Pros: One system for all your home theater needs. Easy to use and fun to use.
Cons: The speaker connector plugs can get loose. Might be too expensive for some people.
Our family got this system back in 2002 and it has served it's purpose. With the 5.1 channel surround sound it's an audiophile's dream. So here is my review.
Choosing the system:
My father and I discussed for quite some time back in November 2002 about getting a surround sound system. So one evening we spent about 4 hours at Frys Electronics testing the different systems out. First we saw a Sony System and I could hear the sound was not natural as the other systems. Then we saw a Yamaha and it sounded pretty good. But when we saw the Onkyo on Display with a Sony DVP NS315 DVD player we were hooked. The salesman had us hear the difference between the Onkyo and the Yamaha. The Onkyo HTR 500 had a much crisper sound. I was taken aback at the crisp sound. This system is high end in my opinion.
Installing the System:
I was so excited to get such a high end system. When my father and I unpacked the system I was amazed at the high-quality speakers. The speakers are encased in a wood frame. The other systems did not have such high-quality casing. We bought this system to work with our Sharp 32 inch t.v. belive me you don't need a large screen t.v. to run this system. So we started hooking up the system as directed by the easy to follow manual. I was amazed at how many A/V ports the system has. So we hooked up the satelite speakers,subwoofer,middle speaker,DVD Player,VCR and T.V. After about an hour it was setup.
Perfoming inital setup:
After the system was setup I ran through the menu settings to get the system to work in our environment. The setting of each spaker distance was easy to setup. So with it all setup I was ready to test the system.
DSP(Digital Signal Processing)
I was very impressed at the different DSPs the system includes. Now people say it's a gimmick on other systems. On this system it adds to the enjoyment. From Stuio Mix to All channel Stereo DSP it made the music,t.v.,vcr and DVDs more enjoyable to watch. So I put in my Kenny G CD and right then and there I was like "Wow could it get any better"?
So after the first week I ran to Blockbuster to get some DVDs to test(I forget the titles). But the one thing I do know is this system is on the high-end with the audio. I felt like I was in the movie theaters. The salesmen was right about it having good sound. The system can process DTS and Dolby Pro-Logic 2. And DTS-ES and DTS are roughly the same. Most DVDs are made for DTS and Dolby Pro-Logic.
Watching the Food Network:
Ok so I turned on Emril for a change to see how it would sound on my system. Man I felt like I was in the audience. Hearing the pan sizzle,the band,and the response from the audience. I could not tell the difference between being in the audience or watching it at home. It's that good. So if you can't go to Hollywood to see your favorite show being taped no worries this system is second to none.
The Ealges Hell Freezes over Concert;
So for my 20th birthday this year, my brother bought me The Eagles Hell Freezes Over DVD. I read that this DVD is used to test high end systems. So when I put it in to my DVD player I felt like I was in the audience. I don't need to pay so much money to attend concerts. I was in the front row and besides I could pause the DVD at anytime without missing anything. The sound this system provides is for audiophiles like me. I know people have a Sunfire system but this system has top notch sound.
Other cool features:
In the future I want to buy a Record Player,Tape player,and hook up a home audio distribution system. This system provieds the connections and a "B switch" for extra speakers. Other systems did not have this "B switch".
Onkyo is one of the best companies out there. Dennon and Okyo compete to have good systems. I hope that you will look into Onkyo if you are deciding to build a home theater. The only quirk is the plugs they use to hook up the speaker. You need to be sure the plugs are tight or else the speaker will not function. But other than this it's a great system to own. It will go into "Protect mode" if there is a problem with the system.