Hi AVS. Some of you have asked for my impressions of the SAM1. I didn't want to do so without posting full context of my room and the overall experience. Here we go...BACKGROUND
When I began my speaker hunt 6 months ago, I originally wanted to fill a large room (becuase I will move in the next year). My budget for a LCR was around $6000 and I spoke to almost every major ID brand. While measuring my room, I learned that my previous setup had a significant peaks <40 and ~100hz followed by a strong dip. Heck, every speaker that I demo’d in my room shared similar response graph’s (some worse than others of course). It seemed that the ‘bigger the speaker’ (or the deeper it could play) the boomier it would sound in my room. I eventually decided against buying a set for the “future room”. The risks were just too high if the new set failed to fill my new living room, or if they were damaged in the move. I decided on getting a LCR set for a smaller room that can be moved around my new home as needed. The budget was also reduced to <$3000.CURRENT SPACE
My current space was powered by Aperion 6T setup with no subs. The living room has awkward dimensions at roughly 20x10 with the llistening area is squeezed into half of it. Overall the room is pretty bare with the exceptions of curtains and a rug. The sofa is 8” from a rear and side wall. The left speaker is tucked in the corner. The L/R speakers sit about 8” from the front wall. The wall adjacent to the left speaker is made of brick, while the other are are old-sheet-rock that crumble when you tap it. The floors are creaky and resonate easily. The room is a acoustic nightmare but in-line with most apartments in NYC. The room has limited in placement options for dedicated subwoofer(s). The two obvious locations are not ideal: To the left of the home theater (by the brick wall), or directly underneath one of the two front bookshelf speakers. The right side of my room is off limits because of the shape of the room, and the fact that my neighbor will complain. I could have went with two subs as speaker stands but that would have eaten up my budget.REQUIREMENTS
I wanted a speaker that could handle both HT and MUSIC in my pretty small living space. Music reproduction is very important to me because my father is a DJ/Musician. I grew up in a household where music was played almost all day-every day. Heck - I’ve been in clubs, studios, and venues long before I even hit my teens. I’m also into movies/video games so multi purpose was key here. My Bluray collection that spans over 300 titles. Unfortunately, living in a apartment I can't have too much bass below 30hz.IMPRESSIONS
When I received my first set of M1’s, I was shocked by the weight of the packages and the size of these things. They are much larger in person than they look in photos @ 17"H x 10"W x 12"D and 50+lbs. Unfortunately, one of the woofers arrived damaged. AJ quickly filed a claim with Fedex and sent off a new pair within 3 days.FIT AND FINISH
The piano finish enclosure is flawless, the woofers are mounted perfectly with no visible screws or jagged cut outs. I originally wanted some type of wood finish on the front baffle but that option wasn't ready yet. AJ offered to stain the original baffle ‘chocolate’ (free of charge) and the outcome was a nice matte dark grey/brown finish. It fit into my decor and provided a subtle contrast between the black stands and woofers. It also reduced the amount of reflections coming from the LCD TV. A great touch. The TC Sounds driver has a dark-grey logo in the middle (which isnt as apparent as it is in the photos in real life). I thought it would be a problem, but in my room it's hard to notice.SOUND IMPRESSIONS (L/R)
In terms of sound quality - the M1’s hit the nail on the head. These were some of the cleanest sounding speakers to ever grace my apartment. The KEF driver is a special. The treble is very smooth, detailed, and far from harsh. The speakers on/off-axis performance is great. The sweet spot feels as wide as my full sized sofa. I can now listen to music far off to the other side of my apartment without having to crank it up as loud to hear the details. ‘Room filling’ is the best way to describe the sound.
I opted for the “TC Sounds” driver to handle bass duties. This driver features almost double the linear displacement of the standard M1 sub. I wanted a bit more oomph for movies. Overall the bass is fantastic and it's able to play deeper than all of the towers I’ve owned. The most notable feature is the ability to tune each sub using the plate amp. With the help of Room EQ Wizard I was able to reduce most of the boominess in my room (specially the speaker tucked in the corner). The result wasn't perfect (EQ doesn't solve everything!), but it was as close as I could get based on my rooms limitations.
]THE CENTER CHANNEL
The center channel that AJ cooked up is also a monster at 20"w x 8"h. It features the same KEF coax driver as the M1, but with two flanking high excursion 6.5” woofers.The center plays quite deep as my receiver crossed them at 60hz. I made sure to decouple it from the TV stand using 1” open cell foam in the front, and half a inch open cell foam in the back (so that its angled upward a bit). The most notable difference (once again) is the fact that I can listen at lower volumes now with improved clarity. I typically movies at -10db with Dynamic Volume on light (or medium) and it sounds great.FIN
I wrote too much about my rooms limitations, but the reality is that the room was just as important/relevant as the speakers themselves. Overall, I’m extremely impressed (and surprised) by the setup. A great value at <$2k for LCR. AJ and I exchanged over 418 e-mails
during the sales and setup process - he definitely went above and beyond Cheers!