● Drivers: One 1" Soft-Dome Tweeter, Six
● MFR: 150 Hz - 22 kHz
● Sensitivity: 95 dB
● Power Handling: 125 Watts
● Dimensions: 22.5" H x 5" W x 5" D
● Weight: 6.3 Pounds/Each
● Driver: One 12"
● Amplifier: 250 Watts RMS
● Dimensions: 17.8" H x 16.8" W x
● Weight: 48.5 Pounds
● System MSRP: $999 USA
Cerwin-Vega has a special place in the speaker history books. Virtually
everyone has heard or seen the iconic red surrounds on the drivers, often
15" in diameter pounding at parties, dorm rooms, and clubs.
This speaker manufacturer
has been around for a very long time and has done much more than party
speakers; they have long been known for their pro audio and car audio
products. They market themselves as the LOUD Speaker Company and playing
loud is the strong point of this 36 driver 5.1 package.
Six drivers, each 3" in diameter, with three of them above and three below a
tweeter make up each of the five main speakers (satellites). The center channel is only
slightly different, namely placing the logo in the middle of the grille.
The theory behind using
multiple drivers in a stacked line is to allow greater output from small
drivers, in something called a "line array".
In conventional speaker
designs, the further you get from the speaker the more the sound drops off.
In a properly designed line array, this effect is reduced.
The sliver/black plastic enclosures are quite light and do not help the
small drivers produce any useable bass. They have integrated mounting
brackets, allowing the speaker to be placed in one of three heights. These
speakers are wall mountable which is the preferred method, as they otherwise
require specific stands costing $150, and they benefit from the slight bump
in mid-bass response when on the wall.
The subwoofer is very large in relation to the rest of the package. It has a
red foamed driver in a dual port black box with a 250 watt plate amp that
includes speaker level inputs and outputs. There is the standard crossover
and level control as well as both L/R and LFE input.
The subwoofer crossover
must be set at about 150 Hz to fill in the bottom end, as the satellites are
incapable of outputting anything usable below that. This also requires that
the subwoofer be placed in the front of the room to reduce localization
issues. As well, if your receiver does not allow you to set the crossover
that high you are best to use the speaker level input/outputs or the L/R
outputs and connect the speakers to the speaker-level outputs on the
These speakers are designed to be played loud, and that is what they do
well. Imaging and depth are lacking, and so is tonal balance. The small
drivers are easily overpowered by the abilities of the large sub and can
take some time to balance just right. These are not the type of speakers you
sit down and appreciate music with while enjoying a fine wine. These are
meant to be cranked up and to fill the room with sound while you are
dancing, eating, or otherwise having fun with your friends.
The most notable problem with the sound quality is the serious lack of
mid-bass. This causes the instruments to lack impact, especially the bass
guitar and kick drum.
was especially evident on the title track of Pork Soda by Primus. The slap
bass guitar sounded soft and weak. The normal solid kick drum used
throughout this track felt light. The electric guitar, on the other hand, was
clean at all volumes. As well, there was a lack of depth and presence in this
Movies on the other hand were handled quite well with the CVHD 5.1 system.
They were able to fill my large open living room with sound, there was not
bottoming out with heavy bass scenes, and the sound was quite seamless.
center channel was a tad thin, and all the speakers required plenty of assistance from
the 12" subwoofer. Careful placement is key with the subwoofer as it
provides all the mid-bass and therefore has the potential to be localized.
Kung Fu Hustle is a movie that is great in testing the limits and balance of
speaker systems. A profusion of immersive special effects and hand to axe
combat scenes provide a nice workout for any speakers.
While I was
able to drive the Cerwin-Vegas to very loud levels without distortion, there was
a noticeable lack of atmosphere and clarity with the dialogue.
The bass was
loud enough and balanced with the mains. Even though the sub could not reach
deep down, there was no audible port noise, which is surprising.
Every speaker is designed
with certain goals in mind. Some are built for beauty and grace, some for
output and volume, and some for budget. In the case of the Cerwin-Vega CVHD
5.1 Speaker System, output and
budget are clearly more important than looks or sound quality. This is not
all bad, as many consumers do not care about fidelity, but rather, only sheer
volume. If you are one of those consumers, this is a decent contender. Keep sub placement in mind, as
you will need this large box to reproduce a significant amount of the music.
Jared Rachwalski -
Oppo 981HD DVD Player
Paradigm Cinema 330 Speakers
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