Meyer Sound X-10 Powered Loudspeakers Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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Meyer Sound X-10 Powered Loudspeakers Review

Meyer Sound X-10 Powered Loudspeakers Review

By: Jerry Del Colliano

Are they really that good?

In the world of audiophila, when it comes to the absolute best speaker money can buy there is great debate. Are the Wilson Alexandrias better than the JM Labs Grand Utopias or should you seek out an older pair of MartinLogan E2's? Well, if you ask a recording engineer or someone who owns a mastering lab what are the best speakers money can buy - you might get a very different answer than you are looking for. They might just say Meyer Sound X-10's. Who is Meyer Sound you ask? They are a Berkeley, California-based professional loudspeaker company known best for their ultra-high-end and ultra-powerful horn-loaded sound reinforcement speakers.

Meyer Sound has been in business for 30 years now, yet have practically zero presence in the world of consumer audio for a number of reasons. For starters, Meyer Sound's studio series of speakers are powered or "active" which is a concept that inexplicably freaks audiophiles out. Somehow the lure of changing electronics and cables is more appealing than having an engineer perfectly match power amplification to the unique needs of a speaker system. A hatred for powered speakers is something that is likely not going to change for audiophiles, but it is changing for music lovers and people with dedicated home theaters - specifically large ones. Meyer Sound doesn't market to the consumers one iota and Meyer Sound speakers are butt-ugly as compared to even the lowest grade finishes in the consumer market. These are speakers made by engineers for engineers. There is nothing appealing about Meyer Sound X-10s. That is until you turn them on and listen.

The Meyer Sound X-10 is a squarish speaker (30H x 31W x 21.5D) designed primarily for studio use and priced starting at $30,000 a pair with options and modifications that can make them much more expensive. They are powered with multiple amplifiers, with a total output of 1820 Watts per speaker. They come with an insanely robust 15 inch driver that has an even more insane four inch excursion. The reported frequency response is 18Hz to about 20kHz. On the high end the Meyer Sound X-10's use a horn tweeter which I urge you not to draw any conclusions on. I too do not traditionally like a horn tweeter's stereotypical sound, but the Meyer Sound X-10's are different. They are very different. Meyer Sound's SIM system allows acousticians arguably the best, most powerful tools to tune these speakers to your room. Along with Meyer Sound X-10's you might use a Meyer Sound CP-10 analog parametric equalizer as well as one or two (or more) of their X800 subwoofers to create an entire speaker system - not that you "need" more bass than 20 Hz, but "need" at HomeTheaterReview.com is a loosely defined term.

Sonically, the Meyer Sound X-10's kick the hell out of nearly every consumer speaker in the market in term of dynamics and power. They play more loudly. They play more clearly. And they have better bass than nearly any consumer speaker money can buy. I couldn't disagree with you that they are an odd shape and that they do not have industrial design by Jonathan Ive or Pininfarina, but if you cue up a good recording of a drum kit - there is no one speaker more capable of reproducing the explosive, resolute power of the instrument than the Meyer Sound X-10's. Blast a shotgun from a movie with an HD soundtrack via Blu-ray and you might reasonably check to see if you have been shot. Where many high end speakers shine best with string quartets and more modest musical compositions - the Meyer Sound X-10s thrive on complicated material. You can play car crash movie scenes in DTS Master Audio at 120 dB all day long without a hint of fatigue, fade or loss of resolution. Play Stravinsky's Firebird Suite or Mahler's Tenth at full orchestral levels while listening in a Le Corbusier chair and make your own Maxell ad.

The physical looks of the Meyer Sound X-10s also freak out audiophiles and rightfully so. While a hardcore audiophile end user could put X-10 on stands and just suck it up - where most consumer end users use Meyer Sound X-10's are for installations behind a perforated video screen. The X-10's can cut through a perf or woven screen like a hot knife through butter. Most professional applications have the speakers built into cabinets or mounted off the floor. Many times Meyer Sound's smaller HD-1 speakers are placed on top of the mixing board for nearfield use. With the increasing popularity of in-wall and hidden speaker applications, the Meyer Sound X-10 makes more and more sense. If you are in the market for Wilson Audio, KEF, Sonus faber or JM Labs speakers - you are paying for and should expect the finish. The Meyer Sound X-10s offer none of those niceties. It's like getting your McLaren supercar in flat black. You know what you have and you don't need to show it off to others.

High Points
- No consumer speaker plays as loudly and as dynamically as the Meyer Sound X-10's.
- They are a powered speaker (see below) with over 1,800 Watts of power per speaker.
- Meyer Sound's horn driver is the best I've ever heard. It doesn't sound "honky" like a horn whatsoever. You must not audition these with preconceived notions about horn speakers, which is a lot to ask - but I am asking it anyway.
- The setup equipment and tuning system is cutting edge. The chances that you are going to get the best possible physical sound in your room when using a Meyer Sound X-10 is higher than other, more consumer oriented speakers. Professional tuning is highly recommended.
- Meyer Sound X-10s work for movie applications perfectly even when behind a screen.

Low Points
- The Meyer Sound X-10s are just about the lamest looking speaker I have ever seen in terms of industrial design. Even Genelec (another professional speaker company that makes very good powered speakers) gets some design cues into their products. Meyer Sound is a stubborn, engineering-driven company which sells speakers to professionals who don't care about looks as much as sound - which is not your typical audiophile value proposition. If you need "audio jewelry," look for other speakers.
- The X-10's are powered. That freaks out audiophiles because they often think they know better than the engineers who worked specifically to power these speakers. At the same time if these are to ever be consumer speakers (perhaps in a different, more appealing cabinet) Meyer Sound could offer the ability to bypass the internal amps for other more tweaky amps. Audiophiles would have a field day with that and it would be smart marketing, assuming Meyer Sound cares to market to the consumer or CEDIA installers at all.

Conclusion
The Meyer Sound X-10 is the biggest sleeper pick in the world of high end loudspeakers on the market today. Coming out of the world of pro audio, you get none of the sex appeal of a traditional high end speaker but all of the studio-grade power, reliability and finesse from a truly full range speaker that can literally rock your world in ways no other speaker can. In terms of ultimate value, the Meyer Sound X-10s are cheap compared to the ultimate level speakers in the market today. If you want to sink your high end speaker dollars into a system that does nothing but rock your world - then look no further than the Meyer Sound X-10. You might need to book some studio time or make a trip to Berkeley, California to hear them, but along with lunch at Chez Panisse - it will be worth your while. The Meyer Sound X-10 is one of the most incredible performing loudspeakers money can buy on the market today from a brand you likely never have heard of before.

Chrisy

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jm labs , martinlogan , meyer sound , meyer sound x-10 , sim tuning system , studio speakers , wilson audio

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