Miller & Kreisel Sound K-4 Tripole(R) Specifications

M&K Sales Training Outline
Company Background & History
page 1
May 98
M&K Firsts: A History
Ken Kreisel designs dualdriver subwoofer for Steely
Dan's Pretzel Logic
album mixing sessions
M&K Sound founded in
Beverly Hills, California.
First products: high-end
subwoofers and RealTime
direct-to-disc LPs
First M&K digital recordings,
in Germany with
Philharmonia Hungarica
World premiere of digitally
recorded dbx-encoded LPs
by M&K RealTime
M&K speakers used by
Dolby Labs for R&D
design work and first
demos of Dolby AC-3
(S-90 & MX-5000)
M&K celebrates its
20th Anniversary!
M&K RealTime CDs
available in Japan
First Phase-Focused
(S-85, S-125,
S-85C, S-125C)
M&K introduces
lowest-priced single
THX subwoofer (MX-150)
Feature interview with
Ken Kreisel in February
Audio magazine
Feature interview with
Ken Kreisel in Spring
issue of Stereophile
Guide To Home Theater
Feature interview with
Ken Kreisel in
Widescreen Review
M&K launches
5.1 Pro Solutions
professional product line
Industry's first Transmission
Line Tweeter (S-5000)
First M&K inwall speaker
First M&K Home THX system
S-125 system winner of
Golden Plug award as Best
Surround Speakers from
on-line publication E-Town
M&K to celebrate 25th
First M&K SatelliteSubwoofer System
(David & Goliath)
M&K RealTime is first
U.S. label to release CDs
(RT-2001, RT-2002)
First M&K direct-to-disc
recordings (Blu and Blu Jam)
First M&K CES
Design & Engineering
award (MX-1000)
First M&K Satellite speaker
with controlled vertical
dispersion (Satellite-1)
First home theater speaker
with three-tweeter array
First Push-Pull Dual-Driver
Powered Subwoofer
M&K introduces adjustable
spectral balance (now known
as timbre-matching),
in S-1 Satellite
Industry's first Internally
Powered Subwoofer
(M&K Servo Volkswoofer)
First of many M&K
Hi-Fi Grand Prix
Product Of The Year awards
M&K builds world's first
direct-to-disc studio in
Beverly Hills for RealTime
direct-to-disc recordings
Industry's first compact
subwoofer (MX-70)
M&K releases audiophile
classic direct-to-disc
For Duke
M&K continues
pioneering work in
home theater: installing
systems in Hollywood
screening rooms
Industry's first powered
THX subwoofer (MX-5000)
First M&K Push-Pull
Dual- Driver
Satellite speaker (S-1C)
page 2
May 98
M&K Sales Training Outline
Company Background & History
A Partial Listing of M&K Professional Users
20th Century Fox
Fotomag NY
4Media Company (4MC)
HD VISION HDTV production studio
Chuck Ainley
JAK Productions (George Lucas)
Columbia Pictures
Kalimba Studios (Maurice White of
Earth, Wind & Fire)
Bakery Studio
Pacific Ocean Post Audio
(Part of the 4MC Group)
Post Audio
Trevor Rabin
River Studios NY
Steve Kempster
David Rodriguez
Laser Pacific
Saylor Sound
Pat Leonard
Seventeen Grand Recording
LucasArts Entertainment
Skywalker Sound
California Video Center
Magnolia Studios
Sonic Jungle
Chace Productions
Masterphonics/Tracking Room
Chicago Audio Works
Media 100
Sony Pictures High-Definition
TV Laboratory
Cinram/Pacific Ocean Post
DVD Center
Media Ventures
Brian Wilson
Broadway Video NY
Buena Vista Sound/
Walt Disney Pictures
Dolby Laboratories Los Angeles
Dolby Laboratories New York
Dolby Laboratories San Francisco
DTS (Digital Theater Systems)
Enterprise Recording Studio
FCC Advanced Television
Standards Committee (HDTV)
Fireside Productions
Sony Music NY
Sony Music Santa Monica
Monterey Post
Motorola DSP Digital Audio Labs
Southern California
Motorola DSP Digital Audio Labs
Hong Kong
The Tape House NY
Terra Nova Recording Co.
THX Division, Lucasfilm, Ltd.
NARAS (Grammy awards people)
University of Southern California
Film Department
Ocean Entertainment
Paul Vitello Productions
Keith Olsen's Goodnight LA
and Goodnight Dallas
Recording Studios
Village Recorders
Pioneer Video Manufacturing
Visual Music & Sound
Warner Bros. Studios
M&K In The Professional Sound World
using M&K in both their studio and home systems.
Here’s a trivia question. Who were M&K’s first
customers? None other than Walter Becker and
Donald Fagen of Steely Dan , who asked Ken
Kreisel in 1973 to design a monitoring system for
the Pretzel Logic mixdown sessions.
In the early ‘90s, pro use of M&K speakers really
heated up, led by Dolby Labs. During the development of the Dolby Digital (AC-3) discrete 5.1
channel system, several of Dolby's key technical
people heard M&K's 5000THX system at
Lucasfilm's Skywalker Ranch, during the HDTV
Grand Alliance listening tests.
Shor tly thereafter, M&K's first SatelliteSubwoofer system was designed (and used by a
number of prominent recording engineers) as a
portable reference recording monitor system. For
nearly 25 years, sound professionals have been
This led to Dolby acquiring a 5000 system, which
they used as their reference speaker for the development of AC-3. Dolby’s San Francisco labs
M&K Sales Training Outline
Company Background & History
page 3
May 98
and listening rooms have used M&K since then,
and the 150 system has become a fixture in Dolby's
Los Angeles and New York reference rooms, currently being used to present 5.1 channel music
recordings to the music industry!
M&K speakers were also used for all of the industry demonstrations of AC-3 prior to the introduction of actual processors by individual manufacturers. The FCC's Advanced Television Standards Committee (High Definition TV) uses M&K
in their laboratory and in a system that they use in
overseas presentations to demonstrate the superiority of the American HD standard to countries
that have not yet selected an HDTV standard.
And Dolby is not the only multichannel advocate
using M&K. M&K subwoofers are the standard for
many of the artists producing DTS music recordings, and DTS has multiple M&K systems. In fact,
if there's one thing that Dolby, DTS, and THX can
agree upon, it is that they all use M&K speakers!
The Hollywood postproduction community has
embraced the M&K system as the 5.1 channel
standard. As more professionals have an opportunity to hear it, the number of studios installing it
increases. See the above list for a few of the users of M&K's MPS professional speaker system.
Well over 100 professional recording and mastering studio rooms in the music, film, and video fields
are using M&K systems as their reference.
Pro audio’s EQ magazine reviewed the MPS system, and the reviewer loved it, concluding “For a
professional surround sound system, I think the
M&K MPS-150THX is the one to beat.”
Dan Shimiael, Technical Manager of The Enterprise studio (which has several M&K systems),
said “The MPS-5000 SUB is clearly the best
subwoofer made...Dolby is using the same system as we are using, and they pretty much accepted it as the reference system for their surround
And composer Trevor Rabin, using M&K for the
score of the blockbuster Armageddon, says "the
bottom line is M&K's MPS line of 5.1 monitors and
powered subwoofers are the best speakers I've
ever heard."
M&K History
Founded in 1974, M&K Sound is the only manufacturer with nearly a quarter-century of experience in designing and manufacturing subwoofers
and other high-end loudspeakers, as well as
twenty-five years of audiophile-label recording experience.
The vision of company founders Ken Kreisel, Dr.
Lester Field, and D. Jonas Miller is realized in
today’s extensive line of innovative speaker products. As chief speaker designer and recording engineer, President Ken Kreisel works at the leading
edge of technology, bringing 25+ years of interest and experience in advancing the state-ofthe-art in both the recording and reproduction
of music and film sound.
Anticipating home theatre by more than a decade, M&K is recognized as the pioneer in the
design concept of Powered Subwoofers and Satellite speakers, which is utilized by virtually every
speaker manufacturer in their own Home Theatre
Ongoing research continues to provide significant improvements to the M&K line, with innovations such as the Phase-Focused crossover, Headroom Maximizer circuit, and Push-Pull Dual Driver
In 1974, the brand-new company combined
Kreisel’s live recording and loudspeaker design experience with the research and acoustics background of Dr. Field, who retired as Chief Scientist
and vice president of research at Hughes Aircraft
Company, after being a full professor at both
Caltech and Stanford Universities and prior work
at Bell Telephone Research Laboratories after obtaining his Ph.D. at Stanford.
By combining Kreisel’s creativity, remarkable
hearing acuity and experience in live sound recording with Dr. Field’s scientific methodology and
experience, M&K's foundation was set. They began their extensive research into reproduced
sound and its perception (psychoacoustics), which
Ken continues to this day.
Today’s research utilizes the most sophisticated
computerized sound measurement and evaluation
equipment, including MLSSA systems and B&K’s
$35,000 Model 2012 analyzer.
page 4
May 98
M&K Sales Training Outline
Company Background & History
Kreisel’s earliest passion was for recording pipe
organs and other live musical performances.
These perfectionist recordings were of true audiophile quality, and many were cut as LPs, first for
demonstrations at Jonas Miller's salon and later
for sale because of their popularity and acclaim.
By the end of the '70s, M&K was a leader again,
among the first to make commercial recordings
digitally, using an M&K-modified Sony 16-bit digital recorder. In fact, M&K was the first U.S. company to release Compact Discs! 25 CD titles are
available on the RealTime and Perpetua labels.
Kreisel was among the very first to explore the
limits of the phonograph record through direct-todisc recording, using M&K's own $150,000 modified cutting lathe and custom microphones and
mixers. Even today, For Duke is recognized as
one of the few LP records defining the state-ofthe-art.
With M&K’s experience in Home Theatre dating back to Hollywood screening room design and
installation in the ’70s, M&K has long been at the
leading edge of music and film sound technology.
But in the early '70s, there were virtually no audiophile speakers capable of reproducing the deep
bass Kreisel's recordings had captured. The answer? Kreisel started designing subwoofers!
In 1973, Walter Becker of Steely Dan asked
Kreisel for a studio reference subwoofer and monitoring system for the Pretzel Logic mixdown sessions. M&K's speaker business was born with the
balanced dual-driver subwoofer Kreisel designed
for the sessions. RealTime's acclaimed direct-todisc recordings soon followed.
This is why M&K was among the very first companies to join Lucasfilm in the Home THX program,
and why M&K speakers are considered to be the
best at reproducing both music and film
soundtracks. Numerous awards and number one
rankings in product reviews and shootouts have
followed and continue to this day.
And in 1997, M&K finally made its formal entry
into the world of professional audio, even though
M&K has been at home in recording studios from
day one). See "M&K In The Professional Sound
World" above for the details on this most recent
and exciting part of M&K's history.
Stay tuned. The best is yet to come!
M&K's Design Philosophy
As an audiophile recording engineer and a high-end loudspeaker designer, my strong belief has always been that a good loudspeaker should accurately and realistically reproduce whatever the microphone captured, whether the source is a human voice, a musical instrument, an explosion, car crash,
etc.; including the acoustical ambience of the environment in which the source was recorded.
Our philosophy is that exciting and lifelike sound and music reproduction takes place when your ears,
in effect, become the recording microphones. Our speakers are designed to allow you to hear exactly
what the microphones heard, placing you as close or as far away from the music or sound source as the
recording engineer placed the microphones.
Too many so-called “music” loudspeakers are designed with a philosophy that all recordings should
sound as if the music comes from a stage 10 or 20 rows distant, even if a recording is closely miked with
performers as close as a few inches from the microphones (as is often done on film soundtracks, especially for dialog).
This “homogenizing” effect may be pleasant for some music recordings, but it inaccurately reproduces
both close-miked recordings and recordings that accurately capture the acoustic space of a recording
site. This is why many “music” speakers do so poorly when trying to reproduce both the intensity and
intimacy of closely miked sound effects and dialog on today’s best soundtracks.
Ken Kreisel, President
M&K Sales Training Outline
The Satellite-Subwoofer System Concept
page 5
May 98
M&K's has the most
(24+ years) experience with
Satellite-Subwoofer systems
M&K is the only speaker manufacturer that has produced only
Satellite and Subwoofer systems since 1974. M&K makes Satellite-Subwoofer systems because we believe this is the optimum configuration for reproducing music and film sound. Here is why:
Bass frequencies are best
produced by large enclosures
Physics dictates that speakers reproducing true Deep Bass (down
to 20 Hz and below) must be large. Therefore, M&K Powered Subwoofers, like all subwoofers, come in fairly large enclosures (with the
exception of the MX-700, MX-70B and VX-7 Mk II).
Midrange and high frequencies are best produced by
small enclosures
M&K powered subwoofer
designs are optimized to
outperform passive designs
by a wide margin
But large enclosures, with their large front baffles, are not good for
reproducing the rest of the audible spectrum. Midrange and high frequencies produced from cabinets with large front baffles have a distinctive coloration known as baffle diffraction distortion. The small
baffles of M&K Satellites minimize this coloration, resulting in an open,
natural three-dimensional sound.
M&K subwoofers are designed as complete systems. Each model's
performance is even better than you would expect from the high quality of its driver, cabinet, and amplifier—because these elements are
optimized to work with each other in that specific product.
M&K’s design allows the user to set the bass level anywhere from
flat to grossly exaggerated. Built-in adjustable low-pass filters allow
users to fine-tune the splice between the Satellite and Subwoofer
speakers without a separate crossover, and some models have a fixed
filter for optimum sound with M&K high-pass filters. For Dolby Digital
and THX units, most models have a low-pass filter bypass to eliminate any phase problems associated with dual filters.
Locating speakers for the
best imaging will not produce
the best bass, and vice versa
When speakers are set up in a room, they are usually located to
produce the best imaging at the main listening position. In virtually all
rooms, though, that location does not give the deepest and smoothest
bass response. It usually means that the speaker's bass response
will be disappointing, because the speaker will not meet its bass specs
in that room! This compromise is inherent for all speakers without a
separate subwoofer.
With an M&K system, you simply locate the Satellites for imaging
and the Subwoofer(s) for the best bass. Listening rooms have an
enormous effect on sound quality, and only Satellite-Subwoofer systems provide this superior flexibility for achieving the best possible
sound in any room.
M&K Satellite speakers
are the ideal size for Home
Theater systems
M&K Satellites' compact size has been appreciated by customers
for years because that means great placement flexibility and unobtrusiveness. With the advent of 5.1 channel home theater and music
systems, this advantage is appreciated even more!
M&K Sales Training Outline
Deep Bass Subwoofer Cabinets Designs
page 6
May 98
M&K uses only
sealed-box cabinet
designs for superior
transient response
and Deep Bass
All M&K Subwoofers (and Satellites) are sealed-box designs, tightly
packed with highly efficient sound absorbing material. This configuration delivers the best transient response, and is the only design capable of producing true Deep Bass.
Good transient response means that the speaker responds quickly
to input signals, with a quick start and (especially) a quick stop. Speakers with poor transient response have a blurred, muddy sound with
little pitch definition. Deep Bass refers to the ability of the speaker to
produce significant output to very low frequencies below 20 Hz, which
is needed to produce the "startle factor."
M&K cabinets are very heavily braced (2 x 4s are used in both
the S-5000 and MX-5000!) to provide the most stable platform for the
drivers and to avoid the resonances, buzzes and rattles that are surprisingly common in competitive subwoofers. Flimsy, unbraced cabinets produce an easily recognized sound. They sound cheap!
Weaknesses of vented
(ported and passive
radiator) designs
Many competitive subwoofers are vented designs, using ports or
passive radiators. These designs have inherently poor transient response, producing a boomy, uncontrolled sound you are familiar with.
They may play fairly loud, but their sound is boomy and muddy, and
that sound becomes fatiguing to listeners very quickly. Most produce
a very audible air turbulence noise from their ports when producing
certain frequencies. This noise can draw your attention to the
subwoofer and make its sound directional. Most of these subwoofers
respond poorly or not at all to very rapid impulses, such as flamenco
dancers' foot stomps on a wooden floor.
Like a bottle filled with water that produces one particular frequency
when you whistle across its opening, the sole purpose of a port or
passive radiator is to make a cabinet resonate at or near the tuned
frequency of the port. This generates added output (3 to 6 dB) at that
frequency, but there is a price to pay for that poorly damped extra
output, because with this design internal damping material cannot be
Remember that a speaker driver is radiating as much sound inside
the cabinet as it is filling the room. This is why all M&K subs are tightly
stuffed with highly efficient absorbing material to absorb much or all of
the sound inside the cabinet. When a cabinet does not have this absorbing material, the sound in the room becomes muddy. In a ported
speaker, stuffing cannot be used.
The other fatal weakness of vented designs is their extremely rapid
rolloff below their tuned resonance frequency (usually well above 30
Hz). Below that frequency, the woofer's response drops off so quickly
it essentially disappears, making it unable to reproduce subsonic transients. Vented boxes roll off at twice the rate of sealed box speakers (24 dB per octave), and their active driver and vent are actually
out of phase with each other, so they cannot produce Deep Bass.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Deep Bass Subwoofer Drivers & Amplifiers
page 7
May 98
M&K proprietary
subwoofer drivers
All M&K subwoofer drivers are designed by and manufactured exclusively for M&K. Our designers take full advantage of the fact that
these drivers are used to reproduce only the lowest bass frequencies, thereby allowing the drivers to be optimized for the best low frequency transient response and lowest distortion.
For reduced distortion and improved definition, all of these drivers
have an undercut core, an asymmetrical voice coil mounting, and an
extremely linear magnetic motor design. Voice coil and magnet sizes
are matched to the sensitivity and power handling requirements for
each model's amplifier and cabinet.
Our best drivers (MX-5000 and M2C) add an aluminum shorting
ring, which substantially lowers distortion and increases linear cone
travel by further linearizing the driver's magnetic field forces.
Amplifiers are designed as
integrated system with driver
and cabinet
The amplifier found in each M&K Powered Subwoofer is specifically
designed for that model's cabinet and driver. It is designed to drive
the specific load of the driver(s) used and to provide the desired response for that driver in its cabinet. By designing the subwoofer and
its amplifier and driver components as a complete integrated system,
we get extremely flat frequency response; optimized transient response; very deep bass response for the cabinet's size; maximum
amplifier efficiency by optimizing the amplifier to its driver's impedance; and control of the system "Q" to deliver tight, musical bass.
Present no load to the
main amplifier
M&K Deep Bass amplifiers electronically combine both inputs. Their
low-level "FROM PREAMP" inputs have a 15 K ohm impedance, and
their speaker-level "FROM AMPLIFIER" inputs have a 200 ohm impedance. This means that the subwoofer will present virtually no load
to the amplifier driving the customer’s main speakers. Paralleled with
a Satellite speaker's 4 or 8 ohm impedance, 200 ohms is invisible to
that amplifier.
Extremely flat frequency
When we design a subwoofer, we start with a driver design optimized for excellent transient characteristics, with low distortion and
high output capability. Once it is mounted in its cabinet, we can then
tailor the response of its amplifier to make the system's response perfectly flat to any frequency we desire, typically well below 20 Hz, even
in small cabinet enclosures. With a standard external amplifier, this
would not be possible.
Very deep bass response
from small cabinets
Maximum amplifier
efficiency by optimizing
for the driver's impedance
M&K power amplifiers are optimized for the load presented by the
specific driver(s) used for that model. The amplifier is simply designed
for maximum performance when driving the load it sees from those
M&K Sales Training Outline
Powered Deep Bass Subwoofer Amplifiers
page 8
May 98
Control of system "Q" to
deliver tight, musical bass
"Q" is a measure of quality that involves the speaker's transient performance, with a low "Q" being better. Subwoofers with passive radiators, vented boxes (bass reflex) or bandpass designs use air in a
chamber or port as a high Q resonator, much as a bottle filled with
water whistles at one frequency when you blow across its opening.
The vent "tunes" the speaker to a given frequency, which then becomes essentially its low frequency limit.
The purpose of these ports or passive radiators is to resonate the
cabinet at some frequency, which, if done properly, can increase the
speaker's output by 3 to 6 dB at that frequency.
But these high Q systems have an unavoidable tendency to resonate (or "ring"), much as a tuning fork continues to sound long after it
is struck. M&K's sealed-box low Q sealed box designs, tightly stuffed
with special sound-absorbing material (which cannot be used with a
vented speaker), produce a solid output without ringing, down to frequencies below 20 Hz.
Every element of an M&K subwoofer, from the driver to the enclosure and the amplifier is very tightly damped (low Q), so the combination achieves extremely tight and articulate musical bass.
36 dB/octave Low-Pass
filters make M&K
Powered Subwoofers
truly non-directional
The M&K low-pass filter is an important element in the sound quality of M&K Subwoofers. Our 36 dB/octave filters have a sufficiently
sharp rolloff to truly eliminate the reproduction of frequencies above
125 Hz, where subwoofer output is unwanted.
Virtually all competitive subwoofers have a shallower filter slope,
meaning they reproduce audible information such as voices at 200
Hz and above. This degrades the system’s overall sound quality and
means that listeners may be able to identify the location of the subwoofer.
When customers say they can locate a subwoofer in a room, it is
because of this higher frequency reproduction. You can tell these customers that M&K subwoofers are truly non-directional.
There are actually two filters in the circuit. The first is user-adjustable through the FILTER knob on the amplifier back panel. This lets
the user set the “knee” of the rolloff curve (3 dB down point) anywhere
between 50 and 125 Hz. This first filter rolls off the woofer at a rate of
12 dB/octave. The second filter comes into play at 125 Hz, and adds
a second filter to produce a total rolloff of 36 dB/octave.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Push Pull Dual Driver Deep Bass Subwoofers
page 9
May 98
Push-pull dual driver
M&K’s innovative Push-Pull Dual Driver configuration delivers a
major improvement in subwoofer detail and clarity by virtually eliminating even-order harmonic distortion, which produces a boomy and
poorly defined bass sound.
In these subwoofers, one driver is mounted conventionally on the
cabinet’s front baffle. The second driver, however, is mounted inverted.
The front of its cone faces the inside of the cabinet, with the back side
of the cone, magnet, and frame facing the outside.
Although both drivers fire into the room in pressure phase (one with
the front side of its cone and the other with the back side), they operate mechanically out of phase relative to each other’s magnetic structure. (They are driven electrically out of phase). Therefore, regardless of position, each cone is always in the exact opposite position
from the other in its travel, relative to its own magnet.
The even-order (second, fourth, etc.) harmonic distortion products of each driver cancel acoustically because the even-order
harmonics of each driver are both virtually equal and exactly opposite
in time phase to each other. Even-order harmonic distortion is caused
by different non-linearities in the cone’s motion when the voice coil is
moving deep into its magnet compared with when it is moving away
from its magnet.
As important as the distortion cancellation, push-pull also doubles
efficiency in comparison to a single 12" driver subwoofer (the same
as doubling the amplifier power), as well as allowing twice the amplifier power to be used because of the power dissipation of two drivers.
The total output improvement is four times! (6 dB).
M&K Push-Pull Dual Driver designs deliver deep bass with very low
musical distortion and tremendous articulation to produce a very natural
and powerful bass reproduction.
The M&K Deep Bass concept
Since 1974, M&K has invited listeners to "Discover Deep Bass."
Deep Bass specifically refers to a subwoofer's ability to produce usable steady-state and transient output below 20 Hz. M&K's Deep
Bass design produces significant deep bass output in some
models down to frequencies below 10 Hz. This output makes a
major difference in subwoofer performance, producing what some have
described as the "startle factor," or "awesome" bass.
Most conventional subwoofer designs (especially units with passive
radiators and vented cabinets) have an extremely sharp rolloff
(24 dB/octave) below the lower limit of their "flat" response. But M&K
subwoofers have a much shallower rolloff below their -3 dB anechoic
response frequency. By reproducing bass frequencies well below 20
Hz, M&K subwoofers have a lifelike power and authority that other
subwoofers cannot match.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Push Pull Dual Driver Deep Bass Subwoofers
page 10
May 98
Ease of service
M&K subwoofers have a 3 year warranty, which includes the
subwoofer amplifier. Compare that to competitive products.
All M&K amplifiers and crossovers utilized printed circuit boards
for maximum reliability, QC testing, and easy of service. Unlike M&K,
many speaker crossovers are simply glued to a mounting panel or the
cabinet itself, and they cannot be easily removed or tested.
M&K amplifiers are modular in design, meaning they can be easily
removed from the cabinet and returned for service. To remove the
subwoofer amplifier, remove the screws around the amplifier’s metal
backplate. Ease the amplifier assembly out of the cabinet. Gently
remove the white plastic Molex plug off of the circuit board. Disconnect the other white plastic in-line Molex AC power connector. The
amplifier is now completely disconnected and can be removed.
M&K Satellite crossovers are similarly designed and can be removed
and replaced quite easily in the event of major damage.
M&K subwoofer cabinets use heavy-duty T-Nut type fasteners to
secure the speaker drivers. These make driver removal and reinstallation a snap, without the worry of stripping the wood.
In virtually all cases, M&K speakers do not have to leave the
customer's home to be serviced!
M&K Sales Training Outline
Optimizing Subwoofer location in a room
page 11
May 98
Installing subwoofers
Ultimately, the amount and quality of bass you get in a room are
dependent on the room itself and the location of the subwoofer in that
room. Low frequency bass sounds are affected most by the size of
the room and the method of construction used to build it. All rooms
are different when it comes to reproducing bass, and the quantity and
quality of that bass is highly dependent on the subwoofer's location.
A simple rule to remember is that you get more bass when you
move a subwoofer towards any wall or corner. Moving it away from a
wall or corner gives you less bass. Remember that the floor also
loads the subwoofer, and that maximum bass is found with the woofer
on the floor in a corner.
Our experience in measuring subwoofer performance (in hundreds of rooms) shows that in the majority of cases the best
location is either directly in or very close to a corner.
All our measurements were taken using the MLSSA system's Adaptive Window technique, the only room measurement technique that
correlates well to the time and frequency domain characteristics of
the human ear-brain system. Third-octave techniques do not provide
sufficient frequency resolution or time-domain selectivity needed for
accurately determining ideal subwoofer placement.
Placing the subwoofer near or in a corner provides good loading to
the room, and is the best place to start when experimenting. Placing
the subwoofer in a corner maximizes bass output, but in some rooms
it may negatively affect the quality of the bass. In these cases, placement away from the corner is indicated.
One room position will exhibit the flattest response, with no peaks
and dips, and the highest output (room gain). Typically this is the
corner closest to the listening position. If the seating is in the rear half
of the room, this is a rear corner.
Virtually every room has a set of frequencies that are either overemphasized (response peaks) or lacking (response dips) because of
the room's dimensions. When this happens, the sound is “boomy”
and unclear - not just at those frequencies but overall. The goal is to
achieve a smooth sound quality, with the entire bass spectrum equally
M&K Sales Training Outline
Optimizing Subwoofer location in a room
page 12
May 98
Special techniques for finding the best location for a
Here are two useful techniques for placing a subwoofer in a room.
The first is unique in that it does not involve moving the subwoofer
around the room:
Place the subwoofer where your main listening position will be,
connected to your system. Play some music through the system, and
then walk around the room, stopping to listening to the sound quality
of the bass in potential room locations for the subwoofer.
The location where you hear the best combination of smooth response, exciting deep bass, with impact and sock, and the least "boominess" is likely to be the best place to locate the subwoofer.
Move the subwoofer to that location, and continue your listening
tests from the main listening position. If the sound quality is good,
leave the subwoofer where it is. If it is not, continue experimenting as
The other technique is to use a sound level meter and a series of
low-frequency test tones (100 Hz and below), such as those found on
a test disc. Move the subwoofer to each possible location in the room,
taking measurements at the listening position for each location. Measure the sound level for each frequency and plot it on a sheet of graph
paper. The location that has the smoothest overall response is the
best location for the subwoofer.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Using Multiple Subwoofers
page 13
May 98
Advantages of multiple
Whenever possible, we recommend using two (or more) subwoofers in any system. A second subwoofer significantly improves a
system's total bass output, dynamic range, and headroom. The second unit doubles the amount of driver radiating area, which, depending on room placement, increases efficiency as much as 3 dB (the
same as doubling the amplifier's power). The second subwoofer then
doubles available amplifier power for another 3 dB of output for a
total increase of 6 dB!
The addition of a second woofer means that both woofers have to
work up to 6 dB less hard (25% of the work) for a given output level,
making for lower distortion (due to less cone motion) at all but the
highest playback levels (which are much higher with the second
You'll remember that the bass quality and peaks and dips in the
frequency response of a subwoofer in a given room are dependent on
the location of the subwoofer. If you can find and use the optimum
location for a subwoofer in a room, two subwoofers at that single location is best!
If the optimum location cannot be used, two subwoofers in different
locations can complement each other. From two locations, different
room modes are "driven", which can produce a smoother response in
the room. Listening and measurement tests can help determine the
best dual subwoofer placement. The use of stereo subwoofers is controlled by the same conditions.
Multiple subwoofers in
5.1 channel systems
Recently, some questions have arisen regarding the use of multiple
subwoofers in 5.1 channel Dolby Digital and DTS systems. Often
overlooked in these discussions is the fact that 5.1 channel controllers and receivers include what is called Bass Management. This
allows the user to route the bass content of each channel either to the
main speaker reproducing that channel or to the subwoofer(s).
This means that a single subwoofer can reproduce the output of all
5.1 channels (just as a single subwoofer in a stereo system reproduces the bass content of the left and right channels). Whether a
system has two channels or five channels, the Satellite-Subwoofer
concept means that one subwoofer can always handle the output of
all channels. Of course, multiple subwoofers are always better (see
We strongly recommend that the bass content of all channels
be fed to all subwoofers in a system. Never send just the LFE
channel to a subwoofer.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Powered Subwoofers
page 14
May 98
Servo and other types
of feedback
Many customers ask about negative feedback in powered subwoofers. M&K does not currently manufacture subwoofers using servo
feedback, although the original Volkswoofer did have a servo circuit.
Here is some discussion on the subject.
Feedback uses a sensor mounted on the speaker that detects the
movement of the cone. The signal generated by this movement is
sent from the speaker voice coil area back to the electrical input of the
power amplifier and compared to the subwoofer's input signal. Any
difference between the two represents distortion. The feedback circuit takes that difference (distortion) signal, inverts its phase, and applies it back to the amplifier’s input, theoretically canceling the distortion.
When an input signal is steady-state, like a sinewave, feedback can
measure extremely well. Unfortunately, music always changes. And
if a musical signal has changed by the time the "correction" signal has
been applied, the sound is not improved—it is made worse!
This is why designers of high-end amplifiers strive for minimum feedback. Even though greater feedback produces lower measured distortion, excessive feedback produces poorer sound due to a
phenomenon known as Transient Intermodulation Distortion.
In loudspeakers, the same principle applies, but to a much greater
degree, because the delay in applying the correction signal is due to
the motion of the speaker instead of the speed of electrons moving
through an amplifier (at nearly the speed of light).
In speakers, feedback also affects transient performance and dynamic range. Feedback systems can become unstable with sharp
transients and high output levels, so designers must put limiting circuitry on the amplifier. This changes the sound quality by
dulling transients and compressing dynamics.
M&K's philosophy is to strive for excellent reproduction of transients,
not sine waves. Compare the sound of an M&K Powered Subwoofer
to any subwoofer using servo feedback. The dynamic and transient
performance of the M&K will result in an audibly cleaner and more
detailed musical sound.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Satellite Speakers
page 15
May 98
Advantages of
Satellite Speakers
Because M&K Satellites do not have to reproduce deep bass (thanks
to the M&K powered subwoofer), those Satellites are optimized to
reproduce midrange and highs without size compromises. Each
cabinet's front baffle is about the minimum size that will accommodate its drivers, with many cabinet optimized in shape (trapezoidal or
with multiple non-parallel walls) which eliminate midbass and midrange
problems found in virtually all other speakers.
Optimum location of
Satellites for imaging
without compromise
Very few loudspeakers are capable of reproducing fundamental frequencies below 50 Hz. This is made worse when the speakers are
placed in a room because they are usually set up for the best imaging.
The location with the best imaging is virtually always different from
the one that gives the deepest and smoothest bass response. That
means that a speaker in that location will not meet its bass specifications, either for low frequency extension or for flatness of response.
With M&K Satellite speakers, no compromise is necessary, as the
Satellites can be located for optimum imaging, with the Subwoofer
located for optimum bass.
M&K's attributes
Our strengths are in our quality of construction and appearance, our
long-term reliability, and our sound quality. M&K speakers are engineered for excellent transient performance, which we have always
considered essential for the accurate reproduction of music. Our superiority in this area becomes even more apparent in home theater,
where the overly polite and compressed sound of many speakers will
turn an exciting soundtrack dull.
M&K Satellite speakers produce a very natural, lifelike three-dimensional sound, thanks to their compact cabinet sizes and the transient
accuracy of their crossovers. In addition to producing a sometimes
startlingly real sound with good recordings, this means excellent soundstaging and accurate (unexaggerated) depth.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Satellite Speaker Cabinets & Treatments
page 16
May 98
Small cabinet and front baffle
sizes mean sharper imaging
and less coloration than
large speakers
Midrange and high frequencies sound best when the speakers producing them are mounted on the smallest possible baffle (as long as
the backward sound radiated from the driver is contained and absorbed, as in an acoustically stuffed sealed box). For this reason,
M&K Satellites have just about the minimum baffle necessary to mount
their drivers. This helps to provide the sharp detail and clarity M&K
Satellites are famous for.
On a large baffle, signals from the tweeter and woofer drivers travel
on its surface until they reach a cabinet edge. There they radiate into
the room—but time delayed in comparison to the direct signal coming
from the drivers. When these time-delayed signals reach your ear,
the sound becomes jumbled, with a loss of clarity and imaging, leading to the “canned” unnatural sound of conventional speakers.
With diffraction distortion reduced or eliminated, M&K Satellites have
much sharper imaging (which some have described as "holographic")
and detail.
Trapezoidal cabinets
and cabinets with
non-parallel walls
for optimum
sound quality
Virtually all M&K Satellite cabinets are either trapezoidal in shapes
or have non-parallel walls. This is done to optimize sound in the critical midbass and midrange regions.
A trapezoid shape is used for the S-5000THX and SS-150THX. These
cabinets do not have the typical midbass irregularity of conventional
boxes that is caused by comb filtering. Precise angles were optimized through time-domain measurements.
The trapezoidal cabinet shape also improves sound quality by minimizing coloration caused by the energy produced by the back side of
the speaker cones by affecting the internal modes. Overall, the trapezoidal cabinet reduces coloration and produces much flatter response
through the critical midbass region.
Other models (S-150THX, S-125, and S-85) are designed in mirrorimaged pairs (with a separate center-channel design), using front
baffles angled to provide an automatic toe-in. For front channel use
this improves stereo imaging. When these speakers are used in the
surround channels, this angle can help to increase the diffuse nature
of the surround channel by reflecting sound off the side or rear walls.
Further significant sonic improvement comes from the fact that the
small left and right cabinet side walls are also non-parallel, meaning
that the only parallel surfaces of the cabinet are its top and bottom.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Satellite Speaker Crossovers
page 17
May 98
Satellite crossovers
M&K's Phase-Focused crossovers deliver razor-sharp stereo imaging by combining three important elements of crossover design:
Time Domain Analysis, Frequency Domain Analysis, and what we
call Point-In-Space Analysis (a three dimensional analysis of the
speaker’s response in the room).
Other crossover designs consider just frequency response on one
axis by designing the crossover for a "sweet spot" listening position.
The Phase-Focused crossover is designed by measuring and
optimizing both its phase and amplitude response at dozens of
points (angles) each in both the vertical and horizontal planes.
This means that we consider its response at various angles in both
the vertical and horizontal planes, optimizing its three-dimensional
response. Our uniquely sophisticated crossovers are critically tuned
through both psychoacoustic listening analysis and complex computer
analysis—giving you much more than just good on-axis response.
You hear a very smooth response over a wide listening window (very
important for home theater), and you also hear a more focused and
coherent sound on axis!
Take an M&K crossover out of a cabinet and compare it to other
crossovers. Only high quality components are used, including largetrace circuit boards, distortionless air-core inductors, and high quality resistors and capacitors. Combine this with our designed-in performance and extraordinary user flexibility, and it means that M&K
crossovers deliver better sound quality.
Compare the sharp transient response, razor-sharp imaging, and
accurate soundstaging of M&K Satellites to an ordinary speaker's
"smeared" sound. The crossover is a major reason the M&K produces
a much more lifelike and detailed three-dimensional sound.
Satellite crossover
timbre controls
Through multiple inputs or back-panel switches, M&K Satellites can
be fine tuned for a listener's room, equipment, personal taste, etc. to
achieve a flat response at the listener's ear. They also provide the
unique ability to most closely realize a timbre match with non-M&K
speakers in multichannel systems.
These switches can be used to optimize response for room conditions or personal preference, but in normal room locations, known as
4 pi space (NORMAL position); when the speaker is on the floor or
directly against a wall, known as 2 pi space, (SPECIAL position); or
when tuning a system with third-octave equalization.
Additional positions provide a psychoacoustic LOW or MID EFFICIENCY for use in live and bright-sounding rooms; any time the Satellite is used without a subwoofer, or when the listener prefers it.
A separate Treble Contour switch (or Hi/Lo Tweeter inputs) provide
flat and increased/decreased high frequencies in specially designed
contours. These are not simple tweeter level controls and are useful
for tuning the speaker to the room or the system.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Satellite Speaker Drivers
page 18
May 98
Advanced low-distortion
woofer and tweeter designs
The drivers used in M&K's Satellite speakers have extremely low
distortion thanks in great part to their development using a speaker
driver measurement technique known as the "two-tone distortion test."
This severe test measures the distortion produced when a driver is
fed with a swept signal consisting of two closely-spaced tones. This
test has very close correlation to the perception of experienced audiophiles listening to music. It is a breakthrough tool in improving the
sound quality of high-performance loudspeakers.
This technique made it possible for M&K to develop drivers that go
beyond conventional distortion measurements to accomplish truly
superior audible reproduction of musical signals.
Transmission line tweeter
The M&K-developed Transmission Line Dome Tweeter utilizes an
acoustic absorbing transmission line to establish a new standard of
tweeter performance, delivering cleaner, more detailed and natural
high frequencies.
The transmission line, which is a damped, absorbent-filled cylinder,
absorbs the sound energy travelling rearward (from the back side of
the tweeter diaphragm). Ordinarily, this rearward sound energy reflects off the tweeter's solid internal structure and radiates through the
tweeter diaphragm, resulting in audible coloration and time domain
This extraordinary new tweeter reproduces music with tremendous
sonic transparency and delicacy, while maintaining the capability of
reproducing extraordinarily high output levels, so that it is fully capable of the tremendous dynamic range and continuous output levels
required for home theatre reproduction.
Transmission line tweeters are standard on the S-5000THX and the
M&K Sales Training Outline
Home Theater setup with M&K Speakers
page 19
May 98
Connecting a subwoofer to a
surround sound receiver or
The preferred connection from a surround sound amp or controller
is from the subwoofer output jack. This may be called SUBWOOFER
OUT, MONO, LOW PASS, CENTER WOOFER, etc. This connection
usually insures that a full bass signal is fed to the subwoofer. Never
If your component has no subwoofer output jack, connect the Subwoofer to the front Left and Right channel speaker outputs with speaker
wires. VERY IMPORTANT: When the Subwoofer is connected with
speaker wires and the controller is in Pro-Logic mode, the Center
channel WIDE/NORMAL switch MUST be set to the NORMAL mode.
If the switch is set to the WIDE mode, the bass content of the Center
channel will not be fed to the Subwoofer, and you will lose a significant
amount of bass.
With 5.1 channel systems, make certain that the bass from ALL
channels is fed to the subwoofer(s). Set all speakers to the SMALL or
Normal setting. Be sure that you do not send only the LFE (Low Frequency Effects channel) to the subwoofer. This channel contains only
special bass effects, not the normal bass content.
A critically important factor in achieving excellent multichannel sound
is timbre-matching. On film soundtracks, specific sounds are often
moved from left to right or from front to back. When speakers reproducing these sounds have dissimilar characteristics, there is an audible discontinuity when the sound shifts from one speaker to another.
Timbre-matched speakers have very similar tonal characteristics
and sound, which come from three critical elements: similar or identical drivers; similar or identical crossovers; and similar or identical frequency response. In full M&K systems, these elements have been
addressed. You can be assured that the system can achieve the full
potential of Home Theatre sound.
Channel balancing
The other factor crucial to achieving excellent Home Theatre performance is level-matching the three front and two surround channels.
This is even more important than timbre-matching.
We strongly recommend that you purchase a Radio Shack Sound
Level Meter (buy the analog meter, not the digital one, available for
less than about $40), and use it to measure the output of the speakers
by pointing the unit's microphone at each speaker, at the same distance, when playing the test tones generated by your processor or
When using identical front speakers and amplifiers with speakers at
about equal distance, when you get a different reading from different
channels, don't automatically set the channels to different levels. These
different readings are probably the result of limitations of that type of
meter measurement technique. Identical speakers with identical amplifiers should be set to the same level, at least within 1 or 2 dB.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Home Theater setup with M&K Speakers
page 20
May 98
Speaker placement
When M&K Satellites are being used in a Home Theatre system,
placement becomes extremely important, as you will be balancing
five or more speakers (not counting the subwoofer) rather than two.
The following guidelines are for a five-channel Pro-Logic or 5.1 channel Dolby Digital/DTS system. If you are not using a Center channel,
the instructions for the other four channels will still apply.
Center Channel
The Center channel speaker in a Pro-Logic or AC-3 system is the
most important speaker in the system. This speaker often produces
more output than the left and right speakers combined. This speaker
should be of the highest possible quality, and as similar as possible in
response and radiation pattern to the left and right speakers. Three
identical speakers are best, unless the Center channel is designed to
work with a set of left and right speakers.
It is also important to have as much amplifier power as possible for
the Center channel. As a minimum, the three front channels should
be identical in power output, but it is better if the Center channel has
more. If you have less power in the Center channel, this will be the
limiting factor in the total output capability of the system when watching and listening to video sources.
M&K Satellites, with their compact size and adjustable tonal balances, are ideal for Center channel use. Because of their adjustable
tonal balances, they will blend with a wide range of speakers and can
be acoustically balanced to provide a smooth front channel soundfield. M&K Satellites are also offered with optional magnetic shielding
to allow them to be used close to a television set.
The Center channel speaker should be located as close as physically possible to the television or projection screen. It should be just
above or just below the screen. If that is not possible, then just to the
left or the right of the screen may still be acceptable.
If the television is not in the center of the room (or not centered
between the Left and Right speakers), the Center channel speaker
should still be as close as possible to the screen—even if it is outside
the left and right speakers (such as a TV located in a corner of the
room outside the stereo spread of the left and right speakers). Good
results can be achieved in unusual configurations when the Center
speaker is as close as possible to the screen.
Front channels
The Left and Right front channel speakers in a Home Theatre system should be placed the same as the left and right speakers in a
stereo setup. Some listeners, however, may prefer to reduce the distance between the left and right speakers to bring the size of the acoustic image closer to the size of the screen image.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Home Theater setup with M&K Speakers
page 21
May 98
Front channels (cont.)
For example, with a 25" direct-view television, you would want the
speakers closer together than you would with a 100" projector. One
recommendation is to separate the speakers by 1.5 times the diagonal screen size; another is to place the left and right speakers to create a 45 degree angle with the main listening position.
There is a great deal of latitude in this area, as it is one of personal
preference (especially if you will listen to music without video).
It is also preferred that the speakers be equidistant from the listening position. Equidistant usually means that when the center speaker
is on top of the television, the left and right speakers will sit in front of
the set (they will be farther from the wall behind the TV than the center
speaker). Ideally, the speakers should be at the same height as the
screen, but it is much more important that all three speakers be as
close to each other's height as possible. If the center is much higher
or lower than the other speakers, the effect can be distracting. Angling, or toeing-in the speakers, to aim at the listening position often
improves imaging.
When using a Center channel speaker, you have extra flexibility in
placing the left and right speakers, as the Center channel speaker will
tie most dialog and effects directly to the screen.
Surround channels
The Surround channel speakers can be placed in a wide variety of
locations in the room to give good performance. In general, the surround speakers should be either adjacent to or behind the main listening position, and located higher than the listener's heads. They can
be mounted on either the side walls or on the back wall, flush to the
wall, on shelves, on brackets, etc.
The goal is to achieve an enveloping sound. The surround channels
should seem to come from all around you, rather than seeming to
come from behind you only or directly from a speaker.
This section discusses non-THX surround speakers. THX system
requirements call for dipolar surround speakers mounted to the sides
of the listening position above the listeners' heads. See M&K's THX
surround speaker instruction manual and the THX Installation Guide
for detailed instructions.
M&K's ST series of stands can be used to mount surround speakers at virtually any height, including well above listeners' heads, simply by using a custom length of pipe to set the height.
For non-THX surrounds, try starting with speakers on the side walls
of the room, two to three feet above the listeners' heads, directly adjacent to the listening position or behind it. You can aim the speakers to
fire towards each other (across the listening area), or you can aim
them to fire towards the back wall at an angle. When possible, the
surround speakers should not be in front of the main listening position.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Home Theater setup with M&K Speakers
page 22
May 98
Surround channels (cont.)
If you mount the surrounds on the side wall behind the listening
position, they can be aimed towards each other or angled towards the
back wall or the side wall surface directly behind them. By reflecting
sound behind the listening position, you may increase the sense of
envelopment in the sound.
If you want or need to mount speakers on the back wall of the room,
there are several options. You can aim them so that they fire towards
each other (so they fire along the back wall); you can aim them towards the front wall of the room; or you can angle them so they fire
toward the side walls. Symmetrical arrangements work best.
The speakers should be a minimum of a few feet away from the
nearest listener. If the speaker is located too close to a listener, its
sound will become too directional and may distract that listener. Ideally, the surround speakers should not call attention to themselves
and should not be audible as separate sources of sound.
If the surrounds must be located close to the listeners, aiming them
at the room walls or even the ceiling can help to reduce any directional effect. As described above, this can produce a desirable result
even in rooms where the surround speakers are an adequate distance from the listeners' heads.
If the surrounds cannot be placed on a wall, try placement on tables
or the floor to the sides of the main listening position, firing up towards
the ceiling. This can work very well in environments that do not allow
permanent attachment of speakers to the walls.
Some listeners prefer to use multiple pairs of surround speakers.
While this is not necessary, it can provide a broader and deeper surround effect, with better coverage in very large rooms. When using
multiple pairs of surround speakers, a symmetrical installation pattern works best. For example, if you are using two pairs of S-85s or
SS-150 Tripole Satellites for the surround channel, one pair could be
mounted on the back wall of the room, mounted equidistant from the
back corners, with the other pair mounted on the side walls of the
room, equidistant from the same back corners.
The surround channels can be installed in a wide variety of locations, but because they are usually mounted on the walls of the room,
they can be a challenge to successfully install. If you have further
questions, please call us at the M&K factory, and we will be happy to
discuss them with you in detail.
9805 Sales Train.pm65
M&K Sales Training Outline
5.1 & Pro--Logic System Setup
page 23
May 98
5.1 & Pro-Logic System Setup Outline
The 5 Most Important Items In System Setup:
Find the best location for the subwoofer
for maximum output and flattest response
(usually the corner closest to the listening position)
Aim the front speakers (and the surrounds, if possible)
vertically for the flattest response and best imaging
Set all speakers to the Small setting
for proper High-Pass and Low-Pass Filter operation
to get the lowest distortion and maximum dynamic range
Calibrate all speakers and the subwoofer to the identical level
for proper imaging and balance
Make sure all speakers are in phase
for proper imaging and impact
These instructions will help you make sure that you cover all steps in setting up a 5.1 multichannel or Pro-Logic surround sound system. In addition to following this list, make certain
that you study and understand the owner’s manual for each and every component used in the
system, especially the processor/receiver’s manual. Have fun and good luck!
A useful tool for system setup is the Laserdisc or DVD called Video Essentials. If you don’t
have one, you can order it by calling 1-800-USA-DISC (872-3472).
Here are the instructions for speaker setup.
Locate the front speakers. The left, right, and center speakers should be equidistant
from the main listening position. Try to set up the speakers so that they are reasonably
symmetrical to room surfaces. A tape measure may be very helpful.
Locate the subwoofer.
The ideal place for the subwoofer is the corner with the best structural strength.
If the corners are roughly equal in construction, use the corner nearest the
listening position. If the listening position is in the front half of the room, place
the subwoofer in a front corner. If the listening position is in the back of the
room, place the subwoofer in a back corner.
If possible, avoid corners near doorways or openings.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Home Theater setup with M&K Speakers
page 24
May 98
If you are willing to experiment, another option is to place the subwoofer at the
listening position and walk around the room. Stand in and near each corner.
The location where you hear the tightest bass with the most impact is probably
the best location in the room for the subwoofer.
If multiple subwoofers are used, place them in the same location. Stacking is
best, but you can also put them side by side.
Another option for multiple subwoofers is to place them in different locations.
This is appropriate when you have limited choices in locating the subwoofer and
none of the available locations work well. Try to place multiple subwoofers at
equal distances from the listening position to avoid phase cancellation.
Locate the surrounds. Determine the best position in the room. It will probably be the
position used for THX speaker, directly to the right and left of the main listening position
on the side walls (so that a listener in the center seat is directly between the speakers).
If that doesn’t work or is not practical because of the room, try these locations: on the
ceiling; on the back wall, or in the back corners (using an M&K ST Corner bracket).
Install all wiring and interconnects.
Connect the subwoofer. Always use the processor/receiver’s subwoofer output.
Aim the front speakers (this is a must for THX front speakers). Use a laser level to align
each speaker. Place the level on the flat surface between the midranges and tweeters
that is roughly in the center of the front baffle. The red dot of the laser should be
aligned to the center of the listener’s forehead at ear height. Make sure that the volunteer who sits in the main listening position keeps their eyes closed!
Make sure that you aim the left and right speakers in both the horizontal and vertical
planes. Horizontal toe-in is important for the best possible imaging.
If you have a Dolby Digital AC-3 5.1 channel processor/receiver, follow these instructions. If you have a Pro-Logic processor/receiver, go to item 7 below.
SPECIAL NOTE: Always check the processor/receiver’s owner’s manual. Different
manufacturers use different descriptions for the same function, and sometimes the
same description for different functions!. Your component may use terminology different
from that used below.
High-Pass Filters: All Dolby Digital processor/receivers have built-in high-pass
filters for the Left, Center, Right, Left Surround, and Right Surround channels.
Always turn these filters ON by using the SMALL setting. If you have a THX
component, use the THX setting. See the owner’s manual of the processor/
receiver for instructions.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Home Theater setup with M&K Speakers
page 25
May 98
Bass Management: If the processor/receiver has a setting to turn the Subwoofer
off or on, make sure that it is set to SUBWOOFER YES or ON.
Dialog Normalization: If your component has this function, turn it off to avoid any
possible effect on sound quality.
THX Dolby Digital units have an adjustable limiter for the subwoofer feed, called
“Bass Peak Level Management”. Turn it off, or set it for the highest possible level.
M&K subwoofers do not need this limiter.
If you have a Pro-Logic only processor/receiver, follow these instructions.
SPECIAL NOTE: Always check the processor/receiver/receiver’s owner’s manual. Different manufacturers use different descriptions for the same function, and sometimes
the same description for different functions!. Your component may use terminology
different from that used below.
If the component has high-pass filters for the Left, Center, and Right channels
(usually only THX components have these filters), they should be turned on or
set to THX (if you have a choice, use the frequency closest to 80 Hz. The surround channels in a Pro-Logic only system do not have switchable filters.
Set the center channel to Normal, unless you have a THX controller. With a THX
controller, set the center channel to Large/THX.
Turn off all limiters and compressors, auto azimuth controls, auto balance controls, etc.
If the processor/receiver/receiver has an input level control, calibrate it per the
manufacturer’s instructions.
If the component has a digital input, and you are using a source component with
a digital output, always use the digital input, not the analog input.
Set levels for each channel. You can take a measurement at the listening position to
establish the reference level, but it is usually more accurate to take levels at about one
meter from each speaker. Set all channels to exactly the same level.
Use a Sound Level Meter. Point it directly at the speaker being measured. Set all
channels to the same level, using the processor/receiver/receiver’s internal test signal.
Set the meter to “C” weighting and “Slow” response. Set the levels to 75 dB if you have
a THX processor/receiver/receiver or are using the Video Essentials disc as a source for
setting levels.
M&K Sales Training Outline
Home Theater setup with M&K Speakers
page 26
May 98
NOTE: If you using identical speakers anywhere in your system (e.g., S-150THX speakers for the left, center, and right channels), all of those channels should be set to the
same level. If your meter measures a different level, it is probably a limitation of this
type of meter measurement method and not an actual audible level difference. Set the
channels using identical speakers to the same level, unless you actually hear a difference later when you are doing listening to verify the system setup.
Check phase. Make sure that all five main channel speakers are wired in phase. The
Video Essentials disc has tests for main speaker phase.
Make sure that the subwoofer and main speakers are in phase at the 80 Hz crossover
point. Listen to something with a consistent bass line around 80 Hz while a partner
switches the “Phase” control on the subwoofer from “+” to “-”. The switch position that
results in the greatest bass at the listening position is the correct setting.
Play something that is familiar to you through the system to verify the system’s overall
performance. If something does no sound right, recheck your connections and settings.
Re-measure, re-check, re-align.
Switch the processor/receiver to each input that you will use. Check your settings for
each input and each mode. Some processor/receivers require that you enter settings
separately for each mode and/or input.
Before playing the system, check levels and speaker alignment one last time. Make
sure that you write down all processor settings for future reference.
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