Bose has been busting its nuts in my face for a long time now. I used to love anything that Bose had to offer; particularly their 2.1 series sound systems rocked. However, the day I gave Onkyo LS3100 a shot, my views changed. Now I have become a hardcore Onkyo LS3100 fan just as much as I am Bose’s.
Makes sense? No? Then why don’t you read this Onkyo LS 3100 review rather than trynna figure things out on your own.
Overview about Onkyo LS3100 2.1 Home Theater Entertainment System:
People, who have already used the LS 3100, say that it is primarily an alternative to Bose 2.1 systems. I don’t know about that. In its own class, both sound systems are a marvel. Bose has its own place, its own market share, while Onkyo has its own ways of capturing the audience.
When we talk about the LS3100 Onkyo, it would be very important for me to mention that this product works almost the SAME way whenever you are playing music, videos and videogames. The other sound systems that I have tested before, they sounded different. It is because they are designed that way to make games sound more vibrant, to make movies have more clarity in their dialogues and etc.
But when I talk about Onkyo LS3100, I reached this conclusion that the device has a lot of uniformity in terms of audio output. The levels are all sweet, serene and downright awesome.
Highlights of the Onkyo LS3100 2.1 Sound System:
- Clean Audio Signals maintained by Digital Amplifier Circuitry – I relate this feature to uniformity of sound output.
- Standby Mode and Auto Power On Mode can be synched with your TV Set.
- Bluetooth Compatibility allows Onkyo LS3100 owners to access wireless audio streaming features. Synch your music files on the LS 3100 Onkyo using smartphones, Apple iDevices and tons of other accessories.
- Preset remote control offers Onkyo LS 3100 compatibility to work with a wide range of household devices.
Both LS 3100 Speakers Serve Multiple Positioning Options
Initial Onkyo LS3100 2.1 Sound System Setup and First Impression?
Compare to a typical plug n’ play sound system, the LS3100 is a little bit complex to set up. I say, you better read the manual first and take a close look at the installation images. Afterwards, you can proceed with setting up this system as per your preferred configuration. Here are my findings…
- There is a combination control unit, which others might call an amplifier unit that comes with Onkyo LS3100. You will notice its light profile right away. The box’s external drops the impression of a heavy object, but it is really lightweight. In fact, you should be mounting it up the wall for a better experience.
If you want to enable Bluetooth mode, there will be a power brick in the packaging. Connect the power bridge/ power brick to a wall socket with a minimum of 120VAC output. I think that Onkyo LS3100 should have come with the BT power brick connected inside the system’s body, which is too bad in case the unit gets damaged.
- The Onkyo LS 3100 remote control, as mentioned earlier in this review is very simple. In fact, Onkyo made it way too simple. There are no power lights, no LEDs; all you see a brick of a remote that controls the main volume, power on/off options and a couple of sound modes switches.
A Closer Look at the Onkyo LS3100 Remote Control – As seen on Amazon
- The Onkyo LS3100 is accompanied by 2 great looking speakers. It makes sense because this is a 2.1 audio system, which means that the “2” represents number of speakers, and the “1” represents the subwoofer quantity.
These speakers can be used and positioned in a variety of ways. Onkyo designed the LS 3100 speakers to be placed horizontally, vertically or wall mounted. The choice is yours. Compared to the subwoofer’s light profile, the speakers have a dense feeling. They are heavy and boast of performance upon first impression.
Onkyo also provides a medium length safety cable to help you prevent these speakers from falling off wall mounts. In addition, there are 8 Inch length speaker wires for Onkyo LS3100; they are already stripped off so you can attach them at the terminals quickly.
- Ideally, the LS 3100 subwoofer should be placed in a cabinet or close to a wall. Through this position, the subwoofer will be able to generate high bass output. It is not rocket science because whenever a woofer is placed in a closely knit environment, its thump becomes more aggressive.
If you are going to leave the subwoofer in the open, make sure that the bass is set high. Otherwise, bass sound will fuzz away in your open room environment, hence fading the effect significantly. Lastly, use stick on speaker stickers or some kind of rubberized base for additional grip underneath all three components. These side accessories are not necessary but they server an added purpose for long term product safety.
Setting Up the Onkyo LS3100 With Your TV Set:
This is a general configuration; which applies to a wide range of TV sets. Depending on your television model, some of the instructions might be a little different than the ones explained here. I used the LS 3100 with my main TV lounge 42 Inch Sony Bravia.
Here I would like to mention that you will need an AV receiver to properly establish connection between the sound system and the television. Although there are audio input/ output ports for speakers at the back side of most TVs these days, this output is intended for small voltage speakers. Therefore this is the reason for most of the people not being able to “hear” any sound from their home theater speakers.
With the Onkyo LS3100, I recommend an Onkyo TX-NR515 series AV receiver. It is expensive but given that this AV receiver supports up to 7.1 surround sound system; it is going to be once in a lifetime investment for you. Considering that you might be in need for a sound system upgrade, at least with the TX-NR515, you wouldn’t have to worry about additional expenses.
Okay, first off, I played a couple of action movies. The sound imaging was really good. I tried, The Matrix, followed by Cowboys and Aliens; the effects were good. Of course, they were not the miraculous kind because the Onkyo LS3100 is a 2.1 system – so don’t expect a 5.1 equivalent performance off it.
However, it is fair to say that the LS3100 is going to be a major inspiration for you to buy a high performance sound system. In a way, this surround sound system will leave your ears aching for more powerful features.
Onkyo LS 3100 Bluetooth Wireless Streaming with my iPhone:
It says the Onkyo LS 3100 2.1 surround sound system supports BT audio –that’s it, so I had to give it a shot. I used my brother’s iPhone 4s and the iTunes music service for streaming multiple sound tracks. Female vocals and jazz sound a lot better than typical rock genres. In my opinion, the setup was lightning fast; there were no connection errors or so.
Upon connection to any Bluetooth device the Onkyo LS3100 does not prompt for a security code. Some sound systems have a preset “0000” or “1234” pin code combination, which really doesn’t serve any security related purpose. At least in the context of quick connectivity, the lack of security code on BT connect is a blessing.
Closing Thoughts – To Recommend or Not to Recommend the LS 3100?
Recommendations are really hard to make. In my opinion, typical review sites are recommending products because most of them are based on an affiliate marketing formula. Even this website is, when I come to think of it.
The main DIFFERENCE is that I do not go on recommending products. When something is shitty, I say it’s a piece of crap and you shouldn’t consider buying it. Now the important question is, am I comfortable with the Onkyo LS3100 – so much so to recommend it to you?
Here’s the baseline: the LS 3100 Onkyo 2.1 is a medium profile sound system. For the $499 price tag, it serves its purpose well. Don’t go too loud on the volume and don’t forget to burn in the SW and speakers. Other than that, compared to a $10,000 home theater setup, this sound system fits in perfectly. The gap is narrower in terms of performance and lifelong durability.
I will only recommend the LS3100 to people who have considering buying it for an office setup or for a small scale house. If your living room is spacious, you are better off with an extra subwoofer and additional speakers for more ‘sound is so realistic that I’m shittin’ in ma pants’ right now kind of experience.
Word from Onkyo
If space and budget considerations run a close second to sound quality when choosing a home theater, then this neat 2.1-channel package from Onkyo is worth a close look. Your days of thin sound will be over, with SRS processing technology creating an immersive 3D soundfield using just two speakers- perfect for movies, music, and games.
But the real beauty of the system lies in its convenience. For example, the control center is preprogrammed for use with most TV remote controllers. It turns on automatically with your television and responds to volume commands from your TV remote.