The FR-435 is an odd creature, neither fish nor fowl. Who is it aimed at? It costs a lot more than the standard 3 in 1 micro system, and at this price people would be more likely to buy separates. It's a full size receiver with a CD player & MD recorder built in. It's also the head of Onkyo's FR series of integrated systems, the others being the micro systems FR-S3 & FR-S7 (also CD / MD / Tuner / Amps soon to be superseded by the micro system FR-S77 which supports MDLP, and has digital record level adjustment.). The FR-435 comes either alone, or packaged with speakers as the Liverpool L-435.
All of the FR series use circuitry borrowed from Onkyo's mid-range components / Intec systems - good stuff, but not quite the top of the line Integra. The tuner is very roughly equivalently spec'ed to the T-4211's FM section, the MD section to the MD-2321, the CD player the DX-7222, the amp has no direct equivalent. Though in each case the separate component has features lacking in the FR-435 e.g. the MD-2321 records in mono, the FR-435 doesn't.
Basically you get a whole system in one handsome box, provide speakers
and away you go. In one fell swoop you also sever yourself from the
interconnect wars, mortally wounding your credibility.
So if you're into bi-wiring,
spiking your CD player, floating your components
on inflatable beds, think co-ax transfers digital better than optical etc.,
this product does not cater for you, but then the very word "receiver"
had already sent you fleeing.
It's labelled silver, but it's almost champagne. Quite an eye catcher in the flesh. A clean & minimal exterior. Major controls only visible, minor controls concealed under flap in middle. It seems very deep, as it's not high, and the amplifier necessitates extending the case back a long way.
Reasonably heavy for the size at 8.4kg because there's a fair bit in there.
Rigid steel case. Thick pressed / machined brushed aluminium
face plate, big aluminium volume knob. Four big plastic feet with
rubber pads. Trim around MD / CD transports and other buttons are
plastic. Everything moves smoothly, feels good. The inside
is clean and straight, no messy wire bundles or lopsided components hanging
off the board. I like Onkyo internals, they always seem to manage
a very clean interior. IMO in this price range only NAD has better
looking viscera. I may be warped but this stuff is important to me,
and I think you can tell a lot about a piece of equipment by looking
It puts 43W DIN into 4ohms, and 31W RMS into 8ohms @0.2% THD. That might seem small, but this is a conservatively built lazy amp, I've never turned it past 10 o'clock. If you have a reasonably efficient pair of speakers the size shouldn't be a problem. If it's not enough for you later on, you can feed a bigger power amp from the preamp outputs, or use the dedicated subwoofer output, and relieve it of low frequency duty. If this amount of transformer, silicon, and heatsink came from another manufacturer, the claimed power output would be a bit higher. (For example there is a Sony home theatre receiver which claims 5x100W with a transformer of similar size, and little more heatsink.)
It sounds far better than any chain store special as it doesn't add distortion when turned up. However it might be considered the weakest link in this package in terms of hi-fi. The THD at rated power is unexceptional, and the damping factor is OK but also not amazing.
The tone controls provide up to 8dB of boost/cut at 100Hz and 10 000Hz. There is also a Super Bass control for an optional fixed 8dB boost at 40Hz, you can watch your bookshelf speaker cones flail around helplessly in the region where the port unloads them.
The headphone amplifier deserves a mention too. Drives a pair
of Sennheisers very nicely.
All of the analogue connections use RCA jacks, and are relatively sturdy for the type, though not gold plated - may need more frequent cleaning down the track. The speaker outputs use banana plug compatible binding posts, though you'll have to ping the protective plastic inserts out to use bananas.
The subwoofer output is a full range mono mixdown of the stereo. Depending on what speakers / crossover / subwoofer you have, you may want to use the Processor In & Out and loop back instead of this, but anyway it's pretty flexible.
Of interest to computer owners is that the digital output is always active, and outputs whatever preamp input is active. This includes analogue sources. So you've effectively got a high quality outboard ADC / DAC, certainly much better than your garden variety soundcard. I guess the output is a 20 bit signal, given that the ADC / internal processing is 20 bit, except perhaps for CD, but I don't know. I also don't know if it is resampled to 44.1kHz, if coming from 48 or 32kHz on the digital input, there's no information given about it.
If you were after a RIAA equalised phono input, I'm afraid you're out of luck.
All of the inputs can be renamed to match what is connected.
Tape can be renamed DAT or VCR.
Line 1 can be renamed DVD, VIDEO DISC, TV, DSR, CS, or BS.
Line 2 can be renamed DVD, VIDEO DISC, PC, TV, DSR, CS, or BS.
Digital can be renamed DVD/dig, V.DISC/dig, PC/dig, DSR/dig, CS/dig, or BS/dig.
If you lose the supplied remote, not to worry, most every function can still be accessed from the main unit. The remote is Onkyo RI compatible and will theoretically operate any Onkyo equipment (though another Onkyo remote couldn't select the tuner on this one - everything else fine). There is also an optional accessory remote you can buy which has an alphabetical keyboard especially for MD titling. This optional remote also enables a couple of otherwise unusable functions such as looping between two preset points (useful for guitarists trying to nail those difficult licks?).
The supplied remote can't control recording, but otherwise it's very
I don't know if it will play CD-Rs or not, don't own any. Seems to be the more expensive a player is, the less likely it will. Some Onkyo DVD players won't, so if it's important to you, check.
One slight mis-feature of the CD player is that it won't display remaining time properly on a CD running longer than 74 minutes. This was pointed out on a piece of paper slipped into the box. I'll be losing a lot of sleep over this one I'm sure. I also noticed CDs with more than say 25-30 tracks had some problems displaying remaining time on the last few tracks.
It does not support CD Text AFAIK.
Up to 24 CDs can be named. The FR-435 stores the names in memory.
Not sure how useful
this is, I suppose it means you don't have to open the drawer to see what
you left behind, but OK.
It will automatically scan and set all the radio stations in the area (up to 30). This was one of the fastest and most accurate autoscans I've seen, but hey it happens once in the lifetime of the unit, big deal. Once stations are set, you're ready to go.
Much appreciated is the ability to title stations, too hard for me to
remember which frequency is which station. If you don't title the
station yourself, the Program Service name will be displayed for RDS stations,
otherwise the frequency is displayed. Radio Text if available can
be displayed by pressing the (wait for it...) display button.
The display flashes "Welcome" when you insert a disc. The MD slot
tilts slightly upward to fit the way your hand naturally presents an MD.
This is fine but I think that the insertion could be smoother, the shutter
tends to catch if not inserted in exactly the right way.
. The transport is quiet and fast. Discs get warm after
they've been in there a while.
There's a list of preset words (Easy Title) which can be used for titling but honestly they're a bit lame, and were obviously thought up by a Japanese person. Have a look for yourself. Would you use these words? Gee I think I'll record "Best of Euro Special Super Happy TECHNO Hit Songs". Well maybe I'm too harsh.
Onkyo Easy Title List
|BLUES||POPS||American||Best of __||Hit Songs|
Titling is English only. I don't know if it can display kana or
There are three selectable synchro features. Level Synch places track marks in response to silence on both analogue & digital recordings. Signal Wait pauses recording after 4 seconds of silence. If a signal is detected within 26 seconds it will automatically start recording again, otherwise it will revert to record pause. Signal Synchro starts recording (from pause) in response to the presence of a external signal again either digital or analogue.
No date or time information is written to the MD.
For the price you could buy a CD/MD deck, and a receiver. Or even a CD player, an MD deck, and a receiver. So why didn't I? Well the separates available at that price did not excite me. I would have had to spend a lot more money to be satisfied, having experienced relatives hi-fi systems, I could not buy a ¥50 000 amplifier. Another factor is that I'm always moving, this is more transportable. Plus no other CD/MD deck has an optical out AFAIK, and I have been making digital dubs of field recordings. This was hopefully the best compromise with my wallet and situation. So I fit some narrow niche of people this product suits, but I don't know how many others there'd be.
With audio equipment in general, quality increases proportionately match price increases only to a certain point, and then you enter the region of ever diminishing returns. It's my belief that CD players reach this region very early on, amplifiers hold out for a while longer, but speakers can carve ragged bloody chunks out of your wallet without getting there. I think that most of this box is sitting on or around the knee of the curve. If you find yourself a nice pair of speakers (this is the time consuming soul destroying part), you can really start enjoying music without too much money in. After a lot of limited budget listening (Wharfedale, Infinity, Mission, Mirage, Sony) I settled on a pair of Paradigm Phantoms, but you're really on your own here.
Pros: High build quality, excellent fit & finish for price,
good sound, convenience, style.
Cons: Lacks some common features, not the latest greatest ATRAC, zero snob value (maybe a pro?), expensive for one box.
The RRP is ¥85 000. However I'd say you could find it for
¥70 000 - ¥75 000 on the street, maybe even less.
|Manufacturers RRP||¥85 000|
|Release Date||30th June 1999|
|Warranty||3 years (Possibly varies by country)|
|Power Output||2x43W @ 4ohms 1kHz DIN
2x36W @ 6ohms 1kHz DIN
2x32W @ 8ohms 1kHz DIN
2x31W RMS @ 8ohms 1kHz 0.2%THD
|THD||0.2% @ rated power|
|IMD||0.2% @ rated power|
|Damping Factor||40 @ 8ohms|
|Sensitivity & Impedance||
|Freqency Response||10-50 000Hz +0/-3dB|
|Signal To Noise Ratio||
|DAC||1bit 8x Oversampling|
|Frequency Response||5-20 000Hz +-1.5dB|
|Frequency Response||10-20 000Hz +-2dB|
|Tuning Range||87.50 to 108.00MHZ (50kHz steps)|
12.8dBf, 1.2uV (75 ohms IHF)
1.0uV (75 ohms DIN)
18.0dBf, 2.2uV (75 ohms IHF)
25.0uV (75 ohms DIN)
|50dB Quieting Sensitivity||Mono:
18.8dBf, 2.4uV (75 ohms IHF)
38.8dBf, 24uV (75 ohms IHF)
|Image Rejection Ratio||85dB|
|IF Rejection Ratio||90dB|
|S/N Ratio||Mono: 73dB IHF
Stereo: 67dB IHF
|Harmonic Distortion||Mono: 0.5%
|Frequency Response||30-15 000Hz (+-1.5dB)|
|Stereo Separation||40dB at 1 000Hz
30dB at 100 to 10 000Hz
2 AA Batteries
Indoor FM Antenna