Article-From the horse’s mouth
TX-8050 | ONKYO Asia and Oceania Website (Catalog posting)
There are situations where a home theatre system may not be appropriate but you like the look and performance of “full-width” hi-fi equipment. The classic example is the formal lounge room that is at the front of the house where you don’t really want to watch TV or movies but would rather entertain guests, read and play or listen to music. Here, you may want to have a hi-fi that is built around a stereo receiver or amplifier feeding a pair of speakers and a CD player, turntable and / or audio recording deck as source equipment.
But a lot of “full-width” receivers that have network capability also come with the surround-sound functionality and, in some cases, are optimised for use with video equipment. If you purposed these receivers for use with a stereo setup, you would find that there is unused functionality and, in some cases, room for operational error.
On the other hand, you may have to buy or resurrect a stereo integrated amplifier and hook this up to an audio-focused network media tuner like the NAD C446 Media Tuner so you can gain access to the audio content on the Internet or network. If you used a stereo receiver, you may find that the FM or AM broadcast tuners in the network media tuner (if it has one) or the stereo receiver may be redundant when it comes to listening to broadcast radio via this system.
But Onkyo have filled in this gap by offering a traditional “full-width” stereo receiver that works with the home network, whether to pull in the fun of Internet radio or music that exists on that network-attached-storage device.
This receiver, known as the TX-8050, has room for expected hi-fi functionality like a phono input for connecting the turntable to play those records and an input-output loop for connecting a tape or MiniDisc deck. The sound path is set up for stereo sound reproduction rather than surround-sound reproduction in the same vein as the classic stereo receiver. There is video switching for some of the video inputs but this works at composite level only, which may not matter with its intended usage application.
What I see of this product is it is another example of what Onkyo has done to fill in gaps in the domestic audio-video market, like their FR-435 CD/MiniDisc receiver which was a full-width component that could be hooked up to any speakers. It has also highlighted a way where AV equipment manufacturers could keep the stereo-receiver product class alive and relevant in the age of the home network rather than treating it as a second-class citizen.