Well, here's the review I promised of my Kenwood HTB-504! It all started during early March, Tuesday 6:30 pm. I headed over to Circuit City to purchase my own Kenwood HTB-504 -- my first foray into Dolby 5.1 sound. I unboxed the system and started putting together the speaker stands. Then, I hooked up the two mains, the center, and the sub. I inserted Beverly Hills Cop 2, turned on the receiver, switched to DVD/6 ch and...nothing. No sound. I discovered I had the cable connected to the wrong input on the receiver. No biggie. So, the correct connection was made. BAM. My reaction to Dolby 3.1: Okay, after picking my jaw off the floor and returning my eyes to their rightful sockets, I started noticing audio dropouts. I figured that since the surrounds weren't connected yet, that the fronts were being overloaded and that's what was causing the dropouts. The following weekend (since it was Tuesday when I got the system), I hooked up the surrounds at last. Finally, I was able to experience full, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound! I inserted Saving Private Ryan. My reaction to Dolby 5.1: Unfortunately, as I discovered, hooking up the surrounds did not eliminate the audio dropouts. I consulted the home theater forum, and even sent an email to Kenwood. I didn't receive a response from Kenwood until a couple weeks later (after I solved the problem), but that's okay. They're busy people. Anyways, I tried several different solutions proposed by my own brain and the HTF. I reconnected everything, made sure all connections were sound and correct. I replaced the speaker cable. And I even tried setting the receiver to manually switch audio formats. One solution proposed by Bob here was to replace the audio cable I was using with a digital coax. Well, I was using an audio cable from an audio/video cable kit (the left channel audio cable). Turns out that was a mistake. I installed the digital coax cable and everything seemed fine. After more extensive testing, it was determined that that in fact was the problem! Also,I noticed a slightly improved audio quality after installing the digital coax cable. So now, free of the audio dropout problem, here is what I think of the system: This is an incredible value. I never imagined that I would receive such great sound from a $500.00 HTIB. While it doesn't produce the sound that a $2,500.00 separates system would, it still produces sound that rivals Bose's $1,000.00 Acousti-Crap system. As someone else has stated, the sub is an 8" that acts like a 12". I was demoing speakers and receivers before plunking down the cash for this system. Erroneously, I thought I would have been able to afford a $2500.00 audio system. Alas, I couldn't. So I ended up settling for this one (and I don't regret it!) Among the speakers I demoed were: Bose (wanted to see how bad they actually sounded), Sony, Yamaha, JBL, Energy, Paradigm, Klipsch, and B&W. I liked the B&Ws and Paradigms the best. Of course, the Paradigms eclipsed the speakers on this system by far. While Kenwood did kind of skimp on the speakers, they put a lot of effort into the receiver. You get Dolby Digital 5.1 along with DTS, and various sound modes (ranging from Jazz to Stadium and even a Disco mode). Also, 100 watts per channel is very nice (and that speaks further volumes about the value on the HTB-504). The midrange sounds great on the speakers. The high end also sounds pretty good (but still kind of lacking; I haven't been able to demo much high-sounding stuff, though). Of what I was able to demo, the high end and midrange on these bookshelf speakers seems pretty accurate (on HT as well as music). How does it sound for Home Theater? Dolby Digital sounds awesome, and DTS sounds even better! I still can't get over the sound quality on this system -- especially considering the fact that I paid only $500 smackaroos for this baby. If anyone is considering purchasing the Kenwood HTB-504 as their first step into the world of surround sound, I highly recommend it. For $500.00, it's a great value and worth every penny. A few things you should keep in mind, though: 1. Make sure all speaker connections are correct. This will greatly influence your sound quality. If the negatives and positives aren't right, you won't get the best sound quality and you might end up with slight interference as well. 2. Use a digital coax cable! I can't stress this enough. It will save you a lot of trouble if you decide to skimp on the cable like I did. 3. Calibrate your system using a Radio Shack SPL meter and either Video Essentials or Avia. This also makes a world of difference in sound quality. This step balances out the sound output on your speakers. 4. Use QUALITY speaker cable. I also can't stress this enough. I use Monster 14 gauge (when I talked about this before, the label on the speaker cable package said 12g; I didn't notice it was actually 14g wire) speaker cable for my fronts and surrounds. The speaker cable will determine the difference between crappy sound and excellent sound (I noticed an audible difference when I replaced the default cables with 14g Monster speaker cables). The wires that come with the HTB-504 are flimsy and, well, for lack of a better word, CRAP. Anyways, that's it. If anyone would like to add anything to this review, please do so. I highly recommend this product! Rating: 4.5/5 stars.