Energy RC-70, I thought they're really good? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently bought a pair of Energy RC-70s for a stupidly cheap price as an upgrade to my Paradigm Mini Monitor v7. Considering the RC-70 retail for $2000, I was excited to hear this improvement. However, to my non audiophile ears, I was very disappointed by the sound.

To me, the RC-70s sounded quite lifeless and dull. The whole sound seemed veiled. My mini monitors sounded quite a bit better, more detailed, and lively. However, it did sound thin in comparison because the Paradigms are very bright sounding speakers.

I know I prefer brighter sounding speakers (and therefore I never liked any PSB speakers), but if I honestly heard the RC-70s blind, I'd think it was one of the better sounding HTIB speakers instead of a big, well regarded floorstanders.

Is it possible I got a bad pair of speakers?

BTW, if anyone in Toronto would like to come over and listen to them to see if it's just my preferences, or I actually got a bad set, that'd be fantastic.
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 03:10 PM
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The RC-70s are definitely a warmer speaker. You might need to listen to them some to adjust.

There's an Energy owners thread if you want to look for someone in your area: http://www.avsforum.com/t/630450/energy-owners-thread

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post #3 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowerFE View Post

I recently bought a pair of Energy RC-70s for a stupidly cheap price as an upgrade to my Paradigm Mini Monitor v7. Considering the RC-70 retail for $2000, I was excited to hear this improvement. However, to my non audiophile ears, I was very disappointed by the sound.

To me, the RC-70s sounded quite lifeless and dull. The whole sound seemed veiled. My mini monitors sounded quite a bit better, more detailed, and lively. However, it did sound thin in comparison because the Paradigms are very bright sounding speakers.

I know I prefer brighter sounding speakers (and therefore I never liked any PSB speakers), but if I honestly heard the RC-70s blind, I'd think it was one of the better sounding HTIB speakers instead of a big, well regarded floorstanders.

Is it possible I got a bad pair of speakers?

Purple traces

http://www.hometheater.com/content/paradigm-mini-monitor-speaker-system-ht-labs-measures


http://www.hometheater.com/content/energy-reference-connoisseur-rc-70-speaker-system-ht-labs-measures
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 06:00 PM
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Altho Energy recommends a break-in period of 100 hrs, some will say its your ears that need that time.

Regardless, I see that years ago they supposedly retailed for $2000/pair but now I'm seeing anywhere from $3-500 each so you have to wonder.
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 06:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Yosh70 View Post

Altho Energy recommends a break-in period of 100 hrs, some will say its your ears that need that time.

Regardless, I see that years ago they supposedly retailed for $2000/pair but now I'm seeing anywhere from $3-500 each so you have to wonder.

garbage on sale is still garbage.. rc70 sound aweful..
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 06:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowerFE View Post

I recently bought a pair of Energy RC-70s for a stupidly cheap price as an upgrade to my Paradigm Mini Monitor v7. Considering the RC-70 retail for $2000, I was excited to hear this improvement. However, to my non audiophile ears, I was very disappointed by the sound.

To me, the RC-70s sounded quite lifeless and dull. The whole sound seemed veiled. My mini monitors sounded quite a bit better, more detailed, and lively. However, it did sound thin in comparison because the Paradigms are very bright sounding speakers.

I know I prefer brighter sounding speakers (and therefore I never liked any PSB speakers), but if I honestly heard the RC-70s blind, I'd think it was one of the better sounding HTIB speakers instead of a big, well regarded floorstanders.

Is it possible I got a bad pair of speakers?

BTW, if anyone in Toronto would like to come over and listen to them to see if it's just my preferences, or I actually got a bad set, that'd be fantastic.

get some studio 100s.. sonic nirvana!
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post #7 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 06:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowerFE View Post

I recently bought a pair of Energy RC-70s for a stupidly cheap price as an upgrade to my Paradigm Mini Monitor v7. Considering the RC-70 retail for $2000, I was excited to hear this improvement. However, to my non audiophile ears, I was very disappointed by the sound.

To me, the RC-70s sounded quite lifeless and dull. The whole sound seemed veiled. My mini monitors sounded quite a bit better, more detailed, and lively. However, it did sound thin in comparison because the Paradigms are very bright sounding speakers.

I know I prefer brighter sounding speakers (and therefore I never liked any PSB speakers), but if I honestly heard the RC-70s blind, I'd think it was one of the better sounding HTIB speakers instead of a big, well regarded floorstanders.

Is it possible I got a bad pair of speakers?

BTW, if anyone in Toronto would like to come over and listen to them to see if it's just my preferences, or I actually got a bad set, that'd be fantastic.

get some studio 100s.. sonic nirvana!
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SevenPointTwo View Post

get some studio 100s.. sonic nirvana!

I wish, unfortunately the Studio 100s cost more than 15 times more than what I paid for my RC-70s =(
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 06:35 PM
 
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If you dont mind, how much did you pay for the pair?
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post #10 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 06:37 PM
 
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Yo'll never get a full sound from neutral sounding speakers IMHO. If you want full warm sound, definately go with HSU HB1-MK'2 and HC center.
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post #11 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Brian323 View Post

If you dont mind, how much did you pay for the pair?

I paid $199 for the pair because I bought a TV.
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post #12 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 07:07 PM
 
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That is a very good deal you got there. I agree with others, to give it a break in time. If you bought it from a large retailer, you can always return it.
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post #13 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by LowerFE View Post

I paid $199 for the pair because I bought a TV.

Holy flippin' crap! I agree, give them a chance. I have the RC-50s running on a Pioneer and I think that livens it up a bit compared to my other RC speakers on my Denon.

For those looking into getting Energy speakers, or upgrading their current Energy setup, here are some reviews I've written that may help:http://www.tempestaudio.blogspot.com  (haven't updated in a while, but include Energy Take Classic 5.1, RC-10, CF-70, and CC-10)

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post #14 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 07:22 PM
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Is it possible I got a bad pair of speakers?
What's more likely is that you simply don't like the sound of RC-70s. Nothing wrong with that.

If, once they're broken in, you still don't like how they sound, you should have no trouble making a few bucks when you sell them.
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post #15 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian323 View Post

That is a very good deal you got there. I agree with others, to give it a break in time. If you bought it from a large retailer, you can always return it.

Or better yet, sell them for $300. That's still a bargain price for someone else.

Edit: eljaycanuck outgunned me there smile.gif

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post #16 of 27 Old 06-01-2013, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by LowerFE View Post


To me, the RC-70s sounded quite lifeless and dull. The whole sound seemed veiled. My mini monitors sounded quite a bit better, more detailed, and lively. However, it did sound thin in comparison because the Paradigms are very bright sounding speakers.

I know I prefer brighter sounding speakers (and therefore I never liked any PSB speakers), but if I honestly heard the RC-70s blind, I'd think it was one of the better sounding HTIB speakers instead of a big, well regarded floorstanders.

Is it possible I got a bad pair of speakers?

BTW, if anyone in Toronto would like to come over and listen to them to see if it's just my preferences, or I actually got a bad set, that'd be fantastic.

I had the same impressions. These are actually great speakers but the Treble and high frequencies are recessed. Not an Energy speaker problem, they are simply laid back and warm. Laid back speakers have a habit of lowering the treble drastically and rolling off the highs. They also emphasize the bass more which makes them sound not as clear, but very smooth. Nothing wrong with the speaker. Energy RC-70's are meant more for music than HT and are AMAZING with acoustic, classical, and opera. Just try listening to "In the arms of an Angel", or "Layla" by Clapton acoustic version. For other genres like rock I feel the same way you do, recessed.

If you notice on the chart around 1000-5000hz it drops off. That is the treble. The tweeter also drops off at the higher frequencies. Audyysey EQ should help you a bit in leveling the speaker. Dynamic Volume should help A LOT. I found that the setting is there for a reason. The speaker you have was selling for about $1500 about 3 years ago and you got a good deal because of closeout pricing.

I recommend looking at my thread where I ran into the same problems as you. Dynamic Volume still helped loads though.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1474906/help-finding-a-good-bookshelf-speaker-200-400-pair

or another user who had the same impressions
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1472031/bookshelf-speaker-recommendations-for-70-ht-30-music

The Energy speakers are not bad. They have one of the LARGEST boards on this forum, quite the following. It's just you and I really like bright and forward speakers.

I went to the movie theaters. Regal cinemas had bright horn speakers like Klipsch. Star Trek Into darkness never sounded so good. Sounded like IMAX (it wasn't Imax though). Then I went to a different theater to watch the same movie with someone else. The theater had a more laid back sound and I HATED IT. The person I was with said the loved the sound though. People prefer different things.

BTW here are some good RC-70 reviews. They are not bad just polar opposites to the sound we prefer.
http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/energy_rc70.htm
http://www.hometheater.com/content/energy-reference-connoisseur-rc-70-surround-speaker-system
http://www.voxxintlcorp.com/docs/energy/news/reviews/rc-70-lcr-rc-r-s10-3-home-theater-may-07.pdf
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post #17 of 27 Old 06-02-2013, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by SevenPointTwo View Post

get some studio 100s.. sonic nirvana!

Hello deltadube, how's it going?

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post #18 of 27 Old 07-21-2013, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Manbearpig01 View Post

I had the same impressions. These are actually great speakers but the Treble and high frequencies are recessed. Not an Energy speaker problem, they are simply laid back and warm. Laid back speakers have a habit of lowering the treble drastically and rolling off the highs. They also emphasize the bass more which makes them sound not as clear, but very smooth. Nothing wrong with the speaker. Energy RC-70's are meant more for music than HT and are AMAZING with acoustic, classical, and opera. Just try listening to "In the arms of an Angel", or "Layla" by Clapton acoustic version. For other genres like rock I feel the same way you do, recessed. If you notice on the chart around 1000-5000hz it drops off. That is the treble. The tweeter also drops off at the higher frequencies.

Hi manbearpig01,
As an Energy RC-70 owner I agree that they are laid back but I find this trait to be quite seductive, especially at longer listening sessions. From my understanding, the RC-70s sound quite different to Energy's previous speaker offerings. For example, I own the RVS (an Energy speaker from the mid-90s) which are quite clear and detailed, albeit a bit bright IMO. Even the reviews of the old Veritas V2.3 described the Energy flagship as neutral and perhaps a tad bright -- nothing warm or laid-back. Looks like Energy's philosophy changed somewhat in 2002 and 2003 during the development of the RC line.
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post #19 of 27 Old 07-21-2013, 04:24 PM
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Well I have nothing against Energy and I'm glad you like them (many do). I on the other hand figured out that it's the laid back/warm quality that I don't like. Also after looking at many different frequency charts and comparing many similar speakers such as B&W there is a dip in the upper midrange and treble. I like speakers that emphasizes treble and high frequencies more. I simply didn't audition my speakers and jumped on them before I figured out what type of sound I liked. I prefer a more neutral sound like Paradigm or bright like Klipsch. They just seem more dynamic to me with games or the type of music I listen to.

So my problem with Energy is the same problem I would have with B&W, Polk's LSI, Jamo, and Pioneer (warm&laidback). Nothing wrong with them just sound is very subjective. I have three people in my family. One really likes them, another hates them with fury passion, and one is indifferent.

The main thing I didn't like is that voices, pretty much anything between the bass and high frequencies seemed like it was playing way behind the speakers at times. Like I was in the back row. I have been to Operas while I was in college and I understand that the back row is preferable for some music. Maybe that's why so many speakers are voiced to be laid back. I hear that many people like this quality but for electronic, pop and some rock it sounded too warm/not dynamic. I had to turn them up to higher volumes than I liked to sound good to good to me. The Energy's seem to excel more with jazz, classical, opera, and acoustical in my opinion. Songs like "Dido-thank" you seems to sound very good with the Energy's.



For those that don't get what I am talking about here are some videos of laid back/warm vs neutral/kinda bright. I understand that B&W 804's are far superior to RC-70's but based on the video below I thought they had similar sound signatures. At the end of each video there is a Norah jones song. So you can compare Pop and acoustic. (BTW I don't like the music in this vid but it's a good comparison)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KORkOpICnSc

There is also a comparison to Paradigm with the same music
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qDZJGo4cM

Obviously not a good way to compare. Still the video does show differences in how they are voiced. Energy/B&W seem to be more mellow sounding. I hope I didn't persuade anyone to avoid laidback/warm speakers. I just think people should audition first and go with what sounds good to you.
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post #20 of 27 Old 07-22-2013, 10:40 AM
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Not all energy speakers have a warm/laidback sound if you listen to my speakers in the link below you can tell that the new veritas are not laid back or warm.


I had both RC70 and Veritas V6.3 both systems for over a year till I decide to keep one setup ,I keep the veritas for the same reason.
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post #21 of 27 Old 07-22-2013, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by losservatore View Post

Not all energy speakers have a warm/laidback sound if you listen to my speakers in the link below you can tell that the new veritas are not laid back or warm.


I had both RC70 and Veritas V6.3 both systems for over a year till I decide to keep one setup ,I keep the veritas for the same reason.

Losservatore has more experience than me (has has LOTS of energy speakers smile.gif ), but my experience with RC-10s, RC-50s, RC-LCR, Veritas V5.1s, and Veritas VS Surrounds echoes this. The Veritas series is a bit brighter and slightly less laid back.

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post #22 of 27 Old 08-10-2013, 09:44 AM
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I just got an amplifier for my RC-70's and they sound amazing. I was previously a big critic of them and hated them. A receiver won't damage them but they won't sound good with a receiver. An amp is like a night and day difference. That huge.

I posted this in the Energy Forum.
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Just an update. I got a B&K Components ST-3140 3 channel amplifier for $150. 140w @ 8ohms and 185w @4ohms per channel with two capacitors each the size of my fist and a massive toroidal transformer. Why is everyone saying that an amplifier doesn't do much for the RC's? Sure a receiver won't damage them (Onkyo 509 and Sony STR-DN1030 didn't) but if there is no amp then what's the point of spending this much on speakers? Made a massive difference. Family heard them (BTW they hated my speakers too). First thing they did was comment on how amazing they sounded before they even got into the room (door was shut!). I smiled let them listen. Then let the small one play some Call of Duty on for 5 min. Then told them about the amp long after. biggrin.gif

Here is what I listend to:
Wherever you will go - The Calling More detail with the strumming of the guitar. Voice was smoother. Cymbals just a tad louder, far more detailed. Sounded far more balanced.
What's Luv? - Ashanti, Fat Joe Biggest difference was the Bass. Tons of it now like having a sub. A boomy song but seemed more controlled.
Elvis 30 #1 hits Burning love small drums sounded better, old recordings sounded smooth, tweeter no longer broke up due to old recording (no more static), once again more balanced, voices no longer sounded recessed. Elvis's voice sounded better due to low frequency enhancement.
We Didn't Start the Fire - Billy Joel Didn't notice much a difference overall. This one sounded good on receivers too.
Like a Prayer - Madonna Cymbals (I think) sounded detailed. Song has light bass. Seemed better. This song wasn't a night and day difference but cymbals were.
I Need to Know - Marc Anthony Violins sound just tad better, piano in the beginning sounded more like a piano. BASS smile.gif. Voice just a tad more full and slightly more forward. Hand drums sound great and lifelike. Just wow.
Blue (Da Ba Dee) - Eiffel 65 Bass of course. When there was bass on both receivers the tweeter would break up and sound crackly. I believe this is because Techno requires tons of tweeter and bass power. With the amp tons more bass and the tweeter stays silky smooth. Other than the tweeter and bass not much difference. Still sounds load better.
It Feels So Good - Sonique This one always sounded good with a receiver. With the amp bass is deeper, cymbals much better, voices a tad smoother but not much different. Bass is the big one on this. Hard to describe just far more dynamic.
Then the morning comes - Smash Mouth Electric Guitars far louder and in my face in comparison to before. Song kinda overwhelmed me like being in the front row. Not an audiophile song but the detail and dynamics was amazing.
Meet Virginia - Train Not much difference
I Try - Macy Gray The biggest massive difference was vocals. She has a deep (raspy?) voice. I heard B&W CM9's and would say these are comparable.
Estoy Aqui - Shakira Brought Shakira's voice forward a lot. Not much of a detail increase but did sound more balanced (not recessed).
Thank You - Dido Not much of a difference other than bass. Voices seemed a tad smoother, and the highest frequencies of Dido's voices sounded better. Hand drums sounded the same.
Where Did Our Love Go - The Supremes The stomping feet sounded like I it was hallway and in my room. Voices not much different. Other than than that slight increase overall. Like with Elvis the tweeter didn't break up and crackle with these oldie recordings.
Stop! In the Name of Love - The Supremes Not much difference
We Will Rock You - Queen Do I really need to say it? BASS!!! "We will We Will Rock You" sounded more like "WE WILL ROCK YOU". Electric guitar at the end sounded the same.
Low Rider Dynamics and Balance. Deep voice sounded better. Trumpet (I think) sounded more natural. Drumsticks on the cans sounded good.
Golden Years Mostly detail. Especially the snapping of the fingers, and well not sure what it is in the first 15 seconds. This song had loads of detail and dynamics which sounded better.
Crazy on You The guitar at the beginning is AMAZING. I can hear tons of detail. Didn't like the bass on this song later on. Wasn't recorded well and sounds like static. I kept checking my speakers for damage. Nope, bad recording.
Bad - U2 Vocals sounded more forward and full, bass. Little details here and there. The Cymbal like things the drummers bang on sounded superb around 4:15 onward.
I will Follow - U2 Like everything else it really improved. I loved the high frequency towards the end. These two songs by U2 really show off high freq detail mixed with rock.

Overall dynamics improved at all frequencies, bass was punchier, deeper and stronger. It made male vocals especially deep ones sound better. Everything was far more balanced and not recessed. Female vocals sounded the same but had more high frequency and smoother. Women sounded brighter but in no way harsh, silky smooth. The amp really seemed to help with the treble too. Sorry but it's harder to describe but all around night and day difference. What's most amazing is that I didn't take off the speaker grills for my listening. It really made them a brighter speaker and they no longer sounded dark

I keep hearing people say that giving a Polk RTI speaker an amp is a night and day difference. That is how I feel with the Energy's and that's with no EQ whatsoever. I heard B&W on a McIntosh amp and at all volumes was amazing. Wondered why the RC's sounded like crap. Amplifier changed that smile.gif.

From what I read B&K is kind of a warm amplifier but it still managed to bring out tons of detail, dynamics, and balance. Unfortunately I am using zone 2 on the Onkyo 509 receiver with RCA connectors. I cannot control volume except with the level controls on the back of the amp. Onkyo won't let me control zone 2 and I need pre-outs to do that mad.gif. That also means i cannot run EQ until I upgrade my receiver. Can't wait to see what EQ will do with the amp now. BTW I found Sony's EQ to be much better than 2EQ when I tested before I got my amp.

I also tried some games like Call of Duty Black Ops II and Gran Turismo 5. Wow! Call of duty sounded like I was actually there. Before the amp it sounded worse than tv speakers. The music in Gran Turismo sounded the same but the Engine noises were exponentially better.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Get an amp with these speakers. Without one there are no dynamics, recessed, lacking detail and way too laid back. An amp fixes all those problems.
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post #23 of 27 Old 08-10-2013, 05:04 PM
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As some others have said (and posted frequency response plots), you are coming from a bright speaker to a laid back speaker. There is a reason so many people buy bright speakers like Klipsch. When compared side-by-side to a neutral or warm speaker, they sound more dynamic and lively. For the same reason, TV manufacturers have a "torch" mode for their TVs so they look brighter with more intense colors, making a properly calibrated TV next to them look dull and lifeless in comparison. If you don't like the energy's, sell them and get something more to your preferences.
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post #24 of 27 Old 08-10-2013, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Porthos01 View Post

I just got an amplifier for my RC-70's and they sound amazing. I was previously a big critic of them and hated them. A receiver won't damage them but they won't sound good with a receiver. An amp is like a night and day difference. That huge.

I posted this in the Energy Forum.
I also tried some games like Call of Duty Black Ops II and Gran Turismo 5. Wow! Call of duty sounded like I was actually there. Before the amp it sounded worse than tv speakers. The music in Gran Turismo sounded the same but the Engine noises were exponentially better.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Get an amp with these speakers. Without one there are no dynamics, recessed, lacking detail and way too laid back. An amp fixes all those problems.

Yeah, they definitely need an amp, as do most speakers. Without an amp, speakers don't sound good at all. A dull thud is the best I can get out of mine unless I use an amp.

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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post #25 of 27 Old 08-10-2013, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by GoatLocker View Post

As some others have said (and posted frequency response plots), you are coming from a bright speaker to a laid back speaker. There is a reason so many people buy bright speakers like Klipsch. When compared side-by-side to a neutral or warm speaker, they sound more dynamic and lively. For the same reason, TV manufacturers have a "torch" mode for their TVs so they look brighter with more intense colors, making a properly calibrated TV next to them look dull and lifeless in comparison. If you don't like the energy's, sell them and get something more to your preferences.

Umm I just got done praising how good they are! An amp is all they needed and I believe I said that they got brighter and were not recessed with an amplifier!!!!!! Plenty of detail and bass too which I was not getting with a receiver!
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post #26 of 27 Old 08-11-2013, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Porthos01 View Post

Umm I just got done praising how good they are! An amp is all they needed and I believe I said that they got brighter and were not recessed with an amplifier!!!!!! Plenty of detail and bass too which I was not getting with a receiver!

Don't necessarily need an external amp, but it does help if the amp in the receiver isn't up to snuff. I had a 200wpc Denon amp I was using to power my RC70's and they sounded great. I switched over to a higher end Pioneer receiver and the sound is just as good, if not more crisp than before http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/AV-Receivers/Pioneer+Receivers/SC-1522-K

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post #27 of 27 Old 08-11-2013, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Porthos01 View Post

Umm I just got done praising how good they are! An amp is all they needed and I believe I said that they got brighter and were not recessed with an amplifier!!!!!! Plenty of detail and bass too which I was not getting with a receiver!

I'm not saying an amp won't help, particularly if his AVR isn't up to the task. My RC's improved significantly when I upgraded from an AVR with Audyssey MultEQ to one with XT32. I assume Audyssey is boosting from 2 khz - 5 khz where the RC's have a dip (as well as doing a better job correcting for my poor room acoustics). I still would not consider them "bright", but neutral and accurate.
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