Kens speakers have graced my living room for many years under the branding of M&K and they were with the K15s, K5s, 851s S85s and then finally moving on to the legendary M&K S150THX L/C/R with CS29 Column Surrounds which I still have to this day and in my system now.
They have mastered many films in the industry and his Timeline shows just how great the man is when it comes to designing speakers and subs, and no one else can imitate him as he has the credentials and no one else that is for sure.When I first heard that the new speakers were going to feature a quad array of tweeters per speaker I knew then that obviously these were clean sheet designs and this was the next generation of speakers that were entering the speaker world, yes we have seen the three tweeter array in the S150 but never a quad array so this was something special, and each tweeter individually having its own crossover so that imaging would be of course spot on and to match the 5 inch mid woofers.
On arrival each box is boxed within a box so they are very well cared for, so that no damage would come to them in transit, this is then repeated with a lovely black cloth bag with the Ken Kreisel logo imprinted on it, so each speaker is packaged in one of these unique and I would say sort after by any designer shopaholic, each speaker is then covered in cellophane to protect the beautiful gloss black finish and the tweeters are covered again to protect them by some card and cellophane, so it is quite an achievement once unwrapped and unpacked !
The Centre speaker is unique in that it has its own cradle to sit in when rested on your AV stand and is quite nicely balanced once in place and because of the weight it is certainly not moving anywhere, the Left and Right speakers do have dedicated stands which are an additional 600 euro but you must consider that they are approx. 700mm tall which will place them quite high, so I went with custom stands to place the L & R speakers on.
For the purpose of this review I am using the KK Q125s with a Denon AVR4520 which is Denons top of the range AVR but I know that the Q125s can take more power or should I say better amplification, saying that the Denon is no slouch when it comes to powering them and will suffice. They are also partnered with a DUO of KK DXD808s which I will be reviewing separately, but are the perfect partner for such excellent speakers.
The cabinets are so solid and acoustically dead, so there is no colouration in sound that the moving drivers create, this is the perfect cabinet design for a speaker as you get exactly what the speakers produce and that is a sound which is absolutely natural in presentation that I would say the speakers err on the side of completely Neutral.
One problem that I always did find with the S150s was that there was a slight colouration in sound due to the cabinets own resonance which was noticeable and at higher volumes.Thankfully there is not a hint of this with the Q125s they are just exquisite in there reproduction of audio and with the way they are angled inwards towards the listener you get a very focused but wide soundstage, in fact the soundstage is quite staggering in size that it portrays for movies with a real wrap around the sides affect and blending in with surrounds beautifully, and puts you right into the middle of the film in a good action flick.But on to what this is all about and that is the critical listening and with Music and Movies, first off we will start with Music.Music A good friend on the forum and colleague Jase recommended to me a new band by the name of London Grammar, now I have never heard this band before and this was my first listen to them and their new album If You Wait,the lead singer has a great and powerful voice and the Q125s set up in stereo mode streaming from myHDDinFlac44.1khzwith the crossover set at 80hz, they sounded awesome with stunning imaging and real stereoscopic sound being produced, putting you right in the middle of the rendition, vocals were as clear as could possibly be and I come from listening to High end Hi-Fi speakers, from the likes of ProAc & Wilson Benesch so am used to good Hi Fidelity and can tell the difference when something does not sound quite right, but the Ken Kreisel speakers do not put a foot wrong in stereo mode and really do sound just as good as any high end speaker I have had the pleasure of listening to, they are just so neutral in their presentation that they do not add anything nor do they take anything away from the recordings, in fact with the 4 tweeter array they give one of the most powerful renditions that I have heard, in my room to date, really incredible stuff!
Now I want to repeat this so I now want to choose a recording that I am familiar with so I am going with an album which I love, Sara K and Made in the Shade, she reminds me of Joni Mitchell with her sweet vocals and beautiful guitar playing this is a great album and should really show me if the KK Q125s can do Hi-Fi properly, thankfully everything is handled perfectly and this recording is a High Resolution 24bit 96khz so the quality is very good, I also wanted to see how well the integration was with the Q125s and DXD808s and there is a track in the album called Aura Of The Blade where the bass guitar starts to reach low and can trip up a combination which is not up to the job but thankfully the KK played it beautifully with lovely integration between the Q125s and subs, this is an amazing album and being played on some amazing speakers!
Again I am presented with such a faithful rendition of the recording that you would really think that they were full range speakers.I have the Sara K recording also in Multichannel High Resolution Audio so I put that on too, and was wowed at the immense sound stage, but then again I was also quite pleased with the results of just the stereo pair and sub as it showed just how well they could perform, without having to go 5.1 and just using a stereo recording was an amazing experience also, adding the centre brought a more powerful and entertaining recording in HD and some great bass too handled by the DUO of 808s.I have been dreaming about this day when I could get some Kreisel speakers back in my house that sound this good with music and finally this day has come, so I sit here grinning like the cat that got the cream, well I certainly have here, and the cream is the Q125s !
Another great album is the The Jazz Side Of The Moon by Sam Yahel, this album is superb with a lot of snare drums showing off the mid bass drivers in the Q125s and what they are capable of, as although a lot of attention is paid to quad tweeter array these drivers are just as important at making it a great speaker or not, and they are just as quick and snappy as needed creating the cohesion between drivers seamless and just a laid back affair of relax and enjoy the music!
MoviesNow on to movies which is what a Left, Centre and Right channel and mainly used for these days and the odd TV if it takes your fancy, for movies I have chosen one which is absolutely brilliant for sound quality and that is the new Tom Cruise Film Oblivion which really does show off a good system if you just happen to have one, and in this case fully kitted out with a Ken Kreisel 5.1 affair it most certainly is a good system.
The main concern to most people with movies and in general is that the centre handles nearly 80% of what is going on in a film and the rest are just there to prop it up and for effects which in most cases they are correct, but when you have a KK system, the centre speaker is Crystal Clear and Dynamically one of the best in the industry, being able to handle transients that are short and blast out so loud that you really need speakers like the Q125s which are meant to take a beating like Oblivion gives, there is scene where one of the space Pods scans a cave from left to right and the bass and upper frequencies that the speakers are creating you really feel like you have just been zapped by one of the pods instead, it is quite shockingly realistic, and then in an instant it stops.This is what Ken is good at movies and that is why some of the best films have been mixed using Kreisel speakers because of their accuracy.Another film which was great fun watching on the Q125was the Conjuring now this is a Horror film based on True events apparently, nonetheless this film is and has one of the best scores to its credit and makes the film scarier, this is where the Quattros come into their own by creating such a massive soundstage at the front and literally the sound moves down the sides the effect of the L&R speakers are that good, so they join up with the rears giving you the full wrap around surround sound, noises appear to creaking and coming from above it really is a spooky and creepy atmosphere that the speakers create, and then suddenly huge transients are created for a bang and effects. It has to be one of the scariest films I have ever seen and made all that more real by the KK Q125s speakers, giving the film the necessary sound to make it scary, if you took away the sound the film alone would not probably be as scary but as package it all comes together.World War Zis another film that I have enjoyed while reviewing the Q125s, it is a mass apocalypse where the world is coming to an end by the way of a disease which changes people into Zombies, yes zombies, it is a big blockbuster flick and is actually quite good and has some very good audio too to make the film all that more enjoyable, the way in which the Quattros handle the dynamic score is just so much fun, they really are at home with big blockbuster films and can stretch their legs and show you how it supposed to be done, I think a film is not worth watching unless it is on a Kreisel speaker system as you just do not get the same results, I mean I watched this with my ProAcs as an example, and the soundstage seemed flat in comparison, whereas with the Quattros in place the soundstage has opened up and is huge in comparison, it is quite an eye opening experience indeed.Conclusion
It was quite clear to me that the Ken Kreisel speakers are not just any AV speaker but a very talented speaker from one of the most talented speaker designers in the industry and these speakers represent a massive jump in Kens Timeline, as he has clearly brought us bang up to date and into the 21stCentury with the Quattros that is the Q125s.The only negative point that I could possibly make is that you need a very good subwoofer to compliment the Q125s but I do not really see that as a problem as he has the answer there to, and they are the new DXD12012 or in my case for this review a DUO of DXD808s, which I will be reviewing very soon so watch this space.