Pros + Build quality is top-notch
+ Sleek black piano finish
+ Perfect sound, easy to setup and install, nice clean bass
Cons - The mount hole in the back would be better served in the center instead of top
Summary I purchased the Energy system in August of this year and am extremely impressed with its performance.
I should preface this review by disclosing that I am a heavy researcher, my wife says bordering on compulsive. Whenever I am considering a large purchase I plot and plan for weeks, scouring reviews and forums pertaining to whatever product it is I'm interested in. My aim in this research is to get the best possible value for my money. Essentially I really like nice "stuff." After enduring roughly two years of shallow, boxy sounds emitted from my Samsung home theatre in a box, I decided it was time to kick it to the curb. I wanted a system offering rich, full sound to complement the picture of my TV. And the researching commenced. . .
I initially heard about the Take Classic system from a cursory browsing of CNET. Being a Amazon Prime fanatic, the Amazon reviews were the obvious next step in the process. Five stars with so many reviews? I was confused. I decided to cross reference several different website's reviews looking for bias. After not finding any such thing, similar products were scrutinized in the same manner. Obviously, I ended up going with Energy--which was actually my initial choice anyways.
With the speakers I purchased and paired the Pioneer VSK-1021K receiver, which I'm also very pleased with. Other system components include: 12 gauge speaker wire, high quality HDMI and subwoofer cables and the Atlantic Satellite speaker stands for the fronts.
I must admit I was initially a little underwhelmed with the performance of the speakers. I had spent several hours cleanly running all the cables into the attic, under carpet and connecting everything to the receiver via banana plugs; why didn't it sound better? I listened to all matter of media over the course of the next few weeks; adjusting speaker levels, auto calibrating everything and generally fretting. Yet still, the sound was tinny. Disconcertingly so with female vocalists, which would produce a shrill sound from the tweeter resembling static. I read on Energy's website that there was a "break in period" that must be followed. I decided to leave music, tv, etc. playing throughout the day in order to break them in before my return period expired (a course of action I was seriously considering.) However, as the hours of play time wore on I started to notice a change in the sound stage emitted from the speakers. The room was starting to be filled with increasingly rich sound.
After several months of the usage I am blown away by the performance of these speakers. They are now incredibly warm when playing music and the aforementioned "problem tweeters" resonate with a silkiness previously inconceivable. They excel in cinema watching as well producing good bass response and a well-balanced center channel. The subwoofer, although small, is well paired with the system producing clear and concise lows. None of this overpowering, floppy and out-of-sync bass commonly experienced with larger $200-500 subwoofers.
For the size of my living room (roughly 15x20) these speakers fill the room with sound quite impressively.
As many other reviewers have noted, the binding plugs won't accept banana plugs; although the posts themselves crimp quite well on the speaker wire--so not a worry to me. Another point I'll echo from some of the reviewers is the importance of setting up your receiver properly. Set the speaker size to "small" and crossover around 100-110HZ if not auto calibrating. As a matter of preference I have the subwoofer crossover set at 130HZ and volume around 80%.
Being a connoisseur of good value I'll say overall I'm very impressed with this system ( and if you will buy this system I suggest you have to check for best deal before you buy it at: Hometheatersystemsuggestion.blogspot.com/2011/11/energy-51-take-classic.html ).
It rivals speaker systems in the $1500 range, as I've witnessed on several occasions. If you pair it with a GOOD receiver and observe proper break-in you will not be disappointed.
Pros Audio quality, craftsmanship, and size. For such small speakers, the Take Classics can play loud without distorting. Sound clarity is excellent. Center channel reproduces dialogue clearly. Subwoofer plays "bigger" than it's stated size.
Cons None...for the price, this is one of the best deals around.
Summary I am not a hi fi snob, nor an audiophile. But, I do consider myself an electronics and gadget junkie. My "home theater" consisted of a 46" LCD, a PS3 as my video source and a Onkyo TX SR-605 A/V receiver (which I purchased after reading about it here on CNET) hooked up to Paradigm Atom v.5 bookshelf speakers in a stereo configuration. I had been running this set up for more than a year but always felt something was missing, like a center channel speaker and a subwoofer. But, I wasn't motived to complete the home theater setup due to cost and the state of our economy.
But that all changed when I recently came across Steve Guttenberg's review of the Take Classic 5.1 system. Having read his articles in the past, I knew that he was very knowledgeable. I figured I can trust a guy who used to sell speakers for a living and who auditions speakers that cost more than some people's homes.
But, due to my OCD, I couldn't rely on his review alone. I needed to make sure that I was getting the best product for my money. So, I began my research. All the reviews I read about Energy and the Take Classics were positive. After doing some comparison shopping, I made my purchase from WWStereo.Com for $349.99 shipped (no tax, no shipping).
Unlike the 5.1 system reviewed here on CNET, the set that I purchased consisted of the Take Classics along with the S8.3 subwoofer rather than the ESW-8 in CNET's review. It is my understanding the S8.3 is a better sub. But, both systems should be comparable.
The Take Classics are miniature versions of bookshelf speakers. They do not look cheap like most HTIB speakers made of plastic. These little guys are made from MDF and finished in piano laquer. They look very nice and blend nicely with my LCD display. I read in some reviews that the speaker terminals were cheaply made, but considering how small these speakers are, I thought they were more than sufficient. In fact, I am using banna plugs connected to 12 guage wires.
I must say that I am impressed with these speakers and they quickly made me forget about my Paradigm Atoms.
My 4 and 3 year old have watched Wall-E multiple times on Blu ray, but they were being short changed due to a 2 speaker set up. Once I hooked up the Take Classic 5.1 system I noticed how attentive they were and they sat through the entire movie mesmorized by the added sound effects that hadn't heard before.
In conclusion, the Take Classic 5.1 system is a great buy. You are getting a quality product for a great price. I bought quite a few gadgets and electronics in the last couple years (i.e. PS3, Wii, Onkyo TX SR-605, Paradigm Atom Monitor v.5, Samsung LNT-4665 LCD, Cown D2, Shure SE310, BlueAnt M1 Stereo Bluetooth speaker, iPod Touch, Apple in-ear headphones w/ mic, Asus Aspire One netbook) and the Take Classic 5.1 speaker system has to be the best bang for your buck, a close second to the PS3.
Pros Price, Looks, and yes, the whole reason I purchased them, the sound quality! Ah.... WOW!
Cons None at all! The big one, I trust CNET alot and really wished they would of reviewed these, but I decided to just review them the old fashioned way, that is with my ear!
Summary I have recently purchased this system paired with a Denon AVR1508. And all I can say is WOW!
I originally purchased the POLK RM705 package, and kept them all of 2 days, brought those back and got the Klipsch Quintet III paired with the KSW10 subwoofer, on both systems all the satellites' did was nothing but scream at you and the subwoofer distorted at low to medium levels regardless of what I threw at it, music or home theater (KSW10 not quite as bad). Needless to say they went back as well, I know I am picky! I was going to give up on the 5.1 package and go get bookshelf speakers or towers.
However ENERGY has changed my view on the 5.1 kit! ENERGY has also made very nice high end speakers for a while now, which have always been very efficient, crisp and clean, and they have done it again! Music and Home Theater purely sound superb! The satellites' do not scream which helps the subwoofer compliment the overall sound, hence not missing the mid range. This helps in accomplishing the full sound that I believe we all desire.
I do only have one small complaint. I do have to turn the subwoofer down when jamming normal music (stereo 2.1) or there will be slight distortion from the subwoofer, however for the money and the fact the 5.1 systems are pretty much entirely designed for movies... top notch! And a slight turn of the knob once or twice a year when the time calls for really cranking up the volume, not a huge issue!
As far as home theater no subwoofer issues there! The subwoofer produces extremely clean, tight, deep bass, which makes any explosion or thunder shake the couch. The satellites' in any listening configuration are absolutely unbelievable, clean, clear, crisp, enabling you to hear fingers actually sliding over the guitar strings as they are being strummed, incredible!
Do yourself a favor and go listen to these if you are in the market for a 5.1 system and make sure to bring the check book as you will need it, I did!
I hope this helps as this is a fairly new HT system and there are not a whole lot of reviews out there, but the ones that are, seem to agree with mine!
Pros Satellites speakers are well-balanced; tweets sparkle. Got the system from Amazon for ~$350. The system is grounded by a serious thumping sub. I paired my back speakers with the KEF wireless system (~$360 on E-bay) and it r-o-c-k-s.
Cons Speakers didn't match up exactly with the Sanus speaker stands I bought.....they were made for Klipsch, Polk and othermainline speaker systems.
Summary My wife loves it, and that's saying alot. I replaced my old, massive, solid wood-cabinet Infinity and Advent speakers, with a Polk sub. I loved those speakers, but my wife said "they are too big; get rid of them." So I patiently waited until I saw a good CNET review on a 5.1 set. Almost got the Nanosats, but really wanted a center speaker. Then I saw this review. Never heard of Energy before; I'm not an audiophile. But I read through and was convinced to give'em a try. I ordered that day from Amazon, hooked them up a couple weeks ago, and have been sooooo impressed. BTW, try the KEF wireless speaker system for your back speakers. I got a couple pairs of Sanus stands and am now in business.
Pros Decent appearance... Brand name... small size... ported... nice connection posts.
Cons Didn't like to be pushed, Washed out sound missing some highs
Summary Just about everything I've read pushed me towards the Take Classic 5.1 as an "upgrade" for my current Polk surround speakers. I have a medium sized dedicated home theater, currently configured in 7.1 with 3 subs. When the Takes arrived was mostly impressed with the overall build quality. Removable grills and black glossy laminate... good packaging. Once I inspected the speakers more closely, I noticed that the laminate coating on the speakers was wavy on some the corners and flat surfaces. I could actually make a popping/sticking sound by pressing the wavy/bubbling surfaces (sounded like the laminate was re-sticking and then dislodging from the actual speaker box). Overall, though, the physical appearance was good.... but somehow they felt more like an imitation of a true high-end finish.
I was intending to replace my current Polk Audio RM series satellites (which I happen to like a lot... based on the Take reviews I was assuming I would move parallel from their sound and up a few notches). The post screws on the Takes were solid... however the binding post housing actually got in the way of my universal speaker mount arms... so I had to cut the surface of the arms to allow the mounts' screws to properly fit in the speaker.
Fast forward to the sound test. In a few short words, I didn't like it. The sound, to me, sounded flat and relatively hollow and weak in the highs. The speakers also did not like being pushed. They have a very mellow, small sound, IMO. If I were outfitting a room roughly the size of 10X12, I might consider them. But my theater room... 17X12.... they didn't fill the space. I also was unimpressed with the sound stage that the front 3 (R,L,C) channels created.
In the end, I boxed up my Takes and shipped them back to the seller I used... and re-installed my Polks. Ah.... a breath of fresh air. I'd have to say, to my ear, my Polks far exceed the performance I experienced from the Takes. Of course, that's just my opinion. I know everyone out there has different tastes in sound. If you are looking for a bright and dynamic speaker, don't look to the Takes. And if you are looking at the Takes, then definitely give PolkAudio a fair shake. You might find the Take's suit your ears better... but it's nice to know there are options out there!