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    Too low to display
    1. Sony HT-CT150 3D Sound Bar System
    $167.74
    2. Logitech Squeezebox Radio Music
    Too low to display
    3. Pioneer VSX-1020-K 7.1 Home Theater
    $40.00
    4. Zinwell ZAT-970A Digital to Analog
    $99.99
    5. Audio Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic
    $100.24
    6. Audio Technica AT-PL60USB Fully
    $114.98
    7. Sony PS-LX300USB USB Stereo Turntable
    Too low to display
    8. Onkyo HT-S3300 5.1-Channel Home
    $84.99
    9. Audio Unlimited Premium 900MHz
    Too low to display
    10. Onkyo TX-SR6087.2-Channel Home
    $118.88
    11. Sony CMTBX20i Micro Hi-Fi Shelf
    $99.25
    12. Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Monitor
    $30.24
    13. Coby KCD150 Under-the-Cabinet
    Too low to display
    14. Pioneer VSX-820-K 5.1 Home Theater
    $199.99
    15. Logitech Squeezebox Boom All-in-One
    $41.77
    16. IHOME iHM79BC Rechargeable Mini
    $49.00
    17. Sony SS-B1000 5 1/8-InchBookshelf
    $214.95
    18. Audio Technica ATLP120 ProfessionalTurntable
    $248.00
    19. Sony BDV-E370 Sony 5.1 Blu-ray
    $99.95
    20. Sony CMT-LX20i 10W RMS Total Power

    1. Sony HT-CT150 3D Sound Bar System
    Electronics
    list price: $299.99 -- our price: Too low to display
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B003C1AO2I
    Manufacturer: Sony
    Sales Rank: 126
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Complete your 3D home entertainment experience with simple, yet powerful surround sound. The HT-CT150 32" 3D sound bar home theater system features 3D compatibility and can also be turned into your entertainment hub by connecting multiple HD or 3D devices using a single HDMI cable per device (sold separately). In addition to the latest audio decoding technology, this beautifully sleek sound bar can be easily mounted directly to select BRAVIA TVs, hung on your wall, or placed separately on a shelf. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dont even worry....., June 22, 2010
    I was skeptical I admit

    I moved out of my house into a much smaller townhouse and I had to give up my Klipsche 2 series 5.1 system.....I HATED giving up surround sound. I have been bouncing back forth between this one and the CT350 model. I was scared that this wouldn't be as loud as I would like it........wow was I wrong. The room I have it in is only 11 X 15 (system on short side) and this thing is fantastic. It has a max volume of 50 and I find 24 to be more than enough. Is it true 5.1....no... but it has great surround effects and very full sound.....you will feel like the action is going around you which is what we all want anyway isn't it?

    I tested it with Avatar Blu Ray..... Lord of the Rings ROTK Disc 2 DVD......Invictus ON Demand (for the accents.....hard on TV speakers).....was blown away each time

    I turned up the center to +5 to bring out the dialog a little more and set the sub at +2

    I also mounted the speaker ABOVE the TV which I feel really helps to bring out the surround effects because they don't get lost down near the ground around the furniture

    It is a little slow switching inputs but that is to be expected......the remote will only control Sony products....so if you have non Sony stuff invest in a Harmony remote

    If you are planning this for a really large room and you are going to be sitting 17 or more feet away maybe you should consider the 400W 350 model..... but for a normal room you will be thrilled by this unit.

    I couldnt be more happy with this purchase

    5-0 out of 5 stars WAS a skeptic. keyword: WAS!, July 5, 2010
    i was really skeptical about going with a sound bar at first, but all of those thoughts were out the window as soon as the system got broken in (about 1 or 2 day period to fully break in the system). coming from the traditional 5.1 systems (have had systems ranging from home theater in a box-type of setups to bose lifestyle 5.1's to martin logan set ups), i was really surprised at how well this 1 speaker set up simulated "surround sound". i found myself looking over my shoulder every now and then, while watching movies, because i was hearing things from alot of different places, other than just in front of me. the CT150 was supposed to be a temporary set up for me, but after about a month of use, i'm really considering sticking to soundbars. the simplicity and ergonomics just cannot be compared to by big, traditional 5.1 systems.

    as for sound quality, the vocals are nice and crisp. i know the CT100 had a vocal problem, but i can hear everything crystal clear on my CT150 (center channel set at +5). i have my CT150 in a very open living room (about 20x35), so i have my subwoofer level set at +5 (settings go from -6 to +6). the bass levels would be comparable to my bose lifestyle 25 system, with the CT150 having a slight bass advantage. all in all, a great little package. i really couldn't think of a better, more ergonomic set up for a smaller living room or bedroom. i might just stick with soundbars from now on and just upgrade to bigger/better soundbar set ups.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Audio Dad likes his new toy!, August 15, 2010
    Background: I am an audio enthusiast with 3 small children. My previous audio system, run by 3 Carver stereo amps, is in boxes in the basement, as I did not want little hands breaking things or blowing up pieces. The old system had more spent in Monster Cable wiring then this system cost. Life changes and the wife did not want speakers and wires everywhere so I made a compromise.

    Current Setup:
    Sony Bravia TV (2006)
    Sony HTCT150
    Sony Digital Media Port TDM-iP10
    Sony PS3 - Original 60gig
    Nintendo Wii
    Leap Frog - Zippity

    At the time of this review I have owned the HTCT150 for just over 2 weeks and have been quite impressed with the results. The main reason I got the system is for movies and TV watching and being able to hear and control the sound. The output range is good and it does a nice job with lows and high end. I liked that the system could be passive as the PS3 is our main DVD player and entertainment source, i.e. Netflix streaming. I have the PS3 hooked up via HDMI. HDMI up to the TV and from the TV I have both optical out and RCA. The TV will not do ARC (audio return channels) though HDMI and the TV will not convert analog audio (Wii and Zippity) to optical. I let the TV handle the analog audio, RCA switching and have the RCA's go into SA-CD/CD, seems on the HTCT150 the TV RCAs will only work without optical in hooked up.

    I have both an older 80gig iPod video and the iPhone 3G that I have hooked to the system using the Digital Media Port TDM-iP10. I use the video iPod for audio only and have full control over it using the remote for the HTCT150. I did a brief test with the iPhone by putting it in iPod mode, it worked as an audio source and had control of it with the remote. I did try to display pictures and it would not pass images or work as a video source. It seems the TDM-iP10 is audio only but you do get control with the HTCT150 remote.

    One of the big reasons for my purchase was for nighttime watching and dynamic compression. The system has 2 layers of compression you can use to keep the sound even and not wake the kid. Woke the oldest already before turning on the compression. The system has NIGHT MODE, this is compression in the digital amp of the HTCT150 and limits all sources. Audio DRC (Dynamic Range Control) only works in Dolby Digital, but that covers the TV and PS3 and has 3 levels, None, Standard, Max. With turning both NIGHT MODE and Audio DRC on I can watch TV or movies and hear no volume difference between show and commercial or dialogue and explosions, this is important for us Mom's and Dad's.

    Audiophile Time: I have played with the system with the LPCM and BluRay audio out and have been able to hear a difference. As they say " you are only as good as your source" . Dolby Digital bit rate out is around 960Kbs and Dolby True is around 7Mbs. By going into the Video Setup of the PS3 (go figure) and changing the audio output from bitstream to LPCM you can get the better sound. Bitstream outputs the encoding on the DVD/BluRay, LPCM has the PS3 do your decoding.

    Overall impressions: The audio performance for a system under $300 is very impressive I feel. The surround effect is very weak, however if you have a good 5.1 or 7.1 mix as source there is a more open feel to the audio. I just have not felt like it has replaced a true 5.1 system. It completely has met the "Wife Acceptance" Factor that we all know is very important. I am very happy with this system and I am not afraid that little hands will destroy it and if they do, oh well it wasn't that expensive.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gets better after a day or two, July 1, 2010
    Got this 3 days ago and at first I was disappointed with the sound loudness and bass from the SW. I went ahead and tweaked the settings from the amp menu and watched a movie and tv. The sound was ok the first day, had to turn it up to 40 - 45 to really hear the difference from the tv speakers. Yesterday, wow! I had to turn it down to 25 - 30 and the bass was louder! So far, happy with this. Easy to hook up and many connections on the SW.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sound Bar review, September 22, 2010
    I write this review with an open mind. When I first placed the order, and received it from the manufacturer, the sub-woofer was broken. I had to return it and request a replacement. That in itself is a major pain in the you know what. I received my replacement yesterday and plugged it in and was underwhelmed by the sound. Once I read through the owners manual and configured the settings..... HOLY COW! What sound! Coming from such a small sound bar and medium sized sub-woofer! I've got a 52" Phillips HD TV that sounded decent by itself. With this added sound, it's literally like a movie theater experience.
    The 3 week wait for a working product seems to be worth it. I recommend this to anyone and hopefully you receive a working product on your first go-round.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very good product., July 27, 2010
    I have read a couple of bad reviews for this and just thought I would add my two cents. Anyone who says this has bad sound or is not loud enough is not setting it up right. This sounds great and it is very loud, in fact I got in trouble when I set it up. I had it up to max volume when I plugged in the system and it blasted the house, my wife was in the shower back by the bedroom and the sound made her jump and drop her back scrubber. I used to have a surround system with a receiver and five speakers but that was before I got married. My wife did not want the wires going all over the house so I looked into the sound bar with the understanding that if I didn't like it I would get another five speaker system. Well I was blown away. It sounds great, it plays true hd sound on the blu rays. The three hdmi ports make it very convenient. I only turn it up to 25, which is half way, and that shakes the windows.
    The look is very sleek, in fact with the bar pushed back against the t.v. it looks like part of the set. I highly recommend this product.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Value!, September 15, 2010
    I was an early adopter of the HTCT150's ancestor the HTCT100, a soundbar I loved and still own in a guest bedroom. That set receive an editor's choice on CNET back then, and is still hailed as one of the best values for its great sound and multitude of inputs for the price. MY only problem with it was sometimes low sounding audio in terms of speech. It is with that to say that the HTCT150 addresses this problem brilliantly and upgrades the sound overall as a whole. Side by side, the two sound similar until you get some good source and can tell the real umph this little guy has. It really does sound great. The bass is tight and punchy, while the sound from the bar is crisp and vibrant, a great combo. And like I said before, no problems with speech being drowned out by ambient sound.

    The bar and sub look great too, a sleek black, glossy black in the right places. There are also a ton of inputs that are 3d compliant, basically saying that they're accepting hdmi 1.4a if you decide to upgrade down the road, another bonus that some bars are offering. In fact, at this price, you're lucky to get one or two hdmi ports on a soundbar. This ones got 3, and a multitude of other ports.

    The only competitors out there are the JVC soundbar and the upcoming Vizio soundbar, but I still chose this one because of its overall score. While the other two sound great, better in some cases, they lack in areas this bar picks up on. People can say that there wasn't enough of an upgrade from the HTCT100, but that bar was awesome, and why fix what ain't broken? I live in an 800 sq ft apartment and the soundbar is in my living room and just fills the place up with sound. You won't be disappointed.

    Enjoy

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound, July 10, 2010
    I can't believe how this sound bar has improved my tv watching experience. It's awesome! It was so easy to hook up to all of my components (Sony Bravia TV and DVD player). The sound is definitely a huge improvement over the TVs speakers. All in all I am quite happy with this purchase.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad for the price, November 23, 2010
    I bought this system because like everyone else, my TV sound was pretty weak. I didn't want to deal with running speaker wires all over so I went with the sound bar. Its definitely easy to set up with my Sony TV and the sound is better than the TV. But it isn't as good as I was expecting from reading all the other reviews. I wish I could use the sound bar along with the TV speakers but using the pass-through the sound is off just slightly and creates a slight echo. Seems like I need to adjust the volume quite a bit more when switching channels or playing a DVD than I did with just the TV sound. Some channels are good at 14 and some I have to crank up to 40.

    5-0 out of 5 stars HTCT150 - A Great 5.1 virtual sound for less, September 19, 2010
    I just had HTCT150 a week ago, after setting it up I was Not Impressed with sound and Bass quality, After talking to Sony Store about configuration, they advised me to to configure the same way they have it in the show room

    SW Level raise up to +6
    then go to
    Bass and raise it up to +6

    then Played Avatar movie, and i was blown a way, Oh My god, the sound is Great, I can feel bass through my body and through the sofa, sounds quality is great. 5.1 virtual is some what true but not that great.

    I purchased Samsung Blue ray player for $150 a year ago and + HTCTC150 for $280 = $500 with tax.
    if you are shopping for a nice system then i advise to purchase Panasonic 5.1 home theater that already come with a nice blue ray Player and a better speakers and Sounds. but if you are already have a blue ray player and cables then going for that system is great and save you almost $200.

    Pros
    1- you can connect multiple HDMI and Video inputs into the subwafr and only one cable from the system to the TV.
    2- Sound quality is Great, very loud, excellent Bass.
    3- very very easy to install. just plug and play. ( raise the bass to +6 and sub level to +6)

    Cons.
    1- well $300 is expensive

    2- Once you Purchase HTCHT150 you are Stuck with it, what i mean you wont be able to add any other speakers or sub to it. the system is stand a lone and there is no way to upgrade. if you decide one day you want a bigger speakers or sub then you have to purchase new system. Read more


    2. Logitech Squeezebox Radio Music Player with Color Screen (Black)
    Electronics
    list price: $179.99 -- our price: $167.74
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B002LARRDK
    Manufacturer: Logitech, Inc
    Sales Rank: 295
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Logitech Squeezebox Radio brings a world of music—free Internet radio, subscription services, or your personal digital music collection—to any space in your home, over your Wi-Fi network. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great functionality and sound but needs some work, November 1, 2009
    I am studying German and have been told that it helps if you listen to German radio so I ordered the Squeezebox Radio on the recommendation of my friend Scott. I find the Squeezebox Radio to be perfect for the night stand, where I will be listening to the radio before I got to bed.

    I set the presets with Berlin radio stations and linked via Wi-Fi and it sounds great in both spoken word and also music.

    PRO: The set up was so easy and it even made the WPA/WEP key entry for my Verizon FIOS Internet.

    I was also able to easily find all the stations I listened to in Berlin when I lived there and I was also able to find local stations and I could easily "install" BBC and CBC and even a Facebook and a Flickr applet. I am very pleased. I got a red one.

    The date and time is awesome because it is updated via Internet so I didn't even need to set the date or time -- so I also have myself an atomic clock, I guess.

    There are multiple alarms and also a line in so I can run my iPod and my iPod shuffle through the device, too, which is great for my German homework (a CD I burnt to MP3).

    CON: A little expensive but you get a lot more than just a radio. It doesn't come with a rechargeable battery pack or the remote -- an additional $50.

    BOTTOM-LINE: Small and deceptively powerful -- it is basically a little Linux box in a small boom box/Internet clock radio -- and it is the most modern of the Squeezebox line so you can do very cool stuff with the device. Easy to set up and to start using.

    It can work as simply as a clock radio with presets or you can get all geeky and install apps and podcasts and you can connect to SIRIUS and all those other paid streaming services. I love it. It is my new favorite thing.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great But Needs A Few Features Tweaked, November 19, 2009
    Having owned numerous Logitech (formerly Slim Devices) Squeezeboxes and a Duet, I can highly recommend this newest radio in the Squeezebox family. I purchased the bright red version and found it is relatively easy to setup and the WiFi range is surprisingly strong and far-ranging. This little radio has its own good mono speaker, and it is perfect for those who want a standalone radio. For those who listen exclusively to Internet radio (there is no broadcast radio on this device)and do not want to add streaming to their larger music systems, this new radio is absolutely perfect for a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom nightstand. It also has six preset buttons on the front like a car radio. There are wake-up alarm and sleep features although I have not used them yet. You can use the Squeezebox Radio in conjunction with easily downloaded software. However, by setting up a free Mysqueezebox account, you can program your own list of favorite stations, podcasts, and browse for others throughout the world, all while your computer is turned off. You can also use the radio in conjunction with your Pandora account. This setup is also quite easy. I have always been impressed with the excellent tech support provided by the company as well as the reassurance of a knowledgeable, loyal and highly active community forum for these devices. This is the best Internet radio I have seen in terms of design, ease of use and sound quality. Five stars!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great functionality and sound but needs some work, November 1, 2009
    I am a long time owner of Squeezebox products and was pretty excited to find out about the little table top Squeezebox Radio model. I picked one up and thought I would share my thoughts.

    The first thing you notice is how much heft this little player has. It is really well built and the fit and finish is superb. It has plenty of weight and solid rubber feet so that it won't skid around on your night stand or table top. The screen looks great and all of the buttons have a nice solid tactile feel. Compared to many other cheap wireless network streaming radios, this device feels an entire order of magnitude better in its construction quality. The only disappointment here is the lack of back lit buttons, for using the radio in low lighting. It's also worth noting that the entire radio has a high gloss finish that will be a magnet for fingerprints. Looks great though!

    The biggest challenge for most consumers with this device will be the initial set up. You need to create an account at [...] in order to set up your new Squeezebox Radio. The device uses this connection to play free internet music services as well as download software updates, etc, to the Radio. I already had a Squeezebox account so this was not a huge challenge for me, but it might be for some people who might be confused that they need to set up an account before they can use the device. There is an option to set up the account from the device itself. Don't do this (it is slow and tedious)! Go to the website and set it up in a few seconds and then just type your login and password on the device.

    Other than the laborious task of entering my full email and password for [...] the rest of the setup is very easy. The Squeezebox Radio supports push to connect wi-fi set up which is common on many newer model wireless routers. It's similar to programming a garage door opener. Simply point the Squeezebox Radio at your wireless network and for 120 seconds it will try to connect with the push to connect functionality. Then just push the connect button on your router and it's automagically all set up.

    Once set up the Radio will update its firmware and reboot, a process that takes a few extra minutes. After that you are good to go.

    In addition to the many built in free online services, you can also play your own music through the Squeezebox Server application. I run the Squeezebox Server application on my HP EX495 Windows Home Server but you can also run Squeezebox Server on any Mac, Windows PC or even Linux box (there are even installable distributions for many Network Attached Storage units). This allows the Squeezebox Radio (and any other Squeeze players) to access all of the music on my home network. It's absolutely wonderful to be able to take the little table top radio anywhere in the home and listen to your entire music collection.

    Sound quality is very good, easily enough to fill a small to medium sized room. It gets quite loud with little to no distortion and the controls are easy to use to change tracks, change volume, etc. Wireless strength is superb. I get a full signal anywhere within about 40 feet of my router, and the radio works anywhere on my suburban property with no audio hiccups or dropouts.

    In addition to the intuitive controls such as "home", "play", "stop", "back", etc, the unit also features six programmable "preset" buttons similar to what you have on a car radio. Setting these up is a bit more of a challenge than you would expect. You are supposed to be able to hold these down on any song, album, playlist, etc, that is being displayed in the radio menu and have it added as a preset. Unfortunately some items don't add correctly and must first be programmed as a "favorite". It turns out that you can only add favorites for some items (such as playlists) from the Squeezebox Server web based menu, which is quite inconvenient. I don't doubt that Slim Devices (the arm of Logitech that makes these devices) will fix this soon enough.

    Other minor glitches include some weird alarm behavior (it will show the time of the alarm when it is going off but strangely won't show the current time, which is annoying if you have hit the snooze button a few times and need to know what time it is), some auto dimming issues (the auto dimming works great but gets almost TOO dim in a dark room to see the radio) and a few other very minor nits.

    Slim Devices have a long history of enhancement and improvement of device firmware, so I would expect a lot of these issues to be worked out in the coming months. Additionally there will soon be a battery pack and small infrared remote for the Squeezebox Radio available as a $[...] add on purchase. Personally I think at $[...] the Radio should include these items, but considering the great sound of the radio, the high quality screen and the superb fit and finish it is justified that this device costs as much as it does.

    Also worth noting is that if you have an iPod Touch or iPhone you can get the iPeng application $[...] from the Apple App Store which makes controlling and programming your Squeezebox Radio an absolute breeze. iPeng is really a must have if you have these devices and want a wonderful pocket control that works from anywhere in your home. Beats the pants off of what Sonus has to offer!

    //Update 1 (Nov 2nd 2009)

    Yesterday my SB Radio lost all of the preset buttons which is most annoying. It also turns out that many of the requests for fixes around the alarms functionality have not been addressed and don't appear to be scheduled to be addressed in the next release or two of the software. If your primary use will be a night stand alarm clock I would recommend holding off for now until Logitech addresses alarm functionality issues. If the issues are not resolved I will reconsider my four star rating as it should then be a three star product.

    //Update 2 (May 13 2010)

    Logitech has not only not fixed many of the initial annoyances with the SB Radio, but newer firmware has in fact made the product less stable and reliable. It still does an admirable job of playing your local music library if you run the SB Server on a PC or Mac in your home, but the network streaming functionality seems to be having issues and I've found the alarm to be terribly unreliable. I would now under the current circumstances rate this only 3 out of 5 stars. It's really a shame too, as the "Slim Devices" that originally brought us these problems was very open and communicative about issues and what was being done to fix them. Logitech has little interest in relaying useful information to its beta testers, err, customers and instead gives us the run around with if and when issues will ever be remedied.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Buggy!, November 14, 2009
    I've had the Squeezebox Radio for just over a week but that's long enough to decide what I like and what still needs some work. First, set-up was a snap. The radio found my wireless network instantly and I was able to enter the password and connect quickly. The radio them updated its own software so I was working with the newest release.
    What do I like? The radio seems solid. It's heavy enough that you can press the buttons with the radio on a nightstand and not have it slide. The front is angled back which helps even more. I'd call the sound quality - though not stereo - excellent. There's no comparison between how this radio sounds and the Sony clock radio I replaced it with. It has a very clear, crisp sound.
    What don't I like? I had the radio only three days when it lost all it's presets. I re-entered them and all has been well since. This is a well known bug. I am using [...] and NOT using my PC so the problem is likely there. Presets should be stored locally, not on a server. I saved all my presets as favorites so they MIGHT be there the next time this happens (then again, maybe the favorites list will be erased, too). I'd like to see an easier way to set the sleep timer. You have to use the menu and it should be a simple button press. Why not use the power button and cycle through sleep settings? i.e. ON ... 45 ... 30 ... 15 ... OFF? There also needs to be a simple way to snooze. Maybe the big button in the middle?
    The auto-dimming setting gets awfully dark at night! I should be able to set a minimum brightness level that suits me.
    And I'd love to see the apps include weather radar. Yes, this is a radio but it's got a great color display and being able to watch live weather radar on the screen would be super. A general weather app that makes use of this display would be a plus! Come on Logitech, get with it! This radio has more possibilities than, well, radio!

    Later: I've had the radio for a month now and am no longer quite so excited. I reduced my initial 4 stars to just 2 stars. This radio is buggy! My initial loss of the presets has now been followed by a loss of the volume control. There was absolutely no way to get it back besides a "factory reset" which removes every setting I so carefully made. You should be able to simply sit down and enjoy a radio, not beta test a product.
    I am returning it within Amazon's 30 day window. I've had enough.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Better than expected, October 14, 2009
    When the Boom came out, I wanted to purchase it right away, but the $300 price tag and the inability to truely make it wireless detered me. Now that the Radio is out with a lower price tag, battery capability and a color LCD, I was totally sold. I've had the Radio for about a week now, and I simply love it. Even the wife was jamming to it when I got home from work the day after I bought it.

    So far I have only had one issue with it...I can not find a setting to set the Album Art size to full screen on the Now Playing screen. It says in the manual that it is under the Screensaver settings, but when I go there it doesn't exist. I sent an email to Logitech support, but have not heard back from them yet. [Updated] Logitech just released a new software version that will correct this issue.

    Another cool feature that I didn't realize existed, was the ability to control the Radio from the web.

    As far as sound quality goes, it is far better than expected. There is virtually no distortion even at maximum volume. I even plugged a set of Computer Speakers into the Headphone Jack and it didn't make that much of a difference. The Base levels aren't that deep, but they are there. I can put it in my livingroom and pump it up near max volume and hear it clearly throughout the house.

    I haven't tested the Wireless strength extensively yet, but I was able to hook it up in the garage (1 Floor below and 50 feet from the router) and the signal strength was near full.

    Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase and can't wait to get the battery pack so I can just carry this thing around anywhere.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Concept good but server and firmware are unstable and unreliable, July 13, 2010
    This radio has lots of good things going for it - when it works. Unfortunately it does so at best half the time - at other times it loses the connection to [...] (which you need for almost all functions except streaming music off your PC), powers down randomly, stops playing for no obvious reason, the screen freezes and shows details of a previous show, etc. (We have one desktop PC and two laptops hanging off the same wireless network at home, so are sure that the network itself is fine.) The support forums at logitech and slimdevices have been awash with complaints about this - apparently caused by firmware updates in combination with changes at [...] - but the problem remains unsolved. What is especially maddening is that the radio worked just fine from Jan to Mar 2010, so it's also clear that this is not a hardware problem! It is possible to roll back to an older firmware version (by installing the appropriate older version of the squeezebox server on a PC, and asking the radio to connect to it using "My Music"), but even the pre-April firmware version (4.2) now has the same problems as the more recent ones.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Radio Ga Ga, some other features, November 29, 2009

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    The Squeezebox Radio is a first class, excellent Internet radio with clock/alarm functions. With the Flickr app installed, it will display photos stored under user's Flickr account. Other capabilities which are nice to have but not likely to be widely used include its ability to stream audio from a computer or double up as an iPod speaker.


    PACKAGING, CONTENTS

    As it's the case with most Logitech products, the Squeezebox Radio comes inside a box where everything is packed nicely and securely, with enough padding to ensure that rough treatment won't damage it. All shiny surfaces are protected by plastic film sheets. I experienced no problems or frustrations taking components out of the box.

    The box contents include:

    - the Radio
    - power adapter with the US-standard 110V removable plug
    - 3.5mm audio cord for iPod or other MP3 players
    - folded poster with setup guide/manual/warranty statement

    Logitech's warranty is for 2 years from date of purchase and they would expect you to have the purchase receipt and to pay for shipping unless local laws prohibit that.



    INITIAL SETUP

    The physical setup is as easy as attaching the removable plug to the power adapter, plugging the adapter into a power outlet and connecting it to the radio and turning the on the radio. An Ethernet port (cable not included) is available for wired connections. I did not attempt to perform a wired network setup.

    Once the radio is on for the first time, a language is selected from those displayed on the screen and then the radio will attempt to find a wireless access point. In my case, it immediately found my Linksys router and connected to it.

    The initial setup completed with me creating a Logitech account by providing an email address and a password. At that point it's possible to listen to the radio.


    OPERATION

    Radio
    -----
    Starting with 'radio', the array of options is almost overwhelming. The least intimidating way to get to listen to a station is by selecting 'Internet Radio'. This will open a multi-layered menu with everything from Staff Picks, Local, Music, Sports, Talk, World and Search. If you pick World, the next layer would include Find a City, Featured Cities, National Networks, World Music. Find a City would open a listing of continents. If you pick Antarctica, believe it or not, you can select between All Stations or By Genre. It turns out that the only genre in that continent was Folk and there was actually a Folk station broadcasting off Antarctica. This was just an example to show the breadth and depth of the Internet Radio menu option. Once you like a station, it can be easily assigned to one of the 6 preset buttons that flank the radio's color display.

    Another way to get music off the Internet is through Apps. These are dowloadable setups that would let your radio channel some services, some of them free. There are 29 such Apps that Logitech allows you to download and use at the time this review was written, not all of them free and not all of them 'music'. Staying with the music, the easiest way you can get an App to work on your radio is from Logitech's site you access with your Logitech account - Logitech promises not to Spam you and so far I didn't get any Spam from them. My favorite FREE music App/service so far is Pandora. It lets me, among other things, create my own 'radio stations' by simply entering one or more artists and songs names. Then, Pandora will play music that is compatible with my input. For example, I entered Pink Floyd, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix for one of my 'stations' and I get to listen to, besides theses three, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, some Cream.

    The Settings menu is equally rich in options. It's another multi-layered menu tree that controls just about every aspect of your Squeeze and I'm not going to go into details because it may take several pages. The good news is that the options are pretty well organized and it shouldn't be difficult to customize the aspects of your Squeezebox behavior that you would like to modify. Thankfully, the 'Restore Factory Defaults' option exists, buried somewhere, 3 or 4 levels deep under Advanced.

    Clock and Alarm
    ---------------
    By default, the Squeezebox will display the date and time when turned off. There's no need to do anything to set date/time since it seems to 'get' the correct location for the time zone off your IP address. It's possible to select a different zone through the Settings menu, of course.

    The Alarm function is surprisingly rich. Any number of separate alarms can be set - don't know if there is a limit. You can set the time, whether it's a one-time or reoccurring and if it's a repeat alarm, the day of the week it will play. The volume can be selected and then you can dive into another one of Logitech's overwhelming menu trees that allows you to sound your alarm from the current playlist or play one of many Musical Sounds, Natural Sounds, or Sound Effects. Not much to complain other than you can't hear a sample of the sound you selected or maybe I didn't know how to play it.

    Other Internet Apps
    -------------------
    Normally, the Squeezebox will display the logo of the station you are playing or, if you are listening to a service such as Pandora, you will see the album cover the song came from. But if you install the Flickr App, you can display your Flickr pics instead. It's pretty cool but it wears off quite quickly. The color screen is nice and bright but it's also small and I get a radio because I want to listen to it, not to stare at a 2-inch screen. Again, it's nice but I wouldn't miss this capability if it wasn't available.

    There are other innovative apps that may have some limited use. The Amazon app for example, will allow you to buy your favorite music directly from the Squeezebox (wow!!!). The Facebook app will, according to the Logitech site, allow you to share your favorite music with family and friends, discover new friends with similar music interests or communicate with friends away from your computer. I didn't try it yet.

    More Features
    -------------
    As if this wasn't enough, the Squeezebox also allows you to stream music off your home computers after you install the Squeezebox Server on it - supports Windows (Vista/XP/2000), Mac, Ubuntu, Linux. Again, a nice thing to have but I simply can't see why I would want to stream music to a device equipped with a small, mono speaker. I'd rather listen to music off my laptop since it comes out in stereo there. I suspect it works well but I didn't think it was worth trying.

    The Squeezebox also allows to connect and play an iPod or some other MP3 player - cable provided. And, again, it's good to have this but piping iPod music through a little mono speaker... not worth it.

    Finally, you can listen to the Squeezebox with headphones. It's nice you can but I don't think too many users would care about this capability.


    MY EXPERIENCE

    I find the Squeezebox to be an extraordinarily great Internet Radio device. Or rather, an Alarm Clock/Internet Radio. While limited by the small, single speaker to 'mono' sound, the quality of the output is quite impressive. I suspect there's a large cache built in because, when listening to the same Pandora output on my computer and on the Squeeze, the Squeeze came pretty close to crystal-clear while my computer's output was below par.

    It's impossible to say how many stations can be tuned to but the number should be in the thousands. It's not always easy to find what you are looking for but quick and dirty searches are possible by simply entering the station's call letters or you can go geographically by continent/country/city/genre.

    Some of the available Apps are fun to use - something like Pandora's customized radio stations should be close to one's dream of music listening. Other apps can go in the 'wow' category as in "I can't believe they can do this" but aren't likely to be used much. The beauty of the Apps concept is that the Squeezebox is infinitely expandable as more Apps doing things we can't imagine today can be added when available.

    What impressed most about the Squeezebox were:

    - extraordinary easy and quick setup on a Wi-Fi network
    - the sheer volume of Internet radio stations available
    - the availability of great Apps such as Pandora
    - the Alarm/Clock function
    - the color screen that displays interesting information such as album covers or stations logos and the name of the artists playing
    - infinite expandability through new Apps

    Some of the shortcomings include:

    - ONLY 6 preset station buttons
    - mono sound
    - a simple remote control would make operation easier
    - there's no information in the broadcast quality (kbps) displayed anywhere or rating the station based on the quality of their broadcast
    - it's possible to get lost into some of the enormous menu trees
    - completely dependent on Logitech for service - nothing other than maybe streaming music from one's own computer would work if Logitech went out of business or stopped supporting the Squeezebox.


    MY RATING

    I really, really love this device and Amazon's rating for "I love it" is 5 stars. Clearly, it's not perfect but, for the price, this is close to the best one can get when it comes to the ability to listen to distant radio stations without involving a computer.

    All we hear is Radio Ga Ga
    Radio Blah Blah
    Radio what's new?
    Someone still loves you!

    _______________________________________

    Note:

    Please see the first comment to this review on the ability to expand the sound quality to 'stereo' and 'amplified'. I am not likely to try that because I have other options for listening to hi-fi, loud music but it's nice to know that it can be done.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I am connected to the world through Squeezebox Radio, October 29, 2009
    I am studying German and have been told that it helps if you listen to German radio so I ordered the Squeezebox Radio on the recommendation of my friend Scott. I find the Squeezebox Radio to be perfect for the night stand, where I will be listening to the radio before I got to bed.

    I set the presets with Berlin radio stations and linked via Wi-Fi and it sounds great in both spoken word and also music.

    PRO: The set up was so easy and it even made the WPA/WEP key entry for my Verizon FIOS Internet.

    I was also able to easily find all the stations I listened to in Berlin when I lived there and I was also able to find local stations and I could easily "install" BBC and CBC and even a Facebook and a Flickr applet. I am very pleased. I got a red one.

    The date and time is awesome because it is updated via Internet so I didn't even need to set the date or time -- so I also have myself an atomic clock, I guess.

    There are multiple alarms and also a line in so I can run my iPod and my iPod shuffle through the device, too, which is great for my German homework (a CD I burnt to MP3).

    CON: A little expensive but you get a lot more than just a radio. It doesn't come with a rechargeable battery pack or the remote -- an additional $50.

    BOTTOM-LINE: Small and deceptively powerful -- it is basically a little Linux box in a small boom box/Internet clock radio -- and it is the most modern of the Squeezebox line so you can do very cool stuff with the device. Easy to set up and to start using.

    It can work as simply as a clock radio with presets or you can get all geeky and install apps and podcasts and you can connect to SIRIUS and all those other paid streaming services. I love it. It is my new favorite thing.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great But Needs A Few Features Tweaked, November 19, 2009
    Over the years I've purchased several streaming music products, each of which had it's limitations, some were just junk. This gives you good sound, no major setup headaches, and there seem to be a wide array of optional plugins to allow you to customize and build your music sources. Setup was fairly simple although typing in any text whether it's your login credentials for a music service or your wireless network information is tedious on any device that doesn't have a keyboard so just deal with it, hopefully you won't have to enter this information more than once.

    First, let me be a bit negative, this thing should really ship with a rechargable battery already installed. It should also ship with a remote control. I called customer support this mornng and I've been told that the accessory pack with the battery and remote will not be available until February 2010. It seems like they rushed to get the radio out before Christmas yet these accessories aren't available yet. When I first read about the radio and its battery backup functionality I'd assumed that the battery was already installed.

    Secondly, I attempted several times to set this up using WEP encryption. While a 26 character passcode is a hassle to enter anytime it was a real pain to attempt to enter it four or five times only to be told that the password didn't work. I've entered it into enough other devices in my home (printers, laptops, PSP) that I know the code was correct. I've been needing to change over to WPA anyway as it's more secure, once I changed to WPA and entered the passphrase it connected to the network in just a few seconds.

    Now the positives, the audio is above average considering the size of the radio, it found my music collection and scanned all of the titles into it's library, since it's just streaming the audio it only took a few minutes to scan about 4000 songs. There are some opportunities with the album art, many tracks just show some arbitrary image of a CD.

    As far as the plugins, Pandora works very well. I may even upgrade my pandora account to a paid account since I can skip more than six tracks an hour (once I have a remote anyway). The XMOnline plugin works very well too although it doesn't seem to update the PAD data with the song names and artist info.

    The Mediafly may or may not work, I created an account and linked it and picked a few podcasts out on Mediafly but they never appeared on my radio so it may just be me.

    I'd buy this for anyone thinking about getting an XM Boombox or portable radio, just pay XM for an online account and this works as well as a boombox and given that a boombox has to have an antenna near a window all you need with this is access to your wireless network (or wired if you want to run a cable to it from your router).

    I'm very happy with this product.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent new Internet radio. Compact, attractive design with good sound, October 30, 2009
    Having owned numerous Logitech (formerly Slim Devices) Squeezeboxes and a Duet, I can highly recommend this newest radio in the Squeezebox family. I purchased the bright red version and found it is relatively easy to setup and the WiFi range is surprisingly strong and far-ranging. This little radio has its own good mono speaker, and it is perfect for those who want a standalone radio. For those who listen exclusively to Internet radio (there is no broadcast radio on this device)and do not want to add streaming to their larger music systems, this new radio is absolutely perfect for a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom nightstand. It also has six preset buttons on the front like a car radio. There are wake-up alarm and sleep features although I have not used them yet. You can use the Squeezebox Radio in conjunction with easily downloaded software. However, by setting up a free Mysqueezebox account, you can program your own list of favorite stations, podcasts, and browse for others throughout the world, all while your computer is turned off. You can also use the radio in conjunction with your Pandora account. This setup is also quite easy. I have always been impressed with the excellent tech support provided by the company as well as the reassurance of a knowledgeable, loyal and highly active community forum for these devices. This is the best Internet radio I have seen in terms of design, ease of use and sound quality. Five stars!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A New Experience, March 22, 2010
    I bought the Squeezebox on a bit of a whim because I was thoroughly tired of the local radio stations. I also lived abroad for a long time, so the temptation to listen to my old "home" stations was big. I was contemplating a HD radio, but that really would have just brought the local junk stations in clearer...

    All in all I am extremely happy with the Squeezebox. I read some reviews here before I bought it, so I already opened a account with Logitech. Start-up was easy, plug it in, find your wireless network, enter the password. It did do a firmware update and then I was ready to play.

    The choices of stations are really overwhelming. I didn't know what to listen to at first. And this was only the "Internet Radio" option.

    I then added Pandora which was very simple. Highly recommended. Even more music choices and no commercials.

    I know there are even more things you can do with it, but right now I'm happy with the thousands of stations already available to me.

    I hooked the Squeezebox into my big stereo via a 3.5mm-RCA cable from the headphone jack in the Squeezebox to the AUX input in my stereo. The sound from the Squeezebox alone is very nice, through the stereo it's amazing.

    I never tried the Alarm Clock functions of the Squeezebox, so I can't comment on those.

    The Squeezebox looks very nice. No complaints there. I also like the fact that the display dims and gets really dark when the room is dark, which I really like. Most alarm clocks still light up the room at night, the Squeezebox does not.

    Reception around the house is great. In my living room which is about 40 feet and two walls from the router, it reports full signal strength, better than my laptops. Never had any reception problems. Of course, it does take a little hit on the available internet bandwidth, but not enough to really notice or be bothersome.

    My biggest issue is that the Squeezebox only has 6 actual station memory buttons. With the ability to have so many choices, they should have really tried to add some more buttons for simplicity. It's not a deal killer though. Also the whole search process (entering the letters via the wheel controller) can be tedious. But again, I enjoy the new radio experience enough to overlook all that.

    If there was a Squeezebox II, I would like to see maybe a small pull out keyboard or a remote with a little keyboard. That would be fantastic.

    But as for now, if you are contemplating getting a internet radio, you should really give this one a shot. I am having way more fun with it than I thought I would.



    5-0 out of 5 stars Not Your Daddy's Squeezebox!, December 1, 2009

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    I am the owner of A Logitech Squeezebox Boom and I simply love it, so when this product became available I grabbed it up. The Squeezebox Radio is somewhat smaller than the Squeezebox Boom, the main difference in size being that this unit has one speaker area on the front as opposed to two on the larger Boom.

    Like its big brother, the Radio is black and sleek looking and will work with just about any d�cor. It is small enough to fit nicely on any counter, table, etc. As of the time of this review, the Radio is also available with a red body and same black face.

    The only things the Radio lacks that the Boom has are a two-speaker configuration and a remote control. But what the Radio has is a nice little color display. A few weeks back, my Boom got a firmware upgrade pushed to it, which loaded a Facebook option. I thought this odd, as I couldn't see using Facebook on the Boom, as it is a one color (blue) display and doesn't load photos, etc. It's somewhat useful because you can read posting, and you can even scroll your Facebook wall, etc. across the display, even when not listening to music. Well, after getting the Radio, I now understand why they added a facebook app! The Radio displays your Facebook Wall, Photos, etc. The Squeezebox Radio rocks!!

    I use my primary Squeezebox in our kitchen, where it provides exceptional sound which fills the whole room (28' x 21' with a 14' ceiling) and flows into adjacent rooms. I have set up the Radio in our Family Room.

    The Squeezebox radio is well designed and simple to use, plus multiple Squeezeboxes will synchronize, so you can have your favorite stations and settings update on both devices without doing any reprogramming. You can also shut off synchronization if you want to keep separate settings for stations and so on.

    Sound quality is excellent, with strong bass and clean highs. For a small radio, this packs a punch.

    Here's what was in the box:
    * Squeezebox, approximately 9" long by 5" high and deep.
    * AC Adapter (Squeezebox does not accept batteries)
    * Quickstart Guide


    Set up:
    Setting up the Squeezebox is fairly simple. Take it out of the box, plug it in, and begin configuring it. This should take less than 15 minutes, depending on your computer literacy. It is a wireless device and also has an Ethernet jack just in case you want to hard-wire it to your router, cable-modem, etc. IMPORTANT: the Squeezebox is an IP-addressable device, so if you have a secure home network (WEP, etc.), you will need to configure the device and/or your router by inputting your network password, security key and/or the Squeezebox's MAC address, using the same address as you would to add a wireless laptop or printer to your home network.

    Keep in mind if you are behind a firewall at work or internet filtering is in place, you may or may not be able to use Squeezebox there. A simple test is to try to visit some internet radio websites or music service websites from your office. If they are blocked, you will probably have limited use of Squeezebox at work.

    So, where does the music come from? The Squeezebox can use numerous sources....internet radio, free music services like Pandora and Slacker, and subscription services like Rhapsody. Keep in mind whatever you need to typically access these services (accounts, passwords, payment plans) will apply for your Squeezebox. You can create favorite "stations" either on the Squeezebox, in Pandora, etc, or on the Squeezebox website. You can also control the Radio from your PC using the website.
    About the only con for the Squeezebox (and it's a very small one) is you need to input data, such as account names, etc. via the main rotary control knob. Logitech has made the interface extremely simple to use, but its still a 1 character at a time "scroll and press" sort of thing, so it takes a few minutes.

    And if the myriad of internet stations, local stations, and services aren't enough, the Radio also comes with sound effects (want a babbling brook as your alarm?), and you can plug in your iPod to it. It does not have an iPod cradle, just an RCA-style cable. The Radio can also search other devices on your network for music (your iTunes folder on your PC, etc.). There is also a headphone jack.

    The Squeezebox is an incredible product. If you want nice sound and fantastic features, try the Radio. If you want really powerful sound and volume, go for the Boom. I suggest both, in different places in your home and/or office.
    Read more

    3. Pioneer VSX-1020-K 7.1 Home Theater Receiver
    Electronics
    -- our price: Too low to display
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0039XQQX0
    Manufacturer: Pioneer
    Sales Rank: 196
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Key Features are110 Watts X 7, 7 Channel Configurable Amplifier, Surround Back. Dolby Pro-logic IIz or B Speaker, Dolby True-HD / DTS-HD Master Audio and Advanced MCACC. It has a 9 Band EQ.Auto Crossover Setting, USB to PC Graphs, PQLS – 2 Channel, Auto Level Control – Multi-Channel, Sound Retriever AIR – Multi- channel. It has a Internet radio. iPod Digital USB / USB Memory Audio. Its iPhone Certified, Sirius Satellite Radio, HDMI Repeater (6 In / 1 out), Analog to HDMI Video Conversion, HDMI to HDMI 1080p Scaler, Component Video (2 in / 1 out), Full Color GUI, iControl pioneer AVR iPhone / iTouch “APP” Multi-Zone A/V Pre-out, Preset Remote Control ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Bang for the Buck, Future Proof (7.1 & 3D), iPhone App is Great, Buy an Airport Express Too, May 20, 2010
    I tend to do a lot of research before making large purchasing decisions and so far this receiver is receiving a pretty rosy reception! Its successor, the 1019, was CNET's and Gizmodo's top mid-range receiver. Both reviewers had just as high hopes for the 1020, and Gizmodo already called it the best receiver $550 can buy, saying the 1020 "hit the sweet spot" that gave the most bang for buyer's buck.

    The critics I read all raved about the excellent sound quality, but the 1020 brings some new offerings to the table for a mid-range receiver.

    In short, the most valuable features you get with this model that you don't get with the next step down are:

    1. A fifth HDMI port in back, an extra sixth in front (for digital cameras, computers, etc.).
    2. Analog video upscaling (which I don't care too much about since most of my content is HD already or played through an upscaling player).
    3. The iContolAV iPhone app. Very cool for controlling volume and switching inputs. Works simply by having your receiver connected to ethernet and your iPhone connected to the network via WiFi. A few times the app has had trouble properly connecting, but it usually works well.
    4. Internet radio with programmable stations, which is cool, though you can't currently control the station selections from the iPhone App, unfortunately.
    5. A color configuration interface output to your TV via the HDMI output. I can't imagine trying to configure all my speakers without seeing a graphical representation of their location on screen.

    That last feature feature, the HDMI 1.4 ports that support 3D, the 7.1 surround capabilities, excellent sound quality and the iPhone App are what made the VSX-1020 the clear choice for me. I also appreciated the automatic calibration with the included microphone and the included iPod cable/compatibility, but those weren't as strong of selling points.

    The only negatives of note for me is that the little front port cover is a little cheap. It's not even a door, simply a little plastic piece that pops out if you push one side. I, like others, have also experienced the issue where the receiver switches to TV/Sat when first turned on, but I've yet to determine whether that's a problem with the receiver itself or my Harmony universal remote (I'll update the review as I get more information).

    One last tip to buyers, however. If you're considering listening to your phone's music over Bluetooth by buying the $99 AS-BT100 adapter, I'd consider buying a $99 Apple Airport Express instead (assuming your music is managed through iTunes). It lets you stream music from your computer to the receiver over WiFi and control what's playing via iTunes or Apple's robust "Remote" iPhone app, but more importantly the Airport Express acts as a USB print server and a one port wireless bridge (something that lets you connect wired devices to a wireless network).

    That wireless bridge capability is especially valuable, since you'll need it or something similar for internet radio and iControlAV iPhone app support if your VSX-1020 receiver isn't close to your wireless router (mine isn't). Buying the Airport Express kills two birds with one stone.

    UPDATE:

    A few ideas have been thrown out by other Amazon posters to help alleviate the issue with the receiver switching to TV/Sat when it first turns on. The first idea is to change the receiver's settings thusly:
    "1 Press Receiver , then press Home Menu.
    2 Select `System Setup', then press ENTER.
    3 Select `Other Setup', then press ENTER.
    4 Select `HDMI Setup', then press ENTER.
    5. Set Control to 'Off'."

    The second idea is to adjust your TV settings like so.
    "Go into Menu under HDMI-CEC and turn it Off. If the set is a Samsung look for AnyNet+ (default is normally On) and turn it Off."

    I'm still having issues going directly to a given HDMI input when the unit first power on (going to "HDMI Input 1" simply toggles the current HDMI input instead of going directly to the one you want), but I've made the quirk tolerable by programming one of the buttons on my universal remote to toggle inputs, so it's easy to fix.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very good performance and versatility with a few shortcomings, May 10, 2010
    I picked up a 1020 over the weekend. I have been building custom cabinetry and needed a slimmer (and cooler) receiver for our secondary viewing room and the 1020 seemed to fit the bill in large part based upon a pleasant experience with the 919/1019 and the elite 21.

    For reference, the 1020 is replacing an Onkyo 1007, which I really enjoyed, but was a bit big for the cabinet and largely unused with a baby's bedroom nearly adjacent to the area. Keep in mind, the Onkyo weighs 52 lbs and draws nearly 11 amps - not a fair fight between the two.

    In comparison to the 1019/919 (which powers my second and third zones), the 1020 looks very similar, but Pioneer removed the blue led power button (they did the same with the bdp-320 from the 51fd last year as well). The front panel buttons have been reconfigured slightly, but overall the two look very similar.

    I have the 1020 configured as 5.1 plus wides. The speaker setup was pretty easy, but it appears that setting it up as normal plus wides would prevent you from operating Zone 2 despite the manual saying the contrary.

    In terms of audio quality, the receiver sounds very good and similar to the 1019/919. That said, when turned louder (say -5db), it appears to lose its legs a bit sooner than the 1019. I heard a bit more distortion in playing music loudly (i was alternating the same speakers and source via speaker switch before I had the two connected). That said, I would think most folks would not be able to tell a difference at normal volume levels, but the power draw cut from last year does seem to manifest itself at loud levels in my amateurish testing. Please do not try to pull every thread in my comparison - just an average guy comparing the two side by side.

    Running MCACC was as simple as other pioneer models, but the system did seem to be a bit too generous as to the speaker size of the speakers in my setup (audyssey classified them as small and set the individual speaker crossovers at 100hz). I have been using the wide listening mode and have found it reasonably effective in providing a broader sound array for the wide room. I will need more critical listening time to compare it to Audyssey DSX's wide presence processing mode. Overall, I am pleased with the sound quality of the 1020, but it could benefit by a bit more power. I would caution about tying to drive large or inefficient speakers with this receiver if your listening preferences are very loud.

    The remote is an improvement in that it is learning, but a step back in dark room navigation. Yes the keys glow in the dark, but labels are small and difficult to quickly identify. It is miles ahead of Denon's odd remotes, but lacks some of the simple and easy to identify buttons of Onkyo.

    The receiver has run cooly, which is an improvement from the space-heater my Onkyo could be.

    The receiver does offer a really good listening experience for a very light (and presumably efficient) unit. That said, I do lament a few things: onscreen osd - at least volume/source/audio codec; a slightly ergonomic remote; and assignable speakers to let you customize presence and zone 2.

    Overall, I am happy with the unit and pleasantly surprise how cooly it runs.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Packed with features but does have some flaws, June 10, 2010
    This thing is loaded with features. My favorite by far is playing internet radio directly from an internet connection. It has an easy way to program and rename stations from an http site. It has a nice glossy front and runs really cool especially compared to my old Onkyo oven. The iphone control is pretty cool although it would be nice if you could turn on the receiver from the iphone app. It plays an ipod well and does display cover art for music although very small. It's pretty cool that you can use a standard USB cable to connect an ipod as well as some other USB devices (Haven't played with that). I do wish the USB input was on the back. I have an ipod dock that i want to leave plugged in and it looks pretty bad plugged into the front.

    This thing switches inputs relatively quickly and can scroll through audio settings without long interruptions in sound. Powering up on the other hand is extremely sluggish. I timed 40 seconds from power up to get picture and sound rolling. I really like that you can customize the input names although the method of scrolling through each letter takes a while. It's also nice to be able to hide some inputs so that you don't have to scroll through a bunch of inputs that are never used when scanning through.

    The remote is setup like a universal remote. You have to select a specific mode for most inputs. Say you're in ipod mode, you have to go back into receiver mode to use many of the settings buttons. This makes it very difficult to program a universal remote to control the receiver. you have to have a different set of arrow commands programmed for each input. Also, for programming a universal remote. All inputs have a separate button that you can program except of course HDMI inputs which are the ones I use. To select one of the 5 HDMI inputs you can continually press the HDMI button to get the one you want which is not a good method when you just want to hit one button to get to the correct input. There is a backwards way to reassign the analog input selection to use an HDMI input then rename it, but it takes some work. It is impressive that the included remote can be programmed for other devices and can even learn commands and perform simple macros.

    The display on the unit I received has a small thread of some sort hanging down inside the display. This is probably just rare defect but it is annoying when looking at the display.

    HDCP ERROR
    I see this message flash multiple times on the display every time I power on. This is some kind of copyright nonsense built into HDMI cables. Although all HDMI inputs on my TV are HDCP compliant and I have used the same HDMI cables on a previous receiver without issues I had all kinds of problems getting my receiver to work at all because of this error. Time and time again I would be watching TV and then without touching anything I would see this error, then no inputs would work and it would take a while for anything to come back up. After playing with lots of setting and trying multiple cables and inputs on my TV now I just get the error without losing picture and sound. The manual says this: "Some components that are compatible with HDCP still cause this message to be displayed, but so long as there is no problem with displaying video, this is not a malfunction." Ummm, sorry Pioneer but when an error is displayed incorrectly that is called a bug and IS a problem. I'm sure they are being forced by law to incorporate this HDCP stuff in their unit but they are doing a very poor job.

    Zone 2
    Buying this receiver I had a plan to wire an adjacent room as a zone 2 so that I could play music in that other room. Unfortunately the zone 2 feature on this unit does not work with any digital inputs. Because I have everything connected via HDMI this makes zone 2 a worthless feature to me. As an alternative I decided to hook up the other room to the Speaker B connection. This won't allow me to listen to two different inputs simultaneously as zone 2 does, but at-least I can listed to digital inputs in the other room when I want. The problem is for some reason the speaker selection cannot be controlled with the remote. So I have to walk to the receiver to select to use Speaker B and then walk back to turn it off That may not sound like much, but part of my plan was to use an RF remote to control the music in the other room while in the other room. There is just no way to really get this unit to perform in such a scenario.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Almost a perfect receiver, August 23, 2010
    Well normally, I don't post reviews, but I certainly base my purchase decisions off of fellow reviewers hear on Amazon, so it's time to pay it forward. This receiver purchase comes after needing a receiver that has HDMI inputs to compliment the new additions to my downstairs entertainment setup. After buying the Samsung 55" LED 240hz from Amazon, I decided it was time to upgrade the receiver.

    Components I have include a Samsung Bluray player, Wii, Scientific Atlantic DVR (from Cox) and I also have the Apple airport which allows me to stream my upstairs music library to the downstairs (very awesome!). I also bought the Harmony One remote which I'll get into a little bit later in this review. The receiver so far has very much met or exceeded my expectations, with only a few things that I have to say would equal a "con".

    Pros:
    Sound. Although I'm no audiophile by any means, I certainly have become one. Pioneer does a great job at offering several different presets of how to listen to your content. I also like that each input maintains it's own setting. I have my bluray's played with a certain audio setting, as with radio, the Wii, etc.

    Extras. I'll admit, that I actually paid a little bit more to have the iPhone remote feature which works really well....for volume and selecting inputs only though. I'll admit that all my friends almost expect me to "wow" them with my gadgets and toys, and the Pioneer app does not disappoint. I also took the time and renamed all of the inputs that I'm using, so rather than seeing "HDMI 1", I renamed it "DVD", or "iTunes" and "Wii". The receiver is nice with that option.

    Internet connection. As mentioned, I have the Apple airport express and because I have several devices which needed a physical LAN connection to include the Samsung TV and DVD player, I bought a Netgear switch (which basically just expands the Internet connection to up to 5 devices). With the receiver, it was literally plug and play and no setup was needed on my end, which I was glad for.

    Speaker setup. At first, I didn't think much of the speaker MCACC setup, but after doing it with the wired microphone, it was actually very easy. For those who don't have their speakers perfectly centered within their room (for example, I sit a lot closer to my rear left speaker, versus the rear right speaker), I suggest using the MCACC setup. The only thing I changed was the setup identified my front speakers as being large, when in fact they were small. I have Bose speakers with the bass module (which is not the same as a sub-woofer!) and I think that was the reason.

    Plenty of inputs. I honestly can't imagine that you could use all of the HDMI and other inputs that are provided to you...which is great feature. I like having a device where I've got room to grow into it versus wondering how I'll make another device fit.

    Heat. When I was reading reviews for receivers, heat seemed to be concern. Now that I have a somewhat more enclosed setup, I too have noted that's a good thing to keep in mind. I would rate the Pioneer as being very good in this department. Even after hours of running it, the Pioneer puts off less than moderate heat. If anything, I think the cable box is more to blame. But I would recommend leaving the receiver on a shelf to itself, with nothing on top of it.

    Cons:
    Remote. If there was any frustration, I think it had to do with being overwhelmed. Between the DVD player, TV, and receiver remote, hands down, do yourself a favor and invest in the Harmony One remote. I didn't even bother trying to program the Pioneer remote to learn the other remotes, etc. Also, I definitely agree with the criticism of the Pioneer remote...c'mon Pioneer - no back light, small buttons...you guys need to do better. But like I said, that remote is sitting in a drawer right now thanks to a REAL remote, the Harmony One.

    Input selection. I too experienced problems initially when turning on the receiver and it would automatically go to the "BD Input". But thanks to other reviewers, I turned off the TV's "Anynet" feature and made some adjustments on what HDMI slots I used. What's nice about the Harmony One is that it allows you to select an actual HDMI slot of your choice (for example HDMI 3, which could be your DVD player) versus having to manually select input several times to toggle your way there. I did read some other reviews where the "input complaint" seems to be popular, but was slightly confused, because even on the Pioneer remote, you could easily select HDMI 1 to Radio, to HDMI 5 without having to manually toggle. I think the reviewers who are having those issues are using devices that do not even have HDMI inputs. I'll just say this, if you don't own 1 device that had HDMI, you're probably wasting your money with a high end receiver like this.

    Pass through technology. Okay, so here is BIG con for me and I'm a bit shocked. I initially had the bright idea that I was going to run everything into my receiver and only have one HDMI going out to the TV...well that bright idea won't work for you. Why? Well because this receiver does not have "pass through technology". Meaning that if I want to watch cable TV, I can't just turn on my Samsung and start flipping away, I would have to turn on the receiver AND would have to select the TV input...somewhat disappointing. It goes the same for watching movies, because everything goes through the receiver, you're committed to turning on the receiver (even if you do not want to watch it on surround sound). Now, I will say Pioneer does allow you to toggle the volume so you can choose to listen to a device through either your TV or surround, but the steps to make that toggle are not worth it to me AND, you would still have to have the receiver turned on. So for me, I adapted and hope you take this advice: for watching TV (via cable box), I suggest you run your HDMI cable from cable box into to TV HDMI, but then run audio cables out from the cable box to your receiver (either through standard red/white cables OR what I did, which was using the optical cord with the red laser). Running the audio cables separate allow you to listen to audio on your receiver when YOU want to. Because I'll be honest, although I love this receiver, it only goes on when I'm watching DVD's, playing the Wii, or streaming my iTunes library.

    You could easily do the same thing with your DVD player, but I actually only watch movies via surround, so the above work around was only needed with cable TV.

    So-So:
    Multi zone setup. Although I'm not using the multi-zone feature, I am powering outside speakers. Again, I love the ability to stream my iTunes library (using the Apple airport express) and this is what's nice about having an iPhone (I can use the Remote app and or Pioneer app), but what I do not like is the fact that I have to select the "B Speaker" feature from the receiver itself...there is no remote option that allows you to toggle between "A, B, or Both"...if anyone knows otherwise, please advise.

    Audio selections. While the instructions were okay, I wish it would have provided a bit more insight on what audio options should be used under certain conditions. Again, I'm no audiophile, so I have a very sneaking suspicion that I'm not maximizing my surround sound experience for Bluray movies. One thing to note, I'm not impressed with the Samsung Bluray DVD player one bit and plan on bringing my PS3 downstairs (which is the BEST Bluray player out there today), just remember to turn on the highest audio option from the DVD player, to achieve that golden digital / DTS 7.1 or even 5.1 sound.

    Internet radio. Although I have a LAN Internet cord running into the receiver, it's strictly to support the Pioneer iPhone app...not the Internet radio feature. I tried the Internet radio feature a few times but wasn't impressed. It does have some decent channels, but the biggest issue I see is that you have to have the TV turned on so you can select your channels you want to listen to. For me, if I'm going to have my TV turned on, then I might as well use the cable box's radio station features...even using the cable box stations, I can easily select a channel which I know to be a "Top 40" station, without actually having to have the TV on. The Internet radio through the receiver is a let down because of how slow it is going between channels and the fact that you need to have your TV to see what it is you're selecting.

    Thanks for reading!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great AV Receiver with a few quirks, May 20, 2010
    I purchased this receiver about 1 week ago and love it. It has great sound, tons of features, and lots of connectivity for whatever device you may have. The only real issue I had was how the receiver would switch to TV/SAT every time I would turn on the system using my Harmony One remote. However, I discovered that this problem was caused by my TV and the fix is the following: Go into Menu under HDMI-CEC and turn it Off. If the set is a Samsung look for AnyNet+ (default is normally On) and turn it Off. Once I did that, the problem was gone. Once that problem was resolved I was really able to appreciate the features of this receiver. I used the automatic setup with the MCACC and it worked out very well. The only minor problem was that it listed my surround speakers as LARGE so I manually went into the setup and changed them to SMALL. Overall, I would say this receiver was pretty easy to set up, has great sound, and does not run hot like some of the other receivers out there so it can easily be placed in a closed cabinet without overheating. I was upgrading from a Sony STR-DE995 so this is a noticeable improvement now that I can listen to BD and HD DVD movies in TrueHD instead of standard Dolby Digital. I love it and can really hear the separation of the channels that was lacking with my Sony. I highly recommend this AV Receiver for the money.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Preliminary Review for VSX-1020-K --Verdict: Recommended, August 29, 2010
    I am writing this review with limited experience. Very likely, the review will be updated later with more time spend with this receiver.

    I purchased this item after another purchase went sour with a Yamaha Receiver (simple shipping damage by UPS). I was originally very attracted to Pioneer, however, I did not want to pay extra $150. Lucky for me, damaged Yamaha became an excuse to upgrade to this Pioneer.

    I admit, I am not an audiophile. However, I have much experience with technology, and technology is what got me with this device.

    Summary of Goods:
    -Internet Radio built-in, IP configurable
    -Device specific iPhone App, free
    -Very easy to navigate on-screen menu
    -5+1 HDMI input (you never know when you need the 5th one)
    -Very pleasant design
    -Very clean sound, with good speaker of course
    -Multiple pre-configured presets for various movie and music situations
    -Very functional universal compatibility with FIOS and Cable remotes
    -Front HDMI (very important if you need to hook up an HDMI camera)
    -Front iPhone/iPod interface (also charges, I think. cable is provided)

    Not so good (but still OK)
    -Very complicated remote with small keys
    -Depth size is a bit high, if you have IKEA TV stand (stands out about and inch)
    -No Wi-Fi (Ethernet only)


    As you an see, this receiver does not have many negatives that would effect its functionality much, especially the sound quality. Therefore, I will not focus on details for what is good, rather give some tips to potential purchasers. I will also provide more information here later in coming months based on further experience.

    I would also like you to pay attention to a general tip at the end of this review for possible network connectivity challenges you might have in your current and future system and how to over come.

    TIPS:

    Set-up and configuration:
    Basic set-up was very easy, and teh system was on after 10 minutes. Make sure you use the BD input for Blu-Ray, and HDMI 1 input for cable/sat source. It becomes easier to navigate later on. You can go to home menu and rename the sources as you like.
    Provided booklet is a bit complicated but it is worth reading, in fact, it is a must to read it. You will have to go to it back and forth later in advance configuration phase.

    Given my lack of experience with home-theater systems, originally I tried to use it with only two Polk Audio Monitor 70 3-Way Floorstanding Speaker (Single, Black), only to find out that you MUST have a center speaker in a system like this in order to comprehend the spoken word on TV. The system will otherwise eat up the dialogs and output the effects and music only..So, I later on picked up BIC America FH6-LCR Dual 6.5-Inch 175-Watt LCR Speaker with Mid/High Frequency Horn. It made all the difference. You may be able to survive without rear speaker in an home-theater system, but center is a MUST.

    Internet Radio:
    I am an avid internet radio listener. This device connects to internet with ease and stream any ".pls" URL's with ease. Forget about trying to set-up radios from the remote. You can go to the system's home menu and see the IP address of the receiver, and then log-into it from your computer and change default radio stations URLs. Unfortunately, there are only 24 stations at any given time. It is OK for most of the users I guess, but not for me. Still, having a built-in Internet radio is sufficiently awesome.

    Internet Connectivity:
    As long as, you hook up an Ethernet cable to the receiver, connection is not problem. Once it is connected, make sure to upgrade the firmware. the one on the receiver is not the latest version.

    HDMIs:

    Unlike many of the current receivers, VSX-1020 has 5+1 HDMI inputs. 5 on the rear, one up front. I was particularly impressed with the front HDMI. It is a must have for those who own HDMI cameras. Nowadays, many manufacturers are providing HDMI out-put on digital cameras. Imagine the convenience.

    iPhone/iPod:

    There is a free app in the app-store for this device which enables you to control many functions of this device from your iPhone/iPod. You must be on the same network connected via the same Wi-Fi network. Once both your iPhone and receiver are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, the app immediately recognizes the receiver without further configuration. Again, make sure you are in Wi-Fi with your iPhone, not 3G for this.

    Blue-tooth:
    I do not own the Pioneer Electronics AS-BT100 Bluetooth Adapter for Compatible Pioneer Products (Black) for this. You should be able to stream in music from your iPhone (or another blue-tooth enabled device) via this. I am yet to try, perhaps if the adapter sells below $50, I will. Yet, I am afraid it will increase the depth of the receiver and became more problem to fit into some shelves. Alternatively, you can get an Airport Express and stream all the music you like from iTunes on your computer. Again, with he internet radio, I am sufficiently connected to external music sources already.

    Remote:
    For some configuration and mode changes you definitely need the Pioneer remote. However, to increase the sound level, mute, and turn it on and off, you can easily program your cable/FIOS remote to turn on all the connected systems (TV, Box, receiver, blu-ray) at once. I think, you would prefer to use a single button to turn on and off your entire home-theater system, instead of switching between remotes. Just read the user manual for your Cable remote, it is easy. Not only you have to enter the right codes, but also configure it that the sound controls (volume, mute) works for the receiver not TV.

    Design:
    Like all other Pioneers, this receiver is nicely designed, with curvature corners. two large knobs to control Volume and Source looks very classic.


    GENERAL TIP ON NETWORK CONNECTIVITY IF YOU LACK ETHERNET JACKS:

    If you are getting this system or a system like this one, you are likely to have or will have network connected TV and/or Blu-ray player already. Today, NOT many HDTVs and Blu-rays come with built-in Wi-Fi. If you have one that does, good for you. However, for those of you who need to connect his/her blu-ray player, HDTV and receiver to the network via Ethernet cable, you have a challenge. But there is a solution, less than ideal but it works.

    If you are lucky like me and you have single Ethernet jack on the wall, it is still not enough for all four devices. What I did to overcome this was to purchase TRENDnet 300 Mbps Wireless N Gigabit Router TEW-639GR (Black) for $50 and then hook it up to the single available jack and use the LAN jacks on the wireless-router as splitter. It worked fine, now I have a faster N router,a nd wired all four devices still room for another future one.

    Of you have no Ethernet jack close by, and you do not feel like laying one across the rooms for a single connection Airport Express works fine, but it has single Ethernet jack on it. For multiple connectivity, you will need to use the wireless router as bridge. Still a $90 solution, but for today home media devices connectivity is a must to upgrade the firmware, stream radios and watch Netflix.


    **FIRMWARE UPDATE QUESTIONS:

    Just confirmed by calling Pioneer USA at 1-800-421-1404. There is no way to update the firmware by the end-user from home. AND THERE IS AN UPDATE TO THE FIRMWARE. The item must be taken to closest Pioneer authorized service center for an update. Please visit the Pioneer USA website or call the number above to get the location for nearest service center. I think, firmware update is important. I would call the service center about to get it done. IT IS FREE. I hope this info helps.


    That is all folks..I will provide more information with more time pent on this receiver.

    ***Buy it or Do not Buy it ??***

    DEFINITELY, BUY IT !

    Thanks..

    5-0 out of 5 stars Borderline totally Awesome, May 27, 2010
    First receiver I've spent real money on. Most have been hand me downs from family and friends. Glad I waited!

    I have all my gear going to the VSX-1020 and only 1 HDMI cable going to my wall mounted Samsung LCD:

    1. Comcast HD DVR cable - HDMI
    2. PS3 - HDMI
    3. XBOX 360 - Component video / Optical audio
    4. Wii - Component video / RCA audio
    5. Home theater PC - DVI-HDMI / RCA audio
    6. DJ turntables and mixer - RCA audio
    7. iPod or iPhone - USB front
    8. Digital Camera - HDMI front
    9. Internet Radio - Ethernet

    The setup was challenging but was made much easier after plugging in a USB keyboard to rename the inputs and navigate the GUI. Even after plugging in the mic and performing the auto MCACC setup for 5.1, manual adjustments where needed to make it sound right. The manual does not help much and you are better off reading forums and reviews to figure this beast out.

    The remote control is solid in function (excellent support for my Samsung LCD and Comcast cable box) and crucial for certain tasks (displaying video to the monitor while spinning records and dj'ing) but lacking in aesthetics (ugly) and intuitiveness (buttons are all the same size, labels are teeny, impossible to use in the dark).

    The iPhone app is very handy for controlling source input and volume, not much else (for now hopefully).

    No onscreen volume or source info provided to the monitor, but the onscreen GUI for setup is the best and prettiest I have seen.

    Pandora, last.fm, slacker are *not* supported in the "Internet Radio" however the preloaded stations are nice and the ability to customize the list of stations is awesome. No more FM for me!

    The VSX-1020 is highly customizable and has a steep learning curve to setup but well worth the effort as it now switches effortlessly between all sources producing crisp 1080p picture and excellent 5.1 audio.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pioneer VSX-1020K Review, June 4, 2010
    I received the 1020k about 3 weeks ago. It replaces an old Pioneer receiver that has served me well for years. Overall, I feel this is an excellent receiver. Setting it up was easy. The Advanced MCACC works very well. I am only operating in Stereo right now driving an old pair of AR-5 speakers. The MCACC did an excellent job of equalizing the speakers for the room and gave a noticeably better sound quality. The power is more than adequate for my set up. Advertised as 110 watts driving a single channel. It is 80 watts per channel when driving stereo. Not sure what it drops down to when operating in 7.1. My speakers are very inefficient and it drives then much louder than I would ever listen to them. Even at very high volume I did not hear any distortion. It does play an IPOD/IPhone with no problem, however it does not recognize my Creative Zen. I found the remote control to be a bit cumbersome. It is OK for the receiver, and it works fine with my Sony XBR TV, but for some reason, I never could get it to recognize any of the codes for my Sony BluRay or my DirecTV box. So, I do have a Harmony One remote ordered to hopefully control all the components. The GUI is nice. It is nice to be able to plug in a USB keyboard and change the input descriptions. I have a tape deck and turntable hooked up and could change the descriptions accordingly. There is no preamp for a turntable, so that is an additional expense. I added the Behringer PP400 Ultra-Compact Phono Preamp for approximately $24 and it works well with my turntable. Pioneer gives you a pretty cheesy FM antenna which is no more than a strand of wire. To pick up FM stations better, I hooked up the old FM wire dipole that came with my old Pioneer receiver. Though the receiver does up convert all your video to 1080P, I have not seen much if any difference in the video quality. Overall, I think this is a very nice receiver and I am very happy with my purchase.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent bang for the buck., October 28, 2010
    First of all, kudos for Amazon and 5th Ave Electronics for FAST and safe shipping.

    Really like the iPhone integration features. New modes step up functionality from my previous receiver which cost me nearly 4 times as much (Marantz SR-8001). If the Marantz hadn't suffered an early death I wouldn't have bought this.

    There is no comparison between the sound of the Marantz 8000 series and a receiver of this level. That's why they cost big bucks--not only do they have HDMI but they also have essential sound features like a massive toroidal power supply and anal-retentive shielding and wiring design to minimize sound degradation from all the electronic whizbangery going on.

    The midrange is Marantz's claim to fame, with a fast, liquid quality reminiscent of real high-dollar stuff. With smooth highs and tight bass, I love that Marantz sound. It's obviously what they focus on.

    Now, for $400 this baby don't sound bad! If you have under $600 to spend on an A/V receiver, you should listen to this one, because it sounds as good or better than pretty much everything else in its range.

    The networking and iPhone/iPod integration features are a step above for this receiver.

    When I plugged the cat 6 cable into the back of the receiver, it was on the network and visible in seconds. My iPhone was controlling the dialogue and subwoofer volume in seconds. Now I just have to figure out how to stream sound over the iPhone's wifi connection to the receiver. So much more reliable than a bluetooth connection. Since that connection is there, there must be some way to exploit it.

    As far as I can tell, we're waiting for an iPhone app that addresses the receiver as a digital media server. The receiver has firmware to receive multimedia over ethernet, so if it can see your iPhone online as a multimedia device it should be able to stream all your iPhone/iTouch movies and music over your wifi network. Then you can have two-way wireless communication with your iPhone and no need for the fancy white iPod cable that comes with the unit.

    If this functionality can be added simply by adding a playback feature to the Pioneer iPhone app, I'm sure the software developers at Pioneer have it on their to-do list.

    It sure would be cool.

    Programming my Harmony One remote was more involved. Logitech doesn't automatically program the buttons of the remote for iPod control in its iPod/mp3 activity code.

    So you have to go in and designate all the buttons for that activity. It's involved, but all the codes are there and correct so it's just point and click. When I was done I had full iPod/iPhone control with my universal remote. When I've lived with this receiver for a few months, I'll know what other features to build into the remote's receiver profile to properly automate use with this Pioneer unit.

    As for HDMI performance, this receiver has more features than the Marantz SR8001. It has more two-way communication along the HDMI path between components, and seems to respond logically to signals from the sat dvr box, video game consoles and plasma display. Picture is a LOT better through this machine than through the 8001. I've heard that Marantz has also significantly improved picture quality in their newer receivers, so this isn't a knock on Marantz. It's just a comment that you will get good picture switching HDMI through this inexpensive little unit.

    Sound quality: bass is muddier so far. I haven't yet fine tuned bass response with this. I didn't use the automatic calibration with this receiver, since auto calibration has been hit or miss in the past with me. So I set up the speaker sizes, measured distances and levels manually. There is almost no deviation from default for everything but sub. The sub was very muddy--perhaps I need to change the crossover point to lower than 80 Hz. My speakers don't roll off until 50 Hz so that's doable--I was just trying to save precious watts for my speakers because this receiver isn't terribly powerful. I'll try it both ways for an extended time and see which I prefer--a little more volume with less precision because more signal is being sent to the sub, or a little less volume with cleaner sound in the midbass.

    Mids and highs are acceptable, though clearly not as refined nor as powerful as in the 8001. When you pay high dollars for a receiver, you are paying for incremental increases in sound quality, not a whole lot of computerized functionality. The functionality is cheap. Sound quality gets expensive rather quickly. That said, Pioneer seems to have prioritized fairly well on the sound quality front. There are receivers in this price range from Sony and Harman that are quite frankly unlistenable. This one is quite easy to live with, remembering how much money you saved over a high line Pioneer Elite or upper level Marantz/Denon, Onkyo, or beyond that into Outlaw, Sunfire, Arcam, etc.

    If you have $5000 to spend on a home theater receiver, you aren't reading this review. If you want 80% of the SQ of those units for less than ten percent of the price, here you are. I would rather go with one of the big boys, but I'm still paying for my house and my kids are approaching high school age. By the time I can afford one of the nice units, I'm sure my hearing will be shot anyway!

    So I buy the best sound and video I can afford, which means this unit for me.

    You can get a lot of better receivers out there for more money. But in this class this one sounds almost as good as the class leader from Denon, and completely outperforms the Denon in modern network functionality. If you want to integrate your home theater into your home network for low dollars, this receiver gets you there without paying a serious sound penalty--and if you want better sound, Pioneer's Elite series will soon incorporate all the network functionality of these new receivers and better sound in the bargain. Just remember you'll pay significantly more for marginally better sound.

    For me this setup is a winner. I'm very impressed.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Best receiver available for less than $500, October 31, 2010
    I did quite a bit of research before buying this receiver with certain criteria in mind.

    Due to the height of my entertainment center, most high end receivers were out of the picture as they tend to be very tall. In fact that's why I had to trade in my Sherwood Newcastle R965. The Pioneer has a small footprint, and has had zero problems with heat dissipation as there is minimal room surrounding the unit for air circulation.

    The unit has plenty of connectivity options (as most do nowadays), including the convenient iPod/USB input on the front. I don't have an iPod, however was able to borrow a friends to try the UI and was quite pleased with the simplicity and speed of the interface.

    Coming from a acoustically superior receiver, I'm having a hard time saying the Pioneer is a SQ unit, however with the auto-tune initial setup, I feel like it's a more balanced sound than the Sherwood, and therefore I'm happier.

    I'm running a 5.0 stereo with the rear speakers directly behind the listener's head. The autotune spent some time with the time alignment and balancing the sound for the rears, and the end result is fabulous. I can listen to surround sound movies and hear the rears perfectly without being obnoxious.

    I do feel like the autotune removed a lot of the bass that I'm used to. I can probably manually add it back in, but it's been motivation to finally add a woofer. Also, because of positioning of the entertainment center, one tower is closer to the listener than the other, the pioneer made adjustments for that as well.

    I've had Pioneer receivers in the past and always complained about their DSP settings and remote controls. This model is a great improvement over the previous ones I've owned as it has 4 easy categories to switch through for DSP settings. They are easy to understand and make sense. The remote is an improvement over previous versions, but still far from where it needs to be. I use a Logitech Harmony 1100 touch screen universal remote, so I tossed the Pioneer in storage.

    I have 3 inputs; Cable (HDMI), PS3 (HDMI), and Wii (RCA) with my output to the monitor over HDMI. The receiver switches sources quickly and does a very good job decoding the various source formats. I've had receivers in the past that make very loud internal switching noises when switching between stereo and Dolby - this makes quiet quick switches.

    There is a plethora of logical adjustments that are easy to understand and implement including display changes. Pioneer really did a great job with the software on this model,and for the price I couldn't be any happier.

    I'd highly recommend this to anybody who has multiple inputs of various formats, who enjoys simple setup and operation, who has a less than ideal speaker setup, and who requires a smaller footprint. Don't buy this receiver with the idea that it's going to be a sound quality receiver as you'll be disappointed. Not saying it's terrible sounding, only that it sounds a little digital and overly processed. Read more


    4. Zinwell ZAT-970A Digital to Analog TV Converter Box
    Electronics
    list price: $49.99 -- our price: $40.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B001DVZXC0
    Manufacturer: Zinwell
    Sales Rank: 249
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Digital TV Converter Box with Analog Pass-Through ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars comparison with dtvpal plus, November 17, 2008
    I purchased the two major timer event schedulable/programmable converter boxes available as of this date: the Zinwell and the DTVPal Plus (enhanced version of the DTVPal or TR-40 CRA). These are some of the major problems and advantages of each.

    The biggest problem I have with the Zinwell is that the remote control is the flimsiest and cheapest control I have ever seen with any product. The down arrow button is already having problems responding to pressing after only a few days. It usually takes several years before buttons on a remote control begin to go bad, and I am concerned that this one will not even be working a year from now. The text labels on the buttons are rubbing off and becoming harder to read.

    The biggest problem with the DTVPal Plus is the reception. The Plus is supposed to have enhanced reception over the prior models which were famous for bad reception, but in my area it gets a couple less UHF channels than the Zinwell and often has severe breakup on the ABC affiliate and two other channels (even with an amplified antenna). Perhaps this will be less of an issue if digital signals get boosted in February.

    The Zinwell has 8 timer events to 5 for the DTVPal Plus. The Zinwell lacks a recurring M-F weekday scheduling option. Both devices make you go through several menus to get to the timer scheduling. The DTVPal Plus has an awkward event scheduling process that takes you through two screens. The Zinwell has its own awkwardness-it makes you choose a channel from a list of station call letters rather than channel numbers! The Zinwell also requires confirmation at the end of the timer scheduling process, and defaults to Cancel making it easy to accidentally cancel your timer event, so watch out.

    If you like on-screen program guides, the DTVPal Plus has a fuller one than the Zinwell, and you can even schedule timer events direct from the program guide with the DTVPal Plus. The DTVPal Plus has an annoying download each time you turn on the converter box, but you can cancel the download.

    If you get a Zinwell, do not throw out the manual. Zinwell has unfortunately set a password on some of the channel functions, so you will need to look up the default password in the manual if you try to access these functions.

    Do not expect much support. Both companies took several days to respond to an inquiry and gave canned answers that did not address my question. After supplying follow-up information, neither company got back to me. There are several other issues and quirks with both devices.

    (--some updated notes 9/16/2009 after a few months of using--)

    The Zinwell picture quality has been nice. Occasionally, I have had an issue with the Zinwell audio and video getting slightly out of synch (as also reported by some other reviewers)-but doesn't bother me and turning off and on puts them back in synch.

    The biggest problem I have had with regular use of the Zinwell is that scheduled recurring events (weekly, etc.) get messed up regularly so I have to constantly monitor them. The Zinwell loses the channel on the recurring events and resets the channel to the highest station number. (I believe this is the most commonly reported major problem with this device.) Periodically it loses the recurring events completely and they need to be reentered. One-time events also get corrupted sometimes, although less often. Even the most popular 5 star review of this box by couchbum, in the Comments link, acknowledges that the timers fail periodically.

    The DTVPal Plus tends to run hot, so I have propped it up at an angle to give it some cooling space. I have had a disturbing problem a couple of times where the DTVPal Plus would not power on-had to unplug it from the power source and plug it back in again, and then it resumed working.

    Since they boosted the digital signals after the transition, the DTVPal Plus weaker reception has not been a problem and it now gets all the channels that my other converter boxes get. (However, I live in an urban area and have an amplified antenna, so the weaker reception may still be a problem for many people.)

    The DTVPal Plus regularly loses timer events and is very unreliable. I have found two specific sequences of timer events that cause it to consistently drop events. The DTVPal Plus timer issues have been far more numerous and problematic than those with the Zinwell. I used several VCRs over two decades and never had a device malfunction on its timer events or spontaneously change the selected channel. Not sure why it is so difficult for these digital boxes.

    I get the best results with both devices by setting timers the morning of the same day as the programs. Setting timers a day or more in advance of the programs increases chances for timer event corruption.

    Although the on-screen station program guide for the DTVPal Plus is robust, it has an inadequacy. The normal program guide access turns off audio and video while you are browsing the guide, so you cannot hear or watch television as you peruse it. To view television as you browse the guide, you cannot use the Guide button on the remote but must use the directional buttons to access the guide-but the guide still overlays much of the screen (semi-transparent).

    In the clock settings, the Zinwell has no daylight savings on/off, while the DTVPal Plus does allow you to control daylight savings. The Zinwell has the advantage that you can manually set the time, while the DTVPal Plus does not allow you to. If you manually set the time in the Zinwell, I found it loses 1-2 minutes per week and also loses the clock time completely if power goes out even for a second (most devices will hold the time for 2-3 minutes in a power outage). I have mine on a UPS (backup battery) to keep it from losing time in a brief power outage. At least the Zinwell allows you to control the time if you want to. (Early in the digital conversion both boxes were keeping erratic time so clock options were important, but digital time signals have improved enough now that using automatic time is generally fine. This has made the options of manual time setting and daylight savings much less important but I have included this info for those interested.)

    The DTVPal Plus has one bright spot: it handles poor signal quality well. The two aspects of reception are signal strength and signal quality. While the DTVPal Plus does not pick up low strength well, it does handle poor signal quality very well. There are a couple of minor stations with poor quality (but adequate strength) that my Zenith and Zinwell cannot receive but that the DTVPal Plus picks up. In my experience, it also has less dropout from other things that reduce signal quality, such as splitting the antenna feed or electrical interference.

    One other small plus I have found with the DTVPal Plus: it operates from my old universal remote (as a SAT box), which allows me to control all my devices-very, very handy. None of the other converter boxes that I have will work with this old universal remote, although I have heard that some of the newer universal remotes can control converter boxes. This somewhat makes up for the fact that the DTVPal Plus has no buttons on the box and can only be operated by remote control. (However, it may be too sensitive-it also turns on when I press the fast forward button on one brand of VCR remote!)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very Nice. You can record different stations while away from home. Works great with a VCR, March 10, 2009
    I only have an outdoor TV antenna. No cable or satellite. I too bought this converter for the built in timer. You can record different channels at different times while you're away from home with your VCR and TV antenna (However, you can not record one station and watch another station "at the same time"). You have to set your TV and VCR to channel 3 (always) and the timer in this converter is what you set for the time and channel to record. Make sure the clock time on the converter box matches the clock time on your VCR. Or you may miss part of your show. There is one problem that I haven't figured out yet. I hooked this converter to the TV in my living room. My outdoor antenna cable line continues on and goes to the bedroom and the TV in the bedroom only plays the channel that the converter box is on in the living room. I have 2 of these converter boxes and so I hooked the second one up in the bedroom. It receives no channel signals. Well, that didn't last long since I received my DVD recorder in the mail (Toshiba DR560 1080p Upconverting DVD Recorder with Built-in Tuner, bought on Amazon) and this DVD recorder has a built-in ATSC/NTSC/QAM digital/analog tuner. Meaning, I don't need a converter box in my living room now. This DVD recorder allows me to record one station and watch another station at the same time from my over the air, outdoor antenna. Just like a VCR. Awesome! Now the converter box works on the bedroom TV. Since the DVD recorder is allowing the signal to continue on through to the bedroom. I am a happy camper. I now have an extra converter box. Maybe I'll sell it on Amazon.


    Over 3 years ago, I got rid of my cable (yes, the first 3 months was very difficult). I bought an outdoor TV antenna and lived with that for about a year. The reception wasn't good, lots of white specs or lines. Then I bought a "booster" for the antenna. A big improvement almost like receiving paid cable. This converter box allows me to receive more TV stations then the outdoor TV antenna alone. I haven't figured out yet what these stations are. I think they're cable or satellite channels. This converter box also improved the reception of all the TV stations. My new DVD recorder, as I mentioned above, also improved the reception even better then this converter box.

    By the way, so far I've saved over 2 thousand dollars by getting rid of my paid cable and going to an outdoor antenna. Add up your monthly cable bill and times it by 12. That's what you're paying a year for paid cable.

    3-0 out of 5 stars VCR TIMER - good to keep your DVR or VCR working, September 13, 2008
    The main reason I bought this product was for the DVR/VCR Timer. This feature allows you to program your favorite shows, and the box will automatically change channels to that show. You can then use your DVR or VCR to capture the video off the box.

    Other boxes like the Zenith DTT901 have better reception capability, but lack the ability to operate with DVRs or VCRs.

    The Zinwell also has analog passthru for people who will be watching Low Power or "clear air" stations after the February 2009 analog shutdown. If you're like me, and don't have any analog stations post-transition, then this feature has no real relevance.

    The Zinwell's guide is rather poor, since it only tells you what program is on now, and what program will be on next hour. The Dish DTVpal has a full=featured guide upto 12 hours into the future, but I don't recommend that device due to poor quality build & software bugs that make it almost unusable.

    Overall I'm satisfied with the Zinwell's DVR and VCR capability, although I still use the Zenith as my main box when watching live television.


    4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but not outstanding, February 10, 2009
    I've been playing around with three DTV converter boxes over the past three months (Magnavox DTV Digital to Analog Converter, TR-40 CRA by Dish Network, and this Zinwell), and none of them stands out above the rest. They all do about the same thing, providing excellent picture quality over their analog equivalents, and I can get 27/28 channels with a rooftop antenna in the Baltimore-Washington area. This Zinwell is the latest, and after about 2 months of testing it, here are my observations:

    Pros:
    - It has a power button and channel buttons on the front of the box in case you misplace the remote
    - It displays signal intensity/quality meters each time you change the channel so you can adjust your antenna for best reception
    - Internal firmware is upgradeable for future updates
    - Built-in timer changes channels for extending the life of analog VCRs
    - Great picture quality
    - Analog pass-through (kind of)
    - Volume control from this remote (based on TV's current max volume)
    - Parental controls

    Cons:
    - Remote control is pretty flimsy
    - Power cord is only 3' long so you may need an extension cord to reach a wall jack
    - Analog pass-through signal is not as clear as without the box
    - Picks up one less channel than the Magnavox on the same antenna
    - Built in time clock slips a few minutes over a period of weeks; annoying if you're using it to provide programming to an analog VCR
    - red LED to tell you it's "off" is an unnecessary waste of energy

    Having spoken to others using various DTV boxes/setups, it seems like the deciding factor on how many channels you'll receive is what kind of antenna you're using. Those with rabbit ears inside the house get as few as 4-6 channels; my 18-year old stationary roof-top antenna gets 27-28 as of today.

    1-0 out of 5 stars DANGER! DANGER!, May 29, 2009
    I've had my Zinwell converter box for two months and a few days ago, it simply stopped working. The unit powers up and five seconds later goes off. The real problem though is with Zinwell. When I called I went to the tech support line where I was told to leave a message only to find out the mailbox was full. After two attempts, I keyed in the customer service extension and same thing happened. THIS ISN'T BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE, IT'S ZERO CUSTOMER SERVICE. BUY AT YOUR OWN RISK.

    3-0 out of 5 stars 2nd ZAT 970 arrived. Comments & TIP!, June 11, 2009
    2nd Review:::

    I reviewed the ZAT 970A earlier after a few days using it. It was good enough (AND offers an "Event Timer" option most other Converter Boxes (CBs) do NOT offer) that we ordered a 2nd unit - which just arrived!

    Comments:

    - ZAT's picture & sound quality remains as good as our highly rated Insignia/Zenith CBs. Each CB recognizes and displays the same channels w/ similar clarity/sound (or break-ups --- which always seems antenna-dependant!).

    - I earlier mentioned the ZAT 970A's remote response were very slow! When our 2nd ZAT arrived, I installed it in a different room, different TV/antenna. The 2nd ZAT's remote responses were INSTANTANEOUS! So I swapped ZATs and tested again. The 2nd, FAST ZAT now responded SLOWLY to remote commands! I then swapped remotes -- SAME slow response! So I swapped and tested everything again -- SAME results!

    IOW, BOTH ZATs reacted fast in one room/situation, but slowly in another room/situation. When each ZAT was slow, it sat atop our Tivo 1 unit. Maybe some electrical/hard disk interference slows ZAT down. Dunno, but I realized I can't blame ZAT for this.

    TIP re: Editing Event Timers:::

    We bought the ZAT ONLY because it's "Event Timer" option helps us record programs on Tivo/VCR.

    I complained earlier that since we use ZAT's Event Timers DAILY to set up recordings of 8pm-11pm Prime Time TV (often editing 3 time periods!), it frustrated that:

    --- ZAT's remote did NOT have 1-button access to Event Timers.

    --- ZAT's Event Timer option is burried several layers deep in it's menus (AND below things you almost NEVER change: Language, Time Zone, Time etc.)

    --- AND that if you edit an Event Timer then press "Exit" to save your edit (let's say Event #4), ZAT kicks you backwards several menus to "Progam Timer!!!" If you then want to edit, say, Event #5, you must press "Enter," "Down," "Down," "Down," "Enter," "Event," "Event," "Event" -- Ugh! Really, really, dumb programming!

    TIP to Avoid That Ugliness: If you wanna edit 2+ Event Timers, INSTEAD OF pressing "Exit" to save each edit, move UP to "Timer #" (or whatever it's called - 1st option) then press ">" or "<" to move to another Event.

    ZAT will ask: "Save?" Select "Yes," then ZAT will move to the next/previous Event -- WITHOUT taking you BACKWARDS several layers! This saves time & frustration when editing 2+ Event Timers.

    Final complaint: I'm an adult, know what I'm doing and accept mistakes I make! I resent electronics and/or software treating me as a child, an idiot. For example, ZAT's default response to "Save?" is "No!" IMO, the default should be "Yes!" It frustrates and wastes my time (& batteries) to constantly have to undo ZAT's defaults. A GOOD programmer would have added an "Installation" option letting ME select "Safe" (Protect me from myself!) or "Fast" (Go for it!) modes!


    ==========
    1st Review:::

    Got the ZAT 970A CECB (Coupon-Eligible-Converter Box) 2 days ago. Amazon's price was perfect: $0!!! ($40 cost MINUS $40 Govt. Coupon Plus FREE Amazon Shipping = $0 cost delivered to our door! I ordered another for a spare unit/remote.)

    We've used 2 highly-rated Insignia/Zenith CECBs for months. We bought the ZAT ONLY because it's "Timer Events" option lets us record programs on our aging Series 1 Tivo unit that we use only as a very smart VCR (Tivo no longer supports Series 1 units!!).

    Pros:

    *** Easy hook-up (as are all CECBs)
    *** Picture/Sound Quality: The ZAT's picture/sound quality matches the Insignia/Zenith.

    Cons (fatal? serious? frustrating!):

    *** On day #1, we programmed all 8 of the ZAT's Event Timers to switch to different channels at specific times, then programmed Tivo to record Ch. 3 @ those times.

    On Day #1, all programs recorded perfectly!

    But on day #2, ALL Zat's Event Timers spontaneously changed to a channel we RARELY watch!!!

    On Day #2, we started watching a program that had just started recording -- WRONG CHANNEL! We found that ALL 8 of ZAT's Event Timers had been changed to this same channel! This could be FATAL for our recording/time-shifting purposes. If this repeats, it will ELIMINATE ZAT's main advantage over other CECBs with NO Event Timer options.

    *** Seriously deteriorating "Remote" responsiveness. ZAT's remote seems slow in general compared w/ other remotes. But last night it began taking 4-5 seconds for ZAT to respond to clicks of the Remote's buttons! I turned ZAT off, then back on again (when in doubt, Kick It!). The long delay disappeared, but it's still slow.

    *** Really, really lousy software programming! We've developed software for decades and learned: grasp what's used often, then put that up FRONT and uber-EASY & uber-RELIABLE! IMO, folks will OFTEN (daily?) use ZAT's Event Timer option. It should have a dedicated Remote button, OR have it's own Menu item on TOP of other Menu options. But... NOT ZAT! ZAT buries "Event Timer" deep in the "Setup" menu (AFTER: Language, TV System, Time Zone/Time -- HOW OFTEN would you change THOSE?) Equally bad, when you edit an Event Timer and select "Save," ZAT takes you BACKWARDS several menus! So to edit another Event Timer, you must start all over! That's sad, user-UNfriendly software programming.

    Comments re: Others' Comments:

    *** Sure the remote is flimsy compared to the solid, heavy remote of our Sony Tivo's remote. But ZAT's remote is similar to the lightweight remotes that came w/ Insignia/Zenith CECB units. Can't complain.

    *** Someone mentioned having to program things twice to record things: 1) The ZAT; and, 2) the VCR/Tivo. It may be much simpler. We erased ALL Tivo's/VCR's recording options and started over. We now record "M-F Prime Time shows" by telling Tivo to record WHATEVER comes over Ch. 3 between 8pm and 11pm M-F - simple! We then used 3 of ZAT's 8 Timer options to switch channels at: 8pm, 9pm & 10pm. Daily, we just "Edit" ZAT's channel option for each of those time slots - simple, and actually MUCH easier/faster than changing Tivo's recording options (no "Edit" option, you must start all over!)!

    *** A couple folks mentioned the ZAT's Timer option offers a "Time ON" option, but NO "Time OFF" option (like most recording devices have -- they're not the same).

    We found that "feature" to be a major advantage. If we set up a recording on one channel, then discover a better show on a different channel, we just change ZAT's channel - Tivo doesn't care, it just records what's coming thru Ch. 3!

    In sum, ZAT offers an important feature (Event Timers) most CECBs lack. But ZAT seems fragile and, most important, unpredictable. $0's a great bargain, but not if it's untrustworthy. I hope ZAT settles down and becomes reliable (fingers crossed).

    4-0 out of 5 stars ZAT970A vs. DTVPal notes, December 31, 2008
    A few notes about the differences:

    Most importantly, the ZAT970A has an 8 event capacity, while the DTVPal has only 5 available events, a piece of information not available in the manual nor anywhere else, even on the Dish website. I wouldn't have bought it had I known. This is nearly as boneheaded as the rest of the available CECB boxes, which have none.

    I have not found any notable reception differences between the two boxes; both have good sensitivity for the available stations within 30 miles. I am using a multiple antenna setup with amplifiers the same one I used for analog reception (necessary to pull in the furthest station), feeding 4 VCRs, 2 TVs, and one DVD recorder. For all stations, the signal strength and quality exceed 90% on either box.

    The DTVPal's on-screen guide is far superior to the ZAT970A's, but still no great shakes; for serious time-shifters, the online TV Guide website is still a necessity. It should be noted that the DTVPal guide is also superior to the guide on the $180 (retail) Samsung HD receiver I bought to view live HDTV on my ~ 4 yr. old Samsung HDTV-ready (hah!) 32" CRT style 16:9 flat screen.

    I haven't noticed any problems yet with the time settings, both are set to automatic Eastern time. Since I got them after the time change, any DST problems will show up next year.

    The DTVPal remote is easier to use due to it's larger button size, but the buttons on the ZAT970A remote are not as small as some remotes I have had to use.

    The DTVPal manual has larger print and illustrations, and is more thorough; the ZAT970A manual notes that to enter the Service Mode Menu to correct certain problems, the dealer should be contacted. This is a feat that will be difficult to accomplish since it is not sold in brick&mortar locations in most of the country.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Zinwell ZAT-970A Digital-to-Analog Converter Box, December 12, 2008
    I chose the ZAT-970A for use with an analog VCR, since it provides for the setting of up to 8 timers. So far it has worked fine for that purpose, although I've not tested it extensively. The programming of a timer is somewhat unusual in that the start time is based on a 24 hour clock and no end time is requested; therefore, the box does not shut off at the conclusion of a timed event. (I've read that a ZAT-970A with more recent software utilizes AM/PM instead of a 24 hour clock.) Basically this converter box works well. The tuner detects the same stations as a Zenith DTT901 and has good picture quality. I chose it over the only other converter box with timers that qualifies for a government coupon.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Zinwell ZAT-970A falls short!, July 28, 2009
    I have two Zinwell ZAT-970A units, and I'm having problems with both of them. The reason I bought them is because they can be programmed to pass programs to my VCR's.

    There are many problems;

    1. They do not always pass a good signal. My home has a TV antenna, with a signal booster, in the attic. On my main set-up, I have a splitter attached to my coaxial antenna cable. One signal goes to a Insignia Converter box which then goes to a A/B switch and then to the TV. This works fine. I need this set-up because we will often want to tape a show while watching another show at the same time.

    The second signal goes to my Zinwell ZAT-970A unit, then to my VCR. The VCR is connected to the A/B Switch which then goes to the TV.

    My problem is that my Zinwell units will, quite often, scramble the signal, sometimes for a half hour or more. It will also say "BAD SIGNAL" or "NO SIGNAL". At first, I thought I had a problem with my antenna set-up. But then I found out that, after switching over to the Insignia converter, the reception is fine...the Insignia box is not having any trouble with the signal quality or strength on any channel.

    2. Once the Zinwell converter box has encountered what it thinks is a bad signal, everything is out of sync. Even if the picture clears up, the sound and the picture no longer match. The sound lags by 3 or 4 seconds. If this happens while you are watching, you have to power the unit off and on to get it back in sync. If it happens while you are recording a program, you are out of luck.

    3. Another annoying habit that the Zinwell units have is that, every once in a while it will not start recording the program (channel) you programmed, it will jump to the last channel in your channel list and pass that channel to the VCR. Then, when you get home, surprise surprise, you have a recording of some obscure show, on a channel you never heard of.

    4. We use closed captioning a lot. When you play back a program you recorded through the Zinwell box, the closed captioning is totally scrambled.

    I purchased these units back when the initial HDTV switch was supposed to happen in January so my warranty may now be in question, but I need to get these issues resolved before the new season begins.

    I have tried their Customer Service number 1-866-444-3739 many, many, many times. I have never been able to connect with anyone at their "CUSTOMER SERVICE" or "TECHNICAL SUPPORT" extensions, EVER. Go ahead, you try them. Do it BEFORE you buy. I sent emails to the two addresses they list on their web site. No answers so far. Are they still in business???????

    5-0 out of 5 stars Works as advertised!, February 2, 2009
    I was looking for a converter box that I could use with my DVR/DVD recorder, since very few recorders of this type are available with an ATSC (digital) tuner. I found nothing comparable to my Panasonic DVD recorder with built in Hard Drive. You program your DVR to record at the desired time and then program the Zinwell ZAT-970A to come on at the that same time. If you want to change stations at a later time, you simply program another start time into the Zinwell ZAT-970A. (You can program up to 8 start times) The only drawback is that you cannot program an end time. However you set the overall run time for how long you want the unit to stay on and it will turn itself off after that amount of time. (I chose 2 hours) Since your DVR will stop recording at the end of it's program, leaving the converter box on longer doesn't pose a problem. (actually this is not so bad. you don't have to set a stop time in the Zinwell program) To be able to watch a different show than the one recording, I simply put an RF splitter on the coax cable coming in from the antenna then used the two outputs from the splitter for the TV and converter box. The unit has a video output that I use an the input to my DVR and recording quality, although not high definition, is very good.

    The bottom line: It does everything that I want and saved me hundreds of dollars on a new DVR. I am purchasing another one for my DVD recorder that I have in my bedroom. Read more


    5. Audio Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable
    Electronics
    list price: $149.00 -- our price: $99.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B002GYTPAE
    Manufacturer: Audio Technica
    Sales Rank: 250
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Audio technica turntable Fully Automatic belt drive ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Turntable At This Price, February 6, 2010
    You really can't get a better turntable for this price. It wasn't broken or cracked when it arrived, it was easy to assemble, and it sounds great. For under 100 bucks that is more than I expected. The other cool thing about this turntable that is not in the description is that it's easily upgradeable. The turntable comes with a ATN3600L stylus. You can replace that stylus with the ATN3600DLX stylus for even better sound quality and performance. You can also get a better belt for it too but I haven't looked into that yet. It's not going to get any better than this until you hit about the $300 range.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Super Sound, Really Impressed!, March 10, 2010
    I needed to replace my year-old Sony so I was pretty discouraged when I started my search. I was pretty much settled on the Pioneer and was researching reviews on the net when I stumbled on the Audio Technica AT-PL60 reviews that were so positive. So I switched and researched the PL-60 and decided to buy. Don't let the low price scare you off! It Sounds way better than my Sony which cost three times as much. It took two minutes to set up to my system and my vinyl came to life again! Family, Love and the Electric Prunes never sounded so good! I would Highly agree with the other reviewers that this is the best turntable under $300!

    5-0 out of 5 stars love it..., January 13, 2010
    sounds and looks great. easy to use. i love my vinyl and i would much rather listen to it in its original form rather than transferring it into my computer.
    this player meets all my needs. it plugs directly into a set of speakers, no stereo needed.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good purchase for the money, September 26, 2010
    I bought this when the stylus on my old Soundesign turntable and saw that for $20 more than buying a new stylus, I could upgrade to a better record player. The player itself has 2 settings for autostart" 7" and 12" which covers most of my records. Unfortunately, there is no 10 setting. There are also only 2 speeds: 33.3 and 45 RPM. No 78 RPM setting, so older records will not play on this turntable. Sound-wise, this record player is a big improvement over the player I was using before. Unless a record is very scratched up, you will not hear crackling when using this turntable. Overall, if you want an inexpensive turntable you can't go wrong here. This is definitely the best turntable in its price range.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very nice turntable, July 30, 2010
    I purchased this turntable to be able to record my old albums onto my computer. I had read that USB-equipped turntables were often less than ideal. I found this on amazon and have been very pleased.

    It came with standard RCA jacks and adapters to male and female 1/8" stereo so I can plug in speakers, headphones or into my computer without buying anything else.

    Assembly was straightforward. (You have to put the turntable on the unit and attach the belt.)

    Sound quality is great.

    The "line-level" output works well. I have a Macbook and it accepts line-level inputs so ripping with Audacity is straightforward.

    I would recommend this turntable to anyone with a stack of vinyl in the closet.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great turntable, great price!, October 9, 2010
    I ordered this turntable so that I could (hopefully) listen to LPs I haven't been able to hear for the past 25+ years. (Old turntable broke; CDs were the "in" thing at the time, so I never replaced my old turntable). I'm not an audiophile as some are, plus I have hearing loss in one ear, so all I know is "Does it sound good?" Well, I can tell you that I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of sound that I heard from LPs that are old, and some not in the best of condition.

    First, the set-up. I worried a bit about putting the belt on. (Did I also mention that I'm a klutz?) However, when the package arrived, I took everything out, read all the directions first, and within 2 minutes after that (that is not an exaggeration), I had the turntable set-up accomplished. It couldn't have been easier!

    Initially, I hooked the turntable up to a pair of miniature speakers I bought for my iPod. I just wanted to make sure the records would play. I put the first album on the turntable, cleaned it with Discwasher cleaning kit, and pushed the Start button. I actually got tears in my eyes when I heard the LP play. Even with the miniature speakers, the music sounded pretty darn good. However, the miniature speakers do not have sound control, so I attached a pair of computer speakers (Altec). The music sounded even better. Today, I believe I'm going to bite the bullet and hook the turntable up to the stereo component (I still have one that has Phono input). I'm anxious to see what the music sounds like coming through a Bose speaker system.

    Some reviewers commented on the short phono plugs that are permanently attached to the turntable. They are short, but 2 different types of extensions are shipped with the turntable, so I had no problem attaching my speakers, and I don't believe I'll have trouble when I attach the turntable to the stereo system.

    I've only used this turntable one day (but I played albums for 4 hours last night!), so I can't comment on its longevity. However, based on what I experienced last night, I believe this turntable, especially for the price, is great. An FYI: This is the first review I've ever written for a product, so that says something about how I feel about this turntable.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very good entry level turntable, June 27, 2010
    Better looking than the equivalent Sony. Probably a better machine too. Definitely buy this over the USB version, you don't want to rely on some cheap-as-dirt on-board sound processor to convert the signal to digital. Buy the analog-only machine and just plug it into the microphone jack on your computer if you want to record the stuff. Audacity is free and handles analog input quite well.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect..., June 6, 2010
    I admit, I'm new to vinyl. I have never used a turntable before last week when I picked up this Audio-Technica AT-LP60.

    Setup is simple, it takes about five minutes. For speakers I have it hooked up to my Logitech Z-2300s via the RCA-to-3.5mm converter cable. My first test record was the 180gram vinyl version of Opeth's Blackwater Park and the sound is excellent. Smooth bass reproduction, very little distortion or background noise. Operation is fully automatic - put a record on and hit start, it does the rest. The AT-LP60 will support 12" or 7" records at either 33 or 45rpm. There's also a button to lift and drop the tonearm so you can manually place it or pause playback.

    The reason I'm not giving this five stars (yet) -
    Record playback is noticeably distorted as you get close to the end (the inner part of the vinyl). As I mentioned before, I'm new to vinyl... But a few quick Google searches seem to tell me that this is the fault of an incorrectly aligned cartridge. No big deal, I can just align it, right? But it doesn't look like there's any capability to do so, the cartridge is a solid piece and the stylus just snaps on. I suppose that's some of the capability you lose when buying an entry-level turntable.

    So if anybody can shed some light on a fix for this problem, even if it requires some further purchases, you'd make my day.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Audio Technica AT-PL60 turntable, April 1, 2010
    It works good,The only thing they might need to
    address is that the stylus arm is dropping alittle
    fast on to the record.Other than that,am satisfied,
    with the product.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect, March 24, 2010
    Did lots of research on this record player before purchasing. Easy to use, simple. Plugged into the back of my son's CD player so he can listen through the speakers. He wanted a record player with automatic arm - there is a button to lift up and down the arm, not just automatically lifting at start or end of album. Great! He's so happy - it's exactly what he wanted. Read more


    6. Audio Technica AT-PL60USB Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable with USB Port
    Electronics
    list price: $199.95 -- our price: $100.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B002GYTPB8
    Manufacturer: Audio Technica
    Sales Rank: 32
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Get your classic albums off the shelf and into your MP3 player!The Audio-Technica AT-LP60 USB makes it easier than ever to transfer your albums to the digital realm with this new recording system. The AT-LP60 USB stereo turntable comes equipped with a USB output that allows direct connection to your computer. The system also offers: state-of-the-art recording software—Audacity (for both MAC and PC), an integral dual-magnet Audio-Technica phono cartridge, a USB cable and adapter cables. The turntable also features a built-in switchable phono/line preamp that allows connection to a stereo system equipped with either a phono or line-level input. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A nice toy.... and i mean it!, February 24, 2010
    Have been waiting and watching and after my first use, download to the computer, and mp3 file creation, I'm happy enough to recommend this product.

    For under a hundred bucks the quality seems great. The manual for setup of the system and software is well done with step by step pictures.

    I have mine connected to both the computer and external speakers. I'm able to listen to the music while recording thru the external speakers and listen to playback of the downloaded music thru head phones on the computer.

    the software has lots of options to play with. but the basic " push the red button to record " and file save as and file export, get the job done to make your albums digital.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good provisional or first machine, but perhaps best to go up one model, June 11, 2010
    This has recently gone up in price, even apart from the Gold Box Special that greeted me. In a way, I wish I'd seen the higher price, which would have discouraged me from ordering so quickly. I remember when, in the '70s, it cost more to replace a Shure V-15 Type II cartridge than to purchase this turntable, which comes complete with cartridge, stylus, and 4 different connecting cables to cover just about all situations, even those for customers without a receiver/amplifier. It wasn't long before, in the '80s, the elliptical stylus itself went for over a hundred, eventually taken off the market by Shure due to the scarcity of its rare and costly constituent.

    The point: for 60 to 90 bucks, you should not expect anything close to a genuine audiophile turntable--even though the machine includes auto tone arm lift, two instruction manuals, four well-made cables, cartridge and stylus. But the feature missing with this turntable, the one reason I wish I hadn't ordered it and had waited to purchase the next model up, is a counterweight for achieving precise tone arm balance as well as an anti-skating control for reducing pressure (and distortion) on the inside grooves of the vinyl LP, especially the tracks closest to the middle hole.

    Nevertheless, given the absence of a counter-weighted tone arm and anti-skating control, this turntable does a highly competent job of tracking most recordings. In fact, it performs better than both of the ailing industry-standard, professional Stanton turntables that were proving increasingly problematic at the station. Also, the tracking pressure that I measured is less than 2 and a half grams, light enough to prevent the stylus from eating up your vinyl (at least not until after 2-3 playings).

    The unit comes with built-in preamp, so not only does it not require an amp with a phono jack, but it doesn't require any amp beyond the one in your computer if your primary consideration is converting vinyl to digital. A couple of things to be aware of: the lift on the tone arm is too small to be of use for manual placement. You'll need to be comfortable with the automatic lift mechanism or forget about picking up and dropping down the tone arm with any semblance of accuracy. Also, in back is an all-important lever that switches the unit from "phono" to "line" connection. If you're using the unit without an amp with phono jack (beginning in the '90s, cost-conscious manufacturers began leaving them off of receivers and amps, though with the comeback of vinyl we've seen the reappearance of phono jacks), be sure to set the switch to "line." The same holds true if your connection involves use of any of the optional cables and connectors that are included with the turntable.

    The turntable tracks quite nicely from what I've seen, and is worth the low cost. Still, before investing in a USB unit--without or without phono connectors--you may simply wish to save up for the best "conventional" turntable along with an amplifier or receiver that has a phono jack. That way you'll have a better chance of scoring some of the audiophile niceties mentioned above, and connection to your computer will be no problem--whether you have an 1/8" familiar audio jack or an adapter that will transform RCA into USB cables.

    The software included with the turntable is Audacity--a respected freeware program that's capable of doing an excellent job but is not known for being the most user-friendly program. Other possibilities are Cool Edit (for PC users); Spin Doctor or Sound Studio (Mac users). Once you've converted a couple of LPs, it's a piece of cake--except for the potential of allowing the process to consume all of your time and life. (Try to resist the temptation to make up your own CDs, complete with jewel cases, printed front and back covers and spines, disc centers, booklets, photos, inserts, etc. Another not inconsiderable expense--in time as well as money.)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming, April 28, 2010
    Purely as a turntable, this is a satisfactory unit comparable to any other at the $50 to $80 range. The features that should have set it apart (and for which I purchased the item) are all woefully disappointing.

    1) USB-Direct Recording: The true purpose of my purchase was to update my current phonograph configuration to a more convenient way to convert my LPs to MP3. When using the USB connection, there is a dull but constant power-cycle hum from the moment USB Codec is selected as the Recording Device. After attempting to avail myself of this feature with multiple computers in my home I have concluded that the USB connection should be considered unusable by even the least discriminating among music lovers (Perhaps power filters could be used to isolate potential ground-loops but even then, you would still have to contend with issue number 3 below).

    2) The software: Always in search of audio recording software that would work well on a PC, I was eager to test the claims of Audacity as proclaimed in the included accessory description for this turntable. As it turns out, Audacity is open source freeware. Anyone can get a more recent version of the software for free online.

    3) Pre-amp: The ability to play this unit directly through a sound system with the boosted "Phono" inputs of older receivers was a major draw. Having held on to an older receiver for the single purpose of bridging between my turntable and my newer AV receiver, I was looking forward to eliminating one large and superfluous component in my rack. Given the tragic failure of the USB connection, I had also expected this to be the viable alternative to converting to MP3 on my laptop. Sadly, this too was a failure. The pre-amp in this unit is unable to cope with the low input at the end of any track that fades out. The result is a very abrupt cut-off followed by a series of unpleasant audio events as the pre-amp cuts in and out. These events seem to indicate that the db level at the end of the song combined with the surface noise usually experienced between tracks rests squarely at the bottom of the volume range necessary for the pre-amp to engage. As it turns out, this is also the case with USB recording but one might not notice as the aggravating hum covers most of the audio at this volume level.

    At this point, my only remaining choice is to use the non-amplified output and run it through the mic input of my Creative Labs SB1090 USB Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Audio System external sound card (a delightful purchase from Amazon which will be reviewed separately). Of course, I could have done this with my existing turntable as could anyone else who purchased a comparable unit at a comparable price.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Flexibility and affordability but not reliability, April 30, 2010
    This turntable requires assembly but is easy to set up and use. The sound quality output is really good though I recommend you use a receiver with phono amplication like the cheap Sherwood RX4109 2-Channel 100 Watts Stereo Receiver (Black) rather than a turntable's built-in preamp. It can run automatically, featuring a start and stop button that will take care of buisness as long as you have the right size and speed set, or you can just use the arm raise/lower switch to do things manualy, and it always pulls the arm at the end of recordings regardless of how it's used. The cartridge and belt are apparently replacable and upgradable, and between USB, line out and phono out you have plenty of options for connections.

    However it doesn't track amazingly well even on a new, clean record, and it has trouble maintaining speed. This may mean it really needs a belt upgrade, or maybe it just has a weak motor. In any event, after playing through about one side of a LP it starts slowing down appreciably, with a minute's worth of sound played over about 65-70 seconds and notes all going flat (guitars standard turned sounded like they were Eb). If I want to play both sides or more than one record it starts slowing down appreciably (I synced songs on records to songs on other media and they finished well ahead of it). It cost me $75, I guess you get what you pay for, and I may return it and get a direct drive model.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Works great!, June 16, 2010
    I was a little concerned about buying it because one user complained of a humming noise from not being grounded properly, but it worked great. I've recorded a dozen albums and am very happy with the purchase. Lots of options on the software that I am still figuring out, but overall, I am very happy with this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Turntable, June 9, 2010
    The outside packing box arrived tattered but that hasn't affected the functionality of this excellent player. There are complaints that the arm cannot be secured to its resting position when moving it. Please consider that this is not a portable juke box for the beach - a rubber band will do the job. The platter is aluminum, arm return is automatic and gentle. Dust cover, an extra on some other popular turntables, fits tightly on all sides and spring-loaded hinges hold it reliably. Connected to Harmon/Kardon computer speakers it puts out sound so great that I haven't yet taken the time to test the DVD recording capabilities. A thoughtful extra was the inclusion of various RCA plug connectors to accommodate all types of speakers.

    A very happy with this purchase and the reasonable price - another winner from Amazon.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great turntable, April 14, 2010
    Great turntable for the price!
    I love how this turntable can be used directly with speakers with no need for a receiver, and it sounds great. You can also attach it to any kind of sound system for even better sound. I also like the fact that its automatic so there is no risk of falling sleep or just forgetting you had a record playing and coming back to a ruined LP and needle. I don't like that it doesn't come with any strap for the arm and that you can't regulate the weight of the arm (so with really old records you need to put a penny at the end of the arm!). I am also surprised that its very well built when most of the turntables this days are made out of flaky plastic. I haven't tried converting any of my records to mp3's but I am sure it will work just fine.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Would be 5 star if not for USB problems, October 28, 2010
    If you are planning to buy this to hook up to your computer, don't bother with the USB and just get the regular one for slightly less. Half of the time, the USB connection doesn't work, and I can only get it to run through Audacity. I just ended up using a line in connection to my computer, and it plays through automatically. But all and all, it works great for a cheap basic turntable. If I would have known how troublesome the USB was, I would have got the standard non-USB model. But for a few dollar price difference, it wasn't worth returning.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Audio Technica AT-LP60USB Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable with USB Port, July 13, 2010
    very user friendly. excellant product. no problems using it...
    I was able to download my mother's old records on CD's for her...
    Audio Technica AT-LP60USB Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable with USB Port

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful Machine, November 30, 2010
    Starting with assembly, I must say it was very simple! The included instructions are clear and concise (including the connect-to-computer instructions).

    Now onto the player itself.

    The player's output to stereo (and phono) are wonderful! The quality is amazing! My only issue is that the length of the stereo cord is irritatingly short--about one foot long!

    Ripping record to your PC or Mac is simple! Just install the software, press 'record', and start playing your record! The rips are wonderful quality, too (IF you convert to a lossless format. MP3 is obviously going to be of a lesser quality)!

    Overall, I must say that I love this. Besides the short stereo cord, this is a great, easy to use, and compact record player.

    Also included with the record player:
    * A USB cable
    * A stereo (female) to headphone-jack (female)
    * A stereo (female) to headphone-jack (male)
    * Installation disc for Audacity (the recording software) Read more


    7. Sony PS-LX300USB USB Stereo Turntable (Black)
    Electronics
    list price: $199.99 -- our price: $114.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0015HOFZI
    Manufacturer: Sony
    Sales Rank: 242
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Do you still have some classic vinyl? Would you like to transfer those albums to your PC, Walkman music player, or even your iPod music player? Well now you can bring those albums into the digital world with the PS-LX300USB USB stereo turntable from Sony. Using the USB connection, you can import all that music into your computer and create MP3 files to store on a PC or bring along with you on your favorite portable player. The supplied Audio Studio software makes it easy for you to archive your music from vinyl, optimize the sound, and store it on your PC. The PS-LX300USB USB turntable is also a fully functional turntable that can connect to your current system and playback your classic vinyl albums. ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Price is right and Sound is Great, April 27, 2008
    The reason that I'm writing this review is because this product is new and I could not find a single review on this turntable before I purchased it. I had been shopping for a turntable for quite awhile, reading reviews and product specs until I finally decided on the PS-LX300USB mostly for its appearance, price, USB capabilities and the Sony name. I've had this turntable for two weeks now and so far I am very pleased with its performance.

    Here's what I like about this turntable:
    Great sound that surpasses a number of CD recordings of the same music; USB connection that easily allows conversion of analog music to digital files; Even the MP3s that I made sound better than some of the CD versions of the same music; It is black and blends in well with my other stereo equipment and doesn't look like a bloated silver flying saucer (like some other USB turntables); Easy to operate; Price is great; Software works very good once you figure out how it operates.

    As for my opinion of its shortcomings:
    The plastic construction has a light cheap look. The software instructions in the manual will lead you to select a "record" option that will prevent you from hearing the audio as you record it. This was a little annoying until I found the "Vinyl Recording" feature under one of the drop down menus at the top of the screen.

    Conclusion:
    If you simply want to enjoy the great sound of vinyl, and if you want to easily make your own mp3s, and if you don't feel the need to brag about spending $300 + on a turntable and $80 on RCA cables like the audiophiles would have you think is necessary, then this might be the turntable for you. I recommend this turntable and I've been listening to vinyl records for over fifty years.

    Additional Note: You can select a variety of digital formats to record to including those that are not compressed.

    4-0 out of 5 stars This is exciting, October 1, 2008
    I would have given this 5 stars with a little better instructions on set up. It assumes a knowledge of stereo components that I don't have. But as it is I've fumbled along by trial and error and I'm getting incredible results.

    My LP collection has been in the basement for the last 23 years. Frankly I assumed those records were ruined. I never had good stereo equipment or fresh needles, and I never treated them with more than casual care. However, I dragged them up to make a list of what MP3 tracks I'd like to buy and to my amazement I found that I had huge collections with songs that have never been digitalized. I also found that some of these old LPs are only available at astronomical prices. So I decided to try digitalizing my old LPs using the Sony PS-LX300 USB.

    Before playing my first record, I spent a day on-line looking at the options for cleaning vinyl records. Spending hundreds of dollars on a disc cleaning system for records that I assumed were about ruined was out of the question. I settled for the RCA Discwasher for $14.95, even though reviews claimed it was vastly inferior to the old product (which sells at auction for well over $50.00). I also looked at the DIY options of washing vinyl records, but what I read indicated that drying was as important as getting a cleaner into the grooves and the RCA Discwasher brush was supposed to serve this function of both cleaning and drying.

    I hooked the Sony turntable up to my Dell Laptop so I could keep working on my desktop computer while recording. The Sony turntable comes with a USB connection and also RCA cables (which are very short). The turntable comes with a switch to choose either Line or Phono. I presume from the combo offered above that you could also attach the RCA cables to speakers purchased separately to listen while recording through the USB option. I have a DAK Mixer Interface (which I never figured out) so I hooked the RCA cables into that and tried plugging their stereo mini plug into my laptop input line, but my first pass did not produce sound on the final recording -- no doubt I had to change some settings on my input line. So instead I just plugged headphones into the DAK mixer to listen while recording using the USB option.

    For USB recording, I had to go into my control panel and change my Sound|Recording options, but that those steps were well spelled out on page 11 of the Sony turntable manual. I'm sure with more fiddling around I can figure out how to get sound through my laptop while recording, but it's working just fine for me with headphones.

    Then I thoroughly cleaned my first LP -- an old favorite I purchsed in 1961 and played to death over the next 20 years. I cleaned it a total of three separate times, assuming it was very dirty, following the directions carefully. As I pushed the start button on the Sony, I was amazed at the quality of sound coming through the headphones. I expected to hear mostly hisses and pops with a little music thrown in. I couldn't believe the quality of that old LP after cleaning. There was some cracking but mainly it was noticeable between tracks.

    I used the default settings on the SoundForce Audio Studio for "Vinyl Recording and Restoration" and these pops and crackles were almost eliminated in the final product.

    Right now my recordings are coming through as one track (which they mention can happen with some old LPs) but the software has a good help section which includes how to go back and separate the tracks. I'll be working through that later this morning. But right now I have my first two records digitilized with a sound quality I never believed possible. I am thrilled beyond belief and looking forward to listening to hours more of my old treasures as I compile them into a digitilized collection.

    As a final note, I always scoffed at those who said that records had a warmth that is missing from CDs. I figured that only audio snobs with expensive equipment could tell a difference since I was quite pleased with my CDs and iPod music. But as I listen to my old LPs I am aware of exactly what they mean. There is an intimacy and depth of sound that is missing from CDs. Amazing to think that such an old technology can hold up so well, even on ill-used records that are over 45 years old.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Turntable is great, still learning the software, August 8, 2008
    I haven't had any problems with the turntable, it's being very kind to my old albums. I'm pretty impressed with the quality and am glad I chose the Sony over several other brands I researched. I would definitely recommend this one.
    Like several other reviewers I've had a not so fun time trying to figure out the software. I do have sound through my computer. To make a long story short, here's what I ended up with for my settings: click "Tools" then "vinyl recording and restoration", be sure "monitor recording level" is checked. My Device Properties on the Audio tab is: Sound Playback: Realtek HD Audio Output
    Sound Recording: USB Audio CODEC
    MIDI Music Playback: Miscrosoft GS Wavetable SW Synth
    I can listen to an album even if I don't want to record it by opening up the vinyl recording and restoration window and just letting it run in the background.
    Hope this helps.

    3-0 out of 5 stars SONY PS-LX300USB, December 26, 2008
    I received this from my wife as a Christmas present yesterday so I cannot vouch for its reliability. I can, however, describe how to get past the sound through the PC problem.

    As someone previously described the process I will use their process except change the order because that is important:

    Under Control Panel (Windows XP) and Sounds and Audio Device Properties:

    Sound Playback: [enter your default sound card as Audio Output] Note that the installation software for Audio Studio LE changed this so that when you plug in the USB cable it will default to USB Audio CODEC. This is WHY your PC sound quits working.

    Make sure Sound Recording is set to: USB Audio CODEC

    MIDI Music Playback: Miscrosoft GS Wavetable SW Synth [I don't think this one makes any difference but it is where mine is at and it is working]

    On Audio Studio LE; Click "Tools" then "vinyl recording and restoration" AND be sure "monitor recording level" is checked.

    Make sure that the Sound and Audio Device properties are done BEFORE you call up the Sony software because it seems to NOT recognize changes in Windows once you have activated it.

    I only gave this a 3 rating because the instructions are so poorly written. Those of you who have a working turntable and a sound card with a line in input do not need this device. All you need is a set of patch cords that will go to the line in from your stereo. (Note that you can NOT run it directly from the turntable to the line in because you need a higher voltage input (at least a pre-amp level). You also need a program that has "line in" as an option for recording. Windows Media Player does not have this option.

    Update May: On reliability so far not a single problem.

    Update October 2010: The auto function on the turntable has broken such that the tone arms will settle on the record and then immediately lift up, return to the holder, and then the unit shuts down. If you have this problem once it does that use the lift button for the tone arm to lift it. Then move the tone arm to the starting point on the album and gently lower it with the button. As you move the tone arm to the start point the turntable should start rotating via the "manual" start.

    On the software dividing the songs issue I have found that it is better that the software didn't divide the songs automatically. In some cases it divides them incorrectly and you have pieces of songs. It is much easier to divide the songs manually than it is to go in and edit the transcription by cutting and pasting pieces of songs. This is another major ding against the software.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Works great with a Mac, November 29, 2008
    This is a great product for its price. It works equally well with both
    PCs and Macs, i.e. once you download Audacity for the Mac. The Audacity
    software allows audio play-thru without using the RCA connections,
    thus only the USB connection is required. Sony should provide Mac
    compatibility by including Audacity or indicating Mac compatibility
    by its use via a free Audacity download.

    Other than a couple of minor changes, i.e. RCA jacks in the rear versus
    a hardwired cable and an arm clip to hold the cartridge securely, the
    unit is well designed. The provided software works well on the PC,
    but the Audacity software is preferred. The unit is very easy to setup,
    taking only minutes. The controls, start, stop and arm up/down, make
    for a simple/easy operation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great little turntable that can also be used to make either MP3s or CDs with, March 10, 2009
    The Sony PS-LX300USB is a great record player for those who don't know where to start on record players, either that or a great replacement for their old players.
    I had LPs as mainly collectors pieces for years but lost them all due to moving around from Mass to SC back to Mass to SC to FL. Then in August of 2006, I started working at an independent record store in Port Saint Lucie, FL and realized vinyl wasn't dead. In fact, it's making a major resurrection! Then I started playing vinyl at work when I couldn't find the CD counterpart to play and realized how warm and better many of the older albums sounded (I usually looked for first pressings to play as they were better sounding). Also as part of my job, if we got in records and had more than one copy for sale of, we either threw them out or salvaged some (I managed to save a few Genesis, Beatles (the Red and Blue albums) and Styx (Pieces of Eight and Paradise Theatre) LPs from the trash heap).
    Then I was on a quest to look for a great record player. Crosley record player with CD burner wasn't what I wanted (though it looked great, reviews weren't great and was a no-name brand which meant system would have died in a short space of time) and then when I saw this Sony record player, I was like HMMM looks good but is it good? I checked reviews here and 4 out of 5 meant very good so I bought one and it works very well and was well worth my money.
    To make sure it worked and sounded great, I tested the turntable with the 180 Gram reissue of Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains the Same Soundtrack (which I initially bought to sell but I was like keep it and see if it sounds better than the CD) and the sound from this turntable was warm, clean and played all of the notes in right pitch (unlike some turntables where it sounded like Alvin and the Chipmunks pitch) and now am on a quest for more vinyl to play every now and again.
    What I also like about this system is it comes with a software to digitalize your old vinyl albums to either MP3s for the MP3 players or (in my case) CDs and can take out all of the crackling and feedback noises.
    This is a great record player for those who want to either rediscover vinyl or convert to digital to preserve classic recordings.
    RECOMMENDED!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Yes it works with Mac, April 25, 2009
    After failing to resurrect my old, unused Philips turntable, I bought this turntable. Plugged it in to my Mac and it works fine.... I used both Audio HiJack and CD Spin Doctor... I also tried out Final Vinyl and it works fine too. So, even though Sony doesn't pack any Mac software with this, it does indeed work with a mac (OS 10.5.6 ... Unibody MacBook Pro). Make sure the Audio Input is set to the USB Audio Codec which will be present when the turntable is plugged in to the Mac. I am very pleased with the sound... Created some MP3's with it and have renewed my interest in the thousand or so LP's I had stashed away... A great turntable. Listened to some of the mp3's on my Ipod while running this afternoon... couldn't be happier!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sony USB Turntable works great, December 26, 2008
    I have had the turntable for a couple weeks, as of 12/26/08. It was easy to physically install via the USB cable to my PC. The software installed easily enough. I would recommend following the instructions carefully and then do a reboot before attempting to record. I have recorded about 12 albums so far. My biggest issue is that the software defaults to saving as a "wav" file, which is huge. Every time I use the software I have to remember to change to saving as an "mp3", which is a pain. You can record the whole side of an album and then the S/W detects the tracks. This works about 80% of the time. On live albums there is no quiet period between the tracks so it can't autodetect them, so you get one giant track. You can then manually cut it into tracks using the S/W, but it is a pain. I now just save as one track, import into iTunes, and use the Get Info to list the track names in the comments. Overall I'd give this an A+ for value.

    3-0 out of 5 stars You Have Been Warned, November 29, 2009
    The needle for this machine wears out after about 500 hours of play, but you cannot buy the stylus from Sony. I know this because that's what the Sony Service people told me. They do not sell needles for their record players. You will have to search around to find a third party seller. "Sony" stores in my area said they do not service this machine. So if something is wrong with your machine, you may just have to repair it yourself or live with the problem.
    I have had this machine for over a year and have had multiple issues with it. My machine also has a serious issue with its tone arm. After the warranty ran out, the tone arm began to malfunction. It touches down on a record, lifts up, and then returns to its rest. It then clicks up and down several times. I've had the belt looked at, but this seems to be functioning fine. My other problem has been that the machine sometimes refuses to shut off.
    Other than that, it's a great product. When and if it functions, it records music to your computer.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Doesn't look expensive, but it works., September 17, 2008
    Some reviewers have commented on the "plasticky" appearance of this unit. No doubt, it isn't the kind of equipment you would have expected to be sitting next to an expensive amp, receiver and huge speakers twenty years ago, but it doesn't serve the same purpose.

    The way I look at it, once I have copied my 100 or so LPs to a hard drive, I'll just put this puppy on eBay and get most of my money back. Frankly, for what I spent on it, I could throw it in the trash and come out ahead b/c I didn't have to go out and replace my (some irreplaceable) vinyl with CDs.

    Let's make it plain, however, that converting your LPs to digital (even with the pretty good scratch removing software included) won't render the clean, clear quality of the identical recording which was later released on CD. In other words, this USB player works just fine and the software will allow you to disguise the defects of your old, used records somewhat, but it isn't going to make them new or even come close to a new CD. As for the reasons, lets just say that so much new recording technology has come down the road since you bought your old records that they didn't sound as good as you thought they did when they were brand new.

    Now that we're over those few hurdles, let's talk about the turntable and software. The TT will play 33s and 45s, but not 78s. Well, really - do you care? Maybe. I have about as many 78s as LPs. My wife has a slew of 45s. So, yeah, it might be an issue.

    The TT works just fine with as little "wow" as you used to have on much more expensive units. The stylus seems to be up to the task, also. The software can be a little daunting at first, unless you have already played with similar apps. Actually, once you get over the hump, it's pretty much a matter of play and record. You'll probably just stick with one scratch removal setting and copy all of your records w/o changing it.

    This unit does have a switch which allows you to turn on or off the preamp, which is handy if you decide to use it as a part of your home entertainment system instead of putting it on eBay.

    Incidentally, my unit is hooked up to an XP equipped Dell laptop. Like others, I was surprised and disappointed to discover that I could not monitor the sound through the laptop's speakers while it was being recorded. Other than that, getting it set up and operational was fairly easy (but I do have a background with computers and A/V stuff).

    I recently had the opportunity to set up another brand of unit for a friend. It had a few more features, such as a fancier mechanism for dropping the stylus on a track in the middle of the record and it would play records backwards(!?) But, it cost more money.

    The Sony works well enough that I recommended it (and Amazon, too) to an older friend. She immediately purchased it, but I'm pretty sure her techno savvy son had to set it up for her! Read more


    8. Onkyo HT-S3300 5.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver and Speaker Package (Black)
    Electronics
    list price: $379.00 -- our price: Too low to display
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B003BEDQR6
    Manufacturer: ONKYO
    Sales Rank: 219
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    If you’re looking for a future-ready receiver-and-speaker package that won’t break the bank, your search may be over. Meet Onkyo’s 5.1-channel HT-S3300—a system packed with so much advanced technology that it redefines entry-level home theater. As with every A/V receiver in Onkyo’s 2010 line-up, you get the latest iteration of HDMI—version 1.4. Three HDMI inputs let you hook up, say, your Blu-ray player, game console, and cable/satellite box—all of which can be output via a single cable to your connected high-res display. Not only is HDMI 1.4 compatible with next-generation 3D video, it also enables a convenient Audio Return Channel. On top of this, the HT-S3300 supports lossless HD audio formats from Dolby and DTS—previously the domain of mid-range to high-end receivers only. But that’s not all. The HT-S3300 also provides an overlaid On-Screen Display function for easy adjustment of settings; a Universal Port for one-cable connection of peripherals; Audyssey equalization; four gaming audio modes; and a fully immersive, beautifully balanced 5.1-channel speaker set. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars So far, so SWEET!!!, April 13, 2010
    First, let me say that I am by no means an expert "audiophile", but I did a lot of research before deciding on the Onkyo HT-S3300. I purchased it through Tiger Direct as Amazon would have it, then not have it and state "This item has not yet been released". Anyway, the first thing I noticed is the box is labed HT-S3300(B) and does state for Blu-ray. Not sure if any other 3300 models exist but this is the one I received. Now, for the review:

    The receiver is a REPEATER...not pass through. I also called Onkyo tech support prior to delivery and a courteous and professional lady stated all 2010 models are now REPEATERS. So, for some prior models (3200, 5200) you don't need a seperate audio cable (this of course is a personal preference, if you choose, for the 2010 models, or based upon the types of cables you presently have). Audio and video is done via HDMI. It is also HDMI 1.4a(supporting 3D video and Audio Return Channel) (per Onkyo description). As this could create confusion for some (it did for me) I needed to verify the receiver is a repeater. The wording on many electronics' product descriptions (Sony is guilty, too) is unclear. Make sure you do your research since you plan on spending your money and know and learn a little about what you are purchasing.

    Set up was about 30-45 min (reading and learning manual). Each of the speaker wires provided are color coded for easy hook up. Now, in the process of research I learned about guages. The ones provided do appear very thin, but I did a quick hook-up and will replace the the wires with a 14 or 16 guage.

    Every piece of equipment provided is black and nicely put together. For some, aesthetics are very important...for others, sound and functionality. I tend to lean towards the latter.

    I learned in my searching process a bit more about Dolby 5.1 and 7.1 channels. Size and space play an important role in the proper utilization of either. This is subjective but I believe there is some merit to it. I live in a basement apartment which is the full length of the house, front to back. No walls and of a long rectangular shape. 7.1 would not, I believe, have been much of a benefit so I opted for 5.1. NO REGRETS.

    The subwoofer is HUGE. Even Sarah Palin could see this when she looks out her window (sorry Russia). It packs a punch. One thing I must add is the wires for the surround speakers are long, but won't not work for my setup (carpet is pretty much attached to the floor and cannot be altered). I will make the surround wireless (purchased Rocketfish Wireless HD Audio Starter Kit: model RK-RBKIT) and waiting on delivery. More on that later.

    There are 3 HDMI in jacks and 1 HDMI out. There are also Digital IN Coaxial and Optical jacks...Component and Composite jacks, etc. The Ipod dock (UP-A1) is optional. Be sure to review the photo of the back of the receiver in the product description above.

    My components: LG 47" HDTV, PS3, Roku and Apple TV.

    This newer model does offer on screen setup(through your TV), but it will only work when hooked up via HDMI.

    I have the volume set below 20 and it was plenty loud. Remember, my description of my apartment and setup will be different from others so, for my present situation, it works wonderfully. I haven't tried the a Blu-ray movie yet so I will update on that when I do.

    There are many presets so you will have to play around for what works for you and your setup. I will refrain from listing Pro's and Con's as that too, is subjective for some and sometimes results from after purchase, not before. Suffice to say I am very happy with my HT-S3300.

    Please feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer or provide alternate suggestions or websites if I don't know or am not sure.

    Enjoy! M

    Update: Remember, on the PS3 if you are using a digital optical cable, the setting should be Bitstream. If you are using HDMI, set it to LPCM. Since I am using HDMI the setting is LPCM. Played about 10 minutes of Speed Racer on Blu-ray...SWEEEEEEET!!! Sound is flawless.

    Update 04/14/2010...Purchased 16 gauge wire and swiped connections on front and center speakers and subwoofer. Still waiting on Rocketfish for wireless HD. I believe I can notice a difference from the Onkyo supplied wires. I also feel a bit more comfortable since the 16 gauge is thicker.

    VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure when you change your hookups you must remember to go into the menu and make the changes as well.

    Note: Some have inquired about the subwoofer which is passive (not self powered) and also about active subwoofers. The passive subwoofer supplied with the 3300 is, in my opinion, plenty strong. I did a bit more research into this and there appears to be a 50/50 split. I reviewed opinions etc., and weeding out the comments that try to be expert but only provide one line responses it appears that there are pluses and minuses for each. Again, it is subjective and boils down to your personal preference. I also called Onkyo tech support to inquire about future upgrades for the 3300 and the pleasant gentleman responded that if I wanted to upgrade the subwoofer I would probably need to purchase a new system. I am ok with that because he also reminded me this an entry level system. Entry level or not, the 3300 is plenty powerful for my needs but please share your comments to help others decide on possibly the 3300, 5300 or other type system. Try not to get too caught up in the ongoing, neverending debate. Go with what you like...not matter what your ears will love you for it.

    Update 04/15/10...Just for kicks, I unhooked all HDMI's and used my HDMI switcher hooked into CBL/SAT. Every thing worked fine. Video and sound played without issue.

    Rocketfish HD Wireless Kit arrived and is now hooked up with the surround speakers. Took a few minutes to hook wires and speakers up. Since it is a Kit it is preconfigured in the factory so you just hookup, plug in and go. Comes with a remote for volume control, on/off, bass, mute, input of A/B speakers. Watching Watchmen(Blu-ray) and sounding pretty nice. Have to remeasure since surround speakers are now behind me.

    ***One item of neverending and frustrating debate is the PCM/Bitstream settings on the PS3 and a receiver's capabiilty of decoding Dolby TRUE HD and DTS-HD MA. In a nutshell, I have a headache. The fact of multiple "flavors" of PS3 doesn't help. Since the 3300 can decode Dolby True HD and DTS-HD MA (or any other receiver or HTIB that supports those audio formats), you are left with such questions as, "What IS the correct setting on the PS3? Will my receiver actually show "Dolby or DTS?" What are the differences between the slim and fat PS3? Your head hurting yet?

    The Slim PS3's support HD decoding in both LPCM and BITSTREAM. The Fat PS3's(like mine) can only support HD decoding in LPCM, but not in BITSTREAM. My situation leans toward having the PS3 handle the decoding (set to PCM, via HDMI) instead of the receiver. Keeping in mind my receiver will show "MCH PCM 5.1." This in no way indicates there is a problem since it does not show "DOLBY D or DTS-HD MA." One thing I have noticed in this whole experience is many people think their receiver or PS3 is acting up (which is the case sometimes). Since the PS3 is doing the work, it takes the credit. If you choose to let the receiver do the decoding, it will show Dolby or DTS. Also, you MUST remember to go into the setup of your Bluray or DVD menu and verify audio format. Don't rely on the system to do that for you. This, too, may cause some distress if not checked.
    It never occurred to me I may need a check list before watching a movie.

    Update 05/27/2010...It's been about six weeks and I have nothing but continued praise for this system. The wireless speaker kit (Rocketfish) works very well with this system, so that also gets some well deserved kudos. No audio or picture issues to report. One minor quib is acutally pointed at the remote...universal remote. I have the Logitech Harmony 550 and transferring commands from the Onkyo remote will require patience and planning. What minor commands I do have set up work as expected. In all, not one regret with my Onkyo purchase.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best entry level system out there, April 15, 2010
    I was skeptical before ordering this system as I ordered Sony HTSS360 (another popular and high rated entry level system) before and its sound was nowhere acceptable as the speakers were weak and sub-woofer was doing all the job, creating a woofy and very narrow ranged sound.

    When I saw the 2010 Onkyo systems, I initially pre-ordered HT-S5300 but it being not released yet gave me some time to research and take a close look at ht-s3300 as well. After looking at its specs, I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did as it saved me $200. I am also happier with smaller and less-intrusive speakers of ht-s3300 compared to 5300 and having two less speakers to wire across the room. Now let me try to give you some opinion on the system and its sound.

    First I must say, it is good looking system with shiny black speakers and a boxy but classy looking receiver. Its sound is much better than I expected especially it being an entry level system. Instead of going over all its specs, I will try to answer most people would have in mind and also list the important pros and cons.

    PROS:
    -Has a HDMI repeater and do the switching, so you only need HDMI cables without extra audio cables.
    -Supports all the new formats and it does pretty good job at decoding HD audio formats.
    -I was initially hesitant about the audyssey audio correction system it is equipped with since it doesn't have a microphone for auto calibration. However, it turns out that the audyssey system is factory calibrated to the specifications of the speaker set it comes with and it does pretty good job of acoustic correction. The only adjustment I needed to do was measuring the speaker distances to the optimal listening area and manually entering it to the receiver set-up. I also did some minor adjustment on speaker levels, but it is a matter of personal taste.
    -On screen display is great to see the menus, volume level and setup options overlayed on the tv screen.
    -All the necessary options are provided in the menus without going into unnecessarily detailed options. Pretty customizable yet easy to use and configure options.
    -No background noise when not in use, or any sonic booms on power on/off.
    -Speakers are surprisingly good for this price level, I am even impressed with the passive subwoofer as its power is adequate when paired with the other supplied speakers and it produces clean basses.
    -Finally the sound is on par with systems I listened before which cost in the range of $400-$800. So, I consider this system a pretty damn good deal. I don't think you can get anything for this price that would produce a better or even comparable sound.
    -It runs cooler than the previous Onkyo receivers I have encountered.

    CONS:
    -it is 5.1 system, but it was actually a pro for me as I don't like too many speaker around and I personally find 5.1 enough to create satisfactory surround effects. Most media out there is 5.1 anyway...
    -It is not for large rooms, don't forget it is 660W system and the subwoofer is passive with 130W output. My living room is about 15X15ft and its output is enough but for rooms that are considerably bigger, I recommend another system (perhaps ht-s5300).
    -Only 3 HDMI input, so all the inputs are used up on mine. If I buy another device, I have hook one of them to component inouts.
    -No video inputs on front side of the receiver, just a stereo audio input for connecting portable media players.
    -No automatic acoustic correction, so it has to be done manually. If you upgrade your speakers then you cannot use audyssey function as it factory configured for the specifications of the speaker set it ships with. You have to turn off audyssey if you are using different set of speakers.
    -The sub-woofer is passive, but I found its size and power is adequate for small/medium rooms. But if you are bass freak and you are not living at an apartment (otherwise, you will have angry neighbors), then consider ht-s5300.

    If you are in the same boat I was and trying to decide between ht-s3300 and ht-s5300, I can confidently recommend ht-s3300 for $200 less as long as your living/entertainment room is small/medium size. But, ht-s5300 is no doubt a superior system with better speakers and a more powerful receiver with more inputs and I don't see any reason for not choosing that over this if you can afford it and have space to accommodate its much bigger and 7 speakers (its center and front speakers are too big and intrusive for my taste and there is no way to hide its sub-woofer, I couldn't even completely hide this systems sub-woofer).

    I will give an update to this post after using the system for couple of weeks.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must buy!, April 17, 2010
    This is my first ever online review on anything I've bought so far but I had to do it as it really deserves it and I find online reviews extremely valuable. I bought my Onkyo HT-S3300 about 2 weeks ago from Newegg rather than Amazon as it said "this item is not yet released" on the latter. I've done a lot of research before buying this unit and read a lot of reviews on a lot of other systems. I've also bought a Harman Kardon AVR 254 from Ebay along with Yamaha NS-SP1800BL 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker Package from Amazon for the basement 1 week earlier and I will make a comparison as well. Other reviewers have done a great job regarding technical details so I won't go into a lot of details with those.

    Onkyo looks really nice and the piano black speakers were a great addition to our living room. I hooked up the Comcast HD DVR, Sony bdp-s360 blueray player and a Philips dvp3982 multi-region dvd player to the receiver through HDMI cables and connected it to my Sony Bravia kdl-52w5100. On screen menu is very helpful and I've done the setup fairly quickly with level calibration and speaker distances. I have Audyssey and Dynamic EQ turned on and I'm using the Dynamic volume on Light setting. There are a bunch of different surround settings you can use and since personal preferences change, I won't list them. Sound is incredible! We have a medium sized living room and, in my opinion, the passive subwoofer is doing a much better job than the active woofer of the Yamaha I mentioned above. I watched Hulk on blue ray and couldn't turn on the volume above 40 as the windows were rattling.
    You can also turn on the Audio TV Out option on and only use your TV's speakers if you don't want to use the receiver's speakers for some reason.

    Now, a bit on the comparison:

    - Harman Kardon AVR 254 supports 7.1 vs Onkyo with 5.1. I personally prefer 5.1 so, this really is not a selling point for me on HK.
    - HK looks REALLY nice if you're into aesthetics.
    - HK can convert PAL to NTSC. This was the biggest positive for me as my PS3 is from Europe. I also have a European DVD player. I hooked these to HK 254 using HDMI cables and connected it to my NTSC TV and those 2 units work perfectly.
    - HK comes with a microphone and has automatic setup feature which is pretty cool.
    - Here comes the biggest downfall of HK vs Onkyo. Sound level. Unless I'm doing something terribly wrong, the sound I get from HK vs Onkyo is much less. I have to crank the volume all the way up to -15 from -91 (highest is +8) to get some decent sound. I called the customer service regarding this and they said this was the regular case for HK units. For reference, default sound is set to -24dB. This was a big dissapointment for me on HK. I commented on Onkyo above can't really go above 40 which is around half way - phenomenal...
    - Overall, I would recommend Onkyo HT-S3300 over the HK AVR 254 by a mile based on my personal experience with the components I'm using. However, the fact that HK does system conversion saved me over $180 on a digital PAL / NTSC converter which is the main reason I'm keeping it.

    I hope this was helpful. If you're thinking about buying a top of the line entry/medium system, don't hesitate to buy this unit. Contact me in case you have any questions and I'd be happy to help out as much as I can...


    5-0 out of 5 stars Budget counscious almost audiophile, August 8, 2010
    I recently purchased this system expecting to be blown away because of all the rave reviews for this system. Truth be told, I am. Setup was a breeze for the most part, except the packaged speaker wire is a little short. I had to buy new wire to run my surround speakers to the receiver. Upgrading to a higher quality gauge wire is recommended also but I'm doing fine with the regular wire in the package. I live in a small apartment with a living room size of probably 15x15 ft, and this system is perfect for it! The passive subwoofer is more than enough for my needs. It shakes the whole room and I know that neighbors will complain eventually... All in good fun though.

    My setup is PS3 and comcast hd dvr to the receiver via hdmi, and then hdmi from receiver to my Samsung LNS4051D. The picture is flawless. I tried watching some blu-rays and was amazed by how good the sound sounded. However, after plugging and playing the speakers, I realized that the receiver was somehow not recieving the blu-ray's Uncompressed PCM properly. I have a fat PS3 and had audio settings set to linear pcm, but my receiver showed that it was receiving a 2ch source so it used Pro Logic II to send sound into a 5.1 format. I wanted true 5.1 surround channels, so after fiddling around with the ps3, I figured it out. All I did was go to audio settings on the XMB and set the hdmi audio output option to auto. Just keep clicking next until it gives you a list of all the audio codecs that the ps3 supports and you'll be all set up! Now while watching a Uncompressed pcm format, the receiver will display Multich PCM. While watching Dolby Digital, it will display Dolby, and so on and so forth. Pretty straightforward in my opinion.

    CLIFFNOTES:
    - Do your research before you buy
    - I highly recommend buying additional, better gauge speaker wire (remember to buy a wire stripper!). I had a pretty small room, but I ran out of wire pretty quickly. The given wires are different colors though so that's a plus for installation.
    - At this price point, it's hard to find any alternative theater systems that offer as many features as the Onkyo.
    - No need for optical wires running everywhere if you plan to use HDMI.
    - All in all, an excellent product. The speakers sound good and look good as well!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Returned the system with much sadness, April 16, 2010
    Update 7/14/2010:

    I went a different direction after returning the Onkyo. I bought the Sony 710 for about $220 and bought individual speakers- 3 energy CLR for the front, center and right, and the Yamaha in ceiling (IW 480) for the surround and finally the Polk Audio subwoofer for the sub. This all cost me $560. I would say that it is more than twice as good, but it is at twice the price. The difference is, and this is even true with bose speakers is that no matter how good the sound is from small speakers, the sound is still from small speakers. The difference is that with the small speakers, you know where the sound in coming from, the bigger the speaker, the more the room is filled with sound and the more that it sounds like a movie theater. When you are at a movie theater, you don't know where the sound is coming from, but hear the sound in the entire room. With the Onkyo and almost any other HTIB, you will hear the sound coming from the speaker, instead of the sound filling up the room. I think that this is worth twice the price, but the Onkyo is still a good deal for the money. Another thing that I did is that because I don't have cable or a game system, I didn't use HDMI. I do not like HDMI in that it is so glitchy and always has been. I am sooo happy with the fiber that I am now using. Now, I have the HDMI going directly to the TV from the blue ray and a fiber optic cable going to the receiver for sound. I much prefer this set up, but if you have different components, then this might not work for you.

    Update 6/7/2010:

    I was watching Star Wars when the thing just stopped. I had my Blu Ray hooked up to it, and after much troubleshooting, I found that the HDMI board went out. From day one, I have been having trouble with the HDMI connection, with the sound going in and out, but after ordering a very high end cable, the problem seemed to stop until a day or so before it went out completely. I originally attributed this to the new HDMI 3-D format, but in retrospect, it was probably always a bad connection board. I had this for about 45 days, after the Amazon return policy. After a long conversation, they did take it back, and charged me a 20% restocking fee. Hopefully, they do not restock it, and they did tell me that they will refund the restocking fee, but as of now, they have not. I will edit this post if they do as they say that they are going to do. WIsh me luck!


    I just bought this a week ago for $305 from Amazon- everything as expected from Amazon, arriving as stated. I gave it four stars because everything is as advertised- you get a lot for the money, setting the standards for low cost for the included features (Yamaha needs to respond). I have a 46 inch Panasonic Plasma, and Blue Ray, and a VCR- yea, a VCR (kids movies) hooked up. My room size is fairly large 18 X 22. My sitting area is about 10 feet from the TV and the surround speakers are about 15 feet from my sitting area, with the woofer in front. I am happy with the sound out of the front, center and woofer (although passive), but the rear speakers struggle a bit at 15 feet away. I had to put them considerably higher than the other speakers and they still have trouble reaching me. With this said, 15 feet away is not the ideal placement, but who doesn't need to compromise on the placement of the speakers. As I said, everything works as advertised- HD DTS, HD Dolby- although these are better suited for a 7.1, or 7.2, full HDMI, B speakers terminals, as well as the awesome on screen programming. I don't really care about all that automatic settings, and equalizers- any system that you buy will have these types of things as well. My complaints are the details. If you are using HDMI, you need to have the system on to use the other components or you have to still hook the other components to the tv separately. The system will not bridge the blue ray to the tv while off as other high end systems do. Also, there is no line out for a powered subwoofer (although I am ok with the passive sub- its adequate for me). Finally- the four stars- to hang my speakers at a 90 degree angle, because they did not come with a screw terminal for the wall brackets, I had to use velcro. The speakers have holes in the back to be used for a screw or a nail in the wall, but the would need to be flat on the wall- similar to a clock, but if you wanted to use speaker brackets, there is nothing for the speaker brackets to screw into. This really irritated me- to use velcro on a new system. Overall, though four stars for the system as advertised- best bang for the buck. If you have a few bucks more, I would probably get the new onkyo 5.1 receiver for around $230 on Amazon, and a better speaker package- Polk Audio, Accoustic Research have some pretty good speaker packages for around $200. But again, can't be beat for the price!

    Update 4/19:
    After listening to it and getting everything set up the way that I want it to, I am really pleased with the system. I am still annoyed with the speakers and how difficult they are to mount to a speaker bracket, the sound for the money is really good. I am pleased with the passive sub and really thought about hooking up an active sub to the system, but am satisfied enough where I don't feel that I need to spend any more money. No buyers remorse here- again, best bang for the buck!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Biggest bang for the buck!, April 20, 2010
    I pre-ordered this system a while ago and received it about 2 weeks ago. I am still overwhelmed by the sound quality and features of this product. It simply is the best sound system there is that money can buy for about $300-$400. The one issue I noticed was that the speakers have only key-holes (no threads) so if you need to buy a speaker stand, make sure you buy one that has adhesive tapes to keep the speakers in place (that's what I have done and am quite satisfied with the result).

    The sound is very rich and there are many different settings depending on your application. All options are accessible through the remote. Overall, I can say that this is a perfect system if you are living in an apartment and need a system that can cover everything from listening to music to watching movies and tv shows.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Surround system value, September 5, 2010
    I ordered the Onkyo 3300 after to substantial research. The value pricing from Amazon was OUTSTANDING!! I highly recommend the system to anyone looking for a start up system at a reasonable price. I had only two minor issues: 1.) dont order any speaker mounts for this system. The speaker cases are plastic and the system comes with hardware to mount them. 2.) After unboxing the unit and installing, the remote failed within 1 day. HOWEVER, I was THRILLED with the customer service i received from Onkyo. They answered my email with an RMA and sent me a new remote within just a few days. I have had the system for 60 days and am thrilled with the sound and performance. I suggest you order the Amazon HDMI cables. The system does not come with them.

    Overall i rate Amazon and Onkyo on this system 4 1/2 Stars.. Nice job guys!

    5-0 out of 5 stars By far, the best Home Theater system for the price, August 29, 2010
    If you have done a lot of shopping for a home theater system, you will notice that all the electronics stores (ie Walmart, Best Buy) only sell Home Theater systems that include a Bluray player. But I didn't want that! I have a Playstation 3 already, and don't need 2 Bluray players. So I went out looking for the right surround system system in a $500 budget. I had absolutely no luck. Then I decided to look at Onkyo's website for a receiver to see they were selling home theater systems. I checked the price, and was amazed to see how cheap it was...I thought it was too good to be true.

    So I figured I would give it a shot. Bose endourses Onkyo, and will sell their products at Bose Stores...something you would not expect from Bose. Knowing that Bose would put their name behind Onkyo gave me some trust that Onkyo would not make a bad sound system. And golly, I was never happier to be right!

    Immediately upon opening the box, I was stunned at the quality of the speakers. It looked like a $1,000 system. I put the speakers up, tweaked the receiver settings, and put on several movies that have surround sound such as Battlestar Galactica, Casino Royale, and Inglorious Bastards. Each movie sounded AMAZING. So amazing in fact, it made my neighbor come next door to tell me I was shaking his apartment. All from a 660w system!

    So here is the low down:

    Pros: Amazing processing and decoding for Dolby Digital HD and top of the line DTS. It has some equalizer settings that also make the speakers sound better. You truly feel immersed in video games and movies...better than I would have expected. The PRICE is a major pro.

    Con: The subwoofer tends to put out a lot of bass. This is good if you live in a home with no neighbors to upset. But the subwoofer vibrates off the wall, and travels throughout the apartment complex. The settings can lower the bass, but it sometimes doesn't feel like enough.

    Overall: GET THIS SYSTEM. If you want a 7.1, get it. But Onkyo has maded a $1,000 sound system affordable for everyone. If you don't get this, you hate children. You don't hate children...do you?

    5-0 out of 5 stars More than a "Best Bang for your Buck", April 29, 2010
    People say this system is a "Best Bang for your Buck" system...it's actually a best bang system period. I would've paid $499 for a system like this. Setup was easy, sound is incredible...OSD is fantastic. Sub is loud for being passive and audio is crystal clear. If you get sick of the speakers that come with the system you can easily switch the speaker setting to "large" and upgrade your speakers as you see fit. I have it hooked up to a PS3 (slim...and it plays DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD perfectly), a XBOX 360 (Call of Duty with this system is rediculous...no more sneaking up on me), and a Wii (eh, it's a wii...my cd player sounds better but thats not the Recievers fault at all). Subwoofer is big (FYI) I have it in an apartment and this thing will rattle walls if I turn it up. Packaging was excellent...nothing is getting damaged in this box (though it is a rather big box). I'll extend my review after I play around with the system in the next couple of weeks.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All I could ask for for HD Audio, July 8, 2010
    This package is great. The speakers and subwooffer are very slick and clean. The sub is a wood-like material and looks very nice. The speakers are solid plastic, and are sturdy enough. The receiver has some sharp edges, but it is also very slick looking.

    The receiver has 3 HDMI 1.4 inputs which make setting up your players (games, cable box, blu-ray) super simple. If you have an HDMI 1.4 cable and don't use a cable box, you can even return audio from your television to the receiver with the ARC (audio return channel), which is pretty nifty. The onscreen menu is great and very useful. All the newest HD audio codecs are decoded perfectly; no setup required. A quick thing to note however, if your Blu-ray player is decoding the audio, the receiver may display Dolby Dig or DTS instead of TrueHD and Master-HD respectively. You will have to change the setting on your blu-ray player if you want the receiver to decode it (personal preference). It also supports HDMI-thru, which means you can use the HDMI ports while the receiver is off. This means blu ray or game while using the tv speakers if you want. Very cool.

    The speakers are great. The sub-woofer is PASSIVE but that is not a bad thing. With the EX BASS setting, it shakes my windows on the default settings! It is a beast. The speakers are clear and responsive. Sounds better than anything I have had before. There are also TONS of sound options (dynamic volume, dynamic eq, etc.) to play with, along with different room settings. I could list these for days.

    The setup did take me a while, mostly because there are so many settings to understand, and this was my first audio system; but in retrospect, it wasn't hard at all. The manual is well written and clear. The remote is also good, but it is not universal (bummer). I now have three remotes and an xbox controller that all must be used. I wish it was programmable.

    The speaker wire is standard, and could be upgraded to a higher gauge if you wish. The rear speakers didn't have enough wire for me personally (about 25-30ft), but should work for a smaller, square room. I had to run the speakers nearly 75ft along a wall, so it was not enough for me.

    All in all, you cant beat this for the price (super cheap). It sounds great, the quality of the hardware is very high, and it is a breeze to use. Recommened MUST BUY for any HD audio/video-philes. Read more


    9. Audio Unlimited Premium 900MHz Wireless Indoor/Outdoor Speakers withRemote and Dual Power Transmitter (Black)
    Electronics
    list price: $119.99 -- our price: $84.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0036VO2B8
    Manufacturer: Cables Unlimited
    Sales Rank: 330
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Listen to music just about anywhere without the hassle of running unsightly speaker wire! These high-quality, weather-resistant speakers can even be used in wet areas. Powered by 900MHz Phase Loop Lock circuitry which automatically locks in and keeps the audio signal clear and strong within a range of up to 150 feet with no line of sight limitations. The signal works just like high powered wireless 900MHz phones delivering a crystal clear signal through walls or any other obstacles in your yard truly offering endless installation options. The system transmitter supports all types audio inputs including RCA inputs for home theatre receivers, MP3 players, computers and iPods. Audio Unlimited's wireless speaker system is the perfect solution for adding music around the pool/spa, on the patio, near the BBQ, in your office, garage, in the garden, or out on the deck during those hot summer nights ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Works in my classroom and at home, September 4, 2010
    I've hesitated buying wireless outdoor speakers for quite a while, expecting poor sound quality. But I grew tired of always hauling my Bose system outside every time we wanted to entertain on our deck. When I received the Audio Unlimited speakers, I was immediately impressed with the great styling of the speakers and with the heavy construction. The quality LOOKED great. After only a moment or two (just long enough to drop in batteries), I was up and running. Again, I found myself impressed--this time with the ease of use. Finally, I powered up the system and found high-quality sound pouring out of the speakers.

    The system is expandable, including availability of speakers designed to look like rocks. Now that I've seen the quality first-hand, I will expand this with some additional speakers quickly.

    Finally, having this available for Prime shipping with Amazon was fantastic. I upgraded to one day shipping for about $4. This same option through a non-Prime shipper would have cost me nearly $60!!! Prime shipping rocks, and is key to me when I am selecting products.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Speakers failed after warranty period, not repairable, September 14, 2010
    These speakers use an analog RF link. They pick up a lot of interference resulting in a lot of static in the sound output. Its completely unbearable. These speakers are not cheap enough to justify this poor sound quality.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Works in my classroom and at home, September 4, 2010
    I purchased these speakers two years ago refurbished for $89. I placed one speaker in a room that is 30 x 42 and connected it to a laptop and LCD projector and had an instant home theater. The remote can not turn on the speakers which doesn't make sense, but the sound is just fine. In my house I have a 5.8 ghz Uniden 4 phones system and G wireless router which does not interfere with the signal. If you have a 900 mhz phone or baby monitor nearby it might mess up as with any wireless device operating in the 900 spectrum. You can power the speakers with D size batteries or plug the speakers into an outlet which is the way I used it and have no problems. I saw a teacher in my building use the same speakers which made me decided to by a pair for myself. The speakers are close to the size of a 2 liter bottle and sound like computer speakers. You are not getting Bose quality speakers, so don't expect perfection. They are good computer quality speakers that give you wireless capabilities.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Terrible Product, August 28, 2010
    I have tried hooking these up both indoors and out, from 10 feet to 50 feet away but no matter what I try the sound is awful and there is a ton of interference. The auto tune does very little to improve things and changing the channel only means slightly less static. In addition it is not a real ipod dock, it only plugs into your headphone jack and will not charge your ipod.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great quality, great looks, August 4, 2010
    I've hesitated buying wireless outdoor speakers for quite a while, expecting poor sound quality. But I grew tired of always hauling my Bose system outside every time we wanted to entertain on our deck. When I received the Audio Unlimited speakers, I was immediately impressed with the great styling of the speakers and with the heavy construction. The quality LOOKED great. After only a moment or two (just long enough to drop in batteries), I was up and running. Again, I found myself impressed--this time with the ease of use. Finally, I powered up the system and found high-quality sound pouring out of the speakers.

    The system is expandable, including availability of speakers designed to look like rocks. Now that I've seen the quality first-hand, I will expand this with some additional speakers quickly.

    Finally, having this available for Prime shipping with Amazon was fantastic. I upgraded to one day shipping for about $4. This same option through a non-Prime shipper would have cost me nearly $60!!! Prime shipping rocks, and is key to me when I am selecting products.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Speakers failed after warranty period, not repairable, September 14, 2010
    I have purchased five of these speakers in less than two years. I am a senior citizen and do not play sound full volume and have used speakers only occasionally (certainly not daily). After the first speaker passed the one year warranty period it developed horrible static and noise problems. I contacted Cables Unlimited and was told that the speaker could not be repaired and speaker was out of warranty, and they recommended buying new, which I did and purchased two more. Again, after the warranty period expired the speakers developed static and noise problems which made them unusable. i was told by Cables Unlimited that the manufacturer does not supply parts to repair the speakers and to look for a repair shop (which may or may not be able to fix the speakers) or buy new. Now, I have three unusable speakers that cannot just be discarded in the trash. As an environmentally concerned consumer, I abhor this waste and hopefully anyone thinking of purchasing these speakers will think twice about doing so given my experience. I just can't afford to keep purchasing new speakers after making these high price purchases and only getting probably less than a year's usage from them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Second set- three years later, October 16, 2010
    This is our second set of this speaker system, the first one having not survived a recent vicious storm, after three years of service in our back yard. If you are looking for top quality sound, these are not the speakers for you. But if you are looking for a serviceable set of wireless speakers that produce "outdoor BBQ" quality sound these fit the bill. The remote is nice for adjusting volume to fit the conversation levels around the speakers. For the price, they are a good reliable system. We did not experience the interference problems mentioned in other reviews and our base is proximate to a full wireless home office, including wireless router, printers, server and workstations.Our first set lived outside under our open porch roof for their entire three years. We just plugged an iPod into the base and turned the speakers on whenever we went outside, never bothering to bring them in when the weather was bad.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Poor sound quality...do not buy!, September 21, 2010
    These speakers use an analog RF link. They pick up a lot of interference resulting in a lot of static in the sound output. Its completely unbearable. These speakers are not cheap enough to justify this poor sound quality.

    5-0 out of 5 stars These things work great in the back yard for our party's, September 26, 2010
    The sound is easy to adjust and the bass is acceptable. I use them for the back yard while having BBQ's. They work great with our Blue Tooth Cell Phones, I pod - o what ever you can hook into the holder. I would recommend these to anyone who is looking for a set of out door speakers. Easy set up. Anyone can set them up. We utilize the external power source for these. Although batteries can be put in but that seems rather expensive.

    4-0 out of 5 stars They work great!, September 4, 2010
    I bought these for my husband's birthday. They arrived on time and packaged well. They were easy to hook up, just had to find the right outlet from our TV sound system, and we had sound in our backyard. We could hear the football game while he grilled outside. Next he hooked them up to his computer and had music out by the pool. The speakers received the signal through walls with no problem. The remote works well, too. These are a great addition to our backyard parties.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Speakers hummed and crackled, November 30, 2010
    I read many of the Amazon reviews that warned of possible sound problems, but decided to try these speakers anyway. I wouldn't have ordered them if I wasn't confident in Amazon's return policy. Sure enough, they did not work in my house when hooked up to our Mac--crackling, humming, and hissing, so I returned them.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Wireless Convenience, November 15, 2010
    These speakers have broadened my listening area around my house. Without having to run wires! You simply plug in the mini jack and put the speakers where you want them. My wireless speakers got plugged into my Media Center PC in the living room. I had to use a splitter to keep the line going to the surround sound and then to the wireless transmitter, also. Mine went in the basement, so I coan listen while working down there. I control iTunes with my iPod touch with the Remote app installed. I'm going to order another set, one is going into the kitchen and the other in the bathroom, so I can listen while getting ready for work. The only negative is that sometimes depending on where you have them set up, you may get a little interference from other appliances, motors, the furnace, or similar. Read more


    10. Onkyo TX-SR6087.2-Channel Home Theater Receiver (Black)
    Electronics
    list price: $599.00 -- our price: Too low to display
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B003BIFOL8
    Manufacturer: Onkyo
    Sales Rank: 370
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Sure, we call it an "entry-level" A/V receiver. But when you witness the full potential of the TX-SR608, you'll know the level you're entering is far beyond the ordinary. For a start, you get six of the latest HDMI 1.4 inputs for simple hook-up of all your high-def sources. HDMI 1.4 also brings compatibility with the new 3D video format, as well as an Audio Return Channel from your display back to the receiver. Complementing HDMI on the input front, you have an analog RGB video input for connecting your PC, and a Universal Port for Onkyo peripherals. All video sources, regardless of resolution, can be upscaled to big and beautiful 1080p via HDMI and Faroudja DCDi Cinema. Audio processing incorporates quality Burr-Brown DACs, lossless Dolby and DTS codecs, and the expanded surround formats of Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz. Three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry and jitter cleaning technology work to ensure extremely precise and faithful amplification. In recognition of the TX-SR608's outstanding A/V prowess, it has been awarded THX Select2 Plus Certification. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible Value, but HDMI Video Issues mar an otherwise perfect Entry-Level Receiver, May 23, 2010
    Unlike a lot of CEs, Onkyo may have indavertantly cannibalized its own model lineup by pushing so much featureset into an entry level receiver that it might deter buyers from their higher end models. I recently did a thorough comparison of the Pioneer VSX-1020 and Denon AVR-791 and the Onkyo nudged out the Pioneer due to its beefier amp section and OSD capabilities. That said, I must caution users that its value is marred by what appears to be a bug with its ability to pass through HDMI video signals unmolested, even in "Through" modes. This bug manifests itself in two ways: 1. 24 bit sources (like cable hdtv) are upconverted to 30 bit when output on a display; AND 2. for some inexplicable reason, 1080p 24fps sources stutter intermittently as if a frame is dropped. The latter might be more noticeable to plasma owners whereas 120hz and 240hz LCDs might compensate for the frame stuttering with their interpolation software (ie the soap opera effect).

    With that caveat, the Onkyo is a terrific performer offering strong power (power consumption is up from the 607 to a very grown up 756 watts), terrific flexibility (four speaker terminals can be assigned to wide, height or zone 2). The Denon is limited to merely 7 speaker terminals and the Pioneer has only a pair of assignable terminals. The Audyssey auto-callibration (2EQ) is a notch behind Denon, but the inclusion of Audyssey DSX (for wide arrangements) is a feature that the Denon does not offer. While it lacks the USB terminal for Ipod playback of the Pioneer and the Denon, it does offer a computer input which might resolve the HDMI handshake nightmare many face with htpcs.

    Onkyo rather smartly included a fan atop of the receiver, which is silent and all but eliminates the historical Onkyo toaster oven effect.

    I really enjoy this receiver, but found the HDMI video molestation issues to quite problematic and what mar an otherwise incredible buy. Hopefully Onkyo can issue a firmware update.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love my new Onkyo 608, May 3, 2010
    As others have said, the two 1 star reviews do not review this new Onkyo 608 (makes no sense to me).

    Anyway, I absolutely love my new Onkyo 608. I never review stuff, but I wanted to give props to this receiver. I was debating between this one and the new Pioneer 1020. However, I've heard that the amps in the Pioneers don't compare to the amps in the Onkyos. Though I cannot verify the truth of this, I do believe that the amp in the Onkyo is of a very high quality. I have already noticed a tremendous amount of power increase over my previous Yamaha receiver (the model that was included with the Yamaha 390 HTIB). This puts out a lot more sound, and I absolutely love the ability to take advantage of HD audio. I noticed a huge fidelity difference in the compressed Dolby Digital track for Dark Knight and the Dolby True HD. The track was intended to include a lot of bass, and the HD includes all of it. The regular Dolby did not compare. Thus, HD audio is definitely worth having if you own a blu-ray player. Just like video quality (some transfers are better than others; aka reference quality), not all sound tracks will have a huge difference, but to me, it's still worth it. Back to the Onkyo: I love it. There are so many settings that you can tweak. If you like the ability to configure your equipment, you will love this receiver! You can also bi-amp with this receiver, which is nice if you don't have 7 speakers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING receiver for reasonable price, May 2, 2010
    The Onkyo TX-SR608 is an amazing receiver for the cost. One of the best aspects of this receiver is the way it handles the volume control. First of all you can set the volume level that the receiver on turns on so you are not overwhelmed with a loud volume right away. Also you can set a maximum level so you don't accidentally turn the volume level too high. Audyssey Dynamic Volume is perfect when you don't want huge fluxuations in volume so that dialogue, music and surround effects don't drown each other out. This means you don't have to constantly turn volume up and down during a movie as it maintains a more consistant level of volume. In order to use Audyssey Dynamic Volume you MUST run Audyssey 2EQ Acoustic Room Correction first. Place included microphone on a cheap tripod for this; DO NOT HOLD IN YOUR HAND as I have read some have;this can have an adverse effect on sound output. Set the Dynamic Volume to the Compression Mode you want(Light, Medium, or Hesvy as Off is Default) set Re-EQ function to ON as well. The instruction manual is very detailed and easy to understand. Default setings are underlined in the instruction manual.

    I really love Audyssey DSX it really gives a much fuller sound to the movie soundtrack. I use the front wide setup as opposed to the front height channels.

    5-0 out of 5 stars unreal / awesome receiver... very very impressed., May 2, 2010
    First and foremost, people that don't even own the "608" shouldn't even be posting here. Trying to compare the "608" that has a built in fan and the "606" that doesn't AND has the fact the "608" has 2x the amount of features is like apple and oranges. Enough said about that and onto a review by a person that actually owns the "608".... Pushes my polk audio speakers very very well (2 @ 70 monitors, 4 @ 50 monitors, 1 @ cs2 center, and powered psw505). Volume hardly goes past 1/2 way / 50,,, anymore and the neighbors start calling cops im sure.. Loads of options and can be tweeked untill you are blue in the face. Got sub set @ 80hz, front main 70's set @ 60hz, all 4 surround 50 speakers set @ 80hx THX, and cs2 center set @ 80hz THX. One really really nice thing about the onkyo 608 is how cool it is and stays @ room temp with the built in fan. I'm loving this receiver so far and would highly advise anyone to purchase without a 2nd thought. More receiver than I need with no need for seperate amp.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Eye (and Ear) Opener, May 2, 2010
    I have never encountered a receiver with such a fantastic bang-for-the-buck ratio.

    I've been running mine nonstop since I received it, and it stays cool, in every meaning of the word.

    My old HDTV has Never looked so good. As a side-note, the remote operates all my peripherals except for my Roku Netflix box, but that's probably because I haven't found the input codes for it yet, if they exist.

    Please Note: The two negative reviews dated before this one Do Not Apply to this receiver and don't belong here. They really skew the ratings and should be removed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Onkyo TX-SR608 Is Fantastic new technology, May 1, 2010
    Hi first dont believe a thing in the first 2 reviews they are talking about old products this receiver is brand new and just released it runs much cooler, it is the first receiver to support HDMI 1.4 3d, it is truly cutting edge all the way I have been running it for 2 days non stop it does not get very hot like the old ones it sounds fantastic this is one of the best electronic purchase I have made in along time Thank you onkyo for a Great product

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great value, May 24, 2010
    This is the sixth receiver I've owned over the years, starting with Onkyo, then Sony, then JVC, then Denon, then Harmon Kardon, and now back to Onkyo. Along the way I've owned several Onkyo CD and DVD players as well. I've always admired their sturdy, no-nonsense, slightly industrial design, with a healthy respect for a few well-placed actual buttons instead of overloading on dials that require me to cycle through everything. What once seemed like an antiquated display, with those classic, typically Onko-like pixelated characters that haven't changed in years, now fills me with nostalgia and a respect for its simplicity, clarity, and effectiveness. My impression has been that Onkyo understands how to maximize value at this price point. I have enough income that I could entertain ambitions toward higher-end audio solutions, but I've learned over the years that the returns diminish rapidly beyond this price point, especially considering how relatively quickly the technology in home theater is changing (the recent HDMI changes being an obvious example). So I tend to upgrade every 5 years or so, as it turns out, and I don't have to break the bank doing it.

    I chose the 608 model because it enables me to route all my incoming video through a single HDMI output--most importantly VGA video from my computer media center (you won't find that option in most receivers), plus composite video from my Xbox 360. This was important because I needed to ceiling-mount my projector a good distance away from the amplifier, and I would have experienced too much signal loss over analog connections at that distance. Now I rely upon a single 25-ft HDMI cable to route everything to the projector. Works great, and I can easily map audio and video sources as I see fit using the menus displayed through my projector. Currently I'm using it to drive a 7.1 channel setup and I plan to add a pair of front high speakers a bit later to go ahead and have the full 7.2. Why not. Another good Onkyo purchase.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Onkyo TX-SR608, August 22, 2010
    This is my 2nd Onkyo AV receiver. Our old one TX-SR-503 is still working great, but I wanted something with HDMI inputs. This new model is a great upgrade. It was easy to setup with the included mike. Audessey Dynamic EQis a very nice feature. You do have to read the manual to tweek it. I turned off the video upconversion. (see pg 21 of the manual). When it was on, I noticed some very slight distortion on certain Tv channels (TNT, YES) I read some forums on it and it was recommeded to turn it off. Each input has its own audio & video setting.Right now I only have a Comcast DVR box & a Samsung Bluray player hooked up to it. One of the HDMI jacks is in the front, which makes it easy to connect my laptop to it.
    The Audessey EQ feature will automaticly detect how many & what size your speakers are. It also sets up the crossover frequency. You can go back in and do it manually. There are also many other settings you can play around with, such as THX mode (if you have THX speakers) Dolby true HD & DTS-HD master audio,
    Dynamic volume control,A/V sync , Intellivolume and others. You can reasign and rename the inputs. It is HD radio ready, SIRIUS sattlelite ready and THX select 2 certified.
    Our family really enjoys the better sound. I currently have Kenwood HTIB speakers hooked up. The Onkyo makes them sound better.
    I have replace the center channel speaker with a Definitive Tech ProCinema 1000. What a Difference! I hope to replace all the speakers with the Def Tech 1000 line. I'm sure it will sound great with the Onkyo TX-SR608.

    UPDATE 8/27/10
    I noticed a glitch in the HDMI THROUGH feature. When I activated the HDMI THROUGH feature, which is supposed to allow HDMI signal to pass through with the receiver on standby,it kicks off the 4:3 overide off on my Cable box. At first I thought it was the cable box, so I swapped it out with a new model, and the same thing happend. Yes, I actually don't have the stereo on all the time to save power and to watch the news @ 5:00a.m. After a factory reset,I finally narrowed it down to the "HDMI THROUGH" feature. Not sure what I'm going to do.Either take it back, or hook up cable direct to TV and optical to receiver.
    I still like the way it sounds and the funtions. Any suggestions?

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great receiver for the price, May 2, 2010
    I agree that the Houston, TX and Colorado Springs, CO reviews are not discussing the Onkyo TX-SR608, which was released in mid-April 2010. Someone at Amazon should remove them, and then remove this first paragraph.

    I have had the SR608 for only a few days. It has replaced my old, but faithful, Sony STR-DB930 receiver. It will be moved and placed into semi-retirement.

    I have spent several hours extracting my previous (non-HDMI) receiver and installing this unit. Just the ability to remove my HDMI switch, and thereby greatly simplifying my wiring, has been a much appreciated benefit of having the SR608.

    Another benefit of having a SR608 is, of course, its set of features. The 1.4a HDMI ports (one on the front panel and five on the back), the sound/speaker balancing and leveling (no irritating volume increases during commercials), the two sub woofer ports, the second stereo zone, the "high" speakers option, and the on-the-TV menus are very nice design features which should keep me technically current, for at least a few years.

    I encourage everyone to seriously consider this unit for a well equipped, entry level receiver. Onkyo TX-SR608 100-Watt 7.2-Channel A/V Home Theater Receiver (Black)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cost and Performance truly can meet!, May 12, 2010
    I have been an audiophile for a long time have done tons of research and beel lurking on home theater forums for years and when the Onkyo 8 series was first released i was one of the first people in line for a pre-order... AND I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED!
    This receiver is simply amazing, easy to set up and fully adjustable the onscreen menus make operation gand customizing your sound stage easy enough for the first timer yet gives enough options for the expert to have full control. The sound is amazing! i paired mine with the SKS-HT870 7.1 speaker system (also Onkyo) and i have been doing nothing bu marveling at the crispness and depth of sound that this receiver is capable of. I am looking at upgrading my speaker package over the next few years but i have ZERO complaints. I honestly cant see how anyone could have anything negative to say about this receiver... well other than they took so long to release it. Read more


    11. Sony CMTBX20i Micro Hi-Fi Shelf System (Black)
    Electronics
    list price: $129.95 -- our price: $118.88
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00171OSI6
    Manufacturer: Sony
    Sales Rank: 271
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Amplify the mood of any room. Unleash your favorite tunes from your iPod music player with the CMT-BX20i micro hi-fi shelf system. Just plug your iPod into the dock and enjoy rich sound--perfect for adding music for parties are just relaxing around the house. A remote control with full iPod functions is included to manage your music from the comfort of your sofa. ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Attractive and a good value, with good clean sound, February 13, 2009
    I have had this system since early January '09, and paid $129+ tax. I am, overall, very satisfied with the purchase. There were no surprises. It looks and performs as represented on the Amazon page. I rate it a B+, or an 8.5/10 overall compared to similar priced bookshelf systems.

    PRO:

    *Great looking in basic black, fits (style-wise and otherwise, it's also quite small) into anyone's living/bed room or office. Nice bright, clear, easy to read display.

    *Solid Sony construction and quality. Materials and assembly are first rate.

    *Operation is straightforward and relatively simple. I learned basic functions in 5 minutes, and seldom needed to consult the fold-out style minimalistic manual.

    *Sound is clear and accurate, and volume is ample enough to fill a typical room. Very little distortion or clipping even near top volume.

    *Has controls or all basic functions on top of unit as well as remote, so you can still use it during times when you can't find your remote. Remote operation is intuitive AND logical. No stupid gimmick functions no one ever uses to get in the way, but does what it needs to do from across the room

    *iPod mounts atop unit (unit charges iPod whenever connected). Slides in easily. Easy to view iPod display. Position is practical; iPod does NOT tend to get in way or fall out as they do on a number of other like systems/docks. There is another jack for additional input (like connect to an Apple Airport Express/Extreme to run Airtunes and listen to Pandora/streaming or tracks in non-iPod formats).

    *Plays custom MP3 CDs, including displaying ID3 tags. This means (if you burn the disc correctly) that playing an MP3 CD, you will see artist/album, and then track name. I find this a nice feature, though I guess its becoming pretty common.

    CONS:

    *Limited bass response, with no provision for connection to external subwoofer. Most of the time not really noticeable, but for heavily bass driven music, you miss feeling the beat. Bass is there though, and is accurate and proportional. EQ is simple +/- separate treble and bass controls. Use of standard iPod EQ profiles has little effect on sound, though custom settings imported from iTunes DO work better.

    *Speaker grilles not removable. Wiring passes through part board enclosures, and no strain relief mechanism, so it would be both a pain to replace speaker wires and over time more likely to need it. Wires are long enough for now at about 8 feet, and you could always splice more length in if needs be. Thats not ideal, as would be if you had easy access inside enclosures. I haven't tried the unit with other speakers, since the system impedance is 6 ohms and the various speakers I have access to are all 8 ohms (which is, or was, the standard, isn't it?).

    *CD player recognizes only MP3 or CDDA/AIFF format discs/tracks. It really wouldn't have raised the production cost noticeably to include AAC, WAV, WMA, and most of all FLAC/ALAC.

    I recommend this system to anyone looking for good sound (quality and quantity) on a budget, with the reservations mentioned about bass response. Likewise, its a solidly made unit that will last for years of use. I think it may be the best overall of its kind for use with iPod, at least until you get up to the Bose, Harman-Kardon, Denon, Bang/Olufsen class models (all of which retail at $350 and [way] up).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Elegant design., November 12, 2008
    I purchased this model at Best Buy for $109 after trying and returning an all-in-one Memorex shelf unit that was more expensive. I should remember that for the future, "Sony no baloney." I have a larger Sony component system for the past 16 years which never gave me any trouble. I like this model for the following reasons:

    1. Good sound. 50w total power makes a big difference compared with lower rated shelf systems. It will definitely fill a room without putting it on maximum volume.
    2. Elegant design and white display. Shows clock when unit is powered off on standby.
    3. Controls are easy to figure out on unit and on remote control.
    4. CD is sliding tray type on the front. Not the top loading type with a button in the center. I hate those.
    5. Headphones jack is in the front where I want it.

    Be aware though, that the "EQ" is really just treble and bass controls from -4 to +4. There is no balance control. This was not really a disappointment. The sound is great.

    What I didn't like was minor:
    1, The rear of the particle board speakers is not painted like the black enclosure. Depending on where you place the system it might not look as nice. You could always paint them yourself. I put mine where you won't see this. If you put these speakers on a shelf, you won't notice.

    2. The supplied AM antennae is ok, but the FM antenna is just a single wire that attaches to a coax terminal. I could not get much reception where I put the unit. But that's much better than systems that just have a single non-detachable wire coming out. Because, with the coax terminal I attached a $10 RCA FM/VHF/UHF antennae which works fine.

    All in all I still give it 5 stars because it does the job for me with no headache.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Great product-highly recommended, July 29, 2008
    I am very impressed with this system. It has the sleek styling you expect from Sony and the quality too. The speakers have good sound especially considering their size. We had been searching for a system with multiple cd trays to replace our old one, but settled on this and we are very glad that we did-it made us really appreciate ipod technology. The system is also the perfect home for an old ipod (1.4.1) with a defunct battery. Really great product and very well priced for what you get.

    1-0 out of 5 stars BEWARE - Does NOT work with 2nd Generation iPod Touch (or 3rd), August 30, 2010
    The sound quality if fine from a CD or radio. HOWEVER - This unit will NOT work with a second generation iPod Touch or newer. This is not disclosed anywhere - product description, Sony website, etc. They have the docking adapter for the iPod 8 / 16 GB touch, but forget it, if it is 2nd Gen or newer. Hopefully, I'll save some of you the hassle that I've just endured.

    Note: The only way that I found this reality was by calling Sony tech support, providing my iPod's serial number, and being told I was out-o-luck. Quite the bummer. He then went on to state that the unit was released prior to my iPod, so apparently it has never been updated.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Ok unit, but Sony Warranty left me in the dust., May 12, 2009
    Bought this unit new from Amazon about nine months ago. It stopped playing CD's and would contantly search for the disk. Sony Warranty service of Laredo, TX said to send it in. Got several e-mails including "received unit" and "received receipt" and "will be fixed under warranty". Several weeks later I received the unit back COMPLETELY DESTROYED. They claimed they received it that way. They refused to provide any information, including their assessment of the unit. No information was provided to prove that they received it damaged. Simply put, I got the complete blow off with no recourse. It's not the money, it's the total lack of service and responsibility.

    After buying ten of thousands worth of Sony products, I think I'm done with Sony after this. Forget the PSP for my kids, I'll get the four of them iPod touches instead.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Sound from this little unit...., January 3, 2009
    I just bought myself this nifty little mini-stereo unit for my living room after my cheap JVC player went kaput. Set-up was a cinch, even for someone with 2 left thumbs like me! These 2 little speakers emit beautiful AND powerful sound, and I get excellent AM/FM radio reception as well!

    My only complaint is that the remote does not have a function to open/close the CD drawer, which is my main use for the unit. But it is a minor complaint since I would have to get up to change the CD anyway! Highly recommended (you can get it at Best Buy for $109) if you're just looking for a unit to put in your living room or a bedroom - it fills the room with beautiful music!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Good While it Lasted <year, September 11, 2009
    The unit worked well for about 8 months then the ability to open the cd tray ceased. Unit wouldn't even turn on with the front bar, I had to use the remote...but worse on the right side of the bar is the only way to open the cd tray...that ceased working also so my cd is stuck in there.. I am surprised that something made by Sony failed so miserably.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fine small system, April 7, 2009
    If all you need is a CD/IPod player and a radio for a living room or office, this is an excellent unit. Good sound reproduction and cystal-clear radio reception. (It helps that I have it hooked to an FM antenna in the attic.) The sound lacks a whole lot of bass since the speakers are shelf-size, but the middle ranges are fine. The system includes an IPod dock that I haven't tried yet.

    It is increasingly difficult to find what we used to call a "stereo," something in between an Ipod and a massive "home theater" system. This system fills the bill very well. And it's a Sony, so you can count on the quality. I do wish Sony had applied a bit of styling -- otherwise the system consists of three black blocks with a silver stripe. But if it was styled up, people might take a second look and realize that an inexpensive system like this is really all they need.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Sony Product, November 17, 2008
    I love this stereo. It fits in my basement rec room and the two speakers sound great. Compact enough so it does not take up a lot of space. In addition to playing CD's and my iPod, I can connect my XM SkyFi2 radio into it. I had to order an extra home kit for it from XM Fan Store as the one I have is in use in another part of my house. Couple connections and antenna alignment and I was set. I really like this stereo unit a lot and Amazon delivered it quick and I just used basic shipping.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good little Stereo, but, one little problem ..., December 6, 2008
    I just received the CMTBX20i. So far it seems to work just fine with my 4th Generation Nano iPod.

    The unit comes with an assortment of plastic adapter plates. The plate is placed over the connector, on top of the unit, to provide a guide/seating channel for the iPod when inserted. None of the adapter plates seemed to work with the 4th Generation Nano iPod.

    This is where I have a problem. Sony Customer Service has confirmed this and said that the Sony Micro Hi-Fi Component System is not compatible with the 4th Generation iPod Nano. In other words, Sony won't provide an adapter plate for the 4th Generation iPod Nano. Read more


    12. Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Monitor Series Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black)
    Electronics
    list price: $239.95 -- our price: $99.25
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0002KVQBA
    Manufacturer: Polk Audio
    Sales Rank: 418
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Do away with distortion.While the Polk Monitor Series PSW10's 10" driver and 50W built-in amplifier are filling out your home audio's bass tones, a wide variety of distortion-reducing technologies - including laser Klippel Distortion analysis - deliver bass true to the source. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Polk PSW-10: Great, with some reservations, February 3, 2006
    I just added this to my Onkyo HTIB system and it's made all the difference in the world. I'm a bit of an audiophile (on a reasonable budget), with four subwoofers scattered throughout the rooms in my house and one 10" Polk in my truck. I'm most satisfied with the Polk subwoofers for their tightness and ability to pound low frequencies without turning the sound into a boomy mess. I listen to a lot of music with double-bass drumming and thought that this PSW12 would have a tough time keeping up with the quickness of the 10" sub I like so much. Not the case. What I get is very quick bass with that ground-shaking impact that I always look for.

    I'm still going easy on 'er for the break-in period, but I can say that the trailer for Kingdom of Heaven (included on the Blu-Ray disc) sounds absolutely stunning. Paired with my 57" Sony HDTV, trips to the movie theater are few and far between these days. Now is a great time to pick up one of these, since the price seems to have recently dropped by about $50 throughout the web.

    Unbeatable sub for the money!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Polk PSW-10: Great, with some reservations, February 3, 2006
    I purchased this subwoofer about 2 months ago and since then have given it an extensive listening test. Following is a list of things I would do to improve sound quality as well as some reservations I have toward it.

    Before I start off, I would like to clarify one thing about the PSW-10 that might unjustly turn off potential buyers from it: it runs at 50 watts RMS. In the world of music and sound systems, one of the biggest misconceptions out there is that wattage directly correlates with how loud a speaker is. THIS IS NOT NECCESARILY TRUE! The efficiency of the driver determines how loud it gets at a certain wattage, not only the amount of power you're pumping into it! This is why you can buy, for example, computer speakers that boast 400watts of power and have them easily massacred in terms of volume by speaker set ups with half the power (for further examples, compare computer speaker systems to shelf systems to a true sound system. You will find the volume, at a given wattage, tends to increase as you go down the spectrum).

    I found the PSW-10 easily competed in terms of volume with every other sub in it's range, including those running at twice to three times the power RMS. If you want to prove it to yourself, run down to your local Circuit City (who sells Polk subs) and sound test it yourself.

    Now, onto the guts of the review.

    1. As far as entry subwoofers come, this is probably the best bang for your buck that you can find bar none, especially considering the quality of the build. Built around high quality medium density fiberboard and using a highly efficient 10" driver, the PSW-10 manages to bang as well, if not louder, than other subwoofers in this category, despite running at 50 watts RMS.

    2. The sound quality is excellent, with very little distortion at high volumes above 50 hz or so, with full excursion easily being reached because of the ported design. In the 40hz - 50hz range, the polk begins to show the limitations of an entry level sub, the sound becoming slightly more muddied (though not horribly so) with extended length sounds(ie. a hellicopter landing slowly) while still staying crisp for burst noise (ie. a gunshot or bassdrum). Below the 40hz, it's pretty much non-functional as a subwoofer. I should also stress that no entry subwoofer has any redeeming qualities below 40hz.

    3. Music is where this subwoofer really shines! It's bass is perfect for every genre of music (my tastes tend to be a bit ecclectic and as such I tested it with Classical, Hip Hop, Electronica, Rock, and Jazz) you can throw at it. I was most impressed when playing The Chieftans "Ballad of the Irish Horse" album and could have sworn the drums were playing in the room (a testament to the quality of polk's design). Deep bass is 99.9% of the time is limited to above 50hz, right in the sweet spot of the polk, and as such, the bass lines in every Rap song I tried (the extreme being Wolfpak - Gangsta Rap and Kanye West - Golddigger) was quite impressive, accurate and crisp. When playing the 1812 Overature, the cannons were well produced, if very slightly muddied (as it is one of the few songs that ventures below 50hz) but overall very good. I was very impressed with the sound quality of the polk in music.

    4. That being said, this subwoofer is ideal for music and will be disappointing for those who wish to use it for movie watching. While it is beneficial to add it to any non-subwoofer setup, the 10" driver struggles to hit the low lows with the sound becoming muddied with deep, deep bass of any length. I found this to be a problem with all entry subwoofers I've tried, not just the polk, so take this with a grain of salt.

    Overall, this subwoofer is probably the best entry subwoofer you can get bar none.

    TIPS FOR MAKING IT SOUND BETTER!!!

    1. First thing of note: Like all quality entry level subwoofers, great sound comes with the sacrifice of volume. This sub works best in smaller rooms, say 20x10 maximum. Any larger and the sound will begin to get lost in the room and sound strained.

    2. Most subwoofers work the best along the front wall of your sound system, in the corner. This however is not a cardinal rule. To find the best location for the subwoofer (this works for any sub for your information), place the subwoofer where you would normally be sitting, listening to it. Play a song and walk around the room until you find place where the bass sounds the best. Move the sub to that location and it should be ideally placed!

    3. One shortcoming about the Polk is the lack of an LFE input: you only get RCA and speaker line inputs meaning that there is no way you can bypass the internal crossover of the sub. Considering the market it's aiming for, this shouldn't be too big of a problem for most people, but owners with good receivers might be a bit vexed by this. Also, do not hookup the sub through the speaker line: it'll lose a fair amount of sound quality from forcing the bass through small gauge wires. Hook it up through the RCA if at all possible and you will be greatly rewarded.

    In summation, despite the reservations inherent of the entry level subwoofer class (and LFE port), this is an excellent subwoofer which warrants all the praise it's been getting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound, May 15, 2009
    I'm using this with an Onkyo TR-606 alongside a Toshiba 62" DLP HDTV and a full set of Polk speakers, and the sound quality is remarkable.

    The only caveat is that the subwoofer input has two connectors, but you really only need to connect one of them. The manual is far from clear about this, and plenty of people will probably spend extra on a Y cable, or worse yet, put in an adapter which will add both cost and loss of fidelity. But just connecting to the left input works fine. Subwoofers are mono anyway, and the double inputs are primarily there to make certain wiring configurations easier, not to add more sound fidelity.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Polk Audio PSW10 Powered Subwoofer, June 1, 2007
    While I was looking for sub-woofer I was comparing PSW10 and PSW404. PSW404 sounds better but for the price $110 vs. $250 at J&R I opted for PSW10. The sale representative dropped the price for me even though they still selling PSW10 for $200 here. Those of you who worry about no LFE input, that shouldn't be a problem. All you have to do is connect the sub-woofer output of the receiver to either the right or left input on the sub-woofer. And then set the variable low pass filter on the sub-woofer to the highest setting. This will set the internal low pass filter above the low pass filter frequency given by your receiver and create an LFE input. Or you may use a RCA cable to provide a connection to both inputs on the sub-woofer from the LR pre-out from the receiver. Then adjust the cross over frequency from the woofer as desired. It sounds a little louder and better for me. I bought Monster sub-woofer cable and it sounds no better than RCA cable. Try not to waste your money on this. It has 7.4 out of 10 in CNet rating and it is #6 in editor's top list for sub-woofers. I matched PSW10 with R300, RTi4, R150, CSi3 and Denon 1906 receiver. Mainly used for HDTV over the air, DVD movies and some FM. It sounds a lot better than the sub-woofer from RM6750. It carries 5 years warranty but make sure you buy from Authorize dealer. For the price I paid I am more than happy with it. I hope this helps to your decision.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Boom Boom Rumble Boom, October 21, 2008
    First, a bit of credentials, as this is my first review here.
    I have many years of experience in good sound. Back in the day, I built and used Dynaco tube power amps from kits, and have owned Marantz, Mac and Crown amps as well. I had Tandberg cassette decks (anyone remember audio cassettes?), and Technics turntables. For speakers I've used Klipsch, JBL, Tannoy, Polk, Yamaha, and the insanely expensive - and worth every penny - Magneplanars from Magnepan. So, except for the Magnepan's, not quite audiophile, but really good home sound.

    So, why would I buy a hundred dollar subwoofer from Amazon you ask?
    I was looking for something inexpensive to give some bottom to the M-Audio powered speakers in my computer room, and I have seen and heard some new Polk speakers that sounded good, each in their respective price range.
    Mostly, I bought this subwoofer based on the positive reviews on Amazon.

    Sorry to say, I must disagree with the majority for this one.
    I tried tuning it, I tried many different room placements, I tried various expensive subwoofer rca cables.
    Sadly, I must report that I was unable to get any musical output from it - ever. I wasn't expecting audiophile here, just the ability to hear bass notes when they are playing. No-way, no-how.
    I give it 2 stars for it's well made box, and the fact that it gives lots of rumble and (sloppy) boom, - and maybe that's enough for some.
    But I have an almost 10 year old Yamaha sub (pre rca inputs, around the same power and same speaker size) that I brought into the room as an A/B test. The old Yamaha outperformed this new Polk by far.

    After all of the positive reviews, I'm wondering if maybe the one I got was defective, but there is no way to get inside it for testing without voiding the return policy.
    So...I returned it.
    Good luck!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic for the $$$!!!, December 30, 2007
    I bought the PSW10 on Amazon for about $100, and I am blown away by the value. I worked as a profesional home theater installer for about 5 years and sold many $400 subs that were no better than this. The 50 watt power rating is very conservative. Truth is, it's just an honest rating on a quality amp. I paired it with a run-of-the-mill Pioneer receiver and the Klipsch Quintet II speaker system. (also from Amazon $300)The end result for a $400 speaker system is amazing. For music and movies at low to moderately high volume, you could spend $2000 on a Bose system and not have sound this accurate and dynamic. (My mother in law just did).

    4-0 out of 5 stars Solid sound in a small package for a great price, June 2, 2009
    We purchased two Polk Audio PSW10 subwoofers for our new home, to fill out the sound for two large rooms with in-wall or in-ceiling 7.1 speakers. Size and shape were both top considerations, as we wanted to integrate the subwoofer into a window seat in our great room, so the unit had to be approximately 14" tall (precluding several other, bigger, more powerful choices). Price was a secondary consideration -- but we do appreciate good sound, and would have happily paid more for better sound, if we could get the packaging right.

    As always with Amazon, shipping was very efficient and the speakers arrived in good shape long before we were actually ready to install them in the new house. Set up was no-brainer easy (as others have noted, the lack of an LFE input is easily worked around by turning the crossover level of the speakers all the way up). We routed a 20-foot RCA cable along the base of our hearth prior to installing hardwood flooring, so the terminal end could be routed behind the drywall to the final installation spot, tucked into the window seat in the very corner of the room. Remember, though, that as a powered subwoofer, you'll also need a close-by AC outlet.

    Now, for the sound: it's really good -- crisp, not excessively boomy unless you turn the internal volume way up, and surprisingly capable of churning out satisfying bass in a very large space. Our primary listening environment is a large great room, approximately 32 feet by 24 feet, with a two-story cathedral ceiling. The primary speakers are Audioplex 8" in-wall speakers, driven by a Yamaha RX-663 receiver. Most of our usage in this room is for "ambient" music during the day, running in the receiver's 7-channel stereo mode -- and the Polk PSW10 admirably "fills out" the bottom end of the sound, enriching it without being distracting or boomy.

    We also use this system for family movie nights, in concert with a Samsung 52" A650 LCD monitor. Once again, the PSW10 does a fine job "filling out" the bottom end with solid bass, even keeping up with the action-adventure movies my kids prefer. As a minor beef, I actually have had to get up and turn down the sub's volume during a couple movies because the level that works well with music is a little too much boom during loud action sequences... which I suppose says something about the sound levels this little speaker is capable of.

    Overall, for the way we live (lots of music played at moderate volumes, regular "home theater" sessions with the whole family on the couch), the Polk PSW10s have proven to be a great buy and a great value, with satisfying performance in a right-sized package. A true audiophile might be disappointed, but for real-world, moderate-volume usage, these are great little speakers for a great price.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spend some quality time tuning this beast., January 19, 2010
    I am incredibly impressed with the PSW10. After a few hours tweaking knobs on both the subwoofer and the receiver, I have reached close to perfection. Despite the large physical size, the PSW10 seems to have disappeared! Instead, the entire room is filled beautifully with low frequencies melding perfectly with my surround sound speakers. I am no longer staring at the subwoofer when something is exploding on-screen, distracted by a distorted, booming sound.

    Ignore the reviews stating that this sub is boomy and unable to accurately hit the lows. This is not the PSW10's fault. Cranking the volume knob on the PSW10 is not the way to achieve more bass or lower frequencies! Plan on spending some time to get the PSW10 just right. Listen to a wide variety of music and movies. The PSW10 will sing in perfect harmony with your set-up when tuned correctly. You will hear new lows in music you have listened to for years. You will feel the explosions in your body on your favorite action films. For around $100, this subwoofer is an absolute steal.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful, Tight Bass, March 1, 2007
    I just added this to my Onkyo HTIB system and it's made all the difference in the world. I'm a bit of an audiophile (on a reasonable budget), with four subwoofers scattered throughout the rooms in my house and one 10" Polk in my truck. I'm most satisfied with the Polk subwoofers for their tightness and ability to pound low frequencies without turning the sound into a boomy mess. I listen to a lot of music with double-bass drumming and thought that this PSW12 would have a tough time keeping up with the quickness of the 10" sub I like so much. Not the case. What I get is very quick bass with that ground-shaking impact that I always look for.

    I'm still going easy on 'er for the break-in period, but I can say that the trailer for Kingdom of Heaven (included on the Blu-Ray disc) sounds absolutely stunning. Paired with my 57" Sony HDTV, trips to the movie theater are few and far between these days. Now is a great time to pick up one of these, since the price seems to have recently dropped by about $50 throughout the web.

    Unbeatable sub for the money!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars At sensible volume levels, it's perfect for music & movies, July 20, 2010
    I am an older guy who has been listening to music for more than 40 years. At my age, there is no need to try to impress anyone with how loud my stereo can go. And I am wise enough to know that I don't need to spend $500+ on a subwoofer. I now listen to music at low to moderate volume levels which I have learned to feel comfortable with. Even when watching movies in surround mode, I don't feel the need to generate seismic activity. To get to the point, for most of us, this Polk PSW10 is plenty loud enough for home theater as well as music. The bass goes very low. And as long as you don't crank the volume way up on the subwoofer itself, it's not boomey. Besides, you should never need to max-out the volume on the sub-woofer. Just take the time to read the instructions and take some time to calibrate the settings on your receiver/amp as well as the subwoofer. The instructions tell you to set your front (main) speakers on the "small" setting (if you have a surround receiver or amp). After a short while you will find the sweet spot and you should seldom need to touch the volume control on the subwoofer. The only con I can think of is that this unit has a large footprint and it takes up a good chunk of space. And if you feel that you need to impress your friends & neighbors with the loudness of your subwoofer, the PSW10 might disappoint you. But, if you simply want a good-sounding subwoofer to compliment your bookshelf speakers or satellites, the Polk PSW10 will fit the bill nicely. It really makes the music (and movies) sound more alive and full. I gave it 5 stars based on the build quality, sound, and the value received. I got mine (brand spankin' new)for $88.00 at a store called Fry's. Now THAT's a bargain.

    5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT SOUND QUALITY, September 28, 2009
    This Polk product was my second choice. My first choice, an Infinity subwoofer with comparable specifications and somewhat more expensive, does not have speaker in and speaker out connections. So, I took a bet the this Polk sub and could not be happier. With the adjustable crossover and volume and phase switch, it's very easy to tweak the settings for your room. I'm using it in office so rarely does it thump, but it does do a very good job of reproducing low end at low to moderate volume. If you are looking for audiophile quality, you'll need to step up a few notches. If all you want is raw bass, you're probably better off with a box with a bigger amp. But of you are looking to add nice low-end sound to a system or home theater, this is a good choice. Read more


    13. Coby KCD150 Under-the-Cabinet CD Player with AM/FM Radio (Silver)
    Electronics
    list price: $34.99 -- our price: $30.24
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B001TJKWL8
    Manufacturer: Coby
    Sales Rank: 280
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Coby's KCD150 provides great-quality sound with a built-in, full-range speaker system. Digital AM/FM radio and intuitive controls make tuning and playback a snap. Integrated multi-function alarm clock also included. Unit comes with under-cabinet mounting kit. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Only mounts to cabinets with flush bottoms!, November 2, 2009
    This item arrived 2 days ago and I'm already returning it. Two big problems right off the bat:

    1). The mounting kit is ONLY for cabinets with flush bottoms to them. If you have a normal kitchen cabinet with any amount of trim around the bottom edge, you will not be able to mount this unit. Coby customer service was surprised that this wasn't included in the description on Amazon. So, if your cabinets are not flush at the bottom, look elsewhere for an under-cabinet CD player.

    2). The description here says that this unit has a digital AM/FM radio. The radio is actually analog. (Who even makes analog radio tuners these days!) It was a royal pain to find any of our main radio stations when I tested the unit.

    I only tested the CD player briefly, but it worked well and had okay sound quality (wasn't expecting the best quality for $35). It took a few minutes to figure out how to set the clock, alarm, etc. because the little owner's manual is worthless. Calling Coby customer service on a Monday morning took 10-15 minutes on hold and another 5 minutes to get the service rep to stop asking for my personal information, listen to my question, and put me back on hold again. Wasn't too impressed.

    If anyone knows of an under-cabinet CD player/radio/clock that can be mounted to kitchen cabinets with trim on the bottom, please let me know.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Acceptable unit, November 25, 2010
    I really wanted a replacement AM FM radio for $15 but could only find units like this for $30 with CD players. It works OK and installed easily. My beef is the controls for the radio. It does not have digital tuning so you turn a dial like the 40's and 50's and try to read the radio frequency numbers behind the dial. Since they are tiny and are below eye level, it's very hard to tell where you are on the dial. (the bottom of most any kitchen cabinet will have to be below eye level.) This unit is compatible with cabinets with hanging trim, contrary to one reviewer's claim.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I would buy it again, I'm glad I bought this item........, September 11, 2010
    I really enjoy my undercabinet cd/radio.....the sound is loud, cd player works well, easy to set up....Love it! very happy with my radio. I would recommend it to everyone....

    1-0 out of 5 stars Just never worked, December 7, 2010
    We received the product and it would not play CD's. Contacted the company Service Center and was told to return the product. We have been trying to get return authorization for a couple weeks now to no avail!!! I would have upgraded to another brand with Amazon,however, I guess the service is not good as the product was not either.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Perfect, August 4, 2010
    This is perfect for underneath my kitchen cabinet. It is out of the way and looks nice. I am very happy with this product.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Life saver, October 30, 2010
    My kids use this in the bathroom as they shower and they love it. The price was quite reasonable and so is the quality for such a cheap product Read more


    14. Pioneer VSX-820-K 5.1 Home Theater Receiver
    Electronics
    -- our price: Too low to display
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0039XQL2G
    Manufacturer: Pioneer
    Sales Rank: 439
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Key Features are 110 watts X 5, Dolby True-HD / DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Pro-Logic IIz Height Channel Decoder, Auto MCACC with room EQ, Phase ControlAuto Level Control – 2 Channel, Advanced Sound Retriever – 2 channel, iPod Digital USB / USB Memory Audio / OSD, Front A/V Inputs, Sirius Satellite Radio w/OSD, Bluetooth Ready w/ optional AS-BT100, HDMI Repeater (4 In / 1 out), Deep Color, x.v. color, Component Video Inputs (2 in / 1 out),Audio Inputs (6 in / 1out - includes Tuner),Audio/Video Inputs (4in / 1 out), Digital Inputs (3 - 1 coax / 2opt), Dolby PLIIz Pre-Out, Glossy Black Cosmetic, Preset Remote Control. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding receiver!, May 8, 2010
    After trying a Denon, and two Yamaha's, I finally hit gold with the Pioneer VSX-820.
    This is a superb receiver in all regards. It produces clear crisp sound in all modes.
    There are no lip synch issues at all when linked to my HDTV. I had terrible lip synch problems with the Denon. It has all the features I need and more and has an excellent remote that is both intuitive and comprehensive. I use my receiver for CD's, FM radio and my Samsung HDTV. I use DishNetwork for my TV programming.

    The VSX series is Pioneer's newest and includes several models all the way up to the 1120.
    However, when you read the specs, all these receivers have the same tuner and power plant. The higher the model number, the more numerous the features. But no increase in output.
    That makes for an easier buying decision. You don't compromise power for features if you chose a mid range model like the 820 or 920. I noticed that the Denon and Yamaha receivers I tried were made in China. The Pioneers are made in Japan. I'll go with Japan for high quality electronics every time. Pioneer has hit a homerun with this new series of receivers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great receiver with an annoying shortcoming, May 11, 2010
    I picked this up at a local retailer. Looks good and the sound is pretty good. Didn't seem much better or worse than my 10 year old Denon receiver it replaced (but that's not a bad thing). Video over HDMI looks good.

    Setup is pretty usual for receivers, you will not understand many features and setup options unless you bother reading the instructions.

    Few shortcomings with one that is very annoying:

    1. The cover of the front USB and video/audio ports is not connected to the receiver - it's a piece of plastic that you have to take out completely if you want to hook up a USB device or any source to the front connectors. I wish it had a permanent connection because I can completely see it getting lost.

    2. The receiver comes with a limited on screen menu to use the auto tuning of speakers and to set up the inputs and speakers. The problem is: you have to connect the receiver to the TV using an analog RCA cable to use it!!!! So if you have only digital sources and hoped to use HDMI as your only connection, be prepared to add another cable to the mix when you set up the speakers. Granted you don't need to use the on screen menu a lot but if you have difficult access to the back of TV and receiver like I have, it can become annoying. I don't understand what Pioneer were thinking.

    3. Seems to have to crank up the volume much higher than I used to with my Denon receiver, but I guess this is something I will have to get use to.

    Overall it is a great value, but I'm actually considering returning it and spending the extra $100 for the vsx-920-k so I won't have to use analog RCA cables ever again.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very good receiver for the price, October 19, 2010
    I have just completed an exhaustive search to replace my Panasonic SA-XR57 that was in my bedroom. I tried out two Onkyo TX-SR308 5.1-Channel Home Theater Receivers (both took way too long displaying anything on my TV via HDMI and could not do anything with the digital optical audio coming out of my satellite box) and a Sony STR-DN1000 7.1-Channel Audio Video Receiver (which was better with the HDMI connection to the TV although not altogether satisfactorily so and worked well with the optical connection but had a problem with the left surround output). After going through that many receivers within a two week period, I was nearly convinced to just give up. Fortunately, I went ahead and got the VSX-820. Although it's not perfect, it definitely has many good points

    Pros:
    - iPhone functionality is pretty good - you get basic functionality including the ability to stop and start and the on-screen display is functional (although by no means pretty - it's just text-based)
    - audio set-up was amazingly easy and very quick
    - at first the audio assignments to devices were a little confusing, but after reading the manual I kind of like how you set them up (by selecting the device you want to assign and then assigning it rather than going through a convoluted menu)
    - the HDMI connection worked beautifully and quickly
    - the optical digital audio worked flawlessly as well

    Cons:
    - does not upconvert anything, meaning that if it came in as composite it needs to go to the TV via a composite cable
    - on-screen display menu requires a component connection instead of just going through HDMI
    - iPhone connection in the front - this is more a personal preference, but I'd rather the connection be in the back and just have the cable available to plug in whenever. With it sticking out in front I'm concerned that someone will walk by it, hit it and break it off
    - the cover over the front inputs seems cheap - almost better to have not put it there at all

    All said, though, this receiver did exactly what I wanted it to when others did not and did it with ease.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately Mediocre, October 31, 2010
    Ready to upgrade our family's 10 year old Sony receiver, we elected to get the Pioneer 820, because it had the iPod connectivity, along with 4 HDMI inputs. Overall, I cannot say this was an incredible upgrade, and I do not feel like the technology has changed significantly since we bought our last receiver. Here's my general take on the receiver after one weeks use:

    First, the disappointing:
    Upgrading to a newer receiver did not spare me the problem of too many preset EQ settings. If I'm switching back and forth between music and sports or movies/TV I have to play around with 4 different types of sound settings to avoid echoey, balance, fade and EQ problems. There is AUTO/Direct and AUTO Surround. Then there's presets for surround sound: Dolby PLII Movie, Music and Game, and NEO6 Cinema, and Music. Then there are advanced surround settings (which appear to be very similar) Action, Drama, Classical, Ent.Show, Advanced Game, Pop/Rock, Unplugged and Ext.Stereo. After reading the descriptions of all these, I get a headache when trying to decipher what combination would sound best for each of my types of entertainment, rarely using the same combo twice.

    The next drawback I encountered was the FM Tuner reception. I programmed nearly every station in English in my area that I am accustomed to getting on my car stereo, but only about half of the stations receive any signal at all, and sometimes shotty. My guess is that it is those stations with the latest HD broadcasts, even though this is not an HD radio, those signals are the noticeably stronger ones. I bought a FM signal booster at RadioShack, but it doesn't seem to have improved.

    One big shortcoming for our household, as we used our old receiver to play music in the other parts of the house besides the family/TV room for holidays and parties, is that the B-Speakers are not specifiable to another source. If we want to watch a football game in the TV room, we must also listen to the same broadcast in the rest of the house. While this might seem as a higher-price-level feature, I thought it would be standard with newer technology.

    The iPod connection is nice in theory, but its such a short cable that its rather inconvenient to control the iPod manually. Secondly, the menu to manage the iPod on the TV is so primitive, I feel like I stepped back in time, to MS-Dos or something of equal technical capability. A better route to iPod playback would probably be the Blutooth-adapter route, albeit at additional cost.

    The last main complaint with this receiver may be a moot point, but my Scientific Atlanta 8300HD DVR cable box does not communicate the HDMI through the cable box correctly. Instead of simplifying my cables and setup to solely HDMI, I am forced to keep HD component cables going from both my DVR box to my receiver and thus my receiver to the HDTV. Something to research if you're hoping to use your cable box with HDMI through the receiver.

    The good:
    Setup was nearly painless, and intuitive. I'm an amateur audiophile, so setting up a modern receiver shouldn't be too complex. There were plenty of inputs for other audio-based inputs. If I had a record player, CD player, MP3 3.5mm input, or anything else, there's plenty of room for expansion.

    Secondly, I have room to advance my HDMI inputs, including 1080p, and 3D TV. This is the major reason we bought this receiver: to simplify our video source connectivity and not be left behind for future HDTVs. Our current TV will be upgraded soon, and though it probably won't be 3D for us, it will be 1080p. Thus the 4 HDMI connections are crucial.

    Bottom line: Still possesses the headache problems of older receivers (our last was 10 years old) but the HDMI (no up-conversion though) makes this not a bad option in its price range. Comparable competitors each have their similar flaws, but the VSX820 is going to work for most people today and in the future.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good value and nice features for 5.1 receiver, November 20, 2010
    I have been using this product for 2 months. At first arrived, the IPOD connection did not work well. Then, it was o.k. by itself a few days later. I like the remote from this Pioneer, I can use just one remote control to control a VIZIO TV, a cable box from Time Warner,and a Sony Blue-ray player. I have 5.1 paradigm speakers set up in my room, when listening to Pandora internet radio with Dolby Digital Pro II Music feature in this Pioneer, the sound is very good. The sound from IPOD is even better. I can also use the Pioneer remote control to skip a song or change a playlist from the IPOD. For movies, the sound is good. Overall, I like this product. I finally able to get rid of all other remote controls and I really enjoy listening music in a surround mode. It is just amazing. The singer voice is at the front and background instruments or back up singers voice at the rear.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Quality Overall, October 28, 2010
    Overall, this receiver is fantastic! It has plenty of ports and behaves exactly as expected. Its an overall quality device.

    Cons: I'll only be covering the bad in this one, so listen to the good parts of the other reviews. Firstly, the ONLY on-screen interface looks like it was programmed directly on an old Atari 2800 chipset. The font is identical, I swear. This menu only has four main options on it, with drill-down options from there. Overall, terribly disappointing. Second, you cannot rename any of the inputs. So my Xbox 360 is apparently a "BD" (Blueray Disc), and my Apple TV is a "TV/SAT".

    It turns out that both of these problems are improved upon a model a few models up, the 1020. If I had to do it over again, I definitely would have just purchased the 1020. It has a very nice on-screen display menu - as if the interface designers actually cared, and, from what I read, the ability to change the names of the inputs for the front-display.

    If you insist upon sticking with the 820, or even the 520, do yourself a favor and get a Logitech Harmony remote control (Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote with Color Touchscreen). This has the ability to list the REAL device names on the remote's screen, so you don't have to understand code in order to change your receiver to the correct device. It also provides the ability to turn other devices on and off when switching between them, which is HUGE with regard to compatibility with this receiver.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best move I've done, September 12, 2010
    I've been a fan with Pioneer recives and amps since the 60's when I fist put together a home component stereo system.
    My last reciever went belly up and I went looking for a new one.
    Well ! This reciever has more things then I clould ask for at a very nice price.
    It has 5 HMDI inputs and one output for your HDTV. It is also set up for the new 3D TVs.
    Setting up the suround sound was simple with the mic they sent with the unit. Plus it has on screen display to take you thru all the set ups you need.
    Once I was all done I was truly amazed and the sound quality coming out of my old Sanasui 3500 floor speakers. The Kenwood suround spearker never sounded so good either.
    There is way more what it can do sound wise then I have time to tell.
    Lets put it this way Pioneer did it again for me

    5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive power and clarity, September 7, 2010
    I needed a receiver to drive a 5.1 in ceiling system. I had purchased 5 polk rc80i in ceiling speakers and attempted to drive them with my 2 year old sony str-dg510. I was very disappointed in the sound and at first thought it was the speakers. I have 5.1 in my bedroom already so knew I needed another receiver anyway.


    Once I connected the polks to the pioneer receiver my wife kids and I went whoa! I'm using it in a fairly large room with a cable box and blue ray player. So far I've watched Transformers, Monsters versus Aliens and A few hd cable programs. It drives my speakers awesomely and allows me to access all of my ipod playlists and songs. Pretty cool. I first bought the 520-k but figured once I bought the blue-tooth adapter for my ipod I could have already purchased this item which comes ipod ready out of the box.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pleased with this purchase, August 28, 2010
    This receiver sounds way-nice. The onscreen and auto-speaker adjustments make it very easy to set this up with your surround sound system. I was concerned with the amount of heat it might generate, and put a fan to blow out heat from my cabinet, but so far, even when fan is off, this has not been a problem.

    Everything is clearly labeled, instructions are easy, generates great sound, HDMI switching is cool. Not much else to say.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Low price, Lot's of features, July 26, 2010
    Unless you are an ultra-geek, this is all the receiver you will ever need. Lots of features that I know I will never use. Only 5.1 capability as it comes out of the box, so if you need more, go to the 920. This unit best suited for small to medium size home theaters. Read more


    15. Logitech Squeezebox Boom All-in-One Network Music Player / Wi-Fi Internet Radio
    Electronics
    list price: $249.99 -- our price: $199.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B001DJ64D4
    Manufacturer: Logitech
    Sales Rank: 315
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Logitech Squeezebox Boom all-in-one network music player with integrated speakers. Plug it in. Turn it on. Rock the house! The all-in-one network music player that combines award-winning squeezebox functionality with an integrated amplifier and speakers to deliver your digital music to any room in your home. Enjoy the music and content you love, with crystal clear sound. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Streaming/Internet Radio, September 12, 2008
    I am a radio nut (going back to the tube days)and the Squeezebox Boom is my third internet radio. I have a Roku Soundbridge R1000 and Sangean WFR-20 as well. All have their strengths, but the Squeezebox Boom is without a doubt a significant step up; it sets a new high standard in performance, capabilities, and ease of operation.

    For wireless streaming of your music collection from a PC or Mac, the Boom is best. It can handle more formats (nearly anything except DRM protected iTunes files) and works well without crashes or delays. In this the Roku is #2, and the Sangean ranks 3rd(crashes and stutters a lot).

    For internet radio, they all work well. The Sangean is the only one that natively handles RealAudio Streams (like BBC) but has problems with clear channel stations. All of them pick up the stations I want without problems, so I rate this a tie.

    If you want to interface with online music services like Rhapsody/Pandora/ MP3Locker etc, the Boom works great, with far more capacity than the other two. The Slimdevices/Squeezebox folks also update and improve their software far more frequently than the other two, so I expect it to remain in the lead in features and available services.

    In sound quality, the Roku and Boom are both outstanding, with the Sangean good, but clearly a step lower. The Roku's subwoofer seems to go a bit deeper in my room, but the Boom is perhaps a bit more smooth and musical. The Boom uses the same woofers and tweeters as the highly rated Logitech Z-10, but with better bass (because of a larger cabinet and new amp/equalizer circuitry). They both sound absolutely great and play quite loud.

    Ease of initial setup: If you are starting from scratch, I think the Sangean is the easiest to set up, if you do NOT want to stream audio from your PC...that is a real hassle. Both the Boom and Roku require a bit more work.

    Ease of Use AFTER set up: Boom is best BY FAR. Not only do the menus make real sense, but the illuminated controls make it the only radio you can use easily without turning on the lights. The big control knob and back lit function buttons get you through all of the functions fast.

    As a Clock Radio, the Boom has more options than the others, and the display has a huge adjustment range so it will not disturb light sleepers.

    All of these radios are a lot of fun. The Boom does most, and does it best.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound from such a small box, September 12, 2008
    I was intrigued by the idea of a network media player that had built in speakers etc, but I was completely put off by the size of the player. For those of you that don't know, the Boom is heavily marketed to be a bedside type unit (also kitchen wall/cabinet mounted). While shopping I thought I would prefer something with a little more heft at the cost of better sound, so I pretty well discounted the Boom and was looking at Audioengine and other options for powered speakers.

    During my research I ended up coming across the Squeezebox Boom Whitepaper (http://wiki.slimdevices.com/uploads/a/ad/Logitech_Squeezebox_Boom_Audio_Design.pdf) and read through that. It went into a lot of detail regarding the amount of time that Logitech/Slim put into the audio output portion of the box. I also found reviews that in double blind testing the Boom was besting a lot of similar sized boxes that are more expensive and lacked network connectivity. I decided it was worth a shot.

    Once I got home and go my Boom all opened up I plugged it in and was up and running in 2-3 minutes (I already have a wifi network setup with a Duet and receivers, so software etc.... had been pre-installed). I started with the Boom in our master bathroom. It was EXCEPTIONAL at filling a pretty large room (about 20x9 with 15' vaulted ceilings) I then played with it in spare bedrooms and the master bedroom. All sounded great.

    Even though I usually don't need it I decided to set up some alarms to wake to. I don't leave my squeezecenter on, so I set the boom to wake up to Pandora over squeezenetwork. This took a little bit of fiddling, but once I figured out that you need to add a channel as a favorite it worked perfectly. That night I was a little bothered by the brightness of the screen, so I turned it away from the bed. However, the next morning I awoke to a sweet crescendo of Nelly :)

    About the bright screen - There is already a bug report/feature request to change the behavior of the auto-dimming. Apparently people complained that it was auto-dimming too dark during beta, so when they changed it they went a little too high, and now it isn't dimming enough in certain situations. The fix is likely to be an adjustable low level that the screen dims to. In the meantime I simply overrode the brightness to a level that is acceptable at night.

    Overall I must say I am more than impressed with the Boom, especially for the price. I am already thinking about adding one to the baby's room so that I have a stereo in there I can remotely control from my Duet/PC to play soothing music while still being able to listen to my tunes when I have to wake up with her.

    If you are looking for a small network music player that you can move to the various rooms of the house then the Boom is definitely worth looking into...Now, don't expect room filling sound in a 50x50 banquet hall, but for bedrooms etc... it is pretty awesome.

    4-0 out of 5 stars UPDATED: Pros now outweigh the cons (2010), December 27, 2008
    UPDATED: 10/07/2010
    WOW, I didn't realize how popular my original review was. I have been living with the BOOM in my bedroom for the past 2 years, and still enjoy it EVERY day. My wife uses it to stream Hungarian radio stations while she gets ready for work in the morning. We also listen to RadioIO Acoustic when we fall asleep (on timer). Strangely we NEVER use it in the back yard as originally intended... And we even have a power outlet there. We also almost NEVER stream our vast MP3 library off our dedicated RAID5 Thecus N4100 Pro NAS running SqueezeCenter (why I LOVE open source). Yes, I finally got rid of my dedicated HTPC. I guess I need to create some useful playlists to enjoy MP3 streaming on any of my DLNA devices... So the Boom has been relegated to an internet radio device, and it's a pretty good one.

    I stand behind MOST of what I wrote. I was trying to be unbiased about the feature set as provided TWO years ago and SHORTLY after release. This was right after Logitech bought Squeezebox and started major firmware improvements on the product line. But after reading all the comments going back and forth, I realize that many of the issues I brought up have been addressed in firmware. Some were admittedly nits, but isn't that the point of an unbiased review? I was trying to give a broad perspective to anyone that hasn't actually touched one.

    The problems I was having with the BOOM connecting are mostly gone. They resurface briefly on the occasion that I unplug/lose power. But I don't have nearly the headaches I did when I bought it RIGHT after it came out. Moral of the story... The MSRP hasn't dropped to my "magic" point yet, but the firmware is MUCH, MUCH better now. I am adding an additional star, making it a 4 star device in 2010, and thus recommended. I still believe you need a pretty good technical aptitude to wring every last function out of this device, but if you're looking for a good, self-contained internet radio, and direct ipod connectivity is not a feature you require, you would be hard pressed to beat the Boom.

    I would have no hesitation in buying another one if I could get it at the same price as I paid 2 years ago (half of MSRP). But at the same price as a PS3, a small HDTV, an Ipod Touch, a netbook, or other "must have" tech items, I don't think the Boom makes it to the top of many gadget lists. At 100 or 150 I think it would be much more desirable by a much wider range of consumers. It's two years old without a model update, that's a LONG time to hold an MSRP on an unchanged tech device in my world... No matter how good it is.

    -Original Review 12/27/2008
    Was looking for a device that I could stream music to my back yard for parties and what not. I found the Boom shortly after it came out and figured it might be what I was looking for. I admit I was waiting for a bit of a price drop however. I managed to get one from AmEx Wishlist at a huge discount (about 50% off internet price) so I bit.

    After playing with it a bit I have some pros and cons to share:

    Pros:
    1) It plays just about anything you can throw at it including almost all audio file formats, streams, and even RSS feeds. Fairly effortlessly I might add.

    2) Small and quite portable, even at nearly 8lb. Yet it feels solid and quality built.

    3) Can stream internet radio without attaching to a PC, but there is a con to this too, see below.

    4) Open Source development. I found a decent community of support for this device and its stable mates. I was hoping for Squeeze Player on XBMC and Squeeze Center on DD-WRT, but apparently people who buy these prefer to run it on QNAP or other NAS devices which are considerably more expensive and challenging to configure. But being open source it just takes one dev to make dreams into reality. (2010 update: running SqueezeCenter on my Linux based NAS!)

    5) Built in support for some of the most widely used internet audio sources including iTunes, Rhapsody, Pandora, Last.FM, Live365, Sirius, etc. Unfortunately the vast majority of these are NOT free services, but they do provide 30 day trials.

    6) Web control is very cool and allows you to fully control the device from your web browser, even on your internet enabled phone. I like this even better than the built in IR remote and it is more functional to boot.

    Cons:
    1) No battery operation, decreases portability. Would be nice if it had a built in rechargeable battery, even if it only allowed 2 hours of use. As is it always needs a plug and a huge wall-wort. (2010 update: I never unplug it, thus it's not portable, though it's easy to relocate)

    2) No usb port to attach external storage. Would be amazing to plug in a flash/external HDD drive, mp3 player, and have access to any music on it. (2010 update: still think this would be a good feature in a 2.0 device, wi-fi or not)

    3) No iPod dock. I am NO Apple fan but we do own one iPod Nano as do most people that this device appeals to. It would have been worth the licensing fee for this convenience and to be able to control the ipod directly from the Boom. As is you plug mp3 players in via their headphone jack which just converts the Boom into amplified speakers, hardly the intent of this this amazing device. (2010 update: I would consider using the Boom as external speakers for a bedside TV, the sound is THAT good)

    4) No handle to carry it around, I plan to port it around and it is small enough to carry, but a handle of some sort would have been nice. Couple that with the battery mentioned above and really becomes a "BOOM" box. (update: yes I am aware of the hand hold "indent")

    5) Price too high. At retail I feel that it is probably twice as expensive as it should be. For 150 it's almost a no brainer, at 300 I decided to wait for a better deal. IMHO this is not an audiophile device, but it carries an audiophile price tag. Probably because there is little competition in this space. (2010 update: I still think it should be <150)

    6) Boom REALLY wants to connect to a SqueezeCenter on your PC/Mac. First issue is that I don't want to keep my PC on 24/7 so this device can access it. Second issue, it was challenging to bypass connecting to my powered off SqueezeCenter the first couple tries even after having already configured the PC and the Boom correctly. You can go direct to Internet Radio via the Wi-Fi connection, but not without some fuss from the device trying to link to the PC first. (2010 update: New FIRMWARE fixes most all connectivity problems!)

    As many mentioned the device is great at what it does, and it does an awful lot. However you pretty much need to have a geek-level of 8+ to even consider this device, it is NOT user friendly in any way and pretty much requires a LOT of external devices (wifi, PC, audio storage) and configuration tweaking (internet radio, SqueezeCenter, music catalog) to maximize its potential. (2010 update: Sticking by my geek level 8+ to maximize potential, only a 5 to simply operate the device... yes you still have to connect it to a network and find something to listen to)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Set Your Digital Music Library Free!, October 24, 2008

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    The Good: The Logitech Squeezebox Boom gives you a portable unit for accessing your digital music library from any room in the house using your wireless network. It has above average sound quality and some nice extras such as a highly configurable alarm clock.

    The Bad: Nothing worthy of mention.

    Overall: Logitech hit this one out of the park. My detailed usage based review follows.

    BACKGROUND: I have been using the Logitech Squeezebox Duet Network Music System (see my review) for over six months so I was already very familiar with the basic functionality of the Squeezebox Boom. While these two systems can work together, the main difference is that the Boom is a standalone system while the Duet requires a separate stereo or speakers.

    SETUP: While you may ultimately intend to use your Boom in another room, it is best to perform the setup tasks in the same room with your computer since you will need to go back and forth between the two. Don't worry. All of the information you enter during setup is stored in non-volatile memory so you won't lose any of it when you unplug the unit to move it.

    Allow 30 minutes for setup. However, if you already have another Squeezebox product, you can expect a shorter investment of time.

    Assembly of the Boom is a breeze. First, you open the remote and remove the protective cover from the battery. Then all that is left is to snap in the plug into the power adapter, connect it to the Boom, and then to your power outlet. Now you are ready for the simple configuration steps.

    Logitech continues a trend that they started in other products in giving you a worksheet (only two lines for the Boom) to jot down necessary setup information before getting started. For the Boom this consists of your wireless network information - SSID and encryption key (if your network is secured). I was dreading the step of entering this information based on my experience with the Duet, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much more tactile the D-pad on the Boom's remote was over the Duet's controller. After entering this information, the Boom connects to your network and asks you to choose your music source.

    At this point, I would recommend that you choose "Squeezenetwork" even if you never intend to use internet radio or online music services. You will be given the PIN for your unit that you must enter into your Squeezenetwork account. After doing so your new unit will become available in the Squeezecenter software on your PC.

    About Squeezecenter. You will in all likelihood have to upgrade Squeezecenter if you have a previous unit as the 7.2 version (or higher) is required to work with the Boom. Download and install is about 5 minutes with a high speed connection. Don't worry; the Boom will tell you if you need to upgrade during the setup process.

    At this point you should be good to go for accessing both your music library on your computer and the online music services available through Squeezenetwork.

    USAGE: The Boom is essentially flawless. I have it located on the first floor while my computer is on the second floor on the opposite end of the house. However the Boom has no problem finding my network and playing an uninterrupted stream of music. The system is very easy to control as it provides menus that let you select from your PC music library by artist, album, etc. Additionally, I have my Pandora (other paid subscriptions such as Rhapsody can also be accessed) account registered at Squeezenetwork, and all of my Pandora stations are available as well. Finally, there is a plethora of internet radio stations giving access to almost any style of music.

    While I admit I am not an audio snob, I think that the sound quality from the Boom is above average. There is a good balance of bass and treble, and the volume can be taken as loud as most people would want without being distorted. Logitech didn't skimp on the speakers that they put on the Boom.

    New features that are not on the Duet include a programmable alarm clock. I setup three alarms: 1 for Monday-Friday, 1 for Saturday, and 1 for Sunday. These can be specified as repeating or one time. The only complaint (and this is really being picky) I have with the alarm is that they don't offer a true alarm sound. You can use any of your music, but I have always used an alarm even on clock radios. I settled on the "Rooster Crow".

    There are tons of settings that you can adjust, and it would take up too much space to cover them all here. I would suggest using the drill-down menus and exploring what is there.

    As if you could need more music than what is on your PC, the Boom also includes a jack for audio input. This does close one gap that the Duet had in that you can now access your iTunes music by connecting your iPod. Unfortunately, the DRM music from iTunes cannot be streamed to the Boom (or any other non-Apple product for that matter).

    If you have a Duet, it is of interest that the Duet Controller can be used on the Boom by changing the player that it is controlling. The main benefit that you get from this is the display on the Duet Controller is far better than that of the Boom. For example, you can display all of the alarms that you have set on one screen using the Duet Controller, but you cannot do this on the Boom itself.

    CONCLUSION: The Logitech Squeezebox Boom is a fantastic product whether you buy it as a standalone unit or as an expansion to the Duet. Think of it as a portable version of the Duet that you can take from room to room in your house with some additional features such as an alarm clock. As with the Duet, this is another no brainer five star item.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Network Music Player With Real Potential, October 29, 2008

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    In today's digital music age, many people are storing massive collections of songs and albums on their computers or network share drives. The portable MP3 players we all know and love give you the ability to take your music with you, but with certain limitations. Using a portable MP3 player to play music through speakers requires connecting it to a stereo system or at least to a portable amplified speaker system. But some time ago manufacturers began offering streaming music players, to allow us to listen to Internet Radio stations, play music from on-line music services (on demand), or to even access our music collections from our personal computers. Most of these devices are wireless, and are usually easy to connect to your home Wi-Fi network. Still, many of these new devices require you to connect them to a stereo receiver or amplified speakers. Logitech has developed a new product that offers all of the freedom and flexibility of the streaming music player, while incorporating its own amplifier and speakers. It's essentially a boom box made for your home computer network (Wi-Fi or Ethernet). Logitech has named this device the "Squeezebox Boom." It is an all-in-one streaming music player, which not only works as a Wi-Fi or Ethernet music player, but it is also a clock radio. I have been using mine for over a week now, and I want to share some highlights of what makes this product so awesome yet in need of some improvements.

    As mentioned above, the Squeezebox Boom is a compact, all-in-one device, requiring only a power cord, with no additional wires needed. It is quite powerful, for its small size, cranking out up to 30-watts of digital power. The integrated 3-inch woofers and �-inch tweeters create an incredible amount of rich, full-bodied sound. It connects to your wireless home network, but also has the ability to plug directly into a network device (i.e., switch or router) via Ethernet cable. It has a 3.5 mm stereo line input, for connecting external audio sources, and also has a 3.5 mm output, which doubles as a headphone jack or for connecting an external, self-amplified subwoofer. It also comes with a compact remote control, that has a magnetic underside, which can sit securely in a little tray area atop the Squeezebox player. There are a lot of technical details associated with this player, so here are some of the important specifications:

    * 30-watt Integrated, Digital Amplifier (Class D)
    * Bi-Amplified Design with High Performance Signal Processor and Digital Crossover
    * �-inch High-Definition, Soft-Dome Tweeters (x2) and 3-inch High-Power, Long-Throw Woofers (x2)
    * Stereo XL Technology (3 selectable levels to expand the sound to make it seem wider)
    * 6-Button Presets for One Touch Access to Favorite Internet Radio Stations and Playlists
    * 7-Day Alarm Clock
    * Infrared Remote Control (w/ magnetic back)
    * Bright, High-Contrast VFD Display, with Ambient Light Sensor and Auto-Dimming
    * Built-in 802.11g Wireless Technology with Dual Internal Antennas
    * 10/100 Base-T Ethernet Port
    * Line-in (3.5 mm stereo jack)
    * Headphone/Subwoofer Output (3.5 mm jack)
    * Plays MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg, FLAC, Apple Lossless, WMA Lossless, WAV, and AIFF Music Files
    * Connects to your home network to access music stored on your computer via SqueezeCenter software, and Internet radio and music services via SqueezeNetwork.
    * Dimensions = 13" Wide by 3-5/8" Deep by 5-1/8" Tall
    * Weight = approx. 5-1/2 lbs.
    * 2-year Limited Hardware Warranty

    Setting up the Squeezebox boom was moderately challenging, but nothing too extreme. The amount of time it will take each person to set it up will depend on the individual's network and their ability to understand adding a wireless device to their network. You will need to gather your network SSID and the security key (if you have security enabled on your wireless network). Logitech advises each owner to contact the person who originally setup their wireless router, if they are not able to obtain the necessary information themselves. Once connected to your wireless (or wired) network, you can now begin listening to Internet Radio stations. You will want to setup an account on the SqueezeNetwork, by visiting www.squeezenetwork.com, and using the sign-up wizard. This service is free, and is a simple and quick process which gives you access to a wide variety of free Internet-based music services, like Pandora, LastFM, Live365, SHOUTcast, or subscription services like Sirius and Rhapsody. You can even search for "local" radio stations, which may be broadcasting on the Internet. You can also setup an account with MP3tunes Music Locker, if you want to store your music collection on-line, to prevent the need of having to have a computer powered on to access your collection. Once you have your account setup with SqueezeNetwork, you will need to add your new Squeezebox Boom. To do this you need to select "SqueezeNetwork" as your music source, from the Squeezebox Boom device. The player will then display a PIN code, which you will need to enter in the SqueezeNetwork setup wizard from your computer. Your Squeezebox Boom can then be added to the SqueezeNetwork, and you will have full control of nearly every setting of the device from your computer. The amount of customization can seem a little overwhelming at first, but you will quickly be amazed at how you can make changes for the device, using your computer, and the settings will be programmed to the Squeezebox Boom right over your wireless network. Of course these settings can be made from the remote or controls on the player itself, but it is far easier to change these settings from the SqueezeNetwork web interface on your computer.

    At this point you will be prompted to install the SqueezeCenter software on your computer, if you so desire. SqueezeCenter allows you to access your entire music collection, stored on your computer or on a remote Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. SqueezeCenter runs as a service, so in order to access your stored music collection, the computer with the SqueezeCenter software must be running at the time. After you download and install the software, you will be prompted to designate the folders where you music collection and playlists reside. SqueezeCenter must then scan your entire music library, so it can sort the music by artists, genres, albums, etc. This process can take from a few minutes to several hours, based on the size of your music collection. Mine took a little over 3 hours total. The SqueezeCenter user interface is very easy to use and understand, but is a little sluggish in overall performance. Changing screens and making selections can take several seconds for the program to respond. Once the software is installed, configured, and your music collection has been scanned, you will be able to access all of your songs from your Squeezebox Boom, by selecting SqueezeCenter as your music source.

    The built-in 7-day alarm functionality and auto-dimming feature makes the Squeezebox Boom an ideal night-stand or bedside device. The unit does not produce any audible sound when powered off, and the alarm feature allows you to wake to your favorite song, Internet Radio station, or from one of many songs, sound effects, or nature sounds predefined for the device. All of these settings can be configured from the Squeezebox Boom front panel or remote, or you can configure everything from the SqueezeNetwork web interface. You can even set the Squeezebox Boom to gently wake you with gradually increasing volume, by selecting "Fade In" from the Alarms setup menu. The remote control is small, intuitive, and stores nicely atop the Squeezebox Boom in a little indentation area designed specifically for the remote. The snooze button is fairly large and easy to find when reaching blindly after waking from a sound sleep. The snooze time length can be programmed from 1 to 30 minutes. Of course the Squeezebox Boom also has a selectable sleep timer, which can automatically power off the device after the currently playing track, or after 15, 30, 60, or 90 minutes.

    The sound quality produced by the Squeezebox Boom is quite remarkable, given its compact dimensions. It will not replace a full-sized home stereo system, but sounds far better than most portable sound systems, and would even give a Bose Wave Radio a run for its money. The bi-amplified design really shines by producing a rich, full-bodied sound. Bass frequencies are tight and punchy, and the highs are crisp and crystal clear. I hooked my Squeezebox Boom to a Yamaha powered subwoofer, via the subwoofer output on the back of the device, and this little radio now pumps out some extremely powerful sound. If you are using this player in a bedroom, as a clock radio, then a subwoofer is really not needed. However, if you are looking to fill a large room with high quality sound, then I definitely recommend a powered subwoofer. It makes a huge difference in low frequencies, and allows you to increase the volume substantially, without any signs of distortion. Enabling the StereoXL spatial enhancement feature really widens the stereo field and helps fill a room with music much better.

    The Squeezebox Boom package includes the following:

    - Squeezebox Boom Network Music Player
    - AC Adapter
    - Wireless Infrared Remote w/ battery
    - Cloth Storage Bag (for storing or transporting player)
    - Quick-Start Guide
    - Warranty & Registration Paperwork

    The Logitech Squeezebox Boom is really a remarkable streaming music player, with tons of customizable features and the ability to produce great sound. However, the player has some room for improvement as well. I think network streaming music players, in general, are still young in their development, and need some additional features added to provide a true "all-in-one" music experience. For example, the Squeezebox Boom does NOT have a built-in AM/FM radio tuner. A device like this should really have the ability to offer terrestrial radio stations, so you can easily access local news and weather reports. Although this device does have a line input, for connecting an iPod, portable CD player, or other audio device, a built-in iPod dock, and/or a built-in CD player would be a convenient addition as well. I also really dislike the need to leave a computer running, in order to access your music collection via the SqueezeCenter software. They really need to incorporate UPnP capabilities, so you can access your music collection from a NAS device on your network, without the need of running the SqueezeCenter software. The folks at Logitech claim they are working on a firmware release, which may allow for UPnP access in the near future, but at the time of this review it is not an option. I was extremely disappointed when I found out that I cannot get to any of my music unless my computer is powered on and running SqueezeCenter. This is a huge waste of electricity, so I hope that Logitech develops a UPnP solution very soon. I think streaming network music players will definitely become common place in most homes within the next few years. As they become more and more popular, future players will likely include AM/FM radio tuners, CD players, MP3 music player docks, and hopefully even HD radio tuners. It is exciting to think of how these players will develop over time, but for now the Logitech Squeezebox Boom delivers great sound and a plethora of features at a relatively reasonable price. I would normally give this device 5-stars, for great sound, easy setup, and stylish looks/design. However, given the lack of a simple AM/FM radio tuner, and the need to run the proprietary SqueezeCenter software on a computer, to access your personal music collection, I am giving the Squeezebox Boom a solid 4-stars. It is definitely an outstanding device and I highly recommend it. With a future firmware release, to offer UPnP access to a network attached storage device, the Squeezebox Boom will only get better with time.

    *** Minimum System Requirements to run SqueezeCenter on your computer:

    - 256 MB RAM and 80 MB available hard disk space
    - Ethernet or 802.11b/g wireless home network
    - Broadband Internet connection required for Internet radio and music services

    One of the following operating systems:
    - Windows� XP/2000/NT, Windows Vista�, 733MHz Pentium
    - Macintosh OSX 10.3.5 or later
    - Linux/BSD/Solaris (Perl 5.8.3 or later)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Slick is far too mild a term for this very innovative device, October 24, 2008

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    The Squeezebox Boom is just plain cool.

    It is a stylish box bout 14" wide x 3" thick x 5" high. It fits nicely almost anywhere.

    Technically - much more technically then is appropriate or necessary - the Squeezebox is a dedicated computer designed specifically as a network media device.

    In reality, the Squeezebox Boom is a self-contained audio streaming device. It can access non-DRM audio files on any accessible computer or network storage device, receive audio from network services such as Pandora and Last FM, stream internet radio programs from RadioTime, access fee based music sources such as Rhapsody and even get RSS feeds. It can also access Sirius's internet feed, but it is unclear at the moment whether you will be able to access XM as a result of the recent merger or access Sirius because you are an XM subscriber.

    In short, the Squeezebox concept is more than enough to give traditional broadcasters and audio publishers nightmares - and justifiably so. I will happily pay small fees to internet broadcasters to be free of obnoxious, all too frequent commercials.

    Squeezebox Boom comes with few accessories. Surprisingly, it has a cloth pouch. I suppose if you have a vacation home or take it to a party (at a WiFi equipped venue) or something like that, it would work well. The Squeezebox Boom is light enough to tote.

    Squeezebox relies on your 802.11g Wifi network. There is a relatively small power adapter. A short cable with 3.5mm jacks on either end is also provided. There is, by the way, a line-in port for connecting your MP3 or other audo device.

    The design is elegant. Two integral speaker enclosures on either side of a spartan control and display console. The display automatically adjusts to ambient lighting. The few buttons are self-explanatory, though the large knob in the middle is not. A couple of minutes spent with the very brief manual will be very helpful.

    Initial setup can be very simple and quick or a bad experience. It all depends on your familiarity with setting up a WiFi device. If you're comfortable setting up basic WiFi security, it takes a few seconds and you're in business. If on the other hand, as I've seen all too often, you're not familiar with the process or have forgotten the security code for your network, you will be in a world of hurt.

    Once you're set up, you still have to connect to your source devices and services. Again, if you're reasonably experienced with the technology, this is a matter of minutes. If you're not, you may become quickly frustrated.

    The Squeezenetwork lets you access a number of services, like Pandora and Last FM. Be forewarned that some of these services are fee based or require fees for full functionality. You must access Squeezenetwork before you begin using the device.

    Controlling the Squeezebox Boom using the front panel or the inluded remote control is about as simple as it can get - provided you spend a few moments with the manual or are patient while you explore the device.

    The human interface factors on the Squeezebox Boom are very high. A lot of thought went into designing the physical controls, display and option menus. All in all, using the Squeezebox Boom is a delight.

    Of course, a major factor is the audio output and its quality.

    The unit has sufficient audio amplification to damage your hearing if you crank it up all the way and put your ear against one of the speakers. More realistically, you can hear this unit throughout your dwelling if that's what you want or keep it set low for personal listening. (There is also a line-out jack for headphones or a sub-woofer.)

    I am not an audiophile, somy assessment of the Squeezebox Boom's audio quality is strictly a layperson's. In short, it sounds great to me, particularly the base which surprised me. Treble, Bass and Crossfade controls are menu accessible and somewhat inconvenient to deal with.

    Overall, the Squeezebox Boom is a terrific audio device. Well-designed, great sound and highly veratile, it provides audio entertainment anywhere you have 802.11g and broadband access. (There is also provision for CAT5 networking.)

    Right now, it is very late and I have Pandora playing on the Squeezebox Boom on my work table - and I'm loving it. Once you have one of these in your possession, you will not give it up. It's that good - and has a very high cool factor.

    Jerry

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Squeezebox I've been waiting for, September 2, 2008
    I've owned the older Squeezebox 2 for several years and it has really enhanced the way I listen to music, but I have always wanted an all-in-one unit that could be moved around the house or used outside in the yard and when I am out at the pool. The Squeezebox Boom is just the product I have been waiting for, and it sounds awesome! I use it in the bedroom, outside, and in the kitchen. It is so nice to have easy access to all my tunes no matter where I am around the house.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nice device, with a few limitations you should know going in, October 21, 2009
    I am an avid radio listener but not an over-the-top audiophile. I don't want advanced glorified features, I just wanna turn on the darn radio and hear solid sound. This device delivers that experience. It has fairly easy setup (though I had to restart a couple times to get it done, the whole thing was just five minutes). And it has remarkable sound.

    A couple things I think you should know. First, if, like lots of people, you have a sometimes spotty WiFi in your house, know that this unit does *not* like for the WiFi connection to cut out for a few seconds. When that happens it often turns itself off, or stops playing, and will not restart until you manually press play again. I seem to have solved this problem by locating the unit a little closer to the Wifi base station in my home. I plan to add a second access point to get stronger coverage over the premises -- something you'll want to do if you plan on bringing the unit out to your patio maybe, or someplace far from your base station.

    Another thing: it does not like the microwave oven. Within ten feet, it has abberations. For me, this ruled out the kitchen counter as a location.

    Again it is a *great* unit but you really must have your WiFi clean and strong. I figure this limitation would probably apply to *any* internet radio and is not specific to the Logitech, though one would have to test multiple units in order to know that, I imagine.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Even better than I expected!, November 4, 2008

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    It's rare that a product exceeds my expectations, but the Squeezebox Boom from Logitech is just such a product. Everything about this music player screams quality. It has a beautiful feel to it, not cheap plastic like many boomboxes, but a quality finish and nice to look at. It was smaller than I expected, yet produces beautiful big sound! Reminded me of those Bose Wave Radios but I never could quite bring myself to spend so much money just for a radio. The Squeezebox gives you so much more! Not only do you have access to a wide range of internet radio stations, you have access to your entire music library via the built-in Wifi. Setup of the system was very simple. I did not mind at all having to download the software...saved me the trouble of having to install software and then immediately update it as I often do with similar devices. Makes sense to have people just download the latest version! Setup of the box was very simple, just step through entering your settings, and it loaded right up and was ready to go. The interface on the box is very intuitive and it's highly customizable. You also have full access to all these settings directly from your web browser and SqueezeCenter, making it really easy to quickly tab through and customize as you like. Change how track information is shown, various ways of grouping compilation/multi-disc albums, screensavers, turn off services that you don't use, and much more. I love that I can control the box right from my browser...I often have an alarm set in case I sleep too late, but if I get up early it goes off while I'm working at my computer. I can just bring up Squeezecenter in my browser and turn it off without having to go back upstairs, how nice is that?!

    Only a few negatives. One beef I have with the device is the small, bare bones remote, but it's a fairly minor beef since you can buy a better remote if you wish. I also noticed when the power goes out and it's not able to access the network that there's not much you can do with it. There's a few built in instrumental tracks that it uses for the alarms in that situation, but would be nice if there was an FM radio included so it could fall back on that when no network is available. A color display on the device would be a nice addition as well. Overall though, it's hard to fault this device. It has an elegant, beautiful design and a feature set that is just superb. For what it is intended to do, it does to near perfection.

    FOLLOWUP: Well, the honeymoon with this boom device is definitely over. I can't revise my star rating, so am just adding this additional note about the constant problems I have with this device working. It just is really flakey and I don't know day-to-day if it will be working or not. For several days, I could not get it to play at all (even though it was connecting to my network fine and was showing all my music...just wouldn't play it). Likewise alarms would not play. Gave up on waiting for tech support to get back to me so rebooted and reinstalled everything and got it working again. Then I found that if my desktop (with SqueezeCenter) locked up, that caused the radio to lock up as well, and again, alarms did not go off and the clock was just frozen. The most important tip I could give with this is don't use it as your only alarm clock!! If you do, you may find yourself oversleeping one day when it doesn't go off. Luckily I always have my PDA set as a backup and didn't miss anything important, but I certainly am not as enamored of this device as I was originally, it's been a real painful experience trying to keep it running.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Logitech Squeezebox Boom - Great Streaming Radio Addition to the Squeezebox Lineup, November 20, 2008

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Logitech's Squeezebox Boom adds a quality all-in-one streaming radio to build on the positives of the Sqeezebox product family. This radio includes a simple monochrome screen, simple controls, a basic remote and nice quality integrated speakers. The integrated amplifier and improved Logitech sound delivery technology produce better sound than expected. Limited interfaces, software complexity and some missing features keep this from being a total slam dunk. But it's still one of the better options available.

    PROS:
    + Easy wireless or wired network setup, including secured wireless
    + Built-in speakers produce very good sound quality setup
    + Fairly good clock radio design with customizable 7-day alarm clock
    + Simple, easy to use controls on the front panel
    + Nice presets for your favorites
    + Compatible with most standard audio file formats
    + Option of audio streaming from either the internet or your home network
    + Easy access to internet radio stations, both paid and free
    + Very functional given the price
    + Nice build quality and an included black cloth bag for protection
    + SqueezeCenter application includes many customization and other options
    + SqueezeNetwork allows you to easily collect all your favorite internet music sources in one location

    CONS:
    - SqueezeCenter software requires technical know-how on complex set-ups
    - Included remote is rather minimal
    - An LCD color screen would have been better
    - Must buy other SqueezeBox products, like the master remote, to get the most out of this
    - Lack of internal music storage means when the network is down, you are down if you are only using internet radio
    - The list price is somewhat high because similar devices are few
    - Limited interfaces for connecting home stereo equipment and other devices

    THE SQUEEZEBOX PRODUCT FAMILY

    The Logitech Squeezebox Duet Network Music System includes the Logitech Squeezebox Receiver and the Logitech Squeezebox Remote Controller. The remote works great with the Boom, and both components can also be purchased separately and integrated with the original Logitech Squeezebox. All of these components can work together to access internet radio and your personal music collection, and stream it throughout your home. For those looking for a digital music system, the combined power of all these components is a very compelling solution.

    One drawback to the Boom is also a problem with Logitech's lineup as a whole. In order to really get the most out of this system, you must purchase a number of these components separately. The Squeezebox Boom would have been perfect if it had an LCD screen that could display more track and artist information at any given time. Instead, they included a basic monochrome screen. It's functional, and it does scroll artist information. But when you combine the Squeezebox Boom with the LCD remote from the Squeezebox Duet, you get a much more pleasing experience. I only wish they would have included it from the beginning.

    SETUP

    Setup was easy, though not as quick as one would like. It really depends on how many types of music sources you need to set up. Either way, you have to attach this device to your wired or wireless network. For wireless, if you have security enabled (as you should!) you will need to know your network ID and encryption info. The real setup challenge comes from the "SqueezeCenter" software, which may need various updates and patches to function depending on the configuration and location of your music library.

    SqueezeCenter needn't be set up on a PC. It can also run on a network attached storage (NAS) appliance or network hard drive. Some drives that come with Ethernet can have the software installed on them. Other people may be able to create a hybrid solution by using one of the many next generation routers that allows a standard external hard drive to be made *network ready* by connecting to a USB port. This will allow you to stream from your music library without using your computer.

    Wherever you plan on storing your music, you will have to run the SqueezeCenter software. Yes, if your disk is down, or your computer is down, then you will not be able to access your library. That is one of the reasons why the internet radio portion may be more reliable than the home library function. Accessing your home library will depend greatly on the stability and power of the computer or disk where your music is stored.

    The documentation on all of the different setup options is very light. So if you are not comfortable configuring and setting up computer equipment, you may need some help.

    THE CONTROLS AND INTERFACES

    The controls on the front panel are simple, straight forward and functional. Other than your central control knob, you also have the basic play and pause functions you would expect with any radio. You can also program a number of favorite "stations" that can be any internet radio or playlist. Instant feedback is provided via the screen.

    Connecting an MP3 player, CD player or stereo system is as easy as plugging it in to the line-in jack. Standard analog RCA jacks are not included. One of the biggest missing items is the lack of various interfaces including digital audio. Never mind that adding a dock adapter for an MP3 player can not be done directly. Sure you can use the line-in, but that doesn't give you much control. Those small omissions make this product more ideal for those with less audio equipment.

    WIRELESS AND WIRED CONNECTIVITY

    For most households with wireless internet, the included 802.11g support will be adequate. You can also set up this device via a wired Ethernet connection, which fewer people are doing. Still, this is a great option if you have weak wireless transmission in your home. If you run an Ethernet cable up to your router, you can keep the music coming. The only limitations are the physical distance limits of Ethernet, which are still much greater than the ranges of most wireless routers. Obviously, running a cable is not nearly as convenient as connecting wirelessly, but it's great to have the option.

    SUPPORTED AUDIO FORMATS

    The Squeezebox product family, including the Boom, supports almost every digital music format. Not only are the standards like MP3 supported, but also Apple Lossless, FLAC, WMA Lossless, AIFF, WAV, PCM, WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Mp2, and Musepack. I have tested my unit with three quarters of these formats. The sound quality is very good considering the size.

    FEATURES AND FUNCTIONALITY

    This device is meant to act as both a clock radio and internet radio. As such, it includes a built-in 7 day alarm that can be set to any playlist or station. If you have satellite radio configured on your unit you can set it to that as well. So a very standard feature is made incredible by the way it's totally integrated with the advanced features of the Squeezebox.

    The "SqueezeNetwork" is Logitech's online music service. It helps you collect your favorite music stations so that you can get easy access to it on your SqueezeBox. Combine this with your personal music library and you will have your favorite music, new and old, at your fingertips.

    INTERNET AND SATELLITE RADIO

    All the standard internet radio applications, including Pandora and Rhapsody, are supported by the Boom. The Boom performed very well during my testing. Free internet radio stations like LastFM and Slacker are also easily accessed. While not all internet stations are free, most pay services offer free *basic* versions to entice membership. If you do a little research, you will find tons of free internet radio sources no matter what kind of music you listen to.

    The product information also says it supports Live365. Sirius and XM satellite radio services can also be configured if you have a subscription. I did not test those directly as I don't yet subscribe to satellite radio. I would guess that the receiver would be required separately, unless there is an integrated one that I'm not aware of. I will update this if I get more information about included and add-on components for satellite radio.

    CONCLUSION

    This unit is a nice addition to your home if you already have the Squeezebox Duet, or a great all-in-one solution if you don't own any internet radio. There are alternatives out there on the market, but the Squeezebox Boom should be high on your list of products to consider.

    Enjoy!
    Read more

    16. IHOME iHM79BC Rechargeable Mini Speakers (Black)
    Electronics
    list price: $49.99 -- our price: $41.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00343DNJK
    Manufacturer: Sound Design, Inc.
    Sales Rank: 428
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Rechargeable Mini Speakers ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound and price for such small speakers!, March 27, 2010
    These are great speakers that pack quite a punch of sound considering their size.
    I use them with my 13"MacBookPro and it also has a bigger sound than my Powerbook desktop.
    The sound and quality are clear and I feel are balanced enough for general listening of acoustic music and voice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very nice, August 22, 2010
    I use with my iPad when doing presentations. Very good sound if working with a small room or small group. Doesn't do well with a larger room, but didn't expect them too. Have very good sound

    4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound and price for such small speakers!, March 27, 2010
    Let me start off by saying what I wanted in speakers. I needed something very small for my bedside cabinet. I also wanted to be able to use my ipod as an alarm, and wake up to some type of music instead of just 'beep beep' noises. I also was interested in something being easily portable for when I travel.

    My search for speakers: I looked all around. Most iHomes that let you listen to 'your music' are really large and literally took up my entire nightstand (which is very small). Even the smaller ones are typically way too large to even think about traveling with. Then I looked at a smaller JBL speaker that is a 360 degree speaker ring. That was nice because it was pretty flat and not huge, but if I left the power on at night, I heard a very obvious humming noise, which when you're sleeping seems extremely loud. I continued my search onto the SkullCandy Pipe speaker. I had high hopes for that, but my iPod wouldn't fit in it with the case on, and taking off the case every night would be a big hassle. Finally I decided to try these. I have seen these online on the Apple website before, but was just skeptical because I figured since they were so small, the sound would be crappy. However, I tried them anyway because I was out of other options.

    Now about the product: They came in a dinky questionable package, and were even smaller than I thought! Only a couple inches tall each, even when 'expanded' like it shows in the picture. It comes with one cord which hooks up to both speakers. the ipod or other device you are playing sound from, and a usb port. That means you can even just use your computer to charge them, or plug them into your ipod usb charger in the wall. When you turn the speakers on (switches on the side) a blue light comes on, and then when you charge it the light changes to red until it is fully charge (then it turns blue). I thought this would emit too much light to sleep by because I sleep in pitch darkness, but it wasn't worse than a small nightlight. Might I also add, that the cord charges up internal batteries, so if you need to use them without the cord, you can do so (although I don't know battery life). As far as the sound goes, the sound is marginally better when the speakers are expanded. There is no reason not to expand them though, besides when you are traveling, so they don't get damaged of course. It gave a very clear sound that did well with louder volumes without getting messy, and the bass was actually quite nice as well! I was very, very surprised at what these tiny guys could do. As far as portability goes, nothing could beat these. You can close up the speakers (as shown on left speaker in picture) and when you put their bases together, they stick together with magnets kind of like a big pill. They also come with a little bag so they don't get scratched! So roll up your cord, pop your speakers together, put it all in the tiny bag, and it's perfect to take anywhere, even in your purse (they are very light).

    My thoughts: Great sound, agreeable price, amazing portability due to size, magnetic bases, and rechargeable batteries! I really wish they had included a wall adapter for the usb cord so you could charge them via computer or wall. These are definitely worth it, and now I'm trying to convince my mom who works on an airline to purchase them. Oh and as far as getting my tunes to play for when I wake up - I downloaded an app from the iTunes store that lets you do that! So now my iPod dock + these speakers is as good as an iHome, but tiny in comparison and probably equally amazing in sound.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound / price from such small speakers!, July 15, 2010
    I bought these directly through iHome. They were very quick to ship. I also found an online 20% coupon that made the price a no-brainer. ($10 cheaper and free shipping!!) Can't say enough good things about these little speakers. I took them with me on my trip to South America. Never had any problems with them what so ever. A word of caution though... The magnets in the speaker bases are strong; so be careful around hard-drives and other sensitive magnetic materials. I read in one review where someone set these speakers on top of there laptop and it destroyed their hard-drive!! The sound quality is excellent and the battery life is very good. The speakers come with a single proprietary cable with it's own built in clip for cable management. As others have stated the cable is a little unwieldy and could be a tad longer but truly does not diminish my impression of these little guys. Also, there is no volume control on the speakers themselves; so you must use the source to regulate volume. iHome's Customer Service is top notch and they kept me informed during the entire purchasing process. My only concern with these speakers is the cable - specifically if you lose it they are no longer functional. Overall - really great little speakers with a very classy appearance!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Little speakers but good quality sound., July 18, 2010
    I bought these speakers to use with a netbook computer because the built-in speakers were weak, had very little volume, and had no bass whatsoever. These speakers solved the problem, plenty of volume and fantastic sound (really good bass and treble for palm size speakers). Recommended for laptops/netbooks with poor quality speakers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars IHOME Rechargeable Mini Speakers Black IHM79, August 3, 2010
    I've been shopping for speakers for my new Iphone so I can listen to music at work.
    I wanted something that was compact, didn't use a lot of batteries, inexpensive, and had a good
    quality sound. I found all this in the IHOME speakers model #IHM79. I purchased these from the AT&T
    store. I originally went to purchase the Logitech speaker. This particular store didn't carry Logitech anymore but they did offer this IHOME speaker for $10 more. I'm so happy they had the IHOME speaker instead, I love it.
    I can listen to music from the computer or my Iphone. As far as I can tell there is no sound distortion.
    It has bass and the loudness factor is great. You can't adjust any of these on it's own it must be done on your
    computer or Iphone. I'm very pleased and so happy I can charge up these speakers from the computer with a USB cord provided. Three people at work are gonna buy these speakers now after seeing how great the whole package is.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Speakers!!!, September 13, 2010
    If you are looking for mind blowing bass and mid's and highs that will put you in a state of euphoria then what are you doing looking at $50 speakers!!!

    In all honesty these are great because if you want more bass, just pop them up!

    and, you never need to recharge them..

    they are compact for carrying and deliver great sound for the size.

    Love em!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great speakers for only $50, October 2, 2010
    There are a few things that appealed to me when I saw them online. The first was that they're portable! I like to have my music with me all the time so being able to pack up these speakers in the provided pouch and go outside or to a friends house is great! The second is that I don't have to buy new batteries or anything for these speakers. The charging USB is connected to the speakers so when I need to charge them I plug them into my computer for a while and when I come back they're ready to go again! (You can even use the speakers while they charge!) And lastly, they're only $50.00! Honestly if you're looking for professional speakers that fill your entire home with sound then these aren't for you but if you're looking for not so fancy speakers that fill a room with music and get the job done, then these are perfect.
    There are a few minor complaints I have however. When I plug in my ipod and turn the volume all the way up, the music sounds fuzzy. I'm pretty sure its the quality of the songs I have and not the speakers but I feel its worth noting. Another thing is that the speakers are connected to eachother by a cord and that cord isn't too long so its not like I can place on speaker on one side of the room and the other on the other side of the room. And lastly, these speakers do not charge an ipod like most speakers do so I still have to charge my ipod on the computer. These, like I said earlier, are very, VERY minor complaints I have. I would definitely recommend these speakers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nearly identical to "X-Mini MAX II" speakers, October 1, 2010
    Just a note that these iHome portable speakers are nearly identical to the "X-Mini MAX II" speakers (which are awesome).

    It would be nice to see a technical review comparing the two brands, especially the max volume without distortion and the bass quality. It is quite possible they are such close clones that their qualities are identical.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Sound nice, small, September 12, 2010
    I bought these for use with my laptop and iPod when I am mobile. For their size they produce very clear room filling sound. They are compact and are made nicely. As with any speaker the larger it is the better the bass reproduction is. These won't thump the floor but they sound very nice.

    It will be interesting to see how long they last. I actually haven't run the battery down yet so I don't know how long they last. The daisy chain wires are a little cumbersome but it isn't a deal breaker.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Little but Great, August 23, 2010
    These are great speakers that pack quite a punch of sound considering their size.
    I use them with my 13"MacBookPro and it also has a bigger sound than my Powerbook desktop.
    The sound and quality are clear and I feel are balanced enough for general listening of acoustic music and voice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very nice, August 22, 2010
    I use with my iPad when doing presentations. Very good sound if working with a small room or small group. Doesn't do well with a larger room, but didn't expect them too. Have very good sound Read more


    17. Sony SS-B1000 5 1/8-InchBookshelf Speakers (Pair)
    Electronics
    list price: $80.00 -- our price: $49.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000OG88KY
    Manufacturer: Sony
    Sales Rank: 1
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Enjoy your favorite music in any room of the house with quality sound from the SS-B1000 performance bookshelf speakers. With 120 watts of power and an advanced woofer and tweeter design, they deliver high-resolution audio so you hear the music just as it was recorded. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars My review of these speakers., June 26, 2007
    Hello friends,

    Before you begin to read my review, please understand that I only wrote it because there are so very few reviews currently available about these speakers. Knowing that, here is what I can tell you about them:

    First of all, I purchased these speakers for one, and only one, reason. I presently own a very nice Panasonic 27" color (stereo) television. The sound from the internal TV speakers never thrilled me, so I looked into purchasing some better speakers. The first thing I discovered (to my dismay) was that my TV did not have "external speaker" jacks. Okay, so I dropped a few extra bucks ($99.00 to be exact), and I purchased a very nice, 100 watt Sherwood, stereo receiver. Bear in mind now that I am only talking about a "stereo." I am not talking about a surround sound system, a Dolby digital system (5-1, 6-1 or the like), or any other high-tech system. Just plain old, every day, run of the mill stereo!

    Now, I really thought that I was home free because I already owned a great pair of Bose bookshelf speakers. Wrong again! The Bose speakers are only "four" ohms, and my new Sherwood receiver called for "eight" ohm speakers. I know that seems to be a minor problem, but the receiver DID run very hot, and numerous reviews regarding the receiver clearly stated that it WOULD overheat using anything less than eight ohm speakers.

    After realizing that the reported problem was true, I visited several electronic stores; I listened to numerous bookshelf type speaker systems, and I finally decided on the Sony. Let me tell you my friends, these little babies are absolutely superb! The bass quality absolutely blew-away my $300.00 Bose speakers (regardless of impedance). The sound is crisp, clear, and the typical problems of "no", or "very little" bass, are gone. Don't get me wrong . . . you are NOT going to get 15" bass speaker sound out these, but you WON'T be disappointed. They are truly, in my humble opinion, the very BEST bang for the buck!

    My wife, who doesn't give a s**t about audio quality, actually commented on how really nice the TV sounds now, compared to my fancy-dancy Bose speakers. These little speakers deliver sharp, crisp, clear sound, and they seem to easily handle all the power that my Sherwood receiver throws at them. If you want some really nice speakers, with all of the bass that you can realistically expect from a small pair of bookshelf speakers, buy these! In a nutshell . . . they sound GREAT!


    5-0 out of 5 stars Great sound, awesome durability, October 8, 2007
    I'm the manager of WRNC in Ashland, WI and we've used these speakers as our studio monitors for 2.5 years, almost non-stop. They've never complained or degraded in any way. From time to time we also knock them around as we move them to remote broadcasting locations, and they've survived even this quite nicely.

    I recently purchased two pairs of these speakers for use with my home stereo, and they have not disappointed. They may not be the most expensive speakers out there, but they're a vast improvement from the Panasonic speakers I've been using for the last twelve years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Five-star value, July 27, 2007
    I'm glad I received these Sony SSB-1000 bookshelf speakers as a gift because I probably wouldn't have bought them myself without a demonstration first. I love the convenience of small speakers but I expected a trade-off of convenience for sound quality. Well, these Sony speakers are impressive in spite of their small size. There's a rounded, glamorous sheen to the sound they produce, over the full frequency range. The bass is rich and detailed, not booming or exaggerated. The dynamic range is expansive, handling big climaxes without popping or distortion. Recordings sound more naturally warm and even old mono recordings have noticeably more body. Without a comparison, it's hard to say how much breadth of sound I'm giving up by not having larger speakers (the Sony SSB-3000, say) but these little wonders are entirely satisfying in their own right. In sum, these are speakers an audiophile could live with. Five stars for value!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not HiFi, but not LoFi, February 16, 2009
    The difficulty with reviewing speakers has a lot to do with the fact that whether something sounds good is usually something that occurs in the ears of the hearer. My point of reference for these speakers are:
    -A pair of Radioshack Optimus-1s from the 1970s (sealed three way, 2" twt, 2" mid, 8" woof)
    -A pair of Sharp speakers from the 1970s (tri-ported two way, 1" twt, 10" woof)
    -A set of TheSpeakerCompany RC1s from the 2000s (MTM 5.5" mid, .5" twt)

    If your'e comparing these speakers to a conventional HTIB setup, oh man, these things blow typical HTIB satellites out of the water and into outer space. Get them, get them now, replace all 5/7 of your satellites! You'll be glad you did! Most of my friends fall into this category, and these are perfect entry level speakers for someone who is looking for an inexpensive upgrade to their HTIB. You'll be blown away by the improvement. There isn't a whole lot of bass, so make sure you have a sub. Oh, and put these on stands and not in a bookshelf.

    If your'e a bit more discerning/slightly larger pocketbook, though, you'll find their fairly average, and more on the mediocre end of average. I picked up a set of these speakers on clearance as surrounds for my 5.1 system, and they do the job adequately. For a small room or a *very* small surround system, these could be okay as your L/R front speakers but overall they are just too small for my tastes as fronts. The sound is rather neutral, with not a lot of bass extension. A bit ho-hum, but that means they strive for accuracy in reproduction, which is good. The really good thing is the speakers aren't boomy! A lot of little speakers like this have boom, but the Sony engineers decided to get rid of that, thank you for putting some foam in. They are good entry level speakers, esp. for the price per pair these typically go for.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Maybe this will help, May 20, 2010
    It is probably pointless to add yet another review to this speaker that says "good for the price". Everybody knows that by now. What I have noticed is the few reviews that say the sound is muddy or there is no midrange or highs. (I will discount the complaints about "needing an amplifier")

    I will start by mentioning something I have seen in no other review: When I opened the box, there was a notice from Sony taped to the top of the wrappers on the speakers. A warning, actually. It said to be sure to connect the speakers to an amplifier "near" the maximum rating of the speaker. It went on to say that failure to connect them to a "sufficiently powerful" amplifier would result in tweeter burnout.

    So, the question is: What is "sufficiently powerful"?

    I will spare you the boring details of my research, and give you the bottom line. Do not connect these to an amplifier of less than 40 Watts RMS per channel. At 40 Watts and up, you are pretty much safe no matter how much you crank it. Below that, you risk clipping the waveform going to the tweeter. The clipping will distort the sound and apply what amounts to a straight DC voltage to the tweeter voice coil. This voltage heats the wiring until it melts the lacquer coating on the wire and shorts out the tweeter. (maybe more than you needed to know)

    The tweeters use a large amount of the power in, and handle the upper midrange as well as the highs. Severe clipping and/or burnout would result in weakened midrange, no highs, muddy sound.

    Not exactly a review, I guess, but maybe it will help some buyers decide whether they want to try these or not.

    If you are curious, I have these hooked to an amplifier putting out 105 Watts per channel. Plenty of reserve power, achingly clear and bright highs. Bass is barely adequate, but OK for most stuff I play. You can always mess with tone controls, but turning up the bass doesn't boost the bass so much as richen the lower midrange which is carried by the woofer (also, turning the bass up too much results in a "boxy" sound). Voices are quite clear. I could use better speakers, but these will do until I get around to upgrading. It could be a while.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding value, June 25, 2007
    I purchase these speakers as a upgrade and got more. The seperation and bottom is down right lovely. There the perfect speakers to use as starting point to build a system around

    5-0 out of 5 stars why spend more?, July 10, 2008
    hey, let me tell you that these speakers are a real deal, big sound
    from a small box, i wasn't sure about getting these babys or the polks for 70 bucks more, so i risked it and got the sony's i've read reviews saying that they dont have bass! thats a lie! im using them as my main speakers
    with a sony receiver and a technis equalizer and they hit loud and clear with planty of bass (people be realistic please they are not 15" subwoofers, don't spect them to tear down the house. that's why you use a subwoofer) why spend alot of money on just a brand name ( like bose) if you are short on cash like me get these speakers, im sure you'll love them.my

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for small system or as surround, August 2, 2007
    I'm a big fan of booming bass so I didn't want to use these as my main fronts. I decided to use them as my surround speakers and couldn't be happier. They are the perfect size for surround. Not too small and underpowered like bose surround and not too big to be a nuisance. Since surround speakers are generally just a mid and tweeter (sometimes just a mid) these work perfectly in that respect. As loud as you want, and as crisp and clear as speakers get. I am very pleased.

    Just a word of advice, if you plan to use these as your front channel speakers, you will most likely need a good sub woofer to go with them. But perfect as surround!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Rear Surround Speakers/Price/Quality, August 5, 2007
    We bought these speakers to replace our bulky rear speakers in our bedroom; they are great, good reproduction of sound (music, movies) without distortion; nice small size and at a great price. Great performance with a Sony 150wts surround receiver. They work very well with the SSB-3000 as front speakers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Where Sony still excels., October 10, 2008
    Sony is having lots of trouble these days--from making a competitive HDTV set in the face of Samsung's domination to alienating an international customer base by encoding CDs with a virus capable of infecting users' computers. The emergence of Blue Ray as the industry standard for DVDs has barely made a difference to the bottom line--certainly not enough to atone for the company's earlier loss of Beta to VHS. The Walkman Mini-Disc has a cult-like following but is of no consequence to the company's struggle to keep up with the competition even in a falling stock market.

    But I still look to Sony for "traditional" technology along with value and quality. These are speakers that might have been sold 40 years ago--but at several times the price. They'll complement any quality amplifier and satisfy all but the most zealous sub-sonic freak. No, they won't vibrate the walls or give you a massage treatment, but they reproduce everything from a symphony orchestra to a jazz ensemble to solo piano or acoustic guitar with impressive faithfulness (fidelity).

    Be aware that these have no receptacles accepting RCA, mini and similar plugs--just spring-clips for attaching bare speaker wire. And they won't work with your iPod or big screen TV without an amplifier. Still, they're high-efficiency speakers that sound clean, undistorted, and unstrained when driven by as little as 20 watts (RMS) per channel. Read more


    18. Audio Technica ATLP120 ProfessionalTurntable with USB
    Electronics
    list price: $429.00 -- our price: $214.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B002S1CJ2Q
    Manufacturer: Audio Technica
    Sales Rank: 383
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB features a high-torque direct-drive motor for quick start-ups and a selectable internal stereo phono pre-amplifier that allows the turntable to plug directly to computers and other components with no dedicated turntable input. With a dedicated USB output, interfacing with your computer has never been easier.This is the all-in-one solutions for archiving or transferring your LP collection directly to your computer.Other key features include: forward and reverse play capability; cast aluminum platter with slip mat and a start/stop button with remote start/stop input; three speeds 33/45/78; selectable high-accuracy quartz-controlled pitch lock and pitch change slider control with +/-10% or +/-20% adjustment ranges; and removable hinged dust cover. A replaceable Audio-Technica ATP-2 cartridge is included. ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars A real turntable that also does USB, February 1, 2010
    Overall I'm fairly satisfied with this turntable. It has a nice strong motor, a decent solid metal platter, and an okay factory cartridge. I say Okay because AT makes much better cartridges (like the AT95 series, that are still fairly inexpensive) than the one that comes on this thing and for this kind of spend, it wouldn't have killed them to throw one in. Plus the included cartridge tracks at "3-5" grams. That's a viciously high tracking force. I have an AT95HE that I mangled the needle on...once I replace the needle, I plan to swap it in. Hey, at least it really includes a magnetic cartridge and not the typical crap ceramic cartridge that the vast majority of these USB turntables come with, and at least it's a standard mount so you can swap it for something better, which you also can't do on most of those crappy tables. This is one of the few USB turntables out there that actually let you adjust tracking force and antiskate at all.

    One other nice feature is that the table plays 78's, though you'd probably want to get a needle that was better optimized for them.

    The turntable is easy to set up and operate. Some assembly and tonearm calibration is required, but the instructions are crystal clear. The controls are easy to use. It sounds really good through my amp and that's how I mostly use it. One major complaint, however, is that the audio cable is both too short and not removable/replaceable. I was able to kluge it longer by stringing together all the included adapters and use another RCA cable I had lying around, but that's not very satisfying as a long term solution.

    I've had some issues with the USB recording as well. For reasons that no one can seem to explain the thing sends a very low amplitude recording out the back end of the A/D. I've got the input level cranked all the way up in Audacity and it still comes out very quiet. There don't seem to be any means of adjusting the amplitude. This limits the ability to make a high quality recording on a computer. The alternative, running the audio signal through the audio input on a sound card works great, if you use the line out level option on the table, but for someone looking to do it through USB this seems to be a problem.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Indeed a New Era......., May 22, 2010
    So, what do you do when you want to get current with a new turntable
    and you find the field swollen with overpriced gear and on the other
    side, cheap Junk??
    You shoot for a Technics SL1200....at least that's what I thought..
    Sorry, but at $7+ bills-for a guy who never
    spent over $170 for a turntable back in the day they were King, not going
    for that. So what we have here with the Audio Technica AT LP120 USB
    to be realistic, is a chinese knockoff of theFamous Technics Table.
    So I bought one!
    The bad first: On my unit, the finish on the top
    of the turntable at three spots shows signs of the 'finish paint' not being
    properly sprayed. In another words, it looks like someone took a pencil
    eraser and went back and forth a few hundred times over the top finish
    and wore out the finish coating. Ok,not good but something I could live
    with cause it's not that bad, but, it doesnt make it look splendidly new either!
    Do I want to take the time to send it back, no. I'm 51 and I still love my wife.....so
    who cares????
    Now the good: Ok, after reading many many Amazon customer reviews and others
    on the Internet, and knowing a little bit about this thing I unpacked it, which, speaking
    of packaging was good and bad. Everything was packaged very well but the styrofoam
    they use broke in like 6 places, but the good news is that the turntable itself was not
    damaged, nor were the parts like the counterweight and such.
    Put it together and I will say, definitely, it IS a very good looking turntable!! Different in
    composition than the Technics: whereas the platter on the Technics is a Part of the motor,
    the AT is not. The motor is mounted well to the top plate of the TT and the Platter itself
    is kinda not heavy, but is much beefier than 90% of the USB turntables out there, and at
    a $200 priceline, is MUCH more than expected!! And it is brushed Aluminum and therefore
    looks like the real deal, just a few oz lighter than my older Pioneer PL550's MASSIVELY
    heavy platter. But that was 1976 and this is 2010, times have indeed changed.....
    Now, many others have talked about the stock cartridge in the AT120. For DJ'ing
    it's ok. But for TLC of vinyl for Audiophile purposes it's out of the question. I got the
    Shure 97 on j&r for $59 and two 78rpm stylus's on Amazon for $22 each.(!) The stylus
    is interchangable, so if you want to play 78's, just get the stylus for it and plug it into
    the 97's body, re-adjust the stylus pressure and go for it!! At least that's what i've read
    on the internet so we'll see if it actually happens. Worst case I'll have to pop for the 78
    cartridge and have two spares, not bad actually either way.
    I then ran the turntable for 13 hours at the 78 speed forward and backward to see if
    the motor would fail, it Didn't. Turned it off, went to work, came home, turned it back
    on, 33/45/78 all nailed-no drift, no slowdown or speed up. So Ok, the Motor seems
    heavy duty, should hold up to years of use.
    The tone arm is very well made and calibrated. Going down to 1 gram of stylus weight
    just to see, the balance and bearings were very fluid, which tells me that if they didn't
    know what they were doing, the tone arm would choke under a slight weight balancing
    test-it didn't. The arm slowly went up and down with my changing oh so slightly of the
    counterweight with no points of friction. Good Bearings and initial calibration at the
    factory!!!
    Tone arm lift is gentle going down and very firm going up, with how fast your finger
    is telling it to go.
    Platter is as stated solid. When going to 78 the mis alignment in the dots does rear
    it's ugly head, but then again, at 33 or 45 you hardly notice it, no big deal.....
    ONCE AGAIN, THIS IS A STREET PRICED $200 UNIT COMPARING IT TO A $700+ UNIT!!!!!
    Very favorable imho. To get this kind of quality at a $200 realistic price point, is
    very impressive. And the Technics does NOT play at a 78rpm speed. For me, this was
    a major issue. I did not want two turntables to deal with!!! (Oh yeah, I'll impress people
    with my $29 bsr poc next to my Mirage Speakers!!) NOT!!
    And I must admit, AT did their homework. Again, not in the same OVERKILL QUALITY
    league as the Technics 1200, but in all honesty, almost Overkill at a $200 price point.
    Lastly, I opened the sucker to see if any screws were loose, which has been a factor
    with EVERY piece of Electronics I've bought in the last 5 years that was made in china.
    A B+ grade on this. Some screws needed very little tightening and the motor screws
    were dead on snug! The construction inside was around 7 years behind the times
    but clean. Compared to modern day factory construction of electronic gear, it wouldn't
    win any prizes, but then looking at the guts of the Pioneer 550, judging it in this present
    day, it wouldn't either. So there you go. For me, it fits the Bill perfectly, it's like the girl
    you really think is hot except for her slightly crooked nose, you sort of accept it, but
    you wish it was perfect, but you know it's not going to be. This Turntable is exactly
    that. You'll probably fall for it and wish it was a Technics, but day after day, you'll
    look at it and say, 'Damn, what a cool looking Turntable', and when you install that
    Shure 97 and put on your old Mobile Fidelity copy of Steely Dan's AJA, you'll smile
    all the way to the bank. Hell, you might even buy an extra one if Amazon ever
    decides to make it a 'Deal of the Day' for a cool $100!!!! I would!!!!
    I could go on for ever, but then I would bore myself to death........
    Enjoy this Turntable and the Music.
    MasterG

    July 2010 Update:
    The AT continues to rock my world. On 78's with the Shure 78 stylus, it operates flawlessly. And there have been No incidences of tonearm meandering or anything like that. This is a very good turntable and at $200 it's an absolute steal!!

    December 2010 Update:
    This thing is STILL Rocking! In the last two months I've purchased four Jimi Hendrix Vinyl Box sets, (West Coast Seattle Boy being one for $64!! on Amazon!!!!) and SunDazed Records 10Lp MONO Vinyl Bob Dylan set for $149!!!! (And yes, you get TWO more lp's than the Columbia box for alot less, the remastering is exquisite!!!) and more Hendrix vinyl from other retailers to pass on to my kids when I croak. And except for finding a good turntable mat, (this one comes with a felt mat, which is fine, but i'm a real nit picky type of schmuck so I search and I search for the holy grail without ever finding it...go figure.) it still is not giving me ANY problems. So, overall, after a year or so, It's still soooooooo worth the money I paid for it.
    I wish you ALL a VERY MERRY Christmas!!!
    Gerry

    4-0 out of 5 stars excellent product but still a lot of room for improvement, March 25, 2010
    What i noticed right away when i am setting up was that the AC cord keeps on detaching from the AC input located at the back of the turntable. I sent an email through the Audio Technica website regarding stylus cartridges. Here's what they said:

    "Do not use a moving coil cartridge on the LP120. The noise floor of the turntable is too high for an MC, which requires quite a bit of gain. The noise will be amplified right along with the audio signal and you will not like the results. The turntable accepts standard half-inch mount cartridges of any brand. I recommend The AT120E/T if you are looking for a lighter tracking A-T model. It is a better high frequency tracer (due to the nude 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus) than the supplied ATP-2 Cartridge and it tracks at a considerably lighter tracking force"

    Overall the product is excellent.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Audio Technica AT-LP120 Makes Vinyl Sound Great!, May 7, 2010
    I purchased this turntable to transfer my record collection to CD/MP3, and I am very pleased with the AT-LP120. Some have written about a slight hum when connecting this to a computer via the USB port. I followed the advice of those who recommend connecting it to the line in jack via the RCA cables, and there is absolutely no hum. I ran my cables through my amplifier, but the AT-LP120 also has a pre-amp for direct connections. I agree with the other reviewer who commented on the high tracking force needed for the no-frills cartridge that came with the turntable. I purchased the Shure M97xE cartridge, and the sound quality is supurb. I had intended to sell my records after transferring them to the computer, but I like the sound so much that I might just keep my collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It Works! It Works! It Works!, August 26, 2010
    I will not and actually cannot improve on the other reviews for this turntable. Right now Led Zeppelin I is playing as I type this and it sounds magnificent. My comments, after two days, are as follows:

    1. The hum, I don't have one. Perhaps the most important problem that was identified in the reviews, I was prepared to rig up a ground wire but it was not necessary.

    2. The power supply. Turned on just fine. However, I made sure that the connection to the the turntable was firm, give the plug a good push and you will feel it seat itself.

    3. The on/off button. Yup, it's funky, but it turns on and off just fine.

    4. The audio cables. Too short as noted, had to buy a pair of RCA couplers to connect to my receiver at an additional cost of 10$ for the gold plated variety. I actually would have preferred that AT just provide the ports and I would be pleased to supply my own cables.

    5. The cartridge. I am not an audiophile and it sounds fine tracking at the 3.0 grams, which, according to a review may be underestimated.

    6. Assembly. A bit of a pain, but I proceeded slowly and methodically. I also read the instructions twice before proceeding, sort of the measure twice cut once school of thought.

    7. Tone arm adjustment. A bit tedious but I read the recommendations from the reviews here and consulted a Youtube video on line.

    8. Connections. Connected to a Yamaha RXV367 5.1 A/V reciever via the Audio 1 ports. The built in preamp is a pleasant surprise and works just fine. I was more than prepared to purchase a preamp if necessary.

    9. Overall, a great value. A direct drive turntable at about half the price of its competition. My Technics SLBD20D has just been cleaned and adjusted and will be dedicated to converting my vinyl to digital. I would have preferred to buy a non-USB version of the AT but obviously they do not have a 120 non-USB.

    10. The service. Ordered through AMAZON and delivered as promised. But it is a heavy sucker and make sure you consider that the platter is taped underneath the turntable when you unpack it.

    11. Remember, this is a manual turntable, there is no auto shutoff like my Technics.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Quality Turntable for the Price, August 6, 2010
    After a lot of research to replace an aging, inexpensive turntable we landed on this product. The day it arrived, we set it up (it does not come ready to play a record...but read and follow the simple directions). We even recorded a record. This product does what it says it does. And for the price, a pretty easy pick. Other reviewers recommended a cartridge (needle) upgrade, which we did but have not put the new cartridge on. It sounds just fine, in fact better than most of our CDs, with the needle it ships with. We also purchased a cartridge to play 78's. The turn table has a designated space to hold an extra head shell. If you plan on playing 78's, buy an extra head shell for the wide groove cartridge to make playing a 78 real easy and convenient. Our recording experience was pretty easy. We setup a USB connection and recorded a record within a few minutes. For the first time out it doesn't sound bad at all...so adjusting the input settings and having the better quality cartridge on it should make a fabulous MP3. The software is not intuitive, but nicely written and robust. Good luck and have fun.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awsome Turntable, If Your looking, look no further, April 1, 2010
    I was looking for a Turntable to resurrect my 80's Vinyl collection that had been stored away for 20 years. I saw this and researched it and other turntables both USB and non USB, and decided this was it. It reminded me so much of the old TECHNICS SL-1200MK2 Turntable TECHNICS SL-1200MK2 Turntable, which is also available on Amazon right now for more than double this price. I was very surprised at how much it weighed, and the overall quality. It is made in China though. My tone arm locking clamp, a tiny piece of plastic arrived broken. A call to Audio Technica, and two days later a replacement part arrived, great service.

    The sound quality is excellent. I forgot how warm and rich vinyl sounded. The highs and lows and bass on vinyl really out performs the CDs and MP3s I've been listening to for so long. Check out Audio Technica website for all the tech specs.
    The user guide and Quick Install guide had different settings for the Tone Arm balance and anti-skate settings. I tried both and did not hear or see any real difference. I have not used the USB or Line-Out to record anything yet but will update if I do. My Main purpose was just to enjoy my vinyl again, and this really fit that purpose.

    This Turntable has a switchable integrated preamp, so if your receiver does not have a magnetic cartridge PHONO INPUT you can use any available line-in input, you can also just attach a set of powered computer speakers and it works great. I though my receiver had a PHONO INPUT, and it didn't after all. So I was very glad for the integrated preamp.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Audio Technica ATLP120 with inferior cartridge, April 16, 2010
    I have recently purchased an Audio Technica ATLP120 USB Turntable from Amazon. The turntable is amazing. It has every nick nack an old vinyl junkie could want. My only negative comment is that the cartridge that came with it was sub-par. I did not really expect a high quality cartridge to I had also ordered some better cartridges from a different vendor that specializes in phono cartridges. So this is only a comment and not a complaint. I got what I expected which was a very good turntable. Amazon's service was as always exceptional.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great quality turntable for the price., July 2, 2010
    *Note: this is a fully manual operating turntable, meaning that the arm will not even return to the resting spot after the side is over; you must lift and return the arm (and of course put it on the record too). For this reason, I always use the arm lifting knob. The directions it came with are thorough and easy to follow, use them and you won't go wrong. Especially important to follow when setting the counter balance and anti-skating adjustment. I went with the factory specs of 3 grams on the (balanced) arm, with the anti-skating knob matched at 3. No probs, tested with jumping a bit on the ground nearby, which had been a problem with a past house mate's deck skipping. The factory specs for the supplied (DJ style) cartridge is 3 to 5 grams (heavy yes).

    When I was looking at the information for this turntable and comparing it to the non-USB version, it was not completely clear what the differences were besides this one having the added USB out feature. Well, the reason why I could not find any differences in the descriptions is because that IS the only difference. In fact, Beach Camera was out of the other one, (which is the one I originally ordered), and sent this one instead, because it's the same price anyway, and ALSO has the USB out and the associated cords and software CD.

    I have an "old school" receiver/amplifier (older TEAC model with the Phono RCA inputs and ground wire connection). I was a little apprehensive, because these turntables do not have a ground wire, but do have a switchable (on or off) switch for it's internal pre-amp. You switch it off (Line) for the analog signal out via the built in RCA plugs on the (non-removable from the turntable) wire to your amp. For this way you must have a dedicated Phono input on your amp (newer amp/receivers don't often have that, so check yours). But you don't use the ground wire, because there is none coming from the turntable! It must have some kind of built in grounding system, because the hum is quite minimal. As you know, if you had the old style ones, and you forgot to connect the ground wire, those old turntables would hum like crazy. So I also compared switching to the built-in pre-amp on the (new) turntable, and then connected to an AUX input, and the hum was only slightly less. Also, my TEAC is a nice sounding amp, and you don't have to turn up the volume a lot with this tasty turntable in order to get ample volume. The hum is not noticeable while playing even quite records, only if you are standing right by the speaker. It could also be because of an issue with the power in my old place. I should get a nice power conditioner, but I don't want to spend more money right now, and I'm not that picky.

    I haven't tested it to transfer albums to my computer yet, but that is not why I got it, it's really just to enjoy my old vinyl and get back into that.

    I'm not an audiophile, but the supplied cartridge sounds good to me. I know its a heavier DJ style though, and as I don't do that, I may go with the suggested Shure one (you'll probably see it in the suggest items when you scroll down). I guess with that one you use a lighter setting on the counter weight, and this apparently is easier on your records and sounds better(?) Not sure about that, read some other reviews from the real audio geeks for more.

    Regardless of the price, this is a really nice turntable. The deck is heavy and straight, the motor is strong, everything works perfect and there are no issues. It came packed great in the factory box. Lots of nice and useful features, quartz lock being one in case you accidentally slide the speed adjuster. The components are not cheap and "plasticy", just a nice pro level set for an incredible price.

    Order with confidence.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best turntable for the money, September 29, 2010
    I had been looking for a turntable for longer than I am willing to admit. I spent a lot of time reading websites, but the most insightful information came from Amazon.

    This table has all the features you need, unless you're a real phonophile and need a quartz platter to go with that $700 needle and cartridge. OK, I wish it had auto return for the arm when it reaches the end of the record, but I can live with that.

    I wanted a turntable with an interchangeable cartridge as I wanted to put a good needle on that adjustable arm so that I don't gouge that precious vinyl collection. I have to admit that the needle that came installed is very good! My vinyl *never* sounded that good, *even* when I did a poor job of cleaning the dust off my records!

    I did follow the recommendations of other commenters here on Amazon and purchased a Shure M97xE cartridge (from Amazon, which had the absolute best price!), and am looking forward to installing it and listen to my records.

    Because I'm paranoid about my records, I also purchased a stylus scale to ensure I have a properly balanced arm.

    I've enjoyed this turntable so much that I now find myself going out of my way to find vinyl stores so that I can hear the classics on the format that they were created on. :) Read more


    19. Sony BDV-E370 Sony 5.1 Blu-ray Disc System [3D Compatible]
    Electronics
    list price: $399.99 -- our price: $248.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B003YTDD9Y
    Manufacturer: Sony
    Sales Rank: 578
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Enjoy Full HD 1080p and powerful 5.1 channel HD surround sound with the Sony BDV-E370 3D Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System. Minimized wait times means you can start watching your movies faster than ever. Plus, with this great system you can take your entertainment experience to the next level in 3D. You can instantly access a wide variety of movies, music and more from: Netflix, Amazon on Demand, Pandora, Slacker, and YouTube. ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Does NOT have DLNA support
    Just got this all-in-one Bluray theater today. In general it's a nice bargain (especially at the GoldBox deal from Thanksgiving). I use it in our Living Room to replace the TV speakers, so the sound is definitely an improvement. I probably wouldn't use this in a true "home theater" since the subwoofer isn't powered. But for general Bluray listening in the Living Room and for Netflix streaming, it sounds just fine. It does what it claims and has a lot of good streaming options (Netflix, Pandora, etc). Picture quality is excellent. Bluray player is similar to Sony's BDP-S370 player.

    However, unlike all of the reviews (on the Internet) of this unit that I read before purchasing, this unit does NOT have DLNA support for streaming music from your local network servers. In fact on page 35 of the included manual in the section "Playing files stores on a DLNA server" it specifically says: "Except for BDV-E370 U.S. models".

    This is extremely annoying. It's obvious to me that this device *used* to have this feature, which is why all of the older reviews mention it. My guess is that it was removed in a software update. Yes, I did the network update and now it says that no other update is available. I didn't check to see if DLNA was available before the update. The related setup page for DLNA called "Connection Server Settings" in the "Network Settings" screen is also missing.

    Unless you get a really good price deal on this, I'd recommend the BDV-E570 instead which has the DLNA support and also includes the WiFi adapter. I had a wired Ethernet, so the adapter wasn't a big deal. But if I had known that this unit really didn't support DLNA, I probably would not have bought it. Now that it's already installed and working, I'll probably keep it.

    Maybe we can convince Sony to put DLNA support back into this device. It's obviously just a software issue and I'm annoyed at Sony for not including this and am annoyed at the reviews that all say it has it when it doesn't. But that's why I'm giving only 4 stars.

    Update #1: Since there is no HDMI input, to hook up your cable box you need to connect the digital audio output of the cable box to the input on the E370. You use your TV to switch the video and use the E370 to switch the audio. The only problem with this is that the Sony E370 does not support discrete remote codes for the different audio inputs. It only has a "NextInput" command. So you'll need a smart remote (like a Harmony) that can remember what input is currently selected so that it knows how many "NextInputs" to send to the E370 to get it to the correct channel.

    Update #2: (12/17/2010) Just installed the latest v735 firmware and still no DLNA support :(

    5-0 out of 5 stars $239 Very Well Spent
    I ordered this on the Thanksgiving Goldbox deal. I received it one week later.

    The system was packaged very nicely and was easy to unbox and setup the system. I hooked up my DVR cable box into the Sat/Cable (Digital Coaxial input) jack. I hooked up my Playstation 3 into the TV (Digital In Optical) jack. (not into my television, but into the input named "TV" on the unit) When I try each source, it tells me on the unit's front LCD screen that I'm getting Dolby Digital.

    Using the unit's blu-ray, I watched the movie "Stealth". I must say it was like a whole new experience. I could hear those fighter jets buzzing in the front speakers and then transfer to the rear speakers. It was definately pretty cool to watch (and now finally hear) that movie. After watching the movie, I played some Call of Duty: World at War on my PS3. It was amazing to hear the shooting of my gun and hearing things expload all around me. It really put me into the war zone.

    I'm very impressed with the unit. I think it's a great value for what I paid. It doesn't have HDMI inputs, however, as stated above, I was able to hook up my existing equipment. I like how you can watch Netflix on the unit, along with Pandora Radio and a few other streaming services.

    Overall, I'm very happy I bought the unit. It produces very nice sound, and for the price it is an excellent product. I'm not an expert on sound systems as this is my first unit. I'm not saying it's the best unit available, but for the price, it's a darn good unit! I love it and hope to enjoy it for years to come.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I would be happy to help.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Decent / NO DLNA / ill informed Customer Service
    I got this product mainly because of DLNA and internet streaming feature. I already knew it does NOT come with Wireless Adapter so I would not complaint on that front. Overall it gives a decent output but not great in configuring, Internet streaming and DLNA (totally missing).

    To start with, there were quite a few "not so obvious" configurations that I had to struggle to make it work seamlessly between Sony TV & this home theater system. When i called SONY Customer Service (I spoke to five different agents across five days) and no one had a clue about why the System is muting itslef (no audio) when I switch between my TV inputs (Dish, Comcast Cable & TV- Free to Air)...After a lot of research I myself figured out that "Control for HDMI" settings on TV was the reason why System was acting up. "Control for HDMI" is actually supposed to make things a lot easier but in this case, they were getting so messed up. What the heck ! I got a sony system so that it could sync up well with my Sony TV and that "BrAVIA SYNC" itself was creating problem ??).. I was surprised that 4 out of 5 were clueless and kept telling me this is how it is designed and if I want I can switch off the "Control for HDMI". But that would mean using two different remotes for watching TV. one for TV and other for controlling volume on the system...All in all, I never got a satisfactory response except the last agent I spoke to...trick was to use a Digital Optical cable..

    Secondly, DLNA - Again spoke to 3 agents across 3 days and all the agents said that BDVE370 does support DLNA. All through my conversations with them (lasted for 45 mins each) they kept on putting me on hold. They were apparently not trained or educated about DLNA feature and after every 1 minute, they used to put me on hold and check something (either in their repository)...they walked me through the setting on my Laptop (has to have a Windows 7). After doing the settings on laptop, they asked me change some settings on the HT System which were missing on the system..This is when they realized this model does not support DLNA..One of the agents went on to say it was a oversight on his part. BDVe370 is not DLNA compliant..When I asked my call be transfered to his superior, I was put on hold only to realize at the end of 10 mins that he had never transfered it to the supervisor by simply hung up on me...All in all, this was one of the worst customer service I have experienced that had no knowledge of the products they were supporting..

    About internet streaming, i experienced that the HD videos were not really coming out to be HD on the tv..they were more like Std def...not sure if thats what everyone is experiencing ...I am a loyal SONY fan and keep going back to Sony for my needs (Camcorder, Camera, TV, Laptop and now Home Theater)...but this experience has changed my mindset...

    All in all, a decent product if u dont find a need to contact customer service and if u dont need DLNA.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Do not believe what description or box features show
    I purchased this unit because of the extremely reasonable price for the unit and all of the features that were listed.

    1. Streaming from Netflix, etc.
    2. 3D capability.
    3. DLNA capability with Win7.
    4. Number of compatible video formats. (MP4 especially).

    Well, DNLA is even shown on the box but the unit does not support DNLA. I allowed the auto upate when installing the unit. FW went to .708 from the previous M04 version. No DNLA.

    It will not play MP4 videos using AAC audio encoding (Nero recoding).

    Other than than that, I works great. Maybe Sony will fix the FW issues and then I will be 99% pleased with it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Supports USB, no DLNA !!
    I got this system during a gold box deal, i like the system so far.

    Here is what i like -

    1) it has a night mode, does not wake up your neighbors at night, even though the sounds are clear and nice
    2) nice bass from Subwoofer
    3) 3D compatible

    5) USB support, i have a 500gb drive connected to it. supports a wide array of video files
    6) Different audio modes

    Cons -
    1) Cannot control the sound on sub woofer
    2) No DLNA Support with firmware upgrade (M04.R.708) from sony support site


    **Sorry for the confusion, sony site said that after the update DLNA will work, it actually does not!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Entry Level Home Theater for Great Price
    This is my first home theater for a great price using the Gold Box deal. I have always had a good faith in sony sound products right from my child hood since the invention of Walk man and I am quite happy with the overall performance of this home theater system. Thanks to AMAZON for the unbeatable price...

    Pros:

    1) Supports Dolby true HD & DTS HD (But no HDMI input - so not sure if this unit can receive HD audio input from other audio sources) - these two formats were tested locally by running Dark Knight, Batman Begins Blu-ray which has HD audio channels like Dolby True HD & DTS HD. Other Audio formats like Dolby Digital, DTS are also tested using Coaxial or Optical input from other sources like Cable box, TV output.

    2) Has all the basic inputs (Coaxial, Optical, Stereo (red+white), FM, USB (for IPod, Memory sticks)

    3) Plays music from your Ipod or Iphone (but the control cannot be seen in TV - The best way to change the song is by operating the ipod itself or using the home theater remote, either way it is very difficult if you are sitting far away from the iPod unless you have a zooming lens or binocular to look into your ipod from that distance)

    4) easy calibration with calibration input device comes with the box

    5) Usual sony Internet & CrossBar Menu - Sony style (i really like the crossBar Menu)

    6) Can change the sound level of each speakers including woofer. (if you decided not to use the auto calibration settings)

    7) Rear speakers cables are quite long, you should be okay with the built in wire if your room is 12 X 12 or you can buy a normal cable speakers from your near by store if your room is really large. quite easy to place the speakers using the color code on back of the speakers.

    8) No issues with the video, usual sony quality. Yet to test the 3D video.

    9) I cannot really argue with the sound for such a entry level home theater, but it does delivers for the price. I already got complaints from my neighbors to reduce the sound, so i believe the system produces quite a good groovy bass effect from the woofer.

    10) The speakers are very light weight, so you can just use Push pins to hang it on the wall, if the wall is not concrete. You dont need to put a screw..

    11) Splits 2 channel stereo sounds into Dolby Pro logic, Pro logic II, Neo 6 very well..But switching these modes is difficult, everytime u have to go to system menu to change it, but who wants to change these modes every 2 minutes..set your favorite mode one time based on your input source and enjoy..


    Cons:

    1) No DLNA support so far...hoping to see new firmware upgrade to have DLNA .. or Just a Dream LOL

    2) FM display is poor, even my car stereo shows more details about the song & singers, this one just shows the channel frequency. Need a special antenna if you have a poor FM reception in your apartment/home. it just comes with a thin FM wire which i dont think is useful. FM auto tuning is also very slow.

    3) Did not recognize my USB Harddisk (NTFS - Western digital 500 Gb passport), but i am sure it will read USB sticks.

    4) Need a separate usb device for wireless internet ( who cares if you have ethernet connection )

    5) LED displays in the unit is very small for such a large unit, they could have done better, the info is very limited, it does not display the audio format of the input source like Dolby True HD or DTS HD in the unit LEDs.

    BottomLine:

    All my cons are nice to have features only. Nothing stops you from enjoying this unit.
    Great Sound for Great Price. Come on !!! who gives a complete 3D blu ray home theater all in one box for 240$ whereas other companies basic home theater audio system costs 300$ & more. Thanks to Sony & Amazon.
    It is clearly given in the manual that DLNA support is not included in BDV-e370 but i am not sure if it was advertised and written on the box.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great buy
    Works great. For the money and brand you can't beat it. Only downfall is no HDMI inputs, but thanks to the fact that HDMI supports audio return on the same cable, any sound input to my tv from my ps3 or antenna can be output into this home theater by just setting it on TV mode. Works great!

    1-0 out of 5 stars DLNA Support What A Lie!
    I just purchased this item and was really counting on its DLNA features, so I set everything up and then allowed it to update its firmware using the network option. Big mistake, sure I now have the the latest firmware version "M04.R.708" but not all of features that the firmware update claims to add to this device.

    I will improve the stars on this device if and when this DLNA issue is fix as this was very important to me.

    Note:
    If you updated the device already you are out of luck unless Sony sends out a specific new update to address this issue, but I wouldn't hold my breath any time soon.

    ------------------
    Update: 12/15/2010

    Sony techs have been clueless so far about the BDV-E370 DLNA non support issue, even after applying the updates that claim to add such features!

    The updates have already been tried by many folks using the only two possible procedures (the Network or CD-R methods) both have failed to add DLNA features onto the the BDV-E370, but it does add such features to the BDV-E570 and higher models using the very same update "M04.R.708".

    It's funny how on the top outside of the box itself, it clearly shows the "DLNA Certified Logo" along with Sony's own support website that claims the firmware update "M04.R.708" adds those features, but it was all a lie. Sony really botched this one and this is truly false advertising, what a bunch of clowns!

    Perhaps if enough folks complain about it Sony will actually turn on the DLNA features. I will not give my money to Sony and put up with such blatant false advertising, and those that care about the DLNA features should give this product the lowest possible rating until Sony gets their act together. Let Sony see it and hear about it!... Read more


    20. Sony CMT-LX20i 10W RMS Total Power Output Micro Hi-Fi Shelf System
    Electronics
    list price: $99.95 -- our price: $99.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B001RB1XK2
    Manufacturer: Sony
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Delivering full-range sound from a small package, the attractive CMT-LX20i micro hi-fi shelf system lets you share your favorite music without a bulky audio system. Just plug your iPod into the integrated dock and you're ready to rock. There's also an included remote that offers full iPod menu controls. For robust sound, this compact system features a bass reflex system that adds serious punch to the bass line. What's more, it even lets you listen to CDs created and recorded on your computer in the MP3 format. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money, July 30, 2009
    I was not certain of the value for money when I purchased the Sony CMT Hi Fi but from the reviews on Amazon I thought it was a safe purchase. I must say it more then met my expectations, the unit is compact but well designed and took up 1/3 less space than the unit it replaced (a "boombox" with two separate speakers) and weighed 2/3rds less. The sound quality is equal if not better and the iPod docking unit is seamless to use. I was impressed with the digital radio and the CD player is probably the least of the package but still works well. Overall I am very satisfied with the product.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome sound, awesome size!, June 27, 2009
    We have a BOSE Soundock which is really just a phenomenal product. We had an old Sony mini system die, and instead of replacing it with another pricey BOSE SounDock we opted for another Sony -- it is an excellent size and the sound is really good. It's a GREAT purchase especially considering the price.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sony CMT-LX20i, October 18, 2009
    Perfect size if you want a smaller unit. I wanted this for the bedroom, but sounds great all the way to the living room. I love it. I wanted it for my IPOD, but I love the cd and the radio as well. Nice remote control.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nice sounding compact stereo, December 28, 2009
    I bought this stereo after getting rid of my 1980's monster rack stereo that I never used because it was a pain to use, plus took up too much room in my bedroom. After reading the reviews on this system and wanting a stereo system that played CD's and included a remote, decided on this unit.

    This is a great little stereo unit and fits perfectly in a bookcase without taking up tons of room. I have my Nano Ipod docked in the system. I have used all aspects of the stereo for about a month and am very happy with it. I don't understand the reviews stating the sound isn't good or the volume is too low. Unless you are trying to DJ a party with this it is loud enough for a normal size room!

    I love this stereo and would buy it again in an instant!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Okay value for features but sound quality too bassy, May 16, 2010
    For my kitchen, I was looking for a good radio/CD combo with an iPod docking station. I figured the Sony CMT-LX20i would be a solid choice, given the Sony name, the price (~$110), and the fairly good reviews it received. After some use, I've become unhappy with my choice. There are no separate treble & bass adjustments - just 3 settings for 'rock' 'jazz' and 'pop.' It is not bad for music played at louder levels but the midrange is lacking in every case. For my simple NPR listening, the sound seems muffled - either too soft or too loud. The unit is simple to set up and has a small footprint, but the black plastic is very lightweight (you have to hold it in place when button-punching)and feels a bit cheap. I don't understand why manufacturers believe that black finishes with small cryptic lettering (EQ, Function, and DSX) are things consumers want. I'm older and old-school, but, for a radio/compact sterio, I want knobs, simple features, and good sound.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very Happy with it!, February 17, 2010
    I shopped online for a good looking, small, bookshelf stereo unit that is an ipod dock as well as a cd player. I also had in mind to spend between $75 and $150 depending on what I would get for the money.

    The Sony delivers great sound (MUCH BETTER than expected for its size). I would have liked more bass-trebel control, (cuz I like to tinker with stuff) but the sound quality doesn't really require any tinkering. There are 4 different preset equalizer settings.

    Ipod charges whenever docked. Great control with the remote, including switching from cd, aux, radio or ipod. Remote also controls volume, playlists and track selection on ipod, track selection on cds, change radio stations (presets, auto or manual).

    I hesitated and thought about this model for a few weeks - then had the opportunity to hear one in person. My decision was made on the spot.

    For around $100 it's a great purchase.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Smart choice..., October 15, 2009
    Wanted to downsize from the HUGE system I used to have and was very pleased that this system is nice and compact... exactly what I needed. The sound isn't the best if you plan to use it throughout a huge space, but it's perfect for my apartment. Very pleased!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars sony shelf unit, November 23, 2009
    A very nice shelf unit, compact enough so that it saves space. But also has very good sound and many good features. The sound is great, and that it has the ipod dock makes it very convenient.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Happy overall, August 28, 2009
    I've had this for almost 3 weeks now. I'm no audiophile by any means, but I think this has good clear sound and can get to a good volume - I use it in the kitchen, and I can hear NPR talk radio clearly enough over the noise of me cooking / washing dishes. When I plug in my iphone 3GS, the message comes up that the device isn't made to work with the iphone, and I should switch to airplane mode for best results; however I never do, and I don't notice any significant feedback/interference in the speakers. I'm not crazy about the styling / look of it... I don't dislike it, but I don't like it much either. The remote is very handy, and though it's not as intuitive as the ipod click wheel or a touch screen interface, it gets the job done. Overall I'm very happy with the performance vs. cost of this stereo.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Shelf stereo, December 5, 2009
    This is a great one room sound system for the price. The remote allows full control of unit. I am planning to purchase another one. Read more


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