Onkyo HT-S9100THX review

This system offers a heck of a lot for the money, but the overall sound delivery is too much of a compromise Tested at £750.00

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Our Verdict

This system offers a heck of a lot for the money, but the overall sound delivery is too much of a compromise

For

  • Excellent specification, from upscaled 1080p pictures to HD audio support and 7.1 speakers
  • DVD player and receiver are very capable performers

Against

  • Speakers let the side down with poor weight, punch and dynamics
  • distinctly budget looks and build

Over the past year or two, home cinema in a box systems have tended to comprise a compact all-in-one disc/amp unit, and a number of (often style-friendly) speakers.

These are sometimes bad, and sometimes very good, but in almost every case we'd recommend a separates system for performance.

This Onkyo package, though, is effectively a number of bona fide separate components in one hefty box. Instead of a compromised, compact all-in-one, you get a five-star rated DVD player, a full-spec surround receiver, and 7.1 channels' worth of full-size speakers. That's good, isn't it? Well, yes, yes, and no.

So, the first ‘yes' – that DVD player. It was only last month that the DV-SP406 emerged victorious from a hard-fought DVD Group Test, and our opinion of it hasn't diminished since then.

It might not be a luxurious design, but the 1080p upscaled picture it produces is brilliantly detailed, natural and punchy, and motion is exceptionally well controlled for a unit costing just £100 on its own, and half that as part of this package.

DVD and amp are accomplished
In fact, when used as part of this system, the couple of reservations we had over the DVD player become less of an issue.

The cheap, cluttered remote can be ditched in favour of using the far better one that comes with the receiver, and the thinness of the 'SP506's sonic delivery is countered by the meatiness of the HT-R960 receiver.

The amp itself is accomplished, both in terms of specification and overall sound delivery – it's a typically meaty unit from the company that reinvented the affordable surround amp.

Unfortunately, the speakers rather let down the very capable electronics.The front three speakers are identical, orientated horizontally or vertically for use as a centre or front left/right.

The four surrounds are fairly chunky, yet shallow, and the subwoofer is rather massive and cheap-looking, even compared to the rest of the basic speaker package.

The bass box is also the weakest link in terms of sonic delivery, producing low frequencies that lack power, weight and definition. This slight softness robs a soundtrack like that of the Die Hard 4.0 DVD of a fair degree of its drama.

Some subwoofer shortcomings
What's more, similar shortcomings also creep into the midrange, which is a bit thin and short of body. Mid frequencies also seem to be a little recessed, with a slight mugginess reducing the clarity of dialogue.

It's not all bad of course, and the Onkyo impresses by producing a fairly sweet and detailed treble, which avoids harshness, and although the system can't compare with the best in terms of coherence, it steers effects pretty well.

It sounds as if we're being harsh on this system, given its specification for the money, but there's a minimum performance quality you should expect, and this system, thanks to those speakers, falls short.

If you want a decent, full-sized surround system, you should simply be prepared to pay a bit more.

Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.eu.onkyo.com
Brand NameOnkyo
Product TypeHome Theater System
ManufacturerOnkyo & Pioneer Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberHT-S9100THX
Product NameOnkyo HT-S9100THX
Product ModelHT-S9100THX

Miscellaneous

Package Contents
  • HTS9100THX Home Theater System
  • 2 x AA/R6 Batteries
  • Speaker Cables
  • Indoor FM Antenna
  • AM Loop Antenna
  • Speaker Setup Microphone
  • 12 x Cork Spacer
  • RCA Cable for Subwoofer
  • Remote Control
  • Speaker Cables for Surround Speakers
  • Speaker Cable for Center Speaker
  • Speaker Cable for Front Speakers

Physical Characteristics

Rear Speaker Depth16.9 cm
A-V Receiver Height15.1 cm
Center Speaker Width43.3 cm
Center Speaker Depth19.9 cm
Front Speaker Height43.3 cm
Front Speaker Width15.8 cm
Side Speaker Height27.5 cm
Rear Speaker Width20 cm
Front Speaker Depth19.9 cm
Rear Speaker Height27.5 cm
Side Speaker Depth16.9 cm
Weight Approximate11.29 kg - A/V Receiver, 5.31 kg - Centre Speaker, 5.31 kg - Front Speaker, 3.49 kg - Rear Speaker, 3.49 kg - Side Speaker, 15.51 kg - Subwoofer
A-V Receiver Width43.5 cm
A-V Receiver Depth37.7 cm
Center Speaker Height15.8 cm
Side Speaker Width20 cm

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
Number of Digital Optical Inputs4
Number of Analog Audio Inputs4
Component VideoYes

Audio

RMS Output Power1200 W
Speaker Configuration7.1
Sound SystemDolby TrueHD, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS Neo:6, DTS HD

Technical Information

Receiver TypeA/V Receiver

Video

Scanning ModesProgressive Scan

Warranty

Limited Warranty2 Year