When it comes to choosing a speaker ensemble, quality sound options are certainly not in short supply. Unfortunately, this makes shopping around for the perfect match to your ears more difficult than ever. Once you have narrowed down the type of speaker ensemble you are in search of--a conventional floor standing "monitor" or a sub/satellite ensemble the field becomes more narrow, but not necessarily shorter.
I'm all for giving a new company an audition, but I'm also one to choose a line from a manufacturer that I've had good past experiences with. Chances are if you've owned a hi-fi or home theater system in the past 20 years then you've heard of (or owned) Infinity loudspeakers.
Over the past several years, Infinity has grown in size tremendously. Today they offer a virtually unlimited selection of speakers for the home and car. What this means to the end user is that through Infinity's sales volume, advanced developments inevitably trickle their way down into entry level offerings, creating even greater value to the end user--you.
What strikes me the most about the Infinity Entra ensemble is that the speakers appear both simple and elegant--two qualities not often found together. The front baffle of each speaker, including the subwoofer, has a beveled edge that creates a distinct appearance. Where this beveled edge actually plays a role in the application of the speaker is with the optional sidewall-mounted OWS-1. The OWS-1 is best described as an on-wall, in-wall. It is a 2-way speaker featuring a 5 1/2-inch mid/woof and 3/4-inch C.M.M.D. (Ceramic Metal Matrix Diaphragm) tweeter in a relatively narrow profile--just under 5 inches. This design is one of the best I've seen in terms of effectiveness for side-channel surrounds without having to be cut into the wall or intruding on the listening area.
There are several options in the Entra lineup. I chose the conventional floor standing Entra Three as my main L/R and the Entra Center Two as the center for this review, also opting for the inclusion of the Entra Two 12-inch 250-watt subwoofer. All of the speakers in the Entra line-up (except the sub) are magnetically shielded. The Entra Three towers consist of 38-inch tall, 8.5-inch wide, 12.75-inch deep enclosures with a pair of 6.5-inch C.M.M.D. mid/woofs and a single 3/4-inch tweeter. The Entra Two center channel features dual 5.25-inch C.M.M.D. midrange flanking a single 3/4-inch tweeter in a 7.5-inch by 7.5 inch by 20-inch wide enclosure.
The 12-inch, rear ported subwoofer boasts an impressive 250-watt amplifier complete with high and low level inputs, variable crossover, 0 to 180 degree phase shift and gain controls. Weighing in at 47 pounds, this hefty brute uses the larger 12-inch C.M.M.D. subwoofer, the power of the amp and its efficient design to bellow tunes in the 30Hz range and yet will remain responsive up to 100Hz without missing a beat.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
Unpacking will take you more time than actual placement with the Entra lineup. The OWS-1 side-channel surrounds require four simple drywall screws (no need to anchor them) and include a template for accurate installation.
The height of the Entra Three towers create excellent on-axis response for the listener. They sound best placed out in front about 8 feet apart and canted slightly inward.Read more about the Infinity Entra on Page 2.
The Entra Center Two is large and a bit awkward to place because it has no base to allow for positioning. Being heavy adds to the awkward installation. Of course, this can easily be overcome by simple ingenuity but, at $319 retail, I expect more.
The Entra Subwoofer is more than capable of making up for poor placement through its power, phase shift and other user-friendly characteristics. No need to fuss about moving furniture with this one.
I was lucky enough to get to spend several weeks with the Infinity Entra ensemble. This gave me plenty of time to try it out with various receivers and pre/pro-amp combos I had in for review. A clear conclusion: the Entra ensemble sounds best with lots of power behind them.
Starting first with a Marantz 7200 A/V receiver, I was impressed with the huge and full soundstage they created. The Marantz yields an impressive 105-watts per channel and is worthy of driving such a large ensemble. The various size C.M.M.D. drivers in the Infinity Entra ensemble are well matched through quality internal crossovers and there is not one speaker that does not sound natural.
Through subtle dialogue passages I was able to get an ear for the Entra Center Two. It has a relatively flat response and will take some getting used to if you tend to like brighter sounding speakers. This is not a flaw by any means, but more an accurate rendition of dialogue. Another impressive characteristic of the Center Two was its ability to handle large explosions on screen--aided of course by the two flanking Entra towers with plenty of mid-bass.
That mid-bass also compliments the subwoofer, as it does not have to reach up so high in the frequency range to close the gap between the highs and lows. The impressive mid-bass of the entire Entra ensemble makes it an excellent candidate for those of you who enjoy listening to music.
The large 12-inch subwoofer really packed a punch on low passages and did not show any signs of fatigue. Though I did prefer to turn the subwoofer off when listening to music in 2-channel and cut it around 80Hz during DVD-Audio playback with minimal gain (volume).
If you're looking for an ensemble that is well matched, relatively inexpensive and delivers an outstanding performance for movies and music, then I recommend giving the Infinity Entra ensemble a listen. Though there are several options regarding cabinet size in the Entra lineup, you must also consider the power requirements when auditioning the Entra ensemble tested here. While it may be an efficient speaker, you will not fully utilize its potential without investing in a formidable amplifier.Price as tested