View Full Version : My 2 new preamps: Onkyo P-303 & Denon PRA-1100 with big nudies

10-27-2007, 12:03 PM
With my Marantz 510M coming home from dr*audio's soon, I felt lucky to run across two very nice preamps, the Onkyo Integra P-303 and the Denon PRA-1100.

I tried out both using the amplifier section of my parents' Sanyo JCX-2900K receiver and their pair of Genesis 110 speakers.

The Denon isn't much to look at. It was their first black preamp and tried to be as visually unobtrusive as possible, faux-rosewood sides aside. After a DeOxit treatment, it sounds good. The highs and lows were more extended than using the preamp section of the receiver while adding a touch of clarity. I can only fault it for being ugly, for the input switching back to tuner every time you turn off, and for the input buttons having no labels, only lighting up with a selection after they've been pressed. It's got A LOT more components inside than the Onkyo.

Speaking of the Onkyo P-303, it's wild. It has a very minimalist, dual mono design - pics taken when I put a bulb in yesterday. It's foxy, with a beautiful silver face and a Rosewood veneer case that I'm going to refinish. I've seen pics of a P-303 that says Integra on the front and has RF shields over the phono section. This one only says Integra on the boards and has a large shield over the entire innards. It looks stupid simple to work on and the components have an expensive look. It's so minimalist that I'll have to build a passive switch box to hook up all my line level components if I decide to keep it. It's certainly foxier than the Denon. Listening to it, my second impression was that it was a fair leap more revealing than the Denon or the Sanyo and particularly flattering to strings. My first impression, unfortunately, is that the bass response through the Onkyo suffers tremendously. It's just not there.

The instructions on the Onkyo warn that using an amp with less than 50k ohms input impedance will result in poor low frequency performance. I'm not sure of the input impedance of the Sanyo (or the 510M, for that matter), but if that isn't the issue, I have to imagine the preamp needs repair. Based on what I've heard so far, I can't wait to hear what it's capable of.

Sorry for the pic tease. I got up late and have to go to work. Images will be forthcoming this evening - watch this space for further developments.

10-27-2007, 12:21 PM
That Onkyo is a NICE looking machine...can't wait to see those nudies!

10-27-2007, 04:45 PM
I posted a very long-winded assessment of this preamp.

I also contributed to a thread here.

I think it's a great preamp.

Tell me which output you prefer.

10-27-2007, 07:41 PM
Here's the promised P-303 nudies. Denon pics will be forthcoming tomorrow.

10-27-2007, 07:55 PM
Here's a couple of things I scanned from the P-303 owner's manual - the specs and a simplified signal path diagram:

02-23-2010, 05:47 PM
Got my P303 in the mail yesterday. Paid $175 plus shipping.
Case is somewhat scratched but faceplate is nice. Needs power lamp.
Sounds great. At least as good as my Yamaha CX-2.
Here's a couple of posts on the P303:
--owner review:

--history, by designer & AK member Hadrian333:

I think it's a very respectable piece of gear.

02-23-2010, 06:10 PM

Where are you guys finding the p-303s? I've been after one for a while now with no luck. From all the posts here, it seems there must be an awful lot of them floating around, but.............:scratch2:

02-23-2010, 06:33 PM
Looks to be a well designed unit. Great score!!