Power Sound Audio MTM-210T Speakers Reviewed

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Power Sound Audio MTM-210T Speakers Reviewed

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PSA-MTM-210T-lifestyle.jpgPerformance
To begin my evaluation, I started with some familiar two-channel female vocals. In streaming the hi-res version (HDTracks, 24/96) of Sara Bareilles singing "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" from her live album Brave Enough: Live at the Variety Playhouse (Sony Legacy), I was impressed with the MTM-210T's ability to resolve fine details in the recording. This intimately played track with just Sara singing and playing the piano was a joy to listen to through the PSA tower speakers. The piano is one of the most difficult instruments for a loudspeaker to reproduce in a lifelike manner, and the MTM-210Ts did not disappoint in that regard. Transients were portrayed in a lifelike manner, from the first strike of the keys to the resonating decay of notes from the piano. In the quiet beginning of the song, the piano was locked into a narrow band of the soundstage at the center position. The speakers accurately portrayed the vulnerability in Sara's pitch-perfect voice as she softly sang the first few lines of the song. At the 1:50 minute mark, Sara changes the key she's playing to a bass-heavy sound while increasing the volume of her singing, causing the vocal and instrument soundscape to expand to the width of the speakers. At the same time, crowd noise expanded to wrap from side to side of my listening position. The MTM-210T's ability to create a natural, wide soundscape brought me closer to that feeling of sitting in the middle of the audience witnessing the concert in person. All of the dynamics of the performance came through in a more lifelike manner than expected from a speaker at this price point. For this particular track, switching between 2.0 and 2.2 channels yielded no difference in the sonic presentation. But then again, that makes sense because there shouldn't be any musical information below the 40- to 50-Hz limit of these speakers with just a vocal and a piano playing.

 

Another tune of note was jazz vocalist Gregory Porter's song "Hey Laura" (HDTracks, 24/96) from his Liquid Spirit album (Blue Note). Gregory's vocal styling seems to have been influenced by Cole in no small way. His rich, warm tone and vocal control were beautifully reproduced by the MTM-210Ts, and the speakers did a brilliant job of re-creating the acoustics of the intimate recording space. Instruments were placed across the soundscape with pinpoint accuracy, and significant air was present between each instrument in this laidback, soulful performance. Switching from 2.0 to 2.2 channels with this track resulted in a very subtle difference in sound, with a touch more bass foundation creating a slightly better overall balance to the recording. This difference wouldn't have even been noticed if it weren't for the ability to quickly switch back and forth using the Classé preamplifier. I noticed differences on a few other recordings as well, where the sound seemed a bit fuller in 2.2-channel mode. These recordings were bass-heavy tracks of either classical organ or hip-hop music.

In addition to listening to a variety of two-channel music, I also listened to several Blu-ray discs of music concerts to see evaluate the musicality of the MTM-210Ts when integrated into the full PSA 5.2-channel surround sound configuration. I decided to listen to the classic "You Know I'm No Good" in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray disc I Told You I Was Trouble: Amy Winehouse Live in London (UM3). I was completely drawn into the recording. The drum sounds were taut, the horns had such a realistic sound, and with the crowd noise all around my listening chair, I was completely drawn in. Amy's scats and runs reminded me of a talent lost too soon. The PSA speakers brought me close enough to the ambience of a live event that I got lost in the moment and just enjoyed the show.

But how good of a job has PSA done at designing their new tower speakers to sonically integrate into a full home theater setup when faced with the challenges of a very dynamic action movie soundtrack? To find out, I first turned to the Blu-ray disc (and Dolby TrueHD soundtrack) of the movie Allegiant (Lionsgate Films), the penultimate installment in the Divergent Series. In chapter 3, as Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Christina (Zoë Kravitz), Tori (Maggie Q), Caleb (Ansel Elgort), and Peter (Miles Teller) scale the city wall, Evelyn's soldiers are seen in the distance racing toward the rebels to prevent them from leaving. Since the cable fence at the top of the wall is electrified, Tris repels back down the wall and runs to the generator powering the fence to set an explosive as gunfire begins flying in all directions. And predictably, she detonates the explosive just as the first of the soldiers' vehicles comes within range. The explosion is quite a dynamic sequence of sounds, and the MTM-210Ts in partnership with the twin S1500 subs did not disappoint in easily reproducing all of the bass dynamics involved in that complicated 3D image. As the action continues, there is intense gunfire exchanged between the rebels and the soldiers, with bullets moving from ground level to the top of the fence and back to the ground toward the soldiers. The PSA speakers conveyed this action in such a realistic manner that I could almost feel the air moving as the bullets whizzed by my head from all directions.

In chapter 18 (The Falcon Flies Again) of the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey, Finn, and the droid BB8 are running from the marketplace to escape the storm troopers trying to capture them. As they run toward a quad jumper to escape, the ship is blown up by tie fighters overhead. In desperation, Rey and Finn run to the Millennium Falcon, with Rey piloting the ship and Finn taking the gunner position. The PSA MTM-210Ts together with the rest of the home theater setup drew me more into the action with their ability to create a sense of sonic realism. The speakers did so without even breaking a sweat, highlighting the efficiency and speed of their drivers, as well as their ability to integrate so well with the rest of the speakers. Both voices and music were reproduced in a palpable manner.

The Downside
Sometimes a strength is also a weakness, depending on your point of view. While the PSA MTM-210T is a fast, highly resolving loudspeaker that integrates very well with a quality sub for its price point, it does lack a touch of bottom end when used on its own with bass-heavy music. However, adding a sub to the mix changes everything, showing just how easily the MTM-210T plays its part in effortlessly delivering a balanced, full-spectrum audio presentation.

The speaker is physically quite large and may not work as well in smaller rooms. 
Finally, the speaker is only available in the one finish option, which may or may not appeal aesthetically to potential buyers.

Comparison & Competition
Competition at the $2,000/pair price point is certainly fierce. The SVS Ultra Tower speakers immediately come to mind, being that SVS is another Internet-direct company located just down the road from PSA in Ohio. The speaker comes with a one-inch dome tweeter, dual 6.5-inch midrange drivers, and dual side-firing eight-inch bass drivers. Another competitor is the Revel Concerta2 F36 floorstander ($2,000 pair), a 2.5-way speaker with three 6.5-inch woofers, a one-inch aluminum tweeter, and a lens waveguide. Both of these competitors are offered in a couple of high-gloss finish options. While I haven't had the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison with either of these speakers, I have had the chance to hear both speakers on multiple occasions and had favorable impressions of both.

Conclusion
Power Sound Audio's MTM-210T speakers deliver an awful lot of music and movie sound enjoyment for the money. The guys at Power Sound Audio have knocked it out of the park on the value side of the equation. And the way the MTM-210T speakers seamlessly integrate with subwoofers is fundamental in their ability to bring you even closer to the recording. Very good on their own, the MTM-210Ts are even better when paired with a quality PSA subwoofer or two. No-nonsense home theater enthusiasts seeking a reference-quality image will appreciate the ability of the textured finish on these speakers to absorb more light than just about any other speaker on the market. Customer focused, PSA gives you a full 60 days to audition its U.S.-made loudspeakers in your home. But I'll bet once you try these speakers in your home, you won't be thinking about returning them. Instead, the only question you'll be asking yourself is, "Why can't other companies make affordable speakers this good in the U.S.?" By now you know, the PSA MTM-210T is enthusiastically recommended.

Additional Resources
• Check out our Floorstanding Speakers category page to read similar reviews.
Power Sound Audio S3600i Subwoofer Reviewed at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Visit the Power Sound Audio website for more product information.

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HTR Product Rating for Power Sound Audio MTM-210T Speakers

Criteria Rating

Performance

4.5

Value

5

Overall

5

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