The Incredible Shrinking Home Theater
A receiver Napoleon could love.
Onkyo's TX-LR552 is a 6.1-channel home theater receiver with a 65-watt six-channel digital amplifier and a glowing ring of blue around the volume control. (That alone makes it cool enough for me...) But the real story about this multi-amped marvel is the fact that it stands less than four-inches high.
Lest you think this digital darling is somehow compromised by its short stature, be advised that the TX-LR552 features HDTV-capable component video switching (two component inputs and one output), as well as three composite and three S-video inputs. Exceptionally nice is the fact that all video signals are converted to component video so you'll only have to run one set of cables from the receiver to your display. Digital audio inputs include two optical and one coaxial. There's also a 5.1-channel analog audio input for listening to high-resolution music from DVD-A and SACD players. As befits its status as a receiver, the TX-LR552 includes a built-in AM/FM tuner with 40 available presets. (Can someone please tell me where on Earth there are enough decent radio stations in one city to fill 40 presets?)
Color-coded speaker terminals plus an automatic speaker detection system help even the most electronically challenged properly hook up a system built around the TX-LR552. The included preprogrammed remote control makes it easy to calibrate the volume level for each individual speaker, and the subwoofer output has an adjustable crossover so owners can make it sound great by seamlessly integrating the subwoofer with the satellites (or doggone awful by setting the crossover way too high).
Available in silver, the TX-LR552 has a suggested retail price of $400.
Your wall or mine?
Once Onkyo created the TX-LR552, they couldn't resist packaging it with a special six-speaker (plus subwoofer) system. But rather than follow the typical, boring Home-Theater-in-a-Box routine, they decided to match the small, stylish concept found in the receiver. The new package, called the HT-L970 (in honor of the system's designer, Mr. HT-L970), includes six extruded aluminum speakers that cry out to be hung on a wall next to a flat-panel TV. (Sometimes they've been known to look longingly at some shallow-depth rear-projection TVs, too...)
Onkyo considers the satellite speakers in the package to be full-range and can be wall-, (optional) stand-, or bookshelf-mounted. Each of the front three include a pair of 3 1/8-inch woofers and a single one-inch balanced dome tweeter. (I hate it when tweeters become unbalanced.) The three surround speakers use the same drivers minus one woofer each. All speakers are magnetically shielded. The 150-watt powered subwoofer sports an eight-inch cone in a ported enclosure - which Onkyo says is capable of linear bass reproduction down to 27 Hz.
The DV-CP702 - a 3 1/2" tall six-disc carousel DVD player - rounds out the system. The carousel changer has a blue-illuminated tray that says "touch me" as it sits on top of the TX-LR552 and its blue-illuminated volume control.
The HT-L970 system is available for $1,000 MSRP. For those who want only the speaker package (SKS-HT240), it can be had for $500 MSRP.
You can stand it.
The final Onkyo item on the menu is the CB-SP1200, a TV stand with integrated left, right, and center channel speakers that provide high-quality audio without visible panty lines (or speaker wires). The seven-coat black-lacquer finished stand measures 47" wide, 17" tall, and 17 3/4" deep.
Onkyo says it can be set up in under a minute by unfolding the left and right legs - although they won't help you lift your heavy tube HDTV on top of it. The new wired-for-sound stand will hold virtually any display device you have a hankering for as long as it weighs less than 250 pounds. Made of sturdy, low-resonance MDF, the stand includes an accessory shelf.
The three speakers inhabit individual internally isolated chambers with front ports. Magnetic shielding prevents picture interference and hair loss. (No guarantees are provided on the hair loss part, however.) The CB-SP1200 is available for $600 MSRP.