War of the (Little) Worlds Second Place (Tie)
Tiny. Silver. Wood. The M&K Xenon LCR-25.
Miller & Kreisel wins our proximity award, as they're located a mere 4 miles away from our studio. They supplied us with some of their smallest speakers, the LCR-25s from their Xenon Series. These were also the smallest speakers in the test, just a little bigger than a Coke can. Squeezed into this cabinet are a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter and a 3.25-inch polypropylene woofer. The V-76 subwoofer, on the other hand, was one of the largest in the Face Off. Its 75-watt amp sends all of its power to a 12-inch woofer in a sealed enclosure.
Very few points distinguished the M&K system from its fellow second-placer, the PSB ensemble. (Sorry, did I spoil the ending? I think not; you know you looked ahead already.) Performance-wise, everyone ranked the M&Ks third save Adrienne, who ranked them second. How did they tie, then? Well, Adrienne and Claire both rated the PSBs dead last, blowing the curve. Looks-wise, it was another draw. Claire and Hilary liked the M&Ks the best, while everyone else rated them third. This was enough to put them one point behind the PSBs. Overall, no one picked the M&Ks as their favorite. More importantly, though, no one picked them as their least favorite.
On the Holly Cole selection, several reviewers commented on the solid blend between the sub and the satellites. Everyone was surprised when I revealed how small the speakers were. Everyone also praised the midrange, as well as the fast, detailed highs, while Claire thought the upper frequencies were a little too sharp. The sub also garnered a few accolades. Most of the reviewers thought it was musical, with good presence and rumble. On the other hand, Adrienne thought it wasn't very open, and Chris agreed, calling it "constricted."
With the Bach SACD, Adrienne said that the M&K system made the violins sound the best. Chris mentioned that this ensemble was a little bright, but not enough to be distracting. He also commented that it had a decent soundstage. Almost everyone thought that, while the speakers sounded good, there were better, and there were worse.
With Star Wars, everyone liked the rumble that the V-76 sub produced. Claire echoed a sentiment I had with the last M&K system I reviewed: She liked it better with movies than with music. On the later chapter, Claire also thought that the system had a very enveloping sound. Hilary thought it was good with "zooms and booms." Chris mentioned that it was more open and airy with movies than the other systems in this Face Off and that it performs without abrasiveness.
Band of Brothers garnered more of the same comments. Chris complimented the attack and decay, while Adrienne called the highs "precise and quick." Claire said that, while the speakers were a little bright, it helped a lot with this selection. She thought the bullets sounded more realistic than they had through the other speakers, the "whizzing" was far more apparent (I think she was talking about bullets), and she noticed more subtle details like falling dirt. Perhaps Hilary put it best: "Like a B student, it's perfectly satisfactory."
So, while it didn't evoke the passionate feelings (positive or negative) that the other systems did, the M&K ensemble was a solid performer, with few vices. Most of the judges thought it was good-looking, and it has the smallest satellites. While it wasn't the strongest with music, this setup performed admirably with movies.
HT Labs Measures: M&K Xenon LCR-25 Speaker System
This graph shows the quasi-anechoic (employing close-miking of all woofers) frequency response of the Xenon LCR-25 satellite (purple trace) and V-76 subwoofer (blue trace). All passive loudspeakers were measured at a distance of 1 meter with a 2.83-volt input and scaled for display purposes.
The Xenon LCR-25's listening-window response measures +3.68/–3.71 decibels from 200 hertz to 10 kilohertz. An average of axial and +/–15-degree horizontal responses measures +3.97/–3.18 dB from 200 Hz to 10 kHz. The –3dB point is at 158 Hz, and the –6dB point is at 124 Hz. Impedance reaches a minimum of 6.40 ohms at 388 Hz and a phase angle of –60.09 degrees at 11.1 kHz. Sensitivity averages 84 dB from 500 Hz to 2 kHz. The V-76's close-miked response, normalized to the level at 80 Hz, indicates that the lower –3dB point is at 30 Hz and the –6dB point is at 24 Hz. The upper –3dB point is at 114 Hz with the low-pass-filter switch set to maximum.—AJ
M&K Xenon LCR-25:
• Tiny speakers, big sound
• Powerful sub
Xenon LCR-25 Satellite Speaker $249
V-76 Subwoofer $699
Miller & Kreisel Sound
Dealer Locator Code M&K