As you can see from the picture, Onkyo's HT-S770 won't be mistaken for one of those trendy home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems with towering tallboy speakers and futuristically slender receiver/DVD players. The HT-S770, successor to last year's excellent , instead offers a component-size 6.1-channel receiver, unabashedly boxy speakers, and a full-size powered subwoofer. It won't hide in your room, but on the other hand, this Onkyo sounds much better than most of its high-style competitors. Best of all, it retails for just $500. Only mundane styling prevents this standout from earning our Editors' Choice award.
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.The A/V receiver included with the Onkyo HT-S770 is a near twin of the company's , and it's nowhere near as compact or flashy as most HTIB receivers. The 22.5-pound component measures 17.2 inches wide and 14.8 inches deep.
The partially backlit remote is pretty special. It's large, yet easy to maneuver, and offers direct access to A-B speaker switching, individual speaker volume levels, and bass and treble controls. This clicker is among the best we've ever seen included with an HTIB.
Onkyo's main left and right speakers are full-size bookshelf models with rear-mounted ports, so they won't sound their best crammed into a cabinet or a bookcase. The main speakers stand 16.5 inches tall, the matching full-size center is 15.25 inches wide, and the three wall-mountable surround speakers are each 10.5 inches tall. The main front speakers weigh 12.1 pounds each, and their wood cabinets, along with those of the center or surround speakers, are more substantial than typical plastic speakers that come packed with most HTIBs. Curved grilles add a touch of spice. Finally, the subwoofer is a 30-pound beast that measures 20.3 inches tall, 10.75 inches wide, and 16.25 inches deep.
This seven-piece speaker package (HT-S670, which also has a less well-endowed receiver and main speakers.) is also sold separately, without a receiver, for $279. The entire HT-S770 system is available in black or finishes. If you don't need a 6.1 system, you can check out the