XTZ 89 Series Front & Centre Review, now available.

hoppaz

Well-known Member
Just got these today and will post my findings as I get to experience them. Initial impressions were not so good as the centre has arrived with a bit of damage to the top left corner but I have hooked it up anyway and have been running about 4 hours now.

Initially out of the box the speaker sounded poor. Very poor mid-range and bass but the treble was excellent really clear and audible from the outset. I mean it's the one thing you notice as an instant upgrade over the SVS sbs 5.0 system I had before.

Now the speakers are runnning in and are starting to loosen up I am becoming increasingly impressed.

More to follow...
 

hoppaz

Well-known Member
To give some background to the reason for my purchase of the XTZ speakers, I happened to upgrade my sub to an SVS PC-Plus tube sub and I found that although the bass was massively improved the midrange suffered incredibly.

Voices that used to be clear were a little harder to hear. I don't know why perhaps it was the dramatic shift in the bottom end area that changed the sound spectrum in my living room.

It was this reasoning that made me think about buying some new floorstanders and a centre which would give me a little more in the mid-range.

I live in Newcastle and there isn't a lot of choice when it comes to hi-fi dealers so getting to audition a set of speakers is very difficult. This is where I happen to fall upon XTZ. I found the new range of 89 speakers with a whole host of room tuning features (great when you can't audition speakers) as well as ribbon tweeters. Yes, that was what interested me as they are normally found on much more expensive speakers.

After a bit of measuring and a slight change around in furnishings in my living room I placed my order for an XTZ 89 centre and 89 floorstanders. This was on Tuesday 29 September and they arrived on Friday 2 October. Excellent.

I had also ordered a set of M&K K4 surrounds which I was intending to wall hang in my room to serve as surrounds and they also arrived on Friday.

First thing to mention is that when the XTZ boxes arrived the floorstanders (I have attached a picture) had a lot of dents and the bottom area had almost collapsed. Oh oh I thought. The centre on the other hand looked like it had a newer, better box type packaging which was virtually undamaged.

Anyway I had taken the afternoon off work so I boxed up my trusty SVS SBS 5.0 speakers and proceeded to mount the K4 surrounds and un-box the XTZ's. I was a bit apprehensive about the floorstanders having seen the damage to the boxes but upon opening them I found they were fine.

I then did the same with the centre and was a bit dismayed to find a bit of “damage” to the top left of the speaker. I say damage but I could not say it happened in transit as the area in which the damage is (the black box part of the speaker) has a grey lip and speaker grill which protrude about 10-12mm in front of the black box section and no damage was present here. In fact I think it's a manufacturing defect on the finish of the box. I also inspected the floorstanders and found a slight defect on the grey lip where it connects to the black box on the top (pictures are all attached).

I am not too bothered about this as it's hard to see unless you take out a magnifying glass.

So having unboxed everything I then set about connecting everything up to see what the sound is like. I opted to run the set-up with the damaged centre as I had already boxed up my SVS one and I wanted to have a tonal balance across the front.

Well having re-run Audessy on my Onkyo 875 amp I set about watching some general TV viewing. The first thing that hits you with the speakers is how clear and detailed the treble is. It's much, much better than my old SVS speakers.

I opted to run the fronts and centre without any bungs at first and found the mid-range and bass disappointing. However, I do know that this is one of the things with XTZ speakers and they do need a lot of running in. Having watched a variety of TV viewing including music on VH1 and Q and Kerrang I was unimpressed with the mid and low range of the speakers, there was just nothing there. So I followed the advice in the manual and bunged one port in the centre and both the upper ports in the floorstanders.

I made a lot of difference to the mid-range. Still though I thought the sound could be better. So we had a night of DVD viewing with the speakers running in and the system as a whole (including my sub and new surrounds) are a far better system than the old complete SVS speaker set-up I had before.

To describe the sound the speakers are much more open and clarity is far superior to the SVS SBS system. Also details which were unheard of before are now there. Take for example Transformers on HD DVD. The bits when the robots blink and transform give you a host of new nuances that simply were there before. Midrange is also excellent and voices are clear as a whistle without any nasal noise, sibilance or distortion (well not in my room anyway).

Now I can't tell you what drivers these speakers use as they have been bought out of my own pocket I am not keen to start taking them apart.

However I am sure XTZ can confirm what the tweeter is as well as the drivers?
I do know that the floorstanding speakers are two and a half way so they have a ribbon tweeter, a driver for the midrange and then an identical driver to take care of lower frequencies. I did a lot of research on ribbon tweeters and there are reports that they can sound “separate” to the rest of the speaker but the sound definitely doesn't sound this way to me.

Well did I get an improvement in midrange (which I was wanting). It's a definite yes they have a lot more presence and even now listening to music there is a massive difference to when I first fired them up. I am hoping that the improvement continues for the next few weeks when they should have run in (it is suggested they can take up to 100 hours to do this).

How does the centre compare? Well to me it blends with the floorstanders very well and again there is a much more open and clear sound stage. Combined there is a lot more presence, like the events you are watching are actually unfolding right in the corner of your room where your TV happens to be.

One thing I should mention is that ribbon tweeters are well known to have a poor vertical sound throw. Now my SVS centre had a basic painted wooden stand which allowed you to angle it up to your hearing position. This is something I think XTZ should seriously consider. I am going to have to devise something to angle the speaker when I get a replacement centre.

I will of course update this thread when they are properly run in.

So to conclude:

Pro's:
1) Excellent sound and great value for money.
2) Fast delivery (well to me anyway)
3) Room tuning so you can make changes to suit your own room requirements.

Con's
1) Finish could be better. Fronts aren't perfect I am talking about the edges in particular.
2) As the centre has a ribbon tweeter it should have a tilt system.
3) Ended up with a “damaged” speaker. I am convinced this did not happen in transit but it is more a finishing defect. However this links to the 1st point and could just be a one off.

setup.jpg


Frontswithgrill.jpg


Frontsnogrill.jpg


centedamage.jpg


finishdefect.jpg


boxes.jpg
 
Last edited:

hoppaz

Well-known Member
Mods can the title be changed to "XTZ 89 Series Front & Centre Review, Now Available..."
 

KUBBY

Well-known Member
No sooner said.........

K.
 

Member 281695

Active Member
Sorry to hear you received the center damaged! These things happen from time to time, but we will of course take care of it.

About the angle of the center, it´s supposed to be positioned closer to the screen actually. Ideally at ear height, but that´s almost never possible so your idea of some sort of angle adjustment is something we will consider.

Happy to hear you like the sound already, but give them another 50 hours or so of playing in time, and the bass woofers will perform much better as well.

:)
 

hoppaz

Well-known Member
Sorry to hear you received the center damaged! These things happen from time to time, but we will of course take care of it.

About the angle of the center, it´s supposed to be positioned closer to the screen actually. Ideally at ear height, but that´s almost never possible so your idea of some sort of angle adjustment is something we will consider.

Happy to hear you like the sound already, but give them another 50 hours or so of playing in time, and the bass woofers will perform much better as well.

:)

Yes I am happy to report Rikard is going to sort me out a new centre. Must say the service from XTZ has been top notch.

As for the centre I definitely think that the majority of users will have to put it under the tv and an angle adjustment would be an excellent idea for the future to compensate for this.

Of course when I do get them finally run in I will be adding to this thread for the benefit of other forum members.
 

hoppaz

Well-known Member
What about trying to angle the centre up with some blu-tack?

Could help a bit?

I have made some wooden wedges to angle the centre and they are infact held in place (on the rack and on the speaker) by some white tac. Makes a lot of difference.

I am going to have to paint them tonight in black.
 

hoppaz

Well-known Member
Just a quick update to say that I have done about 40 hours with these speakers now and the sound is so much different. Initially I had to bung the upper ports to give the deepest bass possible but even then the low end was pretty poor. I had to remove these over the weekend as the sound had changed so much and the bass was over powering. Very impressed with the sound now.

They are very open and vocals are clear as day. Midrange is excellent and the bass is nice, tight and deep when needed.

Will give a final update once I reach around 100 hours.
 

pedith

Standard Member
There are a few weeks ago I bought my XTZ 89 center, and I'm actually been quite surprised by how clear it plays. I have not used it so much, but I think it is around 20 hours. very pleased with the great sound and feel that it gives the old sony front speakers a good kick. the speakers are dragged by a Denon avc2800 and plays with a Mirage BPS 100 and two Boston VRS I use for rear speakers. together makes it a really good sound, but I miss some better front speakers. before i had the center there where so much bass that i had to turn it lower, but now it is very balanced. But i wonder what is the flip button on the back side of speaker for? I'we read the user manual where its written 4-8 ohm but when is it what? i have set the switch on -2db ofcourse my. amplifier can only run speakers from 6-16 ohm. but i am not sure what this means.
any way the sound is fine :)
 

Member 281695

Active Member
Thanks for the update! The switch on the back is the treble level adjustment. You can select 0 dB (which is referred to as "flat") and - 2dB if you prefer a sligthly more held back tweeter response, or if the room is acoustically "bright".

We state 4-8 ohms as this i closer to reality than 4 or 8 ohms. The load impedance varies with frequency, and at the lowest point it touches 4 ohms, but the average is higher which makes things easier for amps that are designed for 6 ohm loads.

:)

/Rikard
 

pwood

Well-known Member
Ikea Lac shelf or similar just above TV with a small hole drilled in for speaker cable is a great cheap way of placing the centre up higher and freeing some space in the rack.
 

pedith

Standard Member
Thanks for the update! The switch on the back is the treble level adjustment. You can select 0 dB (which is referred to as "flat") and - 2dB if you prefer a sligthly more held back tweeter response, or if the room is acoustically "bright".

We state 4-8 ohms as this i closer to reality than 4 or 8 ohms. The load impedance varies with frequency, and at the lowest point it touches 4 ohms, but the average is higher which makes things easier for amps that are designed for 6 ohm loads.

:)

/Rikard
that means there shouldnt be any problems while running the speaker, in any level, on an amp with 6-16 ohms?:confused:
 

ealaniz

Standard Member
hello...i'm thinking about upgrading my center speaker and i'm thinking about the xtz 89. i'm curious if anyone can give me the specs for what the amp(audyssey) sets the crossover at. i don't see these specs on the xtz website and i wondering how low this center goes down to once it's been "worn in".
 

hoppaz

Well-known Member
Ikea Lac shelf or similar just above TV with a small hole drilled in for speaker cable is a great cheap way of placing the centre up higher and freeing some space in the rack.

That would be a good idea but my projector screens drops down on the back wall just above the tv so any shelf would be in it's way.
 

hoppaz

Well-known Member
hello...i'm thinking about upgrading my center speaker and i'm thinking about the xtz 89. i'm curious if anyone can give me the specs for what the amp(audyssey) sets the crossover at. i don't see these specs on the xtz website and i wondering how low this center goes down to once it's been "worn in".

This depends I let my sub handle the bass so I set all my speakers to 80hz even thought they are full range (well the floorstanders are) after Audyssey has done it's bit.

The centre is very good and has ports on the back which can be bunged to increase of decrease the bass response. How it sounds will depend on your room but I do know they do a 3 week trial period so if it wasn't any good you could always send it back if it was no good.
 

hoppaz

Well-known Member
Well having ran these speakers for a fair few hundred hours now I can confirm they are excellent once run-in

The sound stage is very open with just the right mix of a silky treble, punchy mid-range and tight bottom end.

I am currently running them off a fatman itube for music duties using my iphone and music is very impressive. For the money they are terrific value.

My only gripe is that the polystyrene packaging could be changed for something better to avoid any dinks happening in transit.
 

ealaniz

Standard Member
so if you have this in memory of the original measurements can you tell me what the audyssey set the center crossover at? i continue to ask because i'm wondering if these 2 centers would make a decent pair of hifi speakers?(they are really not so expensive!)

also can you verify the size of the woofers on the center? the website says they are 6.5'' but other sites have quoted them as being 5 1/4''?

and another point on the audyssey, i'm not sure if you read this but i on batpig(denon/audyssey) site i read that it's not a good practice to change the crossovers once audyssey has done the measurements.

anyway, it's good to see your happy with these. they seem like a really excellent value and i'm very interested in this brand. for now i'm happy with my denon's(because they are small and unobtrusive) but i'm feeling maybe i can upgrade the center, even thought i'm a bit horrified about putting about putting big speakers in the living room.

however there is always the hifi area and i have more room to play around with bookshelves or dual woofer speakers there.
 

hoppaz

Well-known Member
so if you have this in memory of the original measurements can you tell me what the audyssey set the center crossover at? i continue to ask because i'm wondering if these 2 centers would make a decent pair of hifi speakers?(they are really not so expensive!)

also can you verify the size of the woofers on the center? the website says they are 6.5'' but other sites have quoted them as being 5 1/4''?

and another point on the audyssey, i'm not sure if you read this but i on batpig(denon/audyssey) site i read that it's not a good practice to change the crossovers once audyssey has done the measurements.

anyway, it's good to see your happy with these. they seem like a really excellent value and i'm very interested in this brand. for now i'm happy with my denon's(because they are small and unobtrusive) but i'm feeling maybe i can upgrade the center, even thought i'm a bit horrified about putting about putting big speakers in the living room.

however there is always the hifi area and i have more room to play around with bookshelves or dual woofer speakers there.

The cone area is approx 5 1/4 inch but the speakers themselves has a flat lip about an inch thick which is where the speaker is screwed into the box. This maybe why there are two stated dimensions

As for Audyssey it set all my front speakers to full range with the M&K's rears at 70hz.

As for the crossover settings I was under the impression you shouldn't mess with the distance / level settings. All the crossover does is tell the amp where to send the sound too. If you have a good sub like I do which is controlled by an anti-mode then this is where I would be best sending my bass too. The speakers handle all the rest which they are better at doing.

Also thinking about it asking your amp to produce sound pressure at full range frequencies is asking it to do more work so it is therefore more likely to run out of steam or distort which isn't a good thing.
 

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