Acoustical Imager Speaker System
The 10-inch subwoofer included with the Da-Lite Acoustical Imager Kit matches the color scheme of the satellite speakers. The subwoofer is a ported design, measuring 20" high x 14" wide x 16" deep and weighing 35lbs.
On the back of the subwoofer is the 150 watt RMS plate amplifier. The subwoofer amplifier has a dedicated LFE input, right and left analogue inputs for older Pro Logic receivers and pre-amps, speaker level inputs, an auto on/off input sensing switch, subwoofer gain control, and main power on/off switch. The line level inputs are gold plated - another nice touch.
The 10" woofer is mounted on the bottom of the enclosure. Notice that the woofer is recessed into the enclosure instead of being surface mounted. Large rubber feet support the subwoofer and allow the consumer to place it on just about any surface. Removing the woofer, I found the build quality to be very good - surpassing my expectations by a wide margin. The enclosure is made from 0.75-inch MDF and has one shelf brace in the center of the enclosure. Note the use of a fluted port and polyfill on all sides of the enclosure to prevent resonance. Finding these design features in a subwoofer that is included in this kit was quite a shock. It was very refreshing to once again see Da-Lite's quality-oriented thinking.
The woofer installed in the enclosure was not massive but was well built. It features a stamped metal basket, a large spider and motor structure, and a vented pole piece for cooling. Note the use of a rubber gasket around the woofer basket: this helps control resonance and seals the woofer against the front baffle.
Reassembling the speaker components, I began prepping the system for a viewing and listening evaluation. With budget always in mind I wanted to use components that were budget-oriented, though I believe this system would do just fine with higher quality components. I used the RX-V1500 receiver to drive the speakers, but realistically any of the good entry-level receivers would be sufficient (the RX-V557 or Pioneer VSX-1015 would be great entry-level choices at $399 and $499 respectively). The DVD player I used is the new Yamaha DVD-S657 DVD-A/SACD progressive scan player which has a $229 MSRP.
The current projector I have in my family room is the 1024x576 (Matterhorn) Sharp XV-Z200U projector with 6-segment, 5-speed color wheel. This is the unit I used for this evaluation, but any of the new 854x480 Dark Chip 2 projectors would be a great budget choice for this screen. Many of these new lower resolution projectors surpass the contrast ratio of my older Sharp projector. The absolute hot ticket for a portable "put-away" home theater system would be to combine this Da-Lite screen kit with the ultra-convenient Optoma MovieTime DV10.
I began the evaluation after placing the satellite speakers in the typical configuration for a 5.1 system (see below) and corner-loading the subwoofer. Two additional satellite speakers can be purchased, if desired, to accommodate a full 7.1 system. Using the internal subwoofer crossover on the Yamaha RX-V1500, I selected 120Hz and set all speakers to "Small" which seemed to be the sweet spot for the system.