If you haven’t noticed, I’ve made it a personal quest to wage war on “Home Theater in a Box” systems, or HTiBs. These bundled systems often come at an attractive price, but are almost always composed of tiny plastic speakers and AV receivers with weak amplifiers and built-in DVD players.
At almost every price point, there’s usually a way to do far better buying well-selected individual components. It’s tough if you’re only spending $200, but even a $100 pair of bookshelf speakers and a $100 stereo receiver will sound far superior to a cheap-o HTiB in the same price. As you step up in price, it becomes much easier to top an HTiB while maintaining 5.1 surround sound.
While the RC-Micro package may have the trappings of HTiB type speakers, mainly their tiny size and full 5.1 packaging, this is a truly capable sub-sat system that can fill a small-to-medium sized room with quality music and film soundtracks. The 2-1/2” midrange drivers make these little gems easy to hide, but their piano black lacquer finish means you might not even want to. The 8” subwoofer might not cause Iron Man to shake pictures off the wall, but it’s able to fill in the bottom end nicely given the size and price.
Pair this speaker package up with a modest but full-featured AVR, something like the Onkyo SR507 ($219 from Accessories 4 Less), and you have a surround sound system infinitely more capable, while only a tiny bit more expensive, than what you might walk out of your local Shiny Stuff with.
Need help hooking everything up? The instructional video embedded below may be just what you need.
Stephen Hopkins is chief technology editor for EH Publishing. He writes product reviews, features, and focuses heavily on 3D TV, iPhone and iPad apps, and digital content.
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