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Onkyo HT-S9400THX Networked HTiB First Look

Onkyo HT-S9400THX Home Theater-in-a-box

Onkyo HT-S9400THX Home Theater-in-a-box


  • Product Name: HT-S9400THX Home Theater-in-a-box
  • Manufacturer: Onkyo
  • Review Date: May 04, 2011 01:35
  • MSRP: $1099
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Network Capability Delivers Internet Radio and Network Streaming
  • THX Integrated System Plus Certified
  • HDMI V1.4a repeater (4 in/1 out, 1080p compatible) to support 3D and Audio Return Channel
  • HDMI Video Upscaling to 4K with Qdeo Technology by Marvell
  • Dolby PLIIz surround mode
  • Overlaid Graphical On-Screen Display (OSD) via HDMI
  • Powered Zone 2
  • Audyssey 2EQ for Room Correction and Speaker Calibration
  • Audyssey Dynamic EQ for Loudness CorrectionDirect Digital Connection of iPod/iPhone via Front-Panel USB Port
  • Onkyo Remote App for iPod/iPhone

We'll have to admit that we needed to look up THX I/S+ certification on the Onkyo HT-S9400THX. First, I/S stands for Integrated System. So basically anything that has an A/V receiver and speakers qualifies. The plus doesn't indicated that it is better than regular I/S certification because there is only the plus version so we're not so sure what exactly the "plus" means. According to the THX website, THX I/S+ certification indicates that the system will "have the power to fill a small home theater or dorm room where the viewing distance from the screen is 6-8 feet." There must be more to it than that since we know a few boomboxes that can do the same. When we looked closer at the certification criteria, it seemed that the I/S is similar to the others (Select2+, Ultra2+) except for the size of the room. So, again, the dorm room or small home theater is the target for this specification. 

THX certification aside, the Onkyo HT-S9400THX has a lot going for it. First, the price. At $1099, it is certainly an affordable option for even the most stingy of consumers. In the box you'll find the speakers for a 7.1 system plus a receiver. The receiver is listed at 130 watts per channel but is rated at 6-ohms, 1 kHz, 1% THD, and 1 channel driven. Real world performance into 8ohms speakers is likely to be much different (and lower wattage). This is an odd choice for rating the receiver as the subwoofer, a wattage number they usually like to be higher, is only rated at 125 watts. It sort of makes the system look unbalanced.

The receiver has four HDMI version 1.4a inputs and one output supporting 3D video and Audio Return Channel. It has five composite video and two component video inputs as well. All video can be upscaled and upconverted to HDMI and 4K resolution via Qdeo Technology by Marvell. While Onkyo is touting this new 4K resolution as future-proofing your system, the fact is that 4K doesn't look to be coming into the home any time soon. It's like saying that your receiver is holodeck ready. How could you be sure without a holodeck around to test it? Plus, are people only willing to fork over $1100 for their receiver/speakers really going to shell out for the latest display which is sure to be top dollar when it does come out?

All the latest HD audio codecs are supported and Audyssey's 2EQ room correction is on board. This will allow users to set up and calibrate their system easily. While the 2EQ system is a little long in the tooth, this is a Home Theater in a Box solution. Room correction of any kind is a huge boon. To assist users in setting up their new system, Onkyo has included an over-lay GUI via HDMI. While most HTiBs require you use an analogue video connection at best or the little display on the front of the receiver at worst, a GUI is unexpectedly wonderful. We were surprised to see Dolby's new ProLogic IIz decoding on board. This means you should be able to move the surround back speakers to the front for height channels to expand the front soundstage (we say "should" because they didn't mention it in the press release and there is no information about it on the site). Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume are included as well.

The speakers are all a 2-way acoustical suspension (i.e. sealed) design with the front three sporting an MTM driver layout and the surrounds a more traditional TM design. The speakers all sport a 1" soft dome tweeter and A-OMF diaphragm cone woofers. The front three speakers have dual 5" woofers and the surrounds all have a 5 1/8" driver. The sub is a downfiring 12" driver, again with an acoustical suspension design and a wood cabinet. The sub is 15" wide, 17.5" high, and nearly 17" deep. It weighs in a 34.2 pounds which is respectable for this type of product. 

What's really the selling point of this system is the streaming. With a wired Ethernet connection (or optional UWF-1 Wireless USB Adapter that provides an IEEE 802.11b/g/n connection) you can access PC audio and Internet radio from the likes of Pandora, Rhapsody, Napster, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Slacker, Mediafly, Last fm, and vTuner. The system is Windows 7 and DLNA compatible so those devices are supported as well. There is a front USB port which provides a direct digital connection for an iPod or iPhone, along with support for audio playback from USB mass-storage devices. Add to this the iPod/iPhone/iPad app for control and you've got a device your kids will even want to play with.


While actual details and pictures of the components of the Onkyo HT-S9400THX Networked HTiB are sketchy, the message is clear - this is a product that defies its price point. At $1099 MSRP (sure to find this on sale somewhere), you're getting a full featured receiver and THX certified speakers. While it is only really rated (and therefore designed for) a small home theater or dorm room, we're sure to see them in rooms much larger. With the streaming included and support for some of the latest technology (some of which doesn't really exist yet), the Onkyo HT-S9400THX is sure to turn heads when it starts shipping in May. Four HDMI inputs, 3D support, streaming from just about every service, DLNA and Windows 7 compatible, and native iPod/iPhone support via a front mounted USB input plus an iPhone control app, Audyssey room correction... there is something for everyone. We always like to have a few recommendations for HTiBs in our back pocket just in case we can't convince someone to buy their speakers and receivers separately. This one has definitely made the cut.

For more information, please visit www.us.onkyo.com.

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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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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