Since GoldenEar sees fit to demo the SC3DA with music, I saw no reason to shy away from it myself. When I cued up the track “Kevin’s” from Brooklyn- based singer Sharon Van Etten’s Tramp CD, high notes rang out crystalline and sweet, and her voice still sounded clear and unrestrained even when she belted it out during the song’s climax. On a regular set of good speakers, this would have been no big deal. Considering it was coming from a soundbar, however, the SC3DA’s handling of female vocals was notably transparent: not smoothed over, but also not too crisp or clinical-sounding.
When I first set the system up, I was worried that the single ForceField 3 subwoofer might not be enough for my midsize room — a fear that was soon put to rest upon hearing some reference tracks with strong bass content. Listening to a solo by Dave Holland on the track “Moon River,” from Bill Frisell’s With Dave Holland and Elvin Jones CD, notes from his acoustic bass sounded detailed and full even at the instrument’s lowest registers. There was also a seamless blend between soundbar and sub: When I listened with my eyes closed, Holland’s instrument was positioned front and center; there was never any sense of its sound emanating from the trapezoidal box on the floor — a good thing.
One music track I listened to that really let the soundbar/sub combo show its stuff was Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1” from — do we even need to say it? — The Wall. The sound emanating from GoldenEar’s compact system was massive, with soundstage width far exceeding the physical boundaries of the soundbar itself. It was one of many moments during my time with the GoldenEar SuperCinema 3D Array that made me wonder if I should even bother using separate tower speakers in my system any longer.
To check out the “cinema” aspect of the Super-Cinema 3D Array, I turned to the Blu-ray of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, a loose — okay, over-the-top — rendition of a Sherlock Holmes story with a suitably aggressive soundtrack. In a scene that takes place in an auction hall, the reverberating voice of an auctioneer created a believable sense of the large, cavernous space. And when I played a chapter from The Tree of Life depicting the origins of the universe, the system ably conveyed its thunderous classical score and room-shaking LFE as the world coalesced.
Another scene from Game of Shadows showed the SuperSat 3s to be very competent little surround speakers. As Sherlock “visualizes” the steps of his hand-to-hand combat with a would-be assassin, the Matrix-style slo-mo action is accompanied by surround effects that pan around the room. These were conveyed fairly seamlessly by the GoldenEar system, with impressive continuity between the front and rear speakers.
Movie dialogue also fared well on the soundbar. Mycroft’s (Steven Fry) resonant voice in Game of Shadows sounded full and posh, while other, less theatrical, but no less distinctive, voices such as Professor Moriarty’s (Jared Harris) came across as consistently clear. And those same impressions held up even when I slid over to an off-center seat.
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