The Onkyo SKS-HT690 home theater speaker package is a 5.1 system with two main speakers, two dedicated surround speakers, a center channel and a 10-inch down-firing subwoofer. The satellite speakers and center channel are compact and compatible with wall mounts, and also work well when placed on a shelf or speaker stands. The subwoofer didn’t blow us away with startlingly low bass in our listening tests, but it didn’t sound flabby or muddy either. While this system didn’t rumble our AV room, the center channel delivered natural dialogue, and the satellites did a fantastic job of creating a deep and immersive surround sound.
This is one of the few home theater speaker packages we tested with dedicated surround speakers. Most packages with compact satellite speakers use the same enclosure and speaker selection for the main left, right and surround speakers. Onkyo removed the tweeter from the surround speakers in this package, which resulted in a more balanced sound stage and focused dialogue reproduction. The enclosure is the same, so check the labels on the back of the speakers during setup to ensure you put the surround speakers in the proper location. If you want more suggestions, try the best soundbars instead, as we've stopped reviewing stand-alone speakers.
The 3-inch midrange drivers and 1-inch balanced dome tweeters in the satellite speakers and center channel are enclosed in durable, all-gloss cabinets. The speakers look great, but they don’t hide fingerprints and dust well. The rounded cabinets are heavy and durable compared to other packages we tested, and they’re designed to avoid reflection from parallel surfaces. Unfortunately, the spring-loaded speaker wire inputs on the back panel are flimsy and less durable compared to the gold-plated, five-way binding posts found on speakers in the best packages we reviewed, like the Polk Audio TL1600.
This Onkyo speaker system performed better in our music listening tests than in the movie tests. The center channel and main speakers reproduce vocals and acoustic instruments well, and the subwoofer is the perfect complement for most musical genres. However, when we watched action movies, there was a noticeable lack of floor-rumbling bass. If you are an action movie enthusiast and enjoy theater-quality boom in your entertainment room, you may want to consider a different speaker package.
The Onkyo SKS-HT690 has average audio quality and design features, but we enjoyed listening to music through this system. The subwoofer doesn’t offer theater quality bass, but the surround sound was great and the compact satellites produce natural and accurate dialogue.