Well, I had prepared quite a long write up which i had on my iPad that I spent about an hour on last night. Unfortunately all was lost when I tried to use the "Atomic" browser app to cokplete and post it. Bear with me, I'll rewrite it and get it back up sometime today!
David @Frank Harvey Hi-Fi, Coventry
Vinyl now available in store!
no worries how frustrating!!
Hello WhatHI forum
I'm considering buying a set of these KK speakers for use in a dedicared home cinema room which is 3.7m x 2.8 m. Would the DXD808 sub & Q85 be a wiser choice for my small room or would the DXD12012 Q125 setup be fine?
The position of door in my room(in the corner where a rear speaker would be positioned) would make it difficult to use the room, without having a rear speaker high up above the door aiming down rather than at ear level if I was to use room the other way round(if you know what I mean?)
I only have a 50inch plasma so don't think I would be too close to the screen using the 2.8m length layout. but I havn't got a clue which layout acoustically would be best?
Can any of you experts please advise?
My rear speakers are placed at the top corner pointing downwards (see my home cinema pics) & it sounds fine.
My Home Cinema Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90
Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H
Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router
All my speakers will be at ceiling height directed towards the listener. I am just exploring the best options around sound/acoustic panelling as the sound is more likely to travel through to the upstairs room with the speakers being so close to the ceiling.
The desciptors used for this range suggest that the numerous tweaters employed for each speaker gives a more controlled directional output towards the listener:
'Multiple tweeters have two major benefits, the ability to control the speaker's sound directivity and improved dynamic range.'
'Improved sound purity is achieved in the QUATTRO by the use of four closely spaced tweeters, allowing asymmetrical control of the QUATTRO's sound radiation pattern, whereby more sound energy is radiated directly toward the listener and less sound energy is radiated around the room. Each of the four QUATTRO tweeters get a different signal from the Asymmetrical Phased Field Focal Point Crossover, which allows the right speaker for example, to radiate more sound toward the listening position in the center of the room with less sound radiating toward the right wall and toward the ceiling and floor'.
Lets hope this is correct!
Welcome to the forum Paul
Oddly enough, my listening space is 3.7x2.8m!
From the old Miller & Kreisel speakers, I always felt the little 651's (which were similar size to the Q85) suited my sace more so then the larger S150's, especially for my sort of listening level which varied between -20/-25dB roughly, sometimes slightly higher. Having said that, there was never any question that the S150's sounded better, even in that small space. My only issue with the S150's in a small space was the detectability of the tweeters on the left or right side of the front baffle - you'll read a little more about that in what I'm about to post up in the next hour or so (I haven't forgotten jcshutts - I was writing it last night but fell asleep!). To summarise, it is your choice, but the Q85's will be fine in a smaller room and will be plenty loud enough, depending on the receiver you will be using.
Having rear speakers higher up than the fronts isn't really an issue. As mentioned, the front baffle of the TRiFX rear speakers and QFH front height speakers in the Quattro range are angled downwards, and the quad tweeter array directs sound more towards the listening position, so they can also be placed near side walls (ideal for smaller rooms) with treble reflection making things sound bright.
The DXD808 will be more than enough for a smaller room. Its quality exceeds the older and bigger MX350, depth isn't too different, and is far more 'invisible' too thanks to being built better and producing far less distortion than older models. One US review stated that the larger DXD12012 had the lowest distortion figures he'd ever measured for a sub.
What receiver will you be using Paul?
I haven't decided on a receiver yet but a friend advised either trying to source maybe a used Denon A1HD/Yamaha Z7 or if I was to buy new a Onkyo around the 1k mark.
If the Q125 and 12012 would not be over powering in my room I think I would prefer to go with them as maybe one day I may have use of a larger room. Would there be a large difference in sound quality using either room layout as it would probably be easier for me to have the rears on stands at ear level?
Thanks for your help.
Are you changing your home set up in favour of the new KK range? What are your thoughts around music playback through them??
Well, they're running in quite nicely, both at work and at home (on loan). Will I be changing to them at home? Those that know me will know that I was a strong advocate of Miller & Kreisel back in the day, and there was no way I would've moved to anything else for movie soundtracks, regardless of price. Since about 2010, I've been trying to find a hi-fi speaker range that could be a good compromise for AV and music, with a little more emphasis on having some of the main M&K qualities. After a few tries, I found most of what I was looking for in the LS50, and I would strongly recommend them (and will continue to do so) to anyone who wants a single speaker package to vividly portray music and movie soundtracks. I always knew that there was still a few aspects of the LS50's performance that didn't measure up to the M&K's, but that can be out down to the nature of the speaker, and it is probably something that hi-fi speakers will never recreate properly. I just wanted to make the clear on that front before I'm accused of switching to "the next best thing". I love the LS50's, and if the KK's hadn't have emerged, I would continue to use them, probably for quite some time.
To address your question regarding music playback, this has been vastly improved over his older M&K designs. With the S150, I found that the KEF Q300 produced a much better performance making the S150's sound lifeless and flat, even though the S150's had more detail and a more 'upfront presentation'. Just how he has managed to improve things this much I have no idea, but the better built cabinets obviously help as these speakers draw no attention to themselves at all - they're solid and add no colorations that are detectable by the human ear (not mine anyway). The fact that they're all sealed cabinets means room boundaries aren't an issue. The new tweeter for the Quattro range is a new pro version of his old pro tweeter found in his S5000THX speaker, which has been designed and built from the ground up. There's no edginess, no brightness, just smooth, detailed treble that remains the same even when used at Reference level.
In connection with this, the only other issue I had with the S150 was with the vertical tweeter line array which was situated either on the left or right hand side of the cabinet, depending on whether it was a left, centre, or right hand speaker. I could always detect which side that line array was on, which wasn't an issue for the left and right, but for me, it was with the centre. This was my first major concern with the Q125C centre speaker as I've been used to a point source with KEF's UniQ array, and as the KK's HF Quad Array is on its left hand side. I fully expected to detect that these were on the left. At first, I could a little, but now they've run in it seems to have settled, and I've listened very closely to dialogue in various films and I've struggled to hear the issue. If this had still have been an issue, I probably would've gone for the Q85 to avoid it. I can only assume that the drivers are better integrated - having four tweeters allows them to reach much deeper than a single tweeter can manage. This means that the mid/bass cone doesn't have to reach up as high (probably to frequencies that it isn't too good at). Whatever it is down to, driver integration is excellent.
I'm currently listening to Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral, and the detail level is a full on assault of the senses! There's just so much going on and you can hear everything. There's been a few songs that I have heard words I have never understood, including a track called Rolling, which I never actually knew the title of, and you could only ever hear her sing 'Roll', bit that it sounded like roll. But now it is plain as day as to exactly what she is singing. I've also heard voices in songs I never knew was there! (No, I'm not crazy! Yet). It has been mentioned that the Quad Array would 'smear' the image, losing pinpoint accuracy, but having come from KEF's UniQ, if this was an issue, I would notice it - there's certainly no issue regarding imaging - for stereo use, there's a pinpoint central image which is as good as I've heard from any speaker.
Various tracks from Boards Of Canada show just how revealing the speakers are of overdubs, and also show their imaging qualities perfectly. Being a small sealed speaker, there's no room boundary effects, no port effects, and no effects from deep internal bass waves (because the sub deals with them) to affect the stereo imaging, leaving the speakers to produce a solid three dimensional soundstage. Fast panning effects are just that, and sounds that appear from speaker to speaker sound as fastens precise as headphones. Mr. Scruff's Trouser Jazz album makes for some interesting listening too.
I do feel that the subs have their part to play in how good the speakers can sound. With a crossover point of 80-100Hz, a sub with good performance and low distortion higher up the range is needed, and there's not too many subs around that are good enough above 60-70Hz as most are designed to match ported speakers.
As with music, dialogue via the Quattros is crystal clear no additional effect from the cabinet, and therefore draw no attention to themselves whatsoever. With five KK's working together, the soundfield effect is seamless. Anyone familiar with older models will be able to appreciate just how much better they are in this area. And I've missed gunshots! One thing the M&K's could do far better than any hi-fi speaker was gunshots. None of the boom, just impact - the kind of impact that makes you flinch. Awesome.
Since having the KK's, I've also noticed that movies with mediocre soundtracks sound much better. I've Ben trying to get my head around this, but I think it is down to a lot of hi-fi speakers being a little too recessed/warm in the midrange, and some speakers trying to produce too much bass, which overshadows mid and treble detail. The mediocre sounding films sound that way because many speakers are adding their "warmth" to the proceedings. The KK's don't have that warmth due to being a sealed satellite design - you just hear what is there. This makes what seems to be a mediocre soundtrack sound more defined and punchy, and it was something I noticed with the Skynet edition of Terminator 2.
Watching a film like David Fincher's Se7en, there's a lot of atmosphere in Howard Shore's dark and haunting soundtrack, which adds much to the movie, as does the surrounding sounds of the hustle and bustle of New York. This movie is a test as far as dialogue is concerned, which the KK's pass admirably. The scene where they pay a visit to John Doe, the resulting chase/gunfight, and their search of his apartment shows just how much detail is available from these speakers that hi-fi speakers can only hint at. I'd also recommend the Criterion Edition of Fincher's The Game, which has a near field home theatre mix (as well as the original theatrical mix), which is excellent (other than a couple of scenes). Bear in mind it is Region A though.
The Incredibles sounds amazing. Lovely clean dialogue, impact where it is needed, and the bit where he is sneaking into Syndrome's base via the monorail sounds amazing. When he two guards look up to see the monorail pod hurtling towards them, it sounds like a bus has landed on the room! All effortless as well. I'm hoping WHF will review these as they sound stunning, and are easily better than the S150's - and to think that these are only the second range up in the range of four just leaves my mouth watering as to what's to come!
Both at work and home, I've found that these speakers work great without room EQ, although I would still usually recommend EQ'ing for sub/subs, even though I'm not using any EQ at all at the moment. We've had films running all day every day, and the Audiolab 8200x7 power amp didn't even get hot, so either it is a decent, stable power amp, or these Quattros are easier to drive than older M&K/MK models. Now that they're running in, I'll hopefully be trying them with lower spec integrated receivers to see how well they cope. I'm sure the liked of Pioneer's SCLX86 should drive them fine, it'll be interesting to see 'how low we can go' as far as driving them is concerned, and what effect a cheaper receiver will have on what these speakers have to offer.
Great stuff David, thanks! How do the new TriFx surrounds compare to the SS150s?
I never owned the SS150's (at the time I stuck with my M&K S55s) but my colleague did, who then changed to the MK Sound S140T's. He recently sold them and took some TRiFX home last week - I'll ask him how he's getting on and post back
Thanks for the comprehensive review. I look forward to arranging a demo.
David, does the Q125 Center come with the small stand as in the pictures on your website?
Yes, the centre does come with the stand, hence the slightly higher price compared to the front left and right.
In the sense that the bits between the programmes on ITV are reviews?
'And so on February 22nd 1966, at Luton airport...'
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