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Onkyo HT-S5200 Home Theater System First Look

Onkyo HT-S5200 Home Theater System

Onkyo HT-S5200 Home Theater System


  • Product Name: HT-S5200 Home Theater System
  • Manufacturer: Onkyo USA
  • Review Date: February 08, 2010 05:05
  • MSRP: $599.00
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
Power Output
Front L/R/C/Surround: 130 W/Channel (6 ohms, 1 kHz, FTC)
Dynamic Power: 180 W (3 ohms); 160 W (4 ohms); 100 W (8 ohms)
THD (Total Harmonic Distortion): 1 % (Rated power)
Damping Factor: 60 (Front, 1 kHz, 8 ohms)
Input Sensitivity and Impedance: 200 mV/47 k-ohms (Line)
Output Level and Impedance: 200 mV/470 ohms (Rec out)
Frequency Response: 5 Hz–100 kHz/ +1 dB, -3 dB (Direct mode)
Tone Control: ±10 dB, 50 Hz (Bass); ±10 dB, 20 kHz (Treble)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 106 dB (Line, IHF-A)
Speaker Impedance: 6 ohms–16 ohms

FM/AM Preset Memory: 30 stations

Power Consumption: 4.9 A
Standby Power Consumption: 0.1 W
Dimensions (W x H x D): 17 1/8" x 5 15/16" x 12 15/16" (435 x 151 x 329 mm)
Weight: 19.4 lbs. (8.8 kg)
Speaker Type
     Front/Center: 2-way, bass reflex
     Surrounds: Full-range, bass reflex
     Subwoofer: Bass reflex, powered
     Front: 5" woofer, 1" tweeter
     Center: 3-1/4" woofer (x2), 1" tweeter
     Surround/Surround Back: 3-1/4" cone
     Subwoofer: 10" cone
Frequency Response   
     Front: 55 Hz–50 kHz
     Center: 65 Hz–50 kHz
     Surround/Surround Back: 80 Hz–20 kHz
     Subwoofer: 25 Hz–150 Hz
Output Sensitivity   
     Front: 85 dB/W/m
     Center: 86 dB/W/m
     Surround: 81 dB/W/m
     Subwoofer: 81 dB/W/m
Nominal Impedance  
     Front/Center/Surround/Surround Back: 6 ohms

Dimensions (W x H x D)
     Front: 6-1/8" x 15" x 6-11/16"
     Center: 16-15/16" x 4-1/2" x 4 3/4"
     Surround/Back: 4-1/2" x 9-1/16 x 3-3/4"
     Subwoofer: 12-1/2" x 18-1/8" x 15-11/16"
     Front: 6 lbs (2.7 kg)
     Center: 5.5 lbs. (2.5 kg)
     Surrounds/Back: 2.2 lbs. (1 kg)
     Subwoofer: 24 lbs. (10.9 kg)

Executive Overview

Prices for home theater systems have absolutely plummeted over the past decade. The Onkyo HT-S5200 7.1-channel system is just one example of affordable surround sound. This home-theater-in-a-box includes a full A/V receiver and complete 7.1 speaker package. While clearly marketed as an entry level package, the price of the HT-S5200 makes it a compelling buy for those looking to move their way into the surround sound experience. The package includes the dedicated A/V receiver, a 10-inch powered subwoofer, Front speakers, a Center channel, and two pairs of smaller Surround and Surround Back speakers. It's a highly upgradable system, though there are some things you'll want to watch out for, and we indicate those below.

With a system like this you'll need to keep your expectations in check since Onkyo had to release a feature set that kept to the target price point for this product. Coming in under $600, it's hard to be too disappointed at the lack of on-screen display or HDMI audio, especially since they throw in an iPod dock - extra on most systems. If you are using several types of inputs you'll need to be aware the for each type you use, you'll need to run that cable from the receiver to your television or projector. There is no video upconversion, so composite in = composite out, component video in = component video out, and HDMI in... well, you get the point. If you want a single input to use on your TV, you'll need to upgrade to the $899 Onkyo HT-S7200... or be content to press that little "Input" button on the TV remote (bet you didn't know that button was worth $300!)

Let's analyze the primary components on their own:

Onkyo HT-R570 A/V Receiver

This dedicated receiver features four HDMI pass-through inputs for high-definition video up to 1080p. This is a super-convenient solution that allows you to connect all of your HD video sources into the receiver for simplified switching. Since the HDMI inputs are pass-through, this means they do not retrieve the audio from the HDMI signal. With no analogue inputs, that means you'll be limited to Dolby Digital and DTS audio signals for Blu-ray discs. This is also the primary difference between this HT-R model and the similar TX-SR507 - which has HDMI "repeater" inputs that read the audio from the input). With the HT-R570 you simply will not be able to listen to the high resolution uncompressed audio tracks available on most discs. The good news is, however, that with this system you may not even notice - it's simply not geared towards those high-end formats. This also means that you'll need to run separate audio cables into the HT-R570 to get surround sound.

The system also includes Audyssey EQ, Audyssey Dynamic EQ, and Audyssey Dynamic Volume which levels out the volume between program material and overly compressed commercials. It also includes a setup mic for auto-calibration of your system and you can use the included UP-A1 dock to integrate an iPod (with both audio and video support). Onkyo’s new DSP modes are optimized for gaming and there are four modes: Rock, Sports, Action, or Role Playing Game (RPG). Neither reduces lag time, but since the Onkyo receiver doesn't provide video processing this isn't necessary and DSP can focus, instead, on environmental effects and immersive DSP.

Inputs and Outputs 

The Onkyo HT-R570 has the ins and outs you'd expect on a basic A/V receiver. First off, the four HDMI pass-through inputs will switch four HD sources effortlessly to the single output. Dual component video inputs means that legacy products will also be able to get tied into this receiver. In order to use both, you'll need to connect both component and HDMI to your display since the receiver does not offer any video upconversion. There are also three other composite video inputs, but no S-video connections (which is just fine with us). In addition to these video inputs there are dual stereo inputs for CD and Tape (hey, what's that?) and two each of optical and coax S/PDIF connections.

HT-R570 back panel

Note the lack of 5.1 analogue inputs

In terms of speaker connections, this model is the first where all primary (left/right/center/surround/surround back) speakers get 5-way plastic binding posts, but the Front B speakers get spring clips. This is not uncommon at this price point, but it does indicate the lack of a dedicated Zone 2 for this system, opting instead for a second parallel amplified set of B speakers. Spring clips of this type do best with 18 gauge or higher (smaller) cable. While the similar TX-SR507 has a dedicated Zone 2 output, the HT-R370 utilizes those amps for the Surround Back channel. In addition, the TX-SR507 adds preamp outputs for Zone 2 and Surround Back channels (great for adding a wireless solution for your rear speakers). It was interesting to note that the HT-R570 included support for Sirius satellite radio, while the TX-SR507 did not.

UP-A1That weird-looking D-connector on the back is a proprietary iPod dock port that Onkyo uses to connect to the included UP-A1 iPod dock. This dock lets you incorporate the iPhone right into your home entertainment system. The UP-A1 supports your iPhone or iPod's ability to send music, movies, TV shows, music videos, and video podcasts to the HT-R570. It draws a steady power supply from the AV receiver via the same convenient cable that delivers the video and audio signals. The UP-A1 also offers handy features found on previous Onkyo docks: the ability to recharge your iPod or iPhone. On compatible receivers (of which the HT-R570 is not), the dock also gives you onscreen display for content navigation and selection.

Main Left/Right and Center Speakers

In this system the front left/right speakers differ from the rest in that they have a larger driver. Each speaker is just 15" tall and about 6" wide, so they are easy to place in any home. These speakers also step up to a two-way system, and the dedicated 1" tweeter means that you'll get clearer audio with less distortion. The mains produce frequencies, according to Onkyo, down to 55Hz. The center is nearly the same, but uses a pair of 3-1/4" woofers and goes down to 65Hz.

The Surrounds and Surround Back speakers are a smaller version of the mains except that the cabinet size is nearly 6" shorter (adding a tiny bit more to its depth to compensate). They also utilize a single 3-1/4" "full-range" driver and are ported, extending down to 80Hz. The front and center speakers weigh in at around 6 pounds each, while the surrounds are just over two pounds. All speakers in this system are made of wood materials and are a nice upgrade from Onkyo's entry level HTiB speakers which are encased in plastic.


The included sub is active, meaning it has its own amplifier and must be plugged into an outlet, and contains a 10" driver with a large front port. The box itself is roughly 12" x 18" x 16" making it a pretty big box, but still small enough to hide away if necessary. We'd recommend keeping it up front if possible and moving it around to find the location that yields the best low frequency response. This is a solid sub, and we've seen many subs in similar systems come with an 8-inch driver - which is often not big enough (in an inexpensive passive system) to go down to that critical <30 Hz range. Onkyo claims a frequency response of 25Hz with this sub, but provides no specs on how it came to that measurement. It would be safe to assume that the sub is at least 3dB down at this frequency, if not more. You can upgrade this subwoofer with an aftermarket  solution at any time. Some recommendations are the Axiom Audio EP125 ($375), Aperion Audio Bravus 8A ($319), and the Velodyne Impact-12 ($369).

Remote Control

HT-R570 remoteThe remote that comes with this unit is sufficient enough to handle most basic systems (TV, DVD player and the AV receiver) but don't expect to have it operate your DVR or more sophisticated cableTV functions. It works via preprogrammed codes and cannot learn commands from other remote controls. The layout is intelligent, with direct access over inputs and the four listening modes (which can be further toggled by repeatedly pressing each button.) There is no backlight on this remote, so plan on using it during the day or learning where everything is for nighttime use. A good universal remote should land this thing in storage pretty quickly - and that's our recommendation for most entry level remotes. 

Overview of Features

  • Total 1200W (includes 7 channels plus sub channel)
  • 7 speakers with 3-1/4" to 5" drivers
  • Down-firing 290W 10-inch subwoofer
  • 4 HDMI "switching" inputs (no audio)
  • 4 DSP gaming modes: Rock, Sports, Action, and Role Playing
  • Dedicated iPod dock
  • Audyssey Dynamic Volume
  • Sirius radio support
  • Includes UP-A1 iPod dock ($109 value)


This is an impressive little 7.1 system that is really priced right. What we like about it most is the fact that for $599 you get what is essentially a $399 A/V receiver. That means that you get 7 speakers and a 10-inch powered subwoofer for just $200. That's not bad and we doubt you'll do too much better shopping for components separately. This is a system that can easily be upgraded. While the Onkyo HT-570 receiver lacks a 2nd Zone or analogue 5.1 inputs, it still packs plenty of feature-punch. This receiver also delivers Audyssey's Dynamic Volume feature which we've experienced and found to be very helpful when watching movies on systems and in rooms that simply cannot reproduce theatrical levels of dynamic sound. Because of its value we feel that this system will appeal to a lot of people. If you have a lot of sources, you might want to hold out for something that upconverts analogue video to HDMI, or you'll need a good universal remote control that can switch your TV's inputs as needed to handle the various sources. This isn't a deal-breaker, but something consumers need to be aware of so they don't have false expectations when they unpack and set everything up. Definitely recommended.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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