Surround Sound Speaker Systems

GoldenEar SuperCinema 50 Home Theater Speaker System

ARTICLE INDEX

Design and Setup

The SuperSat 50s are a slim 27 inch long speaker at only 2.5 inches deep. Their cabinets are constructed from piano-gloss-black-finished aerospace-grade aluminum and contains two GoldenEar 4.5" cast basket bass/midrange drivers configured in a D'Appolito array, surrounding the High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) tweeter. Two 4"x 7" quadratic planar low-frequency radiators complete the driver complement.

Mounting is easily accomplished using the threaded inserts or keyhole mounts on the rear, or table top using the optional smoked-glass shelf stand. An included adjustable foot allows multiple angles when shelf mounting the horizontal center-channel version. The center channel has the HVFR tweeter tilted 90 degrees for proper horizontal dispersion, but is otherwise the same. Though they can be wall mounted around a flat panel or projection screen, I had mine mounted on stands for this review.

The stands allowed me some latitude to play with the placement and toe-in. Even though the center channel had adjustable feet, I placed mine above my TV in a PVC "U" channel I had laying about my HT for some reason. This allowed me the ability to adjust the angle to preferred seat for listening. It was a "necessity is the mother of invention" kind of setup that worked well for me.

The HVFR tweeter is not a unique design, but it deserves a bit of explanation on how it works. Unlike a normal ribbon that vibrates when current is applied, the HVFR is shaped like a squeeze box. As the current is applied, the folds squeeze together and expand to produce sound waves. Because of the larger surface area involved, it has the equivalent surface area of greater than  four conventional one inch dome tweeters and the benefit of a wider dispersion pattern with more efficiency. I have seen a similar designed tweeter by Martin Logan.

The radiators are not the typical, soft, rubbery design. They are hard and stiff. All of these are housed in a slim gloss black shell that is not ported.

The 5 way binding posts in the rear are made of metal and are recessed into the back panel. I mounted the front R/L speakers on stands, but they come with a template that allows for wall mounting and the SuperSat 3 rears came with their own stands for easy placement on a shelf.

When wall mounted, the speakers blended well with a large flat panel HDTV. My wife really liked the look of the SuperCinema 50, due to their slim, unobtrusive design. I agree with her. They also look striking with their grills removed and I did all of my reviewing with them off.

The ForceField 4 subwoofer was a horse of a different color. The sub is not shaped like a typical cube, but more like a rectangle with rounded edges. The top is tapered in a bit. When I initially set the system up, I popped a movie and ran downstairs to the kitchen to get something to eat during the show. When I got into the kitchen, I heard the sub kick in and my dishes were literally rattling in their cabinets (my kitchen being located directly under my HT). I raced back up stairs and turned the volume down on the sub. After fussing with it for awhile, I found that having the volume turned to about a bit less than a quarter of the way up tamed the percussive impact considerably. This sub has some real potential in the output department!

The sub has a 10 inch long throw front firing driver with a 11x13 quadratic radiator on the bottom. It is of a sealed design and not ported. Large soft rubber feet will keep it off the carpeting or prevent it from walking around on a wooden floor. An optional wireless kit can be a purchased if you want the ultimate placement flexibility. High level (speaker wire) inputs and a low level (RCA) inputs are on the back. The subwoofer output level and low pass crossover knobs are also located on the back. Included for all speakers are well illustrated and informative manuals for proper placement tips and set up recommendations. In fact, these manuals had more comprehensive information in them than I recall from any other manufacturer that I have reviewed in the last year. Well done, guys! After some extensive "pre-listening", I settled on crossing the mains with the sub at 110 Hz and the rears at 120 Hz. Other than some minor tweaking with the subwoofers position, I ended up placing it in the front left corner of my room with the driver facing the center of my room. Now let's move on to how they all sounded as an ensemble.