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NHT Super Surround 5.1

*Est. $800
Reviewed
May 2013
by ConsumerSearch
NHT Super Surround 5.1

Pros
  • Great sound quality
  • Attractive enclosures
Cons
  • No dedicated speaker for center-channel audio
  • Sometimes difficult to hear conversations in crowded scenes

Bottom Line

The NHT Super Surround 5.1 speaker system offers first-rate sound quality for home theater use. Fans of action flicks might be less impressed, however as it is better at providing clean, mellow tones than earth-shattering lows.

Performance

Great sound quality without showing off. The NHT Super Surround 5.1 speaker system offers first-rate sound quality, reviewers say. Movies and music sound great, and coloration is minimal. The system includes consists of five NHT SuperZero 2.0 speakers (*Est. $100 each) with an NHT Super 8 subwoofer (*Est. $350). The lack of a specially designed center channel speaker (a SuperZero 2.0 speaker is used instead) is an issue in some reviews. Though the NHT SuperZero 2.0 handles the job well enough, performance falls short of speakers designed specifically for that task. This is particularly noticeable with dialogue in noisy movie scenes like characters talking in a crowded pub.

The Super 8 subwoofer may not shatter glass, but reviewers say it delivers nuanced low tones rather than focusing on bombast. NHT says the speakers include a new crossover wiring that helps reduce distortion by blocking a little more bass from reaching the tweeter -- a claim that reviewers verify.

Note that while NHT still offers the Super Surround 5.1 system and the Super 8 subwoofer, it's recently discontinued the SuperZero 2.0 speakers and updated those to the SuperZero 2.1 (*Est. $100) . The redesign, the company says, should improve performance but we've seen no independent tests; the new speakers had not started shipping at the time of this update.

Design

It keeps a low profile. Though the NHT Super Surround 5.1 isn't exactly compact, it still does a decent job of disappearing in a room. Its laminated black enclosures are simple yet attractive. Optional speaker stands are available, which Home Theater magazine recommends. The Super 8 subwoofer hosts basic controls like volume, crossover frequency and Hi Level In/Out, as well as stereo line in inputs.

Build Quality

Tops in every way. Reviewers are generally impressed by how well the speakers in the NHT Super Surround 5.1 are put together. At BigPictureBigSound.com, Ian White says that the speakers "are considerably heavier than most speakers in their price range and they feel sturdy." Home Theater magazine concurs and adds: "NHT has always been known for extraordinary build quality for the price, and even these budget minis are no exception." The cabinet is well braced and does a good job of eliminating vibration.

Speaker connections are made via binding posts. Those might not be the equal of the ones found on high-end speakers, but they are considerably better than the poor-quality spring-loaded connectors found on lots of other A/V gear in this price range, says White.

Value

They outperform their cost. Reviewers say the NHT Super Surround 5.1 is a terrific value, as it offers great sound quality at a welcome price. "Ninety-nine dollar loudspeakers should never sound like this," writes White in approval; many say the Super 8 subwoofer far exceeds its price as well. However, if you're on a tighter budget, the Energy Take Classic 5.1 (*Est. $400) also delivers excellent performance -- especially for smaller spaces -- and costs half as much.

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NHT SuperZero 2.1 Mini-Monitor Speaker (Gloss Black)
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Energy 5.1 Take Classic Home Theater System (Set of Six, Black)
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Our Sources

1. BigPictureBigSound.com

Review Credibility: Excellent Ian White has nothing but good things to say about the NHT Super Surround 5.1 system. While he notes that using a sideways NHT SuperZero 2.0 isn't as ideal as using a designated center-channel speaker, he reports generally excellent sound from the system. "If you think you can assemble a better 5.1 system for under $800, you would be wrong," he writes, adding that the system is highly recommended.

Review: NHT SuperZero 2.0 Speakers with Super 8 Subwoofer Review, Ian White, March 24, 2011

2. Home Theater Magazine

Review Credibility: Excellent Veteran audio reviewer Mark Fleischmann has a few minor bones to pick with the NHT Super Surround 5.1 configuration. "I did have to listen attentively to conversation partly masked by noise in a crowded pub," he says. Fleischmann adds that the system skews more toward mellow yet faithful audio reproduction rather than bombast, which he appreciates. He says, "The NHT SuperZero 2.0 is a dab hand at movies and music," and an extraordinary value, then he awards the system a Home Theater magazine Top Pick award.

Review: NHT SuperZero 2.0 Speaker System, Mark Fleischmann, July 5, 2011

3. HomeTechTell.com

Review Credibility: Very Good Dennis Burger puts the NHT Super Surround 5.1 system through its paces, subjecting it to a bevy of movie and music listening tests. Like other reviewers, Burger laments the use of an NHT SuperZero 2.0 speaker for the center channel in place of a specifically designed unit, but he reports very good audio quality from the system nonetheless. He also says the Super 8 subwoofer outperforms its $350 price tag. "Although it can't quite keep up with larger towers in terms of pure output and power, it has been a long time since I heard any speaker -- at any price -- that delivers this level of neutrality and musicality," he says.

Review: HomeTechTell Review: NHT SuperZero 2.0 Mini Monitors and Super 8 Subwoofer, Dennis Burger, April 5, 2011

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