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XTZ 95.24 Speakers, 95.33 Center, W12.18 Subwoofer

By Jim Wilson (theJman)

The subject of this review is a system from XTZ Sound that consists of their 95.24 bookshelf speakers, 95.33 center and a W12.18 subwoofer. The 95.x speakers and W12.18 subwoofer are positioned near the top of XTZ's North American product line, yet in spite of that the price is still reasonable.

With the exception of the 95.33 center, all of the reviewed products were relatively modest in proportion. The W12.18 subwoofer measures 19.5"x16.5"x19", the 95.24 speakers are 15"x8.5"x12" and the 95.33 center is 8.75"x23.5"x12" (all measurements are HWD and include grills). The 95.x speakers employ a 6.5" midrange -- two in the case of the 95.33 center -- and a true ribbon tweeter. The speakers, center and subwoofer are all bass reflex designs, yet through the use of foam plugs can be configured as acoustic suspension if the owner so chooses.

XTZ Sound is a Swedish ID (Internet Direct) company that is quite well known in Europe, but don't have significant name recognition in the US. A full 5.1 system would retail for $2,660; $280 each for the 95.24 speakers, $440 for the 95.33 center and $1,100 for the W12.18 subwoofer. Not inexpensive by some measures perhaps, but reasonable for what you get sound quality wise.

A 1 year parts and labor warranty is standard on all the reviewed products. Finding information on their in-home trial period proved to be a challenge; the only reference I was able to locate on the website said "you have the right to cancel a purchase within 14 calendar days (but not less than 7 working days) of receipt". That seems to infer a trial period, but don't hold me to that. PayPal is the only payment method currently accepted. Shipping charges are not included in the list price.
[Update: XTZ offers a 3 week in-home trial. The policy itself is located on their main website, which contains additional information. The US specific site referenced earlier is for making purchases in North America.]

In the past I've found the packaging XTZ uses to be average or slightly above average, and that was the case here as well. The speakers and center came single boxed, which everyone knows by now I'm not a fan of. Thankfully everything was cradled in thick 2" soft foam and protected by mylar bags, so it would have taken some very rough handling to cause any damage.

The subwoofer packaging closely mirrored that used by the speakers; single box and molded soft foam top and bottom. However, where mylar bags covered the speakers a cloth bag protected the subwoofer. The grill was wrapped in a separate foam sheet to protect the paint finish of the cabinet. This unit was also packed upside down, so when you tipped the box over to liberate it the subwoofer was already positioned feet down. I'm not certain if that's a matter of course though because this particular one was used at a trade show prior to my review, meaning it had been opened already.

Accessories included with the speakers and center consisted of an owners manual, dime sized rubber stick-on feet and foam plugs for the port(s). The subwoofer included an owners manual and a pair of foam plugs for the ports.

Before starting this review in earnest I feel compelled to divulge the fact that I'm a fan of XTZ. Not a fanboy, as in fawning parasite, but someone who does like what this company sells. I was actually the first person in North America to review an XTZ product -- a W10.16 subwoofer -- when they opened a distribution center outside of Chicago about 3 years ago. I was duly impressed with that 10" sub so I bought a W12.16 for myself and used that for the better part of a year. I've since sold the W12.16 to a person who has enjoyed it immensely, but I recall my time with it fondly. Less than a year ago I bought some 93.21 speakers, which are now in my regular rotation as mains when doing subwoofer reviews (yes, I tend to swap things around - keeps it interesting). The 93.21's are quite nice, and have done nothing but further my appreciation for XTZ products.

Because of my past experiences, both personally and professionally, some may wonder if I'll be able to remain impartial during this review. I shill for no company, so rest assured that my objectivity will not waver. Regular readers know that I have never reviewed any product where I didn't find something to grumble about, and this time will be no exception. The only reason I even mentioned any of this is because of how strongly I feel about full disclosure. XTZ will not receive any preferential treatment whatsoever. With that being said, let me start by voicing a few concerns.

The documentation for the 95.x speakers needs some additional work. I certainly understand English is not the primary language for the vast majority of this world, but if you want to (effectively) sell products in North America at least do a worthwhile translation. XTZ seemingly skipped this step; the presentation is rather choppy, which makes for a difficult read sometimes. There's also a minimal amount of information, with fairly generic tips for installation and placement. Connections and the attenuation jumper (more on that later) are explained, albeit briefly, but greater detail would be helpful.

They did a better job with the documentation for W12.18 subwoofer. Like the speakers there are English and Swedish sections in the manual, but unlike the speakers the translation is much more fluid. It could still use a little polishing up, but for the most part it's pretty good. An example of that would be the explanations given for the switches and dials, which in this case had the appropriate amount of detail. There are even some suggested placement options, along with there respective pluses and minuses, which is a huge benefit for the person who has limited experience in this area.

While I'm bellyaching I might as well bring up my biggest issue with XTZ, their website. It stinks. That might come across as somewhat blunt but it's how I feel. The translation is not complete, the product information is sorely lacking, the format of the pages isn't consistent and the layout is unimpressive. These products deserve better. This is the 21st century and a website is essentially the lifeblood of any ID company. I have lost count of the number of people I've suggested XTZ products to who have been scared off by the inconsistency of their US website. To me that's a terrible shame because this company makes some really nice products. I've addressed that concern with everyone in the company who will listen -- including the CEO -- but thus far little discernible progress has been made in the past few years. I believe it's high time for some changes though, because I imagine they're losing an awful lot of business. There's a reason I spend my own money on XTZ products, and I suspect others would too if they felt more comfortable buying from them. Alright, I'll hop off my soapbox now...

The 95.x speakers (going forward I'll use the generic term 95.x to represent the bookshelf speakers and center combined, otherwise I'll refer to an individual product by its actual model number) have a somewhat unique appearance, and as most of you know by now I like unique. There's a slight taper on the leading and trailing edges of the cabinet which is not quite a full roundover, more like a rolloff instead. On the front side it smoothly transitions to the grill which matches the cabinets contour perfectly, making for a cohesive appearance.

All the 95.x series speakers were covered in a black ash veneer, applied without any flaws whatsoever. White veneer is an option but interestingly there is no gloss paint available. This strikes me as a curious choice given the fact that my 93.21 speakers, which sit below the 95 series in their product hierarchy, are only available with gloss paint. Usually the 'piano' finish is considered the premium one, so you would think that the more expensive speakers would offer it as an option at least. I'm not a proponent of the dust collecting, smeared fingerprint showing, light reflecting high gloss finishes myself -- so I was fine with veneer -- but the market in general seems to like the paint finishes.

The speaker grills are sturdy pieces, constructed from .5" painted MDF and exhibiting no flex whatsoever. The acoustic material appears to be very transparent, but I did notice the speakers sounded a bit more lively sans grill. There are precise contours in the frame for the driver and port(s), ensuring everything fits snugly. Centered along the bottom front XTZ included a small brushed aluminum emblem with the company logo, simultaneously classy and stylish. The grills are held on by rubber-coated magnets, a nice touch, but could be a little stronger because they didn't always jump out of my hand and land on the speaker perfectly centered. A slight nudge was all it took to rectify that, but I would rather they always attach themselves perfectly the first time.

Where the 95.x series speakers really shine though is their drivers, because it's here that XTZ obviously spared no expense. The 6.5" midrange utilizes a polypropylene cone that's electroplated with titanium. Light and rigid is what every speaker should be, and these definitely qualify. Suspended by soft rubber surrounds, and cradled within injection molded metal baskets, these drivers are not the least bit concerned about volume. Push your receivers output to reference level and they simply laugh at your attempt to trip them up. No audible compression or distortion was evident, just an awful lot of rich and delightful sounds. But as impressive as the midranges are it's the tweeters that end up stealing the show.

From the very first time I heard a ribbon tweeter -- oh so many years ago -- it has been my favorite high frequency transducer. Done properly they have more detail and accuracy then anything else, at least to my ears anyway. Being a person obsessed with dynamic range, transient response and precision just cements the inherent benefits of a ribbon tweeter for me, and XTZ nailed it with the 95 series. Crisp without being harsh, alive and vibrant yet not brittle or sharp, these tweeters have nary a flaw. On axis or off they excel. To be honest I could listen to the 95.x speakers all day and never get fatigued. Several times I did pretty much that, with music sessions lasting for hours on end. Never once did I regret the time spent as I wiled away the day.

Constructed from a rosin-aluminum-rosin sandwich, and hardened at 600 degrees, the XTZ ribbon element is a mere 18 microns. For the layperson who doesn't understand how thin that is, myself included, 18 microns equals 0.0007" (just 7/10,000ths of an inch!). Motivated by dual neodymium magnets, and housed in a molded ceramic carbon steel chassis, this tweeter is a remarkable piece of engineering. The end result bears that out too because the high frequencies are magnificent. These speakers do take some time to come into their own though, with the manual recommending 50-100 hours before doing critical listening.

XTZ thoughtfully included the ability to attenuate the tweeters output a full 3dB, just in case anyone might find them a touch too bright (I never did). The adjustment is made via a large U shaped jumper plug on the back of the cabinet; no attenuation when removed, -3dB if it's installed. My 93.21 speakers have the same feature -- even though they use a silk dome tweeter -- but XTZ opted for a toggle switch on those instead, which seems like the more logical choice to me. That way there's nothing to misplace.

All 95.x series speakers can be bi-wired or bi-amped using four hefty binding posts, sized to easily accept banana plugs or large gauge bare wire. The two sets of inputs are linked using substantial brass strips. Nothing about these speakers seems off-the-shelf to me, not even the recessed plastic cups that house the binding posts; they have the XTZ company logo stamped into the lip, making for a nice custom touch. It's obvious these folks spend a lot of time on the details and want to differentiate their products from the competition.

XTZ didn't skimp on the parts they put into the W12.18 subwoofer either. How about a Bang & Olufsen ICEpower Class D amplifier motivating one of the most highly regarded 12" drivers you can get, the extraordinary Peerless XXLS12 (eXtended eXtra Long Stroke). With a foundation like that you almost know it's going to sound good, and it certainly does. The XXLS12 uses an aluminum cone with a thick rubber surround in an 8 spoke cast basket with a double-stacked magnet. The ICEpower amp is rated at 550 watts RMS, in the front of the owners manual anyway; in the Specifications section at the back it says 515 watts. In spite of the B&O pedigree there are a couple of areas that should probably be tweaked.

The Volume Knob only says Min and Max to designate the extremes, with small white dashes at set intervals in between. Not a show-stopper, but not ideal on a subwoofer that costs about $1,100. Less easy to dismiss was the low pass frequency adjustment. Instead of Min and Max it says Low and High, with the familiar white dashes, but for this type of setting precision is far more critical. The intervals really need to be marked with numeric values, otherwise it's a bit of a gamble as to what the setting is. Phase is the same, but at least that dial says 0 and 180 degrees so there is some point of reference.

There are two EQ switches that add a rather hefty 7dB boost centered at either 50Hz (EQ1) or 25Hz (EQ2). I would suggest using the EQ boosts with caution because 7dB is not insignificant, and if not used judiciously you could possibly overdrive the W12.18 during loud or dynamic passages. There's no indication of the Q value unfortunately (Q is essentially what determines how much of the surrounding frequencies are also affected by the boost), so there isn't any way to determine how 'wide' the boost is applied. There is also a High Pass Filter switch that allows you to enable/disable the low frequency rolloff point, but I was never able to determine exactly what frequency that filter is set for. Flipping the switch does make an immediate audible difference in the deep bass, so it definitely works. All the controls and switches are clearly labeled with an easy to read font and bright white paint which vividly contrasts the black of the amplifier.
[Update: XTZ confirmed that the Q for both EQ settings is 1.2, which is very wide, meaning a lot of the surrounding frequencies will be affected. The High Pass Filter setting is 40Hz.]

Inputs consist of XLR, dual RCA and speaker level. With this type of connectivity there's really no situation where the W12.18 wouldn't be able to accommodate your needs, regardless of whether that's for HT or two channel music. Waking this amp out of standby mode took a bit of volume, but it was tolerable. The same can't be said for the reverse; the amp would go to sleep far too easily, especially during broadcasts of sporting events (where there were long intervals of commentary). I watch a lot of sports so that got frustrating. Ultimately I left it in the On position which eliminated the problem altogether.

Like every XTZ subwoofer I've reviewed or owned this one came wearing a gorgeous high gloss black paint. I consider this finish a cut above most other paint jobs I've seen, with a deep shine that could easily be called furniture grade. The W12.18 is their flagship model so it gets a unique finish option that the rest of the subwoofers don't offer; walnut veneer.
[Update: only the passive W12.18 is available in walnut veneer, the powered unit comes in black gloss paint.]

The cabinet is constructed from 1" MDF all around, with a large brace supporting all four interior walls. Remember when I said XTZ pays attention to the details? The aforementioned brace is painted. 99% of the people who buy a W12.18 will never see the inside of it, yet they made sure the brace had a finish just in case. There's even a painted trim ring around the mounting flange of the Peerless driver, so if you opt to remove the grill you aren't confronted with an unadorned driver staring back at you.

The grill is a very substantial piece, also made from 1" MDF, yet inexplicably they used tiny plastic pins to hold it in place. The overall effect was of an elephant on sparrows legs. Alright, perhaps it's not that stark a contrast, but pins a bit more robust are probably in order. The rest of this grill follows a similar pattern to that of the speakers, with transparent material, frame contours for the ports and driver and the same stylish emblem. One slight deviation is the way the cabinet edges flow into the grill itself; the speakers are more angled, and where the cabinet stops the grill picks up almost seamlessly. With the W12.18 the grill is .5" narrower on all 4 sides, but everything is rounded off so the end result is just a bit different.

The dual front-firing ports can be tuned using foam plugs to provide the following configurations:

  • Both ports open - maximum output, suitable for larger rooms
  • Both ports plugged - acoustic suspension, for the most accurate bass
  • Right port plugged - deepest bass, especially good for HT
  • Left port plugged - "neutral" bass, consisting of good extension and output
The right port is 9.5"x3.5" while the left port is 21"x3.5" (depth x width). The latter has a 90 degree bend allowing it to extend further up into the cabinet. A longer port length is critical for deep bass, which is why leaving that one open is better for HT applications. Since the majority of my listening was going to be TV and movies -- and my room is just under 1800 ft^3 -- I chose to plug only the right port and get the deepest bass possible. The speakers can also be configured as acoustic suspension or bass reflex, but for those I went with the former for the duration of my review (the 95.24 speakers are rear ported, the 95.33 center has dual front ports).

There is very little about this XTZ system I didn't like, a sentiment that remained even as I packed everything up. Overall it proved to be one of the most enjoyable setups I've heard, with a smooth and balanced presentation that was virtually unflappable. Dynamics are superb, especially when the volume was turned down; low-level resolution is simply amazing, so there's no penalty for those who choose to listen at restrained volumes. Ultimately that proved to be my favorite part. Rare is the system that still resolves properly when the volume is turned down, but this one certainly did. Underlying layers of sound had astonishing texture, extant, neither embellished nor overdone. Obvious yet subtle, revealing yet subdued, understated yet unmistakable.

Viewing movies proved to be a very satisfying experience, so much so that I ultimately ended up watching far more than what you see listed below. Never once did I find the sound to be inarticulate or lacking in clarity, especially vocals; both foreground and background voices were smooth and crystal clear. Bass from the W12.18 was powerful but not overpowering, even during Tron: Legacy which has a tendency to drone and get a little sloppy. And while this subwoofer certainly would surprise most people when they were told it has but a single 12" driver, I did end up bottoming it during a few spirited listening sessions. That was with the High Pass Filter in the Off position though; with it engaged I didn't encounter the same problem, but I also didn't get as much deep bass. Either way one thing is for certain, this driver is not shy about moving. Take the grill off and not only do you get to see just how much travel this Peerless driver has, but you also unleash a tornado of air from the port(s). I sat about a dozen feet from the W12.18 and yet could still feel waves of air rushing across my feet during the more demanding scenes.

The Professional (blu-ray)
For the most part I tend to gravitate toward films that are at least somewhat believable, where the action is not so over the top as to be farcical. I also enjoy fully fleshed out characters that seem real, or at least ones I can relate to on some level. The Professional is all that for me.

This is a sleeper movie if there ever was one. I stumbled upon this flick at least a dozen years ago while channel surfing one night. It has a somewhat stereotypical plot where two completely opposite people get thrust into a situation beyond their control, and yet in spite of insurmountable odds they form a close bond. In this case, however, it's a very bizarre pairing; an uneducated Italian immigrant, who just so happens to be a expert 'cleaner' (contract hitman), and an 11 year old girl left orphaned when corrupt DEA agents kill her entire family. The hitman is named Léon, played by the renowned French actor Jean Reno, who is their version of John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. The orphaned girl is a young actress in her debut film, none other than a pre-pubescent Natalie Portman. Gary Oldman plays a psychotic DEA agent named Norman Stansfield and Danny Aiello is Tony who just so happens to be Léon's 'handler' (the guy who sends him out on all his jobs).

The movie opens with a soundtrack that has a bass line which the W12.18 produced with a solid thump, just like it should have. Given the fact this review system had but one subwoofer I was pleasantly surprised by how much impact I felt. There are only short interludes of action in this movie, so there isn't a lot for a sub to do really, but that wasn't my reason for choosing The Professional. What I wanted was a movie to test all aspects of this system, from the vocals to the gunshots. And what I heard was very profound indeed.

Voices were incredible, regardless of whether they were from adults or adolescents. The musical score was rendered brilliantly, with the proper weight and balance. When called for there was a lot of power, yet this XTZ system would hang back when restraint was more appropriate. Potent but subtle, if you can imagine such a thing. I have seen The Professional countless times, yet this one was arguably the best rendition thus far; so engulfing that I simply shut the lid of my laptop and watched the movie instead of taking notes. That almost never happens.

Taken (blu-ray)
Another sleeper of sorts, because realistically who ever thought Liam Neeson would be in a movie like this? Of late, however, it seems he has tended to go for more mainstream action fare. Taken has that aplenty.

Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a former CIA agent who is estranged from his ex-wife and teenage daughter Kim. He has left the agency to give himself time to reconnect with Kim before she grows up and goes off to college. The give-and-take between the two of them is a bit sappy and over the top, but thankfully that part of the movie is short lived. While Kim is vacationing in France with a friend they get kidnapped by Albanians intent on turning the pair into prostitutes by first addicting them to drugs. Naturally Bryan is having none of it, ultimately going on a violent rampage to get her back.

When using this movie to evaluate a subwoofer I often go right to the quarry scene because of the gun battle and explosions. I did the same thing this time, more so because of how busy the soundtrack is; there is all manner of things going on and I wanted to see how well the speakers resolved the material. As I soon learned XTZ has figured out how to sooth the savage beast; this system easily handling all of the mayhem. Pure bliss, from start to finish (yes, I did end up watching the entire movie after all). It was like a potato chip in that regard, where you can't eat just one.

The soundtrack for most action flicks becomes a bit outlandish, with nonstop explosions and gunfire being the order of the day, but Taken goes a slightly different route. If you're speakers are up to the task you'll hear background sounds that lend a pleasant ambiance; footsteps, creaking floorboards, breaking glass, traffic, etc. The 95.x series speakers reproduced all of it effortlessly, unearthing subtleties I don't recall hearing this clearly before. Sounds never seemed to linger, they would start and stop on a dime. Faint spatial cues designed to create dimensions did just that. It's amazing what a good sound system does to enhance a movie.

Black Hawk Down (blu-ray)
BHD is renowned for its phenomenal soundtrack, which was so good it actually won an award. This movie is famous for the "Irene" scene which contains extremely deep bass so brutal that few subwoofers are capable of producing sufficient output to make it seem realistic. The W12.18 was no exception, being unable to dig that deep, but there's more to this movie then meets the eye (well, ear in this case). There are voices, many and varied voices. What do most people consider the acid test for speakers? If you said the ability to produce an accurate representation of the human voice you would be correct. That's primarily why I chose it for this review. The fact BHD also has a multitude of other background effects certainly didn't hurt either.

This movie is the not so fictional account of a 1993 mission by the US Military to topple a Somali warlord. Over 100 elite American soldiers, mostly Army Rangers and Delta Force, are dropped inside Mogadishu to round up members of Mohammed Farrah Aidid's cabinet. Aidid is a bloodthirsty savage who has killed over 300,000 citizens, mostly through ethnic cleansing and starvation. The Military's intent is to remove Aidid from power, but things quickly go awry when they encounter more resistance than they had anticipated. A Black Hawk helicopter gets shot down by the rebels early in the incursion, hence the name of the movie. It's at this point when things start to heat up.

The action scenes are often intense and violent, but in between there are respites where the actors get to explore their characters more deeply. Those might have been my favorite parts because each voice came across with distinction, making dialog thoroughly enjoyable. As usual the balance was excellent - even with all the commotion happening in the background you could hear what the various characters were saying. All around where other sounds that lent a realism to the action; bullets whistling by, ricochets hitting the ground and disturbing gravel, chopper blades whooshing over head, guns being loaded with fresh magazines, screams in the background, the different textures of the gun shots based upon their caliber, and on and on. Layers and layers of sound, exquisitely reproduced.

After all the testing had concluded I checked the amp only to find that it was barely warm. In spite of the abuse the ICE amplifier lived up to its name.

By the time I reached this portion of my evaluation -- which is generally at the end anyway -- I pretty much knew what to expect, that these speakers were going to be very good at reproducing music. And they were. Imaging was excellent, with nothing concentrated or condensed. When called for the sound could be deep and rich or light and airy, entirely dependent on the source material. Attack and decay were spot on. Subtle variations in tone and pitch that might be smeared with lesser speakers sprang to life, revealing faint details with an understated quality. Sitting slightly off-axis did not put you in the penalty box either, for the pinpoint accuracy remained until you really strayed far. If you're an aficionado of music the XTZ 95.24 speakers need to be on your short list of those you absolutely must hear.

Creep - Stone Temple Pilots (CD)
From STP's debut album Core -- unquestionably my all time favorite from this band -- I queued up Creep, a departure from my normal selections which tend to be more aggressive. I went this route because I wanted to give the entire system a workout.

Creep opens with the primary emphasis on Dean DeLeo's acoustic guitar and Scott Weiland's vocals. It has a bit of a lazy feel at this point, and the 95.24 speakers made short work of it; everything sounded crisp and clean with Scott's voice front and center, just as it was recorded. The only area that wasn't quite perfect was the weight of the guitar, which could have used a touch more body. The 'thwack' of Eric Kretz's snare drum was particularly sharp and remained distinct regardless of what else was going on around it.

During the chorus is when the electric guitar comes into play, along with the bottom end due to Robert DeLeo's bass (Deans brother). At this point the sound changed from gentle and light to powerful and deep, but that's precisely what was supposed to happen. Creep has interludes where the song is mellow, yet at other times it becomes more pronounced. The 95.24 speakers and W12.18 subwoofer ate it up, and I was the lucky benefactor.

Don't Speak - No Doubt (Streaming)
What is the true hallmark of a good speaker system? When it can pull you directly into the music? Perhaps when it reveals subtleties that other systems are unable to? Or maybe it's the ability to make you forget about everything around you but the song? For me the answer is "yes" to all of those, but there's one other potential candidate you may not have considered; how about the capacity to make enjoyable a song you don't even like? Yup, that's what happened here.

I am no fan of No Doubt but like a lot of pop music it's produced well, and that quality is what made me stand up and take notice. While typing out a portion of this review I had a streaming music channel playing in the background -- such is my wont -- and what came on? Don't Speak. My first inclination was to grab the remote and change channels, but there was something about the sound that wouldn't allow me to. Gwen Stefani's faux baby doll voice is not appealing to me, but man did the music sound good. Tom Dumont's acoustic guitar was outstanding, with a very crisp sound. Similar to STP's Creep, the snare drum had a pronounced snap to it. Tony Kanal's bass lick anchored the rhythm section with authority, ably balancing out the rest of the instruments. Even the tambourine was crystal clear, and that was merely a secondary instrument (did you even know there was a tambourine in this song?). What is there left to say about a system that allows you to savor music from a genre you don't like?

Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd (SACD)
Surprised I chose Dark Side? Yea, I didn't think you would be. Raving about how wonderful this system sounds for practically an entire review more than likely tipped my hand and left little doubt that I would include one of the best pieces of music ever written. Of course, being that I own the SACD version was merely icing on the cake. However, I did make one slight change; because the SACD was recorded with overemphasized bass I reconfigured the W12.18 for acoustic suspension by plugging both ports. Running it like I had for most of this review -- with just the right port plugged, which is the deepest bass setting -- made for a bloated sound, and caused the driver to bottom when the High Pass Filter was turned off. When the filter was on, and just the one port plugged, the bass was too neutered for my tastes. Acoustic suspension with the High Pass Filter off solved (almost) all of the problems.

On The Run kicked things off with a dazzling interplay between Rick Wright's synthesizer and the hi-hat cymbal. Of course Nick Mason wasn't just manning the cymbal, he was also creating the underlying heartbeat with his kick drum. All of those elements meshed beautifully. The crash and subsequent explosion at the end was electrifying due to the clarity and precision.

A multitude of clocks herald the beginning of Time with a cacophony of mechanical noises emanating from the individual assemblies, the sounds of which filled my living room. David Gilmour's voice jumped clear out of the speakers and focused itself ahead of all the background sounds, lending a nice 3D effect. Roger Waters melodic bass rhythm was borderline thick on occasions, with the subwoofers 12" driver audibly protesting at the 2:10 mark when that really deep open E note is struck; the W12.18 was unhappy with the High Pass Filter disengaged, that's for sure.

Interestingly, the best overall dynamic range was found in the song Us And Them. The difference between the highest and lowest notes was almost palpable; between the rich sounds of the bass guitar, and the power of the horns, this XTZ system was right in it's element. Because of how impressive this song sounded I actually replayed it 3 times.

Quite some time ago I heard my first true ribbon tweeter and was instantly captivated. From that point on I've been hooked. The precision, detail and clarity they're capable of is unrivaled by any other high frequency transducer. When XTZ asked me to review a system featuring them I leapt at the chance, and I never regretted a single moment of my time with this setup. The 95.24 speakers are simply phenomenal, producing a level of sound quality no one should reasonably expect from something costing $560 a pair. Volume doesn't phase them, nor does the complexity of the source material - they will adroitly handle anything you can throw their way. Pair those to the matching 95.33 center and you have a setup that can easily compete with anything in its price class. Toss in a W12.18, which is XTZ's top of the line subwoofer, and you end up with a system that handles music or home theater with equal aplomb. I've spent my own money buying products from XTZ because I have yet to hear one I didn't like. The 95.24, 95.33 and W12.18 have only reinforced my opinion of XTZ; these folks make some really fine products.

Please use the XTZ 95.24 Speakers, 95.33 Center, W12.18 Subwoofer Discussion Thread for questions and comments​

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