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.

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