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Onkyo 3300 Review
Onkyo 3300 Review 5.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver and Speaker Package (Black)
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 your Blu-ray
player, game console, and cable/satellite box--all of which can be output via
a single cable to your connected high-resolution display. Not only is HDMI 1.4
compatible with next-generation 3-D 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. 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.
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HDMI 1.4 Support for 3D
Video and Audio Return Channel
The three HDMI 1.4 inputs on the HT-S3300’s A/V receiver let
you simultaneously connect high-definition sources such as a
Blu-ray player, a gaming console, and a cable/satellite
tuner. A single output then sends a pristine signal to your
connected high-resolution display. As the latest version of
this connector, HDMI 1.4 adds the exciting possibilities of
3-D video and an Audio Return Channel. 3-D video is the next
big thing in home entertainment, with movie, game, and
broadcast content on the increase and 3-D compatible TVs on
the near horizon. This future-ready system also offers the
convenience of an Audio Return Channel via HDMI. Audio
content received directly by your HDTV’s tuner can be sent
“upstream” to the A/V receiver, without the need for a
separate S/PDIF audio cable.
Decoding of High-Definition Surround-Sound Codecs
The HT-S3300’s A/V receiver can decode Dolby TrueHD and
DTS-HD Master Audio, two lossless formats that enable
delivery of a bit-for-bit soundtrack that's identical to the
studio master track. These codecs, previously available only
on mid-range and high-end receivers, take advantage of the
high data capacity of the Blu-ray format.
192 kHz/24-Bit Burr-Brown DACs Improve Jitter Performance to Deliver Clearer Sound
High-quality Burr-Brown DACs (PCM1690) work to optimize
analog audio performance on the HT-S3300’s A/V receiver.
These DACs perform advanced 24-bit signal processing and
support sampling rates of up to 192 kHz, all while
displaying high resistance to clock jitter and offering a
113 dB dynamic range.
for Deeper, More Dynamic Bass
EX.Bass function boosts low-frequency output at two separate points: 40 Hz and
80 Hz. At low volumes, EX.Bass creates a deeper, more dynamic bass sound for
your music and movies. When the volume is turned up high, the boosted bass
automatically returns to normal levels.
A Suite of Audyssey Technologies for the Ideal Listening Environment
automates the speaker-configuration process and employs a pre-set correction
filter for each speaker, reducing the acoustic interference caused by a
typical listening room. Audyssey Dynamic Volume automatically compensates for
annoying volume fluctuations in audio content--for example, during jarring
commercial breaks--all while optimizing the dynamic range of your sound.
Finally, Audyssey Dynamic EQ maintains a consistent bass response, tonal
balance, and surround-sound effect at different volume levels, so you can
enjoy the natural dynamics of your content regardless of the volume.
Convenient Overlaid On-Screen Display via HDMI
Changing your A/V
receiver’s settings is now more seamless than ever, thanks to Onkyo’s new
overlaid On-Screen Display (OSD) feature. On-screen set-up menus appear
overlaid on the video image you’re watching. This means you can adjust the
settings immediately, without having to switch back and forth from a blank
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
***Update added on 03MAR2011***
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 3300 Review. 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 labled 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 gauge size. 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.
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.
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.
Update 03/03/2011...Well, it has been almost a year and I am as content and satisfied with the HTS3300 today as I was then. I have since upgraded my PS3 (fat to slim, Nov. 2010) and did have two or three "where did the sound go" moments. I figured since I am using the Bitstream setting in the Slim, that may or may not be the cause. Sony, Sony, Sony... Further research (avsforums, audioholics, bluray.com) into this has been interesting. Some state it does not matter whether LPCM or Bitsream on the slim; that it is preference oriented. Others have stated the warning is for audio optical cable set up, not HDMI. Since the warning makes no reference to cable type I can't say if it is. The dropouts are extremely rare, however, and it has actually been "dropout" free since. Regardless, I believe the "But..." was somehow missed when Sony chose the "IT ONLY DOES EVERYTHING(tm)" slogan. All joking aside, Sony should be clearer on that option. Prior to that, I had not experienced any audio issues.
I continue to be regret free with my choice. Do I still recommend the HTS3300? Heck yeah! Is it an overall great intro HTIB system? Personally, yes and then some. Price, feature set, sound quality, hook ups, brand name...not one regret.
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
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.
-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.
-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.
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 3300 Review 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 3300 Review 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...
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