Surround Sound Speaker Systems
- Written by Jim Clements
- Published on 23 January 2012
The Energy Veritas V-6.3 Speakers In Use
The Energy Veritas v2.8 speakers that were so popular in the 90's had an open and articulate sound despite a slight peak in the bass response that required deliberate set up to get the most out of the speakers. Many audiophiles were willing to experimenting with placement and system matching with the Veritases. Once they got them set up right, the payoff was a pair of speakers that represented an excellent value as an entry into the high end speaker arena.
Subsequently, Energy has had a number of intervening years to update and refine their product lines. So I was really looking forward to auditioning this speaker system in my own home. Would they live up to their pedigree by offering a high-end experience at a mid-fi price point? The answer is . . . it depends. It depends largely on whether your personal tastes, room and system match up with their frequency response characteristics.
Very few consumer speakers have perfectly flat response. Almost every speaker is voiced to some extent or another. The new Energy Veritas speakers were apparently voiced to emphasize the upper mid and lower treble. If you have warm sounding electronics or if you prefer a more forward presentation in the brilliance region, then you will just love the Veritases. If you favor a warmer sound, then they may not work for you. For my tastes, I liked these speakers much more for cinema than for music. Your mileage may vary.
So I'll start with my listening impressions on the cinema front with the Blu-ray of Captain America: The First Avenger. In the transformation scene and the following chase scene, bullets and gunshots had a nice, crisp pop to them. The V-6.3 mains were being run full-range and they really held their own with the big explosions during first attack on Hydra.
Although this Energy system is not quite the best I've heard from the standpoint of surround envelopment, the surround activity did place me in the room with the actors during the pub scene. There was good spacing and air in the rears in this scene. And the movie's finale found these speakers at their best: action-packed cinema. The Veritas V-6.3 system is dynamic, clean-sounding with excellent transient response, silent backgrounds and good depth. But the upper mid/low treble peak stopped it from sounding totally realistic (on voices in particular).
Spy Game has an awesome sound design and musical score. In DTS HD Master it is expansive with deep bass, clean treble and good dynamics. During the opening action sequence the drums were fast and powerful with a satisfying kick. The choppers in Danang were a good example of the Veritas' abilities with movie sound - I paused the movie and looked out the window. I really thought there was a chopper hovering over my house! The front soundstage filled the space between the floor and the ceiling while the violins here were satisfyingly credible during the informant (Anne Cathcart) scene. The Veritas's are indeed at their best with movies. They are crisp, tight, fast and clean.I had spent a decent amount of time with the Veritas at this point. The upper-mid prominence affected natural movie sounds like voices and acoustic instruments, but it didn't detract much from Foley effects which aren't all that natural most of the time anyway. Some movies sounded better than others. Take Cars 2, for example. During races, the roar and whine of the different engines was easy to differentiate and many of the scenes had low level engine sounds that were highly "intelligible" and were easy to differentiate as well. Tire squeaks sounded very good too.
I watched Cars 2 with HT-EQ on. This is Marantz's re-EQ setting that functions similar to THX re-EQ. With HT-EQ engaged, the score by Michael Giacchino was about the best musical presentation I could get through the Veritases. The music by "The Cars" near the beginning of movie sounded balanced while the organ in the "Towkyo" chase scene had just the right amount of vibrato. My only knock on the Veritas system with this movie was that the surround layering was not quite as rich as with the best systems.
I auditioned the Veritas system with three music selections, beginning with the Blu-ray of Soundstage Presents: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live. I used the fader control on my Marantz SSP to bring in more hall ambience which helped deliver a more live listening experience. Petty changed guitars on almost every track and the Veritas system revealed the differences in each. There are highlights on this disc for sure - "Melinda" gave me goosebumps while the mandolin, acoustic guitar and the roots vibe were just right on "Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms". And the cymbals were delicate and extended on "Lost Children". But the Veritas's treble made this concert sound more like a live show over a decent PA system as opposed to a live show where I was part of the action.
Another fun Blu-ray is Julieta Venegas: MTV Unplugged. This Mexican singer/songwriter is cute as a button and this disc makes me wish I were more fluent in Spanish. This "unplugged" concert features acoustic strings and a sousaphone but with an electric upright bass? I listened in 5.1 PCM.
The actual stage at the live venue was sprawling. The Veritas likewise lit up the whole room with excellent spacing between instruments. The delicate falsettos in Venegas's vocal work were preserved over the Veritas. But on "Esta Vez" the piano, strings and sibilants in her voice were too prominent. The Veritas were generally better with dense arrangements as in the next tune, "Algún Dia". And they were at their best with the cello on "Como Se". These towers are legitimate full-range speakers.
I wanted to try the Veritas V-6.3 towers as a stereo pair and so I pulled out the CD of Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Raiders: Rare Bird Alert. I turned off the Audessey EQ and listened in 2.0 stereo. I know Steve Martin is generally perceived as a comedian, but this is serious music (up until the last track anyway). This bluegrass album features guest appearances by Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks and is the spawn of Steve Martin's brain for sure.
There was good bass extension on "Yellowback Fly". The Veritases afforded the maximum spacing between notes on plucked strings which helped promote first-rate pacing. Try "Women Like to Slow Dance" if you have any doubts. That tune will get your foot tapping. I also enjoyed the harmonies in the chorus on this song as well.
When it came to music listening, the Veritas system was able to carry me over the threshold where you transition from listening over a sound system to feeling like you are sitting in on a live performance. But these transformative experiences were less frequent than I wished for. The response in the upper mids was a little too prominent for this to occur as often as I liked. Also, the sub couldn't quite keep pace with the large V-6.3 towers. I think the Veritas V-6.3 system is a very fine system for a dedicated movie system with the occasional music listening session. Their clarity and dynamics on special effects are first-rate. Just budget enough to get two of the subs and you'll be all set.