Most helpful positive review
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Using Two for Superior Stereo Music Repro!
on November 28, 2012
After reading much about these Energy subs and needing a tight low end for my Martin Logan Motion 12's for stereo listening of music I decided to give two of these a try. I own a Klipsch front firing 12 inch sub for my home theater system but it never performed all that well for music as far as tight, articulated reproduction was concerned. I had hoped the Energy ESW-M8 NA's might do the trick and when a lightening deal struck and the price dropped I took the plunge and had my Dad do the same so we could get two.
If you don't like reading long reviews and want the bottom line, here it is:
This sub is EXTREMELY musical! Give it some time to break in and make SURE you have it set up properly with your polarity and crossover set correctly so the sub is firing along with your other speakers and not stepping on frequencies your other speakers already handle. Once you take some care and time with this thing you will be rewarded with EXCELLENT,tight,articulate and MUSICAL sounding bass. If your tastes lean more towards the BOOM BOOM BOOM variety, then get yourself a BIC 12 inch front firing or discontinued Klipsch but if accurate musical reproduction is what you crave, look no further than this Energy 9 inch cube!
Build quality is very good. The gloss finish MIGHT reflect off your TV screen and you may wish to consider that when placing the sub. They are a bit larger and a bit heavier than I was expecting and they just FEEL solid and well made. They look great as well! As far as the power rating goes, that 1200 Watt figure is PEAK music power and I believe the actual RMS rating is 300 watts.
These Energy subs have plenty of power to supplement any reasonable stereo setup. I have mine next to my Martin Logan's on each side , leaving enough room for the passive radiators to radiate and connected to my stereo sub outputs of a Harmon Kardon amp. The effect is pretty seamless with the Energy's basically just becoming part of the Martin Logan arrays on each side. I have NOT broken them in yet and know the sound will tighten up over the next 30-40 hours but my initial tests show they can handle all the frequencies needed to reproduce the music I listen to.
I was surprised at how powerful these amps actually are. I ended up having to turn them down twice and finally ended up with the volume at around 9:45 to balance with my other speakers. It's nice to have some extra power for those peaks and attack transients and I doubt I will ever hear any distortion from these things as I do not listen at insane levels. By adjusting the the phase slightly (by listening, adjusting, listening again, adjusting, etc.) and finding the exact frequency roll-off to seamlessly integrate with the Motion 12's I could basically get the subs to function as an extension of my main stereo speakers and you really can't tell where the Martin Logan's leave off and the Energy's begin.
I am a geezer and listen to a lot of British Invasion music (among other genres) and as an example the walking bass line during "Got to get You Into my Life" by The Beatles is usually problematic with many subs, with the last 2 or 3 notes disappearing or revealing the fact you are using a sub to cover those frequencies. Not so with these Energy's. With a bit of trial and error I was able to use that recording (the 24 bit USB version) to create a seamless extension all the way down the scale so the notes sounded like McCartney was just playing them directly thru the tube console. I can not hear where the Marin Logan's leave off and the subs begin. THIS IS A GOOD THING! I then further dialed in the balance and crossovers using the SACD of Toto IV which I know like the back of my hand. After a bit of fiddling I dialed in a REALLY GOOD sound overall and things are only going to get better as the speakers complete their burn-in period. (which might necessitate a few tweaks here and there)
Basically, If you are obsessive over your sound you have all the tools to tweak these things to your hearts content. If you just want to plug and play they will work for that as well, although with lesser results overall. Personally I wouldn't want to use these for film soundtrack repro although they WOULD work for it, just nothing all that dramatic sounding in regards to subsonics. For a bedroom installation they would be GREAT for any purpose. For my personal needs they are well suited to handle the low end of my stereo system and I am 100% happy with them with ZERO buyers remorse so far.
A word on unpacking:
Due to the exposed passive radiators on two sides plus the speaker on the front you must exercise care when removing the sub from the box. Honestly there is no good way to grab hold of this thing without risking putting your finger thru one of the paper cones so I recommend opening the top of the box, then turning it upside down and easing it out. Once out of the box (the power cord is under the bottom piece of Styrofoam) the sub is covered in an outer layer of sheet foam with an inner covering of T-shirt like material. They are very well protected as long as you don't put your hand thru the driver or radiator.
The Energy ESW-M8 NA's are a great buy at the $300 or under price point. The List Price is obliviously inflated, much like the list prices of Invicta watches. The sound quality is really good, the warranty is VERY good and they are small and easily placed. Unless you have unlimited money, these subs are all you need for most music and smaller home theater installations. If you buy TWO you will have full coverage and power to spare. If you are a music lover and know good sound when you hear it, these Energy subs will help you get there! Seriously!
UPDATE 11-30-12: After 20 hours of medium volume break-in with numerous musical generes I tried cranking Foreigner 4 from my 24 bit HD Tracks FLAC files and it rocked. I now find that around 100-110 is the best place for my crossovers with Motion 12's. I get smooth transitioning to the subs with no noticeable gaps. Just good solid articulated bass and kick drum and drum rolls using low toms have plenty of WHOMP!!! to them. I will post again after another 20 hours of use.