|Energy Connoisseur Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Friday, 01 October 2004|
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Movies and Music
Thanks to celebrities like Ben Affleck and Toby Maguire, poker has become the hottest trend in Hollywood since Kabbalah. To capitalize on this new craze, Miramax has re-issued a special edition DVD of the Matt Damon and Edward Norton poker movie “Rounders” (Miramax). When auditioning a pair of speakers in a home theater setting, I always make sure to use at least one dialogue-heavy film. If you have never been to a card casino, such as the Bicycle Club in Los Angeles, the first thing you hear when entering the main card room is a swarm of clinking chips as thousands of players nervously fiddle with their bankrolls. This same subtle sound comes through crystal clear on the Energy system, as Damon’s character Mike McDermott and Teddy KGB, played by John Malkovich with an over-the-top Russian accent, square off in the opening scene in a dark underground N.Y. poker room. “Rounders” is filled with some rapid-fire dialogue, with many poker terms that can be hard to pick up on, so having a quality center channel when watching this DVD is a real plus. Norton’s character, Lester “Worm” Murphy, a fast-talking conman, fresh out a stint in the county jail, pulls out all the stops to get his pal Mike (who has given up the poker life to focus on law school) back to the card rooms. As Norton goes on his rant about how fun it is to “check raise stupid tourists” at the Taj Mahal, the C-C1 center channel made it easy to follow the dialogue. I’ve seen the film several times using other comparable speakers and, with the Energies hooked up in my theater, I felt like I was getting a real-world refresher course in poker lingo.
I needed to check out the Energies with an action flick, so when my copy of “Starsky and Hutch” (Warner Home Video) arrived in its red Netflix envelope, I figured a car chase scene or two would be a good test. Many a kid in the ‘70s wanted to have a red Ford Gran Taurino with racing stripes thanks to Starsky and Hutch, and of course the car is back to costar in this modern-day comedic remake of the ‘70s TV series. In the act of ultimate sacrifice, Ben Stiller, who plays the by the book cop David Starsky, guns the engine on his beloved car in an attempt to jump the car and land it on the yacht of escaping drug lord Reese Feldman, played brilliantly by Vince Vaughn. As the engine revs and roars, the C5s and S8.2 work in harmony to reproduce the sound of a car engine being pushed to the redline. As the car pans from right to left on the screen, the transitions between the speakers, even to the rears, was smooth. The smaller C-R1 rears easily handled the sound of the engine moving off into the distance. It almost sounded like the car was speeding away from my house for real.
Football is back on TV and although my beloved Dolphins’ former running back Ricky Williams would rather sit in a cloud of smoke in his living room than smoke linebackers on his way to the end zone, I took the Energy System through its paces on my X-Box with NFL Fever, the latest football game from Microsoft. No matter how hard I cranked the Kenwood receiver that the Energies were connected to, I couldn’t get it to buckle even from the sound of big tackles and hits as my virtual Ricky Williams tore through all would-be tacklers. These games are getting frighteningly realistic, as are the soundtracks. It’s almost scary how much playing one of these games feels like watching a big Sunday afternoon game and using a quality surround system like the Connoisseur brings you even closer to football gaming nirvana.
I’ve been spinning Maroon 5’s excellent album Songs About Jane in my car CD player for the past month or so. It was ear-opening to pop the disc into my home theater and listen to it on the C-5s. Formatted for a two-channel system with a subwoofer, the music came to life thanks to the funky, soulful pop sounds of this Los Angeles quartet. On the recent radio hit “This Love,” the imaging of the piano riff that anchors the song was rock solid. The Energies’ high end didn’t have quite the same gleam as the smaller Polk LSi 9 bookshelf speakers that I recently had in my theater as front speakers, but the midrange and low end on the Energy speakers was more energetic, thanks to the dual woofer set-up on the front of the C5s.
Seal’s IV on DVD-Audio has been a nice recent addition to my surround sound collection with its tight mix and stellar sound quality. Although the mix is pretty front-heavy, the surrounds provide smooth natural ambience on the love song “Love’s Devine.” The more laid-back-sounding dome tweeters in the Energies work very well with Seals distinctive voice, smoothing it out even more but still maintain a good level of sibilance, which is necessary to reproduce his trademark vocal rasp. Again, this is another track that I had auditioned with the Polks and found the flavor of the Energies to be different but smoother and have a higher-quality midrange.