Onkyo P-388

Onkyo P-388F

Onkyo P-3890

1 9 9 2 1992
1 9 9 6
Plus
1996+

Last high-end 2-channel audio development of Onkyo, launched at the same time as the Japan-only and diminutive A-1E (and C-1E companion).
The P-388 and M-588 were however also exported outside Japan and, depending on country, available until the very late 1990s.

The original model is champagne in colour (P-388) with wood sideburns, the general export model (sadly) silver (P-388F) with plasticky grey sideburns while the german model is full black with a P-3890 name and plasticky black sideburns.


The P-388 embodies the refinement of what was put inside the P-308 (1986) but gone were the In-Phase transformers... and most of everything else, including the myriad of switching functions.

In are two AEI "laser" transformers, one for line sources and one for phono sources, plus another outside the enclosure for utilities such as relays or motor-driven source switching and volume control.

The power-supply section sees the back transformer and two big caps delegated to feeding the L and R line sources ; the other four, two each, and the front transformer feed the MM and MC stages.

Unlike the latter, the phono MM and MC inputs each have their own terminals (and circuits) but no pF or Ohm switching...
Two balanced inputs are available (better than those in the Sony), alongwith three outputs - one normal and one phase inverted (both unbalanced) and a normal one in balanced format.

Two 6-step output attenuators are present with deported shafts, just like the REC Out selector. Very select componentry, 70µ PCB tracks, dual-mono structure, Neutrik terminals etc.
The main circuit is organized as in the M-588 : double-differential input, double-Servo. And it is almost all made with discrete components : no ICs in the phono stages or anywhere else but in the stepped outputs.


If the P-388 looks a bit bland (especially in silver), it is an excellent high-end preamplifier, better than the stock TA-E80ES.
If the latter had been available in Japan, it would have cost around 150,000¥ - the P-388 was at the beginning of the big league : 200,000¥.
Sound-wise, the 388 clearly was in the big league.

Onkyo P-388, image 1 Onkyo P-388, image 2 Onkyo P-388, image 3
Onkyo P-388 specifications
Title Value
Inputs : 160µV / 100 Ohm (MC)
2,5mV / 47kOhm (MM)
150mV / 30kOhm (XLR CD & Line)
150mV / 15kOhm (RCA CD, aux, tuner & tape play)
XLR outputs : 1V / 200 Ohm (10V max.)
RCA outputs : 0,5V / 100 Ohm (5V max.)
Tape outputs : 150mV / 560 Ohm
Maximum input : 13mV (MC ; 1Khz ; 0,05% THD)
200mV (MM ; 1Khz ; 0,05% THD)
THD : 0,005% (MC ; 20Hz...20Khz ; vol. -30dB)
0,0008% (MM ; 20Hz...20Khz ; vol. -30dB)
0,0005% (lines ; 20Hz...20Khz ; vol. -30dB)
Frequency response : 20Hz...20Khz (± 0,2dB ; MC to tape out)
20Hz...20Khz (± 0,2dB ; MM to tape out)
0,8Hz...170Khz (+0 / -3dB ; CD to XLR/RCA output)
S/N ratio : 81dB (MC ; for 0,5mV input)
92dB (MM ; for 5mV intput)
105dB (lines ; for 150mV input)
PC : 50W
Dimensions : 47,5 x 9 x 41,8cm
Weight : 9,2kg.
Onkyo P-388 : 0 topic
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page online since : january 2010
page updated : july 2010
page type : LGT / KNB
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