Originally Posted by Karl Maga
I didn’t realize I was an early recipient. I guess I owe it to the club to give them a thorough listening to and to report thereafter.
One should take into account when reading what follows that I have only had my M126Be's playing for a couple hours. Here are my first impressions.
The electronics are: Mark Levinson No. 536 mono blocs, No. 523 preamp, Bel Canto 2.7 DAC and REFStream.
I'm not experienced in verbalizing impressions of auditory queues, but I will make some effort. Also, it is hard for me not to make comparative comments relative to my Salon2's.
These small speakers do not sound small! The imaging is expansive, with no indication of physical stature. The bass is surprisingly robust, but not so much that it defies the smaller cabinet and driver. Don't take this to mean that bass is missing - it is not. It sounds good, full. The bass is a bit lacking in mass, for lack of a better term. It does not sound like my Ultima Salon2's. Nor should one expect it to.
What I heard impresses me, especially given the price and size of these little guys.
All music was 24bit. I started with CSN's Sweet Judy Blue Eyes but was called to dinner on the intercom (also known as a mobile phone) within the first minute. I quickly added Deep Purple's Machine Head to the queue and headed to the mess hall. When I returned, the last couple minutes of Smoke on the Water were playing. I didn't listen critically but took note that the sound was "excellent".
On the third track "Pictures of Home", there is a brief bass solo that I noted sounded very clean and well resolved. The drivers are typical Revel: distortion free and articulate. This bass riff sounded pleasant, effective. So now I'm grooving and thinking that these speakers rock. Oh yes.
I skipped to "Lazy", and noted that the organ was effortlessly portrayed with full weight and nimble transients of each note. The sound stage continued to be appropriately expansive and not appearing to emanate from the speakers - just like a good pair of speakers should sound.
I then played Mark Knopflers "Our Shangri-La" from his Shangri-LA LP. I use this song a lot when critically listening because, well, I really like it, and more importantly, because it is well recorded and mastered. The intro involves a couple of organ notes, and then a rhythmic kick drum and electric bass guitar. This kick drum is superbly recorded and affords the opportunity to hear how clearly a system plays both the fine, small sounds like the displacement of air by the felt hammer, and of the felt of the hammer striking the drum skin. This is immediately followed by the fullness of the drum sound and the electric bass note. To say I was floored is an understatement, the M126Be's sounded much larger than they are. There was nothing missing in this brief segment of music, nor in the remainder of this song. In other music when the bass gets heavier, you will discover the M126Be's limitations, but up to that point their bass is delightful.
I also use this song to observe spacial depth. Knopfler harmonizes with himself in the chorus, which provides an opportunity to observe the ability of the electronics and speakers to present separation between his voices. In the past, I have noted a marked improvement in this separation when I went from B&W 800D2's to the Revel Ultima Salon2's, from ATI 6007 amp to ML No. 536 amps, and when introducing the No. 523. In each change, the improvement was readily discernible, with the Salon2 and the No. 523 being the most efficacious. I mention all this because these factors are the basis for the majority of my impression of the M126Be's. The M126Be's provided some separation, on par with the 800 D2's, but not close to the Salon2's. Lest you think I am saying the M126Be's are comparable to the B&W 800D2's, let me clearly state they are not, in some meaningful ways.
I continued on with Fleetwood Mac "You Make Loving Fun" from Rumours, because it's a well recorded and fun rocker. The M126Be's delivered an ejoyable experience, easily conveying the melody, rhythm and energy of this song.
I could happily listen to these at length as my main speakers if this is where my means or priorities led me to. But for me, these are meant to be rear surrounds, and that is where I will deploy them, on stands.
They are nice looking speakers, though you can readily find images and decide for yourself what you think. Mine are in gloss black, just like my Ultima2's.
Next I will be connecting them to my ATI 6007 so that I can observe what they sound like with an amp more suited to them financially, though I would never buy the ATI Signature 6000 for a pair of these. I'd likely look at the ATI N-core amps if I were deploying an array of these PerformaBe speakers.