Product Review (March 2004) - Phase Technology
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.

Front Towers
The V-10 front towers are two-way floor standing models with a single 7" VDT™ (Vapor Deposited Titanium) woofer with a butyl rubber surround and a 1" soft-dome tweeter. The ported design and large cabinet space enable the speaker to reproduce frequencies down to 35 Hertz (-3dB). The Uniframe construction is a three-part baffle assembly that consists of the woofer basket with a mid-section of dense, highly damped, viscous foam, and a base layer of 3/4" MDF
(Medium Density Fiberboard). The design greatly reduces cabinet vibration and resonance. Each tower speaker measures 8.5" wide and one foot deep. The models we received had an attractive Sun Maple finish that covered the front, sides and top of the cabinet. The cabinet is also offered in a Black Rosewood finish. Each speaker weighs a moderate 36 pounds. The upper half of the speaker is covered by a black metal grill. Rear binding posts allow for bi-wiring the drivers. Small stands with spikes are included to slightly elevate the speaker while coupling them to the floor.

Center
The V-6 Center channel is also a 2-way design that uses a 5-1/4" VDT™ (Vapor Deposited Titanium) woofer with a butyl rubber surround and a 1" soft dome tweeter. Instead of a standard open port, the V6 includes a 5-1/4" VDT™ bass radiator with a butyl rubber surround that looks identical to the active woofer, giving the V6 a symmetrical appearance. The V-6 speaker is designed to perform equally well standing up or lying down and because it weighs only 12 pounds, the V-6 won't stress your TV cabinet. The cabinet dimensions measure 18" wide, 7" tall and almost 9" deep when lying down. The same attractive Sun Maple finish used on the tower speakers was also used on the center channel. However, the V-6 is also available with a Black Rosewood finish. The front of the speaker is also covered by a black metal grill.

Surrounds
The V-Surround is a flexible 2-way design that includes a switch for selecting between bipolar or dipolar operation for the best soundstage. The speaker has a single 5-1/4" VDT™ (Vapor Deposited Titanium) woofer with a butyl rubber surround and two 1" soft dome tweeters located on each angled side. The weight of each speaker is approximately 10 pounds, making it easy to mount using the keyhole found on the back. The speakers measure about a foot wide, 9" tall and just under 5" deep. Unlike the front channels, the V-Surround cabinet is a sealed design. The front grill is made with an off-white or black fabric cloth that can be changed upon request from the manufacturer. The V-Surround speakers are only available in white or black finish.

Subwoofers
The V-10 Home Theater system comes with a HV-1000 subwoofer, which includes a 10" long-throw mica/graphite polypropylene driver with a butyl rubber surround mounted in a front-ported enclosure. The subwoofer has a built-in 250-watt servo-controlled amplifier based on the highly-efficient BASH digital amplifier and provides good, clean bass down to 29Hz (-3dB). The rear panel has a gain control, phase switch (0 or 180 degrees), variable crossover (40-110Hz), line/speaker level inputs, a separate LFE input, and full video shielding. The cabinet measures 17" tall, 12" wide and 16" deep. The HV-1000 is not very intrusive looking and only weighs a moderate 28 pounds.

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.

Setup
Electronics used with the V-10 system consisted of a Parasound AVC-2500u preamp/processor and Parasound HCA-2205AT five channel amplifier. Source material came from our Sony DVP-NS900V SACD/DVD player, Kenwood DV-5900M DVD-Audio/Video changer and Marantz MV8300 D-Theater D-VHS VCR. Our system uses M&K's BMC-mini for bass-management and selects between our SACD and DVD-Audio source material using a Zektor MAS3 Passive Switcher. We installed Ultralink's Audiophile-grade Platinum Series cables between components. DTS and Dolby Digital movie soundtracks take advantage of the THX-Ultra processing in the Parasound AVC-2500u that sets the crossover point to 80 Hz for all channels. Since all five satellite channels are capable of reproducing audio below the crossover frequency, we didn't have any problems using this setting.

Performance
We started out with some of our favorite SACDs and DVD-Audio discs that we have become familiar with over the years. DTS Entertainment's Studio Voodoo is loaded with high energy 5.1 material that will certainly get your blood moving. The mix takes full advantage of the 5.1 speaker system enveloping the listener with deep bass extension, fully exercising the subwoofer.

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.

Conclusion
The Phase Technology V-10 speaker system is a well built package that uses quality speaker components. The 10-year speaker warranty shows the confidence the manufacturer has in the product quality. As with any speaker, the sound is somewhat subjective and much depends on the type of music being played through the system. For us, home theater weighs heavily on any 5.1 system and must be capable of a producing a cinematic experience. Phase Technology's Velocity V-10 Home Theater system did just that and is a complete package that also offers good looks. The soft dome tweeters used in the Velocity series loudspeakers exhibit a smooth, yet detailed characteristic in the high frequencies. The bass-midrange driver was fairly warm sounding without the harshness one might expect in a mid-fi speaker system. The best part was sound moved smoothly and seamlessly from speaker to speaker without distracting discontinuities. Even the front and rear speakers were fairly close in timbre which is not always true unless they are identical speakers. We found that the speakers exhibited consistent sound from a wide range of seating positions in our home theater room. The sonic attribute were certainly worth mentioning in a system costing less than $2K retail. In fact, the quality of the V-10 system, both cosmetically as well as sonically prompts me to recommend that you audition these for yourself. The Phase Technology V-10 system is certainly a great sounding 5.1 speaker system for the money.

- Kevin Nakano


Review System

Projector: Epson PowerLite™ LCD Home Theater Projector
Screen:
Da-Lite 92" Cinema Contour Frame with High Contrast Cinema Vision Screen
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller for SACD
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: RCA DTC100 HDTV receiver
D-VHS VCR #1: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
D-VHS VCR #2: Marantz MV8300 D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Video Signal Analyzer: Sencore VSA794 NTSC Video Signal Analyzer
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 Multi-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Colorphotometer with ColorFacts Software


Review - At a Glance

Phase Technology - V-10 Premiere 5.1 Home Theater
Speaker System

Features:

  • VDT™ Vapor Deposited Titanium woofers with butyl rubber surrounds
  • 1" soft dome tweeters
  • Absolute Phase ™ Crossovers
  • Quality MDF Cabinet Construction
  • Low Level Linearity
  • 10-Year Speaker Warranty, 3-Year Amplifier Warranty

    Includes:

  • 2 - V-10 2-way Floor-standing Tower Speakers
  • 1 - V-6 Multi-purpose Speaker (center channel)
  • 2 - V-Surround 2-way Bipolar/Dipolar Surround Effects Speaker
  • 1 - HV-1000 Subwoofer with 250-watt amplifier

    V-10 2-way Floor-standing Tower Speakers
    Specifications:
    Bass Driver

    7" VDT™ Vapor Deposited Titanium woofer

    High Frequency Driver

    1" soft dome tweeter

    Crossover

    Absolute Phase ™ Crossover

    Frequency Response

    35 Hz - 20 kHz ±3 dB

    Sensitivity

    90 dB

    Impedance

    8 ohms

    Dimensions 8.5" (W) x 40.5" (H) x 12" (D)
    Weight 36 pounds
    Magnet Structure Video Shielded
    Finishes Black Rosewood and Sun Maple

    V-6 Multi-purpose Speaker (Center)
    Specifications:
    Bass Driver

    5-1/4" VDT™ Vapor Deposited Titanium woofer

    High Frequency Driver

    1" soft dome tweeter

    Crossover

    Absolute Phase ™ Crossover

    Frequency Response

    56 Hz - 20 kHz ±3 dB

    Sensitivity

    90 dB

    Impedance

    8 ohms

    Dimensions 7" (W) x 18" (H) x 8.75" (D)
    Weight 12 pounds
    Magnet Structure Video Shielded
    Finishes Black Rosewood and Sun Maple

    V-Surround 2-way Bipolar/Dipolar Surround Effects Speaker
    Specifications:
    Bass Driver

    5-1/4" VDT™ Vapor Deposited Titanium woofer

    High Frequency Driver

    Two 1" soft dome tweeters

    Crossover

    Absolute Phase ™ Crossover

    Modes

    Bipolar/Dipolar Selectable

    Frequency Response

    70 Hz - 20 kHz ±3 dB

    Sensitivity

    90 dB

    Impedance

    8 ohms

    Dimensions 11.75" (W) x 9" (H) x 4.75" (D)
    Weight 10 pounds
    Finishes Black and White laminate

    HV-1000 Subwoofer with 250-watt amplifier
    Specifications:
    Bass Driver

    10" mica/graphite polypropylene woofer

    Frequency Response

    29 Hz - 110 Hz ±3 dB

    Sensitivity

    90 dB

    Impedance

    8 ohms

    Dimensions 11.75" (W) x 17" (H) x 16" (D)
    Weight 28 pounds
    Magnet Structure Video Shielded
    Finishes Black Rosewood Only

    Optional: HV-1200 Subwoofer with 250-watt amplifier
    Specifications:
    Bass Driver

    12" mica/graphite polypropylene woofer

    Frequency Response

    24 Hz - 110 Hz ±3 dB

    Sensitivity

    90 dB

    Impedance

    8 ohms

    Dimensions 14" (W) x 19.5" (H) x 18.25" (D)
    Weight 38 pounds
    Magnet Structure Video Shielded
    Finishes Black Rosewood Only


  • Company Information
    Phase Technology Corporation
    6400 Youngerman Circle
    Jacksonville, FL 32244
    Tel: 904 777 0700
    Fax: 904 771 7793
    Support: 888-742-7385

    Source: Manufacture supplied
    MSRP: $1925

    Warranty: 10 year Speaker Warranty, Amplifiers 3-Year Warranty

    URL: www.phasetech.com

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