This is not a full review of the XdS, but some early comments/impressions of my setup.My setup:
- NHT XdS satellites (4 of them but using just 2 for now)
- Behringer DCX2496 digital crossover and equalizer
- Linksys DMA2100 (MCE extender)
- Yamaha v663 (temporary)
- Polk Audio RTi10*
The RTi10 are from my existing setup.
They served double duty in this test:
1. as full range speakers to compare the XdS against
2. as mid-bass for the XdS (frequencies below 151hz since my custom mid-bass modules are not ready yet)Amplification:
I wish I could have used my two NHT Power 2 amps (200w/ch), but an integrated amp works best for this setup (volume control reasons).
I should have a new integrated amp (7ch and 110w/ch) in next week.
I knew when buying the XdS that they lacked in the mid-bass.
This was confirmed during my auditioning.
As stated, I am building my own custom mid-bass to make up for this deficiency.
However, those mid-bass modules are not yet ready.
So, I used the RTi10 as mid-bass to the XdS.
Before anyone looks down upon this, note that it worked wonderfully after adjusting for time delay and placement.The configuration:
- Digital out from the DMA2100 into the DCX2496
- Analog out from DCX2496 into the Y-663 (multi-channel in)
- The crossover (Linkwitz-Riley) points were at 151hz and 2.35khz with a 48dB slope on both LP and HP.
- The front channels on the Y-663 amplified frequencies from 151hz and below, the surround channels-> frequencies up to 2.35khz, and the SB channels-> 2.35khz and up.
I tried moving the lower crossover point from 151hz to 200hz, but the sound became lifeless.
Moving the lower crossover point to 110hz made the speakers lose their clarity, and they turned muddy.
Setting it at 151hz was just right.
Similarly, a crossover slope less than 48dB had an immediate discernible negative effect on sound clarity.
In all, when the speakers are crossed at the right points with a steep enough slope, they behave remarkably well.Listening:
I first listened to the XdS by themselves (without using the RTi10 as mid-bass).
Vocal tracks sounded as transparent as a speaker can get (at least I think).
Without using fancy adjectives, we will just call this: clarity.
I define clarity as undistorted and well articulated sound.
This clarity was maintained even at high volume levels.
In comparison, I could detect some distortions with the RTi10 in the higher ranges at times but never with the XdS.
With no EQ, the speakers are very neutral with a slight edge (55/45) on being bright (mostly from the mid-bass deficiency and the tweeters being right at ear level).
This is fairly good, as one can easily EQ to taste.Integration:
As mentioned, I integrated the XdS with the RTi10 to see how they would sound in a full range setup (albeit an unconventional one).
I was shocked at how well the integration went since the configuration was a bit frankenstein'ish.
Not only that, it proved quite flexible as far as placement to achieve the most favorable bass output and mid-range imagery.
I have heard of people saying that the full tower design was a thing of a compromise at time.
I have to say that I now agree.
I had initially thought I would have localization issues by not having everything as a vertical array and crossing as high as 151hz.
No such thing!
Everything blended in, and I was not able to localize the bass.
This is encouraging since I am building the mid-bass as independent modules (2x 7 inch woofers in each module).
Doing an A/B test between the integrated XdS + RTi10 vs the RTi10 full range was surprisingly easy with my configuration (single remote click). What I still don't like:
Crossing the XdS at 151hz means that it is still handling a good part of the mid-bass.
As such, the mid-bass weakness is not perfectly addressed.
Relaxing the slope on the HP of the lower crossover point leads to some harmonics (mostly off-axis dispersion) and localization issues (I am going to retry and play with placement).
Frankly, I think to cross higher than 151hz, I would have to mount everything in a vertical array, which is something I don't want to do.
Otherwise, off-axis dispersion issues are going to be even more pronounced.
Anyway, these are again some quick comments/impressions.
I will play with the setup some more and report back.