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Samsung HW-C500 - Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Onto performance, and although the HW-C500 does a passable job with Blu-ray soundtracks, it simply isn’t in the same league as entry-level models from the likes of Onkyo, Denon or Pioneer. It lacks the control, presence and finesse needed to steal your breath away, a fact exposed by Avatar’s DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack – decoded into PCM by our Blu-ray player first, of course.

Yes, it’s feisty and dynamic, with deep bass and impressive surround channel performance – the HW-C500 conjures up a wide and absorbing soundstage, helped greatly by crisp reproduction of rear effects and smooth steering. But when the action really hots up (during the Battle for Pandora for example) high frequencies begin to strain with the tell-tale signs of harshness, and with the volume approaching maximum there’s an edge to the sound that makes it uncomfortable to listen to for prolonged periods.

We’re painting a negative picture here, and it’s worth reiterating that the HW-C500 is by no means a disaster. For the most part its movie performance is actually quite enjoyable. But when you can pick up a receiver from a dedicated audio brand for around the same price, offering more assured sound quality and lots more features, this Samsung doesn’t really stand a chance.

Verdict

If you own a Samsung TV and Blu-ray player and want a matching AV receiver, then the HW-C500 might be an appealing option. It’s a highly stylish piece of kit with a decent amount of sockets, plus the supplied iPod dock and support for 3D signals is not to be sniffed at for this sort of money. But that’s where the praise ends – its sound quality isn’t up to the standards of similarly-priced rivals like the Onkyo TX-SR308, which also decodes HD audio signals and throw lots of other features and connections into the mix.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 7
  • Value 7
  • Features 7
  • Design 9

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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