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Onkyo Dws 500 Cd Shelf System

Reviewing: Onkyo Dws 500  |  Rating:
derwood By derwood on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 7 | Audio & Visual Expertise:

I've never been a fan of cheap computer speakers, although I guess they were better than nothing when I had no other choice for my computer at work. My desk used to be located in one of our company's common rooms, where I sat with about eight other people. That room was noisy enough that I couldn't really listen to my cheap speakers anyway, but when I was moved into my own private office a few years ago, I decided that it was time to invest in a nice desktop sound system of my own. I shopped around a bit and found a good sale on an Onkyo DWS-500 CD shelf system, so I figured I'd take the plunge.

When it originally arrived, I set it up at home and played around with it for about a week before taking it into the office. The CD/receiver unit had a slightly odd shape, with a flat front panel that slants back slightly, and a back side that has a large protrusion where the amplifier and electronics are held. The CD player portion has a door that slides down to allow you to insert or remove a CD, and it also has a blue light bar inside of it which adds a little bit to the "coolness" factor. The back of the receiver contains the auxiliary input, as well as a line-level subwoofer output.

For their size, the speakers sound very good. At home I was able to turn up the volume much louder than I'm able to at the office, and when I did, the speakers actually sounded pretty decent, with smooth treble and suprising bass. The receiver has three "acoustic presence" (i.e. bass boost) settings that allow you to tailor the sound of the speakers to your preferences.

The main reason I decided on this particular stereo system was because it includes a USB port, which allows it to be used in place of a pair of computer speakers. It includes a volume mixer knob too, which gives you the ability to control how loud the sound from the PC should be, in relation to the sounds coming from the CD/radio.

I've been listening to the radio using this stereo every day at work for the past five years. During that time, the only problem I've encountered is that the CD player quit working. I didn't play CDs that often, but when I tried it out about a year ago, I found that it wouldn't recognize any CD that I put into it.

The failure of the CD player is pretty serious, but it does not prevent me from continuing to use this stereo each day. Considering the good deal that I received on the price of this unit, I would say that I'm happy with it overall.