M and K K series

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by garylloyd, Mar 4, 2002.

  1. garylloyd

    garylloyd
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    Hi.
    I am going over to Retros place on Thursday to demo some M an K speakers.
    The S85 much loved by all and the K series.
    Whats the informed opinion on the K series?I know the sub is the weak link but thats being replaced by a servo 15 ( I blame it all on Nick ).So how do the rest of the speakers fair?
    I am hoping to my novice ears very close to S85.
    Thanks
    Gary
     
  2. Guest

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    Gazza Lloyd...

    I have not had a demo of the S85's, so i'm unable to comment.

    However, i've heard the K series, and i liked what i heard...
    They are typical M&K styling with a no-nonsense approach.
    They were hooked up to a Denon AVC1SE.
    The K's sounded extremely capable in movie action. Good soundspread & dynamics for their diminutive size.
    They are the perfect size for beating the classic g/friend quote
    'bit big aint they!'...
    I never heard them in 2 channel mode, as i was only interested
    in their multichannel movie performance.......
    Certainly, the sub packaged with the set didn't bring the demo
    room down, but in smaller rooms, it'll give you a little thump!!!
    but i see you've already thought of taking care of that with a
    heftier sub.......
    I liked them Gazza.........Enjoyed the demo........

    Adzman
     
  3. Brendon

    Brendon
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    Gary,

    I had a demo of the K-3 speaker package last week (courtesy of Sevenoaks). They were hooked up to a Denon 3802 amp and a Rotel DVD player.

    I took along a few of my own discs to test the system out with. Having heard M&K's 750THX setup last year I was more than confident of the M&K's ability to deal with explosions, gunfire and the usual sequences trotted out to demo home cinema gear with.
    Consequently I took along a few discs with a little "finese": Fantasia 2K, Prince of Egypt DTS, Fifth Element Superbit and Jurrasic Park DTS (hey, got to have one!)

    The opening of POE sounded nothing less than glorious! Despite the small size of the subwoofer (the K-9), it slammed when needed to and added copious amounts of bass. The front soundstage was "open" (now I know what reviewers mean when they use the word) with the tripolar rears addings a wonderful wrap around effect - check out the sound of the wind with the solo cornet playing on the soundtrack immediately prior to "Deliver Us".

    Likewise the sequence in Jurassic Park when the party first claps eyes on the brontosaurus lumbering along in daylight was equally impressive. The score was rendered in a fashion best described as cinematic. Nothing getting blown up, no mad panning of sounds around the speakers - just a lush, cinematic sound.

    Next I tried the Firebird Suite from Fantasia 2000 - there is one part when the sprite is "raising" plants from the earth to a soft passage in the music: this is broken by a volcanic eruption with the music slamming to a sudden crescendo. These speakers made the eruption sound as though it meant it!

    Giving in and doing the taxi chase and the Diva/Leeloo's fight with the Mangalores from 5th Element sounded great too.

    After checking out a couple of audio CD's (Beatle's Abbey Road, Pink Floyd's Delicate Sound Of Thunder and Sugar's Copper Blue), I was convinced and bought the speakers on the spot. They're getting delivered next week.

    The CD's sounded fantastic, especially compared to my current home cinema set up (although probably not as good as on a decent high end dedicated 2 channel amp, CD player and stereo speakers).

    After demo'ing the 750THX setup last year (and not being able to afford them now :eek:( ) I was more than happy to wait until I could afford M&K gear. After hearing it I'd be very hard pressed to pony up for another brand of speakers - |I'd be constantly harking after the M&K's.

    Sorry if this reads like a load of gushing over my new purchase, but I strongly suspect that if you got a demo of them you'd be sold on them too.

    Cheers,

    Bren
     
  4. pc

    pc
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    Thanks:blush:

    sound like I wrote it!:blush: :blush: :blush:

    You took some great demo stuff with you. I'm a big fan of Fantasia especially. Try Atlantis when you get it all set up at home - and enjoy!:)
     
  5. garylloyd

    garylloyd
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    Thanks guys.
    Just got back from High Wycombe.
    Brendon the K series is much like you say.Then the S85s went on.
    The goal posts just got moved.
    The S85,s are awesome but I could not justify the price difference to myself.
    Gary
     
  6. Stewart C

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    The S-85's are remarkable for their size and price. Yes they are expensive but not as much as some.

    I have S-85's at the front and SS-150THX's at the side/rear and it all fits together nicely.

    Uncle Eric did have the S-85's but was lucky enough to get an M&K upgrade S-150THX Ultra Fronts courtesy of Chompy's professional advice:blush: but he like me regard the S-85's as worth every penny.

    Sorry to throw that one is 'cos I know what it's like when speakers appear to be just out of range. I bit the bullet and the bank and got them, am I disappointed NO and they are paid off in full ages ago. So I amin the clear...until that niggling new subwoofer thought kicks in harder !!

    Regards
     
  7. uncle eric

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    Gary,
    Stewarts right. Bite the bullet. You wont regret it. Unless you move to a house that has a living room the size of a town hall, quite possibly, you will never feel the urge to upgrade ever again.

    Eric
     
  8. Brendon

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    pc,

    I've already taken the liberty of stealing the R1 CE of Atlantis from a mate at work before you mentioned it - it's now being held hostage until the new kit arrives next week. I'm fairly confident it will blow away the audio from when I saw the film at the local Odeon :)

    Question on the running in time if I may - how long is the running in time on the K-3's ?

    I tend to leave the radio on low from my receiver during the day to keep my pet budgie (yes, I know...) company - would putting this through some horrid 5 channel DSP mode aid in the running in, or should the speakers be run in at normal listening levels ?

    Cheers,

    Brendon
     
  9. gazzerr

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    Gary,

    What was the stereo performance like with the K series and S 85's? Did you notice the difference most in stereo or 5:1?


    Cheers
     
  10. pc

    pc
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    Give them the normal 10 hours or so and they will improve. You'll notice particularly the bass from the sub will improve (you may need to check the sub levels after a couple of weeks playing - and probably turn it down a few dB), and the slightly aggressive nature of the satellites will tone down considerably. Running a 5/7 channel stereo DSP will speed things up as all channels will be being driven together. However, I quite enjoy the experience of every time I put some music or a film in it seems to get better and better. If you can't wait for them to run in naturally then feel free to annoy the budgie!:)
     
  11. garylloyd

    garylloyd
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    Garry,sorry I only listened to the speakers in 5.1.
    Eric and Stewart you both could be right.If I went for the K,s it would always be on my mind, I wonder how the S85,s would sound with this.
    I am not in the market to buy just yet so I should talk myself around.
    What is the cheapest M and K surround speaker I could use?
    The surround 55,s are so expensive.Very,very good but these are way too much for me,may be S85,s all around?
    Gary
     
  12. uncle eric

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    Gary,
    The 85's all round are a great solution.
    Eric
     
  13. Brendon

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    Guys,

    Many thanks for the advice! I got the K-3's installed by a Sevenoaks THX engineer last Thursday and have had them on practically the entire time being run in. I can't even begin to say how impressed I am with them!

    The only upgrade I can forsee in the future, speaker wise at least, is to one of M&K's THX systems.

    It was also worth while having the speakers installed and my amp calibrated by the engineer (Cheers Paul, if you're reading this!) - I realise some people have had problems with certain branches of Sevenoaks, but the Preston shop and Paul (their THX bloke) have been superb from beginning to end in this case.

    Thanks again guys!

    Extremely chuffed Bren
     
  14. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    I'd like to add that the Newcastle branch are also excellent - I spent 3 hours in the shop and 2 hours at home having speakers demoed to me and at no point did I feel under any pressure to buy.

    In the past, they have lent me all sorts of gear to try at home and, again, they have never given me the hard sell.

    So, whenever I do buy something, I know I'll be happy with it (and, yes, I did buy the S85's :D).

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  15. petrolhead

    petrolhead
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    I would concur, the Newcastle Shop is very helpfull.:)
     
  16. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    I also have the M&K K-Series purchased from John at Sevenoaks, Liverpool.

    All i can say is great service, not patronising, good advice, and i will shop there again. Well done !


    Kev
     
  17. garylloyd

    garylloyd
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    Hi all.
    I have just returned home after a lengthy demo of M and K 750Thx package,its was hooked up to a Denon A1SE.
    I enjoyed the demo,but these speakers are so bright.Bright is not the word.They have a real sharp edge.My ears hurt after half an hour or so.They still do hours latter.The volume was not loud really.
    I asked to have Thx post processing put on and this made a world of difference.
    Is it option to apply Thx pp to everything I listen to.DD,DTS,Cds,pro logic 2 etc.
    Has anyone got any advice how to remove there edge?
    Thanks
    Gary
     
  18. Brendon

    Brendon
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    Gary,

    Were the speakers new out of the box or had they been run in ?

    I auditioned the 750THX set last year and found them to be very cinematic and "unbright", even without THX post processing. Like your demo, they were hooked up to a Denon A1SE.

    I also found that my K Series were bright-ish out of the box, but after a solid weeks running in they sound wonderful: I've just watched Blade without THX pp and it sounded fine, not too harsh - I only tend to apply THX pp on a few 5.1 soundtracks (The Straight Story seems to sound much better with it I've noticed), all Dolby Surround material (esp from laserdisc). I've never used THX pp on straight music sources (ie CD) however - it seems to muddy the sound somewhat.

    I suspect however that one of the guys with the 750THX speakers already will be far better qualified to talk about this!

    Cheers,

    Bren

    PS I use my DVD player as a CD player too - music sounded more balanced, more natural using decent analogue interconnects between the DVD player and the amp, rather than the digital cable suing the DACs in the amp. Were you using the DVD player as the music source in your demo ?
     
  19. uncle eric

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    Gary,
    At the risk of appearing smug, I have been advising people against these speakers and their dreadful characteristics for 2 years. The M&K S85 (non-THX) is a far superior speaker IMO.

    The only way to try and combat the 'Shrill' of the 750's is to create an acousticly dead room (difficult in a non dedicated room) by using absorbtive elements and keeping hard surfaces to a bare minimum.

    Eric
     
  20. Darth Vader

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    To garylloyd

    Re: Bright sounding speakers

    The THX processing should calm down the the brightness at the front sound stage as it employes "RE EQ". This is employed because film sound tracks are mixed and monitored in theatres where the speakers are positioned behind a thick perforated screen. This screen absorbes some of the high frequencies present so the mixers compensate for this when they mix the sound track (i.e. they add extra high frequency gain) When this sound track is played back in a cinema there is also a thick screen, so none or very little equalisation is required. However when it is run on a HC set up that does not have speakers behind a screen the sound track can seem too bright and harsh. THX processing rolls off the high frequencies, effectivly mimicing the effect of a screen. THX processing also does other things to shape the sound but the rest is irrelevant in your case.

    This is probably why things improved when you engaged THX.

    Did you audition non cinematic material? (i.e. Music CD's), this should not sound so bright as it is mixed in a different way.

    My amp at home has THX processing and I engage it on most film sound tracks but disengage it when listening to regular TV or music CD's.

    IMO the only other ways of chilling out bright sounding speakers without THX processing. Is to either buy an amp that has parametric EQ built in, so you can ajust the EQ yourself to balance the speakers to your room or own personal tastes. And/or you can follow uncle eric's advise and acoustically treat your room itself to eliminate unwanted reflections called "standing waves" which can make a room sound bright in certain areas (also standing waves can produce dead sounding areas which is just as bad.) Room acoustics can be a bit off a black art, especially in the home so I only recommend this if you know what you are doing, if you don't get an expert involved or you can use various computer programs that allow you to input your room dimensions, speaker placement etc... and it will work out where the the offending reflections will occur and advise on where to place absorbative materials to combat this.

    I am suprised you found the 750's bright, from what I've heard of them they sounded very good to me.

    Cheers.
     
  21. garylloyd

    garylloyd
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    Thanks for the replys guys.
    As far as I know the speakers are run in,when I phoned the shop I was told the 750's are on always on demo,so I guess they had used them for some time.
    I only listened to movies at the demo.So I can not comment on there two channel performance.
    Eric!! I am glad I am not the only one who noticed there sharp edge.My ears still felt abused when I woke up this morning.
    I have read so many positive reviews,I was begining to doubt my judgement.
    I really want to keep playing around with room acoustics to as little as possible as its not a dedicated room.
    Its a shame I really wanted to like these speakers,I was looking to buy some secondhand.
    Many thanks
    Gary
     
  22. Guest

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    I like my 750THX set.

    Adzman
     
  23. Matt F

    Matt F
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    I have the 750 THX select front three, receiving their sound from a Rotel RDV985 DVD player, going into a TAG AV32R and then into a Rotel RB985MKII power amp. I can honestly say that they don't sound bright to me and I HATE BRIGHT SPEAKERS - I once sold a pair of Mission 770 Freedoms after a couple of weeks because they were too bright for me. The 750s (at least in my system and in my room) are detailed, definitely not warm but also NOT bright - maybe my room's got something to do with it - concrete floor, carpeted and plenty of soft funishings.

    My only slight complaint is that they don't image in stereo as well as a pair of top hifi speakers but then that's not what they're designed to do - they're designed to work as part of a front three. Having said that, I played Diana Krall's "All for You" CD the other day and it was stunning - definitely not bright - but then it's an amazing recording - stick the Manic's "Everything Must Go" CD on and they do sound bright because it's a bl**dy bright recording.

    What we're talking about with the 750s is monitor quality - they don't cover up sh*te recordings - you hear exactly what's going on - no more, no less and if your amp or source aint up to it then you'll know about that too.

    I'm not saying they're to everyone's taste but hearing them described as having "dreadful characteristics" is ridiculous given the great reviews (both magazine and user) they've had - check out the 750s on www.audioreview.com if you want proof.

    They're I've had my say - and, honest, I REALLY DO hate bright speakers.
     
  24. garylloyd

    garylloyd
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    Hi.
    Perhaps I am overly sensitive to high frequences?
    At work if some one uses a compressed air line near me I can be sure a splitting head ache is on the way.
    Bright may be not the word I am looking for.Its like they have a edge to them.
    Gary
     
  25. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader
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    I totally agree Matt.

    This kind of speaker is more of a "sound reinforcement monitor" than a home Hi Fi speaker. What I mean by this is, that if the source material is supposed to sound bright it WILL sound bright on these type of speakers. Some other types of speakers are designed to intentionally (or unintentionally) colour the sound they produce to to either cover up deficiencies in other parts of the audio chain or to give a chacteristic warmth or other type of effect (like brightness!).

    Don't get me wrong I'm not slagging off other types speakers, it's all down to personal taste, if you like your system to colour your sound in a way that YOU like, then that is fine. But if you want your system to give you a more accurate version of whats on the disk, tape, etc... Then this type of speaker will set you on the right road. This has disadvantages though, if the source material is crap to start with or you have a weak link in your system like a naff sounding DVD player or amp. The sound produced by the speakers will be naff also, (there not very forgiving!).

    They are in essence more like the speakers used in dubbing theatres, recording studios and good quality cinemas. That gives a more transparent soundstage which is more prefrable to them, than a certain colouring effect given by other types of speakers.
     
  26. Guest

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    Gary

    If you are in the Wycombe area be sure to go over the road and try this combo:

    Dynaudio Contour 1.1
    Dynaudio Contour Centre
    Dynaudio Audience 42 Wall
    Choice of Rel, B&W, or Dynaudio Sub

    The satellites' size is comparable with the M&K kit, the finish superior, and the treble and midrange quality is in a different league.IMO

    You may be aware that Dynaudio acoustics supply monitors to most of the major recording studios. The only caveat is that they need plenty of power to really open up but the helpful guys at Audio T will be able to assist here too.

    With true high fidelity sub sat systems like this, that work equally well with music and movies, it suprises me that M&K are so enthusiastically endorsed on this site.
     
  27. Matt F

    Matt F
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    That sounds like a fine combination but what about the Contour 1.3MKIIs at the front with the 1.1s at the rear?

    Mind you, I 'd say the system you outline has a music bias (stereo or multi-channel) i.e. excellent with music, very good with movies - this neatly demonstrates, in my opinion, that there has to be some compromise in a system that is used for music and movies.

    If you want the ultimate at one task then it won't be the ultimate at the other, especially if you follow the "dipoles for movies, direct radiators for music" approach to rear speakers. M&K's tripoles are probably a fair stab at a compromise in this respect.

    Even if you look at the front three - if you take, say, the M&K 750s or the KEF Ref THX front three speakers you will find them outstanding for movies - wide soundstage, wall of sound etc but ask them to conjure up a stereo image and they are left wanting compared to, of the top of my head, Dynaudio Contour 1.3s, Celestion A1s, Kef Ref 1.2 etc.

    Conversely, take any of these "hifi" speakers together with their "matching" centre speakers and whilst they'll sound bl**dy good they wont be AS good as the KEFs or M&Ks because firstly, they're not three identical speakers (okay the KEF Ref THXs aren't quite identical but that's splitting hairs) and, secondly, they are not designed principally to operate as a front three.

    Dynaudio probably come the closest to an ideal solution e.g Audience 42s, 42C and 42Ws - that would be a pretty good "do all" setup but, again, still with a slight music bias. The equivalent movie bias set up might be something like the M&K K series.

    I've pondered this for some time - I've got M&K 750s across the front and KEF THX dipoles at the rear. A cracking set up for movies but doesn't quite do it for me in stereo - and I've only been listening to CDs (quietly) for the last 6 weeks (no movies at all) due to a new arrival!

    To improve stereo matters I could change the front three to KEF Ref 1-2s or 2-2s with a 100C centre (they would match perfectly with the rears) but I'd lose that wide front soundstage with movies - at the moment (with a baby on my knee) I'm kind of thinking that's price worth paying.:rolleyes:
     
  28. uncle eric

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    Darth V,
    Indeed THX is supposed to do this and to some extent it does. Key word here, some.
    The problem is however, the processing aplied by the THX Alogarithms are more akin to shooting a mouse with a shotgun.
    It actually doesn't do the job as well as people are led to believe.
    Compensating for overly bright soundtracks (some are brighter than others) is not a nuke 'em all task.

    The incredibly versatile but highly complicated American 'Theta Casablanca ll' does a great job with its capability to apply high frequency shelf equalization to all channels individually.

    This method is a far superior application than the one THX employ as it doesn't muffle or 'smother' the sound in the way THX processing does and is therefore far more sympathetic to the original soundtrack while removing this edge that is evident in many of todays DVD's.

    You mention speakers behind Cinema screens losing high frequencys which is also correct. What about THX recommended Micro perf screens for the home.
    After all, when one has THX speakers, a THX perf screen and a THX amp, surely the THX processing should be turned on. What happens next?
    First the processing would lop off some high frequencies followed by the perf screen which would contribute to the smothering effect even further.
    Thanks, but I leave mine off at all times.
    There are many aspects of THX and their spec that I dont like but thats for another thread.

    Regarding your suggestion that the 750's dont colour the sound. With respect, thats nonsense.
    All speakers colour sound......period.
    When you find one that doesn't, let me know because you've found the Holy Grail.
    Speakers, like voices, have sonic characteristics. Some sound bright, some dont, some sound warm some dont etc etc.
    Each individual finds a certain sonic character more pleasing than others. Hence the point of demo's and listening tests.

    The 750's are great little speakers. They are dynamic, up-front and powerfull. When I listened to these some years ago (extensively), even without a comparison, I really did feel they were too bright.
    I recently did a side by side again with several speakers including the S85's and my 150's and this was again confirmed.
    I found the shreeking particularly unbearable at high volume levels while these same levels were just taken in their strides by the S85's and the 150's which are unphased by just about anything you throw at them.

    Someone mentioned Dynaudios being good at music while HT speakers were not that good.
    Again, not entirely true, maybe we will save this for another thread.

    Eric
     
  29. garylloyd

    garylloyd
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    Thanks for the Dynaudio tip.I am willing to give anything a listen if anybody has any other suggestions.
    I live in Milton Keynes so Wycombe is not that far.
    Cheers
    Gary
     
  30. Charlie Whitehouse

    Charlie Whitehouse
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    Just to amplify this a bit....

    The equalization option allows you to select from 4 settings which provide a low-pass shelf eq of 1.5, 3.0, 6.0 or 9.0 dB at 2.0kHz and above. Unlike most of the bass management options, it is NOT a 'permanent' configuration option for the selected input, but rather a temporary override and applies to ALL output channels for the currently selected input. This is similar to adjusting the channel balance front/back or left/right to compensate for given source material - it gets reset when you select another input source.

    In any case, Eric is right that it does a better job of taming the 'edge' on certain DVDs than pure THX processing. In my own case, I hardly ever use the feature - the Casablanca is just too 'polite sounding' to worry about. The only disk where I even consider it is Roy Orbison's Black & White Night which has a fearsome HF content!!!
     

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