A superb all-in-one system for anyone who lacks room for an amplifier but wants the flexibility to upgrade in the future
AV amplifiers can simplify a home cinema setup by putting all audio and video inputs in one place. However, they take up a lot of space – not everyone has room for a rack of separates. The Onkyo HTX-22HDX active speaker system might be the answer to anyone with limited space, as it doubles as a compact AV amplifier.
With two front satellite speakers and a compact subwoofer, the set looks very sleek. The minimalist design hides most of the system’s functions away from view, so it will fit snugly next to your TV without demanding attention. Everything feels incredibly sturdy, with no signs of flex or weak construction.
The small LCD display built into the front of the subwoofer hints that it’s capable of more than simply boosting bass; a quick glance around the back eliminates any doubts. Three HDMI inputs let you connect a Blu-ray player, games console and set-top box, while the single HDMI output carries the video signal to the TV. All four ports support HDMI 1.4, so you’ll be able to play 3D content if you have compatible equipment.
There are spring terminal speaker outputs for the included front pair of speakers, plus a further three speaker outputs to connect two rear satellites and a centre speaker. There are also two analogue audio inputs, two digital optical and a single digital coaxial input for connecting additional audio devices. Switching between these inputs is either via the buttons on top of the subwoofer or using the bundled remote control.
The remote itself has a sensible layout with all the features you’re likely to need. As well as adjusting volume, bass, treble and surround processing modes, you can also tweak the virtual positioning of each speaker through an on-screen overlay that appears when connected to a TV. The supplied 3.2m speaker cables are more than enough to create a spacious sound stage, but as they aren’t proprietary you could buy longer cables if required.
Playing our reference music tracks, we were impressed with the system’s clarity. Music sounded warm and well rounded, with plenty of depth. Acoustic tracks were detailed and handled gently, with sensible bass management preventing the satellites from being drowned out. Even with a single pair of satellite speakers, there was plenty of volume, with no audible distortion at high levels. Rock and electronic tracks had a solid amount of bass at the default settings, but it struggled to make an impact when compared to larger subwoofers. This isn’t something that will move your furniture, but there’s still more than enough power to wake the neighbours.
Films had ample bass, although the absence of surround sound was impossible to ignore. Positional audio was no match for a 5.1 setup. Thankfully, just because it ships with two satellite speakers, there’s nothing to stop you upgrading in the future; the optional SKS-22X upgrade kit costs a reasonable £80 and includes matching rear and centre speakers to turn the 22HDX into a 5.1 surround system.
If you already own an amplifier, it won’t make sense to buy the HTX-22HDX; it can’t match the power output of a dedicated unit and has fewer inputs. However, anyone lacking the room for AV separates will love its simplicity. Without the extra speakers, it’s more suited to music in its standard configuration, but if you take the plunge it’s an excellent all-in-one that’s more versatile than many Blu-ray-based systems.
|Output resolutions||480i, 480p, PAL (576i), 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p|
|Total SCART sockets||0|
|SCART socket type||N/A|
|Stereo phono inputs||2|
|Stereo phono outputs||0|
|Coaxial S/PDIF inputs||1|
|Coaxial S/PDIF outputs||0|
|Optical S/PDIF inputs||2|
|Optical S/PDIF outputs||0|
|Main unit end speaker connection type||spring terminals|
|Speaker end speaker connection type||spring terminals|
|Wired network ports||N/A|
|Wireless networking support||N/A|
|Surround sound formats||Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD HRA, DTS-HD MA|
|Supported playback disc formats||N/A|
|Audio format support||N/A|
|Video playback formats||N/A|
|Image viewing formats||N/A|
|RMS power output||175W|
|RMS power centre||25W|
|RMS power front||50W|
|RMS power surround||50W|
|RMS power subwoofer||50W|
|Centre speaker cable length||N/A|
|Front speaker cable length||3.2m|
|Surround speaker cable length||N/A|
|Extras||remote control, speaker cables, Optical digital audio cable, speaker spacers|
|Centre speaker dimensions||N/A|
|Front speaker dimensions||101x161x111mmmm|
|Surround speaker dimensions||N/A|
|Power consumption standby||0W|
|Power consumption on||41W|
|Warranty||two years parts & labor|