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Onkyo HT-S667C review: Onkyo HT-S667C

Onkyo HT-S667C

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Steve Guttenberg
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Steve Guttenberg

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.

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The receiver and the six-disc carousel changer look and feel like separate components. In fact, the changer is sold on its own as the DV-CP701. It's 16.7 inches deep, and when we placed the receiver on top of it, the stack stood 9.25 inches tall. They consume a healthy chunk of space, so make sure your shelving can handle them.

onkyo-ht-s667c-home-theater-system.jpg
8.0

Onkyo HT-S667C

The Good

Full-bodied sound; component-grade, 100-watt-per-channel 5.1 receiver; separate six-disc CD/DVD changer; progressive-scan video output; SACD/DVD-Audio 5.1 inputs; substantial speakers and subwoofer.

The Bad

Needs two remotes; won't win any fashion awards.

The Bottom Line

Onkyo has once again produced one of the best-sounding, most feature-laden kits we've tested at an affordable price.
While there's no shortage of sleek lifestyle systems on the market, most of those trendy packages shortchange you on sound. That's why we're such big fans of Onkyo's component-based home theaters in a box (HTIBs), such as the HT-S667C. It combines a 100-watt-per-channel receiver, a separate six-disc CD/DVD changer, and an overachieving ensemble of five speakers and a subwoofer. The kit, listed at $700, delivers astonishing performance and value, but if you want to set up one in the living room, your significant other may need some convincing.

Inconveniently, the system comes with two remotes: one for the receiver and a very similar one for the DVD player. We weren't thrilled with either; the buttons are tiny and too close together. The setup-menu ergonomics are typical of standalone components.

The black-oak-finished speakers look huge compared with the puny HTIB models we usually test. The main left/right speakers stand 15.25 inches tall, the center is 15.25 inches wide, and the two surrounds are 8.5 inches tall. The 20.5-inch-tall subwoofer is a substantial beast with a build quality that shames most HTIB subs.

The receiver packs 100 watts into each of its five channels and offers all the standard surround-processing modes: Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS. If you want 6.1-channel sound and Dolby EX or DTS ES processing, you'll find those features in the Onkyo HT-S767C, listed at $800.

The S667C's changer can play DVDs, DVD-R/RWs, CDs, and MP3-encoded CDs, as well as JPEG- and Kodak-picture CDs. Its back panel has composite, S-Video, and progressive-scan component outputs; stereo analog-audio outputs; and an optical and a coaxial digital output.

Although the receiver's connectivity contingent is skimpy by standalone-component standards, it's generous compared with the offerings of the system's HTIB brethren. You get A/B speaker switching, SACD/DVD-Audio 5.1 inputs, four A/V inputs (three with S-Video), and two audio-only inputs. That should be adequate for most people, but the receiver lacks component-video switching, and its speaker spring-clip connectors aren't as secure as binding posts. Oh, and there are just two digital inputs: one optical, one coaxial.

The main left/right speakers each feature a 5.25-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter. Each surround uses a 4-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter, the same ones in the center speaker's standard woofer/tweeter/woofer array. The 150-watt powered sub relies on a downward-firing 8-inch woofer.

If you already own a DVD player (and even if you don't), you may want to consider the Onkyo HT-S660 as an alternative to this system. It doesn't have a DVD changer, but otherwise it's exactly the same as the S667C--and a great value at $400.

The Narc DVD, a gritty police thriller, is chock-full of visceral soundscapes and has a beat-driven score. Once we dimmed the lights, the story took over, and we forgot we were listening to a $700 HTIB--the S667C never came close to clamping down on this DVD's power. Highly realistic drums accompanied the climactic scene's action, and the dialogue possessed the sort of weight and presence we rarely hear from even the best HTIB center speakers. The kit let us feel the intense energy between the two lead actors, Jason Patric and Ray Liotta. The sub likewise exerted itself with an assurance we haven't heard from any comparable system except Onkyo's now discontinued HT-S755DVC. The S667C has just the right combination of nuance and deep-bass gusto.

Most sleekly styled HTIBs fall apart when asked to belt out action and sci-fi DVDs, but the S667C has the muscle to fill even fairly large rooms with sound.

We also listened to the Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense concert DVD. Lots of HTIBs boast 100-watt-per-channel amps but rarely sound powerful. In contrast, the S667C's punchy bass and lively dynamics let the music breathe. The system's sense of envelopment and its coherence were remarkable.

onkyo-ht-s667c-home-theater-system.jpg
8.0

Onkyo HT-S667C

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 9