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Energy Speaker Systems eXL XLR
7 Reviews
rating  4.57 of 5
MSRP 
Description: Surround Sound Speakers


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Al Roethlisberger a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 19, 2010

Bottom Line:   
While the Energy e:XL line of speakers has been discontinued since around 2003, they remain one of my favorite "bang for buck" speaker series. After quite a bit of comparison listening with mid-range speakers of the day and even many esoteric brands, I continually came away impressed with the tone, accuracy, and imaging the Energy e:XL speakers produced. They may not have bested speakers prices several times their MSRP, but for the money they performed quite well in comparison. And now, about a decade after their introduction, they can be found on the used market in great shape for relatively bargain prices.

When these speakers came on the market about 10 years ago, I believe they were nearly $500 retail. But now they can be found for under $100 in pristine condition, which is a real value. This is true of course for just about any technology, which is a real bonus for those of us that don't mind buying behind one or two generations of "the latest greatest"!

Specific to the e:XL-R installation: We have a moderately sized home theater area in our basement, approximately 15'Wx22'Lx8'H in dimension. The system is supported by a Marantz SR8200, with Energy e:XL-28P mains and e:XL-C2 center. We are currently using the e:XL-R pair for our surround right and left, and plan to eventually use another pair as our surround rear right and left once we have a 7.1 compatible system.

We have the e:XL-Rs mounted about 6 inches behind our listening position, hanging at about 6ft, inverted due to the sloped baffle where the tweeters are mounted. Given the relatively high mounting position, we found this inverted position to work well at dispersing the high frequency effects down toward the listener versus firing into the 1st floor exposed joists since these signals are particularly important for spatial location. So far this arrangement seems to work well and is one of several mounting positions specified as viable options by Energy.

Although our system falls squarely into the "mid fi" region of HT equipment, I have spent significant time over the years auditioning "higher" fidelity systems and have found the returns dramatically diminishing except for the most notable exceptions. So with that said, we've found the Energy e:XL line to be fantastic in our application which is about 50/50 theater and music programming. The grins and comments from my family of "TURN IT UP" tell me all I need to know!

At this point we've only seriously auditioned the e:XL-R speakers in a HT environment so can't comment on multi-channel music reproduction from an informed perspective. But if it is comparable even marginally with our HT surround sound experience, it is bound to be very good for what it is(not a full range speaker).

Although there are often distinct camps of opinion on monopole(direct) versus di/bi-pole(diffused) surround speaker application, we have definitely come to the conclusion that in a small/medium sized(e.g. not an actual theater) room di/bi-ple speakers are superior. At one point we had utilized e:XL-16 monopole speakers in our surround application and found that it suffered from source directionality that was distracting instead of producing a convincing surround experience. So we thought we'd give the eXL-R models a try.

As noted in some of the prior reviews, the e:XL-R is a relatively small speaker with a 5.25" mid-driver, 5.25" passive-radiator, and two of the same aluminum/cloth-surround tweeters found throughout the larger e:XL line. So, one can't expect deep bass response out of this speaker. However, for surround sound applications which tend to standardize the "small" speaker setting to frequencies above 80-90Hz, these speakers perform exceptionally.

The Marantz SR8200 is spec'd at 120wpc, although I suspect with all channels driven is less. The e:XL-R is rated at 100wpc and at sound levels most families would probably begin to complain, I found the e:XL-R played clearly and authoritatively.

But perhaps the best compliment is that these speakers convincingly "disappear" while producing the diffuse but still directional sound effects. The e:XL-Rs accomplish this much more convincingly than the e:XL-16s we had used before for surround and rear. As mentioned earlier, these monopole speakers simply produced too much source directionality, although from a performance standpoint are "better" speakers. But then again, like an earlier post, I even gave the e:XL-Rs a brief audition as main L&R speakers and although they aren't intended for that application, they actually sounded like a good pair of direct/reflecting monitors.

I would give these speakers overall five stars, but really choose to save that score for something truly exceptional. But don't mistake that for any failing, as we've found these speakers to be very very good and so far have no notable drawbacks except the obvious(e.g. not full range speakers). I do give these 5 stars for "value rating" though, as due to age these speakers can be had for much less than many other quality di/bi-pole speakers used or new.

We would definitely choose these again as a perfect performance, tonal, and *budgetary* match for other Energy e:XL speakers. And as mentioned plan to pick up a second pair for the rear at a later date.

If one is in the market for a great di/bi-pole speaker, I would wholeheartedly recommend giving the Energy e:XL-R a try. With the pricing so affordable and their price-point likely very stable around $100 for a good mint set, one really can't go wrong even if they don't work out for your application. But I bet they will!

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by roulade r a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 13, 2003

Bottom Line:   
These are very nice for the money. I purchased them because my previous surround speakers were strictly delivering atmospheric details and had no "thunk" whatsoever-- they were useless for music. These dipole monitors certainly huge in the bass, but they do a decent job with music. I broke them in by using them as main speakers for a couple weeks, and I was really impressed with the sound, for what they were. Imaging was these speakers' strong point-- they completely disappeared and created a wall of sound. They're not, of course, meant to be main speakers, but it was a nice experiment.

I'd recommend these for a beginner's surround setup for someone who might want to listen to multichannel music. They're also excellent for those of us with small apartments, because they're small and unobtrusive. It's not easy to have 5 speakers in a 300 square foot room, but I can pull it off with these Energys.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Harvery's Electronic



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steve a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 30, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I had retired an old pair of old ADS bookshelf speakers by relegating them to the rear in our home theatre set-up. I thought they worked well as surround speakers until my wife got me the eXL-Rs for Christmas. The difference was absolutely amazing. These speakers are half the size of the ones they replaced yet outperform them in every way on both 5.1 movies and 5.1 music. Their clarity, definition, and big sound due to their bi-pole/di-pole arragngement is what sets them apart from other surrounds that I have auditioned. I have them on stands at the rear of the listening area, pointing inward at 45 degrees. It is less than an ideal arrangement for these type of speakers, yet they still deliver a a big, diffuse sound field. They also blend perfectly with the e:XL 26s and e:XL-C that anchor the front of our set-up.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Stephen Hyam a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 28, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Have had these for about 3 weeks and can't say enough about them. I was hesitant to purchase these dipoles because I will be using them behind the listening area rather than the preferred method (on the side, slightly behind). But I am so glad I auditioned them at home. I can't believe what a difference the diffuse sound make for the listening experience and I can't imagine that having these on the sides could be any better. Whether it is 5.1 music or movies, these speakers have changed the listening experience. Instead of a little jet flying over my right shoulder, the diffuse nature of the sound coming from the speaker make it sound even bigger. Although there are arguments that di/bi-pole speakers are inappropriate for DD/DTS, I would suggest you listen for yourself; you won't be disappointed. Purchased these for $259 with a retail value of $359 (I only got this price because I was sold a defective pair of open box). After hearing them, they are worth it at full value (although you could always contact "audioshop.on.ca" for a value better than retail).

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jason a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 21, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I've had the Energy 16, center channel, and bipolar surrounds for about a year. They're GREAT. They do sound better after owning them for a little while--they were a little bit harsh on the high frequencies at first. A friend has full size Mirage speakers, and these are much better defined and crisp without eating a ton of space.

They don't have great low bass (as do NONE of the bookshelf or intermediate size), so shell out some $$ for a good sub and you'll have it all.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999




Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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