I have had the Take 5s for about 4 years now. They were quite the bargain for me and virtually the only small HT price/performance game in town when I bought them; but I've recently realized that I was missing the feeling of a bigger soundstage that you can get with bigger (and more expensive) speakers.
I've recently demoed the Take 5.2s and (my ending preference)Polk 7500/7600s (along with Bose, BA, Infinity) and saw a night and day difference (never mind an additional $700) between them. There are a few other sets others will recommend, so there's absolutely no better recommendation then to find a store that has several sets and listen to them in random order.
I had a friend and salesperson mix up a few sets that I knew and didn't....and I was really surprised I kept coming back to the Polks.
Your mileage may vary...get out there and listen to 'em.
All things being equal, most people perceive that louder speakers sound "better". When fed the same signal, a difference of a couple of points in sensitivity can make one speaker sound better than another due to this effect. So when the salesperson is switching back and forth between the speakers, make sure the volume is matched. This is a very old sales trick.
I've heard the Take 5, PSB, Paradigm and others in this price range but you need to hear them yourself.
I've heard great things about Home Theater Direct but haven't heard the speakers myself. With their "money back" offer, I don't know how wrong you could go with trying them.
I recently got a set of the Take 5s and like them very much. Of course, I'm no expert but I did compare them to several other brands mentioned. Heck, even my wife is impressed!! I have a good sized living room and the Take 5s fill it with sound quite easily.
BTW, the Take 5s can be gotten for as low as $299 and the Take 5.2s as low as $379. For those prices you will be hard pressed to beat these. I haven't yet added the subwoofer but I can see why its a necessity.
I bought the Energy Take 5 combo with the 8" sub for my sister as a wedding present a few years ago and I am always impressed with the quality of the sound.
She likes how they have such a small footprint and probably never actually realizes quite how good they sound compared to other similar solutions. The Take 5 combo is one of those products that seems to get a whole lot of the details right.
I've had the Take 5 for over 4 years and have yet to be dissapointed with them. I've recently added an additional HT room with a much more expensive system and I still use the Take 5's in the family room. Great sound for a great price. You definitely need to get the 8 or 10 inch subwoofer though. I was most impressed with Energy's imaging for home theater but the music was definitely past acceptable. Good luck.
I have had my Take 5 speakers for a year and a half, and I'm extremely pleased with them. They are so small that they draw very little attention (my wife really likes that!) until they're turned on. They have a terrific sound - especially with movies. I'm no audiophile, but I do really enjoy sound - especially DTS. IMO they sound much better than Bose, and they cost less. I realize that you could get better speakers (you can ALWAYS get better speakers), but I have not seen or heard of any others that are that small, cost so little, and sound so good.
I originally got an Energy 10" Sub with the system, and a year later added a second Energy 10" Sub. I love feeling the "thump" of an explosion!
Not sure if you're in the northern end of Maryland but if you are...you may want to consider going up to Delaware for the Take 5.2s. There's a store called Overture located in Wilmington that was my home away from home. Top notch sales people, a wide variety of products (from 100's to 10,000's cost-wise), and a great atmosphere. They will have the Take 5.2's hooked up and will typically allow you to compare whatever you need. Music, DVD's, CD's, other speakers, etc. Great store and I miss having it around since I've moved. Good luck.
Try them, you will love them. These units are clearly the best in their class. I do not believe that a better value exist in this price range. I even bought a system with the Energy sub for my daughter, and believe me, I would not go second rate for dads best girl.
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