Test Bench: Audica CS-System 3 Speakers

In the lab

Frequency response (at 2 meters) front left/right 327 Hz to 17 kHz ±4.3 dB center 225 Hz to 17.1 kHz ±4.1 dB surround 191 Hz to 17.5 kHz ±4.8 dB subwoofer 39 Hz to 160 Hz ±2.0 dB

Sensitivity (SPL at 1 meter with 2.8 volts of pink-noise input) front left/right 87 dB center 87 dB surround 85 dB

Impedance (minimum/nominal) front left/right 6.5/8 ohms center 6.7/8 ohms surround 4.4/8ohms

Bass limits (lowest frequency and maximum SPL with limit of 10% distortion at 2 meters in a large room) front left/right 100 Hz at 74 dB center 100 Hz at 74 dB surround 100 Hz at 72 dB subwoofer 25 Hz at 86 dB SPL 101 dB average SPL from 25 to 62 Hz 112 dB maximum SPL at 62 Hz bandwidth uniformity 89%

All of the curves in the frequency-response graph are weighted to reflect how sound arrives at a listeners ears with normal speaker placement. The curve for the left/right front channels reflects response of the CS-T1 tower with the speaker standing on the floor averaged over a ±30-degree window, with double weight at 30 degrees (the most typical listening angle). The center-channel curve reflects response of the CS-C1 averaged over ±45 degrees, with double weight directly on-axis of the primary listener. The surround-channel curve shows the response of the CS-S1 satellite averaged over ±60º. Both the C1 and S1 were measured on a 6-foot stand, which gives anechoic results to approximately 200 Hz. Except for the subwoofer, all measurements are taken at a full 2 meters, which emulates a typical listening distance, allows the outputs of large speakers to fully integrate acoustically, and, unlike near-field measurements, fully includes front-panel reflections and cabinet diffraction.

Towers and Satellites All the main speakers display limited low-frequency capability and midband roughness, with an elevation between 1 and 3 kHz followed by a narrow notch at 5 kHz. The CS-T1 towers appear to have more limited low-frequency capability because their measurements reflect a floor-bounce cancellation just above 200 Hz. The CS-C1 also suffers from off-axis lobing, which is obscured by our weighted response averaging. All the speakers have extremely uniform impedance.

Subwoofer I measured the CS-Sub10 subwoofer's bass limits with it placed in the optimal corner of a 7,500-cubic-foot room and set for maximum bandwidth. In smaller rooms, users can expect 2 to 3 Hz deeper extension and up to 3 dB greater sound-pressure level (SPL).

The subwoofer delivers impressive output at 62 Hz, but dynamic capability falls rapidly (16 dB per octave) at lower frequencies and, when driven hard enough, it erupts into cacophonous overload. The CS-Sub10 has relatively extended upper-frequency response, which will be needed with satellite speakers of such limited low-frequency capability. The crossover control has uniform response that matches dial markings reasonably well in the upper half of its rotation. In the lower third of rotation, the cutoff frequency is 69 Hz and level is reduced by 4 dB no matter what the dial marking reads.

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