SuperCinema 50 Speaker System
The main speakers in GoldenEar’s SuperCinema 50 system are SuperSat 50s. Swung sideways, it’s also the SuperSat 50c center channel.
A tweeter is an amazing thing. Adorable name aside, it’s a powerful device with the widest frequency range of any speaker driver. Most one-inch tweeters go from 2,500 Hz to more than 20,000 Hz. Beat that, woofer, with your 20-80 Hz range.
The vast majority of tweeters are of the “metal” or “fabric” varieties. These domes have shaped our idea of sound for the better part of a century. True, some speakers have featured ribbons, or electrostatic whatevers, and some have ring radiator tweeters. So if you’re looking for a mid-priced speaker system, for the most part it’s got domes.
GoldenEar isn’t “most.” It’s founder, Sandy Gross, co-founded Polk in the 1970s. Later, he created Definitive Technology. His list of audio accomplishments is worthy of an article in itself, and when he retired from Definitive, few really believed that he was going to slide quietly into the rarefaction.
Instead, last year he launched GoldenEar. Its first product was a big tower with an interesting tweeter called a High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR). It’s a folded film energized by neodymium magnets and works like the motion of an accordion (though without the umpa or lumpa). It has a radiating surface much greater than dome tweeters, thanks to its multiple folds.
For those of us not partial to huge black monoliths, GoldenEar has released two satellite speakers that are effectively the top half of the Triton Two towers.
The main speakers in the SuperCinema 50 system are SuperSat 50s. Swung sideways, it’s also the SuperSat 50c center channel. These $499 satellites are thin horizontally, shallow in depth, and at seven pounds, you could probably hang them with wallpaper paste (don’t use paste). If wall mounting isn’t your thing, they look slim and slender on stands. Each 50 has the HVFR tweeter, two 4.5- inch midrange drivers, and two four-by-seven-inch quadratic planar low frequency radiators.
The surrounds, or the main speakers in the SuperCinema 3 system, are the SuperSat 3s ($249 each). These have the same tweeter and midrange drivers, but they skip the bass radiators.
To fill in the bottom end, GoldenEar sent me the ForceField 4 subwoofer ($699). A relatively small trapezoidal unit, it packs a beefy 1,200 watts driving a 10-inch long-throw woofer. There’s also an 11x13-inch quadratic planar infrasonic radiator, which seems to be GoldenEar’s name for a passive radiator. The 4 is small and cheap enough that I don’t know why you’d get its little brother, the ForceField 3.
To fill in the bottom end, GoldenEar offers the ForceField 4 subwoofer, a relatively small trapezoidal unit that packs a beefy 1,200 watts driving a 10-inch long-throw woofer.
Wanting to test this special tweeter, my first selection was Europa Galante’s recording of Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerto in C on CD (track 16). The delicate plucking of the instruments was rich with timbre and ambiance. The two SuperSat 50s had excellent stereo imaging. The 50s are not big speakers, but sounded larger than they were. That’s not say they have the apparent size possible with some big towers, but they don’t sound like thin satellites. The mid-bass was quite decent, which I wasn’t expecting, though they were only about a foot away from the wall. Farther out into a room you’d get a bit less (mounted, a bit more).
Changing gears completely, I put in Justice’s 2007 release, Cross. This album is practically all treble and bass, which can sound horrific on many systems. Track six, “Phantom Pt II” is no exception, but I was able to play this track extremely loud. The sub produced tight bass, and blended well with the SuperSats. I’ve heard better subs, honestly, but all were much higher in price.
Switching to some high resolution, I put in Dire Straits Brothers in Arms on DVD-Audio. The surrounds blended with the main speakers beautifully. The thunder at the beginning of the eponymous Track nine seamlessly filled the room. Later in the song, this was replaced by the reverb from the instruments. Knopfler’s smooth Fender rang true, and there was more air around his voice than I’ve heard before. Overall the SuperSats were extremely neutral, even at loud volumes, and were never fatiguing. There might be a bit of a tip up in the really high end, but I doubt most would notice because it’s so slight.
For a movie I picked Ghost in the Shell 2.0 on Blu-ray. This DTS-ES track is multi-layered and atmospheric. Chapter 10, has Kusanagi battling a tank, and the SuperCinema system handled this big scene easily; crisp gunfire, heavy explosions, and lots of action in the surrounds blended perfectly with the fronts.
I really couldn’t find any fault with the SuperCinema system. I might add a second sub if were I to buy this system, but I have a big room. In all, it’s a fantastic system at a fantastic price.
Outstanding tweeter mated to attractive satellites. The entire system blends well together, and can handle whatever you throw at it.
On stands, the SuperSat 50s are a little wobbly.
■ High-Velocity Folded Ribbon tweeter
■ SuperSat 50/50C Claimed Frequency Response: 60 Hz to 35 kHz, 92 dB Sensitivity
■ SuperSat 3 Claimed Frequency Response: 80 Hz to 35 kHz, 92 dB Sensitivity
■ ForceField 4 Claimed Frequency Response: 14 Hz to 250 Hz
■ SuperSat 50/50C 27 x 4.75 x 2.5 inches (WxHxD); 7 pounds,
■ SuperSat 3 12 x 4.75 x 2.7 inches (WxHxD); 3 pounds,
■ ForceField 4 13-3/8 x 17-7/8 x 12-3/4 inches (WxHxD); 32 pounds