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NHT Classic Three

Bookshelf speaker

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Item# 228C3B
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the NHT Classic Three

by Kristen Schaub

Why choose bookshelf speakers?

Bookshelf speakers may be small in size, but they can deliver surprisingly big sound. Some ultra-compact models even fit on a desktop. Most are right at home in tight spaces like shelves, so they're usually good choices for your home theater's rear channels. For the best performance, try placing bookshelf speakers on solid speaker stands to help the sound really "open up." If you want full bass impact, add a powered subwoofer and enjoy punchy sound that's as deeply satisfying as that of floor-standing speakers.

NHT's "Top Dawg" bookshelf speaker

The Classic Three is NHT's self-proclaimed best bookshelf speaker ever, and the reviewers agree (see below). It's capable of transforming your living room into a veritable 3D soundstage. Listen to your music come alive with energetic horn solos or the delicate pluck of harp strings. Your jaw may just drop when you hear this speaker's wide-open, natural mids and highs. The Three delivers accurate, musical bass, too, making it a great match for high-end stereo sound systems, as well as home theater systems.


"As I see it, whether listeners are spending $800 or $80,000 on a new pair of loudspeakers, they want the same thing — namely, to get as close as possible to the heart and soul of the music. No other affordable bookshelf speaker I've heard does a better job of that than NHT's Classic Threes."
—Chris Martens, The Perfect Vision, February 5, 2007


Three-way design for incredibly accurate sound

grille off shot

The Classic Three sports a 3-way design — unusual for a bookshelf speaker — meaning that it uses separate drivers to handle each of the high-, mid-, and low-frequency ranges. The lightweight 3/4" aluminum dome tweeter produces crisp, accurate highs that extend across a broad seating area. Mounted just underneath this tweeter, the matching 2" aluminum midrange dome driver reveals rich midrange detail with lifelike subtlety and dynamics. The 6-1/2" aluminum woofer is housed in it's own enclosure, keeping it separate from the other two drivers. This placement allows it to produce controlled, accurate bass that pushes the limits of what a compact bookshelf speaker can achieve.

Solid design keeps sound-muddying vibrations at bay

Like all Classic Series speakers, the Classic Three features an acoustic suspension (sealed) enclosure design. This means it uses air — nature's most perfect spring force — to control the driver motion, allowing for clean sound and low distortion. It provides plenty of strength to let the woofer rock out without adding any unwanted resonance to your music and movie soundtracks. Plus, the tweeter is set in a tiny bezel that allows it to be placed as close as possible to the midrange. The result is exceptionally even on- and off-axis response, so everyone on your couch can enjoy the clear, sparkling sound.


Classic looks help create a Classic system

This speaker features a beautiful, curvaceous cabinet made of very dense, rigid MDF. It's covered in eight layers of high-gloss paint and two layers of clear coat that are hand-polished between each layer for lasting beauty. Place the Classic Three on your entertainment cabinet, on a pair of nice, heavy speaker stands, or on your wall using optional wall-mount brackets.

The Three is perfectly matched to the rest of NHT's Classic line, so you can create a high-end audio system to meet your needs. Pick up a pair for your dedicated stereo music system, or use a combination of Classic Threes in the front of your room with the smaller Classic Absolute Zeros in the back of your room. Add the perfectly matched Classic ThreeC center channel speaker to enjoy engaging dialogue and special effects with your movies and TV shows. And don't forget to pick up one of NHT's B-10d or B-12d powered subwoofers to get room-rattling explosions on movie night.


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Highlights:

  • frequency response 45-20,000 Hz (±3 dB)
  • sensitivity 86 dB
  • 8-ohm impedance
  • handles up to 150 watts
  • 3/4" aluminum dome tweeter
  • 2" aluminum dome midrange
  • 6-1/2" aluminum woofer
  • magnetically shielded for safe placement next to tube TVs
  • 5-way binding posts
  • acoustic suspension (sealed) enclosure
  • threaded insert for optional wall mounting bracket
  • high-gloss black finish
  • 7-9/16"W x 14"H x 11-1/16"D
  • weight: 17 lbs.
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
 

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
Enclosure
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Acoustic Suspension
Video Shielded
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Yes
Tweeter Type
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Dome
Tweeter Size (inches)
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0.75
Midrange Size (inches)
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2
Woofer Size (inches)
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6.5
Woofer Composition
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Aluminum
Woofer Surround
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Rubber
Power Range
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25-150
Sensitivity
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86 dB
Impedance (Ohms)
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8
Frequency Response
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45-20k Hz
Connector Type
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5-way post
Bi-amp Inputs
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No
Height (inches)
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14
Width (inches)
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7-9/16
Depth (inches)
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11-1/16
Weight (pounds)
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17
Mounting Bracket Included
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No
Recommended Stand Height (inches)
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24
Parts Warranty
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5 Years
Labor Warranty
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5 Years
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Bookshelf loudspeaker
  • Detachable grille
  • 2 Feet rails
  • 4 Mounting screws
  • Self-adhesive foam insert
  • Setup Guide
  • Product Registration Card

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Driver Technology
Enclosure Design
Connections
Mounting Options

Driver Technology

Overview: The NHT Classic Three bookshelf loudspeaker offers great bass response, plus wide-open, natural sounding mids and highs. The NHT Classic Three is great for your home theater application, as well as music listening.

3-Way Design: The NHT Classic Three bookshelf loudspeaker is a 3-way design using a custom designed 6.5", long throw anodized aluminum cone woofer in a NHT designed BMC (Bulk Molding Compound) frame that offers very low resonance.  The speaker also features NHT's proprietary Tweeter/Midrange module that sports a 3/4" dome tweeter and 2" dome midrange - both with anodized aluminum diaphragms and neodymium magnet structures. This compact array keeps the drivers in close proximity to each other improving phase (multi-driver timing) coherence. Using 3 drivers also reduces distortion and allows the woofer to concentrate on bass reproduction.

Acoustical Waveguide: The Classic Three's tweeter & midrange utilize an acoustical waveguide to deliver, more even high frequency response, no matter what part of the room you're in.

Crossover Network: The bookshelf loudspeaker features a 3-way crossover network.

  • 2nd order low pass & high pass at 800Hz
  • 3rd order high pass & low pass at 3.2kHz.

Foam Insert: The NHT Classic Three includes an unusually shaped piece of foam with an adhesive backing. The purpose of this foam is to reduce unwanted reflections caused by interaction between the tweeter and midrange drivers. To get the best performance from the NHT Classic Three, install this foam part between the speaker's tweeter and midrange drivers.

Voice Matched: All Classic Series speakers share a similar "voice" or tonality so that you are assured a matched system no matter which Classic model speaker you decide to add as you build your system.

Enclosure Design

Acoustic Suspension: The NHT Classic Three bookshelf loudspeaker features an Acoustic suspension design (sealed enclosure with no ports or holes in the cabinet). The NHT Classic Three uses the air that is trapped in the cabinet to control and damp the woofer cone motion. The benefits of an acoustic suspension cabinet design include -

  • tight, accurate bass
  • smooth, natural midrange
  • low distortion
  • high power handling
  • smooth bass rolloff (an important benefit when blending speakers with a powered subwoofer seamlessly)

MDF Cabinet: The NHT Classic Three's cabinet and front baffle is constructed from MDF. Additional internal bracing ensures low resonance.

Detachable Grille:The speaker comes with a removable black cloth grille with a rigid plastic frame.

Connections

5-Way Binding Posts: The bookshelf loudspeaker is equipped with one pair of sturdy 5-way binding posts to ensure a secure connection to many types of speaker cables and connectors. The binding post terminals will accept banana plugs (dual/single), pin-connectors, spade-connectors, and bare wire (16-12 gauge).

Color-Coded: The 5-way binding post terminals are color-coded so you can easily indentify positive (red) and negative (black).

Mounting Options

Placement: The NHT Classic Three can be placed on stands, on shelves or hung on the wall. Given the high performance of this model, NHT recommends placement on either stands or on a shelf at close to ear level to achieve maximum fidelity.

Feet Rails: If you decide to place the speaker on a stand or shelf, the included feet rails must be attached to the bottom of the speaker (hardware included).

Wall-Mounting (Optional): The NHT Classic Three has two threaded inserts (1/4"-20) on the rear of the cabinet for wall mounting, using an optional wall-mount bracket (sold separately).

 
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NHT Classic Three Reviews

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5 out of 5

NHT Classic Three

Written By pvent45, Scottsdale AZ on Tuesday, April 09, 2013
 
The Classic Three is one of the finest speakers I have ever heard. They remind me of a pair of AR 3a's I owned years ago. The staging is incredible! Unbelievable detail, even at low levels. I'm an bass freak, and these speakers are fine alone,but I am adding the NHT 12d sub to totally complete the package. Love these speakers!!! Acoustic Suspension speakers are by far the most natural sounding speakers you can buy!
Pros:
Beautiful natural full tight sound!
Cons:
None
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

too early to tell

Written By mar, ny ny on Sunday, February 03, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
not ready to say yet. speakers must break in.
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

nht classic 3 review

Written By stanman, nyc on Friday, February 01, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
EXCELLENT ALL AROUND.ROOM FILLING AS USED IN 300 SQ FT AREA.ALMOST CAN GET W/O A SUB IF EXTREME BASS IS NOT REQUIRED.LOT'S OF EVERYTHING .ALMOST 3D PROJECTION. ONLY ISSUE I HAD WAS THE TWEETER AND MIDRANGE SEEMED A BIT CROWDED TOGETHER.JUST MY EAR ,BUT I PREFER A SOFT DOME TWEETER AS A BIT SOFTER.EXCELLENT PROJECTION AND DECAY OF CRITICAL THINGS LIKE CYMBALS.
Pros:
ALL
Cons:
VOCALS NOT TINNY OR OVERLY BRIGHT BUT JUST NOT
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5 out of 5

Can A Bookshelf Speaker Really Sound Full Range?

Written By Mark Q, Bushwood, MD on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I was blown away by the amazing sound coming from this small speaker. I thought that I would never purchase less than full range speakers again, but thought that I would audition these and later purchase the 12" subwoofer. The Classic Three produced such a near full range sound that I almost didn't buy the subwoofer. NHT is no doubt still a contender to reckon with.
Pros:
Beautiful look, quality throughout, near perfect sound, more than worth the price.
Cons:
NONE!
3 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Best Bookshelf Speaker Ever

Written By JoeMin, Brooksville, Fl on Sunday, July 17, 2011
 
I purchased 4 of these to replace my NHT VS-2As in my 6.1 Surround Setup due to upgrading to a 7.1 Receiver. I have 3.3's for the Front and a VC3 for the Center. I didn't want to purchase all new speaker seeing how th e 3.3's are still Highly Regarded, well worth keeping. I called NHT and they suggested these as being the closest match to the 3.3's that are available now. These sound so much better than my old VS-2A's First they have a one of the largest woofers in its class so they can produce great LowMids and their Tweeters produce Vibrant Crisp Highs. You could make a whole system out of these alone if you are on a budget. I am guessing that the New Tower that matches these sound just as good and also gives you the low end since they have a side firing Woofer. Piano Gloss Finish looks great like All NHT Speaker Great Quaility Great looking and Perfectly Priced. You will not be disapointed if you purchase these.
11 out of 14 people found this helpful
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Add accessories for the NHT Classic Three

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