Onkyo HT-9300THX HTIB
My Girlfriend doesn't care for all this audio/visual stuff.
That being said, the other day after living for 2 weeks with this system set up and playing a wide variety of material, She announced,
"I really like the sound by the way."
"I can't pinpoint where the sound is coming from ....it just surrounds you, like you're in a sound field."
Is that not awesome?
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being amazing, the sound quality of the speakers independently is like a 6 to 7, depending on source material (Movies, Music, Blu-Ray, DVD, Cable)
But when all of these speakers and the sub are playing in tandem with each other as they have been designed to....
This sucker is a 9+.
Trust me, I'd tell you if it wasn't.
The sound is precise. Not impeccable though...but specific, never distorts, sounds full, the bass punches....nice tight punches...
Forget the price. Because you will.
$800 to $1000 bucks (I paid $739 with free tax and shipping from Amazon who sold it for Vanns) for a 7.1 THX certified HTIB can worry the smart budding audiophile like it did me...but don't worry. For small living rooms, bedrooms, (8 to 10 square feet I believe they state) this system is awesome.
A word about THX I/S
This reciever and 7.1 speaker system, when all used together,
If you do this...you are listening to THX approved sound.
The reason I write that is because I can tell.
The quality of the sound field is so satisfying to m, so seamless....that my girlfriend, with out me asking her was happy to comment on it.
Like most movie lovers, I've been listening to surround sound since 1986 when it was 2 fronts and a monaural surround track.
Then...For the past 10 years I've been listening to 5.1 sound, Onkyo reciever from 2001, with a $70. 15 year old Optimus (radio shack) center, 2 Yamaha rears (awful) an audiosource (?) 80watt sub (awful again) and 2 massive 25 years old Fisher 150 watt video tech mark speakers from a high end rack system from back then (I have to admit, I love these things. They have 15'' woofers and will put out deep bass at 40 htz)
So this system in comparison is a radical difference.
The speakers can all be considered small...because all the bass gets pumped into the amazing sub woofer which puts out 20 to 25htz bass (wall shaking DEEP BASS)
The comfort of having 8 speakers, all putting out the same sound quality allows for a seamless soundfield.
I know that THX and Onkyo both designed this system. THX created a new certification level for small listening areas (8' by 8' to 15' by 15' I believe) for the normal humans beings out here like me that cannot build home theaters .
The THX certification was what excited me the most.
o INSTALL o
Massive box, weighs in at 136 pounds. Opening it felt like Christmas to me.
I live in a 4 story walk up in Queens, NY...so I had to un-box in Lobby and make 5 trips up and down stairs to get it all in my apt.
The sub is heaviest.
I replaced the mounts on the back with picture hanging metal hooks that support 60lbs, and I put picture hanging hooks in the wall that support 100lbs.
Mounted 7.1 speakers, reciever gives you option of using the back surrounds (as oppossed to surrounds) as either front high speakers or rear surrounds....
I chose the later.
I mounted speakers as In equal distances at ear lever around room to replicate mixing room as best I could.
HDMI cables...get some. Online is cheaper.
If you use HDMI....you get an on-screen menu.
The reciever let's you use an equalizer on each speaker....letting you adjust highs, mids and lows....with the sub....it let's you adjust 25htz, 40htz, 60 htz....let's you up the decile Levels by 6 on each.....
The audyssey microphone set up worked spot on for me.
I've used it about 10 times so far.
As soon as you plug in-- the microphone they give you....the set up pops up and prompts you to place mic in listening position 1, then sounds come out of each 7 speakers and sub.
Then position 2, then 3...
When done....if measures distance (crazy accurate) sets it's own EQ settings to compensate for room acoustics and all....and volume levels for each speaker.
I don't usually go for automatic anything...I'm a manual setting type guy....but I use the audyssey settings....
I've been blown away by listening to 5.1 soundtracks....
and 2.0 soundtracks....
The reciever has so many options for you ....
I personally chose THX I/S mode for everything 5.1 and up....
It takes the 5.1 and creates a 6th and 7th channel for you...
The results are sick.
I put on "Vertigo" yesterday. I had DVR'd it a few months back from HBO HD.
I was rocked by the opening soundtrack.
The music was coming out of all channels...sounding so clean and tight.
Then the opening scene, dialogue centered...gun shots ringing out.
Then I realized....it was 2.0...and I was listening to Dolby Pro Logic Z with THX Cinema...
This thing sounded like a newly re-mastered 5.1 soundtrack to me...I was just rocked.
Watched the first "TRON" last night.
5.1 in HD, I thought the sub wasn't loud enough...so I was going to pump it up a bit.
Now again, all settings are the Audyssey settings and sub volume knob is set to "THX Recommended"
Before I can up the sub volume like I normally would have done....
One of the those crazy looking flying "M" shaped machines fly's' into frame....
Also Been watching "Inception"
I have a PS3...and the reciever has an Video Processor in it. By Farudja.
I put on a little edge enhancement and upped the color....
Then let the DTS MA soundtrack go.
Again...I didn't think the sub was working at times...
Then this clean and deep "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM"
The whole apt. shakes.
So ok. I have to go. I've been writing this for 2 days.
all in all...I'm so pumped, if you can't tell, by this system.
I highly recommend buying through Amazon, then VANNS...
I hope I've been helpful.
Good luck and enjoy.