Onkyo TX DS838 A/V Receivers

4.43/5 (7 Reviews)


Product Description

The Onkyo TX-DS838 Receiver is an exceptional unit that produces plenty of high quality, high impact surround sound. Enjoy a stunning performance as you become totally immersed in the movie of your choice. Features include Lucasfilm Cinema Re-EQ, a built in Dolby Digital decoder (AC-3), Dolby Pro Logic and 12 surround modes. Additional supporting features include a multitude of input and output options, 40 AM/FM station memory and direct access tuning.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by kristian a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 16, 2010

Bottom Line:   
great value but needs careful partnering. better than marantz thx receivers in pure stereo. No multi-channel input, no DTS

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by ebank a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 20, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I picked up the Onkyo Integra 838 a year ago (April ’04) on ebay for $225 with shipping. I couldn’t pass it up. I was finally replacing my Onkyo 535 which I never had any problems with but was only pro logic and a little under powered. I know this is an older receiver, but in case you’re thinking of buying a used 838, hopefully this will help you decide.

So far, I have been very impressed. It is true that Onkyo receivers/amps do tent to have harsh mids and brighter than most, this receiver is no exception (I’ve always use an Onkyo equalizer {eq-201} to even things out whether with this unit or others). I use this receiver for 2 channel music (80%), T.V (18%), and movies 2%. It will play as loud and as clear as I ask it to. Some others have commented on the bass. I feel the bass is adequate, but with today’s subwoofers, bass should no longer be an issue. Since my fronts are small JBL S26, I can’t comment on the bass without a sub hooked up. It wouldn’t be fair. With a sub, (Prodigy, Sting’s Brand New Day, Snoop, Thievery Corp., whatever) the house shakes. I’ve had no issues with the remote, and the on-screen displays are a little hard getting used to, but is helpful in the end. Front video inputs are handy. In the back, Gold inputs, pre outs for all channels and Binding post speaker connectors are great too.

There are a few things I don’t like about the receiver. I knew these features were lacking, but they weren’t important to me. You may want to know. I know this is older, and perhaps it predates some of these issues, but they are still there.
1. In surround, the rears are under powered. I think the receiver delivers 90w across the FL, center and FR, and only 50w in the rears. No big deal for me, but if you’re a movie buff, you may want more power in the back. Of course, this unit has preamp outs for all 5 channels, so you could add an amp to even out the rears. Honestly, 50 watts is all you need in the rear, but today’s standards give equal power to all speakers.
2. Video Inputs. There are only 4 of them. That is enough for some, but if you have digital cable, an xbox, an ipod, a cd, dvd player, camcorder, VCR, etc, you get the idea. It could use a few more Video Aux inputs.
3. Speaker options. There is an A/B speaker switch. Keep in mind, you can only play A or B. Not both at the same time. Also, the multi source capabilities require an external amp. These features are specified in the manual, but they differ from previous models (With my old Onkyo 535, you could move the rear channels from the main room, and move them to the muti-source channels, with out an external amp, giving you stereo in two different sources in two different rooms). I have my 838 multi source hooked up to an Adcom amp, and running stereo sound into my bedroom.
4. No DTS. Onkyo has never been first when it comes to new technology. DTS was available when this unit came out, but it wasn’t included. I wonder what I am missing on my Saving Private Ryan and Gladiator? I don’t watch too many movies, so no big deal, and believe me, the 5.1 sound is still incredible.
5. It does run hot. Absolutely no big deal for me. Just give it some space and let it breathe. I can’t get the fan to come on unless I use all 5 channels very loud, for 5 minutes. This could be good or bad depending on your views on fan noise, and the size of your cabinet.

That’s about it. I’d buy it again and would probably pay up to $300 for this unit, if it was in good condition. I was lucky to get it for $200. A friend of mine has one of the new Onkyo’s, I think the 600 series. I didn’t have the punch as this unit has. With my limited budget, I would have ended up with a Sony/Kenwood/Sherwood receiver that I know I would not have been happy with. I am glad I went with the 838.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   ebay



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by AdamK a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 29, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Excellant for a first generation AV Reciever with in-built Dolby AC-3 Processing. I owned this AVR for 4 1/2 years, 12 months ago upgrading to the TX-DS989. The 838's surround is excellant and channel seperation was always great.

It has plenty of inputs for people wanting to run DVD, LD, VHS etc. One weakness this model did have was very low bass through the mains even with the sub output turned off and listening to bass filled music (Michael Jackson, Eminem etc). A sub would definently be a must with the 838.

Also a clicking noise is evident during layer changes on DVD's because of the bitstreem drop out. This I put down to the fact this was a Laserdisk amp, meaning that DVD was unavailable at the time of manufacturing (The Dolby AC-3 signals are completly differant from laserdisk to DVD).

For music not a bad performer but with all AVR's, music playback is not a strong point.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Purchased At:   JB HiFi



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by sealights a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 10, 2002

Bottom Line:   
The amp is powerful, clear and doesn't color music the way most receivers are inclined. I found myself turning music up way too loud, not realizing it was so loud, because there simply was no distortion. I hooked up an infinity HPS 1000 sub and for some reason, this unit puts out a lot of base from it's LFE, as Denon's top of the line and a few others didn't produce the same base from this sub.

The front panel is beautiful and intricate, with lots of buttons, which I like, as long as they seem solid and well made, which these are. This was Onkyo's top of the line a couple years ago, and now these units can be had for under $600.00...what a steal! The optical output sounds crystal clear on my home burned cd-roms. Plenty of optical, coax, and preout options. A great receiver for $1400, but a blasted oustanding unit for anything under $600!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Purchased At:   Used online



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by The Defiler a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 14, 2001

Bottom Line:   

As in introductory product for stereo listening or even home Theater in general the 838 isn't bad at all. In stereo mode the 838 can produce good music. However in home theater mode the receiver can be push to it's limit's. At high listening levels in AC-3 the distortion can become an issue with this unit far more than the Denon AVR-5600,which is a much larger and far more expensive product. However resolution is quite limited compared to seperates,even the AVR-5600 has difficulty keeping up with sepearates. It's certainly a nice all in one package but it can't provide the detail or effortless surround capabilities that the big Rotels and Adcom are capable of. When pushed hard the 838 and Denon distort whereas the Adcom and Rotels provide effortless power and detail. A competent and well built product but utterly out of it's league when compared to high powered separates. The 838 is certainly a good starter product but separates are far better,especially when purchased second hand at a substancial discount.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997




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