- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 26 March 2009
I tested the MKVI with a McIntosh MCD500 SACD player, BAT VK5i preamplifier, McIntosh MC1201 power amplifiers, Carver Amazing MKIV ribbon speakers, Denon DVD-1800BTCI Blu-ray player, Denon AVP-A1HDCI surround sound processor, Classé CA-5200 power amplifier, and Final Sound electrostatic speakers. Cables were Nordost.
I placed the MKVI near the front left corner of the room, ran the phase adjustment test, and then ran a frequency response test with our Audio Precision, adjusted the 20 Hz, 30 Hz, and 40 Hz EQ bands, and settled down for some listening.
The first tests were with music.
Pipe organ always makes use of a subwoofer, and one of my favorites is Baroque Music for Brass and Organ (Telarc Multi-channel SACD). There is really nothing like a big powerful sub to do justice to such music, and the MKVI never faltered, even with it cranked to a level that was rattling the picture window. The pedal notes sounded very clean with no audible distortion. What I found at this point was that most of the sound was coming from the passive radiator rather than the active driver, and when I later ran test tones, it appeared that the driver was moving at least two inches.
Telarc'sMulti-channel SACD Great Film Fantasies also provided some room-shaking entertainment. Again, deep, powerful, clean bass. If your spouse objects to a large subwoofer box in your living room or entertainment room, you can purchase smaller subs - Earthquake Sound makes some of them - but you won't get bass like you do from the MKVI. Fortunately, they have put the 15" driver in about as small an enclosure as they can build for it, so it might just squeak by your spouse's complaints, and she will give you a thumbs up.
With movies, the MKVI practically made my chair jump off the floor. Both of the movies shown below benefit from a sub that can play deep, but with In the Electric Mist, which takes place in New Orleans, there was a thunderstorm in the distance, which presents very low frequencies. It sounded so real, it took me back to my graduate school days when I lived in that city. There is no place like the deep south for thunder and lightning.