Onkyo SKS-HT540 Review: Affordable yet Powerful Speaker Set

Onkyo is one of the most confident manufacturers of home theater systems. This is evident from the fact that Onkyo is willing to sell their speakers separately from the AV receivers – which is awesome if you already have one. Now, if you are looking for an affordable yet powerful set of speakers, continue reading the Onkyo SKS-HT540 review below!

In this article, we will discuss about

  • The design and appearance of Onkyo SKS-HT540
  • The dimensions and space requirements of the speakers
  • How the setup process is done and whether it is easy or not
  • The available connection options on Onkyo SKS-HT540
  • The features of the speakers
  • The sound quality and power of the home theater system
  • The recommendation whether to buy or not to buy Onkyo SKS-HT540

Design
Onkyo SKS-HT540 is a speaker set that includes a subwoofer, one center channel speaker, two front speakers, and four surround speakers. It is designed for a 7.1-channel home theater system. It makes a perfect addition for your DVD player or AV receiver. Each speaker uses two standard audio wires to connect the speaker to the AV receiver. Onkyo SKS-HT540 is very popular not only because of the affordable price, but also the truly impressive performance.

Actually, the same speaker set is available in Onkyo HT-S790. This product includes an AV receiver. So, if you don’t have one yet, you may want to choose that bundle. Onkyo SKS-HT540 comes with exactly the same speakers and subwoofer, but without the AV receiver – suitable when you already have an AV receiver of your own.

The subwoofer and speakers are quite larger than the typical subwoofers and speakers in this price range. So, the first impression is very good.

At the first time you unbox the package, you may be surprised that the subwoofer and speakers are quite larger than the typical subwoofers and speakers in this price range. So, the first impression is very good. Large, heavy subwoofers and speakers often pack real power.

There is the subwoofer. It has four feet to allow safe placement on the floor. Interestingly, the subwoofer that is included in the set is quite big and heavy. This is an impressive thing for such an affordable product. The subwoofer measures about 18.6 inches tall, 10.75 inches wide, and 17.75 inches deep. It has a weight of about 25.4 lbs.

The subwoofer has a black cloth grille and a front bass port. It looks solid and powerful, and the heaviness also helps the subwoofer to stay in place. Note that the front speakers’s grilles are removable, whereas the surround speakers’s and subwoofer’s aren’t.

The cabinets are made from wood. They aren’t glossy, but they are super sturdy and durable. They are finished in black ash. There are three front speakers, including the center channel, each with rounded metallic front baffles hidden behind curved grilles. Each of them measures 17.1 inches tall, 6.25 inches wide, and almost 8 inches deep. The left and right front speakers are standing vertically, whereas the center channel is put horizontally. For sure, they look nice and stylish.

The bulky size may make them a little difficult to mount. Using L-brackets for the left and right front speakers is recommended.

However, the bulky size won’t let them blend and ‘disappear’ into the room easily. Fortunately, the black color can help to hide them when you are watching a movie in a darkened room. The bulky size may also make them a little difficult to mount. There are keyhole mounts on the back of each speaker so that you can mount them on a wall or ceiling, but using L-brackets for the left and right front speakers is recommended.

Finally, the other satellite speakers are fairly small. There are four surround speakers. Each of them measures 10.5 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide, and 4 inches deep. They look nice, and they can blend into your room decoration more easily because they don’t have the rounded metallic edges. The all-black appearance is very good-looking. You can mount them using standard wall mounts.

Setup
The setup process of Onkyo SKS-HT540 is quite easy and straightforward. Perhaps one of the best things about Onkyo SKS-HT540 is the versatility. If you don’t need to run all of the four surround speakers, you may stick with a standard 5.1-channel home theater system with just two surround speakers. You may hook the other two to the AV receiver’s B speaker output for a multi-room audio setup.

Plug in the audio cables to the audio ports and the suitable outputs on the AV receiver. Make sure that you don’t confuse the positive and negative wires.

The setup process is very intuitive, as it is pretty much the same as what you do with other speakers. Plug in the audio cables to the audio ports on the back of each speaker, and connect the other ends to the suitable outputs on the AV receiver. Make sure that you don’t confuse the positive and negative wires, though. Typically, the positive terminal is red, whereas the negative terminal is black.

As mentioned above, the speakers have keyhole mounts on their backs. This is to allow easy mounting. However, the front speakers are quite large, so mounting the front speakers using basic mounts is a little risky. You should use L-brackets if you want to mount the front speakers safely. You can use standard mounting brackets for the satellite speakers, as they are quite compact and lightweight.

Unfortunately, the mounting equipment is not included in the box. In other words, if you want to mount your speakers on the wall or ceiling, you should remember to buy the speaker set along with the necessary accessories. This will save you the time and effort, as you won’t need to go to the store twice.

Once all of the speakers and subwoofer are placed on their place, and all of the cables including the subwoofer’s power cord are connected, you are ready to go. You can turn on your AV receiver and start blasting some music or movie. We will discuss more about the performance later in a next section.

Features
The subwoofer of Onkyo SKS-HT540 is powered by a 230-watt amplifier and a 10-inch driver. The powered subwoofer has a bass reflex design, which enables it to deliver some thumping and powerful bass. Note that the bass port is placed on the front. This is a great design. By placing the bass port on the front, the subwoofer will not get negative effects by its placement.

Note that the bass port is placed on the front. By placing the bass port on the front, the subwoofer will not get negative effects by its placement.

With a front bass port, the subwoofer of Onkyo SKS-HT540 can be easily put it close to the wall behind or even on a corner. The sound waves will be generated to the direction it is aimed too. The easy placement is a big advantage over rear-ported models, especially if you have a small room. Rear-ported models can’t be placed near a wall or on a corner, as the waves may get reflected and distort the output.

Each of the three front speakers features two OMF diaphragm woofers and a single floating balanced dome tweeter. It has a nominal impedance of 8 ohms, so it should be easy to drive. With two woofers that are working with each other, the front speakers ensure that the projected dialogues, vocals, and most instruments are all full, clear, and accurate. Meanwhile, having a dedicated tweeter allows Onkyo SKS-HT540 to deliver treble frequencies consistently.

The four satellite speakers are smaller. One reason is that each satellite speaker only has a 3.125-inch cone woofer and a 0.75-inch balanced dome tweeter. It also has a nominal impedance of 8 ohms. With this configuration, the satellite speakers are ready to give impressive surround performance.

The warranty is excellent. Onkyo SKS-HT540 is covered by a 2-year limited warranty. The warranty timeframe is good, as many other companies only provide 12-month limited warranties. In order to claim a warranty service, you need to take or ship the product to an authorized service center along with a note that describes the problem and a copy of your purchase receipt. Onkyo is known to have great customer service, and they can repair or replace the defective product accordingly.

Connectivity
The connectivity options on Onkyo SKS-HT540 are very limited, but this is not a problem. All of the connection ports are standard. You can easily connect the speakers to your AV receiver using standard audio cables.

The only connection on the subwoofer is a RCA line-level input. Make sure that your AV receiver has a dedicated subwoofer output jack or some pre-output jacks.

The only connection option available on the subwoofer is a single RCA line-level input. Well, this is probably not a problem, because most people prefer to use line-level inputs for subwoofers. However, make sure that your AV receiver has a dedicated subwoofer output jack or some pre-output jacks, so that it can send the suitable signal to the subwoofer.

The connector ports on the speakers, understandably, use basic spring-clip wire connectors, instead of the higher-quality binding posts. This is to allow the company to keep the price low.

The connector ports on the front and satellite speakers, understandably, use basic spring-clip wire connectors, instead of the higher-quality binding posts. This is to allow the company to keep the price low. Nevertheless, the spring-clip wire connectors are sturdy and durable. Make sure that the positive and negative wires do not touch each other when connecting them to the connectors.

Performance
The performance of Onkyo SKS-HT540 is truly impressive. You will be amazed right from the start. If you didn’t know about the price tag, you’d have mistaken it close to at least six hundred dollars. Yes, the sound is that good.

Music of various genres sound natural. You can freely indulge in the high-class audio performance without thinking much about the system’s incredibly affordable price. Acoustic jazz is particularly good, as Onkyo SKS-HT540 delivers the right balance between warmth and presence. Acoustic instruments are full, rich, and detailed. Brass sounds very lively, and piano is easily audible and enjoyable even in a crowded mix. The speakers have managed to nail the scale and power of each instrument.

Onkyo SKS-HT540 also delivers rock music with great qualities. There is plenty of kick and power, so you can play your favorite rock music at high volume without straining the subwoofer and speakers. The system can easily fill the air of a large room with high volume levels suitable for parties. You can’t expect such kind of performance from mini satellite speakers or six-inch subwoofers; they aren’t even remotely close to what Onkyo SKS-HT540 can offer.

If Onkyo SKS-HT540 is able to play music impressively, it should be able to play movies with equally delightful qualities. It will not disappoint you.

If Onkyo SKS-HT540 is able to play music impressively, it should be able to play movies with equally delightful qualities. It will not disappoint you. Whichever DVD that you play on the system, the dynamics will always give you a treat. Surprisingly, the sounds from the speakers and subwoofer are able to blend very smoothly. There is no noticeable gap between the lower midrange and bass. You will enjoy the immersive experience very much.

The center channel speaker is able to deliver dialogues properly. Human voices are full-bodied and natural. As the effect, dialogues are clear and easily comprehensible most of the time. They don’t get muddled up by the thumping bass. Meanwhile, the bass from the subwoofer is good, although still not as great as some other five-hundred-bucks models out there. The bass is full, strong, and with good definition. Still impressive.

PriceFeatures

- 7.1-channel home theater speaker set - 130 watts total output on 2-way bass reflex front, center, and surround speakers. 230 Watt powered - Subwoofer with Auto-Standby/On Circuitry and Output Level Control - Front and center 2-way speakers feature 5-inch diaphragm woofers and 1-inch balanced floating tweeter - Bass reflex powered subwoofer with 230 watts output - Subwoofer construction includes a 10-inch cone driver

Onkyo SKS-HT540 Review: Conclusion
All in all, if you are looking for an affordable 7.1-channel speaker set to work with your existing AV receiver, Onkyo SKS-HT540 is the best choice. For the price, it offers such an amazing value. While the connection ports are very basic, the design and build quality are great. The performance is really impressive. It delivers rich, natural sound with good dialogue clarity and full, well-defined bass.

Onkyo SKS-HT540 Review: Specifications
Front Speakers and Center Speaker
Dimensions:
Front Speakers : 6-3/16 inches x 17-1/16 inches x 7-7/8 inches (WxHxD)
Center Channel : 17-1/16 inches x 6-3/16 inches x 7-7/8 inches (WxHxD)
Weight : 8.4 lbs
Type: 2-Way Bass Reflex
Tweeter : 1-inch Floating Balanced-Dome
Woofer : 5-inch OMF Diaphragm x 2
Nominal Impedance : 8 ohm
Maximum Power : 130 W
Frequency Response Range : 55 Hz – 50 kHz
Sensitivity : 86 dB/W/m

Surround Speakers
Dimensions : 6-7/8 inches x 10-7/16 inches x 4 inches (WxHxD)
Weight : 3.1 lbs
Type : 2-Way Bass Reflex
Tweeter : 3/4-inch Balanced-Dome
Woofer : 3-1/8-inch Cone
Nominal Impedance : 8 ohm
Maximum Power : 130 W
Frequency Response Range : 60 Hz – 20 kHz
Sensitivity : 82 dB/W/m

Subwoofer
Dimensions : 10-13/16 inches x 18-5/8 inches x 17-11/16 inches (WxHxD)
Weight : 25.4 lbs
Type : Bass Reflex Powered
Woofer : 10-inch Cone
Maximum Power : 230 W
Frequency Response Range : 25 Hz – 150 Hz

Onkyo SKS-HT540 Review: Pros and Cons
PROS:

  • Good-looking design
  • Can be used as a 5.1-channel system with multi-room audio
  • Great sound quality with a powerful subwoofer
  • Very affordable and budget-friendly
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty

CONS:

  • Front speakers are quite large, may be difficult to mount
  • Very basic connection ports

Onkyo SKS-HT540 Review: Price
Find the best price for Onkyo SKS-HT540 here!

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