06 October 2010|
Anyone who has had more than a passing interest with quality audio reproduction has probably heard of Energy loudspeakers. And for several years now, the folks at Energy have been hard at work making their passion and commitment to quality and performance available in our cars.
Recently the UPS guy showed up here at the lab with an convertible speaker kit. Because this is the first full range speaker system I’ve seen from Energy, I was looking forward to taking a closer look, and putting the system through its paces.
The $169.00 (CDN) kit includes a pair of 6.5” midrange drivers, a pair of ¾” silk dome tweeters, two passive crossover networks, and all the required parts to use the system either as a component system or as coaxials.
In the Details
After unpacking the system, I found a nicely made midrange driver utilizing a low resonance stamped steel basket, with the usual complement of mounting holes to accommodate most factory 3 or 4-hole bolt patterns. The midrange driver requires only about 2.5” of mounting depth, making them easy to fit in almost any car. Wire terminals are the typical spades, but Energy has added gold plating to prevent corrosion and enhance reliability. The motor assembly has chrome plated top and bottom plates and a nice embossed rubber bumper trims out the assembly. Looking at the top side of the speaker, the first thing you notice is the woven glass-fiber cone material, which is not usually found in units at this price point. The next component of note is an unusually tall elliptically shaped surround, which has been reinforced by the use of raised ribs. The arrangement provides longer excursion capability without surround distortion or loss of cone control. With greater excursion comes the ability to be used at lower frequencies, and Energy claims the ENC650CV2’s will work down to 65Hz. And I should also note that the included grilles are designed in a manner that will not interfere with the long throw of this woofer.
The silk dome tweeter is dismounted (the system comes shipped as a coaxial) by removing a retaining screw and carefully removing the tweeter wires from under the rubber magnet bumper. Once removed, a silver colored plastic phase plug takes the tweeters place in the center of the midrange. The tweeter can be mounted in several modes, using the supplied flush mount trim ring, or either angled or flat surface mount cups.
The crossover networks feature air coil inductors, and a tweeter level control switch with 0, -3dB or -6dB positions. The wire connections are made via gold plated screw type terminals, and the crossovers have a round hole mesh type snap on cover to protect the parts while providing maximum ventilation.
I left the speakers in coaxial mode and after connecting the Energy speaker system into my listening rooms baffles, I set the amplifiers high pass crossover to 65Hz, and sat back to do some listening. Keeping in mind that this system was priced well under 200 bucks, I thought the Energy’s sounded quite pleasant and musical. The bottom end was warm and strong, with good definition. As the volume went up, the elliptical surround did seem to handle everything I threw at it, even when I deliberately went over the systems design limits to test the overall system linearity. Tonality of the midrange was fairly neutral and natural sounding, with what I thought was a tiny lack of definition in the upper registers. The silk tweeters were actually quite a bit brighter than I expected but not biting or sibilant, and I found myself making good use of the level switches built into the crossovers. In fairness, I should mention that I do my listening on-axis, in a quiet room. If these speakers were mounted low in a door, I actually may have found the higher output of the tweeter quite welcome.
It soon became evident that the Energy system doesn’t care if you prefer Bach, Brooks & Dunn, or Black Sabbath. Regardless of what I played, the sound was true to the recording, and the speakers added very little of their own “voice” to the music.
Recommended Power 25-150 Watts
Sensitivity (2V/1M) 88.3dB SPL
Frequency Response 65Hz -23kHz (-3dB)
Mounting Depth 2.5” (64mm)
Mounting Diameter 5.75” (146mm)
The Energy system features several thoughtful design elements that set it apart from the competition. It’s well made, looks great, and after giving this system a thorough evaluation, I have to say that overall it’s actually quite a bit better than you would expect for the price. I’ve heard systems at double the price that were arguably no better than the ENC650CV2s.
For more information visit www.gentec-intl.com