SpeakerCraft CS3

The Good The SpeakerCraft CS3 has an excellent pedestal-style sound bar design, with a refined look that doesn't call attention to itself. Sound quality is outstanding for a pedestal sound bar, even with two-channel music. Its built-in Bluetooth is also a huge plus, making it easy to wirelessly stream music from many tablets and smartphones.

The Bad It's expensive, especially when there are solid sound bars available for half the price. There's also no front-panel display, so you don't get any visual feedback when adjusting the volume. And the included remote is cheap-feeling for a pricey product.

The Bottom Line The SpeakerCraft CS3 is a handsome, excellent-sounding sound bar that's well worth its lofty price.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Performance 9.0
8.2 Overall

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SpeakerCraft CS3
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Design
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... ... ... ...

Review

Sound bar packs super sonics, low-profile looks

The SpeakerCraft CS3 ($600 street) is the best high-performance sound bar we've tested. For one, it features a "pedestal" design, letting you place it under your TV rather than in front, which we prefer, for a sleeker look. It's also a top-notch performer, which is unusual for a pedestal sound bar, as they tend to sound thinner than sound bars with a separate sub. And just for good measure, the CS3 features built-in Bluetooth, which is frequently left out of sound bars, despite adding a lot of convenience.

The CS3 has its faults, such as no front-panel display and a lousy remote, but they're relatively minor compared with what it gets right. The biggest drawback is its price. Budget-minded buyers will prefer the Zvox Z-Base 420 ($300), which is a very similar product, albeit with lesser sound quality and less refined looks. And those looking for great performance will get better sound by pairing up a cheap AV receiver, like the Onkyo TX-NR414 ($275), with some inexpensive tower speakers, like the Pioneer SP-FS52 speakers ($260 per pair).

But the SpeakerCraft CS3 is for those who want a simpler, unobtrusive home audio system that still delivers excellent sonics. You'll have to pay for its charms, but the SpeakerCraft CS3 is a worthwhile investment if you want a great-looking sound bar that will serve you well for years.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $699
  • Brand SpeakerCraft
  • Type Sound bar speaker system
  • Color Matte black
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How To

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