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on December 20, 2005
I've had this system for about a month now and it's great! For those who aren't audiophiles, this review is for you.

As already mentioned, the wires are all color-coded so setup is very simple. I was up and running in a matter of minutes. If you're worried about the quality of the subwoofer (since it's passive and not powered) you have nothing to worry about. Throw your concerns out the window because it shakes the room just as well as a powered sub would.

There are plenty of features on the receiver. You can adjust the volume of each speaker so that it fits your needs. There are several inputs that will allow you to hook up different components (DVD, video game console, CD player, etc.). It's a bit tricky to learn all the nuances but the manual is very well laid out.

The front left/right and center channel speakers are magnetically shielded so you can place them on or near your TV.

I would definitely recommend this system for someone who wants a home theater system w/o breaking the bank.
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on October 20, 2005
Great system for the money, plenty of volume, easy to setup. Every thing is color coded so you can't go wrong. I have to say that I am very pleased with it. It's the low end of Onkyo but the high end of others in it's price range. If you want a nice system that doesn't break the bank, this is you ticket.
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on January 23, 2006
I bought this system about a month back, for $225 (after a discount coupon). So far it has performed good. High Freq response is great, though low frequency response is not as good as I would like. Listening music CDs is good, but watching movies is where it shines, specially the movies like StarTrek series.

Build quality of this product looks great and seems pretty reliable. It comes with 2 years warranty, which I think is GREAT for a product at this price.

I did not try many other products, but I think Yamaha's YHT-160 is another good contender with 3 digital inputs and Component Video switching.

Bottom Line: Great product for the price.
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on January 25, 2006
I bought the system a grade above this, the Onkyo HT-S780 ($499 vs. $299) system. But the spirit of my comments apply to the HT-S580 as well, and it looks like a decent option if you want to spend less money, so I'm posting for this system also. The HT-S580 components are somewhat less potent than the components described below, but there's enough to do the job. The HT-S580 is a 5.1 system instead of 7.1, but your program material probably doesn't require more than 5.1 anyway. And there's also an HT-S680 6.1 system if you want something between the two. Anyway, remember that the following comments are about the S780, not the S580:

I'll let others comment on their subjective reactions to this system versus other systems. Those comments are extremely important; however I don't feel qualified to offer contrasts, because I haven't carefully compared the systems. Instead I'm going to offer some broad observations, and you can get other insights elsewhere.

With multi-channel sound becoming common, I became interested a sound system that could render it, but I wanted a flexible system that was neither expensive nor junk. After surveying the turf, I gravitated towards the Onkyo boxed systems. Here's why:

First of all, I did not want a system that included a DVD player. It struck me as a bad idea to tie the sound system to a specific DVD player. I figure a DVD player, being mechanical, will have a shorter lifespan than a receiver. And I'd like to be able to upgrade my DVD player with a recordable unit or BluRay or whatever. So it's best to buy a separate DVD player, rather than a boxed system with an integrated DVD player. Let's focus here on decent audio rather than extras.

It would also be preferable to have a theater system where the individual components are not tied together. That is, I'd have the freedom to use different speakers or the like. It makes the system more flexible if the components can stand on their own. By way of contrast, I had looked at some of the Panasonic systems, such as the HT-15 or HT-17. I rather liked the look and convenience of these systems (e.g., integrated speaker stands); however I noticed that the speaker amplifiers resided in the subwoofer enclosure. There's nothing wrong with this, and in fact you might even prefer it: Your controlling pre-amp box is smaller and generates less heat, while the clunky amplifiers are set off in the corner. But this means you don't have the option of upgrading your subwoofer unless you're replacing the sound system entirely. (Of course, the logical extension of this idea is to buy separate components in the first place; however being a newbie to the theater idea, I was tempted by the all-in-a-box package.)

I'm amazed to see how cheap some of the low end home theaters are. For under $100, you can have 5 speakers, a subwoofer, and a receiver or maybe even a DVD player. Wow! Of course, these cheapest systems look sort of like toys. The speakers are tiny and have only a single driver, and the power isn't high. They probably won't produce great audio. But the price is very appealing. My worst concern is the cheapest units have cut so many corners that they'll fail soon, and the entire system will be trash.

So my eye was drawn to the Onkyo systems, which offered separate components that appear respectable. Note that the receiver included as part of this package can be had as an individual component, the Onkyo TX-SR503 (retail $299). I liked this receiver; it felt solid and its control scheme and buttons struck me as relatively intuitive. And the 7.1 speaker combination is also sold as a package, SKS-HT530, for retail $279. The subwoofer is a solid unit, with 230 watts and a 10-inch down-firing woofer (when buying a subwoofer, size matters). The front and center speakers are 2-ways, each with 2 midrange drivers and 1 tweeter; the rear and surround speakers are also 2-ways with a single midrange and tweeter. The speakers and subwoofer are in wood cabinets, larger and heavier than the plastic that's more typical. This perhaps makes them more "real" but less stylish. The whole package (made in Malaysia, by the way) seems a good deal, by price per pound if nothing else. Onkyo includes a 2-year warrantee, which is encouraging; nobody else offers more than a year.

I agree with others who note that upgrading to heavier speaker wires is a good idea. No point in paying for the Monster brand name; wire is wire as far as I'm concerned.

Bottom line is you end up with a respectable small audio system that should give you decent surround sound, and you can later upgrade or replace the individual components if you choose to.
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on May 29, 2008
After 2 years and hundreds of attempts, still can not get anything to happen with this unit except to play TV through 'TAPE'.
Offers tons of settings, none work. Period.
Is it possible it's not connected right? NO.
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on January 4, 2006
I specifically compared it to panasonic HT 930. I br/ought both systems home and compared them. I must admit the comparision is not even handed - onkyo is 650 watts and panasonic is 1000 watts. To slightly compensate, On Onkyo - i put monster cables.

I was disappointed by Onkyo HTS580 system because of the following reasons

1. the coding for surround sound seems to be different in the two systems - and in fact way better in panasonic.

- Specific examples: In matrix 2, in the second scene, in Neos dream, when Trinity jumps off the building firing at agent smith, In panasonic you can hear the trajectory of bullet change as Agen Smith Jumps! Thats awesonme

- When I played specific DVD movies where I know different voices were supposed to come from left rear speaker followed by right rear speaker - u can clearly hear the transition in Panasonic. Whereas in Onkyo you cant make that out at all.

I mean both rear speakers say the words in case of onkyo.

This was the biggest dissapointment for me. I triple checked the settings on onkyo, none of the modes could do the surround sound job perfectly. If I did not have panasonic to compare, I prolly would have felt the clarity of teh sound was good and might have given the reviews like the rest u see here. Please compare the matrix part urself and let me know if my settings on onkyo were wrong. I played with the settings for hours to get a satisfactory result from onkyo - put the rears and subwoofer at max - tried different modes - Neo music, surround etc

2. the bass in case of panasonic is 230 Watts and that of Onkyo i believe is 150 watt but its passive.

With Panasonic u feel like u are in a theatre because of teh Bass! I did not understand the importance of bass until I played panasonic. I am not into rap music much - and I thought Bass was meant only for that kind of music. But boy was I wrong.

I think a powered Bass could have compared with Panasonics and would have done the job. So maybe if i compared with Onkyo HTS680 , 780 maybe sub woofer will be comparable.

The reason why I liked Onkyo was it had digital inputs and plus the flexibility as opposed to in panasonic - I am pretty much stuck with using panasonic speakers and receiver/DVD player.

But still I went for panasonic just on the basis of the first two points. Also my wife loved the way it looked!

PS: the reason I compared these two - At that under $500 range - panasonic system was prolly the best for HTB. Onkyo felt better than yamaha - sound wise, and I got a sony DVD player to play on onkyo.
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