Hands On: SnapAV ES Speakers

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SnapAV steps it up with the solid ES surround-sound speaker package.


Jun. 02, 2010 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I gave SnapAV‘s first loudspeaker, the HT-650 LCR, a mixed-bag review. The company really stepped it up with its latest speakers.

The company recently sent me a suite of its ES speakers, including the ES-500 satellite, LCR and subwoofer, which I integrated into the Electronic House/CE Pro office system.

Features

The first thing I noticed was the fit, finish, weight and appearance of the speakers, which are noticeably better than their predecessor. The speakers are heavy considering their compact size. Their piano-black lacquer finishes are nice.

The LCR speaker features a pair of 4.5-inch polypropylene-injection cone woofers flanking a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter. The companion satellite speaker features a two-way design with a single 4.5-inch drive unit and the 1-inch tweeter. SnapAV says both the satellite and LCR offer a frequency response of 70Hz to image23kHz. Adding low-end support for the system is the ES-SUB-IW-DUAL8 In-wall Subwoofer, the E-2100 amplifier and EQ box.

Setup

Setting the system up took no time, but it’s noteworthy that I did not install the subwoofer, which fits into a single stud bay into a wall.

Once I completed the break-in of the system, which took 50 to 60 hours, I made final adjustments to the crossover setting (from 80Hz to 100Hz) and output volume.

Performance

I listened to everything from Christmas music and George Benson, to Dave Matthews and Lisa Loeb, and I was consistently surprised at how smooth and integrated the sub/sat package performed. I listened to Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Little Wing” and found the speaker/subwoofer relationship to demo how well the company timbre matches the products to produce a cohesive soundstage.

I would like to see the crossover control set with more incremental settings so you know, for example, that you are setting the control at 100Hz.

Custom electronics pros and listeners will find the system isn’t a full-frequency champion. I estimate that even with the subwoofer it played down to about 45Hz in our room environment. Given its lack of true deep bass, and combination of room friendliness and affordability, you should consider multiple subs with this system in your home theater to add some low-end evenness and depth to its playback capabilities.
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SnapAV subsequently told me of an error in the early version I received of the in-wall subwoofer installation manual, which it says has been corrected. The original manual directs the installer to connect the output of the active EQ box to a single channel of the e-2100 amp, and the corrected manual says to use a y-adapter (which now ships with the amp) to connect the output from the EQ box to both channels of the amplifier. Given the misdirection, it’s possible I didn’t experience the full potential of its performance.

That said, SnapAV has made a gigantic step forward with these speakers, and you can outfit your theater room with them with full confidence.



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