* Great sound for movies and music
* Exceptional system matching works wonderfully for 5.1-channel music
* Deep, musical bass from Digital Sub350
"The Pinnacles' excellent system integration began with the Reference towers."
"Jeff recommends the Center for use with a rear projector."
"The Mini-Monitors performed admirably on 'Hotel California'."
"Even the toughest bass tests were no match for the Digital Sub350."
Pinnacle Classic Gold Speaker System
Home Theater Magazine December 1997
The answer to the age-old question: Do you
get a Toyota 4Runner or a German sports car to solve your home theater needs?
By Jeff Cherun, CFG Labs
Earlier today, Randy Cordero, the ingenious photographer who visually sculpts the product
shots you see in this magazine into works of perfection, enlisted the help of me and
VP/Creative Robert Ross in finding a sweet, new ride. His two options were simple:
Does he get the utilitarian Toyota 4x4 that has tons of room for cargo, but doesn't handle
that great on the road, or does he get the German sports car that he's always wanted but
that can't accommodate all his camera gear? This debate of practical cars versus fun cars
has consumed the attention of scholars for decades, with no answer in sight.
Unfortunately, a similar debate ensues when one shops for loudspeakers. Do you get
speakers that sound good for both music and movies (4Runner) or do you get speakers that
sound great for either movies or music (sports car), but not both? As with everything in
life, to get something, you have to give up something. This was Randy's dilemma, and it's
the dilemma of every home theater enthusiast the world over.
Can speakers sound as good for movies as they do for music,
and vice versa? Pinnacle has been building loudspeakers since 1976, and has attempted to
build the speaker that will answer that very mythical question with a resounding
"yes" and attain the best of both worlds with their new lineup.
Pinnacle's new Classic Gold line is of the direct-firing
variety. It starts with a tower speaker called the
Classic Gold Reference, which features
two 6.5-inch fiber-cone woofers and a 1-inch gold-dome tweeter. The
Classic Gold Center
Channel uses the same tweeter, but this time Pinnacle employs four 5.25-inch fiber-cone
woofers. Needing so much real estate to place four woofers and a tweeter, the Classic Gold
Center Channel's design is quite elongated, measuring in at a whopping 31 inches wide.
This design will probably work a little better with a rear-projection TV, versus a little
27-inch TV, where it might hang off the sides. For surround action, Pinnacle sent us a
pair of their Classic Gold Mini-Monitors, which are endowed with the very same dome
tweeter as featured on the rest of the system, along with one of the same woofers that
appears on the center speaker. All three of these speakers use a 12 decibel/octave
high-pass filter on the tweeter, and a 6 dB/octave low-pass filter for the woofers. The
crossover points are 2 kilohertz on the Mini-Monitor, 2.5 kHz on the Reference, and 4 kHz
on the Center Channel. One of Pinnacle's engineers, Peter Moore, says the center-speaker
crossover is set high to keep the crossover out of the critical vocal range. The Reference
and Center Channel feature gold-plated five-way binding posts; the Mini-Monitors we
received had spring clips, but Pinnacle says they will be shipped with gold-plated binding
To round out the system, Pinnacle included their
Sub350, which is a compound compression, Isobarik type--it has one internal 12-inch woofer
in a sealed cabinet, firing into a second chamber that houses another 12-inch woofer (the
one you see). The internal woofer sits right behind the external woofer. This
configuration doubles the driver mass and halves the impedance; Moore says it allows
Pinnacle to get the same performance they could get from a single 12-inch woofer in a box
with twice the internal volume. The sub has an internal 350-watt amp, with a 30 dB/octave
low-pass filter adjustable from 50 to 150 Hz. It has line-level inputs, plus speaker-level
inputs and outputs. The speaker-level outputs include an 80 Hz high-pass filter to keep
the bass out of your satellite speakers.
To try out this system, I used Pioneer's CLD-99 Laserdisc
player and Toshiba's SD-3107 DVD player for sources, the Chiro C-800 and C-5.1 processors,
and B&K's outstanding AV5000 five channel amplifier for power. For connections, I used
our studio staple of Tara Klara speaker cables and Kimber PBJ interconnects.
I started my listening tests with "Hotel
California," from the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over DTS CD. This disc really challenges
the integration of a system, as sounds are full in all five channels. For example, the
right surround speaker gets tested early on in the track as a set of shakers sounds out
distinctly and forcefully from behind. The Classic Gold Mini-Monitor reproduced this quite
well, integrating nicely with the rest of the system. Another difficult track on this
recording is the last song on the disc, titled "Seven Bridges Road," as all five
full-range channels feature the voice of a different member of the Eagles, singing at the
same time. The nice thing about this one is that all speakers have to do the same thing,
effectively, and you really hear a big difference if the surround or center speakers suck.
Well, the entire Pinnacle system did well on this one, which honestly surprised me. I
haven't encountered many systems that do this song justice, but the harmonics and tonality
of this system are very well matched.
For my next test, I pulled out a CD-R of the upcoming Pat
Leonard DTS CD, a stunning piano/bass/ percussion recording. The bass on this one goes so
low and deep that crappy subs need not apply. Again, the Digital Sub350 did a great job,
never bottoming out or sounding one-notey, instead just sounding musical. This track also
challenges a system's spaciousness, but the Pinnacles did not disappoint. The soundstage
was wide and the acoustic bass in the piece sounded so realistic it kind of freaked me
out. The idea behind 5.1 music recordings is to envelop the listener, and this system
certainly did that. On two-channel music, my reactions were the same. Ron Sexsmith's
recordings came through very nicely, with just the right edge to them. Here, I did notice
a slight coloration in the midrange, but certainly not enough to detract from the overall
I wasn't sure that a system that sounded so good for music
would do it for movies, but my worries were soon put to rest. On film soundtracks, the
Pinnacle system produced great extension and soundstaging, with enough edge to make movie
soundtracks sound clear, but not enough to make them sound bright. On the DVDs of Golden
Eye and True Romance, in particular, the system just sounded great, actually making me
forget I was reviewing the system. I actually watched both films in their entirety, even
though I'd seen both several times already.
Pinnacle has answered many questions for us here at HT. It
appears that you can do well for both music and movies, albeit neither better than the
other. If you want a solid system for a fair and affordable price, do yourself a favor and
check out Pinnacle's latest creations. You would be remiss if you didn't. And as for
Randy--he ended up going the sensible route, getting the 4Runner, and while sacrificing
the panache and chick-factor that might have gotten him some action, he now owns a great
truck that carries all the rest of us freeloaders to lunch everyday. Long live
Randy! Long live Pinnacle!
Audio Video Interiors January, 1998
Excerpted from a Problem Solving Article:
When it comes to the area of sufficient sound pressure level, there are two ways to
approach the issue (assuming the theater size remains constant). They are: driving less
efficient speakers with lots of power or driving more efficient speakers with less power.
Highly efficient speakers sometimes carry trade-offs in sound quality. While this is
sometimes the case, it certainly is not concerning the Pinnacle Home Theater system
($2,850) (two Classic Gold Reference towers, a Classic Gold Center, two Classic Gold
Mini-Monitors and a Digital Sub350---all of which can be purchased separately.) We've been
evaluating a set of these here at AVI and they were most impressive. While delivering a
respectable 92 dB at one watt/one meter sensitivity, they are also incredibly accurate,
delightfully transparent and perform well in every frequency range. While driven by a
60-watt per-channel receiver they effectively carried a 4,000-cubic-foot home theater with