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PMC Twenty 23 - An Open, Engaging And Communicative Loudspeaker

2/5/2014 4:57:51 PM
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Next to some other speakers at this price, the Twenty 23s seem a little small. These slender two-way floor-standers look like they’d be eaten alive by beefier competitors. And yet they can teach many rivals a thing or two.

It will convey every ounce of emotion in a recording

It will convey every ounce of emotion in a recording

Of course, simple physics dictates that a slim cabinet containing just one 14cm mid/bass driver and a 25mm tweeter will never match its rivals in pure volume levels and deep bass reach.

That said, the combination of a high-quality doped-paper mid/bass driver and PMC’s transmission-line bass-loading technique means the Twenty 23s aren’t a million miles away – and surprisingly capable in both respects.

In our 5.5m x 4.5m listening room, we never feel left wanting. Their design might not immediately give away the premium price tag in the same way the Tannoy Precision 6.4s do and they might not be able to compete with the scale and power of the SVS Ultra Towers, but instead the Twenty 23s wow us by just being beautifully balanced.

Dynamic and entertaining

Play Elephant by Them Crooked Vultures and the fast-paced guitar intro is relayed with bite and attack, but also with well-judged tonality and a strong sense of refinement. Notes are well formed, the treble is handled well and the song charges along with a confident sense of rhythm. Even when things get busy, every instrument knows its place.

they can teach many rivals a thing or two

They can teach many rivals a thing or two

Dynamically the Twenty 23s never hold back either and you can really hear the peaks and troughs within a piece: the stops and the starts; the quiet as it builds into loud and back down again. It’s precise, yet organic, and never feels false or overdone. There’s a large, well-focused soundstage too.

Surprising bass for their size

Strip down to something more vocal based, like Emeli Sande’s Clown, and you’ll hear just how expressive and articulate the PMCs’ midrange is. There stacks of detail up for grabs here, and you can be sure that the 23s will convey every ounce of emotion in a recording.

There’s a surprising amount of punch to the low end and, while bass lovers might feel short-changed given the performance of some larger competitors, the 23s’ low-frequency performance is still splendidly fast, tight and detailed.

That’s in no small part down to the transmission-line design – a technique used by a handful of companies to improve bass performance. It takes the rear output from the mid/bass driver and forces it through a damped path within the cabinet. The higher frequencies are mostly absorbed en route, leaving the lowest notes to exit the speaker at the bottom of its front panel, augmenting the driver and boosting the speaker’s bass power in the process.

There could be more weight, and the 23s can’t quite compete with larger peers for scale, but we’d pass up a bit of heft to get a compact design that’s laid-back on placement and easier to make space for.

The Twenty 23s are proof that you should never judge a book by its cover. Yes, there are more impressive-looking speakers at this price – with better specification sheets, to boot – but when it’s performance that matters, these double Award-winning floor-standers speak for themselves.

The Twenty 23s are proof that you should never judge a book by its cover.

The Twenty 23s are proof that you should never judge a book by its cover.

Rating

For: Beautifully balanced; exciting, refined sound; expressive and articulate; unfussy on placement and easy to match; compact design.

Against: Lack the scale of larger rivals.

Verdict: These superb floor-standers still show award-winning qualities against newer rivals.

Specifications

·         Sensitivity: 87 db/w/m

·         Finishes: 4

·         Dimensions: 92 x 15 x 23 cm

·         Impedance: 8 ohms

·         Max power: 200W

 

 
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