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M&K MPS1510 Review

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Matt F, Jan 9, 2003.

  1. Matt F

    Matt F
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    The M&K MPS1510's are small standmount monitors (satellites some might say) from M&K's professional range. They come in at £425 each - yes, they are sold in single units - more on this later.

    If you want to see them: http://www.mkprofessional.com/mps1510.html

    Two things to note about them firstly:

    1. They are only designed to go down to 80Hz - they must be used with a (quality) subwoofer.

    2. They have no grilles at all - soft dome tweeter and mid/bass driver are exposed to one and all.

    I should also confess that I am using them in conjunction with a Veldoyne HGS15 so they have just about the best low frequency underpinning you could wish for.

    Confession number two is that I bought them blind which is not something I generally advocate. However, I had tried out the domestic versions of these speakers (the S85's) at home, on my system, and they were very good indeed - I was reliably informed that the pro versions are even better and, now that I have heard both, I can confirm that this is certainly the case to my ears. Also, next to no dealers stock the M&K Pro range, they just deal with the domestic range so listening to them before you buy is virtually impossible.

    Some of you might be thinking "Studio monitors? - yuk, bright, in your face etc" - let me put you right straight away (and bear-in-mind that these speakers aren't even fully run in yet) - these are absolutely stunning speakers - incredibly open and uncoloured (small, highly braced cabinet helps here) with a wide and deep soundstage and very good stereo imaging.

    The best bit, to my ears, is the quality of the treble - to me, great treble is detail and accuracy without brightness and this is what the 1510's deliver in spades - you hear every detail but it's not thrown in your face - these are not wearing speakers. I wont pretend they will cover up a bad quality recording (and why should they?) but neither do they draw particular attention to it.

    Now, I mentioned above that they are sold in single units. The beauty of this is that, for multi channel music/movies, you can buy three of them for the front soundstage (which is what I did) and this will give you perfect tonal matching - three identical front speakers - no stereo pair and "matching" centre can give you this sort of coherence.

    They are equally adept at rear speaker duties (5 identical speakers anyone?) although there are also Tripole equivalents if you require extra ambience.

    The only other thing to add is that they require plenty of high quality amplification - they are sealed boxes and are incredibly well braced so they soak power up like nobody's business - I'd say they need at least 100 watts of genuine power - they are not the sort of speakers that you should put on the end of a budget AV amp - they would probably sound awful in this situation.

    Anyway, as you can tell I'm more than impressed and can heartily recommend them.

    Matt.
     
  2. Guest

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    Good'un Matt!

    Cant remember mate?.....Have u got a TAG?


    Adzman
     
  3. Branxx

    Branxx
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    Matt,

    Welcome to the MPS club.

    Your observations, especially about the need for good amplification, very much confirms my experience with M&K speakers range (I started with LCR-55, moved to S-150 & SS-150 and now using MSP-2510P &MPS-2525P).

    Out of interest, why did you decised to by MPS-1510 rather than S-85 considering that MPS are slightly more expensive?
     
  4. Steve Bate

    Steve Bate
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    Also Matt as a point of reference what did you move to these from? What else did you consider (Are you the Matt that posts regularly on the TAG site?)
     
  5. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Adzman - yes I use a Tag, my amp is a Rotel RB985 MKII (5X110 watts, THX) - it copes with the 1510's but I wouldn't say it easily copes i.e. there isn't masses of power left over - I was amazed at how much extra gain the 1510's require over my rears (KEF TDM34DS) which aren't exactly an easy load themselves.

    Branxx - I decided to go for the 1510's over the S85's for a couple of reasons:

    Firstly, Uncle E advised me that the 1510's are better sound wise and I would go along with this.

    Secondly, I'd like to get to a stage where I use three identical speakers all in a vertical orientation (preferably with a big plasma screen bolted to the wall above them) and the 1510's would do this whereas the S85's have a specific centre speaker that is used horizontally - I wanted the three to be absolutely identical - the S85's are not quite. Incidentally, I have to use the central 1510 in a horizontal position at the moment but it works perfectly well on its side (as Eric promised it would), I'm pleased to say.

    I must say that I also found the look of the S85's quite odd with their bizarre "non-symetrical" cabinet shape - to me they looked quite awkward on speaker stands - the 1510's cabinets are symetrical which is more pleasing (to my eyes at least).

    Steve - my previous speakers were KEF Ref 2-2's plus a 100C and, prior to this, I had M&K 750s across the front. The 750's were excellent with movies but in stereo I found them lacking because I couldn't get them to image properly (no matter what I tried).

    The KEF's were (as you would expect of a £1750 pair of floorstanders) superb in stereo - amazing imaging. The 100C I had problems with because, although it is a great speaker, it does not like being used in confined spaces because of the rear ports - it needs space to breathe and I couldn't give it that so it never sounded at its best. I also missed the coherence that you get from an identical (or near identical) front three.

    I guess that, for me, the 750's were too movie biased and the KEFs were too stereo biased - neither was bad at the other task in fairness, but there was always a compromise - great at movies, good at music or vice-versa. I wanted something that is excellent with both music and movies and I believe that is what the 1510's are (as long as you partner them with a very good subwoofer).

    And, yes, I have posted as simply "Matt" on the Tag forums (and I mentioned the 1510's in one of the threads recently).

    Matt.
     
  6. Steve Bate

    Steve Bate
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    I thought you'd previously had Kef Ref's, do you notice a big difference in stereo? I guess I'm trying to say £850 for 2 x MK v £1,750 for 2.2's is it a fair comparison? Do I put these on my shortlist rather than spend the extra on the S-150's?

    Steve
     
  7. Matt F

    Matt F
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    The stereo comparison is interesting. Do the 1510's image as well as the KEFs? Not quite but, then again, the Ref 2-2's with their UniQ drivers produced better imaging than anything I've heard this side of electrostatics. Conversely, the 1510's have an openness and freedom from "boxiness" that IMO you can only truly get with small speakers - the 2-2's weren't closed in by any means but the 1510's are definitely more open. So, precious little between them - more slightly different characteristics due to their designs.

    Bass wise, of course, with the HGS15 accompanying them, the 1510's go a lot deeper than the KEF Ref 2-2's and that brings me on to the price comparison you made - of course, for the whole package, it's not £1750 KEFs versus £850 M&Ks, it's £1750 KEFs against £3100 M&K/Velodyne (using the r.r.p. of the HGS15).

    So, yes, put them on your shortlist along with the excellent S150's - as long as your room isn't massive then the 1510's are certainly up to the task - they might even have the edge on the S150's in stereo although you'd have to ask Eric for an opinion on this - I haven't heard them both whereas he has.

    Matt.
     
  8. Steve Bate

    Steve Bate
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    Thanks for that Matt, I know what you mean about the sub, but Ref 2.2's are on my shortlist and I already have a good sub (SVS), the only problem I can see then is the lack of grill :( New front sounstage pricing could come down significantly if I can find them with grills!!

    Steve
     
  9. chips

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    S85s have grilles.;)
     
  10. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Steve, sorry for yet another reply but regarding the grilles, this was my only worry with the 1510's as I have a pair of cats (not matching) and a 10 month old.

    I was going to build some frames and use acoustic cloth but I then came across "acoustically transparent foam" (anthracite in colour) on the Falcon Acoustics website: http://www.falcon-acoustics.co.uk/pl28p8.htm (page down). It is only £4 per sheet and one sheet will do three 1510's - you simply cut it to size and attach it to the speakers using four velcro circles (that stick to the cabinets and the hooks grab the foam itself). You would need to ask for some extra velcro circles as they only supply 8 per sheet.

    So, my 1510’s are now protected and, although I haven’t done any extensive comparisons, the sound doesn’t seem to be affected by the grilles – even if it is slightly then that’s fine because they sound marvellous with the grilles in place. Looks wise, the grilles don’t look as good as bespoke grilles but they are acceptable, if a little bland and studio like – I’ll take that over damager tweeters any day.

    Matt.
     
  11. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I think that they are available in white with grilles as an alternative.
     
  12. acave

    acave
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    Thx for the review Matt, I had the S-85's and now need a centre rear and this is my choice (wish they had a grill though). I liked the angled cabinet on the S-85's as it made's the vocal image dead to centre and at times it was hard to notice if I have my centre channel was on when playing 2-channel. I have the S-125's now although I'm selling these if I can make room for the MP powered, I've got a nasty feeling I aint going to be able to, then I'll have to go non-powered :( I have the same amp as you so this review was a great help.
     
  13. Steve Bate

    Steve Bate
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    This was the other reason I was interested Matt, I've got AV32R and 985mk 2 also!!

    Steve
     
  14. Guest

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    Matt.

    Did you consider going for the slightly larger 1610's?
    Mind you, judging by your comments in relation to your Rotel amp, perhaps you've gone the right model !

    Secondly, did you consider powered speakers?


    Adzman.
     
  15. Matt F

    Matt F
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    I did look at the 1610's (and, in fact, contrary to what you might think, I reckon they might be easier to drive than the 1510's) but at the end of the day, they cost more, are bigger (so it would be harder to fit the centre in where mine has to live) and they still only go down to 80Hz. I guess I just couldn't see the benefit of the 1610's - they offer a slightly higher SPL and would, therefore, fill a larger room but that's about it.

    I did consider active models - the ATC Active 10's are very appealing but the matching centre is really expensive. I also considered Genelec 1030's but the only dealer I could find wouldn't loan them out (so I crossed them off the list) and Uncle Eric reviewed a pair at the time and wasn't that impressed - he didn't consider them to be in the same league as the 1510's.

    Of course, what would be ideal would be an active version of the 1510's, say 80+80 watts but, alas, they do not exist.

    Matt.
     
  16. uncle eric

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    Excellent idea. It's a shame M&K do not produce anything like this as it would be high on the shortlist of many.

    A few words from me.
    First thanks to Matt for his very fair and observent review of the MPS-1510's. I first came across these quite a while ago and though only listened briefly, I was instantly impressed.
    When Ian J was looking for an upgrade to his Def Tech's, I metioned these fantasic standmount monitors and in his usual indecisive manner said "Order them" within 10 seconds.
    With Ians permission, when they arrived I unpacked them and listened to them at length. One of the things that shocked me the most was their quality from the off. I've owned speakers that have taken forever to "loosen up". These things just sounded incredible from the word go. At the time, I owned the M&K150 THX front three. I remember thinking, in someways the 1510's were even better. Imaging for example is far more accurate. These are the sort of speakers that allow you to forget you're listening to speakers and instead you start focusing on the music/movie. They are just so incredibly transparent.

    Anyone thats not heard these is missing out.
     
  17. Steve Bate

    Steve Bate
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    Just spoke to M&K and the 1510 is now available with a grill in the UK :D

    This is getting more and more interesting by the minute.

    Eric, if you read this, how big a difference is the 1510 from the Pro version of the S-150 and given my room size as 16'x9' which would be most appropriate given quality sub is already in place?

    There is a huge difference in price but is it really hugely better?

    Steve
     
  18. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Steve, assuming you have 8ft high ceilings then the volume of your room is 1152 cubic feet. M&K pro site suggets the following:

    1. 1510 - rooms up to 1500 ft3
    2. 1610 - rooms up to 2000 ft3
    3. 2510 - rooms up to 3000 ft3
    4. 2510P - rooms up to 3500ft3

    In other words, the 1510's would be more than adequate for your room - my room is 16X13 and they fill this with ease.

    On top of this, from what Eric said above, the 1510's certainly have the edge in stereo due to their superior imaging.

    Eric may want to comment further but my view is that the 1510's would be just what you are after and, presumably, the money you save may be able to be put towards better amplification? Bryston etc?

    Matt.
     
  19. Steve Bate

    Steve Bate
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    Or mean that the "save" time is reduced meaning I can get them faster :D

    Thanks for the info on the room size/monitor match Matt.

    Steve
     
  20. ChrisNic

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    Ive got a rotel 1075 will it have much trouble driving the M&Ks? I see matt has a rotel which I dont know, but sounds very similar (5x110w) to the 1075 and was pushed pretty hard driving the?. Im supprised they are hard to drive but I will take it for granted
     
  21. Anodyne

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    I use a Rotel 985mk2 which has a similar spec to the 1075 with M&K 850s and it has no problem driving them, and I assume they're a similar load to the 1510s.
     
  22. thxultra

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    has anyone compared the s-150thx with the mps-2510,they look identical not sure of the price diffrence though.
     
  23. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Very odd seeing one of my old posts brough back to life. Anyway, the Rotel 1075 is very similar indeed to the RB985MKII. It won't have any trouble driving M&K MPS1510's - the reason my 985MKII seemed to have it's work cut was (I now know) because the MPS1510's were brand new and needed breaking in - once they had loosened up (after a month or so) I had to recalibrate the levels and found that they needed a lot less gain. They are still not easy to drive mind you (and the more power the better) but any THX approved power amp should have no problems.

    Matt.
     
  24. ChrisNic

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    Well im new to this forum as you can see so ive bin doing some reading of old posts in relation to my future speaker purchases!
     
  25. thxultra

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    what kind of stands do your 1510 sit on matt is it mk own brand
     
  26. Matt F

    Matt F
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    They, well the left and right speakers anyway, sit on Atama SE6 stands - these are absolutely perfect for the 1510's as the top plate is slightly smaller than the speakers. The centre is currently in a TV cabinet but in the future (plasma screeen etc) I would like to get the centre on to a matching stand.

    Matt.
     
  27. sticker

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    where can you get teh pro versions of these M&K's. Can't seem to find any
     

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