Whatever Happened To?... Style Speaker Systems

Arron

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Aug 24, 2021
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There used to be an annual award for style speakers and there are still plenty of them on the market. They're ideal for those of us with wives and/or small rooms. What happened to the reviews of them?

My house is tiny. It's a 300 year old cottage with low ceilings and fairly small rooms. There is no way I can have floor-standers let alone bring them in from the wall. Yet I have a very successful home cinema thanks to Mission M-Cubes (original not SE).

There probably isn't anything on the market that will significantly beat the M-Cubes but they've been out of production for more than a decade. So where are the reviews for someone else who wants something like them? Where are the reviews for speakers for people with small rooms? Where are the reviews for people who need speakers to be placed in corners?
 
There used to be an annual award for style speakers and there are still plenty of them on the market. They're ideal for those of us with wives and/or small rooms. What happened to the reviews of them?

My house is tiny. It's a 300 year old cottage with low ceilings and fairly small rooms. There is no way I can have floor-standers let alone bring them in from the wall. Yet I have a very successful home cinema thanks to Mission M-Cubes (original not SE).

There probably isn't anything on the market that will significantly beat the M-Cubes but they've been out of production for more than a decade. So where are the reviews for someone else who wants something like them? Where are the reviews for speakers for people with small rooms? Where are the reviews for people who need speakers to be placed in corners?
any review on its own is pretty pointless anyway as you're still going to have to find them to audition yourself, as @davidf says they have gone out of fashion for many
 
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Arron

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Aug 24, 2021
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Not sure where you guys are looking but style speaker packages are still very much for sale and Kef is still making the T Series. Looking at Richer Sounds and Peter Tyson, the following are still in the game:
Monitor Audio MASS
Focal Sib Evo
Q Acoustics Q7000i
Cambridge Audio MINX
Gallo Acoustics Micro
Bowers & Wilkins MT-50
Focal Dome Flax
KEF T105, T205 and T305
Bowers & Wilkins MT-60D
Gallo Acoustics A'Diva SE
Monitor Audio Apex AV

That's a spread of prices from budget to serious. That's only two retailers so there are probably plenty of other style speaker packages around. All of these would be suitable for a small room. Some have reviews, some don't.

As for auditions, I'm not sure how much of a problem that would be. All of the demo rooms I've been in have been pretty small but none of them ever sound the same as having the speakers at home :\

(FWIW, my M-Cubes were a What Hi-Fi award winner back in the noughties at ~£1500 hence I doubt anything in the list above would be much of an improvement. This thought came about because a mate moved house.)
 

Arron

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Aug 24, 2021
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I can personally vouch for the Cambridge audio minx system- superb, I’m surprised its not more popular
Which brings it back around to the reason for this thread. Where are the What Hi-Fi round-ups of style speakers? Why did the annual awards for style speakers stop?

I had a listen to the Mk1 Minx speakers and was impressed but thought, although they sounded bigger than their size, they still sounded like small speakers to me. But that could have been the rubbish setup Richer Sounds had. And there have been at least two major updates since then. Maybe that has changed. Yet there have been no Minx reviews/updates in What Hi-Fi for a decade. :\

It's a minor point but one of the reasons your Minx system sounds good is probably the lack of crossover.
 

gel

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Sep 24, 2021
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Not sure where you guys are looking but style speaker packages are still very much for sale and Kef is still making the T Series. Looking at Richer Sounds and Peter Tyson, the following are still in the game:
Monitor Audio MASS
Focal Sib Evo
Q Acoustics Q7000i
Cambridge Audio MINX
Gallo Acoustics Micro
Bowers & Wilkins MT-50
Focal Dome Flax
KEF T105, T205 and T305
Bowers & Wilkins MT-60D
Gallo Acoustics A'Diva SE
Monitor Audio Apex AV

That's a spread of prices from budget to serious. That's only two retailers so there are probably plenty of other style speaker packages around. All of these would be suitable for a small room. Some have reviews, some don't.

As for auditions, I'm not sure how much of a problem that would be. All of the demo rooms I've been in have been pretty small but none of them ever sound the same as having the speakers at home :\

(FWIW, my M-Cubes were a What Hi-Fi award winner back in the noughties at ~£1500 hence I doubt anything in the list above would be much of an improvement. This thought came about because a mate moved house.)
I still like and did own the B&W MT-60D speaker package. You have serious style and performance with them. B&W used to do a lot of style speakers too like the FPM range and the XT speakers but they have now gone and been replaced by big and ugly speakers!
 

Arron

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Aug 24, 2021
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I still like and did own the B&W MT-60D speaker package. You have serious style and performance with them. B&W used to do a lot of style speakers too like the FPM range and the XT speakers but they have now gone and been replaced by big and ugly speakers!
The B&W MT-60D was and still is a big temptation for me. But B&Ws have a reputation for being a bit Marmite on the top end and I'm particularly sensitive there. So there's no way that's happening without a listen and there doesn't seem to be a demo room anywhere within hours of me that has them. My current setup is a 5.1.2 with M-Cubes and a Yamaha 3080. It's a ridiculously polite set up that manages to get my toes tapping every time.

Anyway, what do you think, should What Hi-Fi start doing an annual Best Style Speaker Package again?
 
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gel

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The B&W MT-60D was and still is a big temptation for me. But B&Ws have a reputation for being a bit Marmite on the top end and I'm particularly sensitive there. So there's no way that's happening without a listen and there doesn't seem to be a demo room anywhere within hours of me that has them. My current setup is a 5.1.2 with M-Cubes and a Yamaha 3080. It's a ridiculously polite set up that manages to get my toes tapping every time.

Anyway, what do you think, should What Hi-Fi start doing an annual Best Style Speaker Package again?
I have heard the B&W old MT30 speaker package with a Yamaha amp and it was a nice combination. I have also owned the MT30 package and a Pioneer Vsx-lx70 amp with them and loved them apart from with music. Music they weren’t bad just not what I was used to.

I am all for style speakers and would like to see the Monitor Audio flat speakers reviewed. Yes, style speakers with a an annual award would be great IMO.
 
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gel

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Sep 24, 2021
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The B&W MT-60D was and still is a big temptation for me. But B&Ws have a reputation for being a bit Marmite on the top end and I'm particularly sensitive there. So there's no way that's happening without a listen and there doesn't seem to be a demo room anywhere within hours of me that has them. My current setup is a 5.1.2 with M-Cubes and a Yamaha 3080. It's a ridiculously polite set up that manages to get my toes tapping every time.

Anyway, what do you think, should What Hi-Fi start doing an annual Best Style Speaker Package again?
I am pretty sure the last style speaker package over £2000 was the Monitor Audio Apex. I bet this would look and sound great with your Yamaha amp. Before then it was the Tannoy HighLine 500 speaker package which is long gone now. The same speakers used to win the awards time after time.
 
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gel

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Sep 24, 2021
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Here you go:

 

gel

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2021
430
105
570
 

gel

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2021
430
105
570
Then for a bit of a bigger budget you got:

 

gel

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2021
430
105
570
Then for a bit of a bigger budget you got:

If I ever change speakers again, I would probably buy these.
 

Arron

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Aug 24, 2021
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Here’s yours (I think):

Yes and no. A few years before that, the M-Cubes were award winners at £1200 and the review was glowing. Mission dropped the price to £600 about the time that review was written. That second review is well off the mark. £1200 award winners at £600 is exactly the bargain it sounds. The sound is much bigger than their size -- think equivalent to slim floorstanders with 3.5" full-range drivers. The lack of crossover makes for very realistic voices, pianos, acoustic guitars, etc. They sound great with both movies and music -- as long as you have them properly set up. The only "fault" with them is the included speaker umbilical and cables. They're not bad but replace the lot with oxygen-free copper (not easy as you have to custom-build the umbilical) and you end up with speakers that are really something.

If I ever change speakers again, I would probably buy these.
Those would be too big for my place. Even the width of the Apex centre would mean I couldn't open my front door -- something I can't do anyway when my projector screen is down :D
 
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Arron

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Aug 24, 2021
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Being so far from any demo room is a pain but finally found reasonable recordings of the B&W M1s and Gallo A'Diva/A'Diva SE speakers. Put on the best headphones you can find...

To me, the M1s sound like small speakers, lack midrange, are overly bright and very directional. Not clinical but no warmth either and there's some life missing. Some of that could have been the amp or recording but not all. They sound much smaller than my M-Cubes. I'm really not hearing how these were award winners for several years.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCVQojXPdIQ


The A'Diva SEs sound much bigger than the M1s though still not big. Maybe the same as the M-Cubes. The lack of crossover definitely helps with realism. Again, not clinical but not warm either and this time it feels more like neutral. However, the music played lacks bass which makes it difficult to judge full performance. Skip forward to 9:04 for the start of the sound test unless you speak Japanese.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjJ3k47O4wE


Out of the three recorded, I think the ProMonitor 1000 speakers come out ahead for value (same price as the M1) and the A'Diva SEs combined with a sub would probably be the best quality in a small room.
 

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