Product Review - M&K LCR-75 and Center-75 Home Theater Speakers - May, 1997

By J.D. Moretti


M&K Speakers
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M&K LCR-75 and Center-75 Home Theater Speakers; One 1" silk dome tweeter, two 5 1/4" polypropylene mid-bass drivers; Frequency response 72 Hz - 20 kHz 2 dB; Nominal impedance 4 Ohms; Bi-wirable; Power handling 200 watts rms; Sensitivity 90 dB/w/m; Size 14 3/4"H x 8 3/8"W x 8"D; Weight 18 pounds each; Black vinyl; $590/pair (LCR-75), $295 (Center-75); Miller & Kreisel Sound Corporation, 10391 Jefferson Boulevard, Culver City, California 90232; Phone 310-204-2854; Fax 310-202-8782; E-Mail [email protected].

M&K builds subwoofers like a Sherman Tank, so I looked forward to seeing if their regular speakers are made to the same standards. The new LCR-75 and Center-75 are small (relatively) bookshelf speakers with little drivers. The difference between the LCR and the Center is the placement of the five-way binding posts (two sets, for bi-wiring) on the back, and the logo on the front. That is about it. I suppose that is why they call it the LCR: you could use one for the center if you want . . . even set it vertically on the TV (a little unstable, but it works).

Although a 1" dome tweeter is pretty standard in most home theater speakers, I was surprised to see that the mid and bass of these front channel speakers were handled by 5 1/4" drivers (wired in parallel). The 200 watt rating means that these are no ordinary drivers. I am sure that a good portion of the 18 pound weight is for the magnets on these speakers. Secondly, there are two identical mid-bass drivers in each enclosure. Before I even hooked them up, I knew this meant a tight sound. For my bass guitar, I often use an enclosure with a whole bunch of small drivers, and it makes the low notes very clean. Easier to keep small drivers under control. I have to use a lot of them for deep bass, but in the case of the LCRs, a subwoofer takes care of everything below about 70 Hz. The M&Ks are rated at 4 Ohms nominal. This also takes some of the stress off each driver, so that more volume can be had, without breaking up.

The back of the enclosure has several deeply set aluminum threaded sockets if you want to attach them to the wall. For my listening tests, I put them on speaker stands about two feet from the sides of the 35" direct view TV, and the center channel speaker on top of the TV. They are magnetically shielded for this purpose.

These speakers are rated at 10 watts rms minimum, and 200 watts rms peaks. Because they have a nominal impedance of 4 Ohms, it is important to have an amplifier capable of delivering plenty of undistorted power into this load. The average A/V receiver does not qualify, at least for playing at high SPL. We used them with numerous components, including the Carver AV-705, Sunfire Cinema Grand, LLano Monoblocks, McCormack CD System, Audio Alchemy CD System, Sony CD player, Yamaha LD Player, Yamaha Receiver (outboard amp connected to pre-outs), Yamaha AC-3 Decoder, Millennium DTS Decoder, M&K Subwoofer, AudioQuest Cables, and Nordost Flatline Cables.

In the lab, I found a new LD copy of "The Long Kiss Goodnight" in DTS. This was my first experience listening to this technology, so I put it on the LD player and sat back. For a few seconds, that is. The thunderous DTS opening sound brought me up and out of the seat before I could even get my knees crossed. Of course, the M&K MX-5000
THX that was in the system helped me to my feet, but the LCR and Center made my morning for me. Good thing I had already finished my coffee! I chapter skipped to sections that had orange sunbursts (gunfire, explosions, etc.), backtracked a bit, and hit "play". Rata-tata-tata went the assault rifles, and in one scene, someone came flying out of a window when some gasoline was set on fire downstairs. People were screaming and shooting. I could not hear any mid-range mush that you get with some speakers of lesser abilities during high action soundtracks. Of course, most of them are cheaper, but if you want to crank it up during a movie, you gotta have speakers that will cut it, and that requires coming across with some of the green paper that has pictures of dead people on the front. These M&Ks perform just like their subwoofer brother (uncle?). All bark and snarl, but no bite (harshness). I was kind of awed by the treble cleanliness. Totally non-fatiguing over long periods of listening. Really up front, but not in your face. Loud, sweet, and gorgeous, just like my wife. Getting a silk dome to kick tail is not easy. Hats off to Ken.

I also listened to some CDs in Pro Logic surround sound mode, and some of the new DTS-encoded CDs that we have in the lab. Again, the treble was right there, but I didn't feel like putting my hands over my ears, as I do with some speakers. Voices were very natural, with no chestiness. A look at the frequency response tests below shows that they don't have any bumps in the 120 Hz - 160 Hz area (bumps in this region would make them sound chesty). Since the center channel speaker is identical to the LCRs, sounds moving from one side, through center, and to the other side, were very smooth. There was a tiny bit of difference, but I think this was more a result of the unavoidable reflection from the front of the TV screen, rather than the fact that the center channel speaker was sitting horizontally as opposed to the vertical postion of the front left/right speakers. It would appear to me that this model is really designed with home theater primarily in mind rather than using a pair for plain vanilla stereo music. The tightness just cries out for bigtime movie soundtracks, and they produce tremendous volume from relatively small enclosures.

Frequency Response Test Results - 1 meter, left speaker, grille cloth off, SPL set to approximately 80 dB at 1 kHz (Note: these tests are in a live room, not in an anechoic chamber. The results you get in your own room may be different.):

20 Hz - 60.3 dB
25 Hz - 56.4 dB
31.5 Hz - 60.4 dB
40 Hz - 55.6 dB
50 Hz - 62.7 dB
63 Hz - 69.1 dB
80 Hz - 73.2 dB
100 Hz - 81.3 dB
125 Hz - 72.3 dB
160 Hz - 80.7 dB
200 Hz - 81.4 dB
500 Hz - 78.8 dB
800 Hz - 84.2 dB
1 kHz - 80.2 dB
2.5 kHz - 79.9 dB
5 kHz - 85.3 dB
8 kHz - 83.5 dB
10 kHz - 84.3 dB
12.5 kHz - 86.7 dB
15 kHz - 85.7 dB
18 kHz - 84.7 dB

Frequency Response Test Results - 13 feet, left speaker, grille cloth off, SPL set to approximately 80 dB at 1 kHz (Note: these tests are in a live room, not in an anechoic chamber. The results you get in your own room may be different.):

20 Hz - 57.1 dB
25 Hz - 60.4 dB
31.5 Hz - 67.7 dB
40 Hz - 54.8 dB
50 Hz - 59.7 dB
63 Hz - 61.3 dB
80 Hz - 78.3 dB
100 Hz -79.9 dB
125 Hz - 79.8 dB
160 Hz - 69.2 dB
200 Hz - 80.0 dB
500 Hz - 82.5 dB
800 Hz - 61.7 dB
1 kHz - 80.4 dB
2.5 kHz - 79.0 dB
5 kHz - 82.8 dB
8 kHz - 84.0 dB
10 kHz - 79.9 dB
12.5 kHz - 79.8 dB
15 kHz - 76.5 dB
18 kHz - 76.2 dB

Conclusion: M&K scores highly with these new home theater speakers. Obviously, a subwoofer is required to make the system sing full spectrum, but a good sub helps ANY system. A pair would go nicely in the rear as well, where AC-3 and DTS promise to test their mettle. The LCR-75 and Center-75 are well worth auditioning.

J.D. Moretti

Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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