V-10 Premiere 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System
Home theater speaker systems are getting easier to find as virtually all speaker manufacturers are including 5.1 systems in their lineup. The sheer number of speakers required for today's multi-channel audio systems is largely responsible for the higher cost. The largest contributor typically being the subwoofer, due to the driver/cabinet cost and built-in internal amplifier. Keeping the price at a reasonable level is certainly a challenge for today's manufacturers, especially if the speakers are built with quality components and solid cabinetry. Some manufacturers have chosen to use cheap drivers and cabinets to keep the systems affordable. More reputable companies insist on using higher quality components with better engineered designs, but often times at a hefty price. Finding the middle ground is not always easy for today's A/V enthusiast. Luckily for us, we had the opportunity to listen to a new reasonably priced 5.1 speaker system from a company called Phase Technology. United Speaker Systems, the parent company of Phase Technology, was founded by Bill Hecht (who has the patent for the invention of the soft dome tweeter) was founded in 1955. Phase Technology was created in 1978. They have recently introduced a new line of high-performance home theater speakers called the Velocity Series.
Phase Technology offers four different Velocity speaker systems. They include the V-12, V-10, V-8, and V-4 systems, each designed to suit different budget and performance needs. We reviewed the V-10 Premiere Home Theater System, which includes a pair of 2-way floor-standing V-10 towers along with a the V-6 center channel to cover the front three channels. A pair of V-Surround speakers handle the rear channels. Finally, low frequencies are handled by the HV-1000 subwoofer which includes a 10" driver powered by a built-in 250-Watt amplifier. The V-10 Home Theater system offers a full-range multi-channel speaker system that makes listening to music and watching movies a real treat. All five channels are rated at 8 ohms nominal impedance, so virtually any receiver or amplifier can easily drive the speaker loads. In addition, they all have equal sensitivity (90 dB), making it easier to match levels within the room. All of the speakers with the exception of the V-Surrounds are magnetically shielded, including the subwoofer. This prevents stray magnetic fields from disrupting picture quality with CRT-based displays. Best of all, the V-10 Home Theater package retails for only $1925.
Every Velocity speaker model includes Phase Technology's Absolute Phase Crossover design that is said to deliver the same soundstage regardless of where the listener sits in the room. This crossover design also prevents nulls that often occur due to driver configurations of the center channel depending on horizontal or vertical positioning of the speaker.
Phase Technology also offers the larger HV-1200 subwoofer, which includes a 12" long-throw mica/graphite polypropylene driver and is capable of going down to 24Hz (-3dB). The cabinet measures 20" tall, 14" wide and just over 18" deep. It weighs 10 pounds more than the HV-1000 at 38 pounds. The HV-1200 has the same amplification and rear panel controls found on the HV-1000. All Velocity subwoofer models have black cloth grills on the front.
On a different note, we listened to Chesky Record's recording of Rebecca Pidgeon titled The Raven (SACD205) in their SACD collection. Ms. Pidgeon's voice is hypnotic and her soothing vocals reveal the delicate capabilities of the V-10 speaker system. This recording is wonderfully detailed and naturally uncolored. Track 12 (Spanish Harlem) of this disc created a wide sound stage with great imaging. This is one of the best female vocal recordings we've heard to date. The hybrid SACD disc plays on any CD player, but the best sonic qualities are realized on a good SACD player. Unlike many of the newer 5.1 SACDs, this disc is a two-channel recording. However, audiophiles will find themselves immersed in her music. One other two-channel recording worth noting from Chesky is a CD from Sara K. entitled tell me i'm not dreamin' (Catalog No. JD133) that includes a unique style with her sultry voice.
Now it was time to move on to 5.1 audio for movies. We recently received 20th Century Fox's X-Men2 and Moulin Rouge featured on the D-VHS D-Theater format. These 1080i high-definition tapes offer unsurpassed picture quality and a sonic experience to die for. Best of all, these latest D-Theater releases carry the DTS Digital Surround audio bitstream in the full 1509 kbps (kilo-bits per second) format. This format has been around for a while, yet the latest releases that feature DTS audio can only be heard (in DTS) using the latest JVC HM-DH40000U or Marantz MV8300 D-VHS D-Theater VCR. Of course, we were excited to hear this new material with the V-10 system. As expected, the sound quality was amazing with clear and intelligible dialogue. The DTS Digital Surround format offers consumers an incredible home theater experience with exceptional sound quality and the V-10 system delivered a great sonic experience without any serious problems. Even at relatively high volume levels, the V-10 system held its own and produced superb sound quality without any fatigue. As with most action movies, X2 had very aggressive surround material that worked well with the V-10 system. We also watched segments of Moulin Rouge and found the audio quality to be equally impressive. However, the lack of action when compared to X2 made the impact somewhat less impressive.
Some may find the rear V-Surround speakers have limited low frequency response, but this didn't seem to be an issue for us with our bass management system. Smaller surround speakers often times have limited low-frequency capabilities, so this should be factored into the setup. We found that the 80Hz crossover frequency (THX) worked well for us. We switched between the dipolar and bipolar configuration on the V-Surrounds and found slight differences in the way the sound was dispersed. For our room, the dipolar mode was preferred. However, having this flexibility offers the customer a way to vary the sound based on room acoustics and speaker position.
There's no doubt in my mind that this system requires a subwoofer to reproduce low frequencies found in music and most movie soundtracks. We had both Subwoofers (HV-1000 and HV-1200) to test during our review period and preferred the capabilities of the larger HV-1200 even with the slight increase in system cost. While the HV-1000 provided great bass for the vast majority of content we listened to, we certainly enjoyed the deeper bass the HV-1200 had to offer, especially in the case of action movies.
- Kevin Nakano
Projector: Epson PowerLite
LCD Home Theater Projector
|Review - At a Glance|
Phase Technology - V-10 Premiere
5.1 Home Theater
Source: Manufacture supplied
Warranty: 10 year Speaker Warranty, Amplifiers 3-Year Warranty
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