With the satellites on stands and the sub tucked away in a front corner of my room, setup was almost complete. Since the satellite speakers all roll off at around 90 Hz, I switched my processor's electronic crossover to that setting for all channels and ran a cable to the RW-10's LFE input. The multiway binding posts on the satellites easily accommodated the spade-lug connections on my speaker cables, and once I hooked them up I was ready to roll.
|The Klipsch speakers realistically conveyed the sound effects of Dreamcatcher with unforced dynamics.|
It doesn't seem like many people sit down to listen to music these days, so I started my session with the Cinema 10 by watching a movie - something people do sit down for. With its slimy aliens and scatological humor, Dreamcatcher isn't standard family fare, but it proved to be a good DVD for testing the Klipsch system.
In a scene where a psychiatrist attempts suicide, the depressed doc pulls a handgun out of a drawer, puts it to his head, and breathes heavily. Seconds later the phone rings, and, after attempting to click the safety lock, he instead fires a bullet that smashes through a glass frame holding his Harvard degree. The speakers did an excellent job of conveying the various sound effects in this scene, and their realistic imaging and unforced dynamics really helped build dramatic tension.
The system displayed good spatial continuity on front-channel pans. For example, in an unnerving scene where a professor stands on a sidewalk waiting to cross a busy intersection, the cars speeding by on the road in front of him came across as a steady stream of sound passing through the right, center, and left speakers. The center speaker also had very good off-axis performance: when I shifted my seat off to one side of the couch, dialogue remained intelligible and vocal timbre was relatively consistent.
One area where the Cinema 10 really stood out was in its rendering of environmental ambience. In a scene that takes place outside a rustic cabin in winter, for instance, I could hear the wind whipping around and birds squawking way off in the distance behind me.
However, the system came up short with action movies like Terminator 2. In the classic scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger is pursued by a cop-robot driving a commandeered tractor trailer, for example, the report of gunshots was more of a light punch than a bone-shaking thud. That's not to say the system had no bass - just that it didn't have much in the way of impact or depth.
Shifting gears for stereo listening, I put on a trusted reference cut, Richard Thompson's "King of Bohemia." The pair of RSX-5s at the front of the room displayed an ear-pleasing tonal balance on the song, faithfully conveying details like the texture of Thompson's breathy baritone and his gently plucked acoustic guitar. To test the system's performance on multichannel music, I cued up the DTS 5.1 version of "Heart of the Sunrise" on the DVD-Audio release of the classic Yes album, Fragile. The Cinema 10 proved a good match for this epic piece of prog-rock, easily conveying the excitement of Bill Bruford's inventive drumming and Chris Squire's lead guitarlike bass runs. Vocals sounded clear, and I felt a palpable sense of immersion in Rick Wakeman's Mellotron, the sweet sound oozing from the front and rear speakers like a low-flying cloud.
Listening to Fragile again after all these years put me in a '70s mood, so I reached for the new Led Zeppelin DVD. The live Dolby Digital 5.1 version of "Whole Lotta Love" has a massive bottom end that communicates the power of drummer John Bonham's tub-thumping. Unfortunately, the RW-10 sub had trouble keeping up with the rest of the system, and the visceral slam of Bonham's kick-drum came across as somewhat mushy and indistinct. Otherwise, the Cinema 10 did a convincing job of recreating this kick-ass rock concert in London's Royal Albert Hall, from the shrieking fans to the searing guitar solos.
The Klipsch Cinema 10 system combines good value with a clever, space-saving design. If you're seeking a stylish set of speakers that can be easily mounted on the wall, it merits a close look. But if your tastes lean to action movies and music that's heavy on bass, you might want to consider pairing the satellite speakers with a beefier subwoofer. Still, I think most folks will be happy with the Cinema 10, and its price is certainly reasonable.
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