A startlingly good speaker, with a sonically significant yet easily correctable fault.
In love in some ways, yet irritated enough by an overly forward tweeter as well as an undesirealble brightness and fatigue in the upper midrange. This seems to be what WhatHiFi is hinting at in their re-critique of these speakers.
Here we have an issue occuring within the crossover range, also present on the M12i: An uneveness and lack of seamless coherance between tweeter and woofer. All a result of mismatched phase polarity in my opinion. Though they are electrically in phase, in the crossover regions of overlapping frequencies, it isn't right. Also, the lobing pattern is terribly alligned.
The easy fix? Flip the polarity on the tweeter - either with your biwiring, or some elongated wire jumpers that will let you flip the jumpers into an X pattern of neg/pos inversion on the tweeter.
Now these babies have an entirely refined and smooth sound, and a very natural lobing to them. No longer is the sound very different on the vertical off-axis either - it becomes almost unnoticeable in frequency balance as you stand from sitting - a very natural sound radiaton pattern as would come from a live performance.
I think this takes the speaker to a whole new level, and I'm am surprised that Mike Creek didn't catch on to this when he designed them. I've discussed it with him, which he felt was my 'extra sensitivity' to the crossover range. Excuse me, but the whole lobing pattern shifts substantially, and no longer beams hard at the listener in a fatiguing manner. Now, its an addictive listen, instead of something I'd avoid.
One other thing: Even with reversed polarity, there is a tendancy for the tweeter to get overly forward when biwired, as if it kicks it up a db or two. At first this might sound attractive, but gets quite old with longer listening. Certainly not as offensive as before the corrected tweeter polarity, but still potentially problematic. If you find the tweeter still too bright, try not biwiring.
I believe if WhatHiFi had the above insight on this speaker, it would still be at 5 stars. Their reduction to 4 stars seems honest and appropriate with standard wiring.
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