Onkyo SKS-HT870 Home Theater System Review
Onkyo is known for having speaker expertise, even if it is not primarily a speaker company. This is because the sales success of Onkyo home-theater-in-a-box systems (HTIB) that combines a speaker and a receiver through a box, with part of the confusion of putting together your own system. The Onkyo SKS-HT870 is a 7.1 speaker system that is sold as part of the Onkyo HT-S7200 HTIB, but it is also offered separately. While the speakers individually packed with most HTIB would be worth buying, the SKS-HT870 is an exception, with excellent sound quality, considering the low price. Our only complaint about the SKS-HT870 is that the boxy and a little unrefined, especially compared to a similar system as the Energy Take Classic. However, if you’re looking for your audio performance to maximize a budget – and do not mind watching the SKS-HT870 – the SKS-HT870 is a top choice.
Design and Features
The SKS-HT870 features a pair of sleek tower speakers, a dedicated center speaker, four surround speakers and a subwoofer. It is a budget-priced system, but as with previous generations of Onkyo speaker systems, the SKS-HT870 is an incredible value.
All eight pieces feature medium-density fiberboard cabinets, beautifully finished in black wood grain, and the speakers have non-removable black cloth grilles. The towers and center speaker has come up with a glossy black panels mounted on the tops and sides (respectively). The towers’ circular metal bases are packed separately, attach them with four screws each, and as you mount the speakers, a peek inside the rear wheel, improving bass port. You see the engineering Onkyo speakers used full internal volume to maximize their production potential Bass (HTIB few towers do the same).
The towers’ bases are 10.3 inches in diameter and the speaker is 41.3 inches high, the center is 16.9 by 4.5 by 4.75 inches, and surround speakers are 4.5 to 9, 1 with 3.75 cm each. The towers and center speaker are two-way models equipped with two 3.25-inch woofers and a 1-inch dome tweeter. The surround speakers each have a 3.25-inch woofer, but no tweeters.
Speaker terminals are spring-clip types, which only works with stripped bare wires or cables terminated with pin connections. In both cases do not all spring clamps, that a grip on the wires so they can fall out with a slight jerk. We prefer banana plugs, but they are probably too expensive to be used this budget priced system.
The matching subwoofer glossy black baffle provides a chic look, a major port on the baffle increases the bass provided by the 10-inch down-firing woofer. A 290-watt amplifier drives the sub woofer and the rear is a single RCA line-level inputs and a volume control. Measuring 10.8 by 19.9 by 16.2 inches sub qualifies as a full-size model weighs 25.6 pounds. The cabinet is well built, but when our knuckles wrapped up against the sides or top of the cabinet, it did not feel as good as more expensive subs braced. Again, we are not surprised, as part of a budget-priced 7.1-channel speaker / subwoofer system, the SKS-HT870 is a great bargain.
To carry out our listening tests we paired the SKS-HT870 with our Denon AVR-3808CI AV receiver reference. The very first thing you notice about the sound of the SKS-HT870 was not doing anything bad. We rarely say that about budget-priced speaker packages that are either embarrassingly awful subwoofers, tweeters, or overly aggressive, or both.
The SKS-HT870 sounds good, and although the surround speakers lack tweeters, timbre was remarkably consistent in all seven speakers. The subwoofer is so well suited to the speakers we do not really think much about the sub, which is always a good sign.
We were so convinced of the SKS-HT870′s capabilities, we cranked the opening chase scene from “Quantum of Solace” Blu-ray and were blown away by the sound. James Bond drives his Aston Martin to the limit and the sounds of the horse and firepower rays from the SKS-HT870 were much stronger. Shock and Awe dynamics were good, but not as freewheeling as they can be our intimus Aperion 4T Hybrid SD 5.1 speaker / subwoofer system when used in combination with a great receiver.
The SKS-HT870 speaker center dialog tasks handled with finesse, it was clear, clean and articulate. Concert DVDs and Blu-ray discs demonstrated that abilities of the room filling the front of the SKS-HT870 and rear speakers. The spaciousness of the sound, floating free of the speakers themselves, was of the sort we associate with more expensive systems.
Jack Bruce bass and Ginger Baker’s drums on the “Cream: Royal Albert Hall” DVD had no shortage of visceral impact, and bass definition is decent. tasty guitar licks of Eric Clapton were warm and sweet. Yes, if we pushed the volume too far from the SKS-HT870 sound thinned out and ran hard. Backing the volume smoothed things out again.
CD sounded just as good as DVDs and Blu-ray, the “rightness” of the SKS-HT870 revealed in all types of music. We mostly listened to CDs in stereo, with only the front tower speakers and subwoofer, and the soundstage was wide with a good sense of depth. SKS-HT870 is the subwoofer does not have the gutsy punch deep and serious expansion of higher priced subs, but it was a wonderful match with the system speaker. That seems a clever design compromise for us.
Although we can not directly compare the SKS-HT870 Energy Speakers’ Take Classic 5.1 speaker system, the Onkyo system has size advantages that let it play louder with lower distortion in larger rooms. We still love the energy system for what it can do, but it is better suited for smaller rooms. Both the Onkyo and energy systems are highly recommended.
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