The Classic Series also includes the CS2300 5-channel surround-sound-system configuration, which goes for around $600. It's identical to the CS2310 we're reviewing here, but without the CS Sub 10 subwoofer.
Starting with the Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music DVD, we were impressed with the CS2310's detailed sound. This live concert at Radio City Music Hall was shot just a few weeks after 9/11, so it's no surprise the performances have an emotional charge beyond what you'd get from just another all-star show. Shelby Lynne's gut-wrenching vocals tore up "Mother" with a full-throated wail. Alanis Morissette's "Dear Prudence" was only slightly less passionate, and the CS2310's unwavering clarity brought out the best in both performances.
The The X-Files: Fight the Future Blu-ray proved a tougher test. The scene in which agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) drives a huge tractor across the frozen Antarctic tundra revealed that the system's CS Sub 10 had a tendency to turn boomy and bloated when turned up loud. The helicopter crash and explosion in the Black Hawk Down Blu-ray overtaxed the CS223C and CS23 satellites, so the film's hard-hitting dynamics were reigned in more than we would have liked. Still, dialog intelligibility remained unfazed during even the most intense battle scenes and the enveloping surround mix of gunfire and mayhem was right on the money.
Unfortunately, we didn't have the Energy RC-Micro 5.1 System on hand to do a direct comparison, but we think that system would have held up better to Black Hawk Down's heavy-duty deep-bass assaults. That said--Boston's clearer, more-detailed overall sound is more "upfront" than that of the "laid-back" Energy system.
Rocking out with My Morning Jacket's Evil Urges CD, the CS2310 recovered somewhat, and the CS Sub 10's bass sounded potent. Still, the system sounded increasingly strained as we turned the volume up.
Overall, the CS2310 is no party animal and it will probably do its best work in smaller home theaters. It's certainly not a bad speaker system; just keep in mind that you can find similarly sized speaker systems for the money that'll deliver more home theater oomph.
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