If you like your sound big, loud and bassy, you’re going to like this Onkyo LS-T10.
But you will have to put up with its shortcomings in refinement and subtlety.
Described as the ‘Ultimate One-Box Home Cinema System’, the Onkyo soundbase certainly has high expectations.
The Onkyo LS-T10 digs deep into the lower frequencies to deliver weighty, rumbling bass. It’s open and expansive too, and easily fills the room with dynamic sound.
The almighty punches thrown between the monsters and robots on the Pacific Rim Blu-ray have a great ‘whomp’ to them, but the impactful bass does boom too much.
It isn’t particularly taut or agile, but the strong, slightly thick sound is a vast improvement from flatscreen TV speakers.
The Onkyo’s booming quality is more apparent when streaming songs over Bluetooth.
Tracks with a prominent bassline, such as Led Zeppelin’s Dazed and Confused, sound rather unwieldy; the bass really sticks out. Onkyo does let you adjust the level, though.
We toned it down a couple of notches (all by instinct as there’s no display) until the booming sounded more manageable.
It’s a mixed bag with the rest of the frequencies. The treble is clear and has enough space to soar, but it is edged with hardness.
Midrange performance, especially voices, suffer as a result: they sound quite hollow and indistinct.
We suggest placing your TV directly on the LS-T10, rather than keeping the soundbase separate on a shelf – this gives dialogue a little more connection to the on-screen action.
The T10 is solidly built and feels reassuringly stable. It’s nicely finished, too.
It’s also wide and sturdy enough to hold any big TV with an elaborate stand, although those wanting a discreet solution might not appreciate its large size.
However, that bulkiness does mean you get big bass.
There are a couple of touch-sensitive buttons for power and volume on the top of the panel, while a white LED indicates which input you’ve selected: TV, USB or Bluetooth.
There’s no interesting LED light-show like on the Denon DHT-T100, and a proper display would’ve been nice, but it’s a simple and easy-to-use unit nonetheless.
The remote control is a small and wafer-thin, similar to the dinky ones made by Cambridge Audio. It’s responsive and easy to use, but we would like bigger, more substantial buttons for a more satisfying use.
It does feature all the (limited) options of the soundbase, though, from changing inputs and volume to adjusting the bass level and setting up Bluetooth connections.
The Onkyo LS-T10 keeps its rear panel simple, with one digital optical, one digital coaxial and one analogue 3.5mm input available.
It’s similar to the selection offered by rival Denon DHT-T100, and once again doesn’t include HDMI inputs. There is also Bluetooth on board, which is a nice addition even if the soundbase isn’t that great with music.
A USB port round the back got us excited, but that elation quickly deflated once we found out it neither charges nor plays music from your smartphone or tablet.
It only supports playback of MP3 files stored on a USB stick, but the fine print in the manual states it doesn’t guarantee playback from all flash drives.
The LS-T10 is stuck between boomy bass and a hard top end, and doesn’t deliver the most engaging and smooth performance.
It tries to hit all the right notes – expansive sound, lots of bass, clear treble – but doesn’t strike the right balance between them.
If you can look past those shortcomings, you’ll be rewarded with a huge, dynamic sound with rich, deep bass.
‘Ultimate’, it isn’t – for £350 we’d like our more from our home-cinema experience.