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In use the HTX-22HD threw up no issues, managing to automatically detect and cater for the correct surround sound codec, while also producing levels of volume that belie the modest dimensions of the sub and speakers. Firing up the superb Blu-ray of Watchmen, the HTX-22HD had no problem processing the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack, filling the room with all the sounds of a debauched and deadly New York City. I was surprised at how cleanly the dialogue came through, without ever being overpowered by the low frequency effects. Subtle surround effects are also well resolved, adding to the atmosphere.
Turning to the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on the Spider-Man 3 Blu-ray, the HTX-22HD again created a believable soundstage, with positional effects well placed around the viewer. I've heard the climax of Spidey 3 sound better on a system using a dedicated surround sound receiver and speaker package, but given the nature and price of this system, it acquitted itself well.
Although the HTX-22HD can go loud, loud enough to annoy your neighbours no doubt, it does lack a little bit of low frequency presence - not so much with big explosions, but more when it comes to subtle background rumblings. It's here that the Teufel Concept E400 system steals a march on the HTX-22HD, with its far larger sub creating a slightly more immersive atmosphere in some scenes.
It's also somewhat debatable as to whether a system like this can highlight the advantages of lossless surround sound codecs over the standard, compressed versions of DTS and Dolby Digital. But even so, Onkyo should be commended for including support for the latest sound formats, and given the choice, I'd always want to listen to the best possible audio stream.
It's important however to remember who the HTX-22HD system is aimed at. Basically Onkyo is targeting consumers who are used to the woefully disappointing speakers that are built into their flat screen TV, so the amount of bass response on offer will no doubt blow them out of their seats. Likewise, the positional effects, clear centre channel and enveloping sound stage will take their movie watching to another level.
Considering the level of codec support, number and type of inputs, the plethora of cables and the bundled set up microphone, the HTX-22HD and SKS11 bundle is an absolute steal at under £400. If you've just bought your first Blu-ray player, or are even thinking of doing so, it's well worth adding this speaker set to your shopping list.
The Onkyo HTX-22HD and SKS11 bundle may not have the power and presence of the Teufel Concept E400s, but it makes up for that in so many areas. This really is an all-in-one bundle that even the most technophobe consumer would have no problem installing.
The level of codec support is incredible given the price, while the accessory bundle is unbelievably generous. I shouldn't be surprised, given that Onkyo makes some of the best, affordable surround sound receivers on the market, but with this speaker set it has opened its surround sound expertise up to an even wider audience.
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