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  1. #1
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    Has anyone tried Cambridge Sound. T500 towers?

    I am looking for a new system for my basement and had a few recommendations about the CS T500 HT system they sell. I never heard a speaker that contained such a large driver in the main speakers. I was wondering what the sound is like? Compared to others in its price range?

  2. #2
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    I have a set of T500's, mated with an MC500 and S300's in my HT setup. It took a bit of tweaking to get the bass right in my room, but once everything got dialed in it's been a great system. We got them in the Blonde Maple, which looks gorgeous that my wife doesn't complain about tthe size.
    The CSW stuff had a tough act to follow, since the prior main system was an Apogee acoustics Minigrand system and Museatex amps. The CSW stuff doesn't have the transparency of the Apogee system of course, but the Apogees were far from HT friendly. The CSW system, once broken in, has much the same octave to octave balance as the Apogees did. Although I still miss the transparency of the Minigrand, the dynamics and imaging of the CSW system are great for HT, yet when playing 2-channel music the system delivers a well balanced, natural presentation too.
    The thing that has impressed me with the T500's over the tear or so I have had them is that they never sound "bad", yet they are still revealing. Better recordings are more open, and better electronics make a difference, but they don't ever exhibit the harsh glare that so many otherwise good speakers get with mediocre recordings.
    The downside is they require a little work to get them optimized, which IMHO is why they got a bad rap from Michael Fremer in SGHT some time ago. I found that in my room, they required quite a bit of time with processor and speaker adjustments to get the balance right. This may be as much my room as the speakers, but the nice thing is that those adjustments exist. With conventional towers there is not much you can do except move them around. With the adjustments available on the T500 amps, combined with the processors LFE adjustments, you have the capability of tuning out a lot of room effects. Of course, this makes it a cinch to set them up poorly too, which could be a problem.
    The other big problem is the darn things weigh 90 pounds each, and my HT is on the third floor. It was a good thing that none of the other speakers I brought home for the shootout won! Carrying them back down wouldn't have been a welcome activity.

  3. #3
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Talking Wow, it's Deja Vu all over again.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobhaze
    I have a set of T500's, mated with an MC500 and S300's in my HT setup. It took a bit of tweaking to get the bass right in my room, but once everything got dialed in it's been a great system. We got them in the Blonde Maple, which looks gorgeous that my wife doesn't complain about tthe size.
    The CSW stuff had a tough act to follow, since the prior main system was an Apogee acoustics Minigrand system and Museatex amps. The CSW stuff doesn't have the transparency of the Apogee system of course, but the Apogees were far from HT friendly. The CSW system, once broken in, has much the same octave to octave balance as the Apogees did. Although I still miss the transparency of the Minigrand, the dynamics and imaging of the CSW system are great for HT, yet when playing 2-channel music the system delivers a well balanced, natural presentation too.
    The thing that has impressed me with the T500's over the tear or so I have had them is that they never sound "bad", yet they are still revealing. Better recordings are more open, and better electronics make a difference, but they don't ever exhibit the harsh glare that so many otherwise good speakers get with mediocre recordings.
    The downside is they require a little work to get them optimized, which IMHO is why they got a bad rap from Michael Fremer in SGHT some time ago. I found that in my room, they required quite a bit of time with processor and speaker adjustments to get the balance right. This may be as much my room as the speakers, but the nice thing is that those adjustments exist. With conventional towers there is not much you can do except move them around. With the adjustments available on the T500 amps, combined with the processors LFE adjustments, you have the capability of tuning out a lot of room effects. Of course, this makes it a cinch to set them up poorly too, which could be a problem.
    The other big problem is the darn things weigh 90 pounds each, and my HT is on the third floor. It was a good thing that none of the other speakers I brought home for the shootout won! Carrying them back down wouldn't have been a welcome activity.

    I have exactly the same HT speaker system! Mine are in mahogany, and my wife loved them the minute she saw them.

    The T500's are not as revealing as some speakers in their price range. I think that is a MAJOR plus for HT, and a minor minus for audio. Revealing is a two way street, as my maggies have made a lot of my poorer recorded CD unappealing to listen to.

    The T500's high frequency response is very smooth and sweet, and easy to listen to especially at theater volume, when other speakers would become harsh/spitty/grating to your ears after just an hr's play.

    Michael got it all wrong when he reviewed this setup. He fell prey to the "more highs are better" when comparing the setup with the Infinity. I wonder if he ever sat through a 3 HR "Lord of the Rings" at theater levels with the Infinity setup. I know I couldn't!

    It wasn't nearly as hard to set the bass up in my room as it was in yours. My room is very damped, with wall to wall carpet, wall treatments, and it's also on a slab. If I had to set these up in a live room, the bass management built into the speakers would have come in mighty handy.

    the bass response of the T500's never ceases to amaze me. A for instance;

    We were watching "Attack of the Clones" yesterday on HBO-HD, and in the scene where the jedi/clone army shoots down the spherical starship, when it hits the ground you can feel the Shockwave roll over you!

    This effect is enhanced by the rear surround speakers too. If you don't have them already, I would heartily recommend making yours a 7.1 setup. The enhancement of the rear surrounds to the theater sound is well worth the added cost.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  4. #4
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    I agree that Michael got it "wrong", but I'm not surprised. I have found that over the years I have tended not to like a lot of the products he likes, and vice versa. A lot of people take what the reviewers say as "truth", when truth be told, they have the same set of biases as anybody. They may be exposed to a lot of equipment, but they're human after all. With time, I find that there are reviewers who's opinions track with mine, and those who don't. I tend to find the speakers Fremer likes to be too bright for my taste, so I read his reviews with that mental filter turned on.

    My room is on a third floor with a vaulted ceiling and eaves on either side of the room. It is a difficult room, which is probably why it took a lot of tweaking to get it right. To the T500's credit, the tweaks are possible. Some of the passive speakers I have had in the same room worked very poorly in the environment but they had nothing to tweak. IMHO, this is a big advantage of the T500 format.

    The 7.1 upgrade is coming soon. After I finish the hush box for my projector if I can ever stop procrastinating.

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    So would you guys generally recommend the Cambridge Soundworks theatre systems, esp the T500 setup they are selling? Or should I go with one of the popular Paradigm systems? I have to admit, I really enjoyed the Infinity Kappas but I am not sure I want to spend that much on a system for a basement.

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    From a quality and performance standpoint, I think the T500 system delivers on it's promise. Whether or not you will prefer it to a Paradigm system is another story that only you can answer. I can say that I had a similarly priced Paradigm system in the same room during the trial period, and preferred the CSW system. Part of it was the ability to tune the bass to match the room, but a big part was that I felt the Paradigm treble response just didn't sound right. Detail and transparency was good, but there was an uncomfortable edge to everything that I found somewhat fatiguing. It was ok on music, but movies could sound pretty harsh at times. Interestingly, I have a pair of Paradign Atoms as extension speakers in another room that I like a lot that don't have that same edginess.
    However, your mileage may vary and you may prefer this sound to the more laid back treble of the T500. In room measurements that I took using Liberty Audiosuite indicated that the T500's had very flat high frequency response up to about 16kHz, with a gradual smooth rolloff above this reaching -3dB at 22kHz. The Paradigm Studio 100's actually showed a rising top end with a peak at about 12kHz, which could explain the high frequency edginess.
    The other speakers in my little shootout were similarly priced systems from Boston, B&W, Klipsch and Def Tech. At this point I dont remember every single model number. I could have lived with any one of them except the Klipsch, which I couldn't stand for more than 5 minutes unless I swear off listening to female vocalists. The B&W's were a close second, but didn't have the tweak-ability the T500's have to get the bass right in my difficult room.

  7. #7
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acqui
    So would you guys generally recommend the Cambridge Soundworks theatre systems, esp the T500 setup they are selling? Or should I go with one of the popular Paradigm systems? I have to admit, I really enjoyed the Infinity Kappas but I am not sure I want to spend that much on a system for a basement.
    If your looking to set up a home theater then I would reccomend this system over any others that I've heard in it's price range.


    The frequancy responce is pleasing, unobtrusive, and smooth .They are also able to deliver incredible dynamics when asked to. None of the other speakers I have heard in it's price range can deliver the kind of powerful bass responce that the T500 can, or could do it all the way down to 25hz.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Registered Member JamezHill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acqui
    I am looking for a new system for my basement and had a few recommendations about the CS T500 HT system they sell. I never heard a speaker that contained such a large driver in the main speakers. I was wondering what the sound is like? Compared to others in its price range?
    Well I was seriously debating between this model and a simialr Paradigm model and chose the CSW T500. Actually I got the entire setup that is pictured in this post. I am extremely happy with it. The bass in extremely deep and powerful and overall very good sounding! I'm not one to care much for the cosmetics of a speaker, but these are beautiful. I got them in black and they give an almost threatening appearance in the room. The T300 has a slightly smaller driver and they just came out with a new model that doesn't ahve a side driver (at least i dont think so). Just check out their website www.hifi.com

  9. #9
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Congrats!

    Quote Originally Posted by JamezHill
    Well I was seriously debating between this model and a simialr Paradigm model and chose the CSW T500. Actually I got the entire setup that is pictured in this post. I am extremely happy with it. The bass in extremely deep and powerful and overall very good sounding! I'm not one to care much for the cosmetics of a speaker, but these are beautiful. I got them in black and they give an almost threatening appearance in the room. The T300 has a slightly smaller driver and they just came out with a new model that doesn't ahve a side driver (at least i dont think so). Just check out their website www.hifi.com
    I know your going to have a great time with your new system.

    On a purchase as large as this one you've really got to have faith, as unless you've been to the Boston area your not going to be able to hear them for yourself. I'm glad you took the chance, and were rewarded.

    Probably the best thing on this forum that any one of us can hope for is that someone take our advice. Thanks for making my day!
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  10. #10
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    If you live near the San Francisco or Boston areas, you can just go to a CSW store and try them out for yourself. I tried them a while ago, and thought they were pretty good speakers. But, I'm not a fan at all of powered towers, so that eliminated them. It's very easy to get an overly boomy sound out of powered towers, and unlike with a standalone subwoofer, you don't have as much placement flexibility, and optimizing with a parametric equalizer on two side firing towers is much trickier.
    I'm going to agree powered towers can be tricky. It took a while in my new room to dial them in. The T-500s have both output, and contour controls for each speaker. When
    you consider the reward of having decent sound, and SPL output from a lowely receiver it's worth it. IMHO.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

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