Onkyo HT-S3300 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 05-06-2012, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm planning on getting a new Home Theater System at the end of the year, probably around mid October. The Onkyo HT-S3300 is rated very good for sound quality by Consumer Reports. However, it seems this is an outdated/discontinued model. What is the 2012 equivalent of this model?

I want a system without a video player that can decode the latest Blu-ray high-resolution audio formats, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD master Audio. I also want it to have an auto calibration feature w/mic that works well. I want to keep price around $250-$300 or less if possible and I believe this old model is listed around $280 on CR.org


This is from the review on CR.org:

"CR's Take

This 5.1-channel HTIB from Onkyo has very good overall sound--making it a decent choice for the more critical listener for both movie and music playback--at a comparatively low price, making it a CR Best Buy. This model does not come with a disc player, so it's best for those who already have a Blu-ray or DVD player (or who'd like to add one at a later date), and who are interested in the latest Blu-ray high-resolution audio formats, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD master Audio, which it can decode.

Detailed test results

Sound quality: Onkyo's HT-S3300 had very good overall sound quality, making it one of a handful of models in our Ratings to earn that score. The overall character is warm but slightly indistinct. Bass has good impact, but so-so definition and lower bass is lacking. Midrange is slightly nasal and a bit hazy. Treble sounds sizzly; lacks upper-treble extension and lower-treble detail. Sounds fairly open; but lacks fine detail and lower-midrange and lower-treble room ambience. The system can provide satisfying volume in a medium-sized room.

Ease of use: We found the system's console controls and ease of use to be excellent, and the remote control was judged very good for both features and ease of use."
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post #2 of 29 Old 05-06-2012, 05:28 PM
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I've been very happy with my Yamaha YHT-395 if you're looking for other comparable HTiBs. The receiver (RX-V371) has the features you want with the exception of the Audessey mic calibration, but is certainly well within your price point. There have been lots of complaints posted is the last year or so about Onkyo's but my guess is that there are more happy owners than those who complain here.
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post #3 of 29 Old 05-06-2012, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

I've been very happy with my Yamaha YHT-395 if you're looking for other comparable HTiBs. The receiver (RX-V371) has the features you want with the exception of the Audessey mic calibration, but is certainly well within your price point. There have been lots of complaints posted is the last year or so about Onkyo's but my guess is that there are more happy owners than those who complain here.

I did a little checking and it seems only the Onkyo HT-S5500 and higher have the Auto Speaker Calibration W/Mic. Since that feature is quite important to me, which HTiBs in my price range have that feature?

Do any other Yamaha's have it? I did notice that the Sony HT-SS380 has it and is essentially a modern version of the HT-SS2300 I used to have. Does the HT-SS380 have sound quality comparable to the Onkyo I mentioned and the Yamaha you mentioned?

Consumer Reports lists the Yamaha YHT-493, Yamaha YHT-395, and Onkyo HT-S3300 all as having very good sound quality overall. However, it appears none of these have the auto speaker calibration W/Mic.
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post #4 of 29 Old 05-06-2012, 08:04 PM
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Yeah, that was the downside when I was looking around but I've seen a few comments around that the calibration with mic can be overrated. But I don't have any first hand knowledge of that so who knows? The Yamaha does have an audio calibration feature but it's not with a mic. Certainly the speakers that come with the HTiBs could be better but I've been quite happy with the ones that came with the Yamaha. We don't listen to window rattling volumes anymore (well, we may nudge it up a bit for blu-rays ) but the separation and clarity is quite nice for what they are.
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post #5 of 29 Old 05-07-2012, 02:37 AM
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the S5500 includes Audyssey 2EQ which can definitely help you set up your system. Well if run right it can . 2EQ will not eq the sub though.

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/h...5500-s3500-pre

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #6 of 29 Old 05-07-2012, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

Yeah, that was the downside when I was looking around but I've seen a few comments around that the calibration with mic can be overrated. But I don't have any first hand knowledge of that so who knows? The Yamaha does have an audio calibration feature but it's not with a mic. Certainly the speakers that come with the HTiBs could be better but I've been quite happy with the ones that came with the Yamaha. We don't listen to window rattling volumes anymore (well, we may nudge it up a bit for blu-rays ) but the separation and clarity is quite nice for what they are.

I read that the auto cal isn't always that great but on the Sony HT-SS2300 I used to have, it was very fast and very precise, balancing the volumes of each speaker (including the subwoofer) from the listening point and setting the speaker distances from the listening point to the nearest inch (also including the subwoofer). A professional audio calibration could probably do better even for an entry level HTiB like that one, but I was happy enough with the results to not worry about such things.
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post #7 of 29 Old 05-07-2012, 12:24 PM
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I hear ya. The Yamaha is manual in the sense that you have to manually put in the distance from sitting to each speaker (including the sub) and then adjust from there but with the speakers that came with it, I think that was about as good as it gets. The thing about audio calibration is that you set the sweet spot, usually dead center of your HTS, which is great, until you move around from side to side on the couch or sit in an easy chair off to the side of the couch. However, a much more sophisticated audio system would certainly benefit from a real calibration but that's not happening in my house I like the idea of an Audessey-style (sp?) calibration, and maybe it would make a difference in my system, but mine sounds really good and can certainly hold it's own on some of the more recent BD releases (like the free Avatar disk I got with my BD player).
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post #8 of 29 Old 05-07-2012, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

the S5500 includes Audyssey 2EQ which can definitely help you set up your system. Well if run right it can . 2EQ will not eq the sub though.

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/h...5500-s3500-pre

thanks but that's definitely out of my price range

do you know of any good HTiBs that have auto speaker calibration w/mic in my price range (about $300 or less) other than the Sony HT-SS380?
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post #9 of 29 Old 05-07-2012, 08:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

I hear ya. The Yamaha is manual in the sense that you have to manually put in the distance from sitting to each speaker (including the sub) and then adjust from there but with the speakers that came with it, I think that was about as good as it gets. The thing about audio calibration is that you set the sweet spot, usually dead center of your HTS, which is great, until you move around from side to side on the couch or sit in an easy chair off to the side of the couch. However, a much more sophisticated audio system would certainly benefit from a real calibration but that's not happening in my house I like the idea of an Audessey-style (sp?) calibration, and maybe it would make a difference in my system, but mine sounds really good and can certainly hold it's own on some of the more recent BD releases (like the free Avatar disk I got with my BD player).


I have the Yamaha RX-V765 with YPAO mic calibration as well as my $3,000 Boston AVR7120 with mic cal. The speakers I have are also no "slouches" (unless you want to spend >+1k per speaker) with B&W DM603 S2 front mains , dual BIC PAS10 passive subs, and similar side/rear speakers. So. . . what you say is exactly true about the sweet spot. Some will argue that an audio calibration "must" be performed to be accurate. . . but accurate where? Unless you have a dedicated home theater room it is usually fruitless. Now it doesn't hurt to make a mic run or two but usually you still have to tweak to make the sound more balanced for ALL listening positions and distances.

Just as you say, if you move sides to side or sit in another position the characteristics change. And, technically, if you use the sound system for music too that would require a different calibration. And then you also have to deal with the different sound sources you may use. So not a one size fits all.

As far as systems go, one with conventional speaker connections is preferable to allow for speaker upgrades, but purchasing a separate 5.1/7.1 AVR for about $300 and even speakers like Polks would be better for a starter system. NewEgg has deals on Polks all the time and they are actually not bad and much better than HTIB speakers. You could put together a nice 5.1 system for under $800 to $999 if you watch for price drops. . . and it is very worth it. Not top of the line audiophile but much better than most HTIB.
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post #10 of 29 Old 05-07-2012, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Phase700B View Post

I have the Yamaha RX-V765 with YPAO mic calibration as well as my $3,000 Boston AVR7120 with mic cal. The speakers I have are also no "slouches" (unless you want to spend >+1k per speaker) with B&W DM603 S2 front mains , dual BIC PAS10 passive subs, and similar side/rear speakers. So. . . what you say is exactly true about the sweet spot. Some will argue that an audio calibration "must" be performed to be accurate. . . but accurate where? Unless you have a dedicated home theater room it is usually fruitless. Now it doesn't hurt to make a mic run or two but usually you still have to tweak to make the sound more balanced for ALL listening positions and distances.

Just as you say, if you move sides to side or sit in another position the characteristics change. And, technically, if you use the sound system for music too that would require a different calibration. And then you also have to deal with the different sound sources you may use. So not a one size fits all.

As far as systems go, one with conventional speaker connections is preferable to allow for speaker upgrades, but purchasing a separate 5.1/7.1 AVR for about $300 and even speakers like Polks would be better for a starter system. NewEgg has deals on Polks all the time and they are actually not bad and much better than HTIB speakers. You could put together a nice 5.1 system for under $800 to $999 if you watch for price drops. . . and it is very worth it. Not top of the line audiophile but much better than most HTIB.

Valid points but I have one primary listening position and am not looking to spend much. So, a HTiB that has auto cal w/mic around $250-300 is what I need. Just trying to figure out if there are alternatives to the Sony HT-SS380 and whether I'd want to consider them instead of the Sony. I will be using my PS3 as the BD player, so it might be ideal to have a Sony HTiB for features like HDMI-CEC.
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post #11 of 29 Old 05-08-2012, 05:37 AM
 
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An HTIB will give a better listening experience, but it still is best to select one that has conventional non proprietary speaker connections to allow for speaker upgrades. The difference would be night and day even if only the front mains and center were upgraded for a start. Many people do that and then add the matching satellite rears, sides, and/or better sub. The smaller HTIB speakers "work" but it's almost overkill to have all the latest sound decoding capability for movies and funnel them through the tiny HTIB speakers. Also, even with one listening position, getting a good stable sound setting with HTIB speakers may be nominal and room acoustics, objects (or moving them) in the room, furniture, and other things can have a large effect on any mic/cal settings. Standing waves and room resonances are usually tough to deal with in a room used for general living quarters. So many times a compromise and even turning your head while watching a movie can sometimes reveal these annoying audio artifacts.

All that said, of course even a 2.1 computer desk top system makes TV speakers sound puny. So it is all kind of relative to how immersive a person wants to get, space allows, or apartment or condo neighbors will tolerate. I guess I am more particular about sound and, while I haven't spent the gobs of cash for the mega buck systems some have, I do miss the enveloping sound I have at home compared to most store demo system in AV boutiques or other peoples home. There are systems I've heard that are to die for, but a person usually has to draw the line somewhere. Audio is a whole other realm of nuances, technicalities, and opinions.
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post #12 of 29 Old 05-08-2012, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phase700B View Post

An HTIB will give a better listening experience, but it still is best to select one that has conventional non proprietary speaker connections to allow for speaker upgrades. The difference would be night and day even if only the front mains and center were upgraded for a start. Many people do that and then add the matching satellite rears, sides, and/or better sub. The smaller HTIB speakers "work" but it's almost overkill to have all the latest sound decoding capability for movies and funnel them through the tiny HTIB speakers. Also, even with one listening position, getting a good stable sound setting with HTIB speakers may be nominal and room acoustics, objects (or moving them) in the room, furniture, and other things can have a large effect on any mic/cal settings. Standing waves and room resonances are usually tough to deal with in a room used for general living quarters. So many times a compromise and even turning your head while watching a movie can sometimes reveal these annoying audio artifacts.

All that said, of course even a 2.1 computer desk top system makes TV speakers sound puny. So it is all kind of relative to how immersive a person wants to get, space allows, or apartment or condo neighbors will tolerate. I guess I am more particular about sound and, while I haven't spent the gobs of cash for the mega buck systems some have, I do miss the enveloping sound I have at home compared to most store demo system in AV boutiques or other peoples home. There are systems I've heard that are to die for, but a person usually has to draw the line somewhere. Audio is a whole other realm of nuances, technicalities, and opinions.

I was pretty satisfied with the Sony HT-SS2300 when I had it and the auto cal w/mic feature did make it sound much more balanced and seamless versus the default settings. I don't plan on upgrading the speakers so I just want to know if the Sony HT-SS380 is my only option or if there are comparable models.

So, are you aware of any models similar to the Sony HT-SS380 in terms of price and features?
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post #13 of 29 Old 05-08-2012, 10:01 AM
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I think in your price range you're pretty much set with the Sony. You have experience with the Sony which seems to be a positive one so I'd just go with what is comfortable for you and meets your needs. Phase has a good point about the speaker connections (which is why I like my Yamaha) but if you don't plan on upgrading your speakers someday and just keep the receiver then it's a moot point.
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post #14 of 29 Old 05-08-2012, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I think in your price range you're pretty much set with the Sony. You have experience with the Sony which seems to be a positive one so I'd just go with what is comfortable for you and meets your needs. Phase has a good point about the speaker connections (which is why I like my Yamaha) but if you don't plan on upgrading your speakers someday and just keep the receiver then it's a moot point.

So, there's nothing directly comparable to the Sony? If not, I'll just keep my eye on the price of it to see when I can get the best deal (probably later in the year).

I remember when getting the HT-SS2300 it was the only HTiB of its kind in terms of price and features. I suppose the same can be said in 2012 with the HT-SS380.
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post #15 of 29 Old 05-09-2012, 10:00 AM
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So, there's nothing directly comparable to the Sony? If not, I'll just keep my eye on the price of it to see when I can get the best deal (probably later in the year).

I remember when getting the HT-SS2300 it was the only HTiB of its kind in terms of price and features. I suppose the same can be said in 2012 with the HT-SS380.

There doesn't seem to be if you want a mic-calibration. Just keep your finger on the order button when the price looks good
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post #16 of 29 Old 05-09-2012, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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There doesn't seem to be if you want a mic-calibration. Just keep your finger on the order button when the price looks good

thanks, that's what I'll do
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post #17 of 29 Old 05-15-2012, 07:39 PM
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If you can go up to $400, the Yamaha YHT-397 HTiB's RX-V373 receiver has auto speaker set-up w/mic (http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YHT-397.../ref=pd_cp_e_2) - the speakers & subwoofer are same as YHT-395; only difference is the receiver was upgraded to this year's current model (RX-V373) which adds mic'd speaker set-up, USB input, on-screen display, and 4K pass-through.

And if you're giving yourself until October to buy, it might be long enough to catch it down close to $300. Last year's Amazon winter holiday sale had the YHT-395 for $300.
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post #18 of 29 Old 05-15-2012, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Brocken_5110 View Post

If you can go up to $400, the Yamaha YHT-397 HTiB's RX-V373 receiver has auto speaker set-up w/mic (http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YHT-397.../ref=pd_cp_e_2) - the speakers & subwoofer are same as YHT-395; only difference is the receiver was upgraded to this year's current model (RX-V373) which adds mic'd speaker set-up, USB input, on-screen display, and 4K pass-through.

And if you're giving yourself until October to buy, it might be long enough to catch it down close to $300. Last year's Amazon winter holiday sale had the YHT-395 for $300.

Hmmm, that's not a bad deal. I have the YHT-395 (RX-V371 receiver) and it's been a great performer.
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post #19 of 29 Old 05-15-2012, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Brocken_5110 View Post

If you can go up to $400, the Yamaha YHT-397 HTiB's RX-V373 receiver has auto speaker set-up w/mic (http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YHT-397.../ref=pd_cp_e_2) - the speakers & subwoofer are same as YHT-395; only difference is the receiver was upgraded to this year's current model (RX-V373) which adds mic'd speaker set-up, USB input, on-screen display, and 4K pass-through.

And if you're giving yourself until October to buy, it might be long enough to catch it down close to $300. Last year's Amazon winter holiday sale had the YHT-395 for $300.

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Hmmm, that's not a bad deal. I have the YHT-395 (RX-V371 receiver) and it's been a great performer.

I will consider this model, though I really wanted to get the costs down to $250-ish for the Sony. Are the speakers real good on this HTiB? The Sony receiver is pretty good for the price but there are mixed reviews about the speakers.
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post #20 of 29 Old 05-16-2012, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post

I was pretty satisfied with the Sony HT-SS2300 when I had it and the auto cal w/mic feature did make it sound much more balanced and seamless versus the default settings. I don't plan on upgrading the speakers so I just want to know if the Sony HT-SS380 is my only option or if there are comparable models.

Those 2 systems seem very similiar - the Sony HT-SS380 is probably the best option for you now. Going from $300 to $400 is essentially staying within the same price range, so the Yamaha YHT-397 probably won't yield much improvement. It's the jump to a $700-$1000 system that would make a WOW difference (*probably* - everyone hears in their own way).

And bottom line: entry-level surround sound is better than no surround sound.
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post #21 of 29 Old 05-16-2012, 02:13 PM
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I will consider this model, though I really wanted to get the costs down to $250-ish for the Sony. Are the speakers real good on this HTiB? The Sony receiver is pretty good for the price but there are mixed reviews about the speakers.

That's a tough one. I think the speakers on the Yamaha sound good for what they are but I will be upgrading mine in the future. If you like earth shaking, window shattering sound that is crystal clear, no. But OTOH, I've played some BD movies a little louder than I should have and it was impressive. Of course that's dependent somewhat on the quality of the BD in the first place.The nice thing about the Yamaha avr is that it can take any type of speaker connection so you're not limited to anything "special". I don't know about the Sony. However, the Sony's not a bad choice either and fits more within your price range and mic-calibration requirement.
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post #22 of 29 Old 05-16-2012, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I think I'll probably go with the cheaper option. The Sony Receiver should work better with my PS3 over HDMI-CEC and as a BD player in general. I might need to pick up one of the new PS3 BD player remotes so I can use one remote to control everything.
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post #23 of 29 Old 05-16-2012, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post

I think I'll probably go with the cheaper option. The Sony Receiver should work better with my PS3 over HDMI-CEC and as a BD player in general. I might need to pick up one of the new PS3 BD player remotes so I can use one remote to control everything.

Have you considered a Harmony remote? I use an 880 and it works really well for my LG tv, Yamaha HTiB, AppleTV2, and the Panasonic 210 BD player. Programming can be a bit daunting but there's some really good help up in the Remote forum.
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post #24 of 29 Old 05-20-2012, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Have you considered a Harmony remote? I use an 880 and it works really well for my LG tv, Yamaha HTiB, AppleTV2, and the Panasonic 210 BD player. Programming can be a bit daunting but there's some really good help up in the Remote forum.

http://www.logitech.com/en-us/remote...ony-200-remote

http://www.logitech.com/en-us/remote...s/devices/6812

Are either of these any good? I don't want to spend more than that ($30) on a universal remote since it's really only for convenience reasons (I can always use the individual remotes that came with the source devices if needed).
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post #25 of 29 Old 05-20-2012, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post

http://www.logitech.com/en-us/remote...ony-200-remote

http://www.logitech.com/en-us/remote...s/devices/6812

Are either of these any good? I don't want to spend more than that ($30) on a universal remote since it's really only for convenience reasons (I can always use the individual remotes that came with the source devices if needed).

I don't have any experience with the 300 (which I think would be the better of the two) but you have to look at how many devices you want to control and realize that these are IR remotes so you need to "point and shoot" to control your devices. Programming can be difficult depending on what you want to do but once you get them setup, it's kinda cool. My 880 has an LCD screen, which is nice for dark environments, but not the touch screen which is what you find in the more expensive units. I like the feel of hard keys. You might want to cruise up to the remote forums (there's a Harmony section) and ask there. The only time I use the device remotes (which are in drawer now) is for more specific functions that I don't want to, or can't, do with the Harmony. It's certainly not without its issues but for normal day to day use, it passes the WAF which is what really matters
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post #26 of 29 Old 05-24-2012, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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post #27 of 29 Old 05-24-2012, 10:34 AM
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Yeah I saw that. Congrats. Sweet deal.
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post #28 of 29 Old 05-24-2012, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah I saw that. Congrats. Sweet deal.

Now that I've had the chance to play several BD movies on it, I've found the system to be more than powerful enough, have excellent dynamic range, and great clarity. The HT-SS2300 was pretty good but this system appears to take BD audio to a new level, at least by my standards. This HTiB really brings movies to life in my medium-sized room and even HDTV programming sounds quite clear and powerful.
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post #29 of 29 Old 05-24-2012, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post

Now that I've had the chance to play several BD movies on it, I've found the system to be more than powerful enough, have excellent dynamic range, and great clarity. The HT-SS2300 was pretty good but this system appears to take BD audio to a new level, at least by my standards. This HTiB really brings movies to life in my medium-sized room and even HDTV programming sounds quite clear and powerful.

That's how I feel about my system. There's a lot of folks who look down on HTiBs but they are definitely worth the money if a larger HTS won't work for various reasons.
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