|Energy Connoisseur Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Friday, 01 October 2004|
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For those of you who love the look and open sound of a pair of attractive, high-performance floor-standing speakers flanking your video display, the Energy Connoisseur line has several new options for you to choose from. This review system consists of a pair of $750 C-5 floor-standing speakers, a $400 C-C1 Center Channel, a pair of $400 C-R1 Rear Channels and the small but powerful $500 S8.2 Subwoofer. Only the Veritas series offers higher performance than the Connoisseurs in the Energy lineup of speakers.
I don’t have a very large living room, so when the boxes arrived at the Audio Video Revolution offices, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could fit the entire system into my compact car. I love monster speakers that can rock an amphitheater as much as the next guy, but I could tell that these reasonably-sized Energy speakers were going to be a good fit to my room from the moment they were being lowered from the delivery truck. Opening the boxes, the new speaker smell wafted up as the amount of care put into the design and build of these speakers became obvious. My Black Ash-colored review speakers were not drop dead gorgeous, yet they were right on par with, if not better aesthetically than, some of the value-oriented speakers that I have reviewed recently, including similarly priced offerings from Polk and Paradigm. Most of the speakers in the Connoisseur line are also available in a much nicer Canadian Maple finish that reviewer Brian Kahn found to be very much to his liking when he reviewed the smaller C-5 as a stereo system. All of the speakers in the Connoisseur line have MDF (medium density fiberboard) enclosures and standard spade-type plugs on the rear for easy installation of most types of speaker cables.
All but two speakers in the Connoisseur line (the C-R1 and C-R3) are magnetically shielded, so placement near TV monitors is not an issue. They also all feature one-inch chambered aluminum dome tweeters, dual baffle structure with Spherex injection molded front baffles and injection molded homopolymer woofer cones that have concave dust caps.
The Energy S8.2 subwoofer features a true 100-watt RMS continuous amplifier behind a long-throw eight-inch woofer. For my room, this small sub has an excellent blend of speed and depth. A sculpted, front-mounted vent reduces noise and offers placement flexibility and the front-mounted controls make it easy to tweak the volume and crossover points.
To make sure the front speakers stay put, Energy has provided small plastic “fins” that attach to the base of the floor-standing C-5s. They are reminiscent of the fins of a silver ‘57 Chevy. They were easy to install and actually blended well with my gray carpet.
The small C-R1 rear channels feature a bi-pole design and were absolutely a breeze to mount on my walls behind my couch. They were created to use the room’s boundaries as reflective surfaces to give them a sound that is much larger and more encompassing than you would expect from a speaker this small. My review samples were black to match the other speakers. However, they are also available in the Canadian Maple/silver color combo or all-white to blend in with most walls. They are small enough that you might opt for the white ones if you have white walls. Even if your mains and center channel are black, the C-R1s are so small that you might even forget they are there. Rears channels, in my opinion, are better heard than seen.
The C-C1 center channel is a good match for any of the speakers in the Connoisseur line, with dual five-and-a-half-inch woofers on each side and a one-inch aluminum dome tweeter in the exact center of the speaker cabinet. Thanks to its front venting, you can place the C-C1 in a cabinet and it will not sound like your movie’s dialogue is emanating from a cave. For my system, I simply added some rubber feet to the speaker and placed it on my TV. I will be changing my theater set-up soon and may have to put the center speaker in a cabinet, so it’s good to know that Energy’s designers thought ahead to make sure they minimized the problems that come with putting a center channel into a tight, enclosed spot.
On all of the speakers in this system, I found the clever method of mounting the speaker’s grilles with a system of small magnets to be ingenious. A series of small round magnets surround the faceplates of each of the speakers and you can easily pop on or remove the grilles without wearing out Velcro or breaking/losing plastic clips. I thought that the magnet to magnet connections might cause the grille cloths to buzz at certain frequencies, but now, with well over 50 hours of listening and television viewing under my belt with these speakers, I have not yet once heard the faintest hint of a rattle due to the speakers’ covers.