Much like my recent feedback on the excellent e:XL-R surround speakers, the e:XL-28P is a real value.
Although this model has been discontinued since around 2003, and was introduced sometime in 1999, it still performs very well compared to contemporary speakers in its original MSRP price range of $1200. And frankly I still believe that the entire Energy e:XL line compared very favorably with speakers several times their price point.
Now 10 years later, near mint e:XL models can be had for fraction of their original price.
However, it should be noted that the e:XL-28P seems to be a somewhat rarer model than the others in the series and in my experience can command a bit higher premium, even used. But even with that said, these speakers can be had for around $200-400 on a good day, which I think is a pretty low risk bargain.
In our case, we have one pair for our main L&R front home theater setup, and they work very well with our Energy e:XL-C2 and e:XL-R speakers, powered by a Marantz SR8200. I don't claim to have a good enough ear to say conclusively all the speakers blend "seamlessly" but can confidently say they seem to do so, and perform very well together, not noticing any voicing mismatch or other anomalies.
The 8" powered "subwoofer" seems work very well and definitely offers more bottom end than the e:XL-26 towers that we used previously(and also liked very much). We bought the 28P speakers to see if they would be sufficient alone at filling the HT subwoofer role. To be honest, the answer is "sorta". Even though the 28P is specified at producing lows down to 22Hz, I'm not convinced they really go that low before output really falls off. But frankly this isn't a surprise with an 8" driver in a tower speaker cabinet versus a dedicated subwoofer design. But they do a pretty impressive job in the mid to almost low bass that made a noticeable difference in HT and music over the twin 6.5" drivers in the e:XL-26. For the ultimate HT experience, one would probably still want a dedicated subwoofer for those really low frequencies.
With that in mind, are they a real value over the e:XL-26 or even e:XL-25(two 5.25" mid-woofers)? I can't say with regard to the 25 as I've never owned them, but if one already has a high quality musical subwoofer that pairs well with the e:XL-26, the 28P might be superfluous. But on the other hand, if one doesn't have a subwoofer and doesn't care about the lowest lows(say for much Pop music) or simply finds even mid to low bass directional, perhaps the dual 8" woofers in the 28Ps are exactly what you are looking for. One typically can't buy two quality 8" dedicated subs for the price of a pair of 28Ps.
But taken on their own, I find the 28Ps to be great sounding speakers for HT and very good for music. It is tricky to dial(literally and figuratively) in the subwoofers so they sound tight and powerful, but not boomy. But that is true of many subs. So I wouldn't say the 28Ps have poor bottom end control per se. They just need some work to place and adjust to get the best out of them. The top end is basically a bookshelf monitor with 6.5" poly mid and their cloth surrounded aluminum dome tweeter. So if you like the mid/high sounds of the e:XL-16(which has identical mid/tweeter), that is a good comparison for the top end.
Some find the Energy's in this range bright, and I tend to agree. But with the right amplifier, source, and room acoustics, this characteristic may be the right fit, especially if one likes relatively bright and efficient speakers.
At this point, as much as I like Energy products and especially the e:XL line, my jury is still out on long term music listening because of this brightness. But I can unequivocally say the e:XL-28Ps are fantastic for home theater applications.
And I've found the build quality to be well above average for the e:XL line, and the 28P continues that tradition.
So in conclusion, I've given the e:XL-28P speakers a 4 star value rating only because they may be a bit pricier than their peers of a given vintage. Although then again, one may find a set very cheap. Overall I've given them a 4 star rating, primarily because I save "5 stars" for something truly exceptional. So please don't interpret 4 stars as anything less than very very good. Even with their potential brightness and challenges in tuning the bass response, I think when "dialed in" these speakers sound very good.
If one is in the market for a quality and great sounding Canadian made "full range" speaker, with a self powered subwoofer/woofer amplifier, you might give the e:XL-28P a try. At their price, it will be a relatively low risk experiment. But being somewhat rare, it might take a little patience to find a pair.
Have had these speakers for more than 7 monthes now, all I can say about this speaker is: unbelievable!! But there are few things you have to do before you make a serious judgement: BI WIRING THEM!! USE THE BEST SPEAKER CABLE & INTERCONNECTS YOU CAN AFFORD, THEY WILL IMPROVED THE SOUND 10 TO 30% MORE!!! I used to use some cheap cables, and I was disappointed by the sound, I was going to sell them, but I changed mind after I bought some Kimber Kable(4PR, the entry level from Kimber), the speaker sounds ten times better than before(bi-wiring).I started to believe that cable do make a difference! But that Kimber 4PR was a little harsh at highs even after a period of broken in. So I decided to use the best cable(for me) I can get, so I made some Cat5 speaker cable and silver interconnect by using Chris VenHaus' recipe, after spent over 100 hours broken in, you would not believe this is the same pair of speaker. I just can't describe what a difference that Cat5 cable and silver interconnect made. Some claimed that they had hard time to tuning this speaker, I had same problem when I used cheap cables, but since I upgraded cables, this problem were gone. If you are interested in making a best cable without broke your bank, go to this website to learn how: http://www.geocities.com/venhaus1/diycatfivecables.html
I work in a audio/video store in the Chicagoland area, Barrett's Audio/Video. As such I enjoy audio quite a bit. However, I don't get too caught up in terminologies, jargon, Kimber Kable Select, and the ilk. I feel what makes the most difference is your selection of speakers, along with good quality gear that is not ridiculously overpriced. Anyway, this is what I own:
Mitsubishi MVR-700 Mitsubishi DD-4001 Sony CDPCX333ES Sony MiniDisc MDBUNDLE5 Energy EXL28P x2 Energy EXL-C Energy EXL-15 x2 Esoteric Audio Interconnects and Speaker Wire
Before you laugh, the Mitsubishi receiver is made by Onkyo (the equivalent of the TXDS-575) and its ratings are identical to the Integra DTR5 or DTR5.1. It sounds great! But on to the speakers; I will make this easy, short and sweet.
Strengths -=-=-=-=- 1. Bass. (Enough said.) 2. Clarity. 3. Wonderful, near pinpoint imaging. 4. Build quality and appearance. 5. Ease of use and adjustment. 6. Good for music and home theater, if tuned properly. 7. Punchiness and impact (presence, if you will).
Weaknesses -=-=-=-=-=- 1. Wobbly. 2. Not too transparent. 3. Lack of midrange. 4. Takes time to tune properly. 5. Some coloration.
Overall, this is a phenominal speaker for the money. The bass output is incredible, and they are crisp with typical top-shelf imaging, as is expected from Energy. However, I use them for music 90% of the time, which leads me into my major gripe; lack of midrange. With only one 6 1/2 inch driver, even with the sub crossed over at 90 Hz (the maximum) there is still a noticable lack of midrange. This is minor, and something casual listeners probably wouldn't notice or care about. It takes time to tune them how you like them as well. Also, for audio purists, they are not as accurate as M&K, or the C Series for example. Vocals are colored somewhat; I prefer this to a degree but many purists do not. These speakers come with my highest recommendation, but make sure you listen to them in the store with your own material, and try them out at home before you keep them! My motto is "Listen to it. Do you like it? Is there anything holding you back? Then buy it, and have a good time!"