Kenwood HTB 504/544 or 505 VS. Onkyo HTS 650

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric Walsh, May 19, 2002.

  1. Eric Walsh

    Eric Walsh Stunt Coordinator

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    I was hoping to get a little debate going here between the two systems to help me decide what I should purchase in the near future. Include everything like prices, speakers, sub, receiver, remote. Just let me know what you like better and why. Thanks so much.

    -Eric
     
  2. Chris James

    Chris James Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Eric, I maybe able to offer a little help. I just purchased the Onkyo system about 2 weeks ago, and have enjoyed it greatly. I looked at what remaining Kenwood 504 systems I could find, and I did enjoy the system. Then the guy showed me the Onkyo for the same price, and I was hooked. The Kenwood was nice, and had great bass, but overall it didn't sound like the Onkyo. Plus, the Onkyo comes with 50 watts more for the sub. Overall, either system will give you what you want for their price range, but the Onkyo(in my opinion) sounds a tad better doing it.
     
  3. Jason F.

    Jason F. Stunt Coordinator

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    I haven't ever heard the Onkyo but I have the Kenwood and I love it! It's a perfect system to get you into HT.
     
  4. aldamon

    aldamon Second Unit

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    I listened to the Onkyo at Circuit City and I wasn't impressed at all. How well do these super stores set up their equipment though?
     
  5. JeffTodd

    JeffTodd Stunt Coordinator

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    I was able to check out the Onkyo at CC as well. It was set up as an aisle display with the other "box" systems so I was not able to listen to it properly. But I really liked the receiver for the price ($300). And at the time that I was looking the whole thing was for sale ($450), so for 150 bux you got all the speakers to go with the receiver.
     
  6. aldamon

    aldamon Second Unit

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    BTW, great thread....

    Anyway, yeah, that's how the Onkyo was set up at my CC. The surrounds were on top of the fronts and the salesperson gave me a Riteous Brothers CD to demo it. LOL. And when I asked if he had any literature on it, he said no. Huh? How in the hell do they expect to sell stuff when it is set up like that? As a newb, the presentation alone freaked me out. I'm sure he had a library of literature for the BOSE stuff....

    Can anyone recommend a GOOD place to test the Onkyo and Kenwood systems side by side? I'm in the NC Triangle area.
     
  7. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    When I went to CC to listen to the 504 it was not hooked up and had dust caked on it. I don't think they wanted to sell the Kenwood. They kept trying to steer me to the Sony witch does not compare. The new Kenwood that is coming out sounds interesting too.
     
  8. Chris James

    Chris James Stunt Coordinator

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    Interestingly enough, I got to hear the two systems at Conn's of all places. They were setup a little better than the small "stalls" at Circuit City. Also, I know a guy with the Kenwood 504, so I have had extended listening to this system. Like I said earlier, overall the Onkyo seems to be a slightly better build quality and a 150 watt 8" sub. The mains, center, surrounds are quite a bit heavier and solid than the Kenwoods. Overall, the Onkyo system is a bit more dynamic in the midrange and highs. The 150 watt sub performs about the same(or slightly better) than the Kenwood, which I feel is an excellent sub for how much this system costs. My suggestion is to wait a little while till the new Kenwood comes out and compare it with the Onkyo. Either one is a great little set-up.

    (I basically said all this in my first reply, but I just wanted to post again out of boredom!)
     
  9. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Humor is all-ways welcome imo.[​IMG]
     
  10. JohnRyan

    JohnRyan Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Kenwood HTB-504 and love it!
     
  11. kandy

    kandy Auditioning

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    I just got an Onkyo ht-s650. Sounds great to me. But this is my first HT setup, so I'm not really comparing this to anything else.

    Main/ctr speakers are clear. Good bass from them. Like their all-channel stereo DSP.. better surround from 2-channel sources than Dolby ProLogic 2 (which I didn't like much), imho. Speakers look well-braced.

    Bass gets a bit boomy (can't differentiate low bass frequencies) for some combinations of sound and DSP.. would've been nice to be able to adjust the subwoofer level with the remote (guess none of the subwoofers have remote controls).

    I'd like to try the kenwood 505 at home as well.. can't find it anyplace, though. Chris James, did you listen to both systems at home? Or at a store that had them setup decently?

    Any opinions on the Denon DHT-682XP and Yamaha YHT-300? Those are in teh same price range as well.
     
  12. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

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    I purchased the Kenwood HTB-504 system. It's the pride and joy of my current HT (and will remain so until I get a Pioneer VSX 36TX receiver and Paradigm speakers all round!) Excellent sound and features for the price. Highly recommended!
    Haven't had a chance to demo the Onkyo so I am a bit biased towards the Kenwood. If I get a chance to demo the Onkyo I'll post an additional review to this thread.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] for the Kenwood, though! [​IMG]
     
  13. kandy

    kandy Auditioning

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    I'm trying both the Onkyo HT-S650 and the Kenwood HTB-505 at home. Both are nice and are pretty similar (see specs from links above). This is my first HT system and I don't have golden ears, but the Onkyo sounds better, imho. The Kenwood's good, but not as good as the Onkyo. Some of the sounds didn't seem as sharp. The Onkyo had boomy bass w/ some music in some DSP modes (esp if I had the subwoofer set to a higher 80Hz crossover). I liked Onkyo's all-channel stereo DSP better than ProLogic 2 music.
    Surround speakers on the Onkyo sound better (they're larger as well). The Onkyo system seems to be capable of higher output (lots of ppl think Kenwood inflates their ratings), though the Kenwood speakers are rated more sensitive [front/ctr/surr = 90/89/84dB/w/1m Kenwood, 85/83/82 dB/w/m Onkyo]. The Onkyo remote was more ergonomic (but it wouldn't handle Toshiba TVs).
    The THD ratings on the Onkyo receiver are better (0.08%)than those on the Kenwood (0.7%). The tuner has better THD ratings as well. The speakers are rated to deliver lower bass frequencies - 55Hz fronts, 65Hz others vs 90Hz for Kenwood (which means that the subwoofer will have to go pretty high).
    Other differences:
    Onkyo has A/B/A+B speaker switching.
    Kenwood has a crossover switch on the subwoofer but suggests that you let the receiver handle this instead. The receiver doesn't have an explicit crossover setting for the subwoofer, but I guess it sends higher frequencies to the subwoofer unless you say that the front speakers are large (which the manual warns you not to do - probably because the included speakers don't reach below 90Hz). Onkyo has an explicit crossover setting on the receiver, none on the subwoofer.
    Onkyo's subwoofer fires down. Kenwood fires forward.
    The Onkyo receiver has binding posts (except for B speakers), Kenwood uses spring clips from which the wire often slipped on my first try. Both use spring clips on the speakers.
    Kenwood lets you adjust ProLogic 2 music settings.
    Kenwood has only about 20ft for the surround speaker wire (not an issue if you plan to buy speaker wire) which was insufficient.
     
  14. aldamon

    aldamon Second Unit

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    Very interesting. This is the kind of post I was looking for.

    You described the wiring included with the 505, but how is the wiring on the 650? Did Onkyo do a better job with the standard wires? Is the length and quality sufficient or would you still recommend buying new wiring?
     
  15. kandy

    kandy Auditioning

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    The Onkyo has about 30 ft surround speaker wire. Just enough for me to get the wire running close to the ceiling on one side, but still not enough to reach the ceiling on the other (my audio gear is to one side, due to an RPTV in the middle).

    I bought 16 gauge speaker Monster speaker wire, but haven't used it yet (need to finalize speaker placement before cutting from the spool). Consumer reports says most ppl can't tell the difference unless you have wire running over 100ft. HomeTheaterDirect says most ppl can't tell the difference with gauges larger than 16. If you're on a budget, HTD suggests spending on better connectors (digital coax/optical/stereo/subwoofer) before speaker wire, since these any distortion will be amplified. I'm sure you can find several threads on the subject here.
     
  16. Chris James

    Chris James Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Kandy, I'm sorry I didn't see your reply earlier! I did not get to A/B the two in my home. I have a friend that has the Kenwood 504, so I've heard it play on many occasions. So, when I bought the Onkyo, I felt I had a pretty good grasp on how it compared to the 504. Like you said in your review, to me the Onkyo is a little cleaner/crisper sounding. The bass is close between the two, but seems a little punchier than the Kenwood. I'm glad you were able to do this with both systems. I've wondered a few times which was better...in someone elses opinion.

    Aldamon, with either of these systems, you should upgrade all the wires. Definitely buy the audio/video wires first(I went with optical for audio), then upgrade the speaker wires. Let us know what you decide to buy!
     
  17. Ralph Bru

    Ralph Bru Stunt Coordinator

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    I use home depot 14 ga wire. not expensive!
     
  18. aldamon

    aldamon Second Unit

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    Thanks for the tips guys. We just bought a car yesterday, so this is actually going to be a Fall purchase (cough wife). Hopefully some interesting pricing will emerge on both systems by then.
     
  19. aldamon

    aldamon Second Unit

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    Has anyone else noticed that on the OnkyoUsa Web site the HT-S650 is said to be 5 x 100W, but the receiver in the package (TX-SR500) is only rated at 5 x 80W?

    Which page is right?
     
  20. kandy

    kandy Auditioning

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    I noticed that the specs are different as well. I concluded that while the receiver that comes with the HT-S650 looks like the TX-SR500, it really is a bit different. If it were, Onkyo would probably say so - they like to say that they are selling separate components, to counter the bad rep that HTBs have.

    The box that comes with the HT-S650 doesn't claim to be a TX-SR500. Nor does its manual.

    Does anyone really know that the receiver is a TX-SR500? Where is this info (rumor?) coming from (other than comparing looks)?
     

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