About five years ago, I reviewed the Lc265.1F center channel speaker from Westlake and we lavished praise on its merits as the anchor speaker for a 5.1 speaker setup. At the time, the speaker was not configured for main L-R or surround use as a vertical speaker. Many Westlake users would couple it with the Lc6.75 or Lc8.1 to get the Westlake family sound. Those speakers were pretty well, but they were not timbre matched to the Lc265.1F
Product PointsApplications: Studio, post production
Key Features: Three-way; twin 6.5-inch woofers; 5-inch midrange driver; concentric tweeter, biwire terminals
Price: $5,829 per pair
Contact: Westlake at 805-499-3686, Web Site
The Lc265.1V is Westlake’s long awaited L-R version of the Lc265 original center channel, which now can be purchased as precise, matched 5.1 system.
Priced at $5,829 per pair, the Westlake Lc265.1V is a slightly bigger box (22 inches tall x 8 inches wide x 11.5 inches wide the horizontal version), but driver configuration and specifications are basically the same. The 265 uses expensive internal components including the two 6.5-inch woofers, mounted above and below the center-placed, concentric midrange/tweeter. The woofers are crossed over to the midrange at 180 Hz. The midrange is a 5-inch driver that hands off to the tweeter starting at 4 kHz.
Four bass ports dot the center section of the speaker front. Around back are two pairs of speaker connectors for biwiring or biamping. Optional video shielding and foam speaker muffs are available from Westlake. The latter is said to improve dispersion in difficult rooms.
I auditioned the Lc265.1V in my basement studio, using it with the original Lc265.1F center channel. I positioned the three speakers on Apollo speaker stands the two vertical speakers were about nine feet apart with the center channel in the middle. I chose to listen to them without the grilles. The speakers were towed in slightly.
Sources include a number of stereo high resolution PCM and SACDs played through my Esoteric DV-50, as well as my Sony R700 DAT. I biwired the speakers with a pair of six foot Westlake Cables, using the Bryston 14BSST stereo amp and Legacy/Coda High Current preamp.
As L-R only playback, the Lc265.1Vs have a remarkably smooth, natural sound for any kind of music. There is no hype with these speakers. Imaging is good, and, for the pro, the off axis response makes for an easy monitoring job from almost any angle or the dead center of the sweet spot.
My acoustic recordings sounded excellent with the Westlake, reproducing the warm resonant Martin tone with no edge in the low treble. These speakers are smooth. Bass is tight and will extend down to 50 Hz or so in my room.
One things about all the Westlake speakers is that designer Glenn Phoenix has been working on lowering speaker distortion through the cable design, careful crossover selection and premium drivers. The end result is a clean sounding speaker — even at loud levels. Engineers doing dynamic audio mixing for 5.1 cinema can crank these babies up yet still receive less ear fatigue through long-term listening than other speakers.
Driven by an AudioControl Pantages five-channel amp and RE-Designs SCPA-1 multichannel preamp, I listened to a number of SACD and DVD-A 5.1 mixes using the Westlake Lc265.1Vs, the Lc265.1F center and Westlake Lc8.1 for rears. The tonal match of the three front speakers was perfect.
The only thing I don’t like about the speakers is the fact that the no jumper is included for those who don’t have biwire cables. Without such a wire jumper, you have to make your own to be able to make all the drivers work with a single-wire connection. My Legacys, for example, have small copper jumpers that slide in between the terminals.
The other caveat is that the slender speaker is top-heavy and needs secure stand mounting.
Knowing Westlake designer Glenn Phoenix and his perfection drive for the best sounding loudspeakers, I knew the Lc265.1V would be as good as the original center channel version. For stereo or multichannel work in music or video post, you can’t do much better.