Panasonic SA-BX500 Small Light Powerful - Page 19 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Receivers, Amps, and Processors > Panasonic SA-BX500 Small Light Powerful
eyerob's Avatar eyerob 08:25 AM 08-25-2009
Really pleased with this receiver - although it's the first I've ever brought myself - I love the simplicity and it seems plenty loud - I've never had it over half volume!

One question - when playing COD4 from PS3 over HDMI and I press the display button until I get 'info' - it says: 7.1 LPCM but there is no sound coming from the 2 rear speakers - and I know they work... anyone know why?

Edit: modern warfare 2 comes over all speakers loud and clear, but I had to play with the levels as my rears are 1/4 the size of my other speakers.

ebongreen's Avatar ebongreen 07:13 AM 09-04-2009
Originally Posted by dm View Post

XR55 vs BX500 (when not using HDMI):
The BX500 does not support advanced dual-amp for 5.1 (only in 2 channel mode). The XR55 supports advanced dual amp for both 2.0 and 5.1 (The XR57 did, does the XR55?). The BX500 fixes the LFE bug over the XR55 (I think).

Also, if you are only using spdif (optical/coax) for your audio, you are not able to take advantage of the advanced audio formats available over HDMI (DD+, DTSHD, etc) thus not really taking the advantage of the full feature set of the BX500.

The only reason I would buy the BX500 now in your situation, is if you believe that in the future the BX500 will be discountinued and not replaced with another panny digital amp and if you believe you will not be able to find a BX500 when you want it.

I realize this is a post from the distant past, but the scenario with which you end your post seems to have come to pass. I can't find any information or hints on a replacement product for the BX500, and it's pretty much gone from the product pipeline.

Does anyone know if there will be a follow-up product, or conversely, if Panasonic has declared that they're out of the standalone receiver/amplifier business? I've got an XR55, but it's not exactly an HDMI-savvy box, and as electronics march on i need to consider upgrades.

In the absence of the BX500 (or a next-gen counterpart from Panasonic), is there a comparable product available from someone else that you'd recommend?
Neild's Avatar Neild 09:57 AM 09-05-2009
This is a just a guess on my part, but I think Panasonic will probably continue developing receivers.

Panasonic already makes what many consider to be the best plasma and best Blu-Ray players. They need a receiver to demonstate and be photographed with these products, and it seems unlikely they'd just slap in a Sony receiver or something for that purpose.

There have been times when it seemed to they abandoned the receiver before, and they came back with new models. They've scaled back over time mind you. They no longer produce two or three models in 2 colors each, and quantities seem to be fewer than in the past as well.

For me the question is when will they come out with a receiver that catches on with the masses? I thought the small, cool, PWM amped SA-XR series was an innovation that would tip that scale, but it doesn't seem to have worked out that way.

So Panasonic may continue to just give this category lip service, producing one model or one color just so they have something to demo with their other gear. Look for something between now and January, even if it's just a cosmetic change to keep the front looking the same as their BD player.
christoofar's Avatar christoofar 10:01 AM 09-05-2009
Yes, as the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is on again in January
lacquer's Avatar lacquer 09:08 PM 09-11-2009
I have been looking for one of these for months, but I live in Louisville, KY, and nobody anywhere close had one. They are sold out online everywhere. But on a business trip to LA this week, I stopped in Fry's and they had an open box unit for $225. Most of the Fry's stores in So Cal have one or two left it seems.

As for the unit, it is a pain to set up , but the sound is super and so are the features one it is set up. Compared to an SR607 or RX-V665, this thing sounds way better and is half the cost.
sdv5's Avatar sdv5 10:30 PM 09-12-2009
Originally Posted by ebongreen View Post

In the absence of the BX500 (or a next-gen counterpart from Panasonic), is there a comparable product available from someone else that you'd recommend?

Later this month, Sherwood should release a very interesting receiver that uses TI chips, probably very similar to those found on Panny receivers.

It is quite a bit more sophisticated than Panny, but the basic amplification approach should be similar. Unfortunately, the price is unlikely to come close to low cost Panny receivers. It will be closer to SA-XR700.

On paper, the new Sherwood receiver looks simply amazing. Let us hope they deliver the goods.
gnoohcbd's Avatar gnoohcbd 09:28 PM 09-24-2009
The Sherwood seems to be 100W/ch like the older XR series, but looks really cool.

So far for me, the BX500 has not disappointed. The sound's excellent. Makes movies so much more exciting and enjoyable.

Neild's Avatar Neild 12:16 PM 10-07-2009
Finally got an SA-BX500, had to import one though as Panasonic Canada neglected to bring these in for whatever reason.

Haven't done much with it yet other than give it a quick try. Now it could have been just an illusion, but having the sound come from a big, beefy receiver-sized box instead of the usual slim height case makes it feel somehow more satisfying. I still prefer the small receiver format though as it helps a lot in arranging one's equipment.

There are a lot of nice menu tweaks over previous Panasonic receivers. I noticed some audio sync and extended crossover range settings that were new. You can switch between absolute volume number display and db range. I found dimming settings but don't remember seeing an easy way to completely blank or at least dim all the front display lights (a desirable feature for a modern home theater receiver).

Speakers impedence I remember offering 4 ohm or 6 ohm setting, but no 8 ohm.

When switching audio streams seems to take a little longer than you'd expect. Same with making some option changes. In past receivers, changes that required a pause in the audio might take a beat, now they seem to take two beats.

Being new to the whole blu-ray HDMI setup, some of this could be user learning curve. The picture was being driven through component analog, audio through the HDMI. I wasn't sure how this would all work and what tweaks might be required to split picture from sound. But it all worked out of the box, and tweaking maintained or perhaps improved the audio & video quality.

But I noticed some oddness with how the integrated system all worked. The first disc I tried mounted fairly quickly straight to the menu. I chose play and the movie began. However after I tweaked some settings in the various devices, now I'm getting forced previews and FBI warnings that were not coming up before. Not sure what I enabled to make these annoying elements kick in.

The remote is (somehow) less handy and less intuitive than the previous ones. But you can see how they are trying to blend the former remote layout with the style of their new TV and Blu-ray player remotes. The volume rocker switch has the traditional placement. Panasonic blu-ray and receiver remotes worked interchangeably with no setup steps. This may have been the viera link feature enabling this, though I'm not sure.

So far I only used full range speakers, haven't tried testing to see the frequency cutoffs and other multi-channel peculiarites yet. With a pair of good full range speakers, volume and clarity were clearly not limited.
Neild's Avatar Neild 12:29 PM 10-07-2009
Recently I talked to the Canadian Panasonic representative, which was overall disappointing. His focus was 100% on the plasma TV's and he cared little about the audio line. He gave me information that I think was false and seemed to be getting made up on the fly.

He said the current receiver model for Canada is the SA-XR50 which I don't think is true. He said the XR50 can support an HDMI-based system through an adapter - which is sort of true but not really.

He said the reason Panasonic charges so much more in Canada (sometimes 80% higher than US prices) is the exchange rate. I questioned that since the currencies have been near par at various times this year and last, so why such a big discrepancy?

He then said the main reason for the higher prices is the extra cost involved in CSA compliance and testing. (C.S.A. is the Canadian equivalent of the UL Underwriters Laboratory certification)

Asked what buyers of Panasonic plasma and blu-ray players should get when they are building a home theater, he recommend they buy an Onkyo or Denon receiver, or try to get Technics from the USA. This was a really puzzling response.

The SA-BX500 receiver includes manual and stickers clearly intended for French Canada, so at least the product designers had that market in mind at some point. And I don't think Technics audio line even exists any more (?)

All in all, it was pretty indicative how little emphasis there is at Panasonic on the audio front.
junkhead13's Avatar junkhead13 06:38 AM 10-08-2009
I am new to this forum, but I have looked through it in the past and it has been very helpful.

I know many people have asked this, but I was wondering if anybody had any idea where to find the SA-BX500 (specifically in Florida)?

My HTIB is dying and I figure it is about time to step away from all in one systems and I would prefer to stick with Panasonic since I trust & dig their products.

I have searched through Ebay & Craigslist with no luck and posted wanted ads on both. All other internet retailers have been dead-ends. I see some people have had luck at Frys, but they don't have stores in Florida. Any other ideas out there, besides go with another brand?
christoofar's Avatar christoofar 07:14 AM 10-08-2009
They appear to have dried up , supply wise. All you can do at this point & keep checking ebay, or look at other brands.
I'm feeling very lucky to have gotten one when I did, this thing continues to amaze & delight for what it cost me. Not sure why Panasonic decided to stop making them, it's an excellent full featured AVR for low $$
junkhead13's Avatar junkhead13 05:40 AM 10-09-2009
Thanks. I will keep searching.
jilgiljongiljing's Avatar jilgiljongiljing 02:27 PM 10-20-2009
I've had mine for a while now and I love it. Recently went with 7.1 setup from a 5.1 setup and I love how well PLIIx works for games. Its really really good. Dead Rising, Half Life 2 and Bioshock were stunning with the surround channels and the movement to my side and behind me was very accurate and seamless.

This also helps to an extent with height perception in the rear, and crowd sounds during concerts. It really does feel like I am part of the audience now and when a chopper arrives behind me from above, its accurate. Good stuff.

My setup is
Panasonic 42 inch Plasma
Infinity Primus P362 fronts
Infinity Primus PC250 center
Velodyne VX10 sub
Yamaha NS225 Surround and Surround back
PS3, Xbox 360, Philips 1080p Upconverting player, Sony SACD player

I've setup the surround back Yamaha's behind me on tiny wooden stools called milk stools that I purchased from Lowe's to keep with Dolby 7.1 speaker placement recommendation. The surrounds are at 90-110 degrees to my side.

Let me just share some notes.

Sound is very good, no issues there. I cant add anything about sound that hasnt already been said here.

Crossover accuracy isnt very good with this receiver. The cut off curve is not very steep and sound is definitely better with speaker size set to small instead of large. Large has the subwoofer firing as well as the fronts, so I am not quite sure what the idea is there.

Subwoofer level has never gone above 10 for me.

PLIIx modes are very useful for 7.1 and use it as per the media you are watching. its very self explanatory since the modes clearly say Movie, Music, Game. But the modes are very useful in sound placement and creating a seamless audio field around you.

I dont quite like NEO:6 as much

LPCM from PS3 is the only way you are gonna get HD sound from PS3. Unless you have the new Slim PS3 which supposedly can bitstream HD audio thru HDMI.

Xbox 360 just makes every Dolby Digital 5.1 which is absolutely attrocious IMO. Its not a solution for a proper home entertainment system if you are serious about sound.

The auto setup is pretty useless, and I think this has been mentioned before. I suggest you take a tape measure, measure the distances to each speaker and set it up and play around with speaker size and crossover settings and individual levels till you are comfortable.

From what I can tell, universal remote cant switch from BD to BD8ch mode. This HAS to be done with the Panny remote since you need to hold down the BD button to switch to 8ch discrete inputs (which I use for SACD). The other issues are that harmony does not fill up the menu items with sound menu and option menu. You need to add those in manually. The inputs also have to cycle one by one unless u add shortcuts to those.

I have had my menu freeze up a few times when I try and move around it a bit quickly, nothing that can't be fixed with a quick restart, however it does happen.

Compression levels are decent, Standard compression doesnt ruin the sound as much as some of the other receivers I've heard.

I am always impressed by how light weight the receiver is, since I have had to rewire it quite a few times for various configurations.

The manual could have used a little more detail on sound modes and specifications instead of a one line explanation for most of them

I have a ton of headroom left which is good to know. I was always close to maxxing out the Sony receiver I had before this.
JACZML120's Avatar JACZML120 08:29 PM 11-01-2009
I imported one of these puppies from back in May. I finally got it setup this wknd after picking up a 5.1 package from (svs speakers) so far so good. Haven't done any calibration or sound stage setup as of yet.

I'm really having an issue getting my HTPC setup with 5.1. I'm using the Analog ports out the sound card, but would really like to stream TOSLINK since i dont have sound out the HDMI port.

Actually I think i was able to set HDMI port to use toslink 3. There was a mapping area for ports. I am only getting 2ch at this point in time but i need to work on it a bit more.
TooLittleTimeZZZ's Avatar TooLittleTimeZZZ 05:14 AM 11-02-2009

To resolve similar sound problems, I got the PPA 1431v sound card (about ten bucks) to feed HDMI to my BX500. It works great. However, in the end, I'll probably just replace my video card with one that does HDMI (v.s. the DVI one I'm using) with sound.
junkhead13's Avatar junkhead13 05:46 AM 11-03-2009
I managed to find one of these on Ebay a couple of weeks ago. It was new, but dented. I took the chance and I am glad I did, because it works perfectly.

Very easy to set up and it sounds killer. I waited for it to arrive before playing Uncharted 2 and man was it worth it.

Now it's time to upgrade speakers!
ArtT's Avatar ArtT 07:36 PM 11-03-2009
Doh! I was going to bid on that one but the dent scared me off. Good for ya! I'm going crazy trying to find a bx500!
JACZML120's Avatar JACZML120 07:56 PM 11-03-2009
Confirmed! I was able to get HDMI for video and Optical for audio to work. Under changing the input settings, I was able to assign Optical Port 3 to HDMI 3 which is Cab/Sat. Bingo bongo I got bitstreaming from a x-studio 5.1 sound card
JACZML120's Avatar JACZML120 07:54 PM 11-05-2009
I love this receiver man it rocks with the SVS Sub...
junkhead13's Avatar junkhead13 01:32 PM 11-06-2009
Aw man, now I really have the bug after buying this thing. I have been scoping out speakers online and drooling. Right now, I am using the Panasonic HTIB ones which surprisingly are not half bad, but I don't have a subwoofer.

All in all, I think I am going to go with the following (piece by piece as money permits): Mythos 3 Center, Mythos One (L&R), Mythos Gem (4 surrounds) & Mythos Supercube 3 sub.

Man, if I did not have to replace the AC unit on our house soon, I would be going nuts on Ebay already...
batagy's Avatar batagy 04:55 PM 11-13-2009

So has this SA-BX500 the same Class-D amp system as in XA-XR55/57/59?

batagy's Avatar batagy 05:44 PM 11-13-2009
It seems this doesn't support Dual-Amp and Advanced Dual-Amp (only Bi-Amp).
christoofar's Avatar christoofar 09:48 AM 12-10-2009
I recently bought an ASRock 330 nettop PC to use as an HTPC. Added XBMC to it & connected it to my Panny. I plug the ASRock via HDMI out to my Panny, which outputs to my TV's HDMI input.
Everything has been working perfectly until yesterday. I booted up the ASRock, and tried to play several of my .mkv movies, when I got this loud hissing distortion noise from the audio track. I have not changed any settings on anything. Regular .avi files still play fine. The ASRock has the ION /Atom mobo, with Nvidia HD audio, and everything reports to be working normally.
I checked the input assignments , and it is set as "digital". My Mom's here for a visit, so I thought maybe she pushed a wrong button.
But I cannot figure out why this is not working correctly...
eyerob's Avatar eyerob 12:31 PM 12-13-2009
I'm using this with my new krp 500m kuro and PS3 - works beautifully - no handshake issues(well minimal - sometimes no audio but I just switch input to another and back and it comes through) - and all 1.3 HDMI spec - yay

So pleased I jumped on this receiver when I had a chance - didn't need video upscaling that people pay a lot for (and often never use).

This looks a lot better with the lights off - the LEDs are pretty - who needs Christmas lights!
Puzz's Avatar Puzz 03:02 PM 12-14-2009
Hi everyone. Just to let you all know I have this Panny receiver unfortunately up for sale on _Bay. I'm forced to let it, and a few of my other toys, go. I know this receiver is almost non-existent, so I figured I'd let you all know if anyone's interested.
eyerob's Avatar eyerob 05:56 PM 12-14-2009
Originally Posted by Puzz View Post

Hi everyone. Just to let you all know I have this Panny receiver unfortunately up for sale on _Bay. I'm forced to let it, and a few of my other toys, go. I know this receiver is almost non-existent, so I figured I'd let you all know if anyone's interested.

Sorry to hear that you have to sell it.... I know that there was someone looking a couple of pages back - but I'm sure that someone will jump with all the positive reports on here.
ebongreen's Avatar ebongreen 08:43 PM 12-14-2009
Originally Posted by eyerob View Post

Sorry to hear that you have to sell it.... I know that there was someone looking a couple of pages back - but I'm sure that someone will jump with all the positive reports on here.

Oh yes - that would be me! Found the auction, watching it now.

Thanks for the heads-up! My RSS auction-watch wasn't catching it, though I really don't know why.
eyerob's Avatar eyerob 09:15 AM 12-15-2009
Originally Posted by ebongreen View Post

Oh yes - that would be me! Found the auction, watching it now.

Thanks for the heads-up! My RSS auction-watch wasn't catching it, though I really don't know why.

Best of luck!

Report back your thoughts if your successful.
ruadmaa's Avatar ruadmaa 09:04 AM 12-19-2009
Originally Posted by batagy View Post


So has this SA-BX500 the same Class-D amp system as in XA-XR55/57/59?


Yes, I believe it does. Totally digital and runs nice and cool. Very light receiver too.
gkorovilas's Avatar gkorovilas 12:23 PM 12-23-2009
Folks here's my setup. Can someone tell me how I can listen to my ipod through the Option port on the SA-BX500 while also watching TV? Many times I have a party and have music going but want to have a game on in the background.

All 3 devices of my devices are connected to the BX500 via HDMI. Panasonic Ipod dock through the Option Port. Also can I relabel the text on the receiver to read IPOD instead of Option P? Or relabel any of the other labels?

54V series Panasonic Plasma - HDMI to BX500
SA-BX500 Panasonic Receiver - HDMI to Plasma
BD-60 Panasonic Blu Ray Player - HDMI to BX500
Cable Box - HDMI to BX500
Xbox 360 - HDMI to BX500

Thanks in advance.
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