Onkyo HT-S990THX, Home Theater in a Box

June 19, 2006

Onkyo S990THXWe’ve all seen so called “Home Theater in a Box” systems. They typically included an underpowered receiver, five to seven tiny plastic speakers, and a small powered subwoofer. These HTIB systems range from piss poor to passable quality and everything in between. By and large however, most of these systems aren’t worth the plastic it took to mold the casings.

Quality and value are often in the eye of the beholder, but many of these systems are limited by poor to non-existent dynamic range and poor overall sound reproduction. It appears as if Onkyo may have struck a balance between cost and performance with their recently introduced S990THX, touted as the world’s first home theater package system to carry THX certification.

The Onkyo S990THX system consists of:

•7.1 THX certified A/V receiver, with Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, and DTS 96/24 decoding and XM Satellite Radio capability.
•Front and center channel speakers with 1-inch soft-dome tweeter and dual 5-inch woofers.
•Side and rear surround speakers with 5-1/8 inch a-OMF woofers and the same tweeter found in the front channels.
•12-inch subwoofer with built-in 230-Watt power amplifier.

I think if you compare these specifications against other equally priced ($1099 retail) HTIB systems, you’ll find that many of them fall far short of the Onkyo’s offerings. I’m definitely putting this one in my review sample request list.

Side note: I mentioned the S990THX’s THX certification only because I felt it was interesting that Onkyo bothered to submit a system that retails for $1099 for certification. I don’t necessarily think THX certification in of itself is important or telling in how a system may or may not sound.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Surround Sound


Comments

  • Sam Havens

    Hi,

    I'm all set to buy an Onkyo (HTIB) HT-S590. However, I'm willing to spend the extra money for the HT- S790 if there is a substantial difference.

    Your opinion, please?

    Thanks,

    Sam

  • B.Greenway

    Wish I could be of help Sam, maybe some of our other readers have heard both.

  • B.Greenway

    Wish I could be of help Sam, maybe some of our other readers have heard both.

  • Sam Havens

    Hi,

    I’m all set to buy an Onkyo (HTIB) HT-S590. However, I’m willing to spend the extra money for the HT- S790 if there is a substantial difference.

    Your opinion, please?

    Thanks,

    Sam

  • westcott

    I would like to see more systems like this with HD Radio instead. As Kevin pointed out, XM and Sirius only reduce audio quality.

    I wonder how this would compare with Denon’s HTIB?

  • westcott

    I would like to see more systems like this with HD Radio instead. As Kevin pointed out, XM and Sirius only reduce audio quality.

    I wonder how this would compare with Denon’s HTIB?

  • Kevin

    I think the THX certification might be very valuable for this type of product. As you mentioned, the HTIB market is crowded, and having that spec will help to set them apart from the crowd. The average shopper at this price point probably isn’t going to check that the surrounds have the same tweeter as the front speakers.

    On the other hand, shouldn’t THX certification preclude having XM radio functionality? XM music is so compressed it will make any system sound bad.

  • Kevin

    I think the THX certification might be very valuable for this type of product. As you mentioned, the HTIB market is crowded, and having that spec will help to set them apart from the crowd. The average shopper at this price point probably isn’t going to check that the surrounds have the same tweeter as the front speakers.

    On the other hand, shouldn’t THX certification preclude having XM radio functionality? XM music is so compressed it will make any system sound bad.