If Dickens were writing his novels today, he might choose “Realistic” over “Great” for the title of his Expectations story. And that’s what I would advise when considering the VT-12/STF-3 surround-sound system. This system has already won accolades from many members of the A/V press because of the amount of sound you get for the money you spend. For $739, you can indeed enjoy many of the benefits of home theater, and for many, that’s a laudable end-goal. If you lean toward floor-rattling bass-heavy action films, you have limited space, and you don’t necessarily want your home-theater system to double as a high-end audio station, then you would certainly want to consider the Ventriloquist system. The sub and center sonics could keep you happy for a long time. You can also take comfort in knowing that Dr. Hsu is doing research today that will soon strengthen and widen the capabilities of the rear channels. But for just a hair more than the price of the Ventriloquist system, you might also want to consider the Mirage Nanosat or the Energy act6 systems (go to www.avguide.com for reviews of these products). Or, for about three times the cost of the VT-12/STF-3 rig, there is the elegant and even more music-friendly Arena surround-sound system from Tannoy.
In any case, we believe Dr. Hsu’s time is well spent in the A/V profession. Who couldn’t be pleased that this talented civil engineer is devoting his time and talent to loudspeaker design? Hats off to Hsu Research.