Powerful-sounding receivers are hard to come by.
Sure, you can buy respectable-sounding models from the usual suspects--Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, and Yamaha--but most of the more affordable models lack real muscle. They sound acceptable at moderate volume levels, but can't fully convey home theater impact the way bigger, read "more expensive," models do.
Onkyo's new HT-RC180 ($1,049 MSRP) is THX Select2 Plus Certified and that's always a good sign. A bevy of features including an Ethernet port that enables the HT-RC180 either to receive and output audio tracks playing on your PC, or to bypass your PC and directly stream Internet radio stations such as Rhapsody and Pandora. There's five HDMI 1.3a inputs and the ability to upscale any video input to 1080p via Faroudja DCDi Cinema. You'll soon get the complete scoop in the full HT-RC180 review I did with Matthew Moskovciak.
The features are nice, but it was the HT-RC180's power and dynamic slam that wowed me.
The very first thing I noticed about the HT-RC180 was its ability to play nice and loud without strain. True, in absolute terms it probably can't play much louder than lesser receivers, but the HT-RC180 definitely sounds better playing loud. Home theater, at its best, is all about producing a more visceral experience, and the HT-RC180 does just that.… Read more
Onkyo's been on a tear recently releasing new AV receivers, and the company is rolling out another trio of high-end units. The receivers are packed with functionality, from eight HDMI inputs to HQV video processing, so let's take a careful look at exactly what each of these units offers.
Key features of the Onkyo TX-NR1007:9.2 AV receiver, rated at 135 watts per channel Six HDMI inputs Dual HDMI outputs Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio Also supports Dolby Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX surround processing modes Streaming audio from Pandora, Rhapsody, vTuner, … Read more
Sad but true: Great sound and home theater-in-a-box systems rarely go together.
HTIBs are the province of "good enough" performance and features, but I'm totally jazzed about these two exceptional models: Samsung's HT-BD1250 and Onkyo's HT-S9100THX.
Looking at the Samsung HT-BD1250 Blu-ray Home Theater System ($550 MSRP) it doesn't exactly stand out in a field of black plastic HTIBs. But once I listened to the thing I knew Samsung had a real winner.
The HT-BD1250 sounds great on music and movies, with remarkably good clarity, bass extension/definition, and low overall distortion. Even high-impact, special-effects driven flicks didn't betray the wee speakers and subwoofer weaknesses. Sure, play a Blu-ray really loud or try to fill a very large room and the HT-BD1250 will cry uncle. But in average size rooms, the HT-BD1250 should satisfy most home theater fans.
Rocking out with the Rolling Stones "Shine A Light" Blu-ray the band's punch and impact came through like gangbusters. The HT-BD1250 sounds noticeably less dynamically compressed than HTIBs with similarly sized speakers and subwoofers.
Few HTIBs of any size can sound credible with solo piano CDs, but the HT-BD1250 truly shined with Joel Fan's excellent "West of the Sun" release. The naturalness of piano tone was striking, and even the lower register keys had just the right weight. I credit that to the HT-BD1250's subwoofer, its refined sound perfectly matched the satellites. The sats kept up their part of the bargain, delivering effortless midrange and treble resolution.
Last week, Onkyo released its new "HT" line of receivers, and the company has followed-up with two additional models in its traditional "TX" line. The Onkyo TX-NR807 ($1,100) and TX-SR707 ($900) are both available now and are step-ups to the popular TX-SR607 model that we reviewed in April.
The TX-NR807 is the most interesting of the two; on top of normal AV receiver functions, it adds streaming-audio functionality from Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirius and Internet radio (using vTuner's database of stations). It's also DLNA 1.5-compliant and capable of playing back MP3, WMA, FLAC, … Read more
Onkyo is one of the heavy hitters in the AV receiver market, with its TX-SR lines of AV receivers consistently scoring well in our reviews for their combination of features and performance. Wednesday, Onkyo announced a new line of AV receivers, dubbed the HT series, which includes the HT-RC160 ($550) and HT-RC180 ($1,050).
Although the model name is new, the HT-RC160 is only slightly different from the existing TX-SR line. For example, if you use the "compare" feature on Onkyo's Web site, the major difference between the HT-RC160 and TX-SR607 is that the HT-RC160 has slightly … Read more
Face it: Most people listen to music on CD, LP, radio, or some form of downloaded file, and each and every one is a stereo format.
Even high-resolution formats like SACD have stereo mixes, so it's no surprise that Onkyo just introduced two new stereo components: An integrated stereo amplifier, the A-5VL, and a stereo SACD player, the C-S5VL.
The amp seems like a rational alternative to a feature-laden AV receiver, jam-packed with so much wizardry you need to read and comprehend a 100 page user manual to get it to do much of anything. Stereo is simple; no need to navigate multilayer menus to turn the bass up or down. No, with the stereo Onkyo amp, all you'll ever do is select the input--CD, aux, radio, etc.--and adjust the volume. Then sit back and enjoy the tunes. … Read more
Onkyo's home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems tend to be everything HTIBs usually aren't: big, boxy, and they actually sound pretty good. Today the company rolled out two new 7.1 HTIBs, HT-S7200 and HT-S6200, which are step-ups to the existing HT-S5200 and HT-S3200 (full review).
Onkyo's new HTIBs have several upgrades, but the first thing we noticed is that the systems aren't stuck with the same "pass-through-only" HDMI inputs that plagued the step-down HT-S3200 and HT-S5200. Both the HT-S7200 and HT-S6200 can accept audio over HDMI (you don't need to run separate cables like on … Read more