- May 16, 2012
- Houston, TX
- Real Name
- Dave Upton
What happens when a couple of subwoofer luminaries try to design speakers? That was my first question when Tom & Jim of Power Sound Audio launched their new MT series loudspeakers. Given the unique components and pricing, I gave them a call and asked if they could send over some MT-110’s for me to review prior to the holidays.
Retailing for $1149/pair, the MT-110 has the following specifications:
- 2 way, audiophile loudspeaker
- 1" titanium compression driver
- Cast aluminum exponential horn
- 10" high efficiency woofer
- Audiophile grade crossover completely designed in house
- Frequency Response = 70Hz - 20kHz
- Sensitivity = 95dB 1W/1M
- Size HxWxD = 17.5" x 11" x 14" (includes grill)
- Weight = 35lbs
Following the standard MT (Mid-Tweeter) design of most studio monitors and bookshelves, the MT-110 is a 2-way speaker with a 1” titanium compression driver handling the upper frequencies and a 10” woofer handling the mid-range. While I used the word bookshelves above – please note that these are definitely monitors, weighing in at a sizable 35 pounds each and measuring some 17.5” x 11” x 14” with the grill on.
The MT-110 uses a custom point-to-point crossover built in house at PSA’s Mineral Ridge, Ohio facility. One interesting aspect of the MT-110 is the design decision to limit low end output to 70Hz. I’m not surprised to see this sort of design decision from a pair of guys who are true believers in subwoofers filling in the sub 80Hz range – and I could easily see these paired with a pair of XV15se’s to deliver a killer stereo system. If your intent is to listen to these in pure Stereo mode without a subwoofer, then please look elsewhere. These speakers are definitely designed for optimal power handling, dynamic range and clarity in a multi-channel system that is well supported by one or multiple capable subwoofers, which PSA just so happens to sell.
That caveat aside, the design of the MT-110 is clearly theater-optimized. While Tom & Jim have done a great job of making these speakers are attractive as possible, they will be winning no beauty contests. The MT-110 and it’s bigger brother the MT-210 are both clearly aimed at those who would spend first on sound quality and on aesthetics second. Selling direct on PSA’s website for $1149 a pair, the MT-110 is clearly aimed at the mid-market.
Over the past week since they arrived, I’ve played with the MT-110’s in a variety of settings. First, in my living room powered by an Onkyo TX-SR805 and fed by an Arcam AirDAC and an XBMC media player (review forthcoming). For music listening without a subwoofer, the MT-110 displayed excellent power handling, clarity and dynamic range, though the bass was decidedly lacking due to the crossover design.
Satisfied that this was the case, I moved the MT-110s into my theater room, where my subwoofer could handle the low end. Setup in the theater was a breeze, one major advantage of monitors is the ease with which placement can be adjusted. I used my trusty old Wood Technology stands and placed the MT-110’s in my usual sweet spot. Taking a few sweeps, I found that they needed to be slightly closer to the back wall than is typical of floorstanders. Once this adjustment was made, I ran a quick Audyssey calibration and began listening.
Immediately apparent was the ability of the MT-110’s to play really, really loud. Fed by an Anthem A5, ear splitting levels were achieved with absolute ease.
I listened to a variety of my two-channel recordings including Mickey Hart’s Global Drum Project which remains one of my reference albums, Acoustic Alchemy’s Live in London, and to whole pile of others including B-Tribe’s Volume 5 and 6. On these more acoustic albums, the MT-110’s displayed a great ability to image, though commensurate with their price point did not live up to what I have heard from my Paradigm Studio 100’s or the Definitive Technology Mythos ST-L’s I just finished reviewing. When I switched genre’s to Metal and Rock, playing back albums like Satabon’s Carolus Rex or Pretty Maids’ Pandemonium the MT-110’s displayed a startling similarity to the sound you hear at loud venues – no doubt a result of the compression driver and high-efficiency woofer utilized. These speakers want to be turned up, loud!
Switching gears to movie and TV watching, I gave the MT-110’s a run through with Guardians of the Galaxy, TRON, and the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is where the MT-110’s really began to shine. They are capable music reproducers, especially for the crowd that likes to listen loud; but they are fantastic for cinematic mixes that get aggressive and need dynamic range. Turning my system up to reference level, the MT-110’s didn’t break a sweat taking all the power I could give them with nary a complaint. Unless you are already deaf, I can safely say that with good amplification your ears will give out long before the MT-110’s hit their limit.
It’s impressive to see a speaker so well rounded come from a pair of guys I have only ever associated with subwoofer design. Knowing the quality of their subwoofers, I had high hopes for the first speakers from Power Sound Audio, but I couldn’t help being a little nervous, after all speaker and subwoofer design are very different sides of the same coin.
After some time spent with the MT-110, I am confident that Tom and Jim are destined to become major players in the internet direct speaker market. For now, if you are seeking a speaker setup for a room used for movie and TV watching 75% of the time or more, these are a no-brainer. They may not be as clear, holographic and textured as high dollar stereo speakers, but they aren’t meant to be. These suckers are meant to play loud, clear and accurately taking whatever you throw at them and producing a powerful sound that synergizes beautifully with the design ethos of PSA’s subwoofers.
For buyers starting from scratch, I would strongly recommend a pair of PSA’s XV15se or XS15se subwoofers to go with The MT-110’s and demonstrate what they are truly capable of. Even two years after a get-together I attended, I still can’t think of a pair of subs that pound harder for the money. With a 30 day risk free trial period available from Power Sound Audio’s website don’t take my word for it, let your ears do the deciding. My bet would be on you being a very happy customer. Recommended.
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