CBM-170 SE vs Energy V5.1
Been doing some more listening, and some comparison with my Energy Veritas V5.1s. Just to recap, this all in a computer desktop setup with an HK 3390 and an ODAC, no EQ, and I turned off my sub for most of the comparisons. The 170s are positioned on either side of two large monitors (24 and 23"). So I can't really comment on the soundstage or imaging in a way that would be meaningful to people with their speakers setup on stands in their living room or listening room.
One of the things I have always liked better about the V5.1s over the Energy RC-10s I used before in this setup is that the mid bass seems tighter. Both of those Energys speakers have a good reputation for bass for their smaller driver size. The 170s improve upon that with even tighter mid bass response than the V5.1s and a little more bass presence in some EDM, hip hop, and rap. An advantage of the bigger 6.5" driver and what seems to be a faster transient response. Also, when turning on my Mirage Prestige S10 sub (similar to the Energy Veritas VSW10 currently available), the sub doesn't quite match up in SQ with the tightness of the 170s response (*sigh* now I would like a better sub), not something I felt was happening with the Energy speakers (both V5.1s and RC-10s). I now have the 170s boosted with a few extra db at 63hz on my media player, and they do quite well. So as I said before, one can get some pretty nice 50hz on up bass response out of these.
I will say it took a few days of adjusting to the flat response 170 sound over the V5.1s and their emphasized, sparkly treble. I spent almost a week only listening to the 170s to adjust my "speaker palette." The Seas tweeter is drier, but seems more accurate. In fact, the 170s make me now feel the Energy Veritas tweeters are a little artificial. For example, snare drum hits sound more realistic with the 170s. Still, vocals will often tend to be more pronounced in the presentation (something some people would definitely prefer) with the V5.1s, particularly female vocals, because of the emphasized treble. But the tradeoff is that some midrange instrumentation gets sent to the background with the V5.1s because they also have a slight roll off through some of the midrange
. Compare that with the 170s measured response
, and that has to make quite a difference in what sound is emphasized.
I also feel like some of the midrange is a slightly more resolving with the 170s. Could be a result of the flatter response and increased transient response of the driver. Lately I've been enamored of my Grado SR225i headphones, and the 170s get me a little closer to that detailed Gradio sound than the Energys did.
So overall, I prefer the 170s, even though I would describe the V5.1s and 170s as comparable in class, and I could still enjoy the V5.1s. And of course, some of this preference is where I am personally in my listening tastes experience. YMMV
I also can see how many people doing quick comparisons of the 170s with other speakers in the same class will be drawn to a more colored sound. It's a bolder sound. However, much of that color might be lost with Audyssey or YPAO enabled. So interesting to think about what kind of EQ setup people are using when comparing the 170s with other speakers (if any EQ) vs. how they will actually use them (room correction enabled). If I had to choose now between my Energy RC-50/RC-LCR/Veritas VS Surround HT setup and CMT-340 SEs for left/right/center and CBM-170 SEs for rear with Audyssey enabled, I would definitely get the Ascends. Based on my experience with the 170s, I would expect a little more realistic presentation out of an Ascend CMT/CBM setup than the RC setup and with better midbass response. And then of course the benefit of having an exact matching front sound stage would be nice.Edited by cel4145 - 3/5/13 at 3:43pm