Onkyo’s contribution to the Monster receiver genre is the Onkyo TX-8500. It was Onkyo’s top of the line receiver at the time and put out an under rated 150 watts per channel into 4 ohms and 110 watts per channel into 8 ohms. This line of Onkyo receivers including the TX-2500, TX-4500, TX-6500 and TX-8500 are all under appreciated units. The build quality, performance and features are all second to none. Onkyo was a little late to the scene with their monster receiver so it didn’t receive the fanfare that the Pioneer and Marantz receivers received at the time but it is easily comparable. A later MK II version was released that had a digital tuner along with the analog tuner. As you can see below it is fairly easily distinguished from the original TX-8500 shown above.
Below are the specifications for the TX-8500.
The TX-8500 does not have an Aux input though it does have 3 Tape inputs so you shouldn’t be short inputs. The amplifier section is one of the best around and the tuning section is no slouch either. This unit is big at 22-7/16” X 6-5/16” X 18” and weighs in at around 55 pounds.
As I mentioned above the vintage Onkyo receivers don’t get as much attention as they deserve. Because of this you can usually get one for a very good price. Of course, they aren’t that common either so you don’t see them for sale all that often. Still, if you want a monster receiver but don’t want to pay the extravagant Pioneer or Marantz monster prices then try an Onkyo. You can pick up a TX-8500 for $400-$500 in good working condition. The MK II’s are a little more expensive but still a very good value.
Update: A really nice and fully functional TX-8500 Mk II recently sold for $1180 (09-05-2013). So, maybe these aren’t such sleepers any more and prices are rising!