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Samsung HW-C500 - Features and Setup

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Internally the HW-C500 features a discrete digital amplifier design, which explains why it feels so much lighter than many other AV receivers. It musters 100W per channel, while the Crystal Amplifier Pro technology includes Multi Variable Feedback to keep unwanted noise at bay, and Intelligence Power boosts power when the volume peaks in order to avoid clipping.

But the rest of the spec sheet is disappointing. It’s unable to decode any of the HD audio formats found on Blu-ray discs, such as Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS HD or Dolby Digital Plus – clearly a way of driving the price down. Thankfully, the HW-C500 can handle multichannel LPCM fed into any of the HDMI inputs, which means you have to tell your Blu-ray player to decode the soundtrack beforehand. The sound quality should be similar, but for people who prefer their AV receiver to do the decoding – or those who simply like seeing the name of the format pop-up on the display panel – this could be a turn-off.

Elsewhere you get the same sound modes found on Samsung’s all-in-one systems – Power Bass boosts low frequencies, Smart Volume keeps sound at a constant level and MP3 Enhancer augments MP3s. There are also 12 DSP modes to further tailor the sound to your taste.

The setup process would have been helped immeasurably by the inclusion of onscreen menus, which are found on several other budget AV receivers, but again that would have meant extra cost. Still, the front panel menu makes things fairly easy to understand, using a logical structure to make up for the lack of onscreen visuals. You can assign inputs and adjust the audio parameters with minimal fuss.

But thanks to the Auto Sound Calibration mode, you don’t have to set the levels manually. Using the supplied microphone and a repeated blast of music (which could send you insane), it measures the acoustic properties of your room and sets the levels automatically. Given the intended audience for this product, this could end up being one of the more significant features.

The remote also helps to keep things nice and simple. The responsiveness and helpful layout of the buttons cause no stumbling blocks and all of the keys are clearly labelled, so you can quickly find functions you don’t use very often.

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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