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Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System review

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Reviewed:

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Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System
  • Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System
  • Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System
  • Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System
  • Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System
  • Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System
  • Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System
  • Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System
  • Onkyo HTX-22HD + SKS11 Surround Sound System
  • HT-X22HD Home Cinema System (2.1 Speakers)

Summary

Our Score:

9

Last month I looked at the Teufel Concept E400 speaker set, which offered a complete surround sound solution on a budget. Today I'm looking at a similar system from Onkyo. The Onkyo HTX-22HD is, in fact a 2.1-channel system, but the optional SKS11 pack brings it up to full 5.1-channel status, and both parts of the puzzle still come in at under £400.

The big difference between this Onkyo system and the Teufel one, is that there is no need for a separate surround sound processor this time around. Onkyo has built a pretty feature rich processor into the active subwoofer. In fact the connection options and codec support offered by the Onkyo HTX22HD are more impressive than those seen on the Teufel Decoder Station 5.

The big news is that the HTX-22HD is equipped to handle the latest lossless surround sound formats found on Blu-ray discs. Unsurprisingly that means you'll find some HDMI 1.3 ports at the rear of the subwoofer - three to be exact, two inputs and one output. You also get two optical digital inputs and one coaxial, allowing you to connect up to five digital sources. Even if your equipment has HDMI connectivity you still may need the optical inputs, since devices like the Sky HD box and Xbox 360 don't output multi-channel audio over HDMI. You also get two sets of stereo inputs, in case you want to hook up something without a digital audio output.

So, the HTX-22HD has the right connections to accommodate pretty much any surround sound codec, but how does its support list look? The answer to that question is simple - very good indeed. The highlights are undoubtedly Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, meaning that you'll be able to take advantage of the very best sound mixes on Blu-ray discs. As well as the lossless formats you also get Dolby Digital Plus, standard Dolby Digital, DTS, DTS Surround Sensation, Dolby Pro Logic II and a plethora of other DSP and virtual surround modes.

If Onkyo is trying to convince the average consumer of the benefits of surround sound, it needs to make installation as easy as possible, and thankfully that's exactly what it has done. Never before have I seen a speaker package that's so easy to install, and comes with pretty much everything you're likely to need in the box. As well as the subwoofer and five satellites, you get a remote control with batteries, a power cable, an optical digital audio cable and, most importantly, an HDMI cable. Of course Onkyo is assuming that you'll already have HDMI cables for your source devices, which is fair enough.

Robert Elliot

August 18, 2009, 1:24 pm

Why didn't this exist two years ago when I bought my A/V Receiver?! I looked everywhere for one integrated into the subwoofer so I wouldn't have Yet Another Huge Ugly Box under the TV.

John 32

August 18, 2009, 1:58 pm

Nice review Riyad, a small point regarding the xbox 360 not allowing multi-channel audio over HDMI.


I recently tested this into my Onkyo 607 (with an aim to losing the component&optical combo) and the amp picked up the 5.1 DD sound played through both DVD's and games.


I know the HDMI socket on the xbox isn't 1.3 but I thought this was only in relation to the HD codecs?


Please correct me if I'm wrong lol.

Nick Roper

August 18, 2009, 4:27 pm

I've had this Sub/amp/surround sound wunder machine for the past 12 months or so, and I back up EVERYTHING mentioned in the review. Absolutely superb unit and awesome value for money.





P.S. it really can go bloody loud!

Andy Vandervell

August 18, 2009, 4:38 pm

Hmm, I think it's time to empty the piggy bank. Might just go for the 2.1 system for starters, but the upgradability is a neat thing to have.

Luan Bach

August 18, 2009, 5:27 pm

This system has been around for a while. I was looking to buy it in January, should have done then as the price has gone up by nearly £100 since then. There was a problem reported with the system about "buzzing" noise when using a PS3, something to do with the Audyssey software, it should have been fixed by now but you should double check.

JonnyD

August 18, 2009, 7:41 pm

Would this work connecting from the optical out of an airport express to stream sound from DVD's to 5.1??


Other software is VLC, and airfoil to transmit sound from a Macbook.


Thanks for any help, this looks great and would love to get one if it will work!!

Coffee_With_Bailey's

August 18, 2009, 7:46 pm

Does this unit have to be placed upright (as pictured) - or can it be laid on its' side to fit the handy gap I have left in my glass stand under my TV?

Akhamar

August 19, 2009, 1:30 am

I bought this system some time ago and can agree that it's very nice when coming from average PC speakers. I use it for PC via optical, plus console games and dvds/blu-ray on my PS3 via HDMI. The 360 works with Dolby Surround this way, though neither console will do HD multi-channel audio (ie. TrueHD) via HDMI.





The buzzing issue it had did effect me though only with my xbox360 not with my PS3. It was sent off and fixed without any problems or cost to me involved.





The manual states not to use the sub/decoder in horizontal position, though even if you could it would make the display harder to read.

Ramesh G

August 19, 2009, 2:19 am

How does this compare against the LG HB954PB 5.1 which was reviewed not too long ago as a home cinema setup (TV - HD/SD, PS3). Or is it me comparing apples to oranges? Bare with me, am not too well versed in the sound system side of things. =s





My room is relatively small (10mx6m) and am currently using my pc speakers for the tv (logitech z5500).





Thanks

Coffee_With_Bailey's

August 19, 2009, 4:33 am

Thanks for your feedback Akhamar - regarding horizontal placement - not too worried about the display - but guess the unit is designed to dissipate heat vertically.

Riyad

August 19, 2009, 5:11 am

@John - I can guarantee that the Xbox 360 did not output anything but two channel audio through HDMI when I set mine up, although I have heard rumours that this was addressed in a firmware update since then. I’m not pulling all my kit out and changing cables on the off chance though.





You’re only talking about Dolby Digital and DTS anyway, which work fine over Optical. As you rightly point out, it’s only the lossless codecs that require an HDMI 1.3 compliant port.





@Akhamar - Your PS3 will output Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio over HDMI, but since the decoding is happening inside the console, the sound is output as multi-channel PCM. That means that your amp will not tell you it’s decoding TrueHD or HD MA because it’s not.





Basically the PS3 can’t output the bitstreams for the lossless codecs, but it can decode them itself and output uncompressed PCM to your amp. You don’t lose any quality this way, and it also means that your amp doesn’t need to support the latest codecs for you to be able to listen to them.





Just make sure that the HDMI digital audio output on your PS3 is set to PCM and not Bitstream.





@Bailey’s Coffee - Even if you take the display out of the equation, you don’t want a subwoofer living on a glass shelf, it really needs to be on the floor to get the full effect.

trained KILLA

August 20, 2009, 7:00 pm

Hi All,





My question is this if I use this system with PS3, in order to get 5.1 DDS/DTS and 5.1/7.1 HD DDS/DTS all I have to do is to connect via HDMI and set LPCM (not Bitstream). Anythings else i.e. what codecs has to be selected in HDMI settings (just leave it Automatic or ...) I need?





Thanks





Koray

CountryBumpkin

December 18, 2009, 3:17 am

where do you get the added speakers?

Jon 9

January 20, 2010, 2:14 am

the review says - "As well as the subwoofer and five satellites, you get a remote control with batteries, a power cable, an optical digital audio cable and, most importantly, an HDMI cable." - Am i being thick, or is there no HDMI cable included as mentioned in review? Am gutted as was planning to play some blurays tonight through my ps3...sad times.

zoroeyes

January 25, 2010, 7:27 pm

Hi I would like to use something like this with my WD TV Live streamer to stream blu ray backups with HD audio. What I'd like to know is, if I can pass through the HD audio signal i.e. TrueHD/DTS-HD would this decode it and output the sound? Would this need to be bitstream? (not that I know what that really is, bit of a newbie). My problem with dedicated receivers has been that, when wanting to downmix hd audio to say 5.1, they rely on the source player to decode and format the signal to 5.1 for the receiver to the ouput to the speakers. Can the Onkyo receiver a rae TrueHD signal, decode it and downmix it for output over its five channels? Without the streamer having to do any decoding? If so I think this is exactly what I'm looking for. Cheers.

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