Cerwin Vega VE Series Speakers
Ara was looking for a use for his Harman-Kardon receiver that was put out to pasture by his Denon. He figured why not put a surround system in his master bedroom. All that was needed was five speakers since he also had a subwoofer that was put out to pasture by his Hsu VTF-3 MK4. A lot of devices get put out to pasture in the Derderian household. Since this was so far beyond what Ara’s wife wanted in the bedroom the cost had to be very affordable.
So Ara searched around online looking for good speakers that didn’t break the bank. Many 5.1 systems met the criteria but included a subwoofer. So rather than buy one of those and simply give the subwoofer away, he looked for speakers that were sold as separates or at least pairs. He stumbled across the Cerwin Vega VE series and it met all the criteria, size, price, and sound quality. Well if you believe user comments on Amazon for the sound quality part. Regardless, remembering the name Cerwin Vega from when Ara was a little kid he took a chance on it and bought four bookshelf (Buy Now $129 a Pair) and one center channel (Buy Now $99) speakers.
For those who have never heard of Cerwin Vega it was started by Gene Czerwinski in 1954. Gene was an aerospace engineer who loved music. Today Cerwin Vega is owned by The Stanton Group.
The speakers themselves have pretty decent specs:
VE 5C (Center Channel)
VE 5M (Bookshelf)
These speakers are pretty efficient which makes it easier for your receiver to drive them. They are also fairly compact and can easily placed in smaller rooms. The bookshelves measure:
The center channel measures:
We didn’t really have high expectations because of the price and use case. Really, how high fidelity do you need for a bedroom surround system? But we were pleasantly surprised! The first thing we did was listen to music without the subwoofer so we were worried that having the speakers only go down to 60 hz may eliminate some of the boom in modern music. They do a good job with the low end but if you have some modern music with a heavy bass track you will need a subwoofer. Beyond that, the bass sounds remarkably full for such a small cabinet. On the high frequencies everything sounded crisp and bright. Maybe even a bit too bright.
Watching movies was a lot of fun because we typically don’t get to watch in surround in our bedrooms. You may think this is total overkill and we probably agree but what else are you going to do with spare equipment. Dialog was clear and easy to make out, surround effects added a new dimension to watching a movie or TV show before going to bed. But with as good as this all sounds, what really brought it home was the subwoofer. In most cases you can probably go with L,C,R and a subwoofer and be totally happy.
While we are extremely happy with these speakers we are not going to swap them out in our main rooms. But if you are just starting out or have a small room that needs a 5.1 system you will be much better served buying these plus a subwoofer over any home theater in a box system. Side note: Ara was going to go wireless for the surround system but he could not find one that performed without annoying pops and cracks. In the end he wired up the surrounds by stringing cable all the way around the room with channel tracks attached to the baseboards. More on that in a future show.
Posted by The HT Guys, September 26, 2013 11:57 PM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.