Surround Sound Speaker Systems

MK Sound LCR950 Monitor Speakers, SUR950T Surround Speakers, and MX250 Subwoofer

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup and Design

The 950 Series, like virtually all MK Sound speakers, are sealed-design enclosures. The LCR950's use MK's new Pro 1" silk dome ferrofluid double magnet tweeter. The tweeter is mounted in a cast aluminum front plate bolted directly to the magnet system, which MK claims results in improved mechanical stability. Lower frequencies are handled by two 5.25" polypropylene bass/midrange drivers. The 950's rated frequency response goes to 80 Hz, no easy feat for a compact-sized sealed monitor. The 950's use MK's Phase Focused crossover, which contributes to MK's reputation for fast transient response and precise imaging. There is no dedicated "center channel" speaker, the LCR950 is intended to be used for all three front channels (left, center, right). I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: Don't underestimate the power of using timbre-matched speakers for the front channels.

At first glance the 950's appear visually identical to the 750's, but the 950's have a black satin finish and rounded edges that gives them a more polished appearance. As befitting their professional lineage, MK speakers have a utilitarian "we mean business" look to them; there's no fancy wood grain here. However, the speakers do come with sets of white gloves so you can remove them from the boxes and set them up without smudges. Classy.

The MK's all have removable, metal-mesh grilles that are magnetically attached. The back of the 950's have nine pre-drilled holes should you wish to wall-mount them. Perhaps to assist with mounting them flush to a wall, the speaker binding posts are recessed in a cavity at almost a 90 degree vertical angle that makes it nearly impossible to use banana plugs. Spade lugs or bare wire are your better options.

The slightly smaller SUR950T tripole is both a front-firing monopole and side-radiating dipole speaker. The theory is that by doing so the speaker provides both specific imaging and a diffuse enveloping soundfield, and my prior experience with MK tripole surrounds is that the theory works like a charm. The front of the SUR950T contains the same 1" tweeter and a single 5.25" mid-bass driver as the LCR950. Each side of the SUR950T contains a 3" pulp (paper) mid-tweeter mounted in true dipole fashion - each SUR950T is wired so that the driver facing the front of the room will be in phase with the front speakers. The SUR950T's are rated down to 87 Hz.

The MX250 subwoofer packaged with the 950 Series is one of MK's "push-pull" designs, in which two 12" long-throw drivers are mounted with one front-firing and the other up-firing into the cabinet. The push-pull design is intended to significantly reduce even-order harmonic distortion and increase output. As a result, the MX250 is powered by a relatively modest 250 watt amplifier, and is rated down to 20 Hz. Because of the push-pull orientation, the MX250 is a tall sub (at just a shade under two feet high) and weighs 70 pounds. The back side of the MX250 contains dual line-level inputs and outputs for daisy-chaining additional subs, as well as speaker-level inputs and outputs. Phase is adjustable from 0 to 180 degrees, and a defeatable low-pass filter is adjustable from 40 to 200 Hz. The detachable power cord is two-pronged, but I still had to deal with a ground-loop when I added the MX250 to my system (ultimately cured by mixing up components and power outlets).

All 950 Series speakers are nominally rated at 4 ohms, so the MK's need to be mated with an amp/receiver that can handle driving a 4 ohm load. I hooked up the 950's to an Integra DTR-8.9 THX Ultra2 receiver, and later used the Integra as a pre/pro driven by an Emotiva XPA-3amplifier (300 watts RMS at 4 ohms), so power was not an issue.