GoldenEar Technology SuperCinema 3 review

Inside CI 4 Rating

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posted on Monday, 28th January 2013 by Steve May

home cinema  Loudspeakers 

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While GoldenEar Technology won't yet be a brand familiar to many consumers, it lands in the UK with considerable credibility. Co- founders Sandy Gross and Don Givogue list the creation of Definitive Technology on their resumes, and before that Gross launched Polk Audio. 

The company also hits the ground running with a broad portfolio of offerings comprising both large floorstanders and compact super/sats. This system is one of the latter. Comprising four satellites, a dedicated Centre and the dumpy but dangerous ForceField 3 active subwoofer, the SuperCinema 3 is the smaller sibling to the brand's SuperCinema 50, which features the step-up ForceField 4 sub and larger L/C/R satellites. All up it retails for around £1800; additional ForceField 3 subs sell for £550.

GoldenEar Technology SuperCinema 3: Build quality and features
Aesthetics isn't a major selling point here. With design a vital part of the lifestyle sell, these boxes could be construed as looking a little dowdy. However, the package is undeniably well made. The SuperSats weigh a substantial 2.26kg apiece, and at just 69mm deep and 30cm tall, can be either wall or stand-mounted. They ship with a simple horseshoe table stand which affixes via a square neck insert and screw. The Centre comes with a small adjustable foot, which screws to the rear of the speaker. To simplify wall-mounting, a template is supplied in every box.

The sealed cabinets themselves are a rigid polymer and sport a cloth grille with GoldenEar Technology badge. The enclosures begin to look more impressive when you pop the grilles off. Then you get to see the twin 4.5-inch MVPP (Multi Vane Phase Plug) drivers, positioned top and bottom of the proprietary High Velocity Folded Metal Ribbon tweeter. Efficiency for these small enclosures is high at 92dB.

The ForceField 3 sub utilizes a forward firing 8-inch driver, motivated by a 1000w amplifier. If you need additional flexibility when installing, GoldenEar offers an optional wireless kit. 

In addition to the main driver, this compact sub also employs a downward firing 9 x 11-inch quadratic planar radiator. On the rear there are high-level stereo speaker connections, with a high pass filter set at 120Hz and adjustable crossover, plus a standard line level LFE input. For a home theatre installs, bass management is best done in the receiver.

GoldenEar Technology SuperCinema 3: Performance
We partnered the system with an Oppo BDP-103EU Bly-ray player and a Sky+ satellite receiver as source components, with a Pioneer SC-LX90 providing amplification and audio processing. This probably isn't a speaker package that needs to be over-served in order to deliver an entertaining performance. These speakers should perform fine with any quality mid-range AVR.

What immediately sets this compact package apart from the pedestrian is the clarity of its mid-range. The Centre delivers dialogue with crisp precision, and there's a lithe agility to the delivery of the satellites. The matt-black subwoofer is no slouch either, exuding muscle and energy. That 1kw powerplant delivers whacking dynamics and plunges deep; the sub really begins to make its presence felt at around 30Hz. Any fears that an eight incher is ill-equipped to underpin unrestrained multichannel action are quickly dispelled. It thuds like a true heavyweight, for maximum visceral effect. When Caesar first releases the big gorilla from captivity in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, thereby heralding the start of the simian revolution, his gutteral roars ripple through the viewing room. This astonishingly potent box can pressure load a room like an angry Silverback.

Given that this set all use the same driver technology, it's no surprise that the soundfield is so coherent. Panning effects are smooth and dramatic - the opening sequence to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, with its wrapround audio FX, is wonderfully exciting. The satellites enter the fray at 100Hz, so the crossover needs to be set between 100-120Hz. However this inevitably makes the sub rather directional. For the system to really gel sonically, the ForceField 3 should be positioned close to, or even between, the main L/C/R.

Typically, smaller subwoofers are parked in to maximise the boundary effect, but that's not necessary here. Installers can also take advantage of the sub's compact dimensions - 292(h) x 289(w) x 400(d) mm - to actually locate it inside a cabinet or wall cavity, perhaps located beneath or behind the screen. If this option is taken, factor in some breathing space around the box.

GoldenEar Technology SuperCinema 3: Verdict
We rate the SuperCinema 3 as an extremely potent package capable of delivering a huge sound. It's also a relatively straightforward system to install, making it just the ticket is you need to deploy an effective home theatre with minimum fuss and delay. Just keep the sub tucked in close for the most coherent wall of sound. If there is a caveat, it's that the soundstage doesn't quite untether itself from the constraints of the small satellites, but the clarity and power of the overall ensemble make it difficult to carp. We rate the SuperSat 3 a fine speaker option for fuss-free, smaller home cinema installs.  

The GoldenEar technology SuperCinema 3 system is available now.
Retail price: £1,800
CI distribution is via Karma-AV. For more on the Karma-AV portfolio visit our Partner Page.

 

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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