Takeshi Godai established Onkyo in 1946 with the intention of addressing what he felt was a lack of satisfactory Japanese-made dynamic speakers. The word “onkyo” means “sound acoustics” in Japanese, and is the origin of our bold, simple, and concise brand image.
The first Onkyo-branded product was not in fact a speaker, but a cartridge pickup for record players. The company invested the profit from its crystal pickup sales into speaker research and development and planned to build a factory.
At the time, most speakers were made using imported pre-made paper cones. In defiance of convention, Onkyo developed an in-house production method for its own paper cones—and in so doing, formed the origin of our sound story.
Onkyo released its much-anticipated ED-100 speaker in April 1948, which featured a large 25 cm driver. Even though it was 50 percent more expensive than its nearest competitor, the ED-100 was a hit. Reviewers called it “sensitive, durable, and great-sounding” and the product gained popularity.
Onkyo developed the first non-pressed speaker cone and it’s still in production today, almost 70 years later. Onkyo’s passion for distinctive sound can be traced back to this revolutionary idea.
To accommodate an increase in production, Onkyo relocated to expanded office and factory space in Asahi-ku, Osaka. Sales continued to grow. This period laid the foundation of Onkyo as a leading speaker manufacturer.
The original ED-100 was re-released with the new non-pressed cone woofer. Sound quality improved correspondingly and with further positive reviews, it became an established favorite as a sensitive yet robust loudspeaker.
Onkyo was determined to create great sound without compromising, even in its transistor radios. Again bucking the accepted norm of using a 12 to 16 cm speaker cone, Onkyo released the OS-55 incorporating a 20 cm speaker. Excellent sound quality made it a hit with music lovers.
Onkyo led the Japanese audio industry by proving that transient response is crucial to good sound quality with a live demonstration at the All Japan Audio Fair. Even now, this aspect of audio reproduction is considered a key factor in product design.
In 1954, Onkyo began to hold LP concerts at public auditoriums and community halls throughout Japan, which later developed into a number of very well-attended events.
In 1955, an elegantly simple logotype was created to establish the identity of the Onkyo brand, which was warmly received by the audiophile community at the time.
Onkyo’s next challenge following radio production was to manufacture television sets. Onkyo’s design approach was to add great sound to high picture quality by utilizing its original acoustic technology.
During the 1950s, Onkyo updated its logotype to suit the rapidly changing style of the times.
A series of three coaxial-type speaker models were developed and released: the CX-12, CX-10, and CX-8 featuring a tweeter incorporated in the center of the woofer cone.
Onkyo was the first Japanese company to release a plastic “Pop Cone” speaker using original patented production techniques.
Onkyo held a stereoscopic concert showcasing a multi-channel amp and a four-meter-long Mammoth Horn. The event was so popular that many audio fans had to be turned away due to overcrowding.
Onkyo accepted capital participation of Tokyo Shibaura Electric Co., Ltd. (currently Toshiba) and continued activities including TV production as a subsidiary of Toshiba.
Onkyo commenced production of some 50,000 Toshiba-branded tube TV sets per month and 200–300 Onkyo-branded televisions per day at a new factory in Joto-ku, Osaka.
With TV mass-production came renewed competition and a new era of advertising. Onkyo secured the famous former Takarazuka Revue actress Kaoru Yachigusa as an ambassador to communicate Onkyo’s brand image.
An animated TV commercial for the Onkyo OT-2000 black-and-white TV featuring an eye-friendly smoked-glass screen and patented non-press cone speaker for improved sound goes to air in 1958.
Onkyo was among the first to introduce a new style of separate audio components rather than all-in-one furniture-type systems featuring an HA-2 amplifier, HP-2 player, and HS-10 speakers to create a modular phonograph system.
Onkyo rigged an impressive total of 252 8CX-A1 16 cm coaxial speakers for a sonically overwhelming stereophonic demonstration at the 8th All Japan Audio Fair.
January 1961 saw the establishment of a new speaker factory in Neyagawa City, Osaka. Headquarters were later moved to this location where the company remained until 2012.
Ever committed to sound quality and keeping pace with changing technology, Onkyo’s engineers set about designing the company’s first transceiver, which was released to market in May 1961.
Onkyo entered the medical instrument market with products including a phonocardiograph machine utilizing the company’s latest high-fidelity audio reproduction technology.
In 1965, smaller “bookshelf”-type speakers became popular. Onkyo was at the forefront of their development with the release of the HS-201, HS-202, and HS-301 speakers, which met with popular success in the local market.
A key product in the Onkyo lineage was the ST-55—a “desktop separate” audio system that was totally unique at the time. Thanks to its superb engineering and sound quality, the product was nominated as the “No.1 Stereo Product” by Kurashino-Techo magazine and gained instant popularity.
Stereo Sound magazine evaluates Onkyo’s first E-83A 3-Way speaker featuring a massive 30 cm woofer as one of the best of 33 selected products in its March 1968 issue. The speaker, which dazzled reviewers, was the forerunner to Onkyo’s famous Scepter series.
The core concept for the development of the Scepter speaker series was the accurate reproduction of any audio source. To this end, Onkyo included a low-distortion horn tweeter that helped produced a pure, easy-to-enjoy sound. This speaker shaped the ideal that continues to inform Onkyo product design today: striving for the pure enjoyment of sound.
September 1968 marked the date Onkyo brought audiophile-grade sound to the mass market with the release of the quad-amp MC2200, cementing its commitment to bringing the highest possible sound quality to as many people as possible.
The introduction of the Integra Series was a landmark in Onkyo’s history. It exemplified the company’s desire to amplify the input signal with the utmost fidelity while preserving the true dynamics of the recording. This series helped form the cornerstone of Onkyo’s amplifier design.
Onkyo again broke new ground with the release of the iconic Integra 725 amplifier. At the time, the industry standard for phono overload was 100 mV, but the company managed to extend this to 200 mV—and the increased margin resulted in magnificent sound clarity.
Onkyo’s current range of headphones/earphones has a linage that stretches back some 40 years to the H-01A, which debuted in 1970. These headphones featured a big dynamic driver in a tough plastic housing, and they actually performed something like a compact loudspeaker. Maximum input power was 500 mW and frequency range was impressively wide at 30–13,000 Hz.
The Scepter120 4-Way speaker system was based on the original Scepter Series. This high-end speaker featured a large 30 cm woofer, a horn squawker, and tweeter/super tweeter with acoustic lens all housed in a 120-liter sealed enclosure. In contrast to bookshelf-type speakers, this speaker employed a 40 mm-thick baffle and multiple terminals to allow the user to switch between different amps more easily.
Stereo systems in the early ’70s mainly consisted of three separate components—the source/amp and a pair of speakers. Onkyo was among the first to introduce a second pair of speakers for “surround” quadrophonic sound with its 4-channel X-1 system.
Company name changes from Osaka Onkyo K.K. to Onkyo Corporation.
The Integra 931 power amplifier was part of the Integra 725 system and attracted considerable attention with its steam-locomotive-like design featuring exposed transformer and heat sink.
In July 1972, Onkyo established Onkyo Deutschland G.m.b.H Electronics in Munich, Germany. This company was created to orchestrate product exports to Europe and fine-tune sound quality for that market.
Company headquarters are relocated to 2-1 Nissin-cho, Neyagawa City, Osaka, and the Acoustic Technology Research Center established.
The Intec 405 stereo system incorporated a 4-Channel decoder to play the nascent quadrophonic audio format popularized by bands such as the Allman Brothers and Pink Floyd. The amp could automatically read three 4-Channel-type recordings (CD-4/RM/SQ).
This carefully engineered direct-drive record player was powered by a DC servo motor and incorporated select materials for the cabinet and insulator, making it resistant to internal and external vibrations.
An abundance of Onkyo speakers were showcased in a new catalog released in 1974. All represented the pinnacle of technology developed by Onkyo since its formation, and each model allowed the user to enjoy the maximum possible audio quality according to his or her budget.
Onkyo released the License201, License301, License501 in 1975 to wide acclaim due to their exceptionally good sound quality and stylish design. At the time, the market was trending back from separate to integrated systems.
Onkyo established a new company in New York handling U.S. sales.
In 1975, Onkyo unveiled its revolutionary M Series loudspeaker. The product sold well throughout the year and is now regarded as a classic.
The Onkyo logotype still in use today was designed in 1977 and reflects Onkyo’s long-standing commitment to pure enjoyment of sound.
The revolutionary Scepter Speaker System was released in 1977 and remains one of Onkyo’s definitive products. Audiophiles were free to choose from a possible 173 different combinations of speaker driver, enclosure, and crossover network to personalize audio performance to taste. A handbook was released to guide users through the process of building their own Scepter Speaker System.
In the late 1970s, Onkyo released one of the first production subwoofers, the SL-1. The active design could reproduce frequencies from 20 to 90 Hz via a 20 cm cone driver and passive radiator assembly. The SL-1 was also among the first in the world to feature a Class D Pulse Width Modulation amplifier inside the cabinet, a design almost universally employed in active subwoofers today.
Onkyo established Onkyo Mie manufacturing company, predecessor of Onkyo Development & Manufacturing Corporation, in Tsu City, Mie.
The P-309M pre-amp and M-509 power amp adapted Onkyo’s “double super-servo scheme”. With power amp connected to pre-amp via servo-sensor cable, the distance between them was electrically zero. Together with Three-Stage Darlington Circuitry and high-output transistors, these technologies resulted in extremely accurate sound.
PX-100M was a heavyweight turntable featuring a 10 kg machined pure-copper platter. An audiophile-grade product, it featured a linear motor system that drastically improved rotation precision and is emblematic of Onkyo’s ongoing commitment to great sound.
Onkyo was first in the world to release a consumer-oriented high-speed (2X) dual-dubbing cassette deck. With useful functions such as automatic continuous playback and simultaneous mixing playback, the TA-W800 influenced many dual-unit dubbing-deck products that followed.
The Radian-33 was among the first to represent the “New Audio” concept with its stylish two-tone design—a departure from conventional component systems at the time. It featured an optional wireless FM transmitter to bring its total number of audio sources to four (FM/AM/record/tape).
Featuring a pure cross-carbon cone woofer, the 3-Way Monitor 2000 also contained Onkyo’s in-house-developed magnesium alloy diaphragm squawker and tweeter. Both technologies produced remarkably pure sound while its symmetrical baffle improved sound localization.
Onkyo unveiled the Grand Scepter GS-1 in 1984, an all-horn-scheme speaker system emblematic of the company’s ongoing pursuit of ultimate sound. The speaker was based on completely new theories of audio design and measurement and was evaluated highly in both domestic and overseas markets. In 1991, a few years after its initial release, Hi-Fi professionals in France selected the GS-1 as recipient of the Joseph Leon Award.
Weighing in at a backbreaking 60 kg, the M-510 Grand Integra was Onkyo’s heaviest amp and a landmark in the company’s pursuit of phase accuracy. Much of its weight was in its In-Phase Transformer, which helped improve imaging accuracy and contributed to its stellar reputation.
The D-77 3-Way speaker system became one of Onkyo’s bestselling products for its excellent price-to-performance characteristics, and is also the company’s long-selling product with variants produced for another 30 years.
In 1985, Onkyo released the Integra C-700 (DX-700). Onkyo was the world’s first company to develop an optical fiber transmission scheme for a CD player that ran between the digital output filters and digital-to-analog converter. This design fully separated digital and analog signals, thereby eliminating digital noise.
Onkyo secured famous young actress Yoko Minamino for a Radian series mini-component promotion. She appeared on catalogs, advertising, and TV commercials from 1986 through 1988. The campaign successfully drew the attention of younger listeners.
Onkyo released the C2/C5 component system to suit its Liverpool D-200/D-500 compact bookshelf speakers released the previous year. This product became popular among young fashion-conscious adults with its stylish design and easy operation. The concept became a cornerstone of Onkyo’s component system design philosophy.
The Scepter 3001 featured a 40 Hz Super Labyrinth Bus System super woofer for extremely deep bass. The speaker’s MID4 concept, meanwhile, reproduced a wide frequency range of 80 Hz to 1.5 kHz from a single transducer. This bandwidth covered the entire spectrum of the human voice for uncommonly realistic and cohesive vocal reproduction.
The Scepter 2002 was a 2-Way floorstanding loudspeaker featuring an SH (Super Hyperbolic) horn, which developed out of the Grand Scepter GS-1. Onkyo was able to eliminate horn distortion to produce very smooth sound.
Onkyo sourced the independent power supply idea from its high-end component systems for the ESSAY E-05/E-07V Mini-Component System. Dual-unit dubbing decks continued to be popular, yet Onkyo suggested music lovers use a single cassette deck and CD player to enjoy high-quality sound from a micro-component system.
The QUEST Series again changed stylistic direction by replacing the “mechanical” image with a clean and minimalist look, but retained the high quality parts. The slim A-1E pre-main amplifier featured a toroidal laser transformer. The anti-vibration C-1E CD player, meanwhile, had limited functions to simplify the enjoyment of sound itself.
Onkyo released the world’s first six-disc carousel-style CD auto-changer dubbed the DX-C606. Users were able to change up to three discs at once without interrupting music playback.
In 1993, Onkyo acquired Lucasfilm’s THX® certification, then the only Hollywood-accredited high-fidelity A/V reproduction standard for movie theaters. The TX-SV919 THX was the world’s first THX®-certified consumer A/V receiver. Lucasfilm’s desire to reproduce high-quality sound combined with Onkyo’s passion to deliver real emotion in this successful collaboration.
Onkyo released the SYS-1 (System 1) Speaker System in 1994 to pair with the 5-channel TX-SV919 THX, the world’s first THX®-certified A/V receiver.
The INTEC275 component system had a width of just 275 mm, half the size of a standard component but with the same high sound quality. Starting with a basic pre-main amplifier, users could build a system by adding high-end Onkyo audio devices such as a CD/cassette deck, surround processor, radio tuner, DAT, and MD player.
Rated as one of the highest-quality digital signal processors in the US at the time, Motorola’s groundbreaking DSP device made its A/V receiver debut in the Onkyo TX-SV727/525. High-performance DSPs were necessary for achieving quality surround-sound as data volumes contained in the signal were growing exponentially.
The INTEC185 again reduced the dimensions of the Hi-Fi component system to a width of just 185 mm. Available for separate purchase, users could select individual cassette/MD deck or buy together with the pre-main amp. The product was an immediate success thanks to its compact size and easy operation.
In 1996, the TX-DS939 became the world’s first THX®-certified and Dolby® Digital-compatible A/V receiver. Its high power and feature enhancements proved popular, as did its system remote, which could stand upright by itself.
In order to extract maximum potential from the CD format, the Onkyo C-729 featured a double-core laser transformer—a power supply that earned a strong reputation for performance in selected Onkyo pre-amplifiers. Two large 10,000 μF blue capacitors were added to smooth the current delivery to the audio circuitry. The result was stable, pure, and powerful sound.
With its linage tracing back to the popular INTEC series, the FR-V5 CD/MD mini-component was the first product in Onkyo’s popular FR series and inherited excellent sound quality with additional technological refinements.
MD-P10 was a high quality portable MD player that inherited elements of the INTEC series’ design concept for high-performance sound. While intended for portable outdoor use, Onkyo also suggested that the product be used together with an existing household audio component system—a new idea at the time.
With the increasing popularity of PC gaming came a demand for high-quality computer sound. Onkyo was quick to respond with the development of a premium line of computer soundcards with speakers designed to match. The product helped to establish Onkyo in the PC audio industry.
The ascendance of Mini-Disc in some markets allowed Onkyo to further reduce the size of its INTEC series components by about half. The INTEC205 was extremely successful with its progressive design and brilliant sound.
Onkyo, Apogee, Balanced Audio Technology, and Lucasfilm marked the turn of the century with collaboration that resulted in the Integra Ultimate Home Theater System—three separate components comprising DVD player, processor, and power amp, all of premier quality.
The TX-DS989 featured a state-of-the-art THX Surround EX decoder. With carefully selected electrical components and thorough tuning without compromise, Onkyo delivered reliably superb sound.
Onkyo launched the e-onkyo.com online store to sell parts and upgrades. One of the more popular products was the AS-258 gold-plated insulator originally offered as part of a point-of-purchase promotion for the INTEC series. A music streaming service followed in 2005, leading to a Hi-Res Audio distribution service as it exists today.
The Dempa Shimbun Daily, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, and Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun introduced Onkyo’s new ultra-light automotive speaker to the public on February 6. Reviewers praised the design, saying that it was “a 16 cm speaker that’s lighter than 6 cm speaker.” The product quickly gained popularity.
The Marine Theater was established in Onkyo’s Yaesu Building so users could experience the thrilling sound of its home theater products. Complete with an immersive 150-inch wide movie screen, audiences could enjoy surround sound similar to that of a commercial cinema. The theater is still used frequently for events and film screenings.
Onkyo established the Premium Stones indie music label in February 2002. In May of the same year, it launched the music community website Artist-Debute.net, which offered a music distribution service. This later evolved into the e-onkyo music service.
Onkyo was among the first audio manufacturers to suggest that people could enjoy music on their audio components via the home network. One of the challenges was to familiarize listeners with the concept of audio streaming and to demonstrate how simple and convenient it was to access entertainment. Stress-free operation was the main appeal of Onkyo’s Nettune technology.
Sales of FR series components first released in 1998 reached a cumulative total of one million in just six years. Onkyo staged a promotional event in anticipation of the millionth sale to celebrate.
Although there were just 10 tracks available to purchase on the e-onkyo online store when it was first launched, Onkyo was determined to popularize the idea of better-than-CD-quality sound made possible by the new Hi-Res Audio format.
In 2005, Onkyo set out to develop a speaker that expressed the positive characteristics of both loudspeakers and musical instruments in collaboration with Takamine Guitars. The D-TK10 broke with convention by shaping acoustic resonances within the enclosure instead of trying to eliminate them. Just as resonances within the body of an acoustic guitar are tuned, these speakers were painstakingly crafted to produce sweet, non-fatiguing sound.
Onkyo released the DS-A1 Remote Interactive Dock for the iPod in 2005, well ahead of its nearest competitor. The convenient device gave iPod users a new way to transport their digital libraries to a stereo or home theater system without loss in quality.
To fulfill Onkyo’s desire to bring THX® reference sound to as many people as possible, the company released the HT-S990THX—the first THX®-certified home theater package in the world. This convenient and user-friendly package allowed users on a budget to experience authentic theater-quality sound.
Onkyo commenced sales of the HDC-7, its first 7.1-channel multi-media computer featuring Intel® Viiv™ technology. This product boasted Onkyo’s VLSC™ to reduce digital pulse noise when playing better-than-CD-quality 96 kHz/24-bit files. The computer spearheaded a new era in living-room entertainment.
This sleek and modern component system featured selected Onkyo—original audio enhancement technology and proved a big hit with consumers.
Onkyo unveiled the TX-SR605 A/V receiver in 2007—the first AVR to feature Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ compatibility. Although films with these lossless surround-sound codecs were yet to appear, both are now dominant, and the release of the TX-SR605 demonstrated Onkyo’s commitment to serving customers with the very latest in audio technology.
By leveraging SOTEC’s superior PC product planning and development with Onkyo’s A/V expertise, the company was able to rapidly respond to market demands.
Onkyo opened a SOTEC direct-sales store in Yaesu, Tokyo, in June 2008. A line of customers stretched down the street on opening day, eager to be first to purchase the latest computer equipment.
The TX-SR607 was first audio-video receiver in the world to feature Dolby® Pro Logic llz surround-sound technology, which incorporated two height or two rear surround channels. By now, Onkyo’s reputation for being first to deliver the latest features was unassailable.
Onkyo was instrumental in promoting the idea of network-connected A/V receivers to make a rapidly growing variety of entertainment available to users. The company was first to offer internet radio in a Windows®-certified receiver with the Pandora® service built into select 2009-model products.
With a dominant position in the audio-video market established, Onkyo again focused its energy on high-end production Hi-Fi components. The stunning M-5000R stereo power amp was reminiscent of the M-510, which many consider a masterpiece. The amp, which was developed for music lovers by music lovers, inspired a new Reference Series family including pre-amp and CD player.
Synergies between famed instrument manufacturer Gibson and Onkyo, leaders in audio and audio-video component design, resulted in a business alliance that was formalized in 2012. The companies pool various resources to deliver products of superior quality to consumers.
To celebrate 20 years of collaboration with THX®, Onkyo released the feature-loaded 9.1-channel TX-NR929 A/V receiver and premiered a promotional video the two companies created together.
Onkyo developed and released a mobile application that enabled Hi-Res Audio playback from selected mobile phones and tablets. This product helped to make premium audio quality accessible to a wider audience.
A Gibson-branded showroom in Yaesu, Tokyo, opens in collaboration with TEAC and Onkyo. Themed “Play”, “Record”, and “Listen”, the exhibition space aims to share the joy of high-quality audio with as many people as possible.
The convenient HT-S7700 home theater package was first to introduce the wonder of object-based audio at an affordable price, shipping with a speaker system designed to unlock the potential of the Dolby Atmos® format.
Pioneer and Onkyo both have long histories in the audio and audio-video industry. In order to create cutting-edge products for consumers, the two companies began working together in 2015 as Onkyo and Pioneer Corporation.
In 2015, following integration with Pioneer Group’s home A/V business, Onkyo released its first Hi-Res Audio-compatible portable player—also the first product to be jointly developed by the two brands. In addition to class-leading digital-to-analog conversion technology and headphone amplification circuitry, the DP-X1 features an Android OS and balanced output. This high-end product represents the pinnacle of Onkyo’s long and rich experience in audio design and manufacture. A Pioneer-branded DAP also launched together with the Onkyo DP-X1.
This alliance aimed to merge the technical expertise and brand strengths of Onkyo and Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing. In an effort to develop new markets in the music education business, Kawai Music School and e-onkyo Hi-Res Audio distribution collaborated to create a new service that brings together research and development and the promotion of new product sales categories, such as electronic musical instruments.