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Samsung HW-C500 review

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Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price free/subscription

AV receivers aren’t high on the list of things you’d associate with Samsung, but the Korean giant has been turning out a nice line in home cinema amps for quite some time. Its latest range includes this entry-level 5.1-channel model, which is designed to provide a basic introduction to the world of surround sound – a fact reflected by its low price tag.

Aesthetically the HW-C500 is a break from the norm. It’s slimmer than most AV amps and Samsung keeps the front panel free from dials and physical buttons, opting instead for a minimal gloss-black design. It’s possibly one of the best-looking AV receivers we’ve clapped eyes on, but then again what else would you expect from Samsung?

But look closely and the front panel is busier then you might think. A silver strip on the right lets you adjust the volume, while a bank of touch-sensitive controls on the left lets you navigate menus and switch between the various sound modes. They’re so discreet you might not notice them from a distance.

An LED panel in the centre displays key info like the selected input, while a flap at the bottom drops down to reveal a further smattering of buttons, none of which seem important enough to earn pride of place on the front of the unit. We’d rather this space was used to provide a decent array of auxiliary AV inputs for on-the-fly device connection, but disappointingly there are none.

Version pictured uses binding posts, not spring-clips as on review unit and as stated in review

All of the sockets are therefore confined to the rear, and although the selection covers most bases it’s hardly the sort of generous selection Onkyo, Yamaha or Denon would offer at this price. Taking pride of place are four HDMI inputs and one output, and thankfully all of these are specified as v1.4, which will please anyone hoping to bag themselves a 3D Blu-ray deck and TV in the near future.

On the video side, the HDMIs are backed up by two sets of component inputs and one output plus three composite inputs, while audio sockets include four digital audio inputs (three optical, one coaxial), four sets of analogue stereo inputs and 5.1-channel inputs, which will come in useful for Blu-ray decks with built-in HD audio decoding and analogue outputs. In the box, you also get an iPod/iPhone dock that plugs into the terminal on the back.

Also on the back, you’ll find spring-clip speaker terminals in place of more robust binding posts, which is the clearest indication of the Samsung’s budget nature and lack of audiophile ambition. One minor upside to this is that the speaker cables are easier to plug in, which inexperienced (or impatient) users might appreciate.

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Pbryanw

August 6, 2010, 9:06 pm

"or those who simply like seeing the name of the format pop-up on the display panel"





Hehe, thought it was just me who liked doing this. Shame about the review - if only someone could fuse this receiver's looks with, maybe, an Onkyo or Denon's audio capabilities.

pewpew

August 6, 2010, 9:07 pm

are you going to review the HW-C700?


Like the C500, a nice looking AV-Receiver but adds 7.2 and support of the HD audio formats....

Andy0d2

August 7, 2010, 12:22 am

I think this should have been in the review - Can you pass say a component input via a HDMI output? Thus you only require one HDMI cable to link your TV (obviously with another to carry the sound from your tv).

Geoff Richards

August 7, 2010, 1:23 am

@Andy - I haven't used the Samsung in question but what you're describing is quite normal for AV receivers like this. My Onkyo has my Blu-ray player (HDMI) Xbox 360 (Component / Optical), and Freeview (Composite / Photo) all plugged into the back of it, and a single HDMI going to my TV. Which is just as well because it only has one HDMI on it!





There's no need to "carry the sound from your TV" if your Freeview / Sky box is downstream, so to speak. However, if you're using your TVs in-built tuner (Freeview / Freeview HD or Freesat for example) you will then need to fire that audio back down to your receiver lest you be stuck with your telly's speakers.





This is normally down via "Audio Out" - most commonly Optical.

Andy0d2

August 7, 2010, 2:16 am

Yeah I have an all in one at the moment. I know that some budget recievers don't have this feature which are standard, as you say, on higher end systems like your onkyo.

Geoff Richards

August 7, 2010, 2:29 am

Then my caution was well warranted then. All-in-ones tend to be designed as closed systems but I'd be horrified if any receiver featuring several inputs / outputs couldn't switch as discussed. Even a £200 jobbie like this one.

fred bloggs

March 29, 2012, 4:42 pm

While I enjoy our Samsung HW-C500 (as a second receiver system in our home) I recently wired a Samsung Blu-ray BD-C5500 to it,would someone kindly advise an old man on some new tricks, Please, How may I play a CD without the TV coming on?

Darryl S

October 30, 2013, 10:57 pm

I have the HW-C500 as a second AV Receiver and it sounds really good for the price i paid which was around $200.00. The one thing I did was switch out the non-powered sub it came with with a powered Klipsch sub and what a difference. keep in mind there is a jack for a powered sub on the back. The sound quality is pretty good compared to my Denon but lacks the features of my Denon like duo zone and 7.1 surround.

I have a PS3, DVD, Directv sat.and ipod hooked up to this system.

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