NHT 2.9 loudspeaker Page 3

I encountered only one problem in my auditioning of the NHT 2.9s—a buzzing sound, more prominent in the right speaker than in the left. It occurred only on specific, very strong bass notes, and seemed to originate at the junction of the metal bracket and the cabinet's bottom edge. I didn't attempt to cure it (it was an only occasional nuisance), but the problem disappeared when I took the weight off the feet by tipping the cabinets. NHT might look into eliminating a slight ridge around the bottom edge of the cabinet. (It's not visible, but you can feel it at the join of bottom and sides.) The buzzing came from the area where the metal bracket/foot contacts this ridge. Slipping some shims between the bottom of the cabinet and the brackets to keep the brackets from contacting the ridge might also eliminate the buzzing.

The next step in the evolution of the NHT 2.9/3.3 could well be versions with onboard woofer power, a step NHT has already taken with a new home-theater system based on design ideas from the 2.9/3.3 duo. Powered "subwoofers" built into full-range loudspeakers is now a hot design trend, and offers a lot of advantages, not least the ability to tailor the woofer response and install bass limiting to prevent overloading.

The latter is particularly important if the speaker is to see double duty by being used full-range in a home theater. I didn't use the 2.9 in this way, but my experience suggests that although its bass extension is more than adequate for the demands of music, the challenge of the low-frequency effects track on many Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks demands either some sort of bass-overload protection (which a dedicated subwoofer amplifier can provide) or a subwoofer system designed to hold up under severe stress. But if your room is of moderate size, your taste in films subdued, and/or your preferred listening levels reasonable, the NHT 2.9 might do fine in such a dual-function system. (FYI: NHT has recently begun building a new center-channel loudspeaker designed to closely match the 2.9 and 3.3: the $850 AudioCenter-2.)

Great loudspeakers are not easy to improve on, and in many respects the NHT 3.3 is a great loudspeaker. Too moderate in price compared with its clear sonic competition to generate a lot of high-end buzz, it nevertheless has remained a strong presence in the High End since its introduction, in 1993. The NHT 2.9 is not as much of a groundbreaker, but for a lot less money—and in a considerably smaller cabinet—you can get 80% of the performance of NHT's flagship. I call that a very good deal.

2950 Lake Emma Road
Lake Mary, FL 32746
(800) NHT-9993

DaveinSM's picture

I had a pair of these speakers once, and while they did sound good, could play very loudly, and had very good bass response, I noticed a very noticeable improvement in sound - at least in my system and my room- when I switched to Thiel's CS 2 2's.  But the Thiels could not match the NHT's dynamics, slam, or low bass response.  In fact, I could get the passive radiator/woofers to bottom out pretty easily with very low bass program material.  So I switched to CS3.6's, which sounded pretty similar to the CS 2 2's but with much better low bass response.  They need to be further away from walls and corners, however, or they sound bass heavy.  Even then, the CS 3.6's might not have the low bass slam and output capacity of the 2.9's.  Those speakers could really rock a house.