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M&K S150 - W O W

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Shaka, May 7, 2005.

  1. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Well ... after my recent post querying about moving from Proacs to either Spendors or PMC, I headed down to my local dealer today to purchase some cables but stopped to look at their speakers. Bloody hell, aren't the PMC OB1's huge!? That put me off, so while I was admiring the GB1's, the S5e's instead, and the Quad L sub, one of the assistant's came over and asked if I needed any help. Naturally I presented my problem to him that I was happy with my recent system upgrade but felt that my speakers maybe letting me down. That I felt the sound wasn't as dynamic and 'separated' as I wanted and that I was looking for a 'big' sound rather than a loud sound (if that makes any sense). he asked the usual question of what I listen to most and my musical tastes. My typical reply: I listen to both music and movies in equal quantity and musical taste is varied: ranging from dance, rock, r&b, classical etc
    Anyway, he took me to the demo room. I had no idea what speaker were being used in there. The lights were dim but I could make out 3 white, square speakers under the projector screen, but didn't know what make they were. I could see 2 M&K rears on the walls either side of the seating position, but again being unfamiliar with this brand didn't know what model they were. The chap also pointed out 2 huge subs, again M&K, in the room.
    Onto the demo ...
    Pink Floyd - Money, in stereo only -- completely gob smacked, this was the type of sound I dream about, voices float and hang in the air right in front of my face, crystal clear, no distortion and oodle and oodles of detail. Turning the volume up didn't lose any detail nor cause on distortion. This much detail with just 2 speakers (still don't know what they are) I want this right now.
    Next, some multi channel dance music, courtesy of Orbital: not as immpresive as the previous demo but still brilliant. And I get to hear the rears this time which produce crisp clear sounds, as good as my fronts at home !!!!
    Next - Leftfield. As impressive as the first demo. Bags of detail and so B I G. The sound is right in front of my face instead of where the speakers are (about 15 ft away)
    Final test - The Matrix ... 1st test: Mr Anderson getting told of for being late again - the dialogue sounded instantly superior, very detailed and clear instead of sounding sort of subdued as it does with my current setup. Additionaly I could hear or was aware of numerous subtle background sounds that I don't remeber hearing before or didn't sound as pronounced as this. I played this on my system the moment I got back and was fairly disappointed, the dialogue did sound subdued as if my speaker had a clothe over it :-(
    2nd test: the lobby scene - OH MY GOD!!! Never heard this the way I did today. So much going on, so many effects yet the speakers didn't fudge any detail. Everything remained separate and distortion free. Turned it up REAL loud ( and I mean real LOUD) but the sound kept coming on effortlessly.

    I'd heard enough by now to know that this was something special. I walked over to the speakers and found that they were M&K (surprise!). The chap said that they were the S150 in-wall version. When he told me the price, I was quite surprised. Yes they're quite expensive (£875 each) but I thought for the performance that I heard, it sounded quite fair. But then again, I haven't really heard anything at this price before, so there maybe something outhere that's better for the same price (?) If so, can some one tell me.
    Strangely though, the chap said that the speakers are designed mainly for home cinema but to me they sounded magnificent with 2 channel audio too. Only worrying niggle was that he said you can only use them with an AV amp, due to their handling of bass. For stereo, the AV amp would need to be setup to redirect all signals below 80Hz to a sub. Not really a problem for me as I use an AVR300, but still ...
    So finally to my question, should I go for these. My ears (and heart) tell me yes, but since I don't have the time and patience to audition other models, I'm hoping that someone with more experience in this area can offer me some good advice. They are pricey, more than I was intending to spend, but if they provide value for money and are guaranteed to provide superior all round performance then I'm willing to sell a few organs and just get them. I was planning on getting 3 x S150 for fronts and centre and when I can afford to in the future, get the SS150 for the rears. And finally the sub (either the MX700 or MX350, depending on the cash flow). Does this sound like a reasonable approach? I can't afford the whole kit at once, that sub is v. expensive.

    Thanks in advance for any tips/advice

    cheers,

    Shaka
     
  2. recruit

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    Hi Shaka,

    Nice rundown of you're demo and the M&K speakers are very good indeed even if they are on the expensive side but the best judge is you and if the sound of M&K does it for you then go for it, I personally love the M&K sound and would always be willing to recommend them to anyone!
    Ref to the surrounds i would also look at the Column Surrounds too and not just the SS150's as they are just as good if not better than them, with the sub the MX350 would also be top of the list as it will have alot more to give than the MX700.

    Cheers
    John
     
  3. 30CenturyMan

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    S150s are excellent cinema speakers. However, for a music and movies application, I would look elsewhere. If it's dynamics and clarity you're after consider active designs. Genelec, Mackie, Blue Sky and many others offer similar characteristics at a fraction of the cost and IMO are better suited to a dual system than the M&Ks. Having said all that, if it's in-walls you're after, you can't go far wrong with the SW150s - unless you soffit mount some Genelecs! :devil:
     
  4. Ian J

    Ian J
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    All M&K speakers are satellites in as much as they will all only go down as far as 80Hz so need to used with a subwoofer.

    I've never heard the inwall speakers but I have heard the "normal" equivalents and rate them highly.
     
  5. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Thanks for the advice John , Scott.
    As it happens, I have a whole week off work soon, and I'll try to visit a few dealers to see what they offer. I'm usually really bad when I have a lot of options to choose from as I never know what to choose and usually end up buying stuff on impulse or on the suggestion of a friendly, smiling shop assistant :rolleyes: .
    In the case of the M&K demo, the assistant didn't say much throughout the demo and my liking for them is purely based on what I heard. At the moment, they're a strong favourite, but I will try to find a dealer who stocks Mackies, Genelacs & Blue Sky, but ideally I'd like to limit my choices incase I get too confused :D .
    The only negative thing I can say about the M&K is their looks. A bit 'industrial' looking. And not having a regular shaped centre is a problem. My current centre sits nicely on a shelf just above (couple of inches) the tv. Having an S150 there won't look right and I'd probably have to remove the Sky unit and XBox from under the tv and stick it there instead :( ..
    Scott, if I do get them, I'd be going for the regular stand mount version. Wall mounted would be nice if I had a plasma but I don't (... yet).
    John, it'd be a while before I'd get the M&K sub, but when I do, it would be probably be the MX350.

    thanks,

    Shaka
     
  6. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The Mackies, Genelecs, Blue Sky and most other active speakers are aimed at the professional studio market where looks aren't important so you will probably not find something with domestic appeal in any of the ranges.

    The best place to demo equipment like that is in a shop specialising in studio equipment rather than a traditional hifi shop and Digital Village have a shop in Cambridge as well as a website here and according to their speaker page they carry all three manufacturers.
     
  7. SamirP

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    Ianj if you have ever been to Digital Village then you will know it's not the best place to demo speakers for a HC set up.
    Given that they only able to demo as 2ch with no sub, and not a full 5.1 demo.
     
  8. Ian J

    Ian J
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    That isn't quite what I said but even so I prefer to demo speakers in stereo mode without a sub as you get a better idea of what the speakers themselves can do.

    Digital Village is reasonably local to Shaka and they have the distinct advantage that he can listen to Genelec, Mackie and Blue Sky speakers not only in the same place but they have them set up so that they can switch between them instantly.

    What more can one ask for :D
     
  9. recruit

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    More shops to Demo the Speakers :devil:
     
  10. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Hi chaps, after some more thought I think I'll pass on the other 3 brands as I think I maybe heading too far out of the consumer area, (also need to consider aesthetics, room isze, cost etc). I'd feel more comfortable with focusing and choosing from brands I'm more familiar and comfortable with rather than having to do even more research, something which I recently went through when buying the rest of the kit and don't want to do much more of for any longer. So now I just want to get some good speakers and sit back, relax and enjoy !!
    In terms of reliability, how reliable are M&K speakers? I read a couple of posts where they said the tweeters in their speakers had blown and that this was due to the speakers impedence and sensitivity being unusual (either higher or lower than normal - can't remember which). Is this a common issue?
    I contacted M&K support for some info and after dissing other manufacturers for producing "cute" speakers :), they adviced that the 850 series would be ideal for my room size, but if I went for the S-150, it would sound incredible. Unfortunately they did not comment on the quality of the 2-channel performance of either speakers.
    In a fortnight I ahve my week off work and I think I'll audition the S-150's again but with my own AVR300, DV27A and Tri-vista DAC and I'll also audition the 850's. I will post back my views then. In the meantime, I'd welcome comments from anyone with experience of either of these models with multi-channel AND 2-channel. I'd like to hear your honest opinions on whether you think they're good or bad or average.

    cheers,

    Shaka
     
  11. recruit

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    In terms of reliability very good they offer a 5 year warranty on there Subs and a 10 year warranty on speakers :thumbsup:

    In terms of musical performance i think the M&K's are pretty good but not to everyones tastes and haveing a long demo will be a good idea.
    M&K speakers are very power hungry and are rated at 4ohms so the Arcam may struggle with the S-150's and might not get the best out of them it maybe ok with the 850's but you are doing the right thing by demoing them with you're amp as this will be the only way to tell.

    Happy demoing Shaka... :)

    Regards
    John
     
  12. Joe Fernand

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    Hello all

    Shaka - you have to keep in mind you listened to a complete system not just the S-150 loudspeakers; you don't say what amplification and processing was employed in the dealers demo room.

    Installing 3 x S-150 into your own set-up is not going to guarantee you replicate the experience you had in your dealers showroom - as others have pointed out the S-150 are designed for use with a sub woofer and you say your dealer had two M&K subs running in the demo set up; I think you'll find they had a pretty sizeable 'input' to the big sound you experienced and I'm sure a single REL Q150 is not on a par with what you heard.

    If possible keep all three of your front speakers on one plane - not one high + two on stands. If you do have to go with your centre above or below the TV and the Left and Right to the side of the TV (or planned Plasma Display) then the S-150AC (angled cabinet) may be your best option for the Centre channel as the 'wedge' shape ' cabinet can be set to fire up or down as required.

    I'd want to try out the S150 (or 'slim line' M150) in your own room/system and be prepared to not be as overwhelmed as you where in the dealer showroom; or have a spare flexible friend to hand to get that M&K sub at the same time as the S150's + stands :)

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  13. KHCC

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    Mornin'

    When listening in stereo, the sound is quiote forward in the midrange which I like but the best thing is if you sit off to one side, the image and sound stage stays central to the stereo speakers. When I have tried this with hundreds of different pairs of speakers over the years generally the sound moves over to the side you are sitting on or even worse, you can't even hear the furthest speaker.

    This feature is due to the speakers being designed with a studio desk in mind where the sound engineer is moving up and down the desk and need the speakers to sound exactly the same no matter where he is up or down the mixing desk.

    You do get a true sound from when the piece was recorded, rather than the soft 'Hi-Fi' sound that everyone thinks you should get where the speakers sound so 'nice'. I personally think the speakers should give a live performance sound rather the the tamed sound people are used to and so call the M&K sound harsh or bright, where it is actually true to the original recording i.e. sounds like it does through the studio speakers which are likely to be M&K in most instances!!! look on there site at who does use M&K for their recording studios and be impressed.

    Anyway, it's all down to personal opinion and people who like the Hi-Fi sound aren't going to convert just because it's how the speakers should sound!!!

    Regards
     
  14. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Evening,

    John, one of the reasons why I'm keen to listen to them again is because I have read elsewhere that the S-150 are quite hard to drive, so I'd like to see if my current equipment is going to struggle (upgrading them is not an option at the moment). That's also why I'd like to try the 850 model, again with my kit. My main gripe at the moment is mostly with movie side of things where the dialogue is not coming across as clear and open as it should and most of the big F/X that I expect to sound explosive, justaren't. So if these speakers can't get enough juice from my kit, I may have the same problem.

    Joe, in the demo room,it was a Meridian DVD player and amp. I understand I won't get that same, BIG, in your face effect with my kit, but am hoping that it would sound more open, clear and dynamic than what I have at the moment. I just loved what I heard in that room. Even though I was far away from the speakers, the sound was so close to me and at all times, crips, clear and energetic. I doubt I'd be able to try the kit in my own room as the dealer didn't have the stand mount in stock, but can get them if I order them. So the only thing I can try is to take my kit there instead. I can't have my centre channel on the same plane as my fronts but I've tried pointing it down by raising it slightly from the back. It hasn't improved the sound at all :(.

    Hayes, I'm afraid I don't have enough experience to distinguish between various sound styles. All I know is I liked what I heard with 2-channel material. As I said, it was as if Pink Floyd were merely a couple of feet away from me performing live. Every sound was crystal clear, and separate. If that is a 'forward' sound then I like it :). It was the movie sound that blew me away though, as even during quiet scenes there was no loss of detail.

    Just need to do a couple more demos before I'll know for sure whether I'll get them or the 850's or neither.

    cheers,

    Shaka
     
  15. Joe Fernand

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    Hello Shaka

    I'd want to audition a more revealing/dynamic AV Processor/Amplifier with your own speakers as well as the 'better' speakers with your AV Receiver!

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  16. X3ELS

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    FYI Genelec have a full range of dedicated HT speakers, these are available in real world veneers as well for better 'domestic acceptance' take a look here:

    Genelec Home Cinema
     
  17. recruit

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    X3ELS - Do you have Genelecs on Demo at P.J Hifi because i would really like to hear these active speakers.. :)

    Regards
    John
     
  18. Shaka

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    I had a look at their website but as I'm not familiar with this brand, it's difficult to tell which models would be appropriate for me and how good they actually are.

    Which of their models would you recommend and which models would be a good alternative to the S-150's and 850's and why? Are they similar in price?

    thanks,

    Shaka
     
  19. CYRUStheVIRUS

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    Don't forget to add into the price of M&K S150's, Tilt stands or Tilt brackets.
    Very pricey but worth it imho. (Why don't some third party make compatible stands/brackets for M&K?)
    They are incredible speakers for H.C. but i think a decent 5ch power amp is needed.

    My advice is never DEMO what you cannot afford, it means you are never happy :smashin:
     
  20. recruit

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    Cyrus - You are right they make a hell of a difference to the sound as they can be angled perfectly to the listening position, yes they maybe expensive but worth the money for the results they acheive.. :)

    Regards
    John
     
  21. Rob Sinden

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    Aaah!!!!!

    Another M&K convert. I had a room full of huge Kef's and a REL studio and have replaced my system with something half the price and half the size which kills it!

    Do it, but audition the phenomenal 5100 sub first - incredible!
     
  22. recruit

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    Most Certainly!! :devil:
     

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