Pros / The high-frequency effects are fast and crispy.
Cons / Movie dialogue sounds boxy.
Verdict / These speakers are affordable, and when paired with an entry-level AV receiver, they’re a much better value than a sound bar.
The Onkyo SKF-4800 is one of the best value floor standing speaker. The one-inch soft dome tweeter projects clear and concise high-frequency effects that have no problem cutting through rumbling bass. The cabinet design is a bit bulky compared to some speakers we tested, but it makes for some impactful low tones. The black semi-gloss enclosure is monolithic and boring, but the cabinet design places the speakers at the perfect height for seated listening. The Onkyo scored lower due to boxy midrange tones during testing, but they’re still some of the best under $500.
Onkyo is well-known for producing some of the best low-cost audio equipment available. For about the same price as a mid-level sound bar or home theater speaker package, you can pair the SKF-4800s with an entry-level Onkyo receiver for a proper surround sound system. Although these speakers are only rated for 55 Hz on the low end, you won’t need a subwoofer unless you have a large entertainment room. The bass response was a bit flabby compared to the best speakers we tested, like the Klipsch R-28F, but it would be hard to perceive unless you’re quickly switching back and forth like we do during testing. The rumbling movie effects and bass guitar sounds were balanced and impactful in our movie and music tests.
The one noticeable flaw of these towers is the midrange content. Startling low-frequency effects are an important component of theater-quality sound, but if you can’t hear the dialogue through the effects, some of the magic is lost. Both the high- and low-frequencies were much more prevalent in our movie listening tests, and the dialogue was muffled. We suggest adding a center channel alongside the SKF-4800, especially if you enjoy action movies.
The semi-gloss finish does a great job of hiding fingerprints and dust, and the large footprint keeps these large enclosures upright, even on thick carpeting. The wide base is permanently attached to the cabinet, so you don’t have to tighten any screws. One design flaw worth noting is the poorly constructed rear-port. Most speakers we reviewed reinforce the port with a plastic or wood insert, but the SKF-4800’s port is surrounded by an exposed section of MDF that we chipped while moving the speakers around in our AV room. It’s a minor flaw, but could present an issue if you move the speakers frequently.
If you are looking for a quick and easy audio upgrade for under $800, we recommend coupling these speakers with an entry-level AV receiver. They don’t sound as great as the best speakers we tested, but they are half the price. You shouldn’t need to pair them with a subwoofer, but a center channel would go a long way in improving the lack of clear dialogue.