Onkyo HT-S9400THX Home Theater-in-A-Box System Profile

Onkyo HT-S9400THX

The Onkyo HT-S9400THX is a home-theater-in-a-box system that combines a home theater receiver (HT-R990) with six loudspeakers and a subwoofer. The HT-S9400THX system provides 7.1 channel audio processing, 1080p HDMI switching, and analog to HDMI conversion and up to 4K video upscaling. The HT-S9400THX is also THX I/S Plus Certified. This means that it incorporates audio processing and loudspeakers that ensure consistent quality performance and that everything in the systems is both electronically and acoustically matched.

Loudspeakers and Subwoofer

The speaker portion of the package includes six 8 ohm, 2-way wood-cabinet bookshelf acoustic-suspension speakers, in combination with a 125 watt, 12-inch powered subwoofer with a frequency response of 20Hz to 100Hz. The center, front left, and front right speakers each house two 5-inch woofer/midrange drivers and 1-inch tweeter, while the surround left/right and surround back left/right speakers each house one 5-inch woofer/midrange drivers in combination with a 1-inch tweeter.

The speakers also have a listed frequency response of 50Hz to 45kHz, but keep in mind that they will not output that response at the same volume level - there will be drop off both higher and lower frequency ranges (especially frequencies below 80-100Hz).

Video Connections

The HTR-990 receiver that is provided with the HT-S9400THX system offers a total of four HDMI inputs and one output, as well as two component inputs and one output. There are four composite Video inputs (which are paired with analog stereo audio inputs), plus a front panel video input. The HTR-990 also features a VCR/DVR/DVD Recorder connection loop and a PC monitor input connection.

Audio Connections

For audio (excluding HDMI), there are two digital optical and two digital coaxial audio connections, as well as six Analog stereo audio connections. A headphone output connection is also provided.

Audio Decoding and Processing

The HT-S9400THX system features extensive audio decoding and processing, including Dolby Digital Plus and TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1/EX/Pro logic IIx, DTS 5.1/ES, 96/24, Neo:6. DTS Neo:6 and Dolby ProLogic IIx processing enables the HT-S9400THX to extract 7.1-channel audio from stereo or multichannel sources. What all this means is that all audio formats available for DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, CDs, Cable/Satellite TV, and video streaming services can be handled by the HT-R990 receiver that is provided with this system.

Dolby Prologic IIz

The HT-S9400THX system also features Dolby Prologic IIz processing. Dolby Prologic IIz offers the option of adding two more front speakers that are placed above the left and right main speakers. This feature adds a "vertical" or overhead component to the surround sound experience. Users have the choice of using the Dolby Prologic IIz front height speaker setup in lieu of using surround back speakers, or forgoing Dolby Prologic IIz if a 7.1 channel setup using surround back speakers are preferred.

Loudspeaker Connections and Configuration Options

Speaker connections consist of color-coded dual banana-plug-compatible multi-way binding posts for all main channels.

A useful speaker connection option is the ability for the HT-S9400THX to be used in a full 7.1 channel configuration, or in a 5.1 channel setup in the main home theater room, with simultaneous 2 channel operation in a second room. However, if you want to use the full 7.1 channels for your home theater environment, you can still run an additional 2-channel system in another room by using the Zone 2 preamp outputs. In this setup, you will have to add a second amplifier to power the speakers in Zone 2.

Video Processing

The HT-S9400THX upconverts all standard definition analog video input signals to HDMI video outputs, with up to 4K upscaling (provided you have a 4K display) via its built-in Marvell QDEO processing chip

AM/FM/HD Radio

The HT-S9400THX system has the standard AM/FM tuner with 40 station presets provided that can be used for setting any combination of favorite AM/FM stations. The HT-S9400THX is also HD Radio-Ready (accessory module required).

Internet Radio, Network, iPhone/iPod Connectivity

The HT-S9400THX system has internet radio access (including vTuner, Pandora, and Rhapsody, Sirius Internet Radio, and vTuner). The HT-S9400THX is also Windows 7 Compatible and DLNA Certified for access to digital media files stored on PCs, Media Servers, and other compatible network-connected devices. In addition, iPod and iPhones can be connected via Front-Panel USB Port. Onkyo also offers a free App that allows you to use an iPod/iPhone as a remote control.

Audio Return Channel

This is a very practical feature that has been introduced in HDMI ver1.4. What this function allows if the TV is also HDMI 1.4-enabled. is that you can transfer audio from the TV back to the HT-R990 receiver and listen to your TV's audio through your home theater audio system instead of the TV's speakers without having to connect a second cable between the TV and home theater system.

For example, if you receive your TV signals over the air, the audio from those signals goes directly to your TV. Ordinarily, to get the audio from those signals to your Home Theater receiver, you would have to connect an extra cable from the TV to the home theater receiver for this purpose. However, with audio return channel, you can simply take advantage of the cable you already have connected between the TV and the home theater receiver to transfer audio in both directions.

Zone 2 Option

The HT-S9400THX system allows for the connection and operation of a 2nd Zone. This allows a second source signal to speakers or a separate audio system in another location. This is not the same as just connecting additional speakers and placing them in another room.

The Zone 2 function allows control of either the same or separate, source than the one being listened to in the main room, in another location. For example, the user can be watching a Blu-ray Disc or DVD movie with surround sound in the main room, while someone else can listen to a CD Player in another room, at the same time. Both the Blu-ray Disc or DVD player and CD player are connected to the same receiver but are accessed and controlled separately using the same main receiver.

Audyssey 2EQ

The HT-S9400THX system also features an automated speaker setup function called Audyssey 2EQ. By connecting the provided microphone to the HT-R990 receiver and following the instructions outlined in the user manual. The Audyssey 2EQ uses a series of test tones to determine the proper speaker levels, based on how it reads the speaker placement in relation to the acoustical properties of your room. However, keep in mind that you may still have to some minor adjustments manually after the automatic set up is completed in order to conform to your own listening tastes.

Audyssey Dynamic EQ

The Onkyo HT-R990 receiver also incorporates the Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume features. Dynamic EQ allows for real-time frequency response compensation when the user changes volume settings, For more specifics on how Dynamic EQ works in relation to volume settings and room characteristics, and how this can benefit the user, check out the official Audyssey Dynamic EQ page.

Audyssey Dynamic Volume

Audyssey Dynamic Volume stabilizes the sound listening labels so that the softer parts of a soundtrack, such as a dialog, is not overwhelmed by the impact of loud portions of the soundtrack. For more details, check out the Audyssey Dynamic Volume page.

Final Take

With the HT-S9400THX, Onkyo takes the typical home-theater-in-a-box system up a notch. Features such as 3D pass-through, 4 HDMI inputs, HDMI video and audio switching with analog-to-HDMI video conversion and upscaling, advanced HDMI audio capabilities, as well as Internet Radio, HD Radio, and iPod compatibility give this system a lot of connection flexibility.

However, the connections don't stop there, the HT-R990 receiver also has a "Universal Connection Port" on the rear panel that will accept an accessory Onkyo HD-Radio Tuner or iPod Dock. There is also a front-mounted USB port for connection of flash drives and other compatible devices containing media files.

On the other hand, some connections missing on the HT-R990 receiver are a dedicated Phono input for a turntable, and there are no S-Video inputs or outputs, and there are no 5.1 channel audio inputs as well as the lack of 5.1/7.1 channel preamp outputs.

Taking all into consideration, the Onkyo HT-S9400THX system provides decent bookshelf speakers, practical features, and connectivity that make it definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a good home theater system package to complement an HDTV and Blu-ray Disc or DVD player. For all the details on how to setup and use the HT-S9400THX, you can download the User Manual.