XTZ Cinema Series speaker system - impressions by a Ken Kreisel Quattro owner

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
The following are personal, subjective views and impressions. Being a Ken Kreisel Quattro owner I also decided (against all odds) to make a few comparisons here and there as these two systems naturally have a few things in common. However, this is NOT intended as any kind of “review” or a fair A/B comparison because I was unable to do that. I’m writing this purely out of interest of sharing, not to start a hefty debate. Any comments or questions are welcome, of course!

A colleague of mine from work have been talking for years about throwing out his old Canton floorstanders in favour of a high performance sub/sat system. Primarily for better movie sound. He was interested in the KK Quattro speakers initially but went another route, and so he installed a full XTZ Cinema Series system the other week. As an owner of the Quattro system I was interested in seeing these speakers up-close and to hear them play. I spent most of last weekend exercising an interesting demo at his house. My colleague have spent numerous movie nights with the Quattro's at my place so I thought it only fair lol.

Even though we don't have identical listening rooms (his is slightly larger with more solid walls than mine) our furnishings and placements of individual speakers are similar. We also have different electronics. Apart from these obvious differences (should be taken into consideration) it was fascinating nonetheless. His system is a traditional 5.1 set-up of the Cinema Series using a pair of SUB 1X12 subwoofers. Electronics included Yamaha CX-A5000 with MX-A5000 and an Oppo BDP-103. Blu-ray titles included the following:

Oblivion
Edge Of Tomorrow
Godzilla
Pacific Rim
Day After Tomorrow
Finding Nemo
How To Train Your Dragon
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds at Radio City Music Hall
Madonna Sticky & Sweet
Roy Orbinson Black & White Night


He assured me that no automatic calibration or EQ had been performed yet and we simply ran everything ‘direct’ through the electronics without excessive DSP or other distractions (the same way I do with my Primare electronics at home). Just a pure, unadulterated signal. Levels had been set with an SPL meter. The speakers had been running for about 100 hours or so before I showed up. I’m not certain they were completely broken in but perhaps not far behind.

Aesthetical and practical impressions first. The cabinets of the Cinema Series are attractive though somewhat larger and bulkier than the Quattro's. Not by much but enough for me to know I would have had trouble housing them at my place, at least in terms of the M6 center. One good aspect about the center was that it's not “limited” by a table base attachment with screw holes (one of the gripes I originally had with the dedicated Quattro center). Build quality was excellent and the cabinets appeared virtually 'dead', just like the Quattro’s. The speakers appear less reflective since the cabinets aren’t all glossy black, only a portion of the front baffle. Even though the designs are similar (which is to say very good and attractive) I personally think the Quattro system on the whole looks somewhat nicer and more luxurious, but at the cost of more reflectiveness. The floor stands for the Cinema Series I didn't find as handsome or flush as the equivalent stands for the Quattro Q125’s, but in turn they offer more flexibility. They can be used with all the speaker models, even the S5 surrounds, which is not really possible with the Quattro stand. The subwoofers looked a bit clunky for my personal taste, compared to the “slimmer” design of the DXD-12012, but build quality was good.

As I began to listen the front of the soundstage was excellent - very much on par with what I experience from the Quattro Q125’s at home. Dynamic with powerful transients, though still smooth and pleasing to the ears. There was a myriad of details and great imaging. These speakers love loud volumes and they keep composure without strain or distortion. Low volumes seemed to work too, without losing too much detail. You sacrifice impact of course but that is to be expected. Dialogue was realistic and a joy to listen to and the entire front soundstage easily drew you in. Nothing was distracting. Soundtrack scores also sounded sublime and it was easy to pick out every note. These appear to be rather musical satellite speakers. Basically the benefits I’ve written about elsewhere on the Quattro’s seemed present. I can’t say if the D'Appolito arrangement of the drivers on the M6's made any discernable difference to dispersion, at least none that I detected. It was very good, similar to the Q125’s, which is to say sharply focused yet wide and deep. Possibly one positive aspect of having the tweeters in the ‘middle’ could be easier placement at ear height in certain installations.

When it came to the rear soundstage the S5 surround speakers at first seemed a bit of an afterthought. For some reason they didn't have an identical 4 tweeter arrangement like the M6 fronts. Not sure why this is. That said - imaging in terms of effects placement, panning and overall size of the sound field was awesome. On par with what I experience with Quattro’s TriFX surrounds. They blended fairly well with the fronts. But perhaps the ‘lesser’ tweeter arrangement limited the utmost dynamic capabilities compared to the TriFX, and indeed the M6 fronts. With aggressive surround effects at loud volume I didn't experience quite the same level of dynamic response in the surround field. Transients weren’t quite as palpable. Not every movie contain really aggressive surround effects but when they do I believe the difference may be noticeable. That’s not to say the S5's are bad in any way, just a tad limited compared to what an identical 4 tweeter arrangement could have accomplished. Perhaps XTZ cut corners a bit here? This aside, the surrounds are a pleasing experience and complete the system nicely. These are very flexible speakers, which is a great feature for any surround speaker to have. Also, because the cabinets don’t have a downward angle like the TriFX there’s no risk of them tipping over should they be placed on-top speaker stands or other surfaces (good news if you can’t wall-mount).

The subwoofers delivered a steady foundation and brought terrific heft to the experience, especially with LFE-heavy movies like "Godzilla" and "Day After Tomorrow". The woofers easily took command of the room and didn’t hold back for a second. A similar sensation of pressure I often experience at home with just the one DXD-12012 was evident here as well. Low-level detail was great, if not always exemplary. For example; during “Pacific Rim” there were a couple instances during indoor sequences at the Jaeger hangars where subtle low-level cues seemed a tad subdued through the XTZ subwoofers. When listening to extremely bass-heavy live concert material, “Madonna Sticky & Sweet” in particular, the subwoofers occasionally exhibited a tad ‘overhang’ during the most challenging tracks. Bass didn’t start and stop quite as fast during the same passages as it does with this concert through my DXD-12012 at home. This wasn’t audible during low or moderate volume levels but when we really cranked it I noticed it. It wasn’t too distracting and nothing I noticed during movies, but enough for me to take note. My friend noticed it too. Maybe the DXD-12012 with its special configuration offer more iron-fist control and higher sensitivity to low-level detail, things I’ve become very accustomed to. Or perhaps it could be a matter of positioning or tweaking in this case, not entirely sure. Maybe more loosening up was needed too. Make no mistake though – these subwoofers are capable of moving air and for the money it's extraordinary. Immense power and presence!

Didn’t get around listening to plain 2-channel music this time I’m afraid, only multichannel Blu-rays.

Ken Kreisel set the bar high with the Quattro system. Perhaps it’s no wonder others wanted to 'follow'. The surrounding circumstances to how this speaker system came about is a burning topic and not without (understandable) controversy. To me personally it’s not a big deal – I’ve kept a cool head about it. I’m no die hard fan and believe I can keep things in perspective. That said - the Cinema Series, based on the many qualities of the Quattro system, is a great set of speakers. No doubt about it. I’m certain they’ll find a large group of fans, especially considering the affordable prices. You get a lot of speaker for your money and in turn you are rewarded with an engrossing listening experience. There are limits to this system, just as there are with the Quattros and most other speakers, but the joy of watching a film would be hard to fault! I don’t regret my purchase of the Quattro system because it suits me well and offer the performance/aesthetic value I wanted. If I could have tried the Cinema Series in my own room with my electronics this demo would have been fair in terms of the comparison aspect, but I wasn’t inclined to go through the hassle.

To conclude all I can say is; CONGRATULATIONS! Especially if Ken Kreisel’s Quattro system is out of reach perhaps more folks can afford a similarly performing speaker system at a sensible price. Great home theater sound to more people! Not a bad thing if you ask me! Needless to say my colleague is very pleased.

:thumbsup:

PS! FYI: I've made correction edits to my original post; two typos and one rephrased sentence.
 
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kbfern

Distinguished Member
Thank you Ricky for your well balanced, interesting and thoughtful impression of the 2 ranges.:thumbsup:
 

indus

Distinguished Member
Thanks Ricky.

When I auditioned the XTZ I bought them on the spot and didn't bother to audition the KKs. Why? Because deep down I just knew that at most the KKs MIGHT be just a smidgeon better, but just a smidgeon. Given the large price differential the XTZs were a no brainer.

Your evaluation seems to be in keeping with this ie the KKs might just edge it on the surrounds.

As for the sub advantage, as you say it could have been positioning etc but also don't forget that a pair of the 1x12s still costs about half what your single KK sub costs.

Thanks again for such useful and balanced feedback.
 

bigbucks

Well-known Member
I for one appreciated your honesty and unbiased opinion, thanks :)
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
Thank you Ricky for your well balanced, interesting and thoughtful impression of the 2 ranges.:thumbsup:

Thank you for appreciating it, Keith! :)
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
Thanks Ricky.

When I auditioned the XTZ I bought them on the spot and didn't bother to audition the KKs. Why? Because deep down I just knew that at most the KKs MIGHT be just a smidgeon better, but just a smidgeon. Given the large price differential the XTZs were a no brainer.

Your evaluation seems to be in keeping with this ie the KKs might just edge it on the surrounds.

As for the sub advantage, as you say it could have been positioning etc but also don't forget that a pair of the 1x12s still costs about half what your single KK sub costs.

Thanks again for such useful and balanced feedback.

Thank YOU for taking the time to read and leave your thoughts! :) Very glad you found it useful and balanced. That's always been my aim when writing something like this.

I'm not surprised you bought the Cinema Series on the spot! Good choice! That the KK Quattro system was a "smidgeon" better was my own thought as well. As you could read above I realised there were certain aesthetical and practical things that differentiated the system and a couple of performance differences during the demo, but I wouldn't consider either of them major. So, yes, I did feel the KK's had the slight edge in terms of the surrounds and in some aspects the low frequency reproduction. But it's all relative. And you are of course correct; the DXD-12012 is a complicated design and costs more than a pair of SUB 1X12. Then again, the whole Cinema Series have a lower price.

Enjoy your system! What electronics do you use with them if I may ask? Couldn't make that out from your signature on here.
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
It's refreshing to read a post like yours.
A jolly good read. Thanks for sharing your views.
As Indus states, the room plays a big part too. Nevertheless, the impressions are presented very well.
:smashin:

YAY! Very glad to hear that! :) Thank you for your feedback! Non-biased posts are what I appreciate reading myself so it's important to remember to stay true to that. Anything else would be useless.

Yes, without any doubt whatsoever; the room and everything combined with the room that we listen to ANY speaker in plays a big part. I've learned that over the years for sure. Also positionting, electronics and so forth, but the room is number one. If one aims to make a truly fair A/B comparison you can only really do so if under the same surrounding circumstances. I hope I'll get that chance some other time in the future.
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member

RickyDeg

Well-known Member

Nick1881

Well-known Member
Nice write up, thanks for taking the time. It's great to read an experience where someone compared 2 products, should help a few new buyers out. Thanks
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
Nice write up, thanks for taking the time. It's great to read an experience where someone compared 2 products, should help a few new buyers out. Thanks

Thank you Nick! Much appreciated! :) I enjoy reading those kinds of posts too as a potential buyer. This was originally intended to be more of a light impression write-up, but I did eventually decide to add a few comparison views as well. I only wish I could have excecuted a truly fair A/B comparison under the right circumstances. Nevertheless, this was a good and very interesting demo.
 

indus

Distinguished Member
Thank YOU for taking the time to read and leave your thoughts! :) Very glad you found it useful and balanced. That's always been my aim when writing something like this.

I'm not surprised you bought the Cinema Series on the spot! Good choice! That the KK Quattro system was a "smidgeon" better was my own thought as well. As you could read above I realised there were certain aesthetical and practical things that differentiated the system and a couple of performance differences during the demo, but I wouldn't consider either of them major. So, yes, I did feel the KK's had the slight edge in terms of the surrounds and in some aspects the low frequency reproduction. But it's all relative. And you are of course correct; the DXD-12012 is a complicated design and costs more than a pair of SUB 1X12. Then again, the whole Cinema Series have a lower price.

Enjoy your system! What electronics do you use with them if I may ask? Couldn't make that out from your signature on here.






All my kit has been packed away for about a year whilst I've been having some building work done to the house. In the meantime I've been buying some new bits for a new dedicated room. So hopefully very soon it should be like this

CINEMA ROOM

xtz cinema series all the way around. Wiring in place for atmos
Primare 7 channel amp
I've got a pcu13 but am looking to replace with two 1x12 or one 3 x12
A fixed AT screen, yet to be built
Onkyo pr sc 5507, will upgraded at some point
Sony PJ, will be upgraded at some point


LOUNGE

Quad 99 CDP
Modified Technics SL1210
Audio Research LS17 preamp and Whest phono preamp
Lyngdorf RP1 room perfect device
Lyngdorf SDA 2175 amp
Monitor Audio platinum PL300 speakers

phew!
 
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RickyDeg

Well-known Member
^ Sounds good to me! :smashin:

Lucky with a dedicated room! Not as restrictive as a livingroom tends to be, such as in my own case. And may I say - excellent choice on the Primare multichannel amplifier! I assume it is the A30.7? Same model that I've got. Plenty of power on tap with musicality and finesse.

Atmos seems an exciting new format. Will you use the ZTX S5 in the ceiling?

Good luck with all that and the building work! Lots to look forward to!
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
^ Thanks for taking the time to READ it, Herb!
It was a bit long, as usual with me! Oh, and it wasn't a "review" ;) lol
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
Nice write up Ricky, and it is obvious you have done so with no malice either way. Much of what you have said was expected.

I believe the differences you found with the subs, and why you preferred your own subs, is that Ken's subs are always sealed. I've always found ported subs to lack ultimate speed and control, and this can easily be demonstrated with the right movie material. Once you're used to the fine detail and dead stops of a well designed sealed sub, it's pretty hard to go back! I appreciate ported subs can be fun with the "switch your brain off" type movies, but even these types of movies benefit from speed and accuracy.

With regards to the surrounds, I can't say why XTZ went with the dual HF unit, which looks very much like Ken's Duo D500 TRiFX (which was shelved due to sound quality issues).

KEN KREISEL DUO D500TFX TriFX  Surround.JPG

You say your friend's room has more solid walls - are yours partition walls? I know there's a bit of glass in your room, which doesn't help bass impact. If your friend's room is more solid, he would have the upper hand bass-wise, but it seems the DXDs still won out, despite the less than perfect room :)
 

Khans

Active Member
Reading this review and speaking to Jag.(who by the way was excellent and answered all my questions even at 1am he was still patient and made sure that I was sure this is what I wanted. also was going to buy the sub to replace my Svs which he replied not to rush and wait for reviews as the svs is a great sub also.) this review was the decider for me and I am now a owner of the xtz cinema range which will be here tomorrow. Can't wait to set them up.
Thanks for the review.
 
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RickyDeg

Well-known Member
Nice write up Ricky, and it is obvious you have done so with no malice either way. Much of what you have said was expected.

I believe the differences you found with the subs, and why you preferred your own subs, is that Ken's subs are always sealed. I've always found ported subs to lack ultimate speed and control, and this can easily be demonstrated with the right movie material. Once you're used to the fine detail and dead stops of a well designed sealed sub, it's pretty hard to go back! I appreciate ported subs can be fun with the "switch your brain off" type movies, but even these types of movies benefit from speed and accuracy.

With regards to the surrounds, I can't say why XTZ went with the dual HF unit, which looks very much like Ken's Duo D500 TRiFX (which was shelved due to sound quality issues).

View attachment 530205

You say your friend's room has more solid walls - are yours partition walls? I know there's a bit of glass in your room, which doesn't help bass impact. If your friend's room is more solid, he would have the upper hand bass-wise, but it seems the DXDs still won out, despite the less than perfect room :)

Thank you so much, David! Glad you popped in here! :smashin:

I've had similar findings in terms of sealed vs ported subwoofers in the past. I believe these XTZ subwoofers have the option of closing one (or both) slot reflex ports with supplied plugs. Not sure of the outcome as we didn't try that during the demo but we did discuss it. I'll be going back to my friend to listen sometime soon again. It was such a fun demo, though!

In theory my friend should have had the upper hand bass-wise due to his different wall materials. Despite the negative aspects of my own room (glass windows and wooden walls with plaster vs concrete walls at his place) I still came away with the impression that the DXD-12012 delivered a tad better low frequency performance overall. Particularly in terms of speed and accuracy with certain material at higher volumes, but also in terms of subtle low-level detail that seemed a bit more pronouced with the DXD.

As soon as I got home after the demo I checked out the same material I refer to above, to make sure I hadn't imagined it, and sure enough - there was more low end detail present and no 'overhang' with the music concert material. The DXD is much more expensive and a different design than the SUB 1X12, and of course lots of factors are at play. These aspects aside the subwoofers impressed me a great deal.

I can't say either why XTZ went the dual HF route with the S5's surrounds. Maybe they figured it was "good enough". And it certainly came off as a very good surround speaker to me, but an identical arrangement to the M6 fronts would probably have been the more ideal solution? I noticed the difference between these and the TriFX during "Day After Tomorrow" and "Oblivion", which in some scenes contain very aggressive surround information. I repeated a number of sequences and the level of dynamics or impact from the surround field didn't reach quite the same level of transient response. Sure, it was subtle, but enough to take note. Next time I might actually bring my TriFX with me to his place and do a proper A/B comparison with the same material. Just for fun. This was my initial impression however. But not anything major.

Interesting you brought up Ken's Duo D500 TRiFX! I was unaware of that one!
 
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RickyDeg

Well-known Member
Reading this review and speaking to Jag.(who by the way was excellent and answered all my questions even at 1am he was still patient and made sure what I was sure this is what I wanted. also was going to buy the sub to replace my Svs which he replied not to rush and wait for reviews as the svs is a great sub also.) this review was the decider for me and I am now a owner of the xtz cinema range which will be here tomorrow. Can't wait to set them up.
Thanks for the review.

Hello! And thank you for reading! :)

Please note this was not a "review" though! ;) Only repeating that so ppl will understand it was not a proper situation for that, or even a fair A/B comparison. Hence why I mention that in the foreword.

Awesome you have made your choice! Hope the system will live up to your expectations and that you'll have lots of fun with it! YOU will be able to post a proper personal review! I look forward to reading it!
 

Jag of the Bailey

Distinguished Member
With regards to the surrounds, I can't say why XTZ went with the dual HF unit, which looks very much like Ken's Duo D500 TRiFX (which was shelved due to sound quality issues).

With respect, the XTZ S5 dual HF unit's are not alligned in similar fashion to the shelved Duo D500 and for good reason! The XTZ tweeters are aligned off centre. The reasons for the same were explained in the Cinema series thread. I won't go into it here but we discussed this very point on the said thread.
 

Khans

Active Member
Hello! And thank you for reading! :)

Please note this was not a "review" though! ;) Only repeating that so ppl will understand it was not a proper situation for that, or even a fair A/B comparison. Hence why I mention that in the foreword.

Awesome you have made your choice! Hope the system will live up to your expectations and that you'll have lots of fun with it! YOU will be able to post a proper personal review! I look forward to reading it!

I will let you know how i get on with them in a week or so once calibrated properly (may take longer as never used the ARC on anthem before). I totally understand it not being a fair comparison, and if it was the, KK in my opinion would probably have the edge and be that little bit better but £ for £ and more for my needs the XTZ was more suitable.
 
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Jameskatie

Distinguished Member
I'm sure the bass would be better with eq, I've never ever heard good bass without it, it's practically impossible. Also I don't think the dual tweeter surrounds are an afterthought more to do with dispersion characteristics that are intended for the surrounds
 

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