|Energy Connoisseur C5 Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Monday, 01 July 2002|
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The Connoisseur C5 is the smallest floor-standing speaker in the seven-speaker lineup that makes up the new Energy Connoisseur line. The Connoisseur series utilizes much of the technology pioneered in Energy’s flagship Veritas speaker line. The Connoisseur C5 retails for $750, with the remainder of the line value priced as well. As a basis for comparison, the similarly configured and appointed B&W CM4, to which the C5 bears a striking resemblance, retails for twice the price.
The five-speaker offerings in the Connoisseur line come in either Black Ash or Canadian Maple finishes over an MDF (medium density fiberboard) enclosure. I found the Canadian Maple finish of my review sample to be gorgeous and better-looking than darn near any other speaker in this price range. The C5 cabinet is 36 inches high, 7.75 inches wide and 15.5 inches deep. The front of the speaker bears a strong resemblance to the recently-reviewed B&W CM4 with its silver-colored baffle and three-driver array. With the grille removed, the aesthetic design of the Connoisseur C5 is sexy and modern.
The entire baffle, with the exception of the front baffle of the tweeter enclosure, is silver/gray. The one-inch tweeter sits above two 6.5-inch woofers, which are situated above a large, flared port. The entire cabinet sits on silver stabilizing feet that match the baffle in color. The front two feet stick out about two inches to the side and pleasantly remind me of the fins on the futuristic Disneyland rockets in shape. The back of the speaker continues the silver theme with a large, plastic cup with oversized, gold-plated binding posts. There are no provisions for bi-wiring. The cabinetry joints are barely visible around the perimeter, but they are not seamlessly flush with the rear surface.
The drivers and port are flanked by what look like five silver buttons on each side. These button-like pieces are part of a very clever speaker grille assembly. The black cloth speaker grille has magnets that correspond to the position of the buttons. To place the grille on, simply hold it in front of the speaker, press, and it snaps into place -- quick, easy and simple.
The Connoisseurs are constructed from dense MDF utilizing Energy’s Interloc system and Spherex baffle, developed for the Veritas line. The Interloc system, as utilized in the C5, produces a cabinet more rigid than many other comparable speakers. The baffle utilizes Spherex, a material found on some other Energy speakers. This material is extremely strong and allows the designers to mold complex baffle shapes in an attempt to enhance dispersion.
The drivers also feature fairly new technology that has trickled down from the flagship Veritas line. The tweeter used throughout the Connoisseur line is the highly-regarded, one-inch Aluminum Dome. This tweeter features its own chamber and allows for higher powered handling and a lower crossover point. The crossover point is set at 2 kHz on the C5. This lower crossover point is said to minimize the dispersion pattern problems inherent in a higher-frequency crossover design. The twin 6.5-inch drivers also derive from the Veritas line. These aluminum polypropylene composite cones sit in a special butyl rubber compound that is also silver in color. This speaker’s surround is more than aesthetically pleasing. The surrounds were developed for use in the Veritas line to provide critical damping and control of the drivers.
The C5 and the remaining floor-standing models feature what Energy calls a tapered crossover. Despite only two driver sizes, Energy classifies the C5 as a three-way speaker, due to its tapered crossover technology. The dual woofers work together on the lower frequencies to provide a large piston area, but only the upper driver is utilized for the midrange frequencies where large volume displacement is not necessary.
After I removed the C5’s from the box, I noticed that there was some assembly required. The four feet and one filler piece have to be attached to the bottom of the speaker cabinet. The only required tool is a screwdriver and the entire process takes about five minutes per speaker. If one looks closely at the bottom of the speaker front, the spaces between the filler piece and the "rocket fin" legs are easy to see, but I did not find this to be noticeable or distracting unless I was looking with nerd-like scrutiny.
The C5’s binding posts are simple to access, making it easy to connect the C5’s to my stereo system for break-in. I let these speakers break in for over two weeks before doing any serious listening. I moved the speakers around quite a bit before settling on having the front baffles 32 inches from the rear wall and the cabinet's inner sides five feet and 10 inches apart, with the speakers toed in about 20 degrees. All critical listening was done without a subwoofer in the system.