Perhaps because both the Verve satellites and V Woofer are non-vented, acoustic suspension designs, the whole system has a refreshingly taut, well-controlled sound that keeps its composure even on material where there are plenty of dynamic challenges to handle and complex sonic textures to master. A good example would be the “XF-11” crash sequence from The Aviator, where action shifts from a smooth test flight, complete with Howard Hughes’ (Leonardo DiCaprio) steady voice making routine radio reports, to a cataclysmic mechanical failure and ensuing plane crash. Even as the XF-1l plummets earthward, the Verve system keeps all the small details straight, such as the off-kilter propeller sounds and strained exhaust note from the failed engine. Then, as the crash unfolds in semi-slow motion, the Verve rig lets us hear the crunch and crackle of the plane ripping through tile-roofed homes in Beverly Hills before finally coming to rest in a ghastly ball of flame. The system has enough dynamic oomph to give the scene real power, and sufficient detail and control to make its multilayered sound design feel frighteningly realistic.
On well-recorded musical material, such as the superb live recording of Long John Hunter performing “Let’s Set the Time” [Untapped Blues Festival 2004, Bluestopia], the Verve system simultaneously captures subtle textural details plus the raw-edged energy of a fine blues band at full throttle. For instance, the Verve Large system catches the sweet, almost delicate “ping” of Bobby Paris’s propulsive cymbal toward the beginning of the track yet has enough dynamic grunt to capture the almost guttural snarl of Hunter’s tube-powered guitar amp as it erupts into overdrive later in the song. While the Verve system does not offer quite the levels of openness and transparency of the best systems in this class, it does not miss the mark by much at all, while its bass is some of the cleanest to be had at this price point.
The Verve Large Theater system is an attractive, well-made, and very good sounding package that could well become your flat panel TV’s new best friend.