Energy CF-70 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Reviewed

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energy_cf_70-reviewed.gifAfter many years of building a solid reputation within the audio community under the leadership of Audio Products International, Klipsch purchased Energy in August of 2006, and has done a nice job of building on its excellent track record. Created in conjunction with the famous Canadian National Research Council (NRC), Energy produces a rich line of high performance, affordable loudspeakers that also offer quality cosmetics and useful features. Part of its Connoisseur series released in September 2008, the CF-70 ($500.00 each, MSRP) is one of three floorstanding models in the series (CF-30, CF-50, CF-70/reviewed here). Measuring 40.7 inches high by 8.4 inches wide by 15.6 inches deep and weighing in at 45.3 pounds, the three-way CF-70 couples a 1-inch hyperbolic aluminum-dome tweeter to one 5.5-inch midrange utilizing Energy's patented Ribbed Elliptical Surround, crossed over at 2kHz. 

Additional Resources
Read high end subwoofer reviews from the likes of Klipsch, Polk Audio, Def Tech, B&W, PSD, Paradigm and many others.

The Ribbed Elliptical Surround lowers distortion and increases efficiency and excursion by changing the shape of the speaker surround to an ellipse, rather than the traditional "half roll," according to the company. The midrange crosses over at 650Hz to two 6.5-inch woofers that also utilize the Ribbed Elliptical Surround. As with the other speakers in the Connoisseur series, the CF-70 employs the company's famous Convergent Source Module (CSM), which, according to the company, lowers distortion while improving dispersion and midrange by placing the midrange and tweeter as close together as possible (this design also makes for an elegant cosmetic presentation on the baffle). The CF-70 employs a large front-firing port, and provides a handy foam port plug for each speaker to contour the bass response. The CF-70 provides a dual pair of gold-plated, 5-way binding posts for easy bi-wiring/bi-amping, fitted nicely into the cabinet with a beefy plastic insert. It does not come with spikes for its large, high, angled feet, which may be an issue for those with super plush carpeting. The CF-70 offers a Black Ash vinyl finish, complemented with a gloss black finish for the baffle, which really looks great contrasted against the silver drivers. The combination of the ash cabinet, gloss baffle, silver drivers, and ribbed woofer surround makes for a really striking, yet elegant look.
 

Sound
The CF-70 presents a nominal 8 ohm load with a very high 96dB efficiency. However, the CF-70 didn't perform well with average power sources, and the sound improved a lot with better quality power. In other words, the performance and power needs ran counter to the 96dB rating. Adjust your power sources accordingly.

The CF-70s threw a deep, wide soundstage with excellent imaging. The soundstage's size and air, while big, weren't as big as one would expect from a larger speaker. As with its little brothers, the CF-70 offered great disperison and a large sweet spot. The CF-70 sounded a bit too edgy on rock and electronic material, but mostly made up for that with wonderful detail and a nice midrange transition. The midrange sounded smooth and clean, but, strangely, needed a bit more realism and openness. It was a bit too polite and needed some more immediacy. The top end's crispiness might have had a smidge to do with that in altering its perception, but mostly the midrange needed a little more detail and snap. Vocals sounded very good, but piano needed a bit more sparkle. The midrange gave way to the bass very nicely, making for a seamless presentation that didn't overly expose one area. The CF-70's bass was the best aspect of the sound, combining great punch with solid extension and very little flabbiness, especially with the port plugs in. Overall, the CF-70 sounded best with the plugs in, even away from walls. The sound was just a little tighter and cleaner overall. While the excellent bass sometimes exposed the polite midrange a little too much, it was so engaging that it didn't much matter. Combined with the detailed top end, the bass made for a nice bookend, especially on rock and electronic tracks. Acoustic and classical material needed a bit more transparency in the middle, but still sounded very good. The CF-70 played loudly with little breakup, but needed more power than would be expected from its 96dB efficiency rating. Overall, the CF-70 provides a crisp, dynamic sound with good size and just enough speed to get the job done. It's more of a brute than a finesse player, though.

Read the High Points, Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2

HTR Product Rating for Energy CF-70 Floorstanding Loudspeaker

Criteria Rating

Performance

3.5

Value

3.5

Overall

3.5

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


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High Points
• The CF-70 offers a crisp, dynamic sound combining a detailed top end with a punchy, thumping bass.
• The CF-70's bass sounds terrific over all types of material, and fills even big rooms with relative ease.
• The CF-70 looks great, utilizes a ton of premium materials, and can be bi-wired/bi-amped.

Low Points
• The CF-70's top end sounded a little too crisp, and the midrange overall had a closed in quality that lacked ultimate detail and affected transparency, especially with acoustic and classical material.
• The CF-70 only comes in one finish (High gloss black baffle with black ash cabinet).
• The CF-70 does not provide spikes, which may make placement perilous on plush carpeting, especially given its large size.

Conclusion

The Energy CF-70 provides a good combination of performance, features, and looks. It's more of a brute force performer than a finesse design, however. It sparkles and thumps, and gives you enough through the middle to slide by in critical listening sessions, but it will not remind you of a British monitor. But, at its very affordable price, it brings a lot of value, is pretty efficient, and can fill a large room with a lot of crisp sound. None of its flaws stick out in the least in drawing you away from the sound. The Energy CF-70 sounds punchy and dynamic, is good-looking, and won't break the budget. For anyone looking for a budget big speaker, the CF-70 should definitely be on your audition list.

• Read high end subwoofer reviews from the likes of Klipsch, Polk Audio, Def Tech, B&W, PSD, Paradigm and many others.

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