Energy Take 5.2 Home Theater Speaker System Page 2

The updated S8.2 subwoofer furnishes the same heavy-duty connectors for all four of its speaker-level input and output terminals. (That's great, because I hate fiddling with the cheesy spring-clip terminals you find on some subs in this price range.) It also includes two line-level RCA input jacks labeled Xover and Input - which can be a bit confusing since the manual doesn't use the same names consistently. The Xover input bypasses the sub's crossover and level controls.

Those controls are on the front, making them more convenient to adjust, but also subject to inadvertent resetting by vacuum cleaners, dogs, and other low-slung creatures (especially the two-legged variety). Also up front is a single toggle switch labeled A for audio and V for video. The video setting kicks in a fairly prominent boost around 45 Hz - in case the average action-film soundtrack doesn't already have enough boom for you! The tradeoff is a substantial sacrifice in deep bass below about 40 Hz.

Energy recommends connecting the Take 5.2 system using the line-level subwoofer output of an A/V receiver or proc essor instead of speaker-level hook ups via the sub. I tried it both ways and found only slight differences between them using a "large" speaker setting and a standard 80-Hz crossover. However, my B&K AVR307 receiver's crossover is infinitely adjustable, with selectable slopes, so I did some experiment ing. I found that setting the front L/R speakers to "small" with a crossover frequency of 95 Hz and slopes of 12 dB per octave in both directions yielded clearly superior sound in my room, with better dynamics, enhanced midrange definition, and no penalty in sub/sat blending.

Since most people who buy the Take 5.2 system won't have the luxury of such a flexible crossover, I did most of my listening with the basic speaker-level hookup, setting the crossover frequency and output level using the subwoofer's controls. I also left the sub's mode switch in its more ac curate audio position.