XTZ 99.25: A Review. UK First MkII.

Dazzor

Well-known Member
A while back Angel Eyes mentioned to me in a thread I started(When looking for a pair of fronts) that if I liked electronic music maybe I should try XTZ's.

All I can say is thank you kind Sir!:smashin:

Just been blasting Younger Brother and the 99.25's are quite frankly bloody amazing IMHO:thumbsup:
 

rdevarajan

Active Member
Hmm the sky tv channel problem I am getting in both speakers. But I am not bale to reproduce the other distortion issue again. Will try it again.
 

hearingdouble

Active Member
Actually, I'm a bit of a fan of decoupling and rather more of a disbeliever in spikes.

I have tried spikes and even china cones with various speakers in the past but blu tac on stands always gave the best sonic results for me.
Agreed; As a way of coupling a speaker to a stand in order to 'sink' the cabinets energy into the mass of the stand, I can think of no better way.:)

Now I'm confused! To couple or decouple...?
 

Member 281695

Active Member
There is no easy answer to this, anyone have their own ideas. For what it´s worth, our intention using the rubber feet is to isolate vibrations from reaching the stands(preferrably sand filled). This way, the connection with rubber feet and sandfilled stands actually form a kind of mechanical lowpass filter where the rubber corresponds to a inductance, and the sandfilled stand corresponds to a capacitance. Using regular spikes would equal omitting the inductance, resulting in less slope of the mechanical filter.

:)
 

Stuart

Distinguished Member
These are definitely on my short list for my next upgrade.
So far I've upgraded my AV amp and my sub (see sig) and next is my front 3 speakers, possibly followed by the rears later in the year.

I have a few questions:

1. I'm a little confused by the ranges and wondered what the difference is between the 99.25 & 99.26.

2. I presume I don't need a shielded centre with my set-up.

3. What would be the best of these to go for considering I may later wall -mount and in the interim they will be on a stand and withing a couple of inches of the back wall?

4. Any recommended stands for these?

5. My room is concrete construction and this comment from the AVF review concerns me a bit: "Doesn't flatter bright/harsh electronics or rooms" Should it worry me?
 

Member 281695

Active Member
I would like to straighten things out for you:

1. The 99.25/26 (piano finish) is the same speaker except cabinet shape. The walnut/matt black and white versions are available as 99.26 only with an elliptic cabinet.

2. If you don´t have a CRT screen you will not need a shielded center.

3. Stand speakers might offer better options for later as you are thinking of wall mounting. Besides, if combined with a subwoofer you get all the possibilities to adjust for the room. Concrete rooms are tricky sometimes, but the higher frequencies are almost always possible to "treat" with enough carpets, curtains and similar. This also helps with reverberation and ringing. Lower frequensies can be harder to treat for, but these are easier to calculate ahead given the room dimensions. If you are unlucky, the room presents large modes/nodes that affect bass response, but let´s not hope this is the case. The only really cost effective solution is DSP. Re-building the room is much more expensive of course.

Hopes this helps!

Rgs Rikard
 
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Ronan1

Active Member
A quick question for Russ. Does the gloss finish on the XTC's reflect the image from your projector. My current speakers are a dark brown colour and reflection is practically non existent. I love the piano finish but am a little worried about this one issue. Will be ordering soon. Thanks in advance, Ronan
 

Member 96948

Distinguished Member
It does reflect, but I must confess I don't find it particularly distracting. I have the tweeters at ear level so you can't see the top of the speaker and all three face my listening position, so you can't really see the sides. The only reflection is a very thin band on the top curved edge and that's not very bright.

Actually, I've just tried standing up and wandering around to see at what angles the reflections in top and sides can be seen and they can't. Well, they can, but as the screen is above the speakers, you have to be seated (or standing) at least as high above the speakers as the screen. If the screen is in between the speakers, toe them in until you can't see the side facing the screen.

So, for me it's a non issue, but AngelEyes who had them immediately either side of and below a plasma, went for the wood finish instead. I suppose a mirror blu-tacked to the side of you existing speakers will give an idea of what troubles you may or may not get, but bear in mind the XTZs are a black mirror which is a lot duller.

Or buy the matt black ones.:)

Russell
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
After a recent visit to Mr Williams I can only reiterate how lovely the Gloss black look and sound :)

AV Junkie

With regards to a concrete room I suppose mine is fairly similar, as I have concrete floors and thick brick walls on all sides. The floors are carpeted and I did use acoustic underlay (thinking ahead for once!).

I don't have any real issues with the speakers (subwoofer is a different matter of course ;)) but do have plenty of soft furnishings etc.

The XTZs do have some advantages however over most other speakers being that you have a lot of adjustments which should help tone down a 'bright' room for instance.

So the short answer is 'no is shouldn't worry you', certainly no more than any other speaker anyway :)

Adam
 

Stuart

Distinguished Member
Looking at the pdf for the 99.26, it says that it's best to place it at least 30cm away from the wall. I would placing it at 5cm maximum initially with them sat on my AV cabinet, and later possibly wall mounting them. Is this likely to be a problem for me?
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
Looking at the pdf for the 99.26, it says that it's best to place it at least 30cm away from the wall. I would placing it at 5cm maximum initially with them sat on my AV cabinet, and later possibly wall mounting them. Is this likely to be a problem for me?

I wouldn't expect it to be a 'problem', it will depend on the size of your room somewhat but assuming you are using Audyssey it should tame any excessive bass output you can't improve with setup/positioning alone.

Adam
 

Member 281695

Active Member
I agree, positioning them at 30 cm is just meant as a rule of thumb, and moving them closer to the wall isn´t necessarily going to be a worse choice. In most cases you can compensate this by plugging the ports to reduce the bass output.

:)
 

Stuart

Distinguished Member
Is there any performance or features differences between any of the 99.25 or 99.26 variants or is it purely shape (and finish options)?
 

Member 96948

Distinguished Member
The non-rectangular variants should theoretically sound better as their shapes prevent the build up of standing waves within the cabinet.

Russell
 
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Ronan1

Active Member
Russ,

Thanks for the info regarding the reflection. Are you using XTC stands for the speakers? Could you give me the height of the top of the speaker so I can see if its going to be at ear level for me and indeed lower than the bottom of my screen Many thanks, Ronan
 

Stuart

Distinguished Member
Just to clarify, the 99.25 is the square one and 99.26 the elliptical. Is that correct?
 

McCraque

Active Member
that's correct! - although I think that the piano black 99.26 is triangular shaped. The rest eliptical.

And I just had a spanking set of square 99.25's in Piano black delivered. They're still settling down, but am already loving them :thumbsup:
 

Andyc247

Active Member
Please bear with me. I recently listened to MA RS1s on two occasions, the last time comparing with B&W 685s. I found the RS1s very detailed but a little harsh for my taste on high note peaks, on some tracks I listened too I found myself wincing. The 685s were a lot warmer with noticeably better bass (perhaps because the speaker is bigger) but perhaps not as detailed.

So my question to those who know these speakers and have also listened to 99.25s is: bearing the above in mind, do you think I would also find the 99.25s too bright and if so would the -4dB option be sufficient to correct this ? How would the bass sound compared to the 685. The bass is not too much of a concern as I intend to have a 2.1 arrangement with probably a BK XLS300 or maybe the new XXLS400 (the Monolith is just toooo big !).

The 99.25 costs a fair bit more than the RS1/685 so I presume is in a different league. Where do you think I would most notice the improvement? Just trying to decide if I should spend the extra, which is difficult when you cant audtion them. £70 or so is quite a bit to send them back if I dont like them.

Thanks,
Andrew
 

McCraque

Active Member
The B&Ws are less detailed but give a warmer sound. Bass wise there is not a lot in it. And I sometimes go stereo direct and sometimes 2.1, depending on the CD.

It's a tough one....I've mentioned in a few threads that the XTZ's don't flatter poor or harsh recordings. They're not as shrill (in my opinion) as the RS1s but they're a lot brighter than the Bowers. I had the additional problem in my room of the reflective surfaces (glass/wood), so have tinkered the room tuning downward as you suggest. It helped a lot. I partner with moderately warm kit too (Arcam AVR250)

Depends on your listening tastes really.

For me -
Acoustic stuff - XTZ's are bright, detailed, open....they're great with voices and I really enjoy the listen. MTV Unplugged CD, Saturday Sessions CD used here.

Rock - varied. Some CD's - my chillipeppers album for one actually had me crawling around the lounge listening for a "rattle"in the speaker. I had them off the stands and did all manner of tests trying to isolate the rattle. It's distortion on the CD, it turns out. I just never noticed it before on my B&W's. but it was there, it was annoying.

As a rule, I have found that when the recording is good, the XTZs sound equally good. But...they do highlight any shortcomings.

for movies....XTZ all the way. The difference is night and day. The best way I can describe it is that the bowers have a piece of cardboard between you and the speaker...and someone removes it for the XTZ. Far less "muffled" for want of a better word.
 

Andyc247

Active Member
Thanks, that was very informative and exactly what I was hoping to hear :thumbsup:. I am starting out 2.1 but will soon upgrade to 5.1. I think my listening will be around 60% music / 40% cinema so I want to get the music side of things right first. I have a pretty wide musical taste, which includes classical and prog rock music.

It is sounding positive for the 99.25s - I get great detail, the bass is on par with the 685s but I can turn down the tweater with the room control if I find it too bright. A big plus on the cinema side is that I can have another 99.25 as the centre speaker. Why dont other manufacturers sell their speakers in singles ? The centre speaker in most cinema packages I have looked at just dont look right.

Any other opinions please ?
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Hi Andy, I think you are doing the right thing here by concentrating on two channel first, might be a slow process getting to 5.1 but it'll be rewarding for you at the end. The ability to play around with the tweeter is a great bonus. XTZ certainly like to do things differently and I must admit I like their way of thinking. Now if only my speakers would get delivered, seems to be taking an awful lot of time.
 

Andyc247

Active Member
Hi Mission, Thanks for that. So from the little I have said do you think I am better off going for the 99.25s over say the 685s I have been thinking about ?
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
I can not comment with much authority as I don't have the 99.25s to hand, the parcel is at a depot right now near where I live because apparently I wasn't home to receive delivery, so close yet so far. :rolleyes: Anyway, once they arrive and I have an opportunity to play, I will definatley provide some feedback for you. In the meantime I take it that you have read the reviews by our forum gurus russ will and angeleyes.

Selecting speakers is a very personal thing as you are no doubt aware, some like it warm, some like it lean whilst others like it hard and all sorts. I personaly like them to be transparent as possible ie characterless if there is such a thing. If you decide to go for the XTZs or any of the other speakers you mention few things that you will need to consider is the room acoustics and partnering equipment. Will your amplifier do the XTZs justice as they are reportedly power hungry? If not have you thought about seperate power amps to drive them. If you want to do it properly you gotta be prepared to go the whole way you see. Otherwise one may indeed be better off with speakers that cost less to bring out their potential. As they say it's about system synergy. Having said that, compared to other components, speakers tend to last many system upgrades so it may be worthwhile getting the best you can afford right now with a view to upgrading other components in the long run.

Not much there to help you I know but like I said, if you could wait a bit longer, I'm sure you will be hearing more about these speakers from me and others in due course.
 

Andyc247

Active Member
OK about the amplifier issues. I have a Denon 2309 AV amp, hopefully that would be at least adequate to drive the speakers.

I look forward to your review of the 99.25s when you finally get them ! :)
 

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