Pros: musical speakers, attractive and understated, small size, awesome price
Cons: not much bass below 65 hz or so
I reviewed the Cambridge Soundworks Model Seventeen three years ago and later discovered that Epinions has two locations for reviews of the Model Seventeen. The other location is for the "black" model; this location does not specify color. So far as I know, the difference between the two is entirely cosmetic--a Cambridge Model Seventeen contains the same "guts" no matter what the color. The bottom line: The Cambridge Soundworks Model Seventeen comes in black, white or two wood grain finishes (my favorites) that are understated in an attractive kind of way.
This speaker is currently on sale at the Cambridge Soundworks for $64/pair, which is an absolute bargain. I'd recommend these without reservation as speakers for your teenager in college, or as speakers for your den, or even as your main speakers, so long as you don't require extremely high volume levels and deep bass.
The Model Seventeens are named after the world-famous KLH Model 17, which was designed by Henry Kloss and became one of the most popular speakers of the early 1970s. Kloss also founded Cambridge Soundworks.
The Cambridge Soundworks Model Seventeen is smaller than the original KLH version, measuring 11 1/2 inches tall x 7 1/8 inches wide x 6 3/8 inches deep. It uses a 5 1/4" long-throw acoustic suspension woofer and a 5/8" polycarbonate dome tweeter in a simple vinyl cabinet. I particularly like the "simulated teak" and "simulated oak" finishes. Both remind me of the small speakers of the '70s, Like the Dynaco A-25s and the Small Advents (the latter of which was also designed by Kloss).
The Model Seventeens are really musical little speakers, meaning that they don't call attention to themselves. They just sound (to me) like music. They have no deep bass, or even lower mid-bass (they ARE small speakers). But when I listen to them (pretty much every time I visit a Cambridge Soundworks store), they surprise me in that the bass IMPACT is good enough that I can feel the bass in my gut just enough to be satisfying. I would guess that the bass rolls off rather sharply under 65 hz or so.
I am also pleasantly surprised by how loud the speakers play without sounding strained. They are NOT rock 'n roll speakers in the sense that you can play them at 110 db and get blown out of the room. But they play pretty loud and still sound good.
What's best about them is the fact that the midrange sounds smooth, and the highs sound relatively extended without sounding harsh or strident. Hashy CDs sound tolerable through these speakers. Imaging is also pretty good, so long as you don't bury them deep in a bookcase.
If you are looking for small speakers for a dorm room or den, or if you are looking for rear speakers for an inexpensive multi-channel system, I recommend you give these a listen. I think these would be an excellent Christmas or Hanukkah present. Grab your old receiver out of the closet, snap up a $100 CD player, and you've got a heck of a system for under $200.
The retail price of these speakers is $150/pair, but they are currently on sale for only $64/pair, which I think is is a steal. I'm thinking of snapping up a pair just to have them around (I sometimes hook up rear speakers in my regular system using a "Hafler" circuit, which I'll write about some other time).
In any case, all Cambridge Soundworks products come with a 10-year warranty and a 45-day satisfaction guarantee, so there's not much risk.
If you want to read the hype (and specifications) on these speakers at the Cambridge Soundworks website, check out this link:
You can also just go to www.hifi.com and cruise around.
If you want a bit more bass, check out the Cambridge Soundworks Model Six, which is somewhat larger and is currently on sale for $99.99/pair.