on January 30, 2013
I purchased the Onkyo LS3100 ENVISION system for $500 from Fry's Electronics after listening to similar speaker systems for our new flat screen TV. The salesman demonstrated three other systems, all costing $100 to $300 more than the Onkyo system. I purchased the Onkyo system because it seemed like it provided acoustically similar sound to the higher priced systems, and the price was better for our budget. A week after purchasing the Onkyo system, Bose put many of their speaker systems on sale, and the price of the Bose CineMate Series II Digital Home Theater Speaker System dropped to just above $500. For that price, I thought the Bose might be a better sounding system. So, I purchased it from Fry's knowing that I still had time to return the Onkyo system if I decided to keep the Bose system. I set both systems up in our family room connected to the TV, and played them one against the other to the same DVD at different volumes. I concluded that the Onkyo system not only sounded better, but had more features to offer, such as the wireless subwoofer and Bluetooth features (the Bose system lacks these and other features). The main reason I think the Onkyo system sounds better is because the subwoofer sounds better. It will play louder than the Bose subwoofer will, if you want it that loud. By comparison, the Bose subwoofer was limited at full volume and did not have the same sound definition as the Onkyo subwoofer. Because of this and since the Bose system does not have as many features, I will be taking the Bose system back to the store.
UPDATE 2/23/2013. We did not immediately return the Bose CineMate speakers. My wife and I did a side-by-side comparison of both speaker systems for about a week. We both concluded that the Bose CineMate speakers had an overall better sound--a little fuller and warmer sounding. However, to put things in perspective, at this price point the better sound of the Bose CineMate speakers is only marginal, which is why we kept going back and forth for a week as to which system had the better quality sound. We almost kept the Bose speaker system because of this. Still, even though the Bose CineMate speakers may sound better, the Bose system really lacks in the features that the Onkyo speaker system has, so we kept the Onkyo speaker system anyway. Here are a few of the features that the Onkyo speaker system has that the Bose system does not have:
* The Onkyo speakers automatically come on when we turn the TV on. Not so with the Bose, which requires you to separately turn on the speakers with the little remote required to operate the Bose speaker system.
* We can adjust the volume of the Onkyo speakers with any other remote control device that we have in the house, including our cable remote. This is because the Onkyo system is pre-programmed to operate with many other remote controls. With the Bose system, you can only adjust the volume with the Bose remote.
* The Onkyo system has a wireless bluetooth subwoofer. The bluetooth in the system can be used to pair up any compatible bluetooth devices to stream music through the speakers. My daughter loves this feature to play music from her iPhone. The sound of the music is as good as any stereo system we own, although I'm sure there's better sounding speakers for this purpose if you're willing to pay for them. This is a definite plus for some people. I asked at Fry's and was told that no other speaker system comes with this bluetooth feature built into it. The Bose system definitely does not have it, but you might be able to add it with a third-party device.
I still give the Onkyo speaker system 5 stars because it is decent sounding and feature laden at this price point. Others may prefer the sound of the Bose CineMate speakers and not care about the features of the Onkyo speaker system, however.
on October 10, 2013
The Onkyo LS3100 is a good 2.1 speaker system, but it doesn't blow me away. When you are able to send a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal to the unit, it does an excellent job of rendering it with a good pseudo surround experience. For all other signals, including 2-channel sources, it doesn't sound as warm and filling as the Bose Cinemate II GS (which is now at a comparable price point). Listening to 2-ch sources on the Onkyo for prolonged periods can actually cause ear fatigue. However, despite the limitations and keeping aside comparisons, this system is convenient and sounds very good, so its still the right choice for me.
1. Wireless subwoofer is very convenient and allows a small footprint in a small city apartment, which is where you would usually pick a 2.1 sound system anyway. I have mine between my couch and papasan chair where it is virtually invisible.
2. Compact speakers that are very efficient. I'm sure the sound levels would be very adequate for a living room twice as big as my 15x20 living room.
3. Multiple positions possible with the speakers. I use them vertically since that's all the space I have on either side of my TV.
4. Bluetooth input, which works well and produces above-average sound quality. Don't buy this unit simply for the Bluetooth capability however, since you can get Bluetooth audio adapters that support higher sound quality aptX for very cheap now, and can hook them up to any speaker system that supports 3.5mm Aux input.
5. Multiple TV input options - coax, optical and 3.5mm. Only one can be used though, you cannot switch between them on the fly.
6. Very powerful subwoofer. I had to add a foam board under it to tone it down in my smallish apartment. There are 21 levels (-10 to +10) of adjustment possible.
7. Very easy to hook up and comes with all cables needed. The optical cable looked cheap though so I used my own.
8. Does an excellent job of rendering a close-to-surround experience with Dolby 5.1 input. As good as the Bose, if not better.
9. It has a dialog mode, apart than the normal mode, which is useful for toning down the bass. We use it when our toddler is watching toons.
10. Volume control is compatible with most TV remotes. I use a harmony, so this feature is not of use to me.
11. Auto-power on, which is a big plus in my book. Especially when using a universal remote, this makes one less device to turn on. Many competing systems have auto-power-off, which is particularly annoying if they don't auto-turn-on, since you need to fiddle with the menus of your harmony remote to get them back on. Try explaining that to your spouse or guests.
1. Does not support DTS (Bose doesn't either). DTS and 2 channel sources sound good, but not great. You tend to expect more for the premium pricing. The lows and highs have a slight harshness and this can cause ear fatigue after long periods of listening. This doesn't happen with the Bose, which does the best post-processing for 2-channel sources that I've heard yet. Note that I'm not an audiophile and prefer warmth over accuracy, so this is very subjective. Audiophiles generally do not recommend Bose for the exact same post processing that I like, but then audiophiles would frown upon any 2.1 system that tries to simulate a 5.1 surround experience.
2. Receiver has no display. You cannot see the current volume level, or what signal it is receiving.
3. Receiver only has one optical input, which you would invariably need to connect to your TV. Many TVs do not pass-through surround sound to the optical port. I had to hack my LG TV through the service menu to get it to pass them through. Even with that hack, many hooked up devices will read the EDID of the TV as 2-channel and only send 2-channel sound to the TV via HDMI. I've been able to force my PS3 and FiOS set-top box to send 5.1 audio to my TV but not my PC. I use a nVIDIA GTX 670 graphics card and it takes more hacking (EDID spoofing and registry changes) to force it to send 5.1 audio to my TV, which I haven't yet gotten around to doing. All this trouble could have been saved if the Onkyo's receiver either had multiple optical inputs or a HDMI switch (to extract audio from source). The far cheaper Onkyo HTX-22HDX had HDMI switching, DTS support and an information display, so I don't know why Onkyo decided to cheapen out here. With the lack of a display, most people won't even know if the Onkyo is not receiving a 5.1 signal from the TV. I would've bought the Onkyo HTX-22HDX if didn't have mediocre speakers and a wired sub. I'm considering the purchase of a Monoprice 4x1 HDMI Switch w/ TOSlink & Digital Coaxial Audio Output (Audio Return Channel/3D/CEC Support) but it means more device clutter, not to mention the added expense.
4. Cheap looking credit-card bubble-button remote.
5. Speaker cables are very thick and white in color. There are also no wire channels in the back of the speakers that would allow the cables to be channeled down to the base of the speakers. I have my speakers oriented vertically and the speaker cables stick out from the top third of the speakers and it doesn't look pretty.
6. External power adapter, similar to that of a laptop.
Compared to Panasonic SC-HTB350 (same as SC-HTB370 other than looks):
Panasonic (+): Supports DTS, has 2 optical inputs, speakers are extremely good looking when they flank either side of the TV in vertical mode, speakers wires are thin and channel down to the base for a non-existent look, very competitive price
Panasonic (-): Sound quality is not as good as Onkyo especially for 2-ch sources, Bass too boomy even at the lowest level for 2-ch sources, annoying auto-power-off and no auto-power-on (this was the reason I returned it), bluetooth sound quality significantly poorer than Onkyo, large receiver for a 2.1 system
Compared to Bose Cinemate II GS:
Bose GS (+): Best post-processing of 2-ch sources (very subjective) making them sound very warm and full-sounding
Bose GS (-): No bluetooth, large 19" deep WIRED subwoofer that becomes even deeper once you hook it up (this was the dealbreaker for me since my TV unit is only 15" deep), auto-power-off and no auto-power-on, no vertical option, needs speaker stands for optimal sound which are sold separately, slightly more pricey
Compared to Bose Soundlink Mini (for bluetooth feature only):
Bose SL Mini (+): Bluetooth music sounds much more pleasant for long periods of listening despite the diminutive size
Bose SL Mini (-): No remote control for volume
Overall, if like me, you value aesthetics in a small/medium living room and convenience as much as sound quality, this is a solid choice.
This is a big step up from just using a sound bar with your TV. It is designed for people who want better sound than a typical TV sound bar but don't have a lot of room for a 5.1/7.1 sound system or don't want to make a big investment in a more expensive 5+ speaker + subwoofer + amplifier, etc.
2.1 means that there are 2 speakers and a subwoofer.
5.1 mean that there are 5 speakers (2 front, 2 rear, 1 center front) and a subwoofer.
This speaker system is designed for TV sound or if you want to stream music from your Bluetooth enabled iPod/Smartphone/etc. It will not give you that 5 speaker theater sound when watching movies but the sound is surprisingly good and rich. Listening to streaming music from my smart phone & iPod Nano 7 was very good.
The level of bass (subwoofer sound) can be controlled from the included remote. The system turns on/off automatically when you turn on/off your TV & can be controlled from your TV remote so you don't need to use the included remote once you set your bass level & sound mode. The included remote is very simple & small: Power, Mute, Input (TV or Bluetooth), Volume, Subwoofer Level, Sound Mode (Normal or Vocal Mode).
Remember that Bluetooth signal strength will limit how far away from the Bluetooth controller you can be. This system has pretty good signal strength; I could go about 50 feet away & through 2 drywall walls before the signal starting breaking up.
It was very easy to hook up to my TV. The directions are clear & include diagrams/drawings. If your TV has optical digital audio out you shouldn't need to run to the store before connecting your TV. It comes with a digital optical cable and speaker wires. All the TV's I've purchased in the last 4 years have digital optical audio out with TOSLINK connectors so this seems to be common. On my TV this is labeled "S/PDIF" on the back. If you have this connection, all you need is this system and a TV. No other devices, speakers, amplifier, receiver, etc. are needed. If you have a TV without digital optical audio out, you may have to buy an additional cable.
The speakers come with stands that can be placed near your TV or mounted on the wall. They are nice looking/unobtrusive. The speakers have 4 slots so you can choose to mount or stand them horizontally or vertically. The subwoofer is wireless.
Most music (CD/MP3) is recorded in 2 channels (stereo) but movies are 5.1 or more. So you will lose some detail/effects when listening to movie DVD/blu-ray soundtracks on a 2.1 system. But the sound enjoyment is still far superior with a system like this Onkyo than a TV sound bar or no external TV speakers.
First I tried this system in a 12x14 bedroom with a 26" TV; the sound was very good but felt like overkill. Next I tried it in my home great room which is a large room with a cathedral ceiling and a wall of windows. The sound was good but it didn't sound big enough. This system is not really meant for such a large room. I've since moved it to my cabin living room/open kitchen/dining area which is small with 8 foot ceilings, about 20'x20'. I hooked the speakers to each side of the TV which is in a front corner of the room & the subwoofer is just a couple feet away. The sound is excellent in this location. I'm really impressed. Since I don't have a stereo system in that room, I also really like the Bluetooth capability for listening to my iPod & it makes watching movies on a 32" TV a pleasure.
To attach the speakers to the TV, I just used a thin piece of wood, cut it to the correct length, screwed in a couple screws to hold the speakers & attached it with screws to the mounting holes on the back of the TV. You can't see the wood from the room, but I painted it black to make it even less visible.
I think this system is a very good value in its category. It exceeds my expectations.
on March 18, 2014
Ok, so I have been looking for a while for a good system that will fill my home with quality sound. I checked as many reviews as I could on the Bose Cinemate 2 and then while looking at those reviews I found the Onkyo LS3100 ENVISION CINEMA 2.1-Channel Bluetooth Speaker System. I was so undecided on which one to buy, so I purchased both. I received the Onkyo first and could not believe how amazing it sounded. Not only the sound, but also the functionality and quality of the components shocked me. I am not a newbie to this stuff and I am telling you it is amazing. So anyway, I had the Onkyo for almost a week and the Bose arrived. I was so sure I was going to be packing up the Onkyo and shipping it back. I hooked up the Bose and kept the Onkyo hooked up also. I have two Iphones and one of them I use as an ipod only. I loaded several of the same songs on both phones and began my comparison. The Bose has a nice sound, however it is very controlled and no options to customize the sound aside from the bass which is adjusted only on the back of the sub (pain in the butt) The sound quality seems hazy, muffled and slightly plastic compared to the Onkyo. The Bose bass was nice, but the highs were so lacking that it was a deal breaker for me. When I played the exact same song on both systems, it was so obvious that the winner was the Onkyo system. The highs, lows and bass are kicking and so clear with no distortion once so ever. I cannot believe I am sending the Bose back and keeping the Onkyo. This is set up in our living room that is quite large with high ceilings and my biggest concern was filling all that space with bass and clarity. I am amazed, blown-away and shocked at how great this sounds. Pure music streamed from Bluetooth to the Onkyo is clear vs. the RCA adapter I had to use for the Bose. Trust me, on this review. I never take the time to write a review with this much detail, but I feel it is my way of helping someone out there that is as confused as I was. I really hope this helps someone.
What an amazing upgrade from our basic tv speakers! Having never had a home surround sound system, I don't have much to compare it to, but this thing is so cool! My husband had it up and running in no time at all and when he turned it on, we were shocked at the sound we had in our tiny living room. It sounds like a movie theater in there! We especially enjoyed the bluetooth option. I love being able to hook up ipod and rock out while cleaning. We love this system. It's a huge bonus to our movie watching and music enjoyment. Can't recommend it enough!
This is a good all around system for many locations. I especially am attracted to it for use in the kitchen because the speakers with their included mounting stands have a setting that is gorgeous when mounted upside down on the ceiling. They are at just the right angle and look great. The wires to the two speakers can get lost in the walls. The sub is wireless so all you need is an outlet. Now onto the sound.
When I plugged it into my portable music player the sound was great. The sub-woofer with its volume adjust on the included remote control filled the room, and the two speakers provided a very spatial sound. They are aimed in a wide array so each speaker has two speakers in it and they are arced across the front to spread out the sound. Then I plugged this system into the TV and was at first frustrated. Why? Because my TV a Samsung HDTV has EQ settings for when you use the TV's built in speakers, but when you go into the menu and choose "external speaker" the output is limited to a flat signal that depends on the stereo it is being sent to for EQ boost in the highs or lows. This system doesn't have EQ boost, but rather depends on the source to be supply that.
So I thought I was stuck. I wasn't happy with the flat sound coming out of the TV. When I turned the TV speakers on the TV to on, instead of the external speaker setting I would hear an echo; I guess the digital delay was created from processing, but when plugging in the straight stereo analogue plug I had somewhat of the same experience.
So for the moment I felt like I was stuck with either an echo and nice full bass and treble, or do without the EQ boost and get rid of the echo. Then I discovered the secret. I had tried everything, and then I tried lowering the volume to near off on the TV speakers, and then all the more cranked up the remote that drove this system, and now it has it all. No echo and great sound. It is still taking advantage of the EQ and HD Surround effects settings in the TV and no problem with echo. Thanks to the spatial sound of this system, you won't miss the option of running both the TV speakers and stereo speakers at the same time; the stereo sounds way better than the speakers in the TV anyhow.
So that is it. Set your TV to "TV Speaker" and then crank the volume down on your TV remote almost or totally at zero, and then crank the volume on the Onkyo system remote up as much as you want. There is no lack of quality sound this way. It is just as rich as when you are running the TV source up more as well.
I do want to say that this is a very nice sounding system that will keep everyone in the home happy. If you bought an Onkyo receiver and a set of floor standing 3 way speakers, and a dedicated sub you would be getting more splash, and even more thud, but at many times the price. By now you are probably familiar with what a 50 watt sub can do to rock your corner of the world without disturbing the neighbors across the street. So this makes for a very nice system that will enhance not only your TV viewing, but your music enjoyment as well.
When either plugged into your portable music player, or fed through a blue tooth enabled device like your cell phone, one that has your music collection in it, get ready for a show off level of entertainment. Unless a movie is on with a heavy duty soundtrack, TV viewing is not famous for music, but rather a lot of middle range frequencies that occur when talking. With blue tooth enabled devices, each family member will be able to walk into the kitchen for example, or family room, wherever you have the Onkyo LS3100 and being able to press a button and then feed this system with your own brand of music stored in your blue tooth phone is exciting enough as it is. When you consider that you can tuck the sub-woofer away somewhere, you are getting a lot of sound, without the clutter. Overall highly recommended.
Overview: This is a great alternative to BOSE 2.1 channel systems for TV or the low priced multi-channel (e.g. 5.1) home theatre speaker systems. Unlike many home theatre sound systems, the LS3100 works at least as well for music as it does for movies.
Setup: The LS3100 is just complex enough to warrant reading the manual before connecting the parts. It consists of:
1. A combination control unit/amplifier unit in a low-profile box that really should be wall mounted. It is very light and compact for what it does - power the two midrange/treble speakers, control the woofer, interface to the TV, the remote, and communicate over Bluetooth with your BT enabled audio devices. This control box has a "power brick" that needs to be connected to a wall socket (120VAC). I think it's too bad that Onkyo didn't just put the small power supply inside the control box instead. Fortunately, the power brick has a removable AC cord that plugs into the wall or power strip since this keeps it from taking up extra sockets as many power bricks do. Still, why not put this in the main box? We all have too many power bricks to manage.
2. A small, simple remote control that has no lights or screen. It simply controls the main volume, on/off, sub-woofer volume and the sound "mode" (surround, stereo, etc.).
3. Two speakers for left and right channel. Each has two speaker elements in it. Each has a stand that can mount the speaker in a greater or lesser angle in either of the vertical or horizontal position. That is, four different ways. These can also be wall mounted as well. They are very nicely finished and are pretty dense in weight. The hardware for these includes a safety cable to keep them from falling off the wall or a shelf as well as heavy duty speaker wire of about 8' in length. The wires are pre-stripped and ready to mount in the terminals in the back of the speakers. They are color coded for +/- at both the speaker and the amp/control box end.
4. One sub-woofer in a black composite cabinet. This should be carefully placed according to instructions, but it is not critical that it be dead center of the sound stage. The receives it's signals from a wireless link to the control box. It requires a plug to 120VAC, however, so it needs to be near an outlet. The cord goes into the SW without a power brick, which is a nice improvement over the control box/amp.
5. Miscellaneous HW to make sure the speakers are well mounted and non-slip feet to stick on the speakers or their stands.
Testing With a TV:
I connected the optical output of my Sony blueray DVD player to the optical input of the LS3100. The speakers were placed as suggested in the manual around my 55: HDTV. I watched "The Matrix" on it and found the experience good, but not superior. The stereo imaging was good. The volume without distortion was good, especially during the classic gun fight scenes. Special effects sounds from the subwoofer were good, but not miraculous. Now, all this is compared to my seven year old set of NHT EVO-1 home theatre speakers running off of my B and K precision 507AVR receiver (175W/channel x 5.1). I have a separate NHT subwoofer amp with two NHT 12" subwoofers. So, this is not a fair comparison. It's just to say that the LS3100 is not going to make you toss your desire for a full-on HT system, if that is on your possession bucket list. However, for less than 1/10th the price, one 12th the physical space requirement and a lot less wiring and installation hassle, it is very respectable. It may be the best of the 2.1 speaker systems that I've listened to, but it will not make you feel like something is creeping in from behind you or make it feel like your pants legs are being whooshed during explosions like a higher end system with all the channels, power, features and expense.
I was able to be up and running with a respectable small scale system that could be a great apartment or bedroom upgrade in less than ten minutes from unpacking. I will not be shutting down my legacy big system, however. So, excellent for its intended use. It's just that the marketing hype makes it seem like it may be more that that.
Testing with an iPhone and music over Bluetooth:
Since the LS3100 supports BT audio, I gave it a go with my iPhone 4s and iTunes. I played various rock, blues, classical guitar, female vocals, jazz (solo and big band) and they all sounded great! I realize the BT connection from an iPhone is not very purist, but this is probably more typical of the way a system like this would be used, IMHO. It connected easily and without security code entry. I personally think the lack of security code entry is great because there is no display for the LS3100 and the "0000" codes that most systems use are really a joke anyways.
The sound was wonderful for a system of this size and cost. The crossover between the smaller speakers and the SW was seamless. The deep bass was very clean, precise and did not "boom" on certain ranges or notes as cheaper units sometimes do. Stereo imaging and the perceived sound stage were very clear and precise. It was engaging enough that I played two or three times as many tunes as I had intended because it was so enjoyable. In fact, I would say excellent. Once again, not quite the $10k system, but the gap was narrower than in the home theatre use test. In fact, now that the review testing is done, i will move the LS3100 to my home office as the primary speaker system. I think this may be because the source material is pretty much originally recorded and mixed as two channel stereo. This more closely matches the physical capability of the LS3100 and does not demand the tricky real time phase computation and output that the Dolby 5.1 requires.
Loosely comparing this to the various BOSE 2.1 small systems, I would say the Onkyo is the clear winner. The bass response alone is enough to cause me to choose it over any other unit I've listened to. Now, this may not be fair since I was able to set up and test the Onkyo at home in a well-controlled environment and the BOSE was heard at the BOSE store where the good rooms are reserved for the higher end systems. The BOSE aren't bad, it's just that this system is much better.
Conclusion: This is a very nice 2.1 speaker system. It is a great "space saver" system for compact dwelling spaces. At this price, i would choose it over other products in the category, especially for music.
This Onkyo LS3100 Envision Cinema 2.1 Channel Bluetooth Speaker System in black finish is a terrific 2.1 sound system. Of course, you are not getting full surround sound, but your front speakers and subwoofer are always the most important part of a viewing/listening experience. Indeed, in many tight rooms or homes, a 2.1 is the simplest way to go.
The small receiver device has an optical audio input. I have a Monoprice HDMI switch with Optical sound out, therefore, I am able to have different sources pipe into the system including my DirecTV receiver, Apple TV, and Playstation 3. It all works great. However, without a switch like this, you will be limited to one optical input.
The fun, modern feature is bluetooth support. You can sync your Bluetooth stereo supported music player, phone, etc. and then send music wirelessly over bluetooth from your device to your Onkyo Envision system to enjoy great, true room filling sound. This is a great way to listen to your tunes when at home.
Truly, the sound will blow away speakers that came with your LCD or Plasma television. It is not even a close competition. When you watch TV with a system like this, or listen to music, it's quite enjoyable. A nice TV with HD picture deserves competent sound. This system manages to get really strong 2.1 sound into a tight space with its small components. Now, you should not feel limited to use this system only if you have limited space. It has the quality and sound to fill a larger room as well, it's simply that the extremely small receiver type unit, wireless subwoofer, and small easy to setup wired speakers also manage to fit into rooms and homes where a full 5.1 system might not.
Highly recommended product. It's not inexpensive, but it will add a lot of enjoyment to your home television viewing experience for years to come.
on April 13, 2013
The Onkyo LS3100 ENVISION CINEMA 2.1-Channel Bluetooth Speaker System is easy to hook up with reasonably straight forward installation instructions. I was up and running pretty quickly.
The overall appearance of the system is nice, though given the size and shape of the 2 front speakers, it seems like it is best to use the mounting brackets either wall or flat surface use. The mounting brackets can be attached in different positions to the speakers for optimal angling depending on the wall or height chosen. Thought this was a nice feature.
The large Bluetooth connected sub-woofer can be placed anywhere there is an electric outlet which is a key feature to this system. I placed it across the room from my TV and the front speakers. Very convenient not to have to run a cable to the sub. The sub provides great base sound to add to the overall sound mix (versus the weak TV speakers).
I found the different sound modes that are available based on what you're watching on TV to be useful. I connected to the LS3100 via Bluetooth on my phone to listen to music. The sound was great and really convenient.
One slightly annoying note, but not that bad... the system can be powered on automatically from your TV or cable systems remotes which is nice but there is an initial slight delay for the sound to commence which is strange but you get used to it.
Overall I enjoy the system and would recommend it.
I used the Onkyo LS3100 to replace an old Sony home-theater in a box that I've used for 7 or 8 years. I outgrew the limitations of the Sony and needed to be able to have more inputs available to my system. In this room, my home theater has a Samsung plasma TV, a Wii-U gaming console, a blu-ray player, and a DirectTV DVR.
I was immediately impressed with how small the Onkyo LS3100 head unit was. This box attaches to the digital audio out connection on your TV (through coax or optical cable) and drives two small speakers. The head unit is also the Bluetooth receiver. The head unit is about the size of hard-back book and was easy to find room for. You run either the COAX or optical audio output from your TV into this box. Leaving this box are wires for the two front speakers.
The sub-woofer has to be plugged into a power outlet but that is the only wiring. All sound comes to the sub-woofer over the air. The wireless audio sounds great and requires no setup; it just works. I positioned the subwoofer on the opposite end of a large room (~25 feet away) and it had no issues.
The manufacturer states that no setup is required to integrate with your existing remote control (for volume control/mute). I found this to be true. I tested with remote controls from the following manufacturers and all worked flawlessly:
Overall, I found setup to be very easy and I think anyone capable of hooking a DVD player to a TV could figure this out.
The Onkyo LS3100 includes three speakers. Two of the speakers are front speakers to go near your TV. The third speaker is a subwoofer that can be positioned anywhere in the room (usually in a corner). The head unit is able to translate 5.1 audio into 2.1 so that no sound channels are lost. Even though my old Sony setup had a dedicated center channel (and this does not), I did not have any problem hearing center channel dialog. Everything sounds fine.
The front speakers have a very clever mounting system. The bracket is kind of the shape of a "7" and can be inserted into 4 different slots on the speaker to allow for two horizontal positions and 2 vertical positions. The speakers are small and lightweight and could easily be hung on the wall without requiring a stud support to anchor them. The included speaker wiring is shielded for in-wall installation which is great and allows for the cleanest possible installation aesthetic.
The small speaker size concerned me somewhat but the subwoofer seems to take care of most of the midrange needs. That said, when the subwoofer was unplugged, sound from the front speakers alone was not impressive. I know you would never do that, but I wanted to hear how they sounded on their own. With the subwoofer plugged in, sounds improves dramatically, though is still not quite as good as my 12+ year old Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 setup. The Klipsch setup wins on midrange punch.
The subwoofer is somewhat largish and doesn't necessarily disappear into the background. I'd say it's about the size of a mid-sized trash bin. Not requiring cables to the subwoofer (except for power) makes it very easy to position this speaker. The subwoofer is loud and powerful and fills my 20x20 room with sound.
Syncing Bluetooth to my phone was easy; I held the Bluetooth button on the head unit for a few seconds until it changed color, then I went to my phone and paired the speakers. After that, usage was easy. Sound quality was good but distance was limited to the typical Bluetooth distance of about 25 feet. After 25 feet, the sounds begins to garble and cut-out.
The manual says the Onkyo LS3100 can support pairing with multiple Bluetooth phones but I could only get it to work with one phone at a time. Whichever phone I paired last was the only phone that could connect. Other phones could not see it or connect to it. I'm not sure why this was happening and haven't yet figured this out.
The Onkyo LS3100 automatically powers on/off with your equipment, except with Bluetooth. To listen to Bluetooth, you have to manually turn the head unit on by pressing a button or using the small included remote control.
I think this is a solid 4-star product. To rise to 5 stars, I'd require sound quality to match my $150 Klispch ProMedia setup. It sounds good, but it could use a tad more midrange punch. The ease of setup makes this a safe purchase for just about anybody. It sounds far better than your TV's built in speakers and doesn't take up much space. It's worked perfectly so far and you never have to think about it.