Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System - Review

Big Sound to Smaller Spaces

Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System - Photo of Front View - Grills On
Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System - Photo of Front View - Grills On. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Home Theater Speaker Systems

Loudspeakers are definitely integral to the home theater experience, but one problem is that they can take up a lot of space, especially if you a looking at setting up a five or seven channel speaker system.

One solution to this problem is a system that utilizes compact bookshelf speakers, combined with a separate subwoofer. However, a compact, space-saving system doesn't do you any good if it can't deliver a good listening experience.

One possible speaker system choice is the Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1, which combines five compact bookshelf speakers for the center, left and right front, and surrounds, and a 100 watt 8-inch powered subwoofer. Here are all the details"

Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System - Specifications

Center Speaker

  1. 2-Way Acoustic Suspension Design. Bass/Midrange: (2 driver - 3 in) - Tweeter: .75 inch.
  2. Frequency Response: 120Hz-20kHz + -3dB
  3. Sensitivity: 89db.
  4. Impedance: 8 ohms.
  5. Power Handling: 100 watts.
  6. Dimensions: (HWD) 3-1/2in x 10 in x 4-1/4 in (89 mm x 254 mm x 107 mm).
  7. Weight: 3.6 lbs (1.6kg).
  8. Finish: Grey
  9. Can be table/shelf or wall mounted.

Satellite Speakers

  1. 2-Way Acoustic Suspension Design. Bass/Midrange: (1 driver - 3 in) - Tweeter: .75 inch.
  2. Frequency Response: 120Hz-20kHz + - 3dB
  3. Sensitivity: 89db.
  4. Impedance: 8 ohms.
  5. Power Handling: 100 watts.
  6. Dimensions: (HWD) 6-3/4in x 3-1/2 in x 4-1/4 in (171 mm x 89 mm x 107 mm).
  7. Weight: 1.8 lbs (.8 kg)
  8. Finish: Grey
  9. Can be table/shelf or wall mounted.

Powered Subwoofer

  1. Driver: Bass Reflex (one 8-inch down firing driver augmented by dual ports).
  2. Frequency Response: 38Hz up to 250Hz.
  3. Phase: 0 or 180 degrees.
  4. Amplifier Power Output: 100 watts
  5. Crossover Frequency: Variable from 100Hz to 250Hz
  6. Power On/Off: Auto, On, Off.
  7. Dimensions: (HWD) 13-3/3/4 in x 9-1/2 in x 15 in (349 mm x 241 mm x 381 mm).
  8. Weight: 17.2 lb (7.8 kg)
  9. Available Finishes: Grey

Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System - Review

Audio Performance

Despite its compact size, the Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System provided a pretty good listening experience, especially for movies. The center speaker reproduced movie and TV dialog well. However, for music I felt that the center channel was not as bright or provided as much depth as the center channel speakers I used for comparison.

The satellite speakers provided for the left, right and surround channels performed well. Surround sound was well executed with good spatial and direction placement of sound effects. However, just as with the center channel, the detail and depth were not quite as bright as the comparison systems. However, taking the compact size and price point into consideration, the center, and satellite speakers provided a good movie, and more than adequate music listening experience, in the mid to high frequencies for a modest home theater setup.

I found the powered subwoofer to be a good match for the rest of the speakers. With its 8-inch down firing driver and dual ports, the subwoofer provided very good lower frequency response, which suited movie listening well, but there was some boominess in the midrange bass frequencies that lessens the detail in the mid-bass bass frequencies, which is more noticeable when listening to music.

What I Liked  

  1. The compact size of the center and satellite speakers make placement very easy.
  2. The speakers assigned to the main and surround configurations, project a much larger sound image that their size would indicate, which is perfect for surround sound listening.
  3. Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 Sub provides good bass but is a little boomy at the mid bass frequencies.
  4. Smooth transition and blending between the Subwoofer and rest of system.
  5. The magnetically attached speaker grills make them easy to remove or reattach is desired.
  6. The subwoofer provides both line-in and high-level speaker connection options, making it possible use it with receivers that do not have a dedicated subwoofer output.

What I Didn't Like 

  1. The Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 subwoofer provides deep bass for its size but was not as tight as the comparison subs.
  2. Center channel speaker lacks some depth on music vocals.
  3. The Center and Satellite speakers are a little subdued on high frequencies - but not distorted.
  4. The inset where the speaker terminals are located on the center and satellite speakers were small, making access to speaker terminals on center and satellite speakers for larger fingers in order to tighten and loosen the screw-on terminal covers a little awkward.

Final Take

With a reputation of making large and powerful loudspeakers, I was surprised how small the CMX 5.1 system was when it arrived at my door. Opening the box, I found five small center and satellite speakers, and a compact, but a decent size subwoofer.

I also noticed some nice design touches, such as the magnetically attached speaker grills, traditional screw-on binding posts, and built-in wall mounting brackets. However, I took note that the subwoofer is down-firing, which means you need to cautious when unpacking, moving, and placing it so as to make sure you do not have any obstructions protruding from the floor, and also be careful not to stick your hand on the subwoofer cone.

The surprising thing is how much sound you get out of this system. The Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 isn't perfect, but it is pretty good - especially for its product class. If you are shopping for a compact speaker system for a small or medium-sized room, definitely give the Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 home theater speaker system a listen.

For a visual look and additional perspective on the Cerwin Vega CMX 5.1 home theater speaker system, also check out my supplementary Photo Profile.

Hardware Used

The additional home theater hardware used in this review included:

Software Used

  • Blu-ray Discs (3D): Adventures of Tintin, Drive Angry, Hugo, Immortals, Puss in Boots, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Underworld: Awakening.
  • Blu-ray Discs (2D): Art of Flight,​ Ben Hur,Cowboys and Aliens, Jurassic Park Trilogy, Megamind, Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol.
  • Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Outlander, U571, and V For Vendetta.
  • CDs: Al Stewart - A Beach Full of Shells, Beatles - LOVE, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Sade - Soldier of Love.
  • DVD-Audio discs included: Queen - Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles - Hotel California, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood - Uninvisible, Sheila Nicholls - Wake.
  • SACD discs used included: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Steely Dan - Gaucho, The Who - Tommy.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.