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

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
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.

£ for £ the Cinema System I'd say is incredible value! I walked away from the demo feeling the KK Quattro system to possibly have a slight edge in some areas. Not just the performance aspects I noted but also in terms of certain aesthetic values as well. Then again there were practicalities that were better/smarter with the Cinema System so it's all relative. Overall they're both rewarding systems and I cannot imagine you being disappointed, but let us all know. Have lots of fun and make sure you set up ARC properly. Very exciting!
 

RickyDeg

Well-known 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

It just might be! My friend will doubtlessly run YPAO pretty soon and then I'll pop by for another demo! Low frequencies are tricky. I've heard truly mindblowing non-EQ'd bass once in a very well treated room, from a pair of fairly modest subwoofers, but in some respects I have no doubts that proper EQ could bring improvements. Personally I'm very much impressed with the DXD-12012 as it's given me the most accurate and distortion-free level of bass experience I've had in my home yet. That's not to say it couldn't be improved further with EQ (an Anti-Mode, possibly, since my Primare electronics don't cater for such things).

In terms of the lesser tweeter arragement on the S5's I really didn't notice any "limits" in terms of dispersion characteristics. Like I said in my post; 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. My comment lay elsewhere, even though the difference I noticed was quite subtle. Wouldn't mind a proper A/B comparison with just the surrounds at some point! Would be interesting!
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
...An afterthought on my part though, I wish you were here in the UK, I'd invite your formal impressions on the new XTZ Master M2's. Any interested parties in the UK who wish to partake in a private session, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

If you were referring to me (?) I wish I sometimes were in the UK too! :);):( lol

First off I may have had a chance at one point in time to actually demo the KK Quattro system, which was impossible to do in Sweden since there were/are no representatives. I bought the system blind. Turned out terrifically though, phew! I would love to partake in professional demos of the XTZ system there in the UK! I believe there are some here in Sweden though. The XTZ Master M2 sounds interesting!
 

Lesmor

Distinguished Member
Hi Ricky
Finally found it, and good to see you also got to do the write up.
As you know I am a fan of your posts, I find them honest opinions warts and all, and I knew that even though a KK owner you would tell it as it is.
Your findings are as I expected especially with the surrounds I am also surprised they only use 2 tweeters.
Well done looking forward to your next one.
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
Hi Ricky
Finally found it, and good to see you also got to do the write up.
As you know I am a fan of your posts, I find them honest opinions warts and all, and I knew that even though a KK owner you would tell it as it is.
Your findings are as I expected especially with the surrounds I am also surprised they only use 2 tweeters.
Well done looking forward to your next one.

Truly appreciate this! :) Thank you! Glad you found the thread! haha
Wasn't gonna bother with this site after the... shall we say, "incident" in the other thread. But it's ok.

It's always rewarding to get your feedback, as they are always honest as well!

:clap:
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
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!
A sub, like a speaker, is usually designed to work as a sealed or ported unit. A sealed sub has been designed with one end goal in mind. If a ported sub is designed to work best as a ported sub, bungs will compromise its performance. If it has been designed to do both, it will be compromised whichever way it is used. Also, while EQ can/will improve things, it can't improve a sub's response time or control, which is an inherent characteristic of whichever sub is in question. Ken tends to cover the basics so there's little that EQ can really do to improve upon. I've said many times in other threads, I'm using no room EQ at all, and my system sounds "fab" :)

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.
When I owned Miller & Kreisel and MK Sound systems (S150s by both brands) it always bugged me that the surrounds only used one HF unit - the fronts had three, so why not the surrounds as well?! Sure, the front three speakers produce the majority of what you hear during a film, and the surrounds are mainly ambience, but when the going gets tough, the rear speakers can be doing just as much as the fronts, so in my mind they needed to be just as capable. I'm glad Ken has gone that route and gave his surrounds the same number of HF units, as these handle most of the sound (from 1200Hz up if I recall correctly) - I feel far more relaxed knowing they can handle what I throw at them, and still have more than plenty in reserve. Although, I've always been a fan of using the same speaker at the rear as the front in any non Kreisel designed system - treat every channel the same!

Interesting you brought up Ken's Duo D500 TRiFX! I was unaware of that one!
Most people aren't :)
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
Excellent points, David. And well said.
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
David's wrong about EQ period :)
You're entitled to your opinion. There are individuals on this forum who have heard a system in our far from perfect demo room with and without EQ, who preferred it without. Yes, that was a preference, and no doubt the EQ might've been more accurate, but that doesn't mean it sounds as good to the end user. Studios don't use EQ to make their rooms "better".
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Have to say that I'm coming round to this way of thinking myself, at least regarding EQing the main speakers. I still think I prefer to fine tune the subs using the EQ in my sub amp though as with no EQ there are a couple of big peaks. In fact I think I may have sold my antimode/Arcam AV9 a bit too soon as I hadn't got my subs built by that time and had already replaced them with the '818.

Back on topic; it's good to see that there is a worthwhile good value option to the MK/KK (and others) speakers. I've got a friend who is supposed to be planing a cinema room in his new place, with from assistance from me. The plan is to take him to Epic Home Cinema to show him what he can achieve with his (limited) budget. Initially the plan was mainly for the projector, but at the prices of the XTZ range(s) I think he might end up looking at these too depending on how much his final budget is.

I'm almost reluctant to hear these for myself incase I get buyer's remorse (I own MK MP150/S150T series speakers), but perhaps they will be 'different' rather than 'better', though the price can't be argued with. :) Maybe I'll add an addendum to this thread once I've heard them for myself, if that's OK with the OP?
 

mattkhan

Distinguished Member
You're entitled to your opinion. There are individuals on this forum who have heard a system in our far from perfect demo room with and without EQ, who preferred it without. Yes, that was a preference, and no doubt the EQ might've been more accurate, but that doesn't mean it sounds as good to the end user. Studios don't use EQ to make their rooms "better".
no one can argue with preference, individuals like different things. However you are objectively incorrect; some studios do indeed use DSP, DSP can and does impact "a sub's response time or control", the room does exert a significant influence on what you hear via the room's transfer function.

Ultimately you can't have it both ways, you argue for accuracy (as the mixer intended) on the one hand but accept the room's transfer function & argue in favour of preference on the other. By definition, these are somewhat contradictory goals. It doesn't make either one objectively right or wrong of course, that's just preference again.
 

Lesmor

Distinguished Member
As we are discussing EO further improving the XTZ cinema sound this video is hopefully relevant.
You won't get accuracy from any speaker range (as the mixer intended) because there is no industry standard
Mixes are all over the place.
The LFE channel is being abused and used as extra headroom as mentioned in this video wrt "Noah"


Unfortunately the new "Immersive Sound" formats are even worse, but that's a different subject and video
 
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soupdragon

Distinguished 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.
Great write up!

You should freelance as an av journalist, see if Stuart will sign you up :D
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
no one can argue with preference, individuals like different things. However you are objectively incorrect; some studios do indeed use DSP, DSP can and does impact "a sub's response time or control", the room does exert a significant influence on what you hear via the room's transfer function.
I'm not talking about the perceived difference you can hear when a sub sounds tighter due to EQ, I'm talking about the natural speed and control of the sub in its raw form - ignore the room and it's effects, you're then down to the ultimate capabilities of the sub itself. If a sub can't exert the correct amount of control in the first place, no room treatment or EQ is going to make up for that.
 

Jameskatie

Distinguished Member
I'm not talking about the perceived difference you can hear when a sub sounds tighter due to EQ, I'm talking about the natural speed and control of the sub in its raw form - ignore the room and it's effects, you're then down to the ultimate capabilities of the sub itself. If a sub can't exert the correct amount of control in the first place, no room treatment or EQ is going to make up for that.
The fact is though that unless a sub is an epic fail of a sub you would be hard pushed to tell the difference in the "raw speed" or what ever you like to call it, all this business about over hanging bass boominess blabla is pretty much the room. It doesn't matter how many people you've had in your show room prefer either way because there aren't that many people who have experienced or know what is correct when it comes to it. This is evident to me from the numerous forum days I have visited
 

mattkhan

Distinguished Member
I'm not talking about the perceived difference you can hear when a sub sounds tighter due to EQ, I'm talking about the natural speed and control of the sub in its raw form - ignore the room and it's effects, you're then down to the ultimate capabilities of the sub itself. If a sub can't exert the correct amount of control in the first place, no room treatment or EQ is going to make up for that.
I'm not talking about a perceived difference either, I'm talking about an objectively measurable change in the behaviour of the sub itself. Ultimately, a sub is a mechanical device that responds to the voltage supplied to it, such a response can be influenced by DSP. There is really is no question that this happens so it is false to say DSP (or EQ if you prefer) can't change this.

Can this make a terrible driver great? No.
Can it make a good/great driver better? Well then we get into preference again :)
Can you make it objectively measure better? Yes if you do a good job.
Can you correlate "objectively better" to the preference of a larger group of people? Studies strongly indicate a yes.
Does this perfectly predict what any specific individual will like best? No.

I wonder, is there any meaningful difference between passive crossover design and DSP design (e.g. in an active crossover)? It's not obvious to me that there is a difference except for some of the specific skills required. Do you see them as fundamentally different things?

Another example is a servo controlled sub, is this "raw" performance?
 
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Member 116841

Distinguished Member
The fact is though that unless a sub is an epic fail of a sub you would be hard pushed to tell the difference in the "raw speed" or what ever you like to call it, all this business about over hanging bass boominess blabla is pretty much the room.
No, forget sitting metres away from the sub and incurring room effects, I'm talking about being right up near the driver. I've seen drivers that continue to move after the signal has stopped. Overhang. Lack of control. Call it what you will, but it exists, and it's this I'm referring to that needs to be correct before you even get into EQ and negative room effects. Add what you want after this point, those basics aren't changing.
 

RickyDeg

Well-known Member
Have to say that I'm coming round to this way of thinking myself, at least regarding EQing the main speakers. I still think I prefer to fine tune the subs using the EQ in my sub amp though as with no EQ there are a couple of big peaks. In fact I think I may have sold my antimode/Arcam AV9 a bit too soon as I hadn't got my subs built by that time and had already replaced them with the '818.

Back on topic; it's good to see that there is a worthwhile good value option to the MK/KK (and others) speakers. I've got a friend who is supposed to be planing a cinema room in his new place, with from assistance from me. The plan is to take him to Epic Home Cinema to show him what he can achieve with his (limited) budget. Initially the plan was mainly for the projector, but at the prices of the XTZ range(s) I think he might end up looking at these too depending on how much his final budget is.

I'm almost reluctant to hear these for myself incase I get buyer's remorse (I own MK MP150/S150T series speakers), but perhaps they will be 'different' rather than 'better', though the price can't be argued with. :) Maybe I'll add an addendum to this thread once I've heard them for myself, if that's OK with the OP?

Yes, I'd say the XTZ Cinema Series is a worthwhile and good value option to the KK's. Though there are certain differences. The MK's I can't say as I've never experienced any (yet). Best is, as always, to demo each system under the best possible circumstance.

Good luck on the demo with your friend. Sounds exciting!

Of course you may add an addendum to this thread if it should come to that.
 
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RickyDeg

Well-known Member
Great write up!

You should freelance as an av journalist, see if Stuart will sign you up :D

Thank you!

Perhaps I should! :laugh: HA!
I've actually thought of that a few times as I truly love doing this.
 

mattkhan

Distinguished Member
Overhang. Lack of control. Call it what you will, but it exists, and it's this I'm referring to that needs to be correct
Sample link showing one example Active Filters note the step response and tone burst graphs. This doesn't change the mechanical behaviour of the sub but it does clearly demonstrate those issues you refer to can be positively impacted by DSP. The same goes for any speaker ultimately.

Perhaps we are describing different things though. Most people seem to mean commonly available automated eq systems (ypao, audyssey etc) when they say "EQ". Anyway I think I have filled my off topic quota for the day :D
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
Yes, I was referring to 'after the fact' EQ systems built into receivers etc, not what is built into a sub, which of course will affect its output :)
 

mikelj

Well-known Member
For what it's worth, KK has stated that in his opinion DSP slews the time domain response of a sub (I can't remember where/what forum/site I read that on), which is presumably why you'll not find DSP used in his subs.
 

mikelj

Well-known Member
No, forget sitting metres away from the sub and incurring room effects, I'm talking about being right up near the driver. I've seen drivers that continue to move after the signal has stopped. Overhang. Lack of control. Call it what you will, but it exists, and it's this I'm referring to that needs to be correct before you even get into EQ and negative room effects. Add what you want after this point, those basics aren't changing.

Time domian response.
 

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