Keith Jarrett’s The Moth and the Flame, another fine ECM LP, revealed some of the classic limitations of a mini sub/sat system. The mid and upper octaves of the Steinway piano Jarrett was playing sounded gorgeous, but the lower octaves didn’t have the weight and majesty that I knew was lurking in the grooves. You’d probably need a larger speaker with a 5- or 6-inch midwoofer to get that Steinway’s sound right.
Since none of this music really stressed the PV1D, I sat down for a night of action movies. First up was Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, streamed with 5.1 sound via Vudu. The same spacious sound quality delivered by the MT-60D system that worked so well for music also worked wonders for this movie, especially in the sandstorm scene, where the sounds of swirling sand in the surrounds made me feel like I was right in there with Tom Cruise chasing the bad guy.
That same chestiness I mentioned earlier also became apparent in Ghost Protocol, making Cruise and Jeremy Renner’s dialogue sound unnaturally full on occasion, but it was a pretty subtle and fleeting effect that bothered me in only two or three instances when I was testing the system.
Although the PV1D delivered plenty enough punch for most scenes, I did hear it distort and compress at times — for example, in Ghost Protocol’s opening, where a bomb goes off in the Kremlin. But it’s really just the toughest bass-heavy scenes, such as the spaceship flyover that opens Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, that overtax the PV1D. With typical home theater fare, it sounds robust and precise. If you want more oomph, you’ll have to get a larger sub. (And, most likely, a larger system.)
When listening to music through the MT-60D, I mused that if B&W were to take these same components and shroud them in black fabric to look like a tower speaker, they could have audiophiles lining up to buy them at $5,000 per pair. For music, it’s one of the best small systems I’ve ever heard. It’s also great for movies, as long as you don’t go crazy and try to play ultra-dynamic action movies in a big room (as I did).