Sprout vs Onkyo TX-8160

Looking for a little help today. I recently upgraded my speakers to Klipsch 150’s and couldn’t be happier. I have a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon with acrylic platter and an Ortofon Red stylus. I decided to upgrade the receiver as well. I was using a 15 year Kenwood VR-507 receiver which actually had a PHONO input. I wasn’t ready to spend over $750 on the receiver, my choices were between the new Onkyo TX-8160 and the Yamaha R-N602. My main concern was the phono quality. I do not use a cd player, the streaming options of both units appealed to me as well. I chose the Onkyo TX-8160.

On to my question - I’m a bit disappointed in the sound quality of the Onkyo TX-8160, specifically the phono input. The streaming quality is fantastic, but the phono sounds dull. I a/b’d a few LP’s vs the stream from Spotify with the Spotify sounding better in all circumstances. I have a short time to return this purchase. I have been thinking of the Sprout as an either a alternative to the Onkyo receiver or as an addition. Will this product enhance my sound quality noticeably? If I am adding the Sprout to the receiver, am I using the audio output? How is this done - looks like a mono out? Please help - I am relatively new to this and looking for a much better sound to my vinyl listening.



Not having listened to the Onkyo TX-8160 receiver or the Klipsch speakers, this is just a subjective viewpoint:

  1. if you are liking the sound of the receiver with your speakers on Bluetooth and streaming, then I will assume that you are generally happy with the SQ from the combination.

  2. the sprout seems overkill and redundant for your application, if your plan is to continue using the Onkyo. The Onkyo puts out a lot more output and has a lot more bells and whistles. The sprout is minimalist, which is what I wanted in my application.

  3. You’re better off considering a good pre-amp for the phono input alone, something like a Pro-Ject Tube Box S, Emotiva Xps-1 or Schiit Mani. The Pro-Ject tube box is the most expensive of the lot, almost approaching Sprout pricing. There are also many affordable choices out there.

  4. If you’re planning on replacing the Onkyo with the Sprout, I will tell you that the Sprout’s phono stage combined with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon sings (my combination). The Bluetooth on the Sprout is also fantastic. However, it does not have a remote, network connectivity, or light indicators.

Hope this helps (a little).