Energy Veritas V2.4 surround speaker system Page 2
"Open," "detailed," and "just a little relaxed and laid-back" were my initial overall impressions when listening to music through the V2.4s in 2-channel stereo plus subwoofer, and those first impressions held up with both music and films over several weeks of listening. The V2.4s were superbly clean in the all-important midrange: free of any obvious coloration, and never in-your-face except on the most over-the-top recordings. The top end was evenly balanced, with no trace of spit or sizzle. The midbass blended smoothly with the subwoofer.
The V2.4s handled voices particularly well. While I use a variety of recordings to judge the reproduction of male vocals, Gordon Lightfoot's classic If You Could Read My Mind (Reprise 6392-2) has consistently been one of the first I reach for. I have probably listened to it, first on vinyl and more recently on CD, through hundreds of loudspeakers. The V2.4s left little room for complaint. The balance was almost ideal, with just the right degree of texture and detail. The same held for Mighty Sam McClain's Give it Up to Love, a JVC XRCD remastering (JVCXR-0012-2) of an AudioQuest Music recording. While McClain's vocals also sounded a bit laid-back in the presence region, reducing the immediacy of the sound, the sound remained relaxed, open, and free of coloration.
The V2.4's tweeter is one of the best I've heard. From the delicate high-frequency transients of Leo Kottke's guitar on My Father's Face (Private Music 2050-2-P) to the small, reedy-sounding trumpet pipes of the baroque organ on Les Organistes du Roy Soleil (Pierre Verany PV 784011), it opened up and extended the sound space without calling attention to itself. Only in my smaller, livelier room (about 2000 cubic feet) did I hear a slightly brighter sound with just a trace of a metallic quality.
I listened to music through the Energys with and without a subwoofer, and ultimately preferred the former, particularly in a larger room. Without a sub, the bass sounded faster and tighter but did not go as deep. The system also sounded a little more open with the subwoofer switched in—most likely due to the fact that the corner-positioned sub provided a more even LF balance than the mid-room V2.4s. As in most home theaters—and unlike most sound-only audio setups—subwoofer placement offered far more flexibility than the screen-constrained main LCR channels.
In my smaller room with System 1, the Energys, driven full-range, sounded much more substantial in the bass than in the System 2 space, without overdriving the room. Nevertheless, you'll want to use a subwoofer with the system if big action movies are part of your diet. While surprisingly robust, the small drivers in the V2.4 were simply not up to the demands of such soundtracks played back at realistic levels. If, however, your viewing is limited to dramas, light comedies, and other non-explosive fare played at modest levels, and your room is not too large (under 2000 cubic feet), you might well be able to get along without a subwoofer.
I listened to music in stereo and in the music surround mode of my system's current surround-sound processor, the Proceed AVP. The AVP directs a difference signal to the surrounds and simulates a center channel from the left/right sum, but several dB down in level—a subtle, unobtrusive mode that adds a convincing sense of space and a more secure center to many recordings. In conventional 2-channel stereo or music surround, the Energys produced a convincing soundstage with a solid, 3-dimensional sense of depth—provided the recording was cooperative.
The Energy system's slightly laid-back quality was most evident with large-scale material. I first noticed this on big orchestral spectaculars like Mega Movies (Telarc CD-80535), a compilation of movie themes played by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops. With this recording, but not with more intimate music, I kept wanting to turn up the volume.
With film soundtracks, this quality resulted in a less up-front sound than with the Revel Performa F30 package that had preceded the Energys in System 2, but this wasn't much of a liability. The sound of Toy Story 2 was striking: detailed and dynamic, with excellent soundstaging and a smooth transition to the subwoofer. And the system played at reference level—and above—without complaint.
The V2.0R surrounds blended perfectly with the rest of the Veritas system, doing what was required without calling undue attention to themselves. Ambience was solidly reproduced. The aircraft hangar–like sound of the detention center in Empire of the Sun sounded eerily real. Though that film did sound a little bright, engaging the THX mode on the Proceed surround processor brought it into better balance. Less bright material did not need THX re-equalization. Mouse Hunt remains one of the best-sounding movies on DVD, not least because of its superbly recorded music track. While it, too, was just a little laid-back, its open, spacious quality and excellent sense of depth were more than adequate compensation.
If there's a fly in the Veritas ointment, it's the V2.0C center-channel speaker. I haven't spent much time recently listening to horizontal 2-way, 3-driver (woofer-tweeter-woofer) centers. Typically, however, these exhibit erratic response off-axis, usually in the form of one or more serious dips in the midrange. Depending on the room and the listener's location, the audible result may or may not be obvious.