MK Sound 950 Speaker System Page 3
Another aspect of the MX250 that MK Sound touts is their proprietary Headroom Maximizer IV circuit. This is designed to prevent audible amplifier clipping under heavy demands. We used to joke that my old boss (who shall remain nameless, but Bjorn in San Antonio, you know who you are) liked to do his demonstrations so loud that customers would leave the room with blood pouring from their ears. In reality, he usually stopped just short of major hearing loss. I bring this up because MK subs were always his favorite subwoofers—they sounded great and he could drive the crap out of them (the subwoofers, not the customers).
There’s an amazing openness and lightness to the MK 950 system that’s hard to characterize. It’s common for reviewers and salespeople to talk about a more revealing speaker as lifting a veil from between you and the speakers. That’s not how I’d characterize the experience with the 950 system. When I listened to this system, I got the sense that a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I can understand why sound designers like to use MK speakers for their studios—these speakers have a life and energy that makes them oh-so-easy to listen to. And then when you add that MX250 subwoofer into the mix, it’s like what you might get if you crossed the Vienna Boys Choir with Jay-Z: “Stick 2 the Script(ure)” featuring Pope Benedict.
Just for fun, I decided to start listening to some tracks from Steely Dan (among them, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” from the Pretzel Logic album that started the whole MK ball thumping). The speakers not only produced a wide soundstage with pinpoint accuracy, they also created a stereo image that was quite enjoyable from all three listening positions on my couch (left, center, and right—not drunk, asleep, and half-naked). The LCR950s also maintained consistency regardless of the height of the listener’s ears. On Steely Dan’s “Peg,” the splendid integration of the LCR950s with the MX250 stood out with each drum stick snap on the drumhead. With Eminem’s latest CD, Recovery, it’s not always easy to make out some of the low-level vocals; but that wasn’t the case with the MKs. Despite the heavy bass beat and other instruments, Eminem’s voice came through quite distinctly, for example, during the beginning of “Cinderella Man.”
Next, I moved on to multichannel music and discovered that, in my room at least, the best positioning of the SUR95T tripole speakers was slightly behind my couch at about ear height with the front baffle angled directly toward the listening area. It greatly improved the sensation of the tight space of the Village Vanguard on Barbra Streisand’s One Night Only DVD. Along with creating the ambience, the SUR95Ts also pinpointed individual claps in the audience. And the LCR950s were annoyingly adept at reproducing every pop when Streisand spoke while holding the microphone a bit too close to her mouth.
With any system that employs a good subwoofer, I have a hard time not bringing out my Band of Brothers Blu-ray Discs. Even more impressive than the depth of the bass during explosions was the fine detail that the 950 system brought to the forefront. At the beginning of episode 3, “Carentan,” when the troops first approach the Café de Normandie, there’s the high-pitched, ominous squeak of a light post moving back and forth in the breeze. It sounded as good as if you were there. Later, as Easy Company comes under attack while crossing a field, the SUR95Ts brought forth the individual bullets, as well as the overall diffuse chaos of the battle. The recent Supreme Court decision—oops, sorry, the movie—Monsters vs. Aliens is so filled with surround effects, I believe they created those first and then added the dialogue and music simply to flesh the movie out. There’s nary a scene in which the SUR95Ts failed to delight, with both a smooth sense of envelopment and pinpoint accuracy.
Insert Superlative Here
It’s hard to find enough superlatives to describe the MK Sound 950 system. I even broke out my Reviewer’s Superlative Handbook and couldn’t find enough. Juicy even came to mind—as in, the MX250 sub sure sounds juicy. In fact, it’s one of the juiciest subs around. Very simply, anyone who’s serious about home theater should seriously consider this system. Aside from the price tag (obviously, not everyone can afford nearly five grand for a speaker system), the only other potential downside to this system is that designer types won’t care for the aesthetics. While I think they look great, the LCR950s are still traditional black-box in-room speakers. Yes, they’re pre-tapped for wall-mount brackets, but it won’t be the same as hanging a Definitive Technology Mythos or other style-conscious speaker on the wall. The MX250 isn’t the smallest subwoofer on the market, either. It all adds up to making the MK Sound 950 package a system you’ll build a room around rather than fuss over integrating into a room’s décor.
MK Sound is still developing its dealer base, so you won’t find it in a great many places at the moment. But I think it’s worth the time and effort to find one, since the 950 system is so spectacularly good at both movies and music. It’s a system that’s sure to please the old fans—and create oodles of new fans of MK Sound, as well.