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Onkyo D-77RX : the best speakers you didn’t know existed (subjective)

Lattiboy

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Note: this is a subjective review, however I will update with REW in the next few days when my laptop is home from work.

Man o’ man, I didn’t need another set of speakers (as evidenced by the surrounding sets pictured below), but these Onkyo D-77RX are close to GOAT status to my ears. Got them off the son of a marine in Okinawa who thought so highly of them he paid to have these 60lb a piece (!!!) bookshelf’s flown across the pacific.

These bastards are dense! 60lbs in a box that’s only 26” tall and 14” wide is quite something to pickup. Stranger still, it doesn’t have massive woofer magnets, as the woofers (even with their powder coated metal baskets) are not terribly heavy. It’s all about the cabinets. Fully braced and built like siege weapons.

The cabs are simply the nicest I’ve ever handled. True “furniture grade” in a way you don’t expect from speakers and, even after a 25 years, beautiful to look at and touch. Rich walnut color and lovely smooth texture. These feel truly hand crafted.

They look sexy as hell in a very 90s kinda way. The style is like if Cerwin Vega and Yamaha decided to build to the quality standards of Canton. The grilles are very understated black numbers. I can’t imagine putting them on.



I have them way closer together then most speakers as the separation is very pronounced. The two channels are so distinct it can be distracting if not placed correctly, but once you figure out the toe-in and distance you’ll be rewarded with a real two ear workout you might not have had before.

Bass is truly powerful when placed directly on the floor. I’ve listened with and without stands and I think you give up a little clarity and imaging for more bass on the floor. About 12” off the wall was the sweet spot for me. Toed in about 10 degrees or so.

I’m kind of going light on the sound quality here because there just isn’t much to say. It’s just.... great. I’ve heard some pretty high end setups in my life, and even through my decidedly mid-fi amplification (Yamaha R-N803 mostly, and a Denon POA2200 + Schiit Saga briefly), these are absolutely wonderful with every type of music. Classical, metal, acoustic ballads, electronica, hip hop, chorale singing. Just everything is great. There is no “wish it had ‘x’ “ moments.

Best rendition of Madeline Peyroux I’ve ever heard. Best rendition of Pearl Jam I’ve ever heard. Best Anderson Park I’ve ever heard. The tone is unparalleled in my mind. It’s like there is an imaginary high-end tube preamp under the speaker terminals. It’s so good I’m listening to the “songs you’ve heard too many times” playlist. A real event.
I’m stuck with these things forever because even though they cost a fortune originally (from what I can tell about $3,000 a pair back in the mid 90s) nobody will ever associate Onkyo and speakers worth caring about or paying for. Seriously, try to find any kind of information about these online. You’ll quickly discover a number of links to barebones Asian audio forums posts and some Onkyo manuals with very little info.

Some speakers I’ve owned to which I’m comparing these to:

JBL L100s, L112 and L166, ADS L710 and L810, B&W CDM7-NT, Pioneer HPM1500s, Boston Acoustics A150, Klipsch Forte and Heresey, Triangle Borea BR08, Sony SSM3, and Vienna Acoustic Bachs.

Of all these the SS-M3s and L112s are closest in pure sound quality. The only pair of speakers I have that best these are my beloved Canton CT120s, a speaker 3 times the size and twice the weight which cost an absurd amount when released. The D-77RX just can’t compete with the bass and scale from those, but I’ve never heard another speaker that can.

These don’t seem to exist in any meaningful numbers in the US, but if you happen upon anything in the Onkyo D-77 line, go out of your way to acquire them.

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