Gear Review: Cerwin-Vega XD3 Speakers

PROS: compact, crystal clear audio, multiple inputs

CONS: some distortion at high volume levels

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Magnetically shielded
3″ woofer and 3/4″ tweeter
15 watts per channel with built in crossover
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Dimensions: 8″ x 5.5″ x 6.5″
Price: $99

Some clichés are true, and the Cerwin-Vega XD3 powered speakers prove one of them: good things come in small packages. You might not think it to look at them, but these tiny beauties pack a wallop. Surprising are the crystal clear highs, the wide midrange and the tight, but not boomy, bass. Most speakers of this size sacrifice audio quality for volume, which leads to muddy low ends and shrill highs. Not the case here, but would you expect anything less from a company with a heritage as rich as Cerwin-Vega’s?

Set up is a breeze; just connect the included speaker wire, plug in the power cable and turn them on. There is an adjustable switch on the rear of the left speaker that controls bass boost, an illuminated volume control on the front and even multiple inputs, a big plus if you want to connect and switch between several sources on the fly. When put though their paces, the XD3s performed exceptionally well with CD audio, Blu-Ray audio tracks (DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD), MP3 files as well as unmixed tracks from Pro Tools. While not specifically designed for audio production, a bedroom studio on a budget could easily incorporate the XD3s for low volume monitoring situations.

The only downside, which is going to be true of most units this size, is that some distortion becomes present when the XD3s are fully cranked. With only a 3” woofer and 3/4” tweeter, that’s almost unavoidable. Thankfully, break up and clipping does not occur at normal listening volumes, only when you really push these bad boys beyond their limits.

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