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Recently Reviewed Home Theaters in-a-Box

XTZ Cinema Series M6 and S5 Speaker System Review

XTZ Cinema Series M6 and S5 Speaker System Review

There is a growing buzz around XTZ Sound. The Sweden based hi-fi company manufactures the XTZ Cinema Series M6 hybrid 2/3-way main LCR satellite and S5 dipole surround speakers at $1000 and $700 a piece, respectively. These speakers feature something you don't see everyday: multiple tweeters. What can four tweeters do that one single tweeter can't? Read on to find out what a talented loudspeaker designer can do when a company is willing to think outside of the box....

Review: The XTZ Cinema Series M6 and S5 speakers feature as many as 4 tweeters for dynamic sound in a compact package. They are moderately priced despite their high-end performance.

— September 08, 2014 17:00 in Surround Sound Reviews

Yamaha YHT-4910U Home Theater in a Box Preview

Yamaha YHT-4910U Home Theater in a Box Preview

The YHT-4910U system from Yamaha features the RX-V377 receiver and five matched speakers with a 100-watt subwoofer. We love that Yamaha has included a full-featured receiver so that users can easily upgrade without starting over. Yamaha is pushing "all in" with their new Virtual Cinema Front DSP, which allows you to place all five speakers at the front of your room and use their YPAO room correction system to "steer" the sound to the back of the room. It sounds good on paper, but we're not sure how it will sound in a room.

Preview: The YHT-4910U system from Yamaha features the RX-V377 receiver and five matched speakers with a 100-watt subwoofer. At less than $500, we expect the YHT-4910U to sell well.

— June 12, 2014 22:00 in Surround Sound Reviews

Fluance ES1 Surround and Center Channel Speaker System Review

Fluance ES1 Surround and Center Channel Speaker System Review

The ES1 series is Fluance's current flagship loudspeaker series. The ES1 series surrounds and center channel loudspeakers have matching 5-inch woven fabric woofers with a solid 1-inch ferro-fluid cooled tweeter. In fact, the surrounds and center channel are nearly identical. The excellent build quality is equivalent to the ES1 tower loudspeaker and rounds out a surround sound system without breaking the bank or resorting to the white van rolling around your neighborhood. Check out our in-depth product review with measurements.

Review: Fluance ES1 series surround and center channel speakers are self proclaimed "higher fidelity" loudspeakers. This in depth review will put that claim to the test. Sound as good as they look?

— September 19, 2013 11:10 in Surround Sound Reviews

Vizio S4251w HTiB Sound Bar with Wireless Surrounds, Subwoofer Preview

Vizio S4251w HTiB Sound Bar with Wireless Surrounds, Subwoofer Preview

Vizio's S4251w sound bar with wireless surrounds and subwoofer had us shaking our heads—not only at the price, but also at the features Vizio includes at prices that seem too incredible to believe. Frankly, we like the idea. Surround Bars have a hard time creating a convincing surround experience and perhaps people will be more likely to use surrounds if they are can be connected to a wireless sub that will likely be placed near the back of the room anyhow. But then Vizio announced that the S4251w is Bluetooth compatible. Bluetooth? So you can bypass your receiver, TV, and everything else to stream music? That's pretty out there but surely the price will reflect...$329.99? Okay, we're being punked right?

The Vizio S4251w sound bar includes a three-channel sound bar, wireless sub, surrounds, and Bluetooth compatibility for only $329.99. The Vizio S4251w redefines the price point for HTiBs.

— May 28, 2013 04:00 in Surround Sound Reviews

Sony BDV-N8100W 3D Blu-Ray Home Theater System Preview

Sony BDV-N8100W 3D Blu-Ray Home Theater System Preview

Not to be outdone by rivals, Sony has updated its packaged home theater system lineup for 2013, with the BDV-N8100W Premium 3D Blu-Ray HT System leading the charge. Priced at $699.99, which is less than the cost of a foot of some snake oil infused speaker wire, Sony has packed a veritable cornucopia of features into their latest and greatest home theater package, including a 3D capable Blu-Ray player, 4K upscaling, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Of course with so many features packed in for the money, how good could the audio experience be? Read on to find out what we think.

The Sony BDV-N8100W Home Theater is a sleek, feature packed HTIB boasting 3D, 4K upscaling, and a wireless amplifier for the surround speakers. Read on to see if we think it can deliver Grade A audio.

— May 16, 2013 21:00 in Surround Sound Reviews

Samsung 2013 Home Theater Systems: More Features Than You Can Shake A Stick At

Samsung 2013 Home Theater Systems: More Features Than You Can Shake A Stick At

I got to fly up to the recent Samsung event where the company debuted, among other things, their new home theater lineup. This year it looks, on the surface, pretty thin, consisting of only three models: the HT-F6500w, HT-F5500W and HT-F4500W. But there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s much better, in my opinion, to make three good products than many mediocre products; and it looks like Samsung put in the time and effort on these three models. Seriously, it's like like Santa's bag of toys with these systems: wireless rear speakers, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3D, Internet browser, vacuum tubes, Smart Hub, auto setup mic...you name it. Read on for a full report on each unit and you'll feel like it's Christmas in HTIB land.

The Samsung HT-F6500W, HT-F5500W and HT-F4500W are Samsung's 2013 home theater lineup. The HT-F6500 is $699, HT-F5500 is $549, and the HT-F4500 is $299. Read on for our review of each speaker system.

— March 25, 2013 05:00 in Surround Sound Reviews

Bowers & Wilkins MT-60D Mini Theatre Preview

Bowers & Wilkins MT-60D Mini Theatre Preview

Bowers & Wilkins have a great reputation in the world of high end audio for a reason—they put out very solid offerings. The MT-60D looks to continue that tradition by adding a great sub to an already great satellite system. While that better sub will cost you a bit more, we think of it as an investment in the future. A future that will be full of bone-crushing bass. Today the MT-60D may be rocking your small home theater. Tomorrow the PVD1 subwoofer may be the backbone of a larger system in a much bigger room. Regardless, you'll have a system that will make you the envy of your friends.

The MT-60D takes the satellite speaker of the acclaimed MT-50 Mini Theatre and adds a much better sub. While this will cost a bit more, we think of the PVD1 as an investment in the future.

— March 14, 2013 03:00 in Surround Sound Reviews

Klipsch HD Theater 600 HTiB Preview

Klipsch HD Theater 600 HTiB Preview

If we had to describe the Klipsch HD Theater 600 is a few words, we'd call it a solid offering. While the 33Hz low end rating seems a bit optimistic to us, the price tag certainly is right. At $600 for a full 5.1 system, the Klipsch HD Theater 600 is sure to introduce a lot of people to the Klipsch brand and, more importantly, the Klipsch sound. And once they get a taste for it, they'll be more likely to stick with it. With included wall mounts, a center stand with 45-degree movement, and a real sub, there is little not to like here.

If we had to describe the Klipsch HD Theater 600 is a few words, we'd call it a solid offering. While the 33Hz low end rating seems a bit optimistic to us, the $600 price tag certainly is right.

— August 20, 2012 14:55 in Surround Sound Reviews

Yamaha YHT-697BL HTiB System Preview

Yamaha YHT-697BL HTiB System Preview

We're guessing that looks alone will sell a lot of YHT-679BL home theater systems for Yamaha. The curvilinear front speakers really draw attention. But looking closer, you'll see a really powerful receiver (for a HTiB) at its heart. The Yamaha RX-V473 is a receiver that you can grow with, not the sort of throwaway units we see with other HTiB offerings. At $750, consumers will end up with a great receiver with included speakers that they'll be able use until they decide to upgrade. And, really, that's all we want out of a HTiB.

We're guessing that looks alone will sell a lot of YHT-679BL home theater systems for Yamaha. The curvilinear front speakers really draw attention. It's the RX-V473 driving the system excites us.

— August 16, 2012 06:15 in Surround Sound Reviews

Onkyo HT-S6500 and HT-S7500 HTiB Preview

Onkyo HT-S6500 and HT-S7500 HTiB Preview

The new HT-S7500 and HT-S6500 Home Theater in a Box offerings from Onkyo have reaffirmed that Onkyo is dedicated to staying at the very top of the HTiB game. These offerings differ little on the feature front and include many features we're only now seeing in receivers from other manufactures. While the Audyssey 2EQ is a bit outdated and we question the logic of adding a Zone 2 to a HTiB solution, you can't argue that 4K upscaling, InstaPrevue, a full suite of streaming features, and 6+ HDMI inputs are very attractive. Add in speakers and a price tag under $900 (under $800 for the 5.1 channel HT-S6500) and color us impressed.

The new HT-S7500 and HT-S6500 Home Theater in a Box offerings from Onkyo have reaffirmed that Onkyo is dedicated to staying at the very top of the HTiB game.

— June 20, 2012 21:05 in Surround Sound Reviews

Bowers & Wilkins Mini Theater MT-50 Speakers Review

Bowers & Wilkins Mini Theater MT-50 Speakers Review

This is Bowers & Wilkons MT-50 system which we reviewed. It includes five M-1 two-way speakers and an ASW608 8" subwoofer. Most people who are into home theater and speakers will have heard of B&W. The company is known for its high performance speakers and they have a reputation for quality products. Recently, they've demonstrated a knack for making smaller speakers that sound bigger than they are. For example, we reviewed their MM-1 multimedia speakers and found them to be absolutely astounding. I mean, they're "this big"... Now, they've taken that same approach with their new M-1 Mini Theater Speakers.

This is Bowers & Wilkins' (B&W) MT-50 system. It includes five M-1 two-way speakers and an ASW608 8" subwoofer. This is a real system that gives you a set of speakers that sound as good as they look.

— June 18, 2012 05:20 in Surround Sound Reviews

Denon DHT-1513BA Home Theater System Preview

Denon DHT-1513BA Home Theater System Preview

What is key with the Denon DHT-1513BA is that you are getting a full fledged receiver (the Denon AVR-1513) along with a set of speakers from Boston Acoustics. If this sounds more like a package deal than a HTiB, you are right. The AVR-1513 is on sale, separately, for $250. While the speaker system hasn't changed from previous DHT-1312BA, neither has the price. At $600, the DHT-1513BA has a lot going for it. While it is a bare-bones receiver, it has discrete amplification (75watts x 5), 3D pass-through, and multiple HDMI inputs. That's more than you could expect from a lot of HTiB solutions.

At $600, the Denon DHT-1513BA has a lot going for it. While it is a bare-bones receiver, it has discrete amplification (75watts x 5), 3D pass-through, GUI over HDMI, and multiple HDMI inputs.

— May 03, 2012 19:25 in Surround Sound Reviews

Onkyo HT-S5500 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver/Speaker Package Preview

Onkyo HT-S5500 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver/Speaker Package Preview

One thing we've always liked about Onkyo's HTiB offerings is their perchance to include full receivers. No funny proprietary connections, no funky speaker wires that can't be changed or lengthened, just a simple receiver connected to inexpensive speakers that a user can, later on down the line, swap out for something better. This is the perfect solution for the newbie and we often recommend Onkyo HTiBs to our friends that won't listen to reason. Onkyo has some very high end HTiBs and some that are very budget. The new HT-S5500 is a middle of the pack offering (as far as price) with a lot of very attractive features.

The HT-S3500 is a true budget offering that provides a 5.1 channel receiver with HDMI 1.4a and 3D and throws in some speakers. The larger HT-S5500 may cost more ($649 vs $399) but you get more.

— March 11, 2012 20:15 in Surround Sound Reviews

Onkyo HT-S9400THX Networked HTiB First Look

Onkyo HT-S9400THX Networked HTiB First Look

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.

The Onkyo HT-S9400THX Networked HTiB 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.

— May 04, 2011 01:35 in Surround Sound Reviews