Sleeping Giant

In this day and age, home theater audio seems like an afterthought. We’ve got our iPods, and the clock radio sounds good enough, right? But once and a while, from somewhere out of left field, somebody reminds us just how critical the audio is to enjoying a good movie. And our discovery comes from a company previously  known and respected for their architectural speakers (you know, in-wall, in-ceiling built-in). The Episode Home Theater line, for the money, is such a speaker.

Movie lover's dream

The first thing you may notice, is the rather odd looking long vertical device on the far right, That my friends, is a planar, or ribbon tweeter. Not the conventional round dome style we’re used to seeing. The advantage to this design, and one I am especially fond of, is the ability to give crystal clear clarity to dialog. And at the same time, there isn’t the harshness, or “brightness” some would expect, rather a warmer richness that dramatically adds realism to the film’s soundtrack. And of course that means it must do music with equal aplomb. Here’s what Gary Altunian has to say about these speakers in Widescreen Review magazine:

Overall, I found the Episode loudspeaker system very easy and enjoyable to listen to for long periods of time, with no listening fatigue. The planar magnetic drivers offer outstanding clarity with
music and movie sources. The Episode system makes an ideal choice for loudspeakers concealed behind a screen, recessed in a wall, or in an entertainment cabinet. They won’t be found on the glossy cover of a magazine, but will likely find a home where sound quality is the most important factor.”
Now the rear surrounds are a unique switchable dipole/bipole design. While THX recommends the dipole settings for rears, I prefer bipolar. The difference is with dipole, it’s more diffuse, with a less directional sound. Bipole on the other hand is more directional, a personal preference (must be from being a Mirage dealer)

Bipolar is not just a condition

I’ve had the system in my own home (and, even though they are a tremendous bargain, in my showroom’s flagship theater) for several months, and I can attest to their value, their musicality, and very important to me, their ability to enhance the cinematic experience. There are countless speakers at twice the price that quite frankly can’t hold a candle to the Episodes. Being a Klipsch dealer for many, many years, I can tell you the Episodes keep up with (and in some ways, out perform) the Klipsch THX Ultra II system that was previously in the same showroom theater they now occupy. So, what’s the big deal? The Episodes are less than half the price! Don’t get me wrong; the  THX Ultra II’s are the very best thing Klipsch has done for high-end home theaters in decades. But in today’s economy, we all need to be a little wiser, and factor value in with any purchase. And the Episodes offer the very best home theater experience for thousands and thousands less. And while we represent many speaker lines at Audio Visionaries, I can’t extol their virtues adequately enough. With the Episodes, I can design a complete 7.1 home theater, with a 1080p HD Sony SXRD projector, a 100″ fixed mount screen, a Blu Ray video player or a PS3, a Sony ES surround receiver, and still be less money than the Klipsch speakers alone! So, you could pretty much say we got values. And a system that absolutely ROCKS.

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