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Cerwin Vega XLS-215 - Are they really this good?

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
I just read this review of the Cerwin Vega XLS-215 speakers. Are they really this good? How can they build a speaker of this size and amount of drivers for only $1198 per pair? I realize they're not the JBL Everest DD6600 or even Klipsch RF-7, but they're only $1198 per pair!

Anyone own these? How do they sound? I've very tempted to buy a pair.

http://www.avrev.com/home-theater-lo...er-review.html

http://www.cerwinvega.com/home-audio...s/xls-215.html
post #2 of 60
Regardless of the review, I believe it's a good design for a variety of reasons. Also, at $1200 a pair, or $1800 for 3 across the front for HT, one could do a lot worse.

Ever since the sub/sat trend in the early 90s, too many individuals settled for the small tops, and a sub as a system. Also, mini speakers, "as good as speaker 3 times their size" add campaigns were abundant. It's a load of BS. There exists certain qualities in a speaker for ideal HT impact and immersion. Some measure of directivity control, check. High sensitivity, and high output, check. Adequate displacement in the octaves between the sub cross, and approx. 200hz., check.

I don't really view it as a bargain, but I think it's a great offering for what it does; clean high levels of output. That's been their technique for a long time.

One could do a lot worse for the money.

Good stuff.
post #3 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

Regardless of the review, I believe it's a good design for a variety of reasons. Also, at $1200 a pair, or $1800 for 3 across the front for HT, one could do a lot worse.

Ever since the sub/sat trend in the early 90s, too many individuals settled for the small tops, and a sub as a system. Also, mini speakers, "as good as speaker 3 times their size" add campaigns were abundant. It's a load of BS. There exists certain qualities in a speaker for ideal HT impact and immersion. Some measure of directivity control, check. High sensitivity, and high output, check. Adequate displacement in the octaves between the sub cross, and approx. 200hz., check.

I don't really view it as a bargain, but I think it's a great offering for what it does; clean high levels of output. That's been their technique for a long time.

One could do a lot worse for the money.

Good stuff.



The best sound I've heard came from big speakers. I'd like to buy a pair of Klipsch RF-7 II, but they're out of my budget for now, so I'm interested in the Cerwin Vegas. I can't find anything close in this price range, so I'm surprised more forum members don't own them. Any other suggestions?
post #4 of 60
I own a pair of CV CLS-215's. I really like them. If they are set up properly they can sound very good. The XLS-215's have some minor changes from the CLS-215. They are very similar. I have never listened to a pair of XLS-215's so I cant give you a true statement about their sound. If they are anything like the CLS they should sound good. Just don't plan on using a 100 watt receiver to power these because you are wasting your time.
post #5 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

I own a pair of CV CLS-215's. I really like them. If they are set up properly they can sound very good. The XLS-215's have some minor changes from the CLS-215. They are very similar. I have never listened to a pair of XLS-215's so I cant give you a true statement about their sound. If they are anything like the CLS they should sound good. Just don't plan on using a 100 watt receiver to power these because you are wasting your time.


Did you buy your CLS-215s without listening to them? Do you know of any stores that display the XLS-215 speakers so I can audition them?
post #6 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterpioli View Post

Did you buy your CLS-215s without listening to them? Do you know of any stores that display the XLS-215 speakers so I can audition them?

There are a few DJ/pro audio stores in cities such as San Franciso that sell the XLS-215 speakers in person. For the most part you will have to purchase them online so there will not be a chance to hear them first. Best thing to do is do read as many customer reviews as you can on these speakers before buying them. There is also a customer review of these speakers on amazon.com

If you want more user reviews of these speakers you will have to go www.cerwin-vega-fans.com

From what I've gathered from other members over at www.cerwin-vega-fans.com CV tuned these speakers higher than the CLSC-215 and CLS-215 so they would have more of a mid bass impact. CV also used a slightly different waveguide design which supposedly gives clearer, less harsh sounding highs at peak volumes.

And finally, don't be fooled into thinking you have to pay mega bucks for speakers that can produce good sound. I've heard the Klipsch RF-7 II speakers and they don't hold a candle to my CLS-215's for music, and they don't can't match their bass output for Home Theater. People who buy Klipsch speakers and subs are largely paying for the brand name. People in the DIY forum can attest to how cheaply you can build various sub and speaker designs which will blow away the performance of many mid level brands such as Klipsch for a fraction of the price.
post #7 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterpioli View Post

Did you buy your CLS-215s without listening to them? Do you know of any stores that display the XLS-215 speakers so I can audition them?

I did purchase my CLS-215's without listening to them. I had listened to some other CV's in the past so I had an idea of the sound. Many people have a really bad impression of CV's because they listened to them at some drinking party 20 years ago at super high levels while being powered by a crappy receiver. That will make any speaker sound bad. I don't know anywhere that you can listen to a pair of XLS-215's. If you are really interested I do know of a internet seller that has great deals on CV's. I have purchased many CV speakers from them.
post #8 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

I did purchase my CLS-215's without listening to them. I had listened to some other CV's in the past so I had an idea of the sound. Many people have a really bad impression of CV's because they listened to them at some drinking party 20 years ago at super high levels while being powered by a crappy receiver. That will make any speaker sound bad. I don't know anywhere that you can listen to a pair of XLS-215's. If you are really interested I do know of a internet seller that has great deals on CV's. I have purchased many CV speakers from them.

Yeah members here always tell the same generic college stories stating the flaws of speakers designed over thirty years ago. This is one of the single stupidest things I hear on a weekly basis from older, mentally challenged members here.

For example my grandpa hates Honda cars because he purchased one in the 70's that was a total piece of ****. Does this mean my top rated late model Honda Accord will be a waste of money due to what type of product was attached to the company name four decades ago?

Hardly. But that is the dumbed down logic of CV haters around here. These speakers are a definite departure from the previous designs of Cerwin Vega over the years. If anything, everyone who has heard my system states how clear the mids and highs are. They also state the highs can somewhat overpower the bass at higher levels. Most people think the bass will be dominating when they see my speakers.

But when they hear them they find out the bass is very balanced and some people have even been dissappointed because they expect more bass output from my speakers.
post #9 of 60
I would think that the XLS15 would be all the speaker you would need for a home theater unless you have a really large room. You could save a few bucks too. http://www.cerwinvega.com/home-audio...rs/xls-15.html
post #10 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamonddelts View Post

There are a few DJ/pro audio stores in cities such as San Franciso that sell the XLS-215 speakers in person. For the most part you will have to purchase them online so there will not be a chance to hear them first. Best thing to do is do read as many customer reviews as you can on these speakers before buying them. There is also a customer review of these speakers on amazon.com

If you want more user reviews of these speakers you will have to go www.cerwin-vega-fans.com

From what I've gathered from other members over at www.cerwin-vega-fans.com CV tuned these speakers higher than the CLSC-215 and CLS-215 so they would have more of a mid bass impact. CV also used a slightly different waveguide design which supposedly gives clearer, less harsh sounding highs at peak volumes.

And finally, don't be fooled into thinking you have to pay mega bucks for speakers that can produce good sound. I've heard the Klipsch RF-7 II speakers and they don't hold a candle to my CLS-215's for music, and they don't can't match their bass output for Home Theater. People who buy Klipsch speakers and subs are largely paying for the brand name. People in the DIY forum can attest to how cheaply you can build various sub and speaker designs which will blow away the performance of many mid level brands such as Klipsch for a fraction of the price.


I believe the Cerwin Vega XLS-215/CLS-215 sound better than the Klipsch RF-7 II. I read that the speaker designer involved in designing the Cerwin Vegas was from NHT and designed the highly regarded NHT 3.3.
post #11 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvictorg View Post

Here's a review

http://www.avrev.com/home-theater-lo...er-review.html

The OP already posted a link to that review in his original post in this thread.
post #12 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamonddelts View Post

The OP already posted a link to that review in his original post in this thread.

My bad - It's been deleted
post #13 of 60
Also, as Secret Squirrel stated before, do NOT try to run these speakers with a receiver. If you do, the highs will be faint and the bass will be mediocre. These speakers need a powerful amp to sound balanced and at their best.
post #14 of 60
Never heard them, but I've used and owned CV.

I'd like to hear them powered properly, and optimized in a nice space. I really do feel that 3 across the front, LCR, would yield some very solid HT performance. Not as refined perhaps as other more expensive offerings, but the value for HT, with all the inherent dynamic swings, can't be ignored. So many products are decent and well behaved below 100db, then compression and breakup, and other distortions really call attention to themselves and ruin the experience.

I like the crossover point of 280 between the mid and the lows. It allows everything above 280 to be independent of those large transient thumps occurring down low, and perhaps allows a little directivity control form the horn/waveguide mated to the mid. On paper, the soft dome tweeter would appear to be the limiting factor in this design. But that's on paper and certainly only my opinion.

All too often newbies come to the forums wanting some killer speaker for room, in the right situation, I'd point them to something like this. I've oftentimes suggested a two-way, Pro 15, powered ideally, for someone looking to really rock out with some impact. well, a pair of these CVs, and a decent amp in a room would do well in the "chest thump" parameter.

Rock on Gene
post #15 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

Never heard them, but I've used and owned CV.

I'd like to hear them powered properly, and optimized in a nice space. I really do feel that 3 across the front, LCR, would yield some very solid HT performance. Not as refined perhaps as other more expensive offerings, but the value for HT, with all the inherent dynamic swings, can't be ignored. So many products are decent and well behaved below 100db, then compression and breakup, and other distortions really call attention to themselves and ruin the experience.

I like the crossover point of 280 between the mid and the lows. It allows everything above 280 to be independent of those large transient thumps occurring down low, and perhaps allows a little directivity control form the horn/waveguide mated to the mid. On paper, the soft dome tweeter would appear to be the limiting factor in this design. But that's on paper and certainly only my opinion.

All too often newbies come to the forums wanting some killer speaker for room, in the right situation, I'd point them to something like this. I've oftentimes suggested a two-way, Pro 15, powered ideally, for someone looking to really rock out with some impact. well, a pair of these CVs, and a decent amp in a room would do well in the "chest thump" parameter.

Rock on Gene




I like the fact these are 2nd generation versions, which allows designers to fix and refine anything that wasn't perfect the first time. I bet they sound awesome.

Amazon.com usually has a good return policy in case a purchaser isn't happy. I wonder if Cerwin Vega has a money-back guarantee if purchased directly?
post #16 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

Never heard them, but I've used and owned CV.

I'd like to hear them powered properly, and optimized in a nice space. I really do feel that 3 across the front, LCR, would yield some very solid HT performance. Not as refined perhaps as other more expensive offerings, but the value for HT, with all the inherent dynamic swings, can't be ignored. So many products are decent and well behaved below 100db, then compression and breakup, and other distortions really call attention to themselves and ruin the experience.

I like the crossover point of 280 between the mid and the lows. It allows everything above 280 to be independent of those large transient thumps occurring down low, and perhaps allows a little directivity control form the horn/waveguide mated to the mid. On paper, the soft dome tweeter would appear to be the limiting factor in this design. But that's on paper and certainly only my opinion.

All too often newbies come to the forums wanting some killer speaker for room, in the right situation, I'd point them to something like this. I've oftentimes suggested a two-way, Pro 15, powered ideally, for someone looking to really rock out with some impact. well, a pair of these CVs, and a decent amp in a room would do well in the "chest thump" parameter.

Rock on Gene

The soft dome tweeter is a definite weakpoint for these speakers when it comes to HT performance. However for music they have a very laid back, balanced sound. They are nothing like the boom boxes from CV's old speaker creations back in the day when it comes to music reproduction. I saw you stated "one could do alot worse for dynamic HT" in another thread about these speakers. For HT they deliver a good amount of mid bass, however their highs can be lacking due to the soft dome tweeters.
post #17 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterpioli View Post

I like the fact these are 2nd generation versions, which allows designers to fix and refine anything that wasn't perfect the first time. I bet they sound awesome.

Amazon.com usually has a good return policy in case a purchaser isn’t happy. I wonder if Cerwin Vega has a money-back guarantee if purchased directly?

These are actually the 3rd generation of CV's Flagship home speaker series.

1st Gen: CLS Classic 215

These are still considered the best out of the bunch. People state their highs were the strongest along with a clear midrange, and aggressive low end.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/speaker...sc-215-review/


2nd Gen: CLS 215

These are considered to have highs that are somewhat clearer than the first gen however they have been described as "raspy" by some. Others claim their midrange is not quite as detailed as the mids on CLSC-215 since the first gen speakes had no covers on their mids.

Some feel the CLS 215's mids sound a bit muffled in comparison to the first gen CLSC-215. Also, people claim the CLSC-215 seem to go deeper in the low end category than the second gen CLS-215.

http://www.cerwinvega.com/home-audio...s/cls-215.html

3rd Gen: XLS-215

These are report to have a new wave guide design that has taken the "raspy" sound out of the highs that were commonly associated with the 2nd gen CLS-215's. Also their mids are supposed somewhat smoother sounding. Design wise the mids and each 15" woofer is in it's own chamber.

People giving 600-900 watts each to their previous 2nd gen CLS-215 speakers reported an annoying "clacking" sound that happened at high volumes due to the 15"'s contacting each other. With the XLS-215's the mids and each woofer being in separate chambers has taken care of this problem and supposed lends to a more refined sound.

However one thing to note is the new owners also report the XLS-215's do not go as low as the previous 2nd gen CLS-215 speakers. The XLS-215's are reportedly tuned higher which gives better mid bass performance with HT and music at the expense of being able to dig deeper for certain musical passage with deeper notes. The consensus seems to be the XLS-215 needs to be paired with a subwoofer that can at least dig down to 25 hz with authority while the previous CLSC-215 and CLS-215 speakers did not have this shortcoming.

Overall It seems CV was going for a more refined sound with smoother highs and better midbass performance designed to be used with a subwoofer when it comes to the XLS-215.

http://www.cerwinvega.com/home-audio...s/xls-215.html
post #18 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamonddelts View Post

The soft dome tweeter is a definite weakpoint for these speakers when it comes to HT performance. However for music they have a very laid back, balanced sound. They are nothing like the boom boxes from CV's old speaker creations back in the day when it comes to music reproduction. I saw you stated "one could do alot worse for dynamic HT" in another thread about these speakers. For HT they deliver a good amount of mid bass, however their highs can be lacking due to the soft dome tweeters.



I don't think the soft dome tweeter is a weak point. Many top speaker designs still use soft dome tweeters and I've heard a few speakers with metal dome tweeters that sound horribly harsh.
post #19 of 60
Also, there was a big debate over at www.cerwin-vega-fans.com about the actual low end response specs posted for the XLS-215 which seem to differ at every website they were being sold.

I and a few other members made such a big fuss about this that CV posted this bs spec sheet comparison:

http://www.cerwinvega.com/manuals/home/cls-xls.html

You will notice that the specs posted for the XLS-215 do not match the specs posted on the actual item description page for the XLS-215.

One thing I will say is that CV was recently sold to another company in 2009. And the new guys in place who answer the phones and are in charge of the website do not know S H I T about CV's new designs. They are completely clueless and they have changed the specs for the XLS -215's several times. Now they simply did a cut and paste on the link above and on the the top of the item description page for the XLS-215 where it states these speakers go down to 24hz though their posted specs say otherwise.

Most owners who have owned both the XLS-215's and CLS-215's state the XLS-215's clearly do not go as low though they have more refined sounding mids and highs along with superior midbass performance.
post #20 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterpioli View Post

I don’t think the soft dome tweeter is a weak point. Many top speaker designs still use soft dome tweeters and I’ve heard a few speakers with metal dome tweeters that sound horribly harsh.

I'm not saying their bad. I just believe it they used a traditional horn tweeter the highs would be much more commanding during home theater. Though this usually comes at the price of harsh highs during music reproduction that is associated with most horn tweeters.

I beleive it's just a simple compromise. Smoother highs for music from soft dome tweeters in exchange for lower peak spl levels during HT.
post #21 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamonddelts View Post

Also, there was a big debate over at www.cerwin-vega-fans.com about the actual low end response specs posted for the XLS-215 which seem to differ at every website they were being sold.

I and a few other members made such a big fuss about this that CV posted this bs spec sheet comparison:

http://www.cerwinvega.com/manuals/home/cls-xls.html

You will notice that the specs posted for the XLS-215 do not match the specs posted on the actual item description page for the XLS-215.

One thing I will say is that CV was recently sold to another company in 2009. And the new guys in place who answer the phones and are in charge of the website do not know S H I T about CV's new designs. They are completely clueless and they have changed the specs for the XLS -215's several times. Now they simply did a cut and paste on the link above and on the the top of the item description page for the XLS-215 where it states these speakers go down to 24hz though their posted specs say otherwise.

Most owners who have owned both the XLS-215's and CLS-215's state the XLS-215's clearly do not go as low though they have more refined sounding mids and highs along with superior midbass performance.


Do you know of a pair of speaker for $1200 or less that perform better overall? How about less than $2000 a pair?
post #22 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterpioli View Post

Do you know of a pair of speaker for $1200 or less that perform better overall? How about less than $2000 a pair?

Only speakers that I have had built for me. Nothing from the usual mainstream brands compares in their price range in terms of overall performance in my opinion.
post #23 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterpioli View Post

I don't think the soft dome tweeter is a weak point. Many top speaker designs still use soft dome tweeters and I've heard a few speakers with metal dome tweeters that sound horribly harsh.

The point was not about soft-versus-metal dome, it was about dome tweeters in general not being able to play as loud as a high frequency compression driver with a horn.

-Max
post #24 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxcooper View Post

The point was not about soft-versus-metal dome, it was about dome tweeters in general not being able to play as loud as a high frequency compression driver with a horn.

-Max

Exactly.
post #25 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxcooper View Post

The point was not about soft-versus-metal dome, it was about dome tweeters in general not being able to play as loud as a high frequency compression driver with a horn.

-Max


The Cerwin Vega XLS-215 uses a horn-like wave guide and has a 95.3 dB sensitivity rating. I'm not sure at what point horn-like becomes a true horn, but everything I've read seems to indicate they play horn-loud smoothly, regardless of tweeter material. Find me a better pair of horn speakers for as much and I'm there.
post #26 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterpioli View Post

The Cerwin Vega XLS-215 uses a horn-like wave guide and has a 95.3 dB sensitivity rating. I’m not sure at what point horn-like becomes a true horn, but everything I’ve read seems to indicate they play horn-loud smoothly, regardless of tweeter material. Find me a better pair of horn speakers for as much and I’m there.

Many high quality horn speakers will be able to play up to high spl levels such sa 130db. Speakers such as these with soft dome tweeters will not be able to come near that.

As for finding you a "better" pair of horn speakers for the price, no one will be able to do that. What's best to you might not be best to us and vice versa. There's no such thing as "best" speaker for a price range.

The question is what compromises in design are you willing to deal with in your price range. It sounds like you have your mind made up. I think you should purchase them and let us know what you think. You can always return in 30 days if you don't like them. I purchased all of my 215 speakers from www.a1components.com

http://www.a1components.com/itemdisp...spx?item=12628
post #27 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamonddelts View Post

Many high qualify horn speakers will be able to play up to high spl levels such sa 130db. Speakers such as these with soft dome tweeters will not be able to come near that.

As for finding you a "better" pair of horn speakers for the price, no one will be able to do that. What's best to you might not be best to us and vice versa. There's no such thing as "best" speaker for a price range.

The question is what compromises in design are you willing to deal with in your price range. It sounds like you have your mind made up. I think you should purchase them and let us know what you think. You can always return in 30 days if you don't like them. I purchased all of my 215 speakers from www.a1components.com

http://www.a1components.com/itemdisp...spx?item=12628

I also purchased all of my CV's from A1Components. The prices used to be a little cheaper, but as far as I understand CV made them raise the prices.
post #28 of 60
I havent looked at the CV line in a few years (25) as many members here have not. I owned some CV as someone mentioned during my college dorm days and they were great!! I am in the process also of updating speakers for the HT, had not even thought about looking at CV but after reveiwing the XLS-215 I may give them a shot!! I was also looking at building some speakers, thanks to the OP for bringing the CV to my attention. Happy Holidays-Interceptor007
post #29 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamonddelts View Post

Many high qualify horn speakers will be able to play up to high spl levels such sa 130db. Speakers such as these with soft dome tweeters will not be able to come near that.

As for finding you a "better" pair of horn speakers for the price, no one will be able to do that. What's best to you might not be best to us and vice versa. There's no such thing as "best" speaker for a price range.

The question is what compromises in design are you willing to deal with in your price range. It sounds like you have your mind made up. I think you should purchase them and let us know what you think. You can always return in 30 days if you don't like them. I purchased all of my 215 speakers from www.a1components.com

http://www.a1components.com/itemdisp...spx?item=12628



I disagree. Some speakers clearly sound better to most people, and some are certainly a better value than others.

I want a speaker with big sound and great dynamic ability for under 2k per pair. Any others I should consider?
post #30 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterpioli View Post

I disagree. Some speakers clearly sound better to most people, and some are certainly a better value than others.

I want a speaker with big sound and great dynamic ability for under 2k per pair. Any others I should consider?

Define what constitutes as "sounding better" and " better value" that will apply to "most" people.
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