Monday, November 14, 2011

Energy Reference Connoisseur 10 (RC-10)

The Energy RC-10 bookshelf speaker not only has good looks, but good sound to back it up.  With a cabinet made of legitimate wood, it is hefty and straight out of the box you can tell it's built with quality material.  The kevlar woofers give it a very luxurious look, and the inset tweeter looks gorgeous as well (but it's more than the looks of this tweeter that make us smile, but we'll get to that later in the review).

Besides the aesthetics of this speaker, an important factor for those thinking of purchasing this speaker to consider is sound quality.  More specifically the type of sound these speakers create.  If you have any experience with Energy speakers, you've noticed that many of the budget lines (for example, the new C-series) can be a bit bright.  Some people enjoy brightness for some content, and if that's the case for you, you may want to look elsewhere (possibly at one of the C-series speakers, CF/CB/CC).  The Energy RC-10 is by far the most neutral and least bright of any recent Energy speakers.  That being said, this allows the speakers to relay movie and music material the way they were meant to be heard.  The sounds are more lifelike and clear, distortion is at an absolute minimum (note: This is the case when powered by an adequate receiver.  We remind all our readers to protect your speakers by supplying proper power to speakers, but we're happy to inform you that these RC-10s can take all the power you can give to them, and happily so.).  Another side to the brightness of a speaker is the ability to listen to material for extended periods of time.  The majority of people who own bright speakers find that they can't listen to music or watch movies for too long before getting what can only be accurately described as "ear fatigue."  That problem is completely non-existent with these RC-10 monitors.

The RC-10 sports a 1 inch tweeter, with a 5 1/2 inch kevlar woofer donning Energy's Ribbed Elliptical Surround.  The kevlar alone makes the speaker have a much higher "Wow" factor than other speakers with more plain-looking woofers.  Another plus in this RC speaker vs. the new C-series (CF/CC/CB) that we've reviewed, is that the cabinet has a very solid feel and look.  The grains in the wood are raised, and the speaker is quite heavy (in a good way).  The RC-10 was manufactured in three different finishes: black ash, cherry, and rosenut.  Unfortunately the only finish that can be found new as of right now (in any RC speaker) is black ash.  The other finishes are quite rare, even used, and therefore might cost a bit more to purchase.

The following is our analysis of Movies, Music, and Gaming with the Energy RC-10 bookshelf speakers:


We were excited to try the RC-10 in a Home Theater setting, especially considering this was our first RC speaker.  One of the first movies we popped in was Star Trek (2009) on Blu-ray.  An excellent movie, with a whole lot going on, with lots of dialogue and a lot of action, we felt this was a good choice.  Throughout the movie, we found the voices of characters was spot on with tone and pitch.  It sounds like they're right there with you.  Once again going back to the lack of brightness, making the voices come from the source without shooting into your ears from known speakers.  The clarity of this speaker is fantastic.  Other than the dialogue, the action was great, and we noticed that this speaker, although a bookshelf speaker, and only having a single 5 1/2 inch woofer, still could get quite low, when there were explosions, etc.  The specifications of the speaker state that the speaker can get as low as 50hZ.

After the initial use of RC-10s as mains, we have since then used them as surrounds for a short time and they are our height speakers in our current system.

As surrounds they are quite capable, and with their previously stated surprising bass, add an extra level of fullness to any surround sound experience.  This is also the case for the height application.


***More content testing (music, games) and more coming soon!  I decided to post my reviews in increments due to current events in the household, so please be patient with me.***

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Apologize for the delays...

I would like to apologize for the delays on the reviews for the many speakers we promised reviews for.  With 2 jobs, a toddler and not much free time on my hands it's been hard to have the time or the peace and quiet to properly audition these speakers, although good break-in time has been given to each speaker and I'm confident they're all ready, when I am.  Thanks for the patience, and the support of anyone who reads these reviews. 

Out of courtesy for my readers, I have the following speakers that I have yet to review:
If you would like to suggest one that you're interested in, I will take into consideration which ones you'd like me to work on first chance I get.  You can e-mail me at

Thank you!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Energy CF-70 floorstanding speaker

The Energy CF-70 floorstanding speaker is the flagship tower of the new Energy C-series.  Standing at just under 41" tall, this speaker is both bigger, and better than it's little brothers (CF-50, CF-30) in every way.  Whether it is for music, movies, or gaming, the CF-70 welcomes the challenge. 

This tower has a gloss black finish on the front (under the grill) and a black wood veneer design on all other surfaces.  Although it looks great, and doesn't seem to necessarily hurt audio quality, we do see a reduction in cabinet quality with the CF towers vs. the discontinued RC (Reference Connoisseur) line.

The CF-70 sports two 6.5" woofers, and a single 5.5" midrange, helping it to easily hit frequencies across the board.  These woofers and the midrange are also putting the Ribbed Elliptical Surround technology to work, reducing distortion at both high and low volumes.  The woofers along with the style of the cabinet, offers a new, more modern look to these speakers.  To help offer shrill, high notes, this tower speaker also uses a 1" aluminum dome tweeter.  We noticed that the tweeter especially did a wonderful job blending with the woofers and midrange compared to other towers in the CF tower line.

As far as sound reproduction, the Energy CF-70 towers did a superb job setting up a soundstage in stereo as well as included in a 5.1 setup.  We had our towers 7.5 feet apart and toed in (slanted in towards listening area).  To test the bass output of the speakers, we also disconnected our subwoofer.  The following is what we experienced in each category of use:


We listened to a wide range of music on these speakers.  Rock, Hip Hop, Country, Classical and Jazz.  Using the woofers, midrange and tweeter, this floorstander really does a neat job making sure even the smallest notes reach your ears.  Anything from a long, low note from a bass in the orchestra, or high shrieking high notes in a guitar solo, this speaker handles it beautifully.  This speaker tends to do better with hip-hop and rock, due to the brightness of the speaker.


We tested this speaker out with many movies including the Incredibles, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Phantom of the Opera, The Longest Yard, and the television show Everybody Loves Raymond.  With all these genres (action, musical, comedy, drama, television) we figured we'd see most of what these speakers could put out.

With the Incredibles alone, the speakers were put to the test.  This movie is one of our favorite pieces of reference material.  The dialogue was crisp and clear and the explosions and gunfire, etc. were precise and realistic.  Same went for the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. 
When listening to the Phantom of the Opera, the first thing that came to mind was we could actually hear the crackling in the mic for the first scene in black and white.  Although we had seen the scene before, we never actually had noticed it before.  Also, when the chandellier was uncovered and the organ starts to play, we were blown away almost as quickly as the sheet was pulled off.  The bass from the towers is beautiful.  (Note again that we didn't have the subwoofer hooked up, and that the towers were the sole suppliers of bass in the system.)  During the songs, the words were clear when put in 2.0 (center channels, etc. turned off) and with the opera vocals the true pitches they were hitting were astounding! 

The movie The Longest Yard was especially fun to watch because while not many bullets or explosions are in it, there are a lot of contact football hits, and lots of rap and hip hop music.  A lot more sound than you would expect from a movie like this. 
Last but not least, we put on Everybody Loves Raymond.  For this we only did Stereo, and found that although it was just TV (on DVD), that there were little tid bits of dialogue and musical intros that added to the effect of the show and we'd missed them before.  Goes to show that even television watching experiences can be made better with good speakers.


Games sound great on these towers.  The more chaos in the game, the better.  The brightness in these speakers played to our advantage in games like Halo:Reach, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Forza Motorsports 3, and NBA 2K11.  In the shooters, the bullets, explosions, and ricochets really came to life.

For the NBA 2K11 (basketball) and Forza Motorsports 3 (racing) games, we noticed that all sounds came out realistic and vibrant.  With the NBA game, the crowd cheering was a bit hectic and the brightness and forwardness of the speaker was a downside in this case.  Although a crowd is supposed to be loud, in this case the realism wasn't to its advantage, easily giving a headache to the person playing.  In Forza, the car engines like those in Japanese cars (more tuner cars with whinier engines) sounded better, but we found it hard to like the cars with deep, purring engines like those in the muscle cars (for those we preferred them on our Energy RC speakers: RC-10, RC-50, RC-LCR).


Overall this speaker is the top of it's line (the new C-series) and easily outperforms any of the other towers in its class (CF-30, CF-50, CF-70).  A great speaker for movies and games, but not so much for general music, although it may be desirable for hip-hop and similar music.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Energy CR-10 Review Coming Soon...

By popular demand, we have purchased a pair of Energy CR-10 surround bipole/dipole speakers, and are in the process of breaking the speakers in.  Expect a review in about 2-3 weeks! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

First RC-line speaker to be reviewed soon!

We are very happy to announce the arrival of the following speakers to our lineup:

Energy RC-10 bookshelf speakers
Energy RC-LCR center channel
Energy RC-50 floorstanding (tower) speakers

We are in the process of breaking these speakers in, so expect more word on when the reviews will come.  Check back for updates.  Any questions you may want answered will be included in the review; just e-mail with RC-10, RC-LCR, or RC-50 in the subject line. 

Also, if you haven't 'Liked' our page on Facebook, go ahead and find us here:  Make sure to click 'Like' and special deals found on Energy products and news will be posted exclusively there!

Monday, August 1, 2011

We are on Facebook!

Now you can find us on Facebook!  Search Tempest Audio and 'Like' us today!  Special announcements and internet sales will be shared on our page.

Energy Take Classic 5.1 system

This is Energy's satellite speaker 5.1 system.  Don't be fooled by their apparently small size, and home-theater-in-a-box appearance.  These speakers are indeed sold in a box, but produce sound unparalleled by any other speaker this size on this budget. 

At only $600 MSRP (and usually found online for cheaper- around $400), these speakers pack quite a punch.  Consisting of four identical satellite speakers, a slightly different center channel, and an 8" down-firing subwoofer, you'll get great sound for any material you throw at it.  When playing your favorite rock concert, this system sends you onto the stage with perfectly coordinated speakers and produces surprisingly rich bass for such a small system.  Movies also played quite well, as vocals came clearly from the center and weren't dwarfed by the satellites. 

This package would perform best in a small to medium size room.   Also, playing in full 5.1 is what this system does best.  The strength clearly lies in using them all at once, as putting them in stereo mode produces weaker sound.  When played in stereo, movies especially have to be played at very high volumes to understand dialogue.

The center channel of this set features a 3/4" hyperbolic aluminum dome tweeter and a single 3" poly-titanium woofer.  Sharing the appearance of the rest of the set, the piano gloss black cabinet looks sleek and elegant with the shiny silver woofer and tweeter.  Dual exhaust ports on either side of the tweeter and woofer allow for easier placement options, allowing wall mounting, and placement on shallow shelves or mantles.  (If exhaust ports are on the rear it leaves fewer placement options, as bass output causes sound to boom and echo during playback.)

Each of the four identical satellite speakers are very compact (for an even more compact choice, see Energy RC-Micro 5.1- we do not have a review for that system at this time).  They, like the Take Classic center channel, each have a 3/4" hyperbolic aluminum dome tweeter, and a 3" poly-titanium woofer.  Again, these have the same piano gloss black sheen, which we found provides an expensive look, but can also be a downside if they are handled often or not dusted frequently enough.  Smudges, fingerprints and dust can be collected over time, so these speakers may at times be more of a chore to be kept clean versus a wood grain cabinet.  One negative side to these satellite speakers is the fact that they are rear ported, which makes having them flush against the wall in a wall-mount situation, not very attractive.  Here at Tempest Audio, we had them hung directly on the wall at first, and although they had great sound, sounded better sitting indepedent of the wall.

The subwoofer uses the patented Ribbed Elliptical Surround technology that reduces distortion during high and low bass output.  When using another sub without this feature, we noticed the difference, although not extremely drastic, but a nice touch especially when listening to rock or hip-hop with a substantial amount of bass.

A huge advantage to having these speakers compared to larger bookshelf speakers is the fact that they have such a large yet clear output of sound, yet are small, and very lightweight.  (When we tested them on the wall, they hung on just a standard push pin and didn't require a stud or any extra mounting, although we do not recommend this- just to demonstrate how light these speakers really are.)  They can easily be wall-mounted, and fit nicely on any shelf or end table.

We put this speaker package through 3 different uses:

Music: When playing music in 5.1 surround, these speakers played beautifully.  The sound was very well balanced, and not overbearing.  Although they played nicely with every popular genre, they did their best in classical, country, and soft rock.  If playing a rock song, slightly added use of the subwoofer was needed to balance out the bass for the song.  With all music, the high notes rang through quite clearly and the subwoofer did a great job pumping out very low-distortion bass to compliment the speakers nicely.

Movies: If you watch lots of movies in a small gameroom or bedroom, these speakers will reproduce speech, and sound effects with an accuracy you won't get anywhere else at this price.  They seem to be able to handle anything we have thrown at it: action, drama, sci-fi, and so on.  When testing out some Energy tower speakers (the CF-30 and CF-70), we used the four satellite speakers as front-height, and rear-surround 7.1 speakers and they did great in adding another dimension of sound for movie watching.  So whether you're watching a movie with this 5.1 setup, or combining this setup with larger speakers to make them a 7.1 system, they work great.  We thought they might be "drowned out" by the larger speakers, but kept their own during our testing.

Games:  Out of all material, video games seem to put 5.1 sound effects to their best use.  Music and movies are still recorded in stereo and most are in 5.1, but any modern video game will be 5.1 standard.  The point of the 5.1 system in video games is to make you, as a character in a game, feel like you are standing exactly where they are- to feel like you're on the court in a basketball game, or in the middle of a battlefield.  We used 2kSports' NBA 2K11, Microsoft/Bungie's Halo: Reach, and Warner Bros. Games' Batman Arkham Asylum to do our testing for Games.  We found that the system had great reproduction of placement for the action games (Halo: Reach and Batman Arkham Asylum), to the point where you could hear an enemy sneaking up behind you if the volume is loud enough.  Yet during the basketball game, the bass was very boomy (probably crowd noise), and quite distracting.  The Energy Take Classic 5.1 system played very well with each of these games in a small to mid-size room, and had no problem being loud enough to hear, but in a larger sized room, other speakers may need to be integrated to make sure they are powerful enough to push sound to the listening area.

The Energy Take Classic 5.1 system earned the CNET Editor's Choice Award in 2009, and has high reviews across the web.

Overall, these speakers are a great bargain, especially for those who have space issues, on a budget, or are finally ditching your HTIB (home theater in a box) and venturing into the world of finer speakers. 


Dimensions (inches):

Frequency Response:
Satellites- 115Hz-20KHz
Center- 110Hz-20KHz
Subwoofer- 33Hz-150Hz +/- 3dB
Power Handling:
Satellites and Center, 100 watts
Subwoofer, 200 watts
Recommended Amplifier Power: 20-100 watts RMS

Impedance: 8-ohm compatible

We hope you enjoyed this review, and if you found it helpful, or have any questions we didn't cover, please e-mail us at with Energy Take Classic 5.1 in the subject line.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Energy CC-10

The Energy CC-10 is the top center speaker for the Energy Connoisseur Series.  It is built to fit in a set with any of the CF towers (CF-30, CF-50, CF-70), or any of the CB bookshelf speakers (CB-5, CB-10, CB-20), although it looks better with the CB-10 and CB-20, as it has the same style woofers.

The CC-10 sports a hyperbolic aluminum 1" dome tweeter that clearly plays even the shrillest of notes and compliments the two woofers that are placed on either side of it beautifully.  We found music, especially those with woodwind instruments, to hit the notes with perfection and still maintain harmony with the lower frequencies emitted from the woofers.

Two silver 5-1/2" fiberglass woofers grace the front, giving the black speaker a very modern and powerful appearance.  The woofers use Energy's Ribbed Elliptical Surround technology, which drastically reduces distortion.  Working together, the woofers can achieve a much greater range of frequencies than in our other tested center from the Energy Take Classic 5.1 system (we will be testing out the CC-5 soon for those wanting a smaller center channel).

Since the CC-10 is dual ported (both ports are on the backside of the speaker), it is best to find proper placement for this speaker to get the best results.  Placing this speaker in a cubby, or against/near a wall may cause an echo or "boomy" sound during use.  We recommend having at least 6 inches between the back of the speaker and any surface (wall, entertainment unit, home decor), and not placing it in nooks or enclosed shelves.

For several brands of AV Receivers, there is an option in the setup/menu to change the characteristic and bass output of each/all speaker(s).  Here at Tempest Audio, we found that this speaker performed best when set to SMALL.  Since this speaker's main job is to relay speech, setting it to LARGE has a few consequences.  First off, it increases the bass output which causes more expelled from the ports causing the aforementioned echo or boomy noise.  Secondly, we felt it sacrificed the overall potential frequency range, especially during vocals in music material.

The Energy CC-10 has a beautiful black ash finish for the cabinet, but sports a glossy black face, if you choose to remove the grill.  This speaker was clearly built to look great regardless of the grill being on or off, and removing the grill is easy, so adjust to your personal taste.  (All other CF towers and CB bookshelf speakers have removable grills as well, allowing you to have a matching system.)

The MSRP for this speaker is set at $300, making it an affordable choice for center channel in any Energy CF/CB setup.

For those of you new to home theater, please know that to obtain the best results, and to create a coordinated system, we suggest having your center and front left/right speakers be of the same speaker family and series (e.g. Energy CC-10 center channel with Energy CF-70 towers).  Rear and surround speakers can be of the same make or series, but is not necessary.


Dimensions (in inches)-
HxWxD   =   7.1 x 19.7 x 9.9

Weight: 17.4 lbs. speaker alone
              20.5 lbs. speaker in package

Frequency Resonse: 60Hz - 20kHz

Recommended Amplifier Power: 20-200 watts

Sensitivity: 92dB

Inputs: 5-way gold plated binding posts

Included in package are rubber bumpers and manual.

If you have any questions about this speaker, please feel free to e-mail us at: , and please put ENERGY CC-10 in the subject line.  Thank you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Energy Speakers

Making my way into the world of audiophiles was a crazy and wonderful time for me.  Being hard of hearing, there was alot I didn't catch through my television speakers.  Then I came to realize through others that they too couldn't understand some dialogue in movies (i.e whispering, people talking off-screen, etc.), or would miss a crucial sound effect in a movie or show.

I bought my first sound system, a home theater in a box (HTIB) 7 years ago.  It was a Philips 5.1 system and at the time I thought they sounded great.  Don't get me wrong, it got the job done in my smaller room and was a HUGE step up from television speakers.   

After recently looking into Energy speakers, I really was impressed with the design, style, and, now that I own several of them, the sound.  This blog is here for anyone looking to purchase Energy speakers or are looking for REAL, tested reviews and specifications.  When I was shopping for certain speakers I kind of had to just take a "leap of faith" because there were not many reviews (and even less that were credible).  Hopefully this helps.  If you have any questions on any of the speakers reviewed here, or would like to know where to get the best deal on them, feel free to e-mail us at:

We look forward to answering any questions you may have, and hope you the best audio experience possible with your Energy speakers!

Reviews to come over the next few days!  Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


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