 for a complete tune up is reasonable. If it’s not the pots and is a capacitor or other electrical problem then it could be a couple hundred bucks. Still, if the TX-6500 is in nice condition it would be worth the money. If you decided to sell it you could get close to that for it. If you do take it in have them replace any bad bulbs as well.

      If you’re going to pick up vintage receivers now and then then it would be good to hone your skills on the pot cleaning because that is usually the main problem with the older receivers. That and bulbs. After that most repairs require soldering which is a whole other skill set.

      That’s a pretty good quality cassette player. What speakers are you running it all through?

  4. yes got the cd player working. ill check with the ac site for the tech stuff regarding the receiver. i see these go for a few $$ on ebay,so glad i picked it up last summer. got the receiver and a pair of b&n radford monitor speakers for $150 cash,so quite happy with that price. dont mind spending a few dollars to get the receiver at 100%. it perhaps just needs a good cleaning inside where it liklely was sitting in storage for some time. thanks for the great advice,Dwight nova scotia canada

    1. Ahh..Radford speakers. Interesting. Haven’t heard much about those. I think they’re transmission line speakers. I have some vintage Heil ESS AMT1 Floor speakers that are transmission line and I love them. I use them as my main speakers right now.

  5. i picked up a pair of b&n radford monitor with the sale. receiver and monitors were 150 canadian,so i have a few other speakers. i may sell the b& n’s and finance a good cleaning for the receiver. i got a pair of psb bookshelf and a pair of 3 way sony speakers also that i could use. any idea what i could get for the b&n radford monitor speakers?

    1. Not sure about the value. There was a pair on eBay US that didn’t sell at $99.00 but they had some issues. It seems they were mainly a UK brand so there aren’t that many over here. You could keep an eye on eBay UK to see if a pair sells there that might give you a rough idea of value.

      Have you taken the grills off of them yet? Usually the speaker foam around the larger drivers is rotted and needs replaced. If it is then they won’t sound nearly as good as they could. I’d probably get the receiver working properly, make sure the Radford’s are fully functional and then hook all the speakers up and compare them. Then keep the best sounding pair. Re-foaming speakers is another skill the average guy can do as well. I’ve done a few dozen myself. In fact, some of my best speakers I’ve gotten free because people thought they were “blown”. When the foam completely rots out from age they speaker cone just kind of hangs there and buzzes. Sounds really bad. Most vintage speakers probably get thrown away because of this. But, the repair really isn’t that difficult. With a little practice you can get really good at it and find some very high quality vintage speakers for next to nothing. I buy the foams on eBay. Some foam kits are expensive but I buy them from a guy in China for a couple bucks a pair.

      Looks like the 180 model has one 10″ woofer per speaker and the 360 model has two 10″ woofers. There were also model 90 and 270. also, if it doesn’t seem plausible to sell them whole many times you can part them out and do well. Depending upon the brand of drivers, tweeters, mid-range etc. in the speakers. A lot of times the drivers were used in other speakers as well and many people are looking to replace bad drivers in their units. It’s far easier to ship the smaller components then it is the entire whole pair of speakers. But, you’d have to take the drivers out and look at the backs to see what brand and model they are. Then look them up to see if they have value.

  6. yes took the grills of and these are holding up nicely. seems like they have a coating on the foam part,likely for keeping them from rotting out. only issue with both is the foam on the inside of the removable grills. they are always losing a bit every time you remove the grill. likly rotted there as well. id say sound wise their like new. all the 3 speakers in both are fine. yes they are uk brand. not sure if the orig owner bought them locally here or abroad. think he worked at a audio store years back,mso possibly was a line that they stocked. yes your right. i found a pair of vintage energy speakers the other night and the foam was rotted out. ended up trading them for the akai cassette. guy wanted them for the tweeters but yes i should be refoaming them myself and giving them new life.

  7. I own several highly rated vintage receivers,e.g. ,Marantz 2285,2252b ,Sansei G8000,6060 and Pioneer SX 980,1250.The Onkyo TX 6500 is as good if not better sounding receiver that i own.Especially the tuner section,which locks in on a signal and quite honestly is the best of my receivers.

  8. Ditto Frank, I bought a tx4500mkll off the local Craigslist for 75.00 it was rough but sounded really good with plenty of punch. I have always had a soft spot for pioneer but the onk made me a believer. Then late one night I was on eBay looking at some receivers. That’s when I found it. 13 whole minutes it had been on there.299.00 buy it now. Well I pulled the trigger and paid 299 + 100 to ship. When it showed up it looked like it was being unboxed for the very first time. I was and am still blown away by this fine piece of vintage gear. Thanks for reading.

  9. I bought mine from Ebay for $325 during an auction.It stated it was from an estate sale ,but what does that mean? Regardless I was amazed by how new it looked.Sounds like you and I share the same experience buying and enjoying our receivers.Which one did you get?

  10. I’ve had my TX6500MKII for 40 years and I adore it. It pushes a lot of quality sound through a pair of JBL L112s, which I also adore. Like me, they’re old, but they sound great. BTW, need to get the pots cleaned on my 6500, especially the one behind the selector knob. It cuts out all the time when switched to phono.

  11. I thought it was pretty cool to see this conversation about the 6500. I bought mine 6 years ago at an estate sale as part of an “all or nothing sale” in which I got the Onkyo 6500, a Technics turntable & a pair of Marantz Prestige floor speakers for $100. The speakers were kinda junky as they had replaced the original 12” woofers in both With Realistic woofers. The turntable is nice (still use it), and the Onkyo still looked beautiful. I was taken in by the illuminated dial. I got it home and couldn’t get sound out of the right side. I took it to a local repair shop where they cleaned out the pots and it has been running great for 6 years. I didn’t originally believe something like that would be resolved by cleaning the inside-I was quite wrong. I run my iphone through one of the tape monitors and a cd player through the other monitor. Never knew the specs on how much power it had until I saw this forum…I just knew it sounded good.

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