Cadence CSB-F3 and CSB-R2 Sound Bars

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Moving to what the Cadence sound bar were designed for, movies, I played Iron Man (Paramount Home Entertainment, Blu-ray). With movies, the majority of the sounds emanating from the front speakers are tied to actions on the screen. Unless you have a large projection screen, a sound bar should have no problem matching the sonic cues to the onscreen visual cues. The CSB-F3 did a good job tracking voices across the screen while maintaining dialogue intelligibility. Both Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow's voices were easily identifiable and reproduced without any unnatural sibilance or chestiness. At higher volumes, the system really benefited from the help of a subwoofer as small speakers can only produce so much volume. I know you wouldn't respect me in the morning if I didn't find where this limit was with the Cadence speakers.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, Blu-ray) had a variety of sonic challenges. In addition to the big dynamics of the cannon battles, there were lots of subtler challenges. Several scenes featured a large number of background voices that were somewhat less detailed than on my reference system. I note that the voices of the key characters and the main sonic cues remained discernable and it was only the background sounds that seemed to be missing some detail. Some may not even notice this or may even prefer it, as the focus is never taken away from the main action. Personally, I prefer all of the detail in the low-level background sonic cues as it provides a heightened sense of realism and involvement.

Low Points
I would have liked to have seen the CSB-R2 packaged with the set-top mount and a speaker cable, such as the one that comes with the CSB-F3. One change that I would like to see to the sound bars themselves is the addition of binding posts. Spring-loaded speaker terminals are especially problematic in a system where there is no easy access to the speaker terminals to replace the wires should they fall out. I would recommend that the wires be carefully secured during installation. Sound levels are sufficient for movies in a moderate-sized room, so long as a subwoofer is added to the system.

The system benefits greatly from the use of a subwoofer, which adds extra cost, but honestly, all sound bars benefit from the use of a sub.

Conclusion
The Cadence CSB-F3 and CSB-R2, at $600 for the pair, represent a very solid choice for those looking for a complete sound bar speaker system. Today's flat HDTVs define the speakers that need to be used in many of today's homes. If you have a modest budget, yet are looking for boastful, dynamic and resolute sound, you can stop looking for sound bars, because Cadence is your choice. For the money, Cadence sound bars are hard to beat.

Learn more about Cadence Sound here.

Read other high end sound bar reviews from the likes of Bowers & Wilkins, Paradigm. Zvox, Morel, Def Tech and many others from this HomeTheaterReview.com resource page.
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HTR Product Rating for Cadence CSB-F3 and CSB-R2 Sound Bars

Criteria Rating

Performance

4

Value

4.5

Overall

4.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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