Energy Take S8.2 review:

Energy Take S8.2

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Affordable; produces room-shaking, deep bass; built-in 100-watt amp; 8-inch woofer; compact footprint.

The Bad Lacks phase switch.

The Bottom Line Energy's budget subwoofer is one heck of an overachiever.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall

It's an audio fact of life: If you really want your home theater to "get down," you need a great subwoofer. The hitch is that the best subs are always huge and cost a bundle. Energy Speaker Systems, one of the leading Canadian speaker companies, lives up to its name and has managed to design a high-performance but commendably compact subwoofer. Best of all, the $300 (list) S8.2 is one of the more affordable baby boomers on the planet.

The S8.2 sub sports a new, 8-inch, polypropylene/mica/glass-sphere woofer, and its deeply flared, front-mounted port increases placement flexibility. To the right of the port, you'll find an audio/video-equalizer switch, as well as bass-level and low-pass-filter (from 50Hz to 100Hz) controls. Yes, the dimpled black-on-black controls aren't the most legible devices, but they're more accessible than the rear-mounted, grab-your-flashlight jobs that we usually deal with. Energy designs and builds the sub's 100-watt, class A/B MOSFET amplifier in-house; for an entry-level unit, that's extranice. One gripe: The S8.2 lacks a 0/180-degree phase switch, so achieving the smoothest match with the sats takes a bit of time.

This sub's connectivity options deserve special mention. The model offers both a direct line-level input that will simplify hookup chores with A/V receivers, as well as a filtered input for use with older receivers.

The S8.2 is our choice for reigning champ of budget-priced subs. It goes way, way down to levels lower than those of most 8-inch--and even some 10-inch--subs. Holly Cole's Temptation CD features some extraordinary, rolling-thunder acoustic bass, and the S8.2 never softened or muddled a note. The Energy's pitch-accurate bass sounds wonderful on all sorts of music. Special-effects-laden DVDs shook our large room with gusto, so you don't have to worry about confining the S8.2 to a small living room or a bedroom. This model blended best with Enegry's Take 5.2 satellites but was still quite acceptable with Klipsch's Quintet II sats.

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