The 5.1 Home Theater System is made of five solidly built speakers, each with a 5.25-inch midrange driver and a 1-inch tweeter. Rounding out the system is a massive front-firing, 12-inch powered subwoofer. We placed the front and surround speakers on stands, although they are predrilled for universal wall-mounting brackets. On the back of each satellite is a pair of gold five-way binding posts and a small bass port. Because of the port, you'll need to allow a little space around the speaker, making hiding your home theater setup among your decor a bit more challenging. But you may not want to hide it: all six speakers in our review sample were stained an elegant cherry color (a dark walnut stain is also available).
Getting everything wired up and working properly was simple. Because the center-channel speaker is so small, you can just plop it atop your TV. We wired the left and right speakers into our receiver, but if you like, you can route the signal through the subwoofer. After playing with the crossover and level of the subwoofer, we opted to leave the crossover setting at the company-recommended 80 Hz. We're always skeptical of very small satellites because it is so difficult to blend the sound of the sub with that of the satellites, but the 5.1 Home Theater System mixed almost perfectly.
Getting an Earful
And don't think that these speakers won't play loud just because they're small. When the midair collision occurs in Fight Club, the dynamics change from mild to way over the top, then drop back to serene. The 5.1 Home Theater System handled the sequence with surprising ease and frightening realism. As the surround effect moved from speaker to speaker, the sound quality stayed consistent; chalk it up to the five identical speakers. Dialogue comes through crystal clear on these speakers, though it's just short of becoming piercing.
The Edge Audio system works like a dream with stereo music, as well. On recordings such as Duke Ellington's "The Far East Suite," we were surprised at how three-dimensional the sound was. We could hear the saxophones toward the front of the room, the drums at the back. On more heavily processed recordings such as Morphine's "The Night," the speakers again showed off the distinct color of the recording, but vocals and sibilance were just a little too bright. However, this is far from a fatal flaw and is dependent on which CD you're listening to. We absolutely loved the sound of these speakers, which came across as very open and detailed, really bringing the recordings to life.
With a price of $1,399, the Edge Audio 5.1 Home Theater System doesn't quite qualify as an inexpensive speaker set. However, to match its sound or style, we suspect you'll have to look pretty hard to find a better deal.