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ONIX OA21 reborn...

Discussion in 'audio' started by madmike, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. madmike

    madmike Seen your member...

    About May 2016 I purchased an ONIX OA21 amp off cash converters. It was in a bit of a sorry state and I took pity on it. When it arraived I gave it a very brief test and found that the TT input was MC not MM. I didn't have an MC cart then and I still don't now but that may have to change. These were pictures I took then...



    I was aware that the boys at ONIX did a free refurb and service on OA21s so that was in the back of my mind.
    I sent it away to ONIX about June 2016.

    I only got it back today but by golly gosh it was worth the wait.

    This is what they did...


    During the wait I had use of the latest DNA50 amp, and I received a free ONIX logo coat.

    I have to take my hat off to the wonderful guys at ONIX

  2. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    Exciting; How does it sound? Onix actually have my original OA21S, and a second one I had. I stupidly decided to sell them both to Onix when I was lacking funds, not realising how much I'd regret it. I used that OA21S for over 12 years and loved it, so I miss it as a key part of my hi-fi history. I have another OA21 but the sentimental value of the first is still strong. They probably used it as a blueprint to do your service.

    I'll be very interested to know how the MC phono card sounds when you do get an MC cart. I have an Onix MC card but I've never used it. The MM stage is superb.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Are they still doing this? I have a near mint very late OA21S I would rather like recapped/checked.
  4. madmike

    madmike Seen your member...

    I will post pictures because it really is just like a new one. I must have the mintiest OA21 in the UK.
    Sound wise I have choice to marry it up with Epos 11s or a pair of SBLs. I won't have a phono source until I can find an MC cart. I have an OPPO blu ray which could provide a digital source stream from files or cds.
    If you ring them up Tony and ask for Sean they will tell you cos I'm not sure how it stands right now...
  5. calorgas

    calorgas pfm Member

    What an amazing thing for them to do for free!

    I've been enjoying a '31 that I bought recently, fortunately not in the same state that you found yours in. No idea the age of mine as there's hardly any info on the web about this model, though I'm sure I read somewhere that it's pretty much a '21 in a standard width box.
  6. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    Outstanding service!
  7. Onixdna

    Onixdna Onix GB

    Hi Mike

    First let me apologize for the delay , I hope you will understand why it took so long , the task of renovation was down to me , and the last year has been crazy busy , credit to Sean for chasing me most weeks .. he was relentless . My schedule overseas has meant that time just went between each process .. Once again sorry for the delay .

    For further info of your unit , it was made in Sydney Street Brighton in the UK on 25-05-86 , over 30 years ago. The PCB board was assembled by Myself or Tony Brady as at that time only two of us were working there building boards .The unit may have been finished by Tony, Craig or Myself .The twisted wires on the back of the disc input are called a "Humbucker" and were twisted to reduce hum , slight hum was picked up in early units with MC disc boards. We all hated making the Humbucker .

    The disc board is unique as the discrete devices that we used then, are no longer made , treasure the disc board as it cannot be replaced, these great sounding low noise transistors are a thing of the past ..Sadly.

    When I listened to your amp the memory of making the OA21e in the early days came flooding back, the layout of the work area, and the people I was working with, and then each unit being listened to in Craig's shop" Brighton HIFI" before shipping. The case work was carried out by a company called precision metal products in Shoreham by Sea Sussex, the PCBS were made in Newhaven , the case work was Powder-coated in Seaford and most components sourced from STC or RS.The shipping boxes were made by Cambridge Corrugated and our company was driven by enthusiasm and youth, we were all in our early twenties.

    When your unit came to us at ONIX GB nostalgia drove me personally to bring it back , if only as you say "it deserved it" , I am glad you appreciate it.

    Guys, lets keep great sounding music alive , I know at least one more unit is doing exactly that , I enjoy music every day and I enjoy what we do to make it better .

    Adam W
  8. Natara

    Natara pfm Member

    That has answered a massive question for me, as a 16 year old I was sent for an interview at a 1st floor workshop in Sydney St in Brighton where amps were being made. I don't remember how I got the interview probably the job centre tbh I wasn't really interested in working anywhere at the time all I wanted to do was smoke pot, listen to reggae and chase girls. But for some reason that interview always stuck in my mind and now I know I had stumbled into a place of hifi history.
    Moonbuggy likes this.
  9. Natara

    Natara pfm Member

    I'm going to have to try one now. Who would have thought Onyx in Sydney St, Brighton and Exposure a couple of miles away in North St, Portslade.
  10. jtrade

    jtrade pfm Member

    I've said it before & 'll say it again : my OA21 is the only piece of audio equipment I truly regret selling. I bought it new via The Sound Organisation in 1984, sold it to some Dutch bloke around 2004. It had a special DIN out to my AudioPro sub, fitted at the "factory" - I think the Sound Org arranged a few like this. Drove my Kans so well (Xerxes source)...
  11. heidcase music

    heidcase music pfm Member

    Fantastic thread Can't wait to see the pics after the refurb
  12. Neiro

    Neiro Active Member

    As a student at Brighton Poly '80 - '83 I spent many happy hours in 'Brighton HiFi'. Craig was happy to lend stuff even though he knew, as a student, I would not be buying the stuff. Got to listen to various ONIX prototypes, he was very proud of the product and pleased that he had a real competitor for Naim. Craig always reminded me of Eric Bristow to the point that my brother always referred to him as Eric between ourselves. My brother was at Poly too, he went on to run both Rogers and Exposure. At Exposure he worked with Tony Brady and to this day he still owns an ONIX OA21.
    kondo likes this.
  13. tinpot

    tinpot General

    I have a dead one of those sitting in a box, if somebody can PM me contact details, I'll be in touch to get it working again.
  14. badlyread

    badlyread pfm Member

    Look at the invoice at the top of this thread.
  15. Onixdna

    Onixdna Onix GB

    It seems Mike has been busy ..I got a few mins so here is some factory snaps of the reconditioned OA21 when returned to Mike .. Just to complete the thread.


    nitrous, vicdiaz, SteveS1 and 16 others like this.
  16. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    What about the 2 x OA21Ss of mine that you have? Any chance of a refurb and re-aquisition of one of those? (I should have known I'd regret selling them! The wisdom of hindsight...)
  17. Ponty

    Ponty pfm Member

    That really is the most incredible customer service, bravo!
    nitrous likes this.
  18. Margin_walker

    Margin_walker pfm Member

    Beautiful job! Are you still carrying out refurbs on OA21s?
  19. hifi-dog

    hifi-dog pfm Member

    Wanted one of those in the early 90’s .. want one even more now!
  20. Onixdna

    Onixdna Onix GB

    The OA21 is an old design .. This means it takes a long time to dismantle and work on .. It is also very well made, so there are lots of processes to carry out in a renovation .

    We selected the best components we could get in those days ..The proof is in how many still work .. We do exactly the same now with all of our new stuff , but a huge misconception is that Capacitors dry out over time. They do not by default dry out, if they don't get too hot and are sealed the way they should be and are not stressed too much and were made by a good company , they will work for 30 years or more . Add to this the integrity of the manufacture making the capacitors, and the design integrity of the product they are used in , and life expectancy is ultimately defined . This means not all OA21s require renovation . Switches do get dirty and they do need changing or cleaning but again these are environment dependent and do not fail just because of age

    In all electronics there is a very simple equation, quality is not a right, it is earned .. By time and reputation ..Spec means absolutely nothing, it is and always has been just a guide line. Design is not just a theory, it is an art, that is once again earned by experience and knowledge of how you want the components you use to work within their intended environment , and for how long . Electronics is the king of manipulation regarding specification ... Remind me PMPO and RMS, how many ohms what type of input into what load Etc Etc Ect ... Come on, its just all bullshit, and components are no different. What they really are is the only spec that counts, and that is not a sheet of paper with the manufacturers print within.

    We design using an age old principle of 100% head room on spec .. If we want it to work at 30 Volts we spec 60 Volts, if it must have a gain of 20 we spec a device than can create 40 ...Etc Etc

    its called good old engineering not, spec driven hype.

    We will renovate the OA21 and OA22 but due to our ability to order old components and how long they take to get, E mail us and we will note your interest and stay in touch, It seems I am one of a few that can do it these days ( being involved in its design ) so my time is also a consideration .

    The OA21s was a truly unique Amp ..it was cheap to buy, extremely well made, and worked beyond all expectation , it deserves to live on, and we will help it to do so, but please understand any electronic product that's 30 years old or more, is an old product, and it really falls in to a classic status . Time is required to do the job well , patience is a virtue to its successful survival.

    We can do it, and we will do it , but please understand its not that easy to replicate the quality we built in in those days ..we know too well with our new stuff how hard it is and the parts required to make it all happen are far too often not that easy to obtain.

    Far to many buyers buy the spec sheet, and far to many buyers just buy on price .

    Drop us a mail

    Adam W
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
    Mike S, Craig B, Wilson and 3 others like this.

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