Cambridge SoundWorks HT setups - Page 13 - AVS Forum
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post #361 of 391 Old 01-29-2012, 05:23 AM
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Congrats! I think you'll enjoy them. I'm using 3 MC305s for my front speakers too, and I think they're a good balance between warmth for music and clarity for movies, especially for the price.

I recently tried using a single M55 as the centre speaker, and the dialogue seemed to have more weight and clarity. I wonder how 3 M55s will sound for the front speakers. Anyone using that?

It's a pity those M55's and M85's are no longer available from CSW. Are they available anywhere else?
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post #362 of 391 Old 01-29-2012, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonYuen View Post

Congrats! I think you'll enjoy them. I'm using 3 MC305s for my front speakers too, and I think they're a good balance between warmth for music and clarity for movies, especially for the price.

Thanks! I am excited, for the Ensemble 2 satellites seemed to be lacking, especially in the mid-bass department.

I am thinking of replacing my old Velodyne sub with a new SVS ported (and cylinder) sub. It has a dynamite amplifier in it (400 watt Sledge) so I'm quite excited about that too!

Pioneer Kuro Elite PRO-151FD....Pioneer Elite BDP-05....Onkyo TX-NR717

Cambridge Soundworks MC305 Fronts & Center...Cambridge Soundworks Ambiance Surrounds....SVS PC12-NSD
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post #363 of 391 Old 02-19-2012, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by djoberg View Post

Thanks! I am excited, for the Ensemble 2 satellites seemed to be lacking, especially in the mid-bass department.

I am thinking of replacing my old Velodyne sub with a new SVS ported (and cylinder) sub. It has a dynamite amplifier in it (400 watt Sledge) so I'm quite excited about that too!

Have you started using your MC305s? How do you find them?

I'm using an SVS sub too... the PB10-ISD. Sounds great to me... Slightly more oomph than the 10" Hsu it replaced, and waaaay better than my old Mirage FRx-S10. Your SVS cylinder sub should be awesome!
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post #364 of 391 Old 03-20-2012, 04:58 PM
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I'm a little late to the party (forum) on the subject of CSW. So, I'll try and catch up on my setup for 2.1 music listening.

I have the original Ensemble by Henry Kloss, purchased in 1988/89. These have been great speakers, and now, with the "new" life I've given them, they sound even better!

I recently moved them from our family room, where they had been used since they were purchased. They now reside in the living room, in a setup that only occurred to me on a whim. The satellites are mounted on stands, on either side of a 7 foot wide, tall wall unit. I placed the two Ensemble woofers behind the wall unit, out of sight, and have a M&K V125 (old, but still kicking) powered subwoofer in a corner. Running the speakers is an NAD 35W amp, along with a Marantz CD 67 player.

I have the M&K crossover set at around 60. I am amazed at the musicality of this "new" setup! Sounds so good, at any volume, that it's like having a new speaker system, with speakers that are around 23 years old, and an older powered subwoofer that, by today's standards, is probably entry level. At the time I purchased the V125, it was not so cheap.

It's pretty special, as others have mentioned in this thread, about the longevity of the speakers that Kloss, and his Cambridge Soundworks company, manufactured. I have now idea how much longer the Ensemble's will play, but I'm enjoying them now, as much, or better, than the day they were delivered.

Thanks, Henry!
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post #365 of 391 Old 03-20-2012, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by kitsap2 View Post

I'm a little late to the party (forum) on the subject of CSW. So, I'll try and catch up on my setup for 2.1 music listening.

I have the original Ensemble by Henry Kloss, purchased in 1988/89. These have been great speakers, and now, with the "new" life I've given them, they sound even better!

I recently moved them from our family room, where they had been used since they were purchased. They now reside in the living room, in a setup that only occurred to me on a whim. The satellites are mounted on stands, on either side of a 7 foot wide, tall wall unit. I placed the two Ensemble woofers behind the wall unit, out of sight, and have a M&K V125 (old, but still kicking) powered subwoofer in a corner. Running the speakers is an NAD 35W amp, along with a Marantz CD 67 player.

I have the M&K crossover set at around 60. I am amazed at the musicality of this "new" setup! Sounds so good, at any volume, that it's like having a new speaker system, with speakers that are around 23 years old, and an older powered subwoofer that, by today's standards, is probably entry level. At the time I purchased the V125, it was not so cheap.

It's pretty special, as others have mentioned in this thread, about the longevity of the speakers that Kloss, and his Cambridge Soundworks company, manufactured. I have now idea how much longer the Ensemble's will play, but I'm enjoying them now, as much, or better, than the day they were delivered.

Thanks, Henry!

The V125 is still VERY capable. I have a pair ( only using one right now) . Nothing wrong with Ensembles either. ( older MDF/wood ones are still the best to me) - Sounds like you have a nice set up going there.

I have several pairs of Ambiance speakers and I'm planning on Recapping the crossovers and painting them . just for a fun project.

I finally picked up an Ensemble system again too and plan a similar project for those. I ran a pair of Ambiance today with an KT88 based Tube amp that I have and they sound great. Can't wait to hear what the ensembles sound like with that same amp.

I'm with you.. I'm still a fan of the classic Kloss products. The CSW line hasn't held it's value well but a coat of fresh paint and they look just as good as most , and they are well built too. Can't wait to hear if new Caps adds new life to them as well. should be a fun project.
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post #366 of 391 Old 03-20-2012, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bostown View Post

The V125 is still VERY capable. I have a pair ( only using one right now) . Nothing wrong with Ensembles either. ( older MDF/wood ones are still the best to me) - Sounds like you have a nice set up going there.

I have several pairs of Ambiance speakers and I'm planning on Recapping the crossovers and painting them . just for a fun project.

I finally picked up an Ensemble system again too and plan a similar project for those. I ran a pair of Ambiance today with an KT88 based Tube amp that I have and they sound great. Can't wait to hear what the ensembles sound like with that same amp.

I'm with you.. I'm still a fan of the classic Kloss products. The CSW line hasn't held it's value well but a coat of fresh paint and they look just as good as most , and they are well built too. Can't wait to hear if new Caps adds new life to them as well. should be a fun project.

Bostown, I'm curious as to painting the Ensemble satellites. They have that "rubberized" armor (that's my best description) on them. What will stick to that? Should they be primed, first? So many questions, so little time

Tom
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post #367 of 391 Old 03-20-2012, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by kitsap2 View Post

Bostown, I'm curious as to painting the Ensemble satellites. They have that "rubberized" armor (that's my best description) on them. What will stick to that? Should they be primed, first? So many questions, so little time

Tom

The rubberized texture is actually NEXTEL paint. which as another person ( maybe here or some other forum ) pointed out can be removed with Alcohol or paint stripper.

The speakers were primed before being coated with nextel paint. it seems that after years the paint absorbs moisture and starts to break down causing to to become "gummy".

I've successfully stripped the paint off of them. You can then lightly sand, re-prime and re-paint. CSW used to sell a "PRIMED FOR PAINTING" version of the ensemble satellites. They look amazing in high gloss, and if you really want to add spousal appeal, pastel colors make them look like skittles. painting grills are optional. My next pair of Ambiance will be Ferrari Red, I'll leave the grills Black. I may even go as far as having them painted at an auto paint shop. I hope to have them done by the beginning of summer. I'll post some pics of the process as I go along.

I'd love to see more of the original Ensembles re-stored and maybe modded. it's really an under rated speaker, and perfect for Bi-Amping too. No external crossovers required either.
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post #368 of 391 Old 03-21-2012, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostown View Post

the rubberized texture is actually nextel paint. Which as another person ( maybe here or some other forum ) pointed out can be removed with alcohol or paint stripper.

The speakers were primed before being coated with nextel paint. It seems that after years the paint absorbs moisture and starts to break down causing to to become "gummy".

I've successfully stripped the paint off of them. You can then lightly sand, re-prime and re-paint. Csw used to sell a "primed for painting" version of the ensemble satellites. They look amazing in high gloss, and if you really want to add spousal appeal, pastel colors make them look like skittles. Painting grills are optional. My next pair of ambiance will be ferrari red, i'll leave the grills black. I may even go as far as having them painted at an auto paint shop. I hope to have them done by the beginning of summer. I'll post some pics of the process as i go along.

I'd love to see more of the original ensembles re-stored and maybe modded. It's really an under rated speaker, and perfect for bi-amping too. No external crossovers required either.

pictures please!
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post #369 of 391 Old 03-21-2012, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Bostown View Post

The rubberized texture is actually NEXTEL paint. which as another person ( maybe here or some other forum ) pointed out can be removed with Alcohol or paint stripper.

The speakers were primed before being coated with nextel paint. it seems that after years the paint absorbs moisture and starts to break down causing to to become "gummy".

I've successfully stripped the paint off of them. You can then lightly sand, re-prime and re-paint. CSW used to sell a "PRIMED FOR PAINTING" version of the ensemble satellites. They look amazing in high gloss, and if you really want to add spousal appeal, pastel colors make them look like skittles. painting grills are optional. My next pair of Ambiance will be Ferrari Red, I'll leave the grills Black. I may even go as far as having them painted at an auto paint shop. I hope to have them done by the beginning of summer. I'll post some pics of the process as I go along.

I'd love to see more of the original Ensembles re-stored and maybe modded. it's really an under rated speaker, and perfect for Bi-Amping too. No external crossovers required either.

Thanks so much for the info, Bostown! I had one of the satellites sitting in a bookshelf, sandwiched between books, for many years. The satellite has imprints of whatever book was pressing up against it. Looks like it's time for a refresh!

Tom
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post #370 of 391 Old 03-28-2012, 03:54 PM
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How are the new CS products? I just visited their web site for the first time in years and see they no longer make/sell the MC500's. I have 3 MC500's at my front 3 speakers and was thinking of downgrading due to their size. Any idea why they stopped making them? Are there any comparable new models?
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post #371 of 391 Old 03-29-2012, 12:45 PM
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Sorry, I can't help you with knowledge about new speakers from CS. All I have are older speakers (Original Ensemble), and they're still sounding great!
I did email CS when I was interested in their recommendation for replacing my Ensemble satellites. Their recommendation was the CS MC105's.
I almost went with that, but decided to go with Definitive Technology's, Procinema 800 satellites.
I still have the original Ensemble system (two sats, two woofers) and an M&K V125 powered subwoofer in the living room. It's an awesome marriage of sound!

The DT Procinema 800's are in the family room home theater setup. They are absolutely great sounding speakers, and their size is exactly what I needed.

Hope this helps.

Tom
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post #372 of 391 Old 04-03-2012, 07:31 AM
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I'm just curious why CS went from selling a beast of a center channel in the MC500, a $400 speaker to speakers half that price/I would ASSUME lesser quality (based on the price).

I mean their current top of the line speaker, at least so it seems from their web site is the MC630HD for $199. It has two 4" drivers and a tweeter. The MC500's have two 6.5" drivers, a midrange and a tweeter. Sure they are big and expensive which may turn a lot of people off, but in terms of sound I think they do a fantastic job.
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post #373 of 391 Old 04-03-2012, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BrutalBodyShots View Post

I'm just curious why CS went from selling a beast of a center channel in the MC500, a $400 speaker to speakers half that price/I would ASSUME lesser quality (based on the price).

I mean their current top of the line speaker, at least so it seems from their web site is the MC630HD for $199. It has two 4" drivers and a tweeter. The MC500's have two 6.5" drivers, a midrange and a tweeter. Sure they are big and expensive which may turn a lot of people off, but in terms of sound I think they do a fantastic job.


The company is just a shell of it's former self. the only thing remaining is the name. It like many of Henry Kloss' other companies , exist in name only. That doesn't mean everything that was made post Kloss is awful. Roy Allison designed quite a few winners, and there are quite a few sleeper products out there. Including the AR302, AR303 models ( and others ) , several advent models and a few well made KLH models as well ( 353 comes to mind as an large advent rival). CSW had several Newton series speakers that help spark new interest in the brand but there are also duds during the company's growth from small start up to bi-coastal / and export manufacturer. Quality took the back seat to Profits.

Creative Technology ( Creative labs) . has done little to support the brand and is simply living on the old name and early reputation of CSW. Unlike say a brand like ARAGON or ACURUS . their new products by Indy audio labs are in line with the intent of the original designers and owners ( something that Klipsch who they bought the brand from were not able to continue to do).

Home Theater , and speakers in general is a tough market these days. The industry is not doing itself any favors either. Bose is just about the only "speaker" brand advertising across many different media outlets. Stereo and hometheater had been under fire from technology and a de-evolving culture when it comes to audio reproduction and the "hobby" aspect of HI-FI .

Creative Technologies wants REVENUE, they aren't in it for the love of Music or home theater. Certainly not a fault, since that what business is supposed to do. but a far cry from the days when CSW operated out of the Factory ( and eventually factory showroom) on California Street in Newton MA. sure it was business but it was also about good sound. - Selling speakers through the mail was revolutionized by CSW, now it's standard practice. It's hard to stick around as a Value brand. Everyone and their grandmother took shots at CSW for their business model, their sound, and for just about everything else.

If you have your old MDF Ensembles or Tower series speakers, KEEP THEM. maybe in 10 more years there will be a DIY / Mod market for them. - as for the center channel , the mc500 was a rare speaker. and with the death of rear projection TV's so too follows the LARGE center channel speaker. they're great as main speakers too. but not many were produced, it wasn't exactly their best selling speaker, based mostly on it's Physical size alone and price point. I'm sure many guys tried sneaking them in and was met with a glaring eyeful of disapproval from their spouse.

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post #374 of 391 Old 04-03-2012, 09:49 AM
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Thanks for the insight. I had no idea that CSW had been going downhill as a brand.

I agree with the MC500's as main front speakers as well. I run 3 of them as my mains/center and have always thought they did a fantastic job. The size is the only downfall of them. I actually have an A/V rack that I slightly modified so the MC500 fits on the topmost shelf (right below the TV) but above all my other components... cable box, bluray etc. If I wasn't able to incorporate it into the rack as I did I'd probably have to downgrade to something smaller.
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post #375 of 391 Old 05-04-2012, 07:55 AM
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I still have my MC 305s and I think they will be a big downgrade for you as the bass reproduction from a 4" is not going to match the 6.5". Don't get me wrong, they are great speakers, just not equal to a mc500.

Why don't you try them out and just return if you are not happy. Remember to break them in before you judge.

I'm not too sad that the 500 are gone, I wish the 405s were made and the P1005 or p500 subs were still around, but I read a lot of reviews on the p300 and state that it's a good sub...
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post #376 of 391 Old 05-09-2012, 06:16 AM
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I have the CSW T-500 towers, a MC500 Center speaker and (4) S-300 Surrounds. I added a HSU VTF1 subwoofer. This system is great! I've had the CSW speakers for about 9 years. My only issues have been the amplifers. I replaced one in 2007 ($65) and I am in the process of replacing the other ($185). I also have the Ensemble Speakers IV for the A/V in my bedroom and den. I've had those for about 15 years. Still work great.
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post #377 of 391 Old 05-16-2012, 06:37 PM
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I have the CSW T-500 towers.... My only issues have been the amplifers. I replaced one in 2007 ($65) and I am in the process of replacing the other ($185).

What happened to the amp and can it not just be fixed as opposed to needing to be replaced?
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post #378 of 391 Old 05-21-2012, 12:47 PM
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I had both amplifers repaired by CSW for the cost listed. I just replaced the repaired amplifer in the one speaker this weekend. Both are now fully functioning. Hopefully, I will get many more years out of the speakers.

Heck, i still have four Bose 901 II speakers that I bought in the 70's. They all still work fine. (Or at least did the last time I turned them on).
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post #379 of 391 Old 06-25-2012, 07:42 PM
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I had both amplifers repaired by CSW for the cost listed. I just replaced the repaired amplifer in the one speaker this weekend. Both are now fully functioning. Hopefully, I will get many more years out of the speakers.


.

I'm really curious what the failure is in the amp. - I'll get to mine after the upcoming holiday. I'm really annoyed of how Creative just ran that company into the ground. from the best customer service to the worst. - really unfortunate.
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post #380 of 391 Old 08-28-2012, 06:09 PM
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I'm still rocking 7 MC305's in my 11.2 system. Still sound amazing, no issues - Audyssey sets them to 70hz and I bump them to 80. Crazy.
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post #381 of 391 Old 08-28-2012, 11:04 PM
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I'm still rocking 7 MC305's in my 11.2 system. Still sound amazing, no issues - Audyssey sets them to 70hz and I bump them to 80. Crazy.

The brand has suffered a lot over the years but the quality of a majority of the products makes CSW a bargain on the second hand market. they just don't resell very well. about the only product holding any value is the Model 88 radio, its worth about 50% of new. Most of CSW products is selling for 10% and lower of what they were new.
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post #382 of 391 Old 08-30-2012, 10:16 AM
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Creative Labs has driven the company into the ground. I won't use any of their new designs they have come out with. I got my 305's just as they REALLY started to slide on the customer service end (but the quality and design specs were still there, since they were just upgraded 300's)

Since I bought mine, they have started hiding their stats (ala-Bose) and you just don't know what you're getting.

The 305's I bought showed 80hz-22KHz, 92db sensitivity, 150watts RMS, 300watts peak. Ferrofluid cooled 1" aluminum dome tweeters. You can't find any of that anymore..you don't know what you're getting anymore. That's almost scary...
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post #383 of 391 Old 12-07-2012, 08:45 AM
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I have an old Ensemble set & want to make it 7.1.

Has anyone here been through a similar situation? What did you do?

This is my setup

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1443949/have-an-old-cambridge-soundworks-ensemble-system-pics-want-to-make-it-7-1-what-speakers-should-i-buy-to-add-the-extra-two-channels

Thanks smile.gif
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post #384 of 391 Old 12-11-2012, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by MovieMagic View Post

I have an old Ensemble set & want to make it 7.1.
Has anyone here been through a similar situation? What did you do?

For a good while I had a 5.1 system consisting of two sets of original Ensembles (so, four bass modules and four sats) as the left and right mains and left and right surrounds, plus a Center Channel (identical to the Ensemble sat) and a BassCube 15.

When I went 7.1 I found a pair of CSW Ambiance speakers on eBay (these were the ones in cabinets, before CSW started using "Ambiance" for their in-wall speakers). I think I paid $40 for the pair, shipped. These are wonderful sounding small speakers, similar in timbre to the Ensembles and the Model Six.

I have since upgraded the entire system -- except the Ambiances, which are still functioning as my rear surrounds. I find they actually make a pretty good timbre match for the Definitive Technology ProCinema 1000's that replaced the Ensembles, although they are lacking in other areas compared to the more modern designs and will soon be replaced.

You might get similar results from the old Model 17 speakers as well, based on their rep.

Wide Awake

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post #385 of 391 Old 12-24-2012, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MovieMagic View Post

I have an old Ensemble set & want to make it 7.1.
Has anyone here been through a similar situation? What did you do?
This is my setup
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1443949/have-an-old-cambridge-soundworks-ensemble-system-pics-want-to-make-it-7-1-what-speakers-should-i-buy-to-add-the-extra-two-channels
Thanks smile.gif

If you're already set up for 5.1 then just add the missing 2 channels. - another set of direct radiating speakers ( Ensemble sats - without the sub) or maybe a set of S200 or S300 - set to bipole or Direct
From the images you posted it looks like your speaker cable is oxidizing, you might want to get yourself new wire. tons of good low cost options out there. Monoprice is a good source as well as Tartan/bluejeans. cables there are literally 1000's of sources for low cost ,well constructed speaker wire.

Another user noted using CSW Ambiance. I'm a huge fan of the Ambiance , but they are one the least efficient speakers Kloss designed while at CSW. They sound great but they need a good amplifier to really shine. - Dialed in properly in the right space they're very impressive. CSW has not held it's value well at all which means you can find older Ensembles , Newton series etc often at very low cost.
I've got a few that I will revive with new caps and surrounds and paint. Mostly just for the project aspect.

Restored ensembles sound GREAT. especially bi-amped ( separate amp for the bass modules and one for each of the satellites). A couple of NAD 2200PE in bridged mono or a pair of Acurus A150's , Adcom 555 II's makes for a killer setup for relatively short money.
just remember.. stay clear of the ABS cabinet Ensemble speakers and at no cost is a PSUB II or PSUB III worthy of your time unless you're planning on doing some modding ..

NEWTON T300 and T500 TOWERS? the amps are a design nightmare and more often than not FAIL taking out the voice coil in the woofers with it. . Stick with the passive newton speakers if any at all.

In any case back to 7.1 -- you have options. and if you're sticking with finding older CSW those options are very low cost. - Don't forget to change the speaker wires you have.
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post #386 of 391 Old 12-25-2012, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bostown View Post

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Another user noted using CSW Ambiance. I'm a huge fan of the Ambiance , but they are one the least efficient speakers Kloss designed while at CSW. They sound great but they need a good amplifier to really shine. - Dialed in properly in the right space they're very impressive.

No argument about the Ambance's efficiency -- but as back surrounds in a 7.1 system, crossed over adequately high (say 100 Hz), in a room appropriate to their size, they won't need all that much power. I was running them with a Pioneer VSX-1021K, using DefTech ProMonitor 1000s at front and sides and a ProCenter 2000, and the Ambiances really did hold their own and, while they needed more gain to balance the DTs, they never sounded strained, even with N 80Hz xover.

I do think these are one of the most under-rated small bookshelf speakers ever. I have a pair of the oak ones in my kitchen as extensions to the main system, and they still sound very sweet and show no signs of physical deterioration.

Wide Awake

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post #387 of 391 Old 02-12-2013, 01:12 PM
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Does anyone still read this thread? If anyone does and is interested I'll post some pictures of my 9.1 Cambridge soundworks setup.

Dedicated theater

JVC RS46U

Lumagen XE3D

115"d 16:9 DIY AT Seymour XD screen with DIY masking

Marantz SR7008

Oppo BDP103

Darbee Darblet

Klipsch RF7II mains

Klipsch RC64II center

PSA XS15 Sub

Roku3

Harmony 900

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post #388 of 391 Old 02-12-2013, 02:23 PM
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Go for it.

The brand has suffered great sins since CL bought them, but the acoustic suspension design and the quality a few years ago was still decent.

Recently I have Heard nothing good.
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post #389 of 391 Old 02-12-2013, 05:00 PM
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Ok, here you go. Tower II fronts. MC400 Center. The surround 5.1 side and rears. MC305 Heights. PSW1 Sub. Most of it has been in use for over 10 years. I replaced the center stage center with the MC400 a while back. I just bought two additional surround 5.1s from Ebay to add rear surrounds.





Dedicated theater

JVC RS46U

Lumagen XE3D

115"d 16:9 DIY AT Seymour XD screen with DIY masking

Marantz SR7008

Oppo BDP103

Darbee Darblet

Klipsch RF7II mains

Klipsch RC64II center

PSA XS15 Sub

Roku3

Harmony 900

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post #390 of 391 Old 03-04-2013, 07:10 PM
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Nice layout
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