NHT VT 2.4 Multi-channel Speaker System 
Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems
Written by Kim Wilson   
Wednesday, 01 November 2000

The NHT VT2.4 Towers ($2,000 a pair) are deceptive in their slim appearance. The eight-inch cabinet width is a result of a side-firing woofer configuration, offering a small footprint speaker with a bass response rated down to 25Hz. The upper-range drivers are housed in a separately sealed enclosure, isolated from the 10-inch woofer driver, which is sealed in its portion of the cabinet. The VT-2.4 Tower is a three-way vented design speaker system. The upper portion of the tower is video-shielded and contains two five-and-a-quarter-inch midranges and one one-inch aluminum dome tweeter.

A separate pair of five-way binding posts is included for biamplification of the subwoofer. (NHT does have two amplifier models specifically designed for bi-amping its speakers.) The towers are shipped with straps connecting the binding post terminals of the upper section drivers to those of the lower section subwoofer.

Like other NHT video towers, the VT 2.4’s incorporate the Audio/Video mode toggle switch, which is easily accessed and located about 28 inches up on the front of the tower (just below the upper section grille). In the Video Mode, an additional pair of rear-firing drivers (five-and-a-quarter-inch midrange and a one-inch soft dome tweeter) are activated. These drivers operate in phase with the main drivers to equalize and flatten the loudspeaker’s power response, creating a greater spaciousness appropriate to and often preferable for movie soundtracks. To extract a more precise and pinpoint image for music playback, the Audio mode is selected.

To reduce resonance and insure a solid floor mounting, NHT provides feet, both rubber and spikes, that fit on two long bars that, in turn, attach to the bottom of the speaker. These stick out past the edges of the cabinet a couple of inches on either side.

For the center and surrounds, the VS-2.4 Satellite loudspeakers ($450 each) are used, which are precisely matched to the VT-2.4 upper range drivers. They employ a two-way acoustic suspension design, using two five-and-a-quarter-inch woofers and a single one-inch aluminum dome tweeter. Of course, they are video shielded, since one is going to be used at or very near the television. Brackets are included and the speakers can be wall-mounted either horizontally or vertically. The trademark high-gloss finish of all the cabinets is attractive and could easily fit into any modern or contemporary décor scheme.

Starting with two-channel sources, the mixed genre track "Don’t Tell Me" from Madonna’s latest opus Music (Maverick) is an impressive mix of trip-hop, country and pop for a unique offering of diverse flavors. When a mixer goes to this much trouble, dishing up such a melting pot of seemingly conflicting sounds, it would be a shame to have them all blended together like mush. (I understand this may be the next single and I shudder at how this will sound over the radio.) The NHT VT 2.4’s handled this track perfectly, revealing every intricate detail, down to the low-level phone ring toward the beginning of the track that made me jump for my own phone every time.

The depth of raw emotion and musical brilliance is evident in the controversial violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg’s performance on the fourth movement of Shostakovich’s "Violin Concert No. 1 in A minor Op. 99" from the Speaking in Strings soundtrack from EMI Classics. The violin seemingly floats in mid-air between the two speakers, demonstrating a three-dimensional quality that is palpable. The tonality of Salerno-Sonnenberg’s instrument is pitch perfect, particularly in the critical midrange. In sharp contrast, the Foo Fighters featuring legendary Queen guitarist Brian May deliver a searing and powerful cover of the classic Pink Floyd song "Have a Cigar" on the Mission: Impossible 2 soundtrack (Hollywood Records). As musical loudspeakers, the VT 2.4’s will deliver the subtlety or the impact demanded of each individual source.

Moving to multi-channel sources, the DTS 5.1 mix of "Church" from Lyle Lovett’s Joshua Judges Ruth emphasizes the necessity for matched speakers in the surrounds. This gospel track has the choir off to our sides, with Lyle in the center and the musicians situated on either side of him spreading out toward the choir. The solo vocals in the choir range from boisterous deep bass to soulful altos, demanding a high fidelity speaker such as the VS 2.4 that does not vary sonically from the performance in the VT 2.4 Towers.

I compared the Audio /Video mode switch on "Awaken" from the DVD House of Yes Live from House of Blues (BMG). In the Audio mode, the instruments are well defined in the soundstage, but there is almost a sense of stillness. In the video mode, the staging and imaging isn’t lost, but the rear-firing speaker array in the towers increases depth, allowing the track to come alive, creating a more reverberant environment.

The newly released DVD of ‘Terminator 2:Judgment Day’ (Universal) really allows the entire NHT 2.4 system to show of its capabilities with crystal clarity and extreme dynamics. Even in the melee of 18-wheelers, motorcycles and explosions, every nuance of the action-packed soundtrack is detectable, from tire screeches to the scuffling of paper flying. Dialogue is still locked and tight to the center position.

The Downside
On the face of it, the inclusion of woofers with an extended bass response that can serve as subwoofers in the same cabinet as the other drivers seems like a great idea. In some cases, it may even work well, too, saving money and preserving space. However, this configuration can be troublesome in many rooms (including mine) for a number of reasons, mostly acoustic, and there are some good arguments for adding subwoofers to this speaker system. Of course, this increases the overall cost factor, too.

Placing Sunfire subs at the side and rear of my room effectively spread out the bass waves to even out the overall low-frequency response. Another compelling reason to use separate subs is to decrease the demand on the NHT’s 10-inch woofer. This practice reduces the strain put on a single amp, making the entire system work more efficiently.

You can always try the VT 2.4 Towers by themselves, but if you just can’t get a smooth and tight low end, you will have to get a separate subwoofer like the 500-watt powered SubTwo ($1,200) or bi-amplify the VT 2.4’s woofer with an NHT SA-3 250-watt amplifier ($750).

My only other comment is in regard to the legs, which functionally provide excellent stability and better than average coupling to the floor. However, they are hard to move on a carpet, as the points stick into the fabric. I recommend (as does NHT’s own manual) covering the ends with something like tape or felt until you achieve proper placement, then removing the protective material when you are ready to leave them in one place.

NHT is known for their quality loudspeakers and I have never been disappointed by the performance of any model I've heard. The VT/VS 2.4 system is squarely in the middle of the home theater line-up and a good all-around choice for anyone with some expendable cash, but lacking the funds to jump into NHT’s brand-new, ultra-high-performance VT3 system. If the $3,350 needed to get the VT2.4 and VS2.4’s (not to mention sub and/or amplifier) is still tough to come by, getting five VS-2.4's with an NHT-powered subwoofer would be a superb alternative. These speakers are worthy of consideration for every conceivable application: strict two-channel or multi-channel music or highly dynamic movie soundtracks.
Manufacturer NHT
Model VT 2.4 Multi-channel Speaker System
Reviewer Kim Wilson

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