Onkyo is a company that is best known for manufacturing high quality home theater receivers. There are plenty of other options available by worthy competitors, but Onkyo has been releasing products for years and they are rapidly expanding to reach as many price points as possible. With Onkyo recognized as a trusted brand, this is great for consumers as they have many options to consider and they can be confident that Onkyo delivers. But more options open up scenarios where consumers purchase the wrong AV receiver whether it is an expensive model with too many features or a cheap model with key features missing. Onkyo’s solution is to provide even their affordable models with some very attractive features. Onkyo not only covered those grounds but it has some room to make models that address specific needs. The Onkyo HT-RC430 is one of the most unique home theater receivers that may cater to a fairly large demographic – gamers.
The front panel of the HT-RC430 is pretty simplistic and organized. You basically have a couple rows of buttons that let you change the input source or listening modes. There is no input selector knob but it is easy to choose the source you like as there are only 4 HDMI ports on the back of the home theater receiver and they all have the latest specification (1.4a). This means that each HDMI port features both 3D video compatibility and an audio return channel. It reduces the cable clutter since audio data can come directly from the TV tuner to the home theater receiver for better audio quality.
Make sure you take note of the number of HDMI inputs because the similar looking Onkyo HT-RC460 features 8 HDMI inputs so you should get that instead if you have more home theater components that you need to connect. According to the HDMI labels, this home theater receiver should be enough to connect one game console, a DVD or Blu-ray player, a VCR or DVR and a cable box. However, you can connect any component you like and there are also some available component and composite inputs if you have legacy components that you wish to hook up.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
The Onkyo HT-RC430 is an entry-level home theater receiver and it has even less features than the pricier Onkyo HT-RC460. However, this Onkyo model retains some key features to keep the audio quality exceptional. One of the features responsible for higher fidelity is the Wide Range Amplifier Technology or WRAT. This feature focuses on improving signal-to-noise ratios. Part of the technology lies on the way the HT-RC430 was designed. It has a low negative-feedback design and uses a closed group-loop circuitry in order to cancel out the noise coming from individual circuits. This results to balanced and clean sounds regardless of the source. Burr-Brown DACs also contribute to clearer sounds and improved jitter.
As mentioned earlier, the Onkyo HT-RC430 is a pretty special home theater receiver that targets gamers. The four gaming modes is evidence as you can choose a certain configuration for certain types of games. For instance, if you are playing an RPG game that has a captivating soundtrack, you can activate the RPG game mode so you really feel the surround sound experience. There are also Rock, Action and Sports modes that provide different enhancements to improve the overall audio experience for those types of games. It is a very unique feature as other home theater receivers focus on movie modes.
But the HT-RC430 still functions as a nice home theater receiver for movies. The two main lossless Blu-ray formats (DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD) can be decoded without a problem and the end result is the studio quality that directors want you to hear. Several other formats are supported too including DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and Dolby Digital Plus in case you watch television broadcasts or have disc media that need to utilize those formats. Support for DTS-HD High Resolution Audio is actually a pretty big deal since it offers higher sampling rates than the usual DTS technologies.
If you have an iPod or iPhone, you can amplify your entire music collection by connecting the Apple device to the USB port on the front panel. Once connected, you can use the Onkyo remote control to select the track you like. The USB port can also read flash drives in case you have spare flash drives lying around. You can fill these flash drives with MP3 files as well as WMA, AAC and FLAC files. FLAC support is nice because it is a lossless format and it best demonstrates the exception audio quality of the Onkyo HT-RC430. Sound quality should be good for lossy formats too since digital audio signals are transported. The Advanced Music Optimizer also provides volume equalization.
The HT-RC430 is pretty easy to use with the Onkyo remote. You can bring up this convenient on-screen display menu that overlays on the content you are watching. It does not cover the content completely so you are less distracted as a result. Adjusting settings is much smoother as movies and programs don’t have to be interrupted. If you have an Apple TV connected to the TV, you can connect it directly to the Onkyo HT-RC430 instead so the Onkyo remote can work with the Apple TV.
The Onkyo HT-RC430 is a great 5.1-channel home theater receiver to get if you don’t need some of the fancy extras that $400+ receivers have like support for multi-room environments and LAN and Internet connectivity. The USB port provides a lot of flexibility and the sound enhancement technologies are plenty. The unique game modes make those big gaming titles more of a joy to play and Blu-ray movies sound just as good. Just don’t expect any big improvements to the video quality as upscaling is absent. While the Onkyo HT-RC430 should be easy to use, there is a comprehensive user manual and quick start guide that you can use to easily make the most out of the available features.