Once hooked up and sorted out, Energy's Take 5.2 system reproduced two-channel music with impressive accuracy. The low end was solid and refreshingly free of the bass and lower-midrange anomalies that plague so many compact sub/sat arrays. I had no trouble achieving an ex cellent blend between the S8.2 sub and the Take 2.2 satellites with either wiring scheme. While I wouldn't go so far as to put the S8.2 behind me - it's not a good idea to place any subwoofer behind the main listening position - the Take 5.2 setup suffered less from subwoofer localization and sub-sat "disconnection" than many small systems I've evaluated.
Overall balance was engagingly open, with a hint of top-octave reticence - a high-hat cymbal's "ticky-tick-tick" was just a hair less prominent and had a touch less "air" than on my (vastly more expensive) reference speakers. I also noted an occasional slight vocal-range narrowing. This midrange effect was evident as a vague coarsening, or barely perceptible distancing, of male voices, such as Jakob Dylan's warm baritone on the Wallflowers' sophomore War ner Bros. effort, (Breach).
Stereo imaging was terrific all-around: the Take 5.2 put up a real audiophile-style "floats-in-the-air" soundstage for simple, well-recorded two-channel material, like the piano-and-vocal opening bars of Natalie Merchant's "Life Is Sweet" from Ophelia (Elektra). The system's bass extension was remarkable given the 8-inch driver in the sub, which produced an honest 32 Hz with reasonable punch and good definition at relatively modest volumes. Performance like this will let you appreciate music and movies that actually include some true deep bass in a way most pint-size subs do not.
You won't get the real chest smack of 20-Hz pressure waves from T-Rex footfalls in Jurassic Park - I don't care how good your engineering is, for that you need a honkin' big subwoofer - but at least you'll hear the correct tonal balance. I applaud Energy for designing its little sub to favor accurate, extended bass over boom. And if you happen to want boomier bass, you can always flip the front-panel switch to its video position.
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