M&K S85 demo

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by lmccauley, Mar 16, 2002.

  1. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    Spent the morning in my local Sevenoaks listening to M&K S85 front 3 (thanks Craig for the demo and Paul for flying up from Stanstead to deliver the speakers - now that's what I call service!). They have a nice dem room with a Sim2 HT200DM, FMJ27, Onkyo something-or-other, SS150 tripoles side & rears and an M&K sub (sorry, can't remember model - it had a price tag of around £1200).

    My goal is to replace my floorstanders with something that:
    a) sounds better in my room - I can't get away from having one speaker in a corner :(;
    b) looks nicer/smaller/more domestically acceptable.

    Music and films have approximately equal priority. Room is about 20' wide X 14' long.

    We listened to a selection of my own CD's, watched some DVDs, then went back to CD, swapping the S85's with some Monitor Audio Gold 10's just to get a comparison.

    The S85's provided very good imaging and brought out a lot of detail. They sounded excellent with the movies we played (which included a mix of subtle and "whiz-bang": Field of Dreams, T2, Fifth Element) - the integration of sub and satellite was spot on. My only concern was that they were brighter than my current speakers and vocals seemed slightly less forward with music. I don't know whether that's because I'm used to speakers that just happen to be less bright and have a forward mid-range!

    I was impressed enough that I'm going to demo them at home this week (assuming no disasters at work) and see how they integrate there.

    Cheers,
    Liam


    [Side note: I'd included For the Love of the Game just so I could check out the rainbows on the 200DM at the end of the demo - specifically in the scene where it pans across the scoreboard. Craig accidentally put it on instead of Field of Dreams, we saw a few rainbows (but much less than the 200) and then he asked if we could play some more because he was so impressed with the transfer - here's someone that a) knows his stuff and b) is enthusiastic about it, I thought.]
     
  2. T_Strife

    T_Strife
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    Regarding the 'bright' comment, do you know whether they were wired-up using the normal or maximum spkr terminals?
    I find mine too bright in maximum mode.
     
  3. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    Liam,
    John make's a good point that would be interesting to know. Unless a room is completely dead, normal setting is best.
    What speakers are you currently using at home?

    Eric
     
  4. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    Craig pointed out the two connections at the back and said that Normal does usually work best, but I didn't actually confirm that he had set them to Normal. I can ring him on Monday and ask. Actually, I did notice that the dem room does have carpet up the walls so it might be quite dead - maybe the maximum terminals were used because of that.

    I currently have Monitor Audio 703PMC. When I originally auditioned them I did notice that they were fairly forward compared to, say, AE and Ruark speakers. It was a toss-up between them and B&W CDM1SE, but I found the treble on the B&W slightly grating after a while. I would have auditioned the CDM1NT this time, but the centre is too big for where I would like to put it, and I really want to get a matched set of 3 (LCR). Unfortunately, today their dem pair of CDM1NT was at a customer's, so I couldn't compare it with the S85 directly.

    It would be nice to see a frequency response curve of both speakers so that I know whether a) the S85 has a boost to its treble or b) the 703 have a lowered treble. It may be that I think the S85 are bright because I'm used to a speaker that is the opposite...

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  5. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    Liam,

    You are spot on regarding Craig at Sevenoaks in Newcastle. He is an excellent salesman with no hard sale, but instead his enthusiasm for the Hobby comes through in spades. He is knowledgable about what he is selling and also knows a lot about what he doesn't sell too. I find his approach very refreshing, and friendly.

    Let us know how you get on demoing the M&K's at home.
     
  6. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    I trust Phils comments 100% and I must say its refreshing to hear that Sevenoaks has a decent chap working for them. Dont get me wrong, I'm sure there are many.
    It just pains me because of my experience with their North London branch (several months ago) where I was shown the door because of my 'wooly' comments during an 'alleged' speaker demo.
    I saw these goons at the Bristol show but sadly didn't get the chance to throw my chewing gum at them. Next time.

    Eric
     
  7. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    Liam,

    I paid a visit to Sevenoaks today to see Craig, and I got a listen to your 85's in the dem room. They sound very good indeed for such a small enclosure. Craig played a couple of music tracks while we had a chat about things, and i was very impressed with them. Craig had the sub set just right for them (he said he had been running them for a bit before bringing them round to yours on wednesday). Very good I hope they sound good in your room.

    Must have spent about 2 hours chatting away(they were quiet) with craig, and trying to decide what I need on the rear channels as my next purchase. At no time was there any hard sell, they are a top outfit in Newcastle, If anyone reading this is going through there in the future I recommend a visit, top lads and very well stocked branch, puts the rest of the sevenoaks chain to shame!
     
  8. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    Craig came round tonight and set up the S85 and an MX125. I don't know what made the difference (more time to run in [these are new, not a dem set], using the Arcam amp instead of an Onkyo, or just the room acoustics), but they sound lovely now. Imaging was just as good as I had heard before, but the bright edge has been taken off them. Having identical front three definitely makes a difference too. They act more like a single unit. Even though my existing centre does tonally match my L & R (despite being from different manufacturers) pretty well, you do notice pans dipping down then back up in height. Even though the S85s are still at the same relative heights (L&R higher than centre) you don't tend to notice this. Maybe it's the angled front of the S85?

    Craig spent quite a while moving the sub around, changing the phase, etc, until he got a good sound. It's still not quite perfect - there is some boominess at times - but it is significantly better than my floorstanders were. The speakers have to go in basically one place, which means that the R is in a corner. This position increases the "boominess", and when the sub was first placed there it had the same problem. However, the advantage with the sub is that you can move it away from this position, and it is now out of the corner and firing across the room. Much better.

    The other advantage of having a good sub, instead of relying on floorstanders, has now become clear - we listened to the T-rex scene in Jurassic Park. Whoah! Then, once Craig had gone I put on the Matrix lobby shootout (OK, I'm not very original, but I know that scene so well it's a good reference for me). I got so involved that I ended up watching it to the end of the film. The most surprising thing was that I actually felt fear :eek: when the helicoptor hit the building and exploded. I am not kidding - having the sub play so loud and low must have provoked some kind of primeval reaction! OK Spectre, I admit it - you're right. A sub is essential for HC :rolleyes:.

    So, I think I've found the front 3 speakers I want, I now have to find a more affordable sub. C'mon Nic, don't you want to sell one of those Servo15's? ;)

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  9. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    Liam,

    I am Glad that they sound great in your room. Like I said in my PM they were not Bright and Craig has obviously run them in for you a bit. I have to say I was well impressed with them.

    Regarding the comment about having three identical speakers accross the front, I always knew this was preferable, but it is not until you hear a system where that is the case do you understand the difference. I noticed it straight away when I got the Boston THX accross the front.

    As for the Sub, why not just bite the bullet and go with the 125?:p :D
     
  10. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    I was surprised when I first heard them that I wasn't happy with how they sounded with music (films were fine) - I know that speaker preference is very subjective, however, so I thought that maybe they just weren't for me. Now that they're setup in my room with my amp they do sound excellent :D.
    I know what you mean. There are a lot of comments and suggestions on forums like this that do sound sensible, but you don't really appreciate just how important they are until you try them yourself. Especially with regard to subwoofers...
    It's just too expensive :(. I'm having a hard enough job justifying to my better half replacing a perfectly good set of speakers with another set of speakers and a big box that has to sit next to one of the comfy chairs :eek:! M&K are very expensive over here - it's very frustrating to see the prices people are paying for them in the states ($=£). I need to sell my existing speakers and my Arcam Alpha 7 CD player to show that it's not that expensive really to upgrade. So, I think I'm going to have to go the second hand route for the sub. Which is a shame, as the 125 is very nice.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     

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