Cerwin-Vega CVHD 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System Page 2

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SETUP After wrestling with a number of heavy-duty speaker systems lately, my lower back enjoyed the lightweight CVHD-63 satellites. The plastic enclosures are very plain, with minimal embellishment, and look as industrial as many of Cerwin-Vega's PA cabinets. Each houses one tweeter and six woofers in a vertical array. They are prefaced with a built-in 150-Hz high-pass filter on the input line to keep them from having to reproduce frequencies below that point - clearly, you won't be using these without a sub. For reasons incomprehensible to me, the cabinet sides are angled so that the speakers cannot stand by themselves; they must be wall-mounted (using supplied hardware) or placed on floor stands (optional). Sure, these sats are principally designed for wall-mounting, but would it have killed C-V to add a penny's worth of plastic to make them self-standing or to supply some cheap table mounts? Perhaps they figured the slim towers were just too tip-prone. The $999 price is a killer value, but the cost of floor stands seriously undermines this.

The CVHD-63C center channel speaker looks identical to the satellites and uses precisely the same driver complement but in a horizontal array. It also shares the same confounded cabinet design and similarly begs wall mounting or an optional floor stand. In a pinch, you could probably just lay it on its side.

At 48+ pounds, the CVHD-12S subwoofer made my lower back aware of gravity's pull again. Cerwin-Vega is no stranger to subs, and this one's dual ports and traditional bright red driver surround (a company trademark, of sorts) reminded me of all the times, at home and in the car, I have rocked out to deep C-V bass. This front-firing sub has the typical niceties, including a volume control, line- and speaker-level inputs, speaker outputs, a continuously variable crossover (50 - 150 Hz), and a phase switch (selectable for 0 or 180 degrees). Per Cerwin-Vega's recommendation, I initially set the sub's low-pass crossover to 150 Hz, then later sank it a few hertz.

Some satellites are finicky about room placement, but these were not. They immediately sounded happy in my usual sweet spots and didn't complain when I shifted them around experimentally. This suggests to me that they are more amenable than most to non-ideal placement. For the bulk of my listening, I placed them against walls to mimic wall-mounting. By definition, the center channel speaker needs to accompany the screen, and I tucked this one right underneath mine. Woofers are always very finicky about location, and as I expected, this one wanted to live in my usual spot along the front wall, between the screen and left front satellite; I subsequently pulled it forward a few inches to extract a little more low-end clarity.