Pros - Manual has decent trouble-shooting advice and walks user through setup well
- On-screen menu makes it easy to change settings
- iPod connector, head phone jack are located on the front for easy access
- Many options to customize sound settings
Cons - Flimsy speaker wires that really should be of a larger gauge
- Message bar overlies bottom part of the TV screen when the system is muted
Summary I received my Onkyo HT-S3500 today through one-day Prime delivery in order to use it with my new LG 3D TV. When the TV arrived, I was sad to see that my old Philips sound system couldn't be connected to it (oh, the days of analog audio outs), but this system actually makes me wish I had switched much earlier. Here is a review broken down into steps. Please keep in mind, I have only owned this unit for one day, but will update my review after a few weeks of testing it out!
Setup was not as hard as I had feared, although I have to admit that I am only using HDMI devices. Plugged my XBox, BluRay player, Apple TV, and cable box into the HDMI In's (there are 4 of them), plugged the TV into the HDMI out, turned the unit on, pressed the Cable/Sat button, and voila, I had cable reception on my TV. The picture looked as crips as a direct connection, only now I have a single cable running up to my TV instead of four - certainly improves the look of my wall.
The sound didn't work at first, but a quick look into the manual (on the accompanying CD) explained that I had to set my TV to allow for HDMI sound output in order for the sound to work. Never knew this option even existed before, but proved to me that the manual has decent trouble-shooting. I did have sound output now, but only the L Front speaker would work. I fiddled with the wires a bit, reconnecting them on all the speakers and one by one the speakers started working.
This is my only ture point of criticism, as the wires are very flimsy and certainly not up to par with the receiver or the speakers. The wires tend to slip out of their connection and getting a good connection at first is just a bit more difficult than it should be. Once they are connected, they stay put and since they are so easy to replace, this won't be an issue in the long-run. Still, some bigger gauge wires would have been appropriate to include.
The system overlays it's menus right onto the TV screen, making it easy to change settings and fine-tune the output. The menus are easy to navigate and no function is unnecessarily hard to find. There are also some buttons on the front of the unit (along with an iPod In and headphone jack), that allow some manipulations while using the unit for pure audio output, but the menu is easier to use and more comprehensive. The manual once more does a good job of walking the user through the steps and I had no problem setting up my sound system to accommodate my room layout. From adjusting the distance of the speakers to the TV, to fine-tuning the treble of selected speakers, there are many possibilities to get the sound just right.
The only negative comment I would like to add about the on-screen menu is the fact that when the system is muted, there is a reminder message on the bottom of the screen that cannot be turned off. It blocks out the score of ESPN-broadcast basketball games, as well as any new-tickers. Why this bar is not blended out automatically, I don't know. This is not a huge issue, but you gotta pick on something and it is an annoyance that is hard to explain.
Side Note: if you will buy the Onkyo HT-S3500, I suggest check for best deal before you decide at: htsystems.wordpress.com/onkyo-ht-s3500/
Hope this helps, enjoy!
Pros - Very clear sound
- Plenty of inputs
- Has all of the basics plus some extras
- Has plenty of power for an entry-level system
Cons - The OSD only overlays on 480i 480p 720p 1080i and 1080p inputs
- If you don't have this hooked up to a screen, set-up could be confusing.
Summary Overall, this is a great home theater system. As a college student, it does everything that I would ever ask it to do, and it has way more than enough power for my dorm room (enough to shake the walls and windows). Even when it gets that loud, however, the sound is still clear, and the cons I posted above are very nit-picky. I am in a very unique situation having this system hooked up to a 1680x1050 computer monitor, and even though the OSD doesn't display when an input is given, it still works when nothing is selected. It also handles the inputs from my Xbox 360 and computer very well, even at that awkward resolution. This system is my first home theater system, and is a huge upgrade over my previous Dell computer 5.1 speakers. It is also, at $280 from Tiger Direct, the best system for the price, and the fact that the price is that low puts it in range of people even just looking to replace their computers speakers. Again, this is a great home theater system, and is plenty for a first-timers, or as a system for a second room.
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