Friday, 30 September 2016

PMC twenty5 24 - Enhanced Its Punchiness, Musicality and Clarity


Looks good ey in my living room? Looks are not just what these new PMC twenty5.24 speakers are good at. When I reviewed the twenty.26 last year and purchased the twenty.23, I thought PMC cannot do any better than that. I was wrong. Read on folks.


I first heard these new twenty.5 series a few months ago when it first landed in Malaysia. That was in AV Designs. At that time, I already could hear the difference from my twenty.23 speakers with respect to the LF extension. Then came the KLIAV show in July where these babies were given my personal Best Digital based set up and won awards from AV2day.com. A couple of months later (early Sep), these babies landed in my living room for full home review. AV Designs crew is as professional as ever, arriving on time as promised and they immediately started to unpack the beast. Being familiar with my home and set up, all was done in 15 mins. The first view of them in my house, made my jaw dropped. Sleek and sexy looking.






MAIN PHYSICAL CHANGES twenty vs twenty5

  1. Biwire/triwire vs single wire
  2. Plinth at bottom vs outriggers
  3. Foam vs Laminair front ports
  4. Slightly less in height but increased in width
  5. Heavier by 2 kg
EQUIPMENT USED
  1. Musical Fidelity M6i integrated amp
  2. Sony HAP Z1ES Hi Res HDD player (Siltech Classic Anniversary 330L XLR cable)
  3. Lenco L78 TT 
  4. Musical Fidelity M1 ViNL phono stage (Gotham IC)
  5. Speaker cable - Vermouth Audio The Black Pearl
TRACKS
  1. Azzura - Paco De Lucia (LP)
  2. Percussion from KOGA Audio Sampler (CD)
  3. Lompat Si Katak Lompat - Kombo RTM (LP)
  4. My Hero - Foo Fighters (WAV File)
  5. David Elias - Rodeo on A Ridge (DSD)
  6. Whiskey In The Jar - Metallica (WAV)
THE SESSION

Speakers of this caliber deserves long hours of testing. By the time the formal session was done, the speakers have seen approximately 500 hours of play time. For those who are familiar with my review approach, the sessions were done in a few different occasion and time, mainly for me to confirm that the attributes I hear from this speakers are indeed consistent.

Azzura

Playing Azzura, the guitar plucking sounds vibrant but it delivers the mellowness of the track. When it goes into faster tempo in the middle of the track, the 24s hits out to the listener with a very open but energetic and forceful guitar strumming. It created that intensity that Paco would want listeners to build up their mood to. One thing for sure, these known for bass speakers do not compromise on the highs and mid notes as well. The sliding of fingers across the guitar strings and frets can be heard clearly. Just show how detail the 24s can deliver. 


Percussion and Wind

This is an excellent track that has a good mixture of percussion and those vibrato wind instrument. The introduction of the track with the percussion kicking in was really punchy. Somehow, I feel that with the Laminair, it gives a more extended low end notes, spreading the impact in a bigger spatial sense. Its even more enveloping compare to the previous twenty series. The wind instrument also sounded more airy and gives out a bigger soundstaging. Mix them together, the 24s gives a big enveloping musical experience throughout my listening area. No matter where you sit, either on the side sofas or front facing seats, the overall musicality can be heard and experience.

Lompat Si Katak Lompat

This track has become on my favourite jazz track to test new hifi equipment. Purely for its artistic arrangement and excellent recording from the 70s I believe. Its actually just based on local Malay children nursery rhyme. Its like Mancini of Malaysia. The 24s unleashed a very entertaining sound for this track. Again, giving that bigger sound stage that compliments that rich bass notes. Although PMC speakers are well known for its muscular and rich bass, these 24s do not lack in delivering melodious highs with no sign of fatigue. Mids are also quite sweet but not as sweet at the twenty.26 I reviewed last year. Having that mid driver does make the 26s a better overall performer.



My Hero

Now, lets give the 24s a real run for the money. This track is one of my favourite track to test bass delivery. Even with the complex drumming, the 24s managed to clearly reproduce each kick pedal beat with ease. No sign of muddled low end notes. At the same time, Grohl's vocal and guitar riffs sounded raw and forceful, creating that overall angst but melodious track that it intended to. However, at times it does sound that all instrument just merged together and gives out that 'blanket' flat sound. To me this is more how the track was recorded and not due to the 24s not able to keep up with the speed and accuracy. There is something from the Laminair design that reproduces the bass in a more exciting tone compare to the previous twenty series. Hard thumping impact but still digs deep in the low end notes.
  


David Elias with Rodeo on A Ridge

Playing DSD files is reaaaaallly enjoyable with the 24s. This to me was the highlight of my time with the 24s. Its not a complex song. Mellow. Guitars, bass and vocals. Each bass note is clearly audible while the separation of guitars were also evident between the lead and rhythm. And the vocal..... hhhmmm... clarity at its best with a very deep emphasize on reproducing the emotion. The 24s just reproduce the track with a perfect blend of musicality. The overall ambient was still leaning towards a warm and big soundstage without loosing any of the required bass frequency. This type of song or recording really needs speakers that do not loose the importance of the bass notes to create that overall enveloping musical experience.


Whiskey In The Jar

The last track is the uptempo Metallica's rendition of Whiskey in The Jar. Again, a heavy genre like this, the 24s did not lack in reproducing its famous bass kicks from Lars's kick pedal. Most times, listeners ignore the importance of a good reproduction of bass in the listening experience. Too much of it, it can create fatigue. Too little, there is no life in the music. The 24s produced that 'just right' element of bass that gels nicely with the overall track. Even for a track like this that most audiophiles dont listen to, these 24s are not shy to belt out that metal friendly capability to give headbangers a good experience in this genre. James, vocal sounded deep in its growls creating a very entertaining experience.

CONCLUSION

When PMC introduced any new design, it comes with a solid engineering behind it. Laminair is basically taken from principle of air flow in aerodynamics. It reminded me of my college days where I spent countless hours in a wind tunnel test facility to design that 'perfect' air flow for a fuselage and wing models. PMC Laminair definitely gives out a bigger and extended bass experience by enhancing the airflow. But, I never doubted that PMC is best at this. What put a smile on my face was the fact that the 24s produced an overall enveloping musicality experience with a high level of clarity and that deep diving low end notes. Just musically enjoyable. The only limiting factor would be.... my listening room. I feel that these 24s... deserve a much more serious listening room, bigger in area and more room to breathe.

Laminair works big time. It enhances the previous twenty series to a different level. My question to PMC, can it get any better than this?

PMC twenty5 series (21, 23, 24 and 26) are now available in AV Designs for demo and purchase. This twenty5.24 are retailing at RM27,000 per pair. Contact Tony or James for a demo.

Audio Visual Designs Sdn Bhd
Unit M-W-1, Mezzanine Floor,
West Wing, Rohas Perkasa,
No.9, Jalan P. Ramlee,
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Tel: +603-2171 2828
Fax: +603-2171 2825
Email: sales@avdesigns.com.my

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