After 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.
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
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.