I feel like I did anyway! I stopped at Cambridge Soundworks the other day, and checked on the discount deal rack. The salesperson recognized me from my many trips there (I am a shopaholic of course) and said "Have I got a deal for you!". He then showed me the Soundworks Model 6 Speaker. Apparently, this old school Henry Kloss design speaker originally retailing for $500.00 a pair was being phased out to make way for newer models. They were now on sale for a mere $50.00 a Pair! I had to give them a listen!
Recommend this product?
We went over to the test room, and listened to some rock n roll with a good male vocal in it. (I wish I knew what we listened to, I didn't recognize it). Anyway, the music sounded very clear, the voice sounded natural and they had very good bass response for a bookshelf speaker, deep and rich. For fun, I had him put on the M-80s, the Cambridge Soundworks top of the line Bookshelf speakers (A three way $500.00 a pair speaker) Did the M-80s sound better? Of course they did, the bass was a tad crisper, and the sound stage was expanded, and the image was better. Did they sound ten times better? Keep in mind these Model 6s were on sale for $50.00 a pair, while the M-80s are $500 a pair. NO, No and No. Although the M-80s sounded better, it wasn't a huge difference. These old Model Sixes sounded pretty darn good, even against the M-80s. The biggest difference was slightly more refined bass and better imaging. The sound from the M-80s was also smoother. Well, my nickname wouldn't be Shopaholic_man if I let those speakers sit there, I took a pair home and hooked them up.
Basic Look and Design The Model Sixes are basic boxy looking black bookshelf speakers with black grill clothes (which are removable). They are an acoustic suspension design, and feature a paper 1 1/2" Tweeter and an eight inch woofer. These are old school design bookshelves, they don't look terribly glamourous. Nevertheless with the grill clothes on, they are fairly unobtrusive. Speaker posts are standard, stick the wire into the hole and tighten up the screw or stick in the old banana plug inputs; no bi wiring options here. These speakers are not magnetically sheilded, so don't use them close to your computer or a television.
Sound Quality While not up to par with the more expensive M-80s, these do deliver better bass than my M-60s (Cambridge Soundworks mid range 2 way bookshelf speaker). The Cambridge M-60s still give a more natural smooth sound to the music. (For my review of Cambridge Soundworks M-60s click) However, musical reproduction is pretty accurate with the Model Sixes. Bass actually sounded slightly exaggerated at first, but due to room contraints, my speakers were placed fairly close to the wall. I found moving them out a bit gave a much flatter response. I listened to several different DVDs (Dresden Dolls at the Paradise; Eminem E) DVD-Audios (Diana Krall-The Look of Love; Neil Young - On the Beach) and CDs (Johnny Cash - Greatest Hits; Gwen Stefani Love Angel Music Baby)to make comparisons and listening evaluations. Overall my findings were that music sounded good but not excellent on the Model Sixes. Johnny Cash's voice was gravely, Diana's was sugary and Neil's was sad and expressive (as each should sound!) Drums and bass sound off strong with these speakers, and mid and upper range sound good, but not as smooth as my Polks or the M series by Cambridge Soundworks. However they are not unnaturally bright or boomy, thin or anemic.
Imaging / Soundscaping The Model Six is an older model Cambridge Soundworks speaker, which is probably why they are being phased out. The drawback to older speakers is their lack of soundstaging or imaging. I mean, left is left and right is right, but it doesn't create the illusion of shutting your eyes and seeing the band before you. The better and more expensive speakers make you forget that you are listening to speakers. The Model Six sound doesn't think outside the box as it where, and the sound is certainly coming from the speakers no matter how hard you shut your eyes. However, for $50.00 a pair, I wasn't expecting sonic nirvana, and despite the lack of superior imaging found in many of today's speakers, I still consider the Model Sixes a good deal.
Surround Sound The Model Sixes blended right in with M-60s for rear surrounds (I moved them to the rear for testing purposes) and a Cambridge Soundworks Center Stage Speaker and a Cambridge Soundworks 50 watt 8" subwoofer.
Value For the price, these speakers are an excellent value. If you are on a limited budget, these are a very good sounding speaker with a good full range. Their response is fairly flat, and the bass response is very good not only for a bookshelf but unbelievable for the price.
Summary I will definitely use these speakers, but they probably won't replace my M-60s for my bedroom Home Theater System (although they did for these tests). They certaintly won't replace the Polk Audios in my living room. However, I may use these in my office, or possibly to replace the bass poor Surround Sound II's in my bedroom or as the rear surround channels since I have a 7.1 Denon receiver.
Test environment I listened to the Model Sixes at the Cambridge Soundworks show room, which is large and open on a Marantz Receiver. At home, I hooked them up as front right and left on a 7.1 channel Denon 1705 Receiver (set up for stereo or 5.1). CD/DVD/DVD-Audios were played on a Pioneer Elite 45A. My bedroom is an odd shaped room, but its about 12' x 12' with 9' ceilings.
Amount Paid (US$): 50.00