Surround Sound Speaker Systems

GoldenEar SuperCinema 50 Home Theater Speaker System

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In Use

Usually, a complete surround system is designed to display its sonic chops with movies. In this regards, the SuperCinemas did not disappoint. The 50s in the front blended well with the small 3s in the rear and presented a solid, believable surround field during the time I reviewed them. In a darkened room, they easily disappeared and allowed me to focus on the movies. I was afraid that the tweeter design might call too much attention to the treble and sound harsh or fatiguing, but the treble was quite extended and sweet. Mid range was full, but the lower midrange seemed a bit weak. More adjusting with the crossover might blend the low mid with the upper bass. There was plenty of room with the sub to achieve this. Jack Shafton from GoldenEar Technology explained to me that the low midrange would actually be re-enforced when the speakers are wall mounted. This was an intentional design consideration as probably 90% of the time, that's how they will be installed. My overall impression was that the system could play loudly with no hint of strain. The bass was very powerful in my room, and I felt I really had to hold back on the subs real potential. I can not imagine needing a second sub unless you have a very large room, and even then, be careful for what you wish for.

Home Theater GoldenEar SuperCinema 50 Speaker System

Inception: This film provides some very powerful bass and the ForceField 4 delivered in spades. Lots of water, breaking glass, gunfire and yes, even dialog, all sounded clear and distinct. The surround sound envelope was ever present and realistically presented. With the center channel speaker directly above my HDTV, I never noticed sounds as being too directional and calling attention to its location. Voices were always locked into the images on the screen. As sound effects rang from the front to back speakers, there were no noticeable gaps in the sound.

Home Theater GoldenEar SuperCinema 50 Speaker System

Star Wars: Episode One: In particular, I skipped to the pod race scene. Besides the explosions and swirling surround sounds, there was plenty of crowd noises and high pitched whining (and not just from Jar Jar Binks!) from the pod racer engines. The SuperCinemas presented the entire chapter in believable, natural sound. Even when I turned the volume way up, the SuperCinema never complained. These guys could easily work in a larger space and still fill the room with good dynamic sound.

Music can be a tougher challenge for a surround system. Especially if you listen to two channel music. The question becomes whether the front mains can work together with the sub in a seamless fashion. For the most part, I liked the way the treble and midrange blended. This is due in large part to the D'Appolito arrangement and the extended midrange enhanced by the passive radiators. The blending with the woofer was also fairly good and added a lot of weight to the low end. Imaging was very good and that should be expected from a speaker that is only a few inches wide. Horizontal dispersion was good with clear sound heard from any of my three home theater seats.

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Dire Straits: On Every Street: Tight bass and sweet guitars, both electric and acoustic highlight this disc. Knopfler's voice was as craggy as ever. This entire disc sounded wonderfully rich and full. A few tracks exhibit very deep bass and the ForceField 4 dug down deep for it without complaint. Stereo imaging was as good as any speakers I have listened to recently…many of them costing a whole lot more than the entire SuperCinema system.

The Who: Tommy (SACD): For some surround music, I picked a classic that I have listened to since the dawn of time (meaning, since high school). The hi-rez surround mix was a bit of the blast from the past meets the sound of the future. In particular, Tommy, Can You Hear Me? has voices coming from all the speakers and the timbre was perfectly matched by the fronts and surrounds. My only complaint with the surrounds is that they are monopole and I prefer the more diffuse sound of bi/di poles. If mounted on the wall, you will not be able to toe-in or angle the speakers out in order to tweak the sound. Fortunately, the SuperSat 50s exhibited a fairly broad off axis sound that allowed me to sit in other places beside my sweet spot and still enjoy the music. Again, diffuse surround sound from behind is a preference thing and not a design flaw.