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My New Speakers and Updated Reference System

For the past 3 years, my critical listening was based on Focal SM9 monitors. Recently, I started looking for a passive loudspeaker setup that maintained the neutrality/linearity/transparency of a pro-audio specification with improved bass/treble/voice. I wont go thru the details of my journey (many auditions at audio shows, dealer demo rooms and private listening rooms) but ultimately the speakers I chose were PMC MB2S for their stunning midrange, tight bass, lifetime build quality, pro-audio heritage and a design that, IMO, is a technical tour-de-force (Rave review in this Benchmark Audio Application Note):

  • The 12" woofer features a dual basket with supports on both ends of the magnet structure to accommodate a large heat sink. The high-excursion cone has high linearity and unusually low distortion. The cut off is at a low 380 Hz using a steep 24 dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley crossover to confine the woofer to its most linear operating region. The loading provided by the ATL transmission line helps avoid harmonic distortion.
  • The midrange driver is hand assembled and heavy: 22 pounds of coil and magnet for the highest efficiency and lowest distortion. This driver operates from 380 Hz to 3.8 kHz - a range encompassing the human voice and many musical instruments - a single driver without any of the negative effects of crossovers.
  • The 1" soft-dome tweeter uses a pre-coated Sonolex material and ferrofluid cooled voice coil. The driver operates above 3.8 kHz and is closely spaced in a cut away mounting flange above the midrange driver for tight imaging at close distances.

The speakers are actually 8ohms with 91dB efficiency - high enough to be easily driven by Dave's headphone output. My amplification options are a variety tube amps (full sounding but not super detailed), solid-state Bryson (linear, detailed) or my favourite Accustic Arts Mono-II solid-state monoblocks (full sounding, incredibly detailed in a nice upright form factor). 

My primary listening room reference setup drawing has now been updated accordingly and attached here in pdf form. The combination of my new PMCs, AudioWise isolation kit plus the latest PGGB high precision content is quite stunningly good. My secondary listening room (used during production testing) is now a combination of headphones and Focal Shape Twins to replace my SM9s in a smaller footprint. Both rooms have excellent sound but the PMCs just are in another realm. I think I may be nearing my endgame... 

 

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