XTZ 99.36: A Review: UK First!

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
Hello Russell,
How would you rate the 99.36 as compared to your GB1`s, this is of interest to me because the GB1i is on my list for the next upgrade.

Regards.........Alan
I don't know if it would be fair to base a judgement of the GB1i on those of the GB1, because they are significantly different in a lot of ways - the GB1i has a significantly upgraded drivers and crossover which should create significant advances in treble/mid quality.

That said, these modifications would have to, because the 99.36 is a long way ahead of the original GB1 in terms of midband transparency and treble refinement. It's also worth noting that I also suspect the 99.36 would still hold the advantages in dynamics and bass extension, because that's a simple result of larger cone area and being a much bigger speaker.

As to which would suit you better would largely come down to the size (or bass friendliness) of your room. Transmission line or not, the PMC simply can't offer the weight and extension of the XTZ to fill a large room, although in a smaller room that could be an advantage.

There is of course the significant price differential to consider too.

Russell
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
Hey Russ.will, congratz and good luck on the upcoming Russ.will Junior :)

I think most people will agree here that your reviews tend to be spot on and these XTZ speakers are fairly new on the UK market, so everyone wants to hear a fairly trusted member of the forums opinion on them.

I will hopefully have my 99.25's at the end of this week and will be able to put up a first impressions here early next week. I am lucky in a way, I work from home, so I can listen to a lot of music while working :thumbsup:

I still would like to hear your views on the speakers, but I really want to read your review of the DSP sub. Can't wait for that!!
:eek: I will not be beaten - Oh no!:D

To be fair, I would give them a stern running in before commenting. They settle down a lot over the first week and that was with running them 4-5hours a night for films, music and general TV viewing (I don't have a TV, just the projector and AV system).

Russell
 

norliss

Well-known Member
I know this has been mentioned, but I'd be interested to hear how these would compare to their main competitors ie similarly priced speakers such as the MA RS6, B&W684, the various Quad, KEF etc...
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
I'll stick my neck out. They compare very favourably. They're more akin to the next range up in most cases which is a dangerously sweeping statement and more than a little bit affected by what you're driving them with.

Russell
 
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dean999

Active Member
hi russ,

loved the super review.
any chance that you may know if the same ribbon tweeter that is used in the 99.36 is also used in the 99.38?
has anybody considered the 99.38?

thanks
dean
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
I believe it to be the same treble unit.

The 99.38s were added to the XTZ lineup after I received the 99.36s, so they've only been about three to four weeks. Given the serious bass end of the 99.36s, I'd imagine the even larger volume of the .38s, coupled with a 10" bass driver would require a rather large room to let them breath, to put it mildly.

Russell
 

Bossk128

Well-known Member
Hi Russ.Will, a question regarding the need for these speakers to be driven well.

I've just bought an Arcam AVR350 as an upgrade, which replaced a Denon 2105 running with Rotel power amps. To my ears this is a definite upgrade with my current speakers. However, the amp seriously outclasses my speakers now!

I know you don't have an AVR350, but do you guesstimate that I should keep a hold of the stereo power amps in case the AVR350 doesn't have the grunt to power the XTZs (2 x 99.36 and a centre, 99.25?)

Oh, and should say great review, thanks.
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
Hi Russ.Will, a question regarding the need for these speakers to be driven well.

I've just bought an Arcam AVR350 as an upgrade, which replaced a Denon 2105 running with Rotel power amps. To my ears this is a definite upgrade with my current speakers. However, the amp seriously outclasses my speakers now!

I know you don't have an AVR350, but do you guesstimate that I should keep a hold of the stereo power amps in case the AVR350 doesn't have the grunt to power the XTZs (2 x 99.36 and a centre, 99.25?)

Oh, and should say great review, thanks.

I would definately hold onto the stereo power amp until you have tested the speakers, just in case, or consider Bi-amping them.

I may be hooking up the 99.36s to my Onkyo in a day or two so will give you my impressions if it helps.

Adam
 
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Bossk128

Well-known Member
I would definately hold onto the stereo power amp until you have tested the speakers, just in case, or consider Bi-amping them.

Adam

Thanks Angeleyes. I currently use 4 channels from the AVR350 to biamp my front speakers, but I don't think this has as much as an effect as having a seperate power amp with it's own power supply, so I'll have to see. Thanks for the advice.
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
Thanks Angeleyes. I currently use 4 channels from the AVR350 to biamp my front speakers, but I don't think this has as much as an effect as having a seperate power amp with it's own power supply, so I'll have to see. Thanks for the advice.

Agreed :)

Adam
 

SBanga

Well-known Member
I would definately hold onto the stereo power amp until you have tested the speakers, just in case, or consider Bi-amping them.

I may be hooking up the 99.36s to my Onkyo in a day or two so will give you my impressions if it helps.

Adam

That would be a great indicator for me too. Cheers :thumbsup:
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
Thanks Angeleyes. I currently use 4 channels from the AVR350 to biamp my front speakers, but I don't think this has as much as an effect as having a seperate power amp with it's own power supply, so I'll have to see. Thanks for the advice.
What is the Rotel?

Russell
 

Bossk128

Well-known Member
What is the Rotel?

Russell

I've got an RB-850 and an RB-870, one of which suffered some Ebay damage. I really need to fix it before it goes into the cupboard! I won't be able to afford speakers until next year TBH.
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
Okay, they're only a nominal 50w/channel if I recall correctly - not big enough for what I had in mind.

The AVR350 should drive them and in receiver terms is far closer to a quality match than almost anything else near the price. The only thing I would worry about is it getting a tight enough grip of the bass, but if anything can, an Arcam can.

What I had hoped was that the Rotel would be one of their suitably meaty 100w+ types, which could then be plugged into the receiver's front channel pre-amp outputs and just use it to bi-amp the bass only drivers of the XTZs.

It was just a thought.

Russell
 

Bossk128

Well-known Member
Yep, one is 50 the other 60. If they were the same I could try them bridged for the woofers, but hey, I kind of wanted an Arcam power amp anyway. Thanks for the advise, I'll keep it in mind when I'm speaker hunting. :D
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
Don't get me wrong, try the Arcam first. I was basing my opinions on the way my 5 channel Rotel, which has shown a number of receivers the quality door, was nothing like as capable as my stereo power-amp.

It's quite possible the Arcam will do nicely and as you would have a sub doing the power hungry bass duties, its less of a possible issue anyway.

Russell
 

cribeiro

Well-known Member
Okay, they're only a nominal 50w/channel if I recall correctly - not big enough for what I had in mind.
[...]
What I had hoped was that the Rotel would be one of their suitably meaty 100w+ types, which could then be plugged into the receiver's front channel pre-amp outputs and just use it to bi-amp the bass only drivers of the XTZs.
Hello Russell,

pardon my ignorance but... If you use a 50w/channel amp instead of a 100w/channel amp, wouldn't you just reduce your headroom by 3dB? That is, I could listen to the music with the same sound quality but just 3dB lower, provided all other qualities are the same... :confused:

This somehow contradicts my experience, since the Rotel I have now really has more control of the speakers (like tighter bass) than my previous Azur and there is exactly a factor 2 in their power specs... I would just like tto understand the theory behind...:suicide:
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Hello Russell,

pardon my ignorance but... If you use a 50w/channel amp instead of a 100w/channel amp, wouldn't you just reduce your headroom by 3dB? That is, I could listen to the music with the same sound quality but just 3dB lower, provided all other qualities are the same... :confused:

This somehow contradicts my experience, since the Rotel I have now really has more control of the speakers (like tighter bass) than my previous Azur and there is exactly a factor 2 in their power specs... I would just like tto understand the theory behind...:suicide:

I'm poking my nose in a bit, as Russ will probably reply for himself :rolleyes:
but it's not quite that simple, IMO. This is why amps vary even if they are rated at the same power. Take capacitors for example, better ones will give the power out for longer and recharge quicker, even though you're only talking milliseconds, which is demonstrated by your own example. Same old case of you get what you pay for mostly :)
 

cribeiro

Well-known Member
I'm poking my nose in a bit, as Russ will probably reply for himself :rolleyes:
but it's not quite that simple, IMO. This is why amps vary even if they are rated at the same power. Take capacitors for example, better ones will give the power out for longer and recharge quicker, even though you're only talking milliseconds, which is demonstrated by your own example. Same old case of you get what you pay for mostly :)
:hiya:

That's why I said "provided all other qualities are the same..." ;)

And going by "you get what you pay for", the Rotel costs only a bit more "per channel" as compared to the Azur... Although the Azur is an integrated, so it may not a fair comparison in the end... But generally speaking, this means that, for the same money, a 50W amp should sound better than a 100w amp, only not as loud, right? ;)
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
:hiya:

That's why I said "provided all other qualities are the same..." ;)

And going by "you get what you pay for", the Rotel costs only a bit more "per channel" as compared to the Azur... Although the Azur is an integrated, so it may not a fair comparison in the end... But generally speaking, this means that, for the same money, a 50W amp should sound better than a 100w amp, only not as loud, right? ;)

Well not really, because as an amp get closer to it's limit, so distortion increases. A 100W amp running at 50% has to be giving less distortion, even if it's cheaper.
But there's a contradiction there, isn't there?

I wish I'd kept my nose out now :rotfl:
 

cribeiro

Well-known Member
Well not really, because as an amp get closer to it's limit, so distortion increases. A 100W amp running at 50% has to be giving less distortion, even if it's cheaper.
But there's a contradiction there, isn't there?

I wish I'd kept my nose out now :rotfl:
:D And that is why I said "3dB lower". 3dB is a factor 2 in power ;)
Only those who sniff out can find what they are looking for :smashin: I did exactly the same with my post above :rolleyes:
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
I haven't made what I was thinking very clear have I?

I was thinking that assuming the Arcam's power-amps and the Rotel are gain matched, then the Rotel, whether it's lower or higher quality, could be driven by the AVR350's preamp outputs thus allowing a full 7 channels and bi-amping or 5 channel bi-amping by the amp, plus using a Rotel to tri-amp the bass only driver of the 99.36s.

As the bass driver operates at a considerably lower tune than the top mid-bass driver, I was assuming that it would be the more power hungry of the drivers, thus I couldn't see much point in only supplying it 50w when the other drivers would be getting 100w+ each from the Arcam.

On reflection, the Rotel could be used to power the tweeters alone leaving the Arcam to deal with the heavier requirements of the bass driver, but I was also assuming that the Arcam's amps would be better quality and you always want the best quality amps, regardless of power, attached to the tweeter and/or mid driver.

There was a lot of assumptions in there and it ignores any number of other factors like amplifier output impedances affecting damping factors, current supply abilities to deal with low impedances, etc, etc.

My personal experience was that a 100w Rotel had provided noticably superior quality at all volumes than a 100w receiver, although that it in turn is found wanting by a stand alone stereo poweramp in both quality and quantity, inspite of all being rated as similar power on paper.

Next time, I'll think quietly!:D

Russell
 

Bossk128

Well-known Member
No, I did get what you were on about Russ. It's one of the things I had considered, but not really anything I can ask feedback for. Tonally, the Rotel amps will be slightly different so the tweeters and woofers may have different sonic signatures. The only way I can test this is to give it a try! It's great that there are so many options with power amps, biamping, bridging as monos, biamping in combo with the Arcam.... It's just a shame that I rarely get the time anymore that I'd need to sit down and try out every combo.

I'm guessing that the least disruptive way to do what I'm thinking is to use the AVR350s preout and biamp the front speakers only with the 50W 850 on the tweeters and the 60w 870 on the woofers. In this scenario I'd have to hope the centre wouldn't sound too different on pans, and that the lower rated amps would have more real life grunt than the on-paper superior Arcams.

The joy of AV, testing it all and picking what, as an individual, you like best!

Anyway, seriously OT, sorry all and thanks for the advice again.
 
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cribeiro

Well-known Member
I haven't made what I was thinking very clear have I?
Oh, you did..., I just like to ask academical questions :D
Now, "academically", isn't right what I wrote above? :suicide:
Next time, I'll think quietly!:D
You know you just can't :D

Apart from this, I just envy Bossk for all the open choices he has.

BTW, now that we have a bigger flat, I am thinking about a second system in the bedroom... :suicide: Thanks for all this input!
 

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