Summary: Considering its price, I think the sound is very good. However, as many people have said, there is hum from the chassis (not related with volume, and not from speaker or headphones). If you plan to use it as a desktop amp, the hum may disappoint you, especially when it's used for speakers in silent night. If you are away from it at the distance more than 3 feet, it will be hard to notice the hum (but still depends on how sensitive your ears are).
Summary: There is a huge movement in the entry level audiophile arena to move towards Pre-Amp or Intergrated AMPS with a solid DAC. Onkyo delivered and the DAC in this AMP is Burr-Brown 192 kHz/24-Bit DAC - one that you would see in many $2k plus Preamp DACS. Great DAC, two digital inputs (to bypass DAC on the ipod or CD), and enough juice. I had listen to the system and at the $350 price point it was a no brainer - but wait. NO PRE-OUTS?!?!
Summary: Pros: Build quality, power, functionality (build in DAC) Cons: Usability, sound quality I had the A-5VL for about two weeks before returning it. I give the A-5VL 5 stars for features. It is a relatively powerful integrated amp WITH a high quality DAC. Better quality than the DAC in your typical A/V receiver, and WAAAY better than the DAC in your computer or ipod.
Summary: Ok, so first off , let me say how excited I was about this product after reading reviews (especially E. Linder) as his explanation is exactly what I'm trying to accomplish myself. As I purchased a Wadia Itransport in December , I was waffling between buying a fairly high end DAC (Cambridge DacMagic ?) used with my current tube receiver Yamaha R-8 from the mid 80's (85 watts /channel) or an all-in-one Digital amplifier with a high quality built in DAC.