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Cambridge Soundworks...anygood? (1 Viewer)

BobDoh

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I have a pair of Newton M80 speakers and an ensemble II set. I was thinking of using the M80's as fronts and the satallite speakers from the ensemble as rears and then maybe buying a cambridge SW's center and subwoofer. Just wondering what the general consensus is about Cambrdge SW? Also, I know that the M80's are much more efficient than those little ensembles. Would that be a problem in a surround sound system? I'm new at this so any info would be good. Thanks.
 

David Willow

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I do not know much about Cambridge beyond their computer speakers, but I will say this. Do not mix and match your mains and center. Get them all from the same manufacturer. They should all sound the same (timbre matched).
 

BobDoh

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I am planning on using CSW speakers all around. The Newton M80's for fronts, Ensemble II satallites for the rears and and then buying a new CSW center speaker and subwoofer. I'm just wondering if the new CSW stuff has gone down hill since they were bought by Creative.

Also, does anyone have an opinion on a good match of receiver for CSW stuff? I know I need a 7.1 receiver because I'm going to run some outside speakers as well as the surround sound speakers but I have no idea of which brand or how much power I'd need.
 

Dan Driscoll

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For any newbies who might be reading this: Cambridge Soundworks is not the same company as Cambridge Audio.
 

David Willow

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I'm assuming we are talking about the same company that makes the computer speakers??? I assume this since it was mentioned that Creative bought them.
 

BobDoh

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Right, I'm talking about Cambridge Soundworks not Cambridge Audio. Any input on these speakers?
 

Mendoza

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Cambridge Soundworks remains a solid little speaker company. Their product line hasn't changed much in the last 5-odd years, which is still geared towards those wanting a credible home theater budgeted in the hundreds (vs. thousands) of dollars.
You should contact them for specific suggestions, but my thought--for what it's worth--is to keep the M80's but forgo the Ensemble II's in favor of better surrounds like the S205 or S305's, get an MC305 or MC405 for the center, and a P205 or 105 for the subwoofer.
Any of the better-reviewed modern receivers should work fine. Onkyo's always worked for me but shop around according to your needs and budget.
 

BobDoh

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Mendoza,

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll go with what you said except I'll for go the surrounds for now. I actually didn't have the electrician put in the wires during the contruction of my new addition so I'll have them put in later. So for now I'll just have a 3.1 system. Should still sound better than just the speakers on the TV(what ever that's gonna be).
 

Taterworks

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I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cambridge Soundworks, which hasn't lost Henry Kloss' commitment to providing a high price/performance ratio, even though Kloss passed away several years ago. I have a Cambridge Soundworks MicroWorks II at my PC (not Kloss-designed), and I'd put it up against any other speaker system in the $150 range -- I get more music from them than any other PC speaker system I've encountered. I also bought a set of Kloss-designed Ensemble IV speakers for my parents, and they enjoy the little things, which sound more 'right' than they have any right to for the price paid. I've also been very impressed with their Newton series speakers every time I've heard them. So to answer your question -- they're good. About on the level of Polk Audio's CS line, JBL's older Stadium series and Klipsch's newer VB speakers.
 

Mendoza

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IMO you should really go for 5.1 instead of 3.1 because the vast majority of videodiscs are encoded in 5.1. Any respectable speakers would be an improvement over the built-in speakers on your TV, but if the thing's worth doing it's worth doing right. Either stick with a robust 2.1 system (i.e. M80's plus subwoofer) or install the surrounds. Just my 2 cents.
 

BobDoh

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Mendosa,


I was thinking for a 3.1 system it would be M80's for fronts, a CSW center channel and a CSW subwoofer. Wouldn't that be better than just the 2 fronts and subwoofer?
 
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3.1 would be fine. The center is going to be far more important than the surrounds as it handles most of the movie/TV's dialog whereas surrounds only handle effects.

The tricky part to this is finding a matching center for the M80s. I personally use a MC400 based on the recommendation of one of the CSW people, however I don't think it's a perfect tonal match (the M80 uses a 3/4" tweeter, the MC400 uses a 1"). The best match would obviously be a third M80, if that's practical for you (they're on the site on clearance for $120 right now, but in maple only. The mahogany finish has been showing up once in a while, and I haven't seen slate for a long time. You may just want to call and see if they have a single one in your finish). The MC500 is also on clearance right now, but I'm not a fan of that one.

I'd suggest you stay away from the Newton IIs for a center, as they use completely different drivers. I'd just keep checking their clearance site and calling them for something in the original Newton line.

The Ensembles should be absolutly fine for rear speakers, especially if they're only temporary. You could also pick up some S100 or S200 on clearance and just keep them in the box until you're ready to do it. They're so cheap right now ($40 and $70 respectively) that it really couldn't hurt. I use the S200s and they're pretty decent for effects.

For a sub there are so many options out there. I use one of the Newton II P205s just because it was so cheap (got it for $200 from their store closing), but I'm still not completely sold on it. It's pretty good if you're looking for something that takes up no room and can add some slam to your movies, and it does hit really hard. It's also detailed enough to use with music, but not quite as detailed as I'd like, which is where I'm on the fence about it. I used to like the P500 and P1000, but it's been a while since I've last heard them so I really can't comment.

Regarding my thoughts about their speakers, I like them a lot. An old set of their Ensembles are what got me into audio equipment, and I really enjoy listening to my M80s. I do think they've gone downhill by drastically reducing their lineup (they went from 4 Newton tower models down to one in the Newton II line) and closing their stores, but I still really enjoy their sound.

And on the topic of receivers: I've always thought their best match was Onkyo and Marantz (they sold both of these through their store, so I guess they thought so too). They also sound decent with Harman/Kardon, but it's not my favorite combination. I use a pretty low end Onkyo (502) and it drives the M80s with ease unless I'm really pushing it, so it shouldn't be too hard for you to find something within budget for these speakers.

Good luck, you have a really nice set of speakers to build on.
 

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