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"…the CS 88 is a well-designed subwoofer that delivers a surprising amount of volume."

"…I was again surprised by the output of the small subwoofer"

"…it would be wise to check out these…loud, interior-friendly subs."

Screening Room: Pinnacle Speakers' CS 66, CS 88 Subwoofers

By Robert Archer, CE Pro Magazine, November 2006

One of the most significant trends in the industry recently is the advent of floorstanding loudspeakers that are designed to complement a room through an unobtrusive appearance that blends into a home's decor.

This trend is important for several reasons. Arguably, the most important reason may be that as new-home sales continue to slump, installers will have to look at other opportunities such as retrofit installations to grow their sales, and these new products will be easier to sell than the traditional box designs of yesteryear.

A good example can be found within the Pinnacle Speakers' product line and the newly released CS 66 and CS 88 powered subwoofers. These subwoofers use wedge-shaped enclosures that facilitate their ability to reside in a room's corner and out of the way of everyday foot traffic.

Technologies & Design

The wedge-shaped cabinet design not only allows for corner placement, but also minimizes standing waves that, in turn, improve low-frequency clarity.

An additional benefit is that corner placement permits the subs to take advantage of the boundary-reinforcement properties that are inherent with this type of room placement.

Internally, the CS 88 is an acoustical-suspension design that incorporates two 8-inch woofers with 2-inch voice coils, 40-ounce magnets and rubber surrounds.

A 700-Watt amplifier that's protected with an anti-clipping circuit drives the woofers. The 66 has a smaller, but similar design with dual 6 1/2-inch woofers and a 350-Watt amplifier.


Because of the subs' design, customers, or installers, will not have to worry about going through the process of finding the best location for them. This statement was true for me as well. With the crossover set on my Bryston pre/pro I connected a Transparent subwoofer cable to the rear panel line-level input of the CS 88 that Pinnacle had sent me.

With that simple connection completed I turned on the auto-signal sensing circuit, set the volume to 12 o'clock and placed the unit on an Auralex decoupling platform that was previously placed in the corner.


I started off by listening to some HDTV content and the first thing I noticed with the sub was its tremendous output. I also noticed that I might have been overdriving it.

I wrongly assumed that because of the sub's small size it would need a lot of gain to satisfy my low frequency requirements. After adjusting the volume I popped in "Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," and I was again surprised by the output of the small subwoofer.

Moving on, I thought some music DVDs would be a better test of the sub's true capabilities. The first thing I tried out was The "R30" DVD from Rush.

With this disc I checked out the texture and the depth of the chords Geddy Lee plays on the synthesizer-heavy "Subdivisions" track, the kick drum on "Tom Sawyer," the bass line on "Red Barchetta" and Neil Peart's performance on the drum solo in "Der Trommier."

At no point while I was listening to the sub did I think the Rush material overwhelmed it. The sub kept pace with the music without sounding tubby and it played cleanly without crushing any low-frequency detail.

Moreover, during a television broadcast of Heart with special guests Gretchen Wilson, Carrie Underwood and Alice in Chains (AIC) the sub was able to reveal the heaviness of Mike Inez's playing during his double-duty stint of playing bass with Heart and AIC.

Using test tones from the Rives Audio test disc, I found the sub to be most effective in my room playing down to a peak low of 35 Hz. Its strongest combination of depth and SPLs I found was at 40 Hz where it reached a level of 88 dB. Beyond that it rolled off smoothly in increments of 3 dB.

Final Thoughts

Overall I think the CS 88 is a well-designed subwoofer that delivers a surprising amount of volume. There are subs out there that will certainly play louder and deeper, but I can promise that they are also more expensive.

When you also consider that those larger subs will never disappear into a home environment like in the Pinnacle products I think that it would be wise to check out these deceptively loud, interior-friendly subs.




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