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Energy Take Classic 5.1 Home Theater System Review

August 15, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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One big draw of going to the movies is the immersive experience — both in terms of visuals and audio. Theaters boast high-quality surround sound systems to give the audience the full adventure. Today, entertainment systems can replicate that in your own home.

Large, high-definition flat-screen TVs and projectors can start to make your living room more like a personal cinema, but to really approximate the movie-house experience, you’ll want a home theater system.

These sound setups can be expensive. They have multiple components, and if you want top quality, you’ll likely have to pay top dollar. The Energy Take Classic 5.1 home theater system, though, is a rare exception to that rule. It’s a compact speaker system that produces high-quality sound for its size at an affordable price.

Read through our review to see if the Energy Take Classic 5.1 home theater system is the right one for you.

Design Energy 5.1 Take Home Review

The Energy Take Classic 5.1 is a glossy black six-piece theater system that includes four satellite speakers, one central speaker and a subwoofer. It isn’t the biggest system on the market, but many users liked that the speakers don’t occupy a lot of space, making it a good fit for small rooms and apartments.

Each of the satellite speakers weighs in at 2.9 pounds and stands 6.875 inches tall. They are wall-mountable and house a small woofer to add body to the audio.

The center speaker specializes in replicating TV and movie dialogue. Weighing 3.2 pounds and measuring 10.25 inches wide by 4.125 inches tall, it’s designed to lie horizontally, adjacent to the TV. One user said that he liked how the central speaker disappeared into his bookshelf.

Though the 19.7-pound subwoofer is the heftiest piece in the Take Classic 5.1, its cubelike body is a fairly compact 12.625 by 14.785 inches, so it can be easily tucked away, too.

The Take Classic 5.1 home system is available on Amazon for around $325.

» MORE: Yamaha YAS-203 Speaker Review

How it sounds

Home theater systems function a little differently from stereo systems. Since most theater systems are designed to replicate movie-house surround sound, speaker placement is crucial.

Many users said that setting up the Take Classic 5.1 was easy thanks to placement tips in the owner’s manual.

Once the system was installed, users said that the sound was warm and clear, well-balanced and articulate. Audio output for movies sounded natural, and reviewers said they heard details in the sound that they couldn’t hear before: twigs snapping in outdoor scenes, or the sound of pages being turned.

Much of the speakers’ clear sound is attributed to the way Energy has aligned its internal components. The satellite and central speakers are equipped with a 0.75-inch tweeter to replicate high frequencies and a 3-inch woofer to handle midrange registers. These units place the tweeter and woofer as close together as possible to act as a single source and reduce separation.

This setup, according to Energy, prevents one frequency from dominating another and distributes sound evenly in all directions, so viewers get a full audio experience wherever they may be sitting in the room.

» MORE: Pioneer SP-SB23W Speaker Review

The pros

As many user reviews emphasized, the best part of the Energy Take Classic 5.1 is that the kit offers big sound with a small speaker size and price. One user praised the system for being “budget conscious but not cheap quality.”

Energy’s attention to quality is shown inside and out. Users loved the look of the speakers, whose glossy black finish is reminiscent of a grand piano. They said that the classic look helped the speakers disappear on their shelves — though the audio never failed to stand out.

The Take Classic 5.1 owner’s manual recommends that users play the system for 50 hours to break it in. Many users noted that over time, even past the break-in period, the sound quality got increasingly better.

» MORE: Fluance Fi30 Review

The cons

There were few cons reported with the Energy Take Classic 5.1, and most users found solutions on their own.

One drawback was that though Energy advertises that the satellite speakers are mountable, the mount ports are located on the back, and placing the speakers on the wall reduced the bass output.

Another con is that the Energy is unpowered, which means it’s meant to be paired with an audio receiver. Receivers allow users to control and adjust the frequency levels of each speaker so they can receive the best audio quality.

Setting up a receiver takes some audio expertise, and if set up incorrectly, it can handicap the stereo’s output. In some cases, users had complaints that they felt some separation between the bass and the rest of the audio. Others said that the central speaker, where movie and TV show dialogue is replicated, sounded too boomy and occasionally sounded muffled.

The verdict

In terms of sound quality, size and cost, the Energy Take Classic 5.1 home theater system is a solid option for novice home theater shoppers or those looking for a good system at a reasonable price.

All five speakers and subwoofer work in tandem to provide a high-quality sound that is warm and detailed. Setting up the system might take some assistance, however, if you’re not audio savvy. If you opt for the Energy system, you’ll also have to purchase and set up a separate receiver to power it.

Perhaps the biggest downside is that, despite its rave reviews, the Energy Take Classic 5.1 has been discontinued, though it’s still in stock on Amazon. One alternative would be the Klipsch HDT-600 Home Theater System (Klipsch is Energy’s parent company). Other brands, such as Bose, have a decent selection of soundbars and home theater systems. Another option is the more modern Sonos speakers and soundbar, which allow you to create a custom speaker ecosystem for music and movies.

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Nina Tabios is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ntabios@nerdwallet.com.