Originally Posted by tigerstripe
We auditioned the Mordaunt-Short speakers a while back, and we were still hifi newbies by the time being.
My wife also read some of your posts and she said "spongebob enlightened us a lot, and it's time for us to return him some favors" (she liked to call you spongebob :P). That's why yesterday afternoon I and my wife spent more than 3 hours to thoughtfully audition the Mordaunt Short Performance 6 speakers again in the best showroom suggested by the distributor. No we were not wasting seller's time, we still haven't decided on the two stereo amps for the C1s and the GT1s, and it was a good chance to audition the more expensive amps at the dealer.
We auditioned exclusively the Performance 6 speakers this time, while last time we auditioned both Performance 2 and 6 speakers. Acoustically the showroom was quite good, with the ceiling, front wall and left side wall acoustically dead. Open CD and product cabinets were against the right side wall and the rear wall. Some base traps were present at some corners.
The Performance 6s were driven by the Luxman L-509u int amp, which according to the dealer is very neutral sounding. The dealer also had the Gryphon Diablo, but we auditioned this int amp a few times with the Dynaudio C1 and Gryphon Mojo speakers, and we found it a bit warm and thick for our taste. The dealer also recommended partnering the Performance 6's with the more neutral sounding Luxman amp which had been warmed up for over an hour before we came.
Tonally the Performance 6s were similar to the MA, Canton, and Elac, and remotely similar to the Acoustic Energy speakers. They were much warmer than the GS60's, a bit warmer than the Elac FS 247s, but I would still classify the Performance 6s bright speakers, as they were not as neutral as the Acoustic Energy AE1 MkIII SE ones. The brightness was very subtle and didn't bother us during the audition, and I think you can get rid most of the brightness if you play around with the source.
Overall the speakers were well balanced, and I will recommend them to those who listen to all sorts of music and spend a good deal of time on movie and gaming. They passed all my CD tests, most tracks were good, some were great. The dealer also demoed his collection of CDs, all were good to great. However, there was no single moment that the speaker blew me away, while the GS60s, PL200s, PSB Synchrony One's, Dynaudio Confidence C1s, Atohm GT1 and GT2 speakers did give me such a feeling, particularly the C1s and the GTs. There was just no "wow" factor in them. They are fast, transparent and detailed, but the GS60s were much more transparent and detailed. Soundstage was open and wide, imaging quite precise, but the scale was much smaller than the C1s and AE1 MkIII SEs, and a bit smaller than the GS60s. They were dynamic, much more than the Sonus Faber Cremona Ms, but the PL200s, C1s and GTs were even more so. Musically, they were smoother and more refined compared to the Proac Response D series which sounded a bit coarse and rough, but they were less musical than the Proac speakers and rougher and coarser than the C1's, AE1 MkIII SEs and GT's. The bass was tight, warm and controlled, but not as well controlled as the PSB Synchrony One's. Also many other rival floorstanders and bookshelf speakers like the C1s and GTs could dig much deeper, but the bass was comparable to the AE1 MkIII SEs. The low treble and high midrange sounded a bit thin like the PSB Synchrony One's did (but perhaps the thin sound came from the NAD int amp instead of the PSB) and occasionally got our attention, but it didn't bother us as a whole.
The bottom line is, if I were to stay listening to Performance 6s for the whole day with all sort of music, or I were watching movies and playing video games with the Performance 6 5.1 AV system, I would like to. Listening to the GS60s for the whole day? No thanks. The Performance 6s are very well balanced and good in all aspects with almost no weakness, but nothing really stand out from the best rivals. However if I was to choose between the Sonus Faber Cremona Ms and the Performance 6s, this is a no brainer - the latter would definitely be the choice. They lack a wow factor, but overall they are better than the Cremona Ms which are also quite balanced in all aspects but lack the authority of the Performance 6s. I would say the Performance 6s are like a lion - among the big cats, a lion is fast but isn't the fastest (leopards and cheetahs are faster), it's strong yet isn't the strongest (jaguars and tigers are stronger. No internet vs debate needed, everyone please refer to the paper published in Nature - pound for pound a Bengal tiger is 30% stronger than an African lion, that's why nearly all staged fights used smaller tigresses against bigger male lions. And pound for pound jaguars are even stronger than tigers), it isn't the most agile (leopards and tigers are more agile), it isn't the smartest (tigers have bigger and more developed brains) and it isn't the largest either (Siberian and Northern Bengal tigers are larger). But, a lion certainly deserves all the praises as a well balanced and efficient fighter and killer.
I would like to point out that Mordaunt-Short Performance and the Dynaudio Confidence speakers do have one thing in common - partner them with better equipment will proportionally give you better sound. To illustrate this statement, at the end of the audition the dealer swapped the Luxman L-509u with Luxman L-507u (which had been warmed up for 25 minutes) - I would say the speakers suffered from about 40% of performance drop!
One important note you must know - I didn't consider Mordaunt-Short Performance speakers because months ago the MS Performance 5.1 AV package (2 floorstanders, 2 standmounts, 1 center and 1 sub) cost me about USD18,000 and we had better options at this price range. However, perhaps because the way I approached the distributor and the dealer yesterday (they probably thought we were some famed audiophiles), they gave me a special discount - they asked for USD8,000, some 80% discount, for the whole 5.1 Performance package (latest limited midnight black edition, 100% brand new and sealed, A-stock). This authorized dealer is listed on the Mordaunt-Short website and is very reputable locally. If you are really interested in this package, perhaps visiting Hong Kong will be your Easter holiday activity as you can save USD10,000 (in the US I think the package also retails for USD18,000). The air tickets, hotel expense and freight cost etc shouldn't cost you anything near USD10,000. It's a real bargain. They gave us 2 weeks to consider this special offer. Tempted?