Onkyo HTX-22HDX 5.1 surround sound system Review


If Santa stuck a Blu-ray player in your stocking and you now want a surround sound system to go with it, Onkyo’s HTX-22HDX might be right up your street. It’s an affordable 2.1-channel solution that can be bumped up to 5.1 with the addition of the SKS-22X speaker pack. It’s an update of the HTX-22HD we reviewed back in 2009, adding the latest features and subtly updating the design.

In the HTX-22HDX’s box you get a pair of compact front speakers and a subwoofer with built-in audio decoding and amplification. The sub musters 5 x 25W for the satellites with 50W of bass grunt, and also houses all the connections you need to rig up the rest of your kit. In the SKS-22X box meanwhile, is an extra pair of matching surrounds and a centre speaker.

Looks-wise the system isn’t radically different to the previous version, but in its trendy black finish it’s undeniably more attractive. The front and surround speakers stand 161mm high and boast a glossy veneer on the sides, with a non-removable cloth grille on the front. The centre is similarly styled but turned horizontally to fit in more easily below your TV. At this sort of price build quality is always a concern but rest assured that each component feels solid and robust.

As for the subwoofer, its compact dimensions (217(w) x 337(h) x 310(d)mm should make it easy to accommodate. Unlike the forward-firing model of the previous system, this one is downward firing and as such stands on four chunky feet. Embedded into the front is a display panel, which shows crucial information like source, volume and audio format, and if you don’t have the remote to hand there’s a row of buttons along the top that control volume, listening mode and input selection. These buttons have been moved from the front, which makes them easier to access if it’s tucked down behind the TV.

On the back of the subwoofer is a generous selection of sockets. Most significantly, you get three HDMI inputs, all of which are specified as v1.4 and therefore support 3D signals (which are passed on to your TV by the HDMI output) as well as the Audio Return Channel feature, which means there really is no excuse for putting up with those awful flatpanel TV speakers.

These are joined by three digital audio inputs (two optical and one coaxial) plus two analogue stereo inputs and a port for Onkyo’s RI (Remote Interactive) function, which allows certain functions to be controlled from other Onkyo devices. The speaker terminals are all springclips, which is inevitable on a budget system but makes installation a little fiddly – although kudos must go to Onkyo for supplying all of the necessary cables.

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