NHT Evolution L5 Home Theater Speaker System Page 3

Mounted horizontally, the center L5 was still a good tonal match with its vertical left/right mates. It also had unusually even response as I moved from one side to the other, meaning that viewers on both ends of the couch won't miss any dialogue. The center speaker can be turned so the tweeter is either above or below the midrange driver, depending on placement height, to help focus the highs toward the listener's ears - simple but effective.

PLUS Excellent multichannel performance. Flexible subwoofer system delivers great bass. Clever, very flexible satellite mounting bracket. MINUS Four-piece sub setup takes up space and is complicated. Slightly dry sound for stereo music.

The L5 also worked well as a surround speaker, producing a nice compromise between the diffuse sound of dipole speakers and the more direct sound of regular monopole speakers.

All in all, the L5 array did a very credible job of holding together the many all-around sequences in Daredevil (the hero's blind, remember?), like the organ-loft fight toward the end. Dialogue was unfailingly clear, and the U2 sub system put out massive deep bass. Sequences such as the final fight, with its ludicrously powerful body slams, produced big-cinema impact at big-cinema volume.

While the L5s couldn't absorb the full 200 watts per channel of my main power amp - they began sounding edgy at extreme volumes - they produced enough clean sound at lower power levels to deliver loudness and dynamics well beyond what you get in a movie theater. And they sounded very good on surround music, too, both studio recordings like the six-channel remix on that Police SACD and naturalistic recordings like the six-channel Telarc SACD of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite with Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony.

NHT's Evolution L5/U2 setup is a first-class surround speaker system. It may not be perfectly suited for playing stereo music, but it provides excellent sound from movies and multichannel music alike. If you gotta have flat, this is one set of speakers that demands a close listen.