The loudspeaker specialist long beloved by die-hard AV-Holics is now taking aim at regular living rooms with its D95 on-wall model. Ed Selley investigates.
The range of loudspeakers from audio brand M&K Sound already covers off a wide selection of AV roles, so the new D Series has been added to appeal to a different sort of end user. This isn’t a speaker to be buried in-wall in a darkened theatre – it’s dying to be easily placed on-wall in a two-channel music system, or either side of your TV.
The reason the D95 can be considered simple to install is twofold. First, the cabinet is sealed and largely (but not entirely) immune to proximity to walls. The second is that the cabinet is just 95mm deep. When combined with keyhole mounting on the back and a VESA mount pattern too, you have a speaker that should fit into most environments without a fuss. True, the D95 engineers some all-important cabinet volume by being a little wider (240mm) than you might expect, but at 300mm tall, it’s still handily compact.
In contrast to some of the more sophisticated models from the company that have dipole/tripole-based driver arrangements (see HCC #289), the D95 is simplicity itself, with one 1.1in silk dome tweeter and a 6.5in polypropylene bass/ mid driver per cabinet. Something that’s interesting is that the D95 puts a lot of load on the tweeter; the crossover network is set at 1.6kHz, which as low as I can recall seeing. Sensitivity is suggested at an amp-friendly 91dB and this doesn’t feel like fiction when you start listening. Viewed objectively, the speaker itself looks a little oddly proportioned but not to the extent it’s unattractive. White, black and grey finishes are available and grilles are provided. At £695 each (there’s an also-new D85 sibling, selling for £595, which uses a smaller 5.25in bass/mid), this isn’t an ‘affordable’ speaker, but the build and finish is more than commensurate with the asking price – although the push-to release speaker terminals don’t feel great and won’t happily accept 4mm plugs.
How low can you go?
Absolutely key to putting the performance of the D95 in context is that M&K Sound makes no claims to changing the laws of physics. For the speaker’s low-frequency response, the manufacturer quotes 90Hz at the rigorous +/- 3dB measurement and 70Hz at a rather more severe -9dB roll off. And while the D95 is largely unaffected by proximity to walls, if you do wall-mount it as intended you’ll get some useful boundary reinforcement.
What this means is that watching film and TV material through the D95s on their own is a rewarding, engaging experience. What the speaker does brilliantly is combine excellent detail retrieval with a crisp and dynamic presentation. And there is enough weight to make such sessions enjoyable.
That said, adding a subwoofer to the mix (in this case a BK Electronics P300SB) is enough to give an entirely full-range performance. A rewatch of Die Hard 2 on Disney+ over Christmas was a pleasure – the D95 never feels like a satellite speaker, because it has enough heft and scale of its own to ensure gunfire, exploding snowmobiles and the like don’t feel as if they are solely the preserve of the subwoofer. The speed and transparency on offer does mean, however, that the woofer you use will need to be quick and agile too.
Musical performance is also superb. That speed and cohesion they show is no less helpful here, and the speakers’ tonal balance manages to flatter decent recordings without making poor ones unlistenable. And subjectively, that low crossover point has no discernible effect on the integration between the tweeter and bass/mid drivers either. Once again, all but the most delicate of genres will need a subwoofer to be truly effective though.
Brand enthusiasts might look at the D95 and imagine it being a tasty partner for M&K’s other speaker models, suited to surround channel installation in a home cinema.
There’s no reason why the speaker couldn’t be used that way, although the company itself still believes tripoles are optimal in that regard, and is positioning the D95 very much for use in a stereo system. Set to that task, it performs admirably, and the space saved by mounting an on-wall model frees up some carpet for a partnering sub. And I wouldn’t want to deter anyone from doing that, buying another three, and going 5.1
Drivers: 1 x 6.5in polypropylene bass/mid driver; 1 x 1.1in coated silk dome tweeter Enclosure: Sealed Frequency response (CLAIMED): 90Hz-20kHz (+/-3dB Sensitivity (CLAIMED): 91dB Impedance (claimed): 4ohm (nominal – 3.4ohm minimum) Power handling (CLAIMED): 135W Dimensions: 240(w) x 300(h) x 95(d)mm Weight: 4.9kg
Features: White, black and grey matte finish options (with matching grilles); keyhole wall-mount fixings; 100mm x 100mm VESA compatible