NHT ST-4 Floorstanding Speakers

NHT ST-4 Floorstanding Speakers 

DESCRIPTION

The slender tower features two separate chambers; the top portion, which replicates the SB-3, and the lower portion, which contains a vented, built-in 8" subwoofer.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 16  
[Feb 11, 2008]
Reticuli
Audio Enthusiast

Weakness:

Lower mids; weird upper mids when cranked.

These are finicky speakers. The weird load of the lower midrange presented by the midrange woofer is the biggest issue. When mono-amping, it gets sort of muddy. When bi-amping, the lower midrange gets recessed. There is a reason why most of the favorable magazine reviews say to use them with a tube amp...that's to warm up the lower mids. So I went from supremely finicky Bose, to still fairly finicky NHTs. It's not been a fun time. I would say your best bet with these is to find either a solid state that is very capable of handling complex 4ohm loads, as well as 8ohms, or get a very warm, powerful, yet detailed and delicate tube amp. That gets really expensive, and for a $750 speaker I'm not sure that's worth it. For less complex music, like the chamber variety, this speaker's staging and precision will know you socks off. But for anything more complex, multi-spectral, or demanding, it's going to give some problems. I honestly think classical is the last music you should be testing with speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Oct 16, 2005]
Jan55
AudioPhile

Strength:

Excellent value. I heard better speakers out there but for at least a $1,000 more than the NHT's. The built-in subwoofers let you get that low feel-it-in-your-chest bass that I didn't get from other speakers in this price range. The separate mid-tweeter section lets you get that clean monitor sound with good imaging and clarity. Love these things with jazz, clean rock (Cheryl Crow /Steely Dan)& acoustic music.

Weakness:

The tweeter sound is a little hard sometimes (on some piano music) and they can get muddy when driven really loud. But they can be driven sufficiently loud for normal serious listening. The reccesed mids do not favor hard guitar driven rock.

These are very good speakers for the money. I Use them for stereo only. Comments from other readers are mostly accurate except for the negative biamping comments. I played around with a lot of different arrangements and found that biamping them works best for me. Maybe a much more expensive/powerful amp would work for non-biamping, but then I probably wouldn't spend that kind of money on these speakers. I use a 50 watt tube amp for the mids/highs and a cheap ($100)100 watts/channel stereo amp for the subwoofer. I connected the two amps to the different outputs on my basic Sony dvd player and they sounded better than the non-biamped arrangement. Then I bought a Benchmark DAC1 (greatest thing sice sliced bread). Now I connect the amps to the different stereo outputs on the DAC. This thing sounds better than great. The mids/highs are very accurate, smooth and clean. The bass is reasonably tight. Sometimes they can be a little bright or hard on some music. I do have acoustical room treatment (inexpensive foam pyramid and corner blocks) which improves the imaging and reduces the bass boom.

Similar Products Used:

My System (Total Cost ~$3,000): Jolida 302b integrated amp. Insignia 100 watt stereo amp (from Best Buy). Sony $140 dvd changer.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 02, 2005]
scrappler
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Truly Excellent Speakers Low price-Great Value Outperforms many higher priced speakers.

Weakness:

If you have kids running around the house, these speakers will show where their hands have been. A CSI episode would last 5 minutes if the victim had these speakers.

After reading the reviews on the ST-4 I purchased them to complete my home theater system. From much of what I these seemed mostly for home theater, but after listening to them in 2 channel mode I can't stop listening to music on them. The overall imaging is excellent. I have not bi-amped these so I really haven't tapped into what the subs can do, and I probably will just let my seperate sub do all the low frequency work. The black piano finish is great, but I wish they had some options for color/finish, although I probably would have still gotten the black. It will show fingerprints very easily, so look out for menacing hands. To cpmplete the home theater I will be matching these with the SC-2 center channel. I am definately not an audiophile but after auditioning these, there was nothing that compared. Sure, there are better speakers out there but you begin to start paying $3000 and up. For the price there is nothing I have heard that compares.

Similar Products Used:

Energy-Klipsch-JBL

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 24, 2004]
Reticuli
AudioPhile

I just have a word of warning for all of you. DO NOT BI-AMP THESE SPEAKERS. I don't know why, but they still just weren't sounding quite right to my ears no matter what I did. I put the jumpers back and just monoamped it and BAM! They had to be repositioned, but they're much much better. Most of my complaints about stealy highs and exaggerated chestyness still apply, but they are much less exaggerated now. The lumpyness in the bass is now almost completely gone and voices/vocals are more present and linear. The highest highs are there, too. I don't know if it was my HK 7200 or the NHT's, but something was wrong. Not anymore. I still feel they sound best with the grills on, though. And they have to be closer to the wall...about a 11 inches at the distance I'm sitting at to get the right low end. In a bigger room I think you need them further away because you lose highs. In fact I'm pretty sure with a bigger room and no TV between them they'd sound much better. The Downward Spiral has never sounded so good, and I just found out it was rereleased on SACD HYBRID and DVD-A...goodie. Sorry to post again, but the biamping issue absolutely needs to be mentioned. Is it just me, but do some DTS movies sound better in DD? Some DTS sound really warm and muddy. True Romance, for instance.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 06, 2004]
Jeff Alexander
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Clarity and balance. Depth and imaging

Weakness:

I wish they had a option of another finnish. Black is nice but I felt I was buying a Model T. You cann have it in any colour as long as it is black.

Puchased the ST4's after a long search for new and used. Listened to Paradigm, Kef, B&w, Monitor Audio, Axiom & many others. I had a space problem and these fit the bill. I did have to have them placed with the bass driver facing inwards because of a shielding problem. With the drivers facing the walls my 36" GAOO was looking like it was ready for the dump. Once I flipped them the shielding problem was resolved. The top half of the speaker is shilded but not the bottom. Bass was not a concern as I have a PSB Stratus 7 for bottom end. I was suprised how nice they sounded with this set up for music listening. I did find they required more juice than the CYRUS Mission 782's that they replaced with my Nad receiver, but they really come to life when the volume goes up. Great for acoustic and rock music. I am now looking to have the center SC2 to complete the front. Great speakers for the money period. You will be hard pressed to find a speaker that can do as much as this one for both music and movies.

Similar Products Used:

Mission, Paradigm, B&W, Kef

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 07, 2004]
lrstevens421
AudioPhile

Strength:

Great Styling Great Imaging Crystal clear detail

Weakness:

None at this price

I couldn't agree more with the other reviews about the performance of the ST4's. I am a audiophile from NYC and I am very impressed with these towers. I can't rave enough about the styling of these speakers. The imaging of these speakers are superb. I am a very critical listener, I sometimes can't even bare to listen to my car stereo (that's how bad it's gotten). Although NHT advertises them as home theater speakers they sound very impressive in a 2-channel set up. Everyone knows how hard it is to combine 2-channel stereo and home theater in one system, these speakers are very convincing. I upgraded from the JMLabs Chorus series and these blow them away. I'm not sure what speaker cables and interconnects most people are using but upgrading those will also enhance your listening experience. I have upgraded around these speakers and my impression is the better the electronics you put into them the better they sound. My ST4's are being driven by a Fosgate FAP T1 Preamp/Processor and a Rotel RMB 1075 power amp, and all I have to say is wow. My preamp retails for $3000.00, the ST4's retail for a fraction of that, but you'll never know it just by listening to them.

Similar Products Used:

Infinity beta 50 JMLabs Chorus

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 23, 2004]
Reticuli
AudioPhile

I just wanted to update this. I've decided to tell all of you that the grills off orientation is actually not that great, though the Absolute Sound raved about it and NHT's head designer was the one who recommended it as an alternative to the configuration described in the manual. The 8khz spike is a little more noticeable, even without any toe-in. The NHT's already have a very slight metallic quality to the highs. This is a delayed energy problem at 5khz mentioned by Stereophile in the SB-3. Any boost in sibilance makes this minor flaw fairly noticeable. There's also a slight bump around 800hz that exaggerates recorded room resonance in vocals, as well as a sort of throaty resonance halfway between chesty and nasal. The grills off, strait forward approach seems to cause this bump to be more noticeable, as if surrounding frequencies are being surpressed slightly. The NHT does have some beaming in the lower mids and upper highs, so this may be what is occuring when you point their axis completely away from you. Even the mid-bass bump seems to stick out more with the grills off. I tried moving my seat closer; tried moving the speakers closer together...it sounded great with Matrix Reloaded, but CD's sounded a little lumpy and incosistent. The precision of individual sounds was amazing, but I suspect the 8khz boost may have had something to do with it, not a sudden absence of difussion from the grills. With the grills on but the speakers directly at me, the mids are extremely forward and I can't turn up the speakers as high without it sounding louder than it should...the voices became downright shouty. I think I settled on like 13" from the back wall, 33.25" from the side walls, and 90" from my seating position. The ST-4's are almost exactly 1.5 times further away from me as the speakers are apart, or slightly further apart from each other. The grills are back on and they are towed-in 25-33% (if directly at me is 100% tow-in). After these small adjustments in position, the out-of-phase spread and in-phase focus suddenedly snapped into place. There's very little clumping of images into L-C-R. Stereo panning is now fluid and the height has returned. The midbass and lower-mid bumps, as well as the slight steeliness, are all still there to some degree, but they don't stick out at normal volumes. The surrounding areas of the response seem to fill in. The upper mids have pulled back a little, but I'd rather have slightly recessed mids than foward ones. And now I can really crank it, using only the encroaching steeliness as evidence of when it's playing too loud. That low-mids bump was making every voice sound far too resonant before and made everything but the best ADR sound like it was recorded in extremely live rooms. This is much reduced and things sound more normal. The bass still goes very low and is of course in stereo, which if you've been using bookshelfs (with or without a sub) is a huge shock. Having full range stereo speakers is integral to the audio experience. A sub is fine for dedicated LFE, but you simply are not hearing things as intended with little fronts. There is a great deal of production going into the low frequencies of recordings, and dumping them into a mono sub is nonsense. The NHT's ability to produce usable sound down to the low 30hz's is mindblowing compared to the Boss system that's now in the bedroom. They actually reproduce down just below 20hz, but it's extremely faint. I've honestly never heard a home speaker (excluding subs) reproduce that low before. You can do better than them (sound quality wise) for $1000, but it'd be a high-end bookshelf speaker (like the Alan Petite), and that wouldn't include stands or significant low end. The compramises and flaws of the ST-4's are nicely managed and at a happy medium, turning into nothing but minor nitpicks until you reach extreme volumes. They have a signiture sound, but it's something I'm finding works well with most music and films. And I'm concluding this even though there's a TV between my speakers, which if gone, would probably allow them to perform at their true potential.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 13, 2004]
Reticuli
AudioPhile

Strength:

they look great with the grills off. smooth, even when you've got them placed incorrectly and there's way too much sibilance. amazing low end. two different ways you can set them up for two different tastes in sound, both hi-end.

Weakness:

the left speaker has a slight scuff to the top of the lacuer finish. the same speaker's upper left screw on the midrange driver has the blueing warn off and there's a slight scuff about two inches long clockwise along the edge of that driver from the screw on. the tweeter was also slightly rotated counterclockwise and had to be gently twisted perfectly vertical. odd aesthetic and quality control shortcomings from an otherwise gorgeous pair of speakers.

That's $750 shipped for the pair. I can call myself an audiophile now because of these. At first I thought they sounded a little warm and vague in the imaging. There are two ways to set them up. One is according to the manual with the grills on. If pointing them directly at your ears is whole (100% - 1/1) toe in, then you want to toe them in about 1/3 the way. I actually had them toed in this way first and they were gorgeously warm and smooth, though not totally precise in their imaging. Alison Goldfrapp and David Gehan had warmth to their voices, though, that made me melt with glee. The soundstage also had more depth than my previous system and a lot of height. If you toe them in too much, though, they'll start sounding forward and more like nearfield monitors. Now, taking off the grills does cause a spike in the 8khz region that opens them up way too much. The solution, as mentioned in the Absolute Sound review and recommended now by NHT's chief designer, is to take the grills off and not to toe them in at all, speakers strait ahead. I've found that you need to move them far enough to the sides to mostly get rid of the 8khz peak, which exaggerates T's and S's (never makes them harsh, though), far enough from the rear wall to balance out the extra midbass without making it sound thin. This placement also needs to be balanced to keep the speakers from being too far away from each other that the center image loses fill and depth. You don't want out of phase material grouping around the speakers. You'll still get a very slight boost at the 8khz range, but it should now be subtle. If you prefer the warmer sound, put the grills back on and toe them in a bit. But the precision in imaging and dynamics you get with the grills off set-up will knock your socks off. The lows go extremely low, and the highs are extended but tend to integrate well with the mids. I'm using this with a Harman Kardon 7200 and the combination on Dolby Digital soundtracks like the Matrix Reloaded is stunning. That ship sounds like it is landing in my living room when it sets down for the meeting. No joke. I don't remember it sounding like that in either the THX or Imax theaters. I'm no longer fiddling with my sound system (maybe just a little) and instead can simply enjoy the music and sound design. I need to get my friend Russ and his wife back over here. The only time they've heard it was with grills on and way too much toe in.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 25, 2003]
Kyle
Casual Listener

Strength:

Great speaker. Beat the polk, bose and infinity for the price. Work great with my NHT Sub. Music to movies! Using NHT SuperOne in walls for rear surround.

Weakness:

cant find one

Great speaker. Beat the polk, bose and infinity for the price. Work great with my NHT Sub. Music to movies!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 28, 2003]
Brett Muxen
Casual Listener

Strength:

Crystal clear highs and great bass.

Weakness:

None that I can hear yet.

Holy S_it! I am a casual listener on my way to "Audio Enthusiast"... I just got wired up and have been going through my cd's trying to find one that sounds bad with these ST4's! I bi-wired them to my new Yamaha RX-V1300. Not hooked to my tv yet but I plan to put together a home theatre system shortly. Wow am I glad I bought these speakers. I almost went with the Polk LSi15's but am happy with these.

Similar Products Used:

Polk Audio, Cerwin Vega (never again)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 16  

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