I still find it head-scratching that manufacturers can spend many years and millions of pounds in developing, mastering and fine-tuning the visual aesthetics of a flat screen TV or PC monitor, only to finish things off with a speaker that may well have come from Alexander Graham Bell’s very first telephone prototype. It’s for this reason that devices like Onkyo’s HTX-22HDX Home Cinema System are worth forking out for.
Onkyo’s 22HDX 3D-Ready 2.1 home cinema system is packed full of features and promises a serious boost to the audio performance of your household devices. But does being so feature-rich mean cutting back on performance and adaptability? We put one through its paces to find out….
Out of the Box
As you can see from the pictures, the Onkyo HTX-22HDX is dressed in glossy black, which makes for a highly attractive piece of kit that will happily sit in any room around the home. Don’t be fooled by the picture, either; the 22HDX is smaller than it looks which, when combined with its subtle colouring, helps it remain discreet for those that like to keep things minimal.
The box contains your speaker cables, an optical digital audio cable, a power cord, speaker spacers for optimising audio, an instruction manual, and two batteries for the included remote control, as well as the 2.1 system itself, which includes a combo sub-woofer/A/V receiver and two front speakers that provide your hi- and mid-ranges.
It’s easy to link together and then all you need is to plug in your sound source; there are connections for 3 HDMI inputs that will let you hook up your TV, your computer, a Blu-ray player, games console or cable/satellite box – and you can even expand the sound range of the system by adding speakers so you create a 5.1 or even 7.1 set-up.
At 25-watts of output for each speaker, the 22HDX system isn’t going to blow you off your chair, but thanks to the inclusion of some Burr-Brown 192kHz/24-bit DACs (tech speak for “nice device that changes digital signals from the chosen device to the analogue sounds you hear from the speaker”) there’s a lovely amount of high resolution goodness emanating from within. It even has an optical input, meaning you can go 100% digital if you require or want it.
The sub-woofer provides a nice warm bass and a good amount of kick when required. Again, the 22HDX isn’t going to have your neighbours on the phone to environmental health, but you should be able to live without excessively volume when the quality of the sound is so good. And that doesn’t just apply to the standard definition sound from your laptop, either.
The inclusion of Dolby TruHD and DTS-HD Master Audio means that plugging into your HDTV or Blu-ray player is a fantastic experience that makes a mockery of in-built speakers. Games players are well-catered for, too; there are specialist presets for Rock, Sports, Action and Role Playing Games – and unlike many other speaker systems, you can actually tell the difference between each setting.
The Onkyo HTX-22HDX is a fantastic bit of kit. Sound quality is excellent and it really will make a noticeable difference with your set-up. A great starting point for beginners to the home cinema world, the 22HDX is also future-proofed with the 5.1 or 7.1 set-up upgrades. Recommended………………