Viewing Review: Can't beat the price and performance of this system! - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Can't beat the price and performance of this system! Edit
by Farshok Combined Rating: 4.7
This receiver comes bundled in Onkyo's budget series of HTIB (Home Theater In a Box) systems.  It's part of the HT-S5500 HTIB. 




I was finally getting around to making my family a home...
Pros Cons
  • 7.1, 4 HDMI in supporting 3D, HDMI Audio Return, OSD, Banana Plug Speaker Jacks, Audyssey, Excellent Sound, Vast array of connectivity, 1030 Watts
  • OSD only in 16:9 video formats, Have to power receiver first then device to detect HDMI signal if other then 16:9

This receiver comes bundled in Onkyo's budget series of HTIB (Home Theater In a Box) systems.  It's part of the HT-S5500 HTIB. 




I was finally getting around to making my family a home theater in a spare finished room we had in the basement.  I had a limited amount of money to work with for the entire room, and wanted to try to get the biggest bang for my buck for each component I ordered.  I was really clueless when it comes to surround sound systems.  I bought a RCA surround system years ago and still have it.  It works fine, but didn't have any HDMI inputs.  I came across this unit by chance primarily because a coworker of mine had an Onkyo surround system and was pretty happy with it.  I did a lot of research on this unit, and of course saw the typical overheating, HDMI switching, and subwoofer issues.  I bought the unit from Accessories4Less refurbished with a 1 year warranty.  I figured with the amount of money I had available, and the fact that maybe the issues were corrected in the refurbished unit, I'd be okay.  So far, I am!


This receiver comes as a part of the HT-S5500 HTIB.  When I received the package, I was a bit overwhelmed (or should I say impressed) at the size and weight of the box.  It was quite big and weighed about 75lbs.  This is a HTIB, so the large box included the speakers and sub also.  I opened the box and found that everything was packaged very well and after removing everything from the box, everything was in perfect shape with no damage.  I wanted to mention this because you don't normally see things packaged so well...  Thanks Onkyo!  The Receiver was a bit heavier than I thought it would be, but that's not really an issue, just something I didn't expect.


The receiver is all black, which I like, but have ran into one small problem (at least for me) when using it in a dark room.  If I go to the receiver and want to change inputs from Cable to Game, I find myself pressing a few buttons on the front until I finally find the right button.  The input select buttons (or text) are not backlit in any way.  I know..  That's what the remote is for.  Because of the layout of the room, I have my receiver, HTPC, and PS3 in the back of the room. I go back there to switch over to game and put a game in the PS3.  I guess it's really more of a nit-pick than an issue. 


CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 80



This receiver is 7.1 with about 1030 watts of power through discrete amplifier circuitry.  Around 130 watts per channel, with a 120 watt powered 10" down-firing sub.  My theater room is small.  I was contemplating whether to do 5.1 or 7.1 in the room because of the size, but I am very glad I went 7.1.  It's definitely not overkill.  The sound produced is pretty amazing considering the cost.  The highs are crisp, the lows are.... low , and the mids are punchy and defined, but everything sounds natural.  To me it sounds pretty even across all frequencies produced.  Of course I'm using the speakers that were included in the HTIB.  I've cranked it up pretty high on volume and have not noticed any distortion at all. 


When I initially got everything connected, I was impressed with the sound, but decided to try the built in Audyssey setup.  As part of the package, you get an Audyssey mic.  When you connect it to the receiver, the receiver automatically detects it and goes into Audyssey setup.  I like that.  I had a small tripod I mounted the mic on.  The receiver has 2 different setups for audyssey.  One is a quick setup for more or less a center listening position, and the other is a 3 point setup.  I did the 3 point setup.  Took about 8 to 10 minutes to complete.  The difference in sound is amazing!  I was a little shocked that it made that big of a difference.  It sounded so good I've not made any tweaks to it at all since I did it.


The receiver supports HDMI V1.4a and has 4 HDMI inputs and 1 output.  It supports 3D and also audio return on the output.  I only have 2 devices connected to it.  The first is my HTPC running XBMC which is connected through a DVI to HDMI cable.  The other is a PS3 connected through a HDMI cable.  The native resolution of my projector is 1280x800... 16:10.  One thing I did notice is that if the HTPC is running at the native resolution of the projector, the OSD for the receiver doesn't work.  The receiver only supports OSD on 16:9 resolutions such as 720p or 1080p.  This is not a big issue as my HTPC and projector can display 720p and 1080p, but I like to run in the native resolution if possible.  The PS3 outputs 16:9 automatically, so it seems to always work fine with it.  Another issue I've come across is with the HTPC being 16:10, if I leave the HTPC powered up and turn the receiver off for an extended time (overnight), and come back and turn the receiver on, the HDMI signal doesn't go through to the projector.  This actually could be a few different things, such as the fact that I'm going DVI to HDMI, or the cable I'm using (I've had it for a few years), etc..  The PS3 works fine here.  I've also noticed that it has HDMI passthrough, so if the receiver is off (in standby), it still passes the video. 


It supports multiple formats for surround sound.  For Dolby, it supports TrueHD, Dolby Digital PLus, Dolby Digital PLIIz, Dolby Pro Logic, etc.  It also supports DTS HD-Master Audio, HD-High Resolution Audio, etc.  Right now I leave it in DD PLIIz pretty much for movies, TV shows, and games and it does a pretty amazing job.  There are a bunch of other presets, or listening modes also you can adjust such as Orchestra, Unplugged, Studio-Mix, TV-Logic, and various game modes as well including RPG, Action, Rock, and Sports.  It also has other listening modes such as Theater-Dimensional, Mono, All Channel Stereo, Direct, and Multi-Channel.  I have not had a chance to try out the listening modes with movies or games, but may play with those settings a little this weekend to see how they sound.  You can even assign any of these listening modes to your input source, so as an example, if I change over to the PS3, it will automatically select the listening mode based on what I assign to that input.


One thing I am happy this receiver has is banana plug terminals for the speaker connections.  I'm not a big fan of the spring terminals.  I've had them break on other components I've owned over the years.  As simple as it sounds, that was actually one of the selling points to me for this system.  Of course they also act as screw terminals.  The subwoofer out is an RCA jack.  The provided RCA cable for the subwoofer seems to work fine, but it's definitely a small gauge cable.




The receiver has numerous Composite, Component and Digital Optical/Coax inputs.  I am running my HTPC through SPDIF Coax to the receiver for audio.  The receiver supports fully customizing which audio input is assigned to which HDMI input. 


It does not support WIFI or Ethernet connectivity, but does support IPad and IPhone through USB.  I have not had a chance to test this yet, but it really wasn't a function I needed for my setup.  My HTPC is setup with airplay, so we use that if we want to listen to music from our IPhones.


I really like the remote.  Not a big feature of the receiver, but I just wanted to note that it is really easy to use and is laid out (as far as I'm concerned) properly.  The only thing I wish is that it had back-lit buttons.



Some reviews I read online for this receiver said that it runs extremely hot.  Mine is warm, but nothing more than what would be expected from a receiver that has 7 discreet amplifiers.  It's not hot to the touch... just warm.  Others have stated that the sub-woofer stops working.  The sub has it's own built in amplifier and turns itself on when it detects an audio signal.  There have been other reviewers that noted those having problems could have not had a strong enough audio signal coming to the sub amp for it to power up properly due to how they setup the receiver.  I've only had this unit for about 2 weeks or so, but have not had any issues at all.


Overall, I am extremely pleased with this receiver.  There are so many functions I've not even covered that I just don't use, or haven't had a chance to use yet.  If I had a chance to go back and buy another system, I wouldn't.  It does everything and so much more than I'd ever want, with awesome sound quality and plenty of distortion free volume to meet my needs. 


Link to Manual


Below are the specifications taken from the Onkyo Website.

Amplifier Section
Power Output
Front L/R (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1%, 1 channel driven, FTC) 130 W/Ch
Center (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1%, 1 channel driven, FTC) 130 W/Ch
Surround L/R (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1%, 1 channel driven, FTC) 130 W/Ch
Surround Back L/R (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1%, 1 channel driven, FTC) 130 W/Ch
Dynamic Power 180 W (3 ohms)
160 W (4 ohms)
100 W (8 ohms)
THD+N (Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise) 0.08% (20 Hz-20 kHz, Half power)
Damping Factor 60 (Front, 1 kHz, 8 ohms)
Input Sensitivity and Impedance 200 mV/47 k-ohms (Line)
Rated RCA Output Level and Impedance 200 mV/470 ohms (Rec out)
Maximum RCA Output Level and Impedance 2.0 V/2.2 k-ohms (Rec out)
Frequency Response 20 Hz50 kHz/ +1 dB, -3 dB (DSP Bypass)
Tone Control ±10 dB, 50 Hz (Bass)
±10 dB, 20 kHz (Treble)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 100 dB (Line, IHF-A)
Speaker Impedance 6 ohms16 ohms
Video Section
Input Sensitivity/Output Level and Impedance
Video 1.0 Vp-p/75 ohms (Component)
0.7 Vp-p/75 ohms (Component PB/CB, PR/CR)
1.0 Vp-p/75 ohms (Composite)
Component Video Frequency Response 5 Hz100 MHz
Tuner Section
Tuning Frequency Range
FM 87.5 MHz107.9 MHz
AM 530 kHz1,710 kHz
FM/AM Preset Memory 40 stations
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