Auditioned Infinity MTS. Disappointed. Questions..


I wanted full range system. So I have auditioned Infinity MTS speaker with RABOS (big $$$). It matched with Denon-2900 DVD and Runco(?) separates. But I was disappointed of unclear image and rather dull sound quality.

Many praised this speaker, but it didn't impress me. Something wrong with selection of power amp or DVD source? Or is this expected? My current system is Audio Research VT100MK2, SP-11MK2, CD-1, with Merlin TMS monitor. For me, they are far superior to Infinity system.

Thank you in advance for your comments!
Runco does not even make anything audio only video. You cannot even tell us what the system is composed of. For all we know it is a cheap dennon receiver driving 10,000 dollar speakers, or you are just making this up. I've heard em' and they sounded amazing coupled with Pass amplification and a Sony 777es SACD player. Sounds like all you want to do is talk about how good the Merlin TMS monitor, an audiophile lovely, is. Do you really think this missive is helpful? I'm not being mean or flaming it is just that when someone comes around and dismisses a very well engineered speaker which if produced by a company like Merlin would cost 30,000 and find comradeship with an audiophile approved stamp. Give me a break you did not even say how long you listened, or that you heard it with your own equipment. And besides, with sentences such as this:
"I wanted full range system. So I have auditioned Infinity MTS speaker with RABOS (big $$$). It matched with Denon-2900 DVD and Runco(?) separates. But I was disappointed of unclear image and rather dull sound quality."

How do you expect anyone not to think you are 15 years old? Need a few more "a's" and "the's", I think.
I'm using the MTS with an arc vt100mk1 & am far from "disappointed" Spearit sound has "refurbs" if the $$$ are too high @ retail
I am somewhat in agreement with Kchahoc's sentiments, although I think his comments are somewhat harsh.

It is possible for even the best equipment in the world to sound lackluster if connected to substandard associated gear in a questionable acoustic environment, with little or no attention paid to proper setup procedures. This is what I suspect happened. Plus, you were listening to an unfamiliar system as a whole, so it would be impossible to pin the fault on any particular component, but I'd have to suspect the Runco amplification too, since it is not known in audiophile circles.

Your experience is essentially meaningless because there are too many unknown variables in your equation. If you'd auditioned the Infinity speakers in your own home and system, then you'd have the basis for a fair comparison. As it is, you do not have a basis for drawing any conclusions. And I don't own Merlin or Infinity speakers, so I have no axe to grind.

On the other hand, it's unfortunate that some retail establishments cannot take the time or do not care enough to set up their products to perform near their potential. That doesn't do anyone any good.
I am just amazed to read reaction from Kchahoc. I simply don't understand his reasoning process and attitude (what's your problem?).

He just made a conclusion/implication that I wanted to "Sounds like all you want to do is talk about how good the Merlin TMS monitor" because I listed my system as a reference of my comparision. And above all, he has absolutely NO NEED to heat up when we are discussing wonderful things such as music or audio. I will take his reasonable point, and will completely disregard his flames as if they/he are/is non-existent. I don't want to waste efforts on non-productive comments.

To make the thread meaningful, I want to discuss more on the sound quality of Infinity and also want to answer Plato and reasonable parts of Kchahoc.

It is my mistake to forget the name of power amp although I remembered it before leaving the shop (growing senility?). But it was, albeit not superb, a reasonable power (MOS not tube), driving 200W each channel. And source was, as mentioned before, Denon-2900.

The auditioned Infinity MTS was a set up for home theater, 4 towers (two in front and two in rear) with two sub-woofers. They say that the system was RABOS adjusted a couple of days ago. To appreciate infinity's imaging capability, center was always turned off. Also, the rears were turned off when I did a stereo test.

My stereo testing sources are Rebecca Pidgeon's "Spanish Harlem (Raven, Chesky 94)", Diana Krall's "Why Should I Care (When I Look in Your Eyes, GRP 99)", Ella Fitzgerald's "They Can't Take That Away From Me (Ella & Louis, Polygram 00), and Richard Elliot's "I'll Make Love to You" and "Scotland (City Speak, Blue Note 96)".

Infinity did a good job on Rebecca's song, with good clarity on instruments, detailing her rather pitched voices without strain. Her voice sounded good. But I think it missed something from her voice, like fine timbre that surrounds her voices, that used to make her voice lively.

My impression is also very similar to the re-prod of Diana and Ella's songs. Infinity is used to be good on intsruments, but lacks fine aura or timbre on voices. I really felt like voice is slightly muffled. And for Ella's song, Infinity's image is not what I expected. The image was less focused, and, IMO, sound is forward.

Ricahrd's saxphone was good on Infinity. As my system is not full-range, Infinity's coverage on lower freq was a new revelation of the recording. Compared to other speakers that matched with sub-woofer, Infinity is more closely patched together between low freq and very low freq of sub-woofer. And overall bass were quite tight and controlled. They were good part. But, bad part is bass didn't go deeper down, maybe, due to woofer's physical size.

So, we decided to take the deep bass into test. Infinity is set up for home theater, 4 towers with 2 sub-woofer, center still turned off. Source was Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon. It has excellent mixture of drum sound in the scene that Michelle Yeoh chases Ziyi Zhang (the thief stole the sword and fled).

Staging and clarity of dialogue were very good. Voice delivered clearly without being buried in the sound effects. Tight bass was also a good point. But, very low frequency was not what I expected. It has some trouble in re-prod the very low freq of big drum. Very low freq almost sounded bright!

Allow me to repeat my first posting again, "I was disappointed of unclear image and rather dull sound quality."

Infinity was a good speaker, but its high and mid were ratehr dull, compared to good Monitor. As a full range with woofer, it is tightly patched at freq cross-over at low freq. But it had some problem at deep bass.

My judgement on this setup was "Infinity was rather dull for stereo music. And for HomeTheater, it misses deep bass, and may be too expensive."

My question is, after a long delineation, even with some insult from Kchahoc, is this an expected problem, or were there any mis-matches on equipments? If it is because of mis-matches, it may be because of power amp (I think Denon-2900 is a reasonable dvd choice). If I change power, will sound improve a lot?

Thank you advance for your comments.
Just a couple of points Drcio: First, there is likely a "voicing" difference between the audiophile-quality Audio Research tube gear you use and the middle-of-the-road ss electronics that were used to demonstrate the Infinitys.

Secondly, bass is very room-dependent and tweakable to a large degree. As to the imaging, that is room dependent and I suspect, in this case, electronics-dependent, too.

You did a smart thing by using your own reference recordings, but the fact that you are judging a complete system in an unfamiliar acoustic environment effectively negates any serious comparison.

If you are really interested in how the Infinitys compare to your speakers why not see if the store will agree to an in-home trial? If not that, then perhaps they would agree to let you bring your amp and preamp to their store to swap into the system.

Then there's always the possibility that the Infinity's just aren't your cup of tea or that the Merlins have some particular character trait(s) that you really like.

But if you are really serious about doing a fair comparison, as I said before, you need to make some changes in your methodology...

And remember, there are a lot more full-range speakers out there than just the Infinitys. However, if you're really hooked on the character of the Merlins, maybe the best thing for you to do would be to think about adding a good dedicated subwoofer system.
Heard the Prelude MTS with Krell and the sound was nothing like what you mention. Unfortunately, the dealer had hastily set-up the speakers in, of all things, a square room! The bass was impressive, but too much so. I think that properly set-up that issue would probably disappear as very few speakers are designed to integrate the bass properly within a room like these Infinitys are. Insofar as the midrange, I found it to be quite good, open and coherent. The treble seemed to be smooth. The imaging was good, considering the less than ideal placement. Dispersion was god, to the extent that can be judged by moving one's head one side to the other. They were very dynamic. Aside from the very deep bass which should be properly tamed in each individual room, the sound was coherent and quite musical. I did not much care for the sound of the Krell CD player used in the demo, as I found the sound too etched and somewhat tilted up as compared to my Arcam FMJ CD 23. Will not have good resale value because the true blue audiophiles crapped all over this product because it was designed by a no nonsense objective (aka "scientific") person and does not rely on allusion to emotions or references to great long dead composers and such. The Rodney Dangerfield of big chested speakers, a good product that can't get no respect. Did not beat the better speakers I have heard: Vandersteen Fives and JM Labs Utopia, but they are way less money.

>>>I am just amazed to read reaction from Kchahoc. I simply don't understand his reasoning process and attitude (what's your problem?).<<<
Thank you for your clarifications. And if you think that in any way I was heated-up, mad or unreasonable, truly all I did was question the validity or your "review," "audition" or what ever you want to call it. Unless it is because I corrected your writing . . . Perhaps if you had thought well maybe the MTS is more accurate and the Merlin is hot in the treble, or even the other way around. I only wanted . . . Oh forget it. I'll agree that Infinity's tweeter used in all the models from Intermezzo up does sound "dull" compared to some metal dome tweeters. I know I used to have B&W' Nautiluses and a pair of Wilson watt puppy 5's. But go check out the review by Stereophile on the MTS and the itsy-bitsy 2.6's by Mr. Fermer. Or, if I may paraphrase, he said that the tweeter may sound dull untill you realize the amazing resolving power of the hi-frequencies. It is like in the 80's when people first started to get ss amps without crossover distortion and thought they sounded lifeless because all the hi-frequency hash was gone. Maybe not your cup of tea, and if I offended please accept my apologies and get some thicker skin. As an aside I do not understand the whipping boy attitude most "audiophiles" have toward some companies. It is really a shame since it will turn off some potential, innocent buyers:)
Hey Y'all,

I agree that the only way to truly test any piece of audio gear is to hear it in your home or at least with your equipment. And I also realize that there are many different variables, room size and shape, furniture, acoustic treatments or the lack there of, that will effect the performance of a system. That said; I had the same exact experience with the MTS as Drcio. The system was all Krell, CD, Amp and Pre, all current models, as Pbb mentioned, and I, for the life of me, could not understand how a speaker that was so highly touted could sound so mediocre. I'm not trying to stir things up, I just wanted to let every one know that Drcio's impressions were not just his but mine as well. Please don't get me wrong, I grew up on Infinity speakers, RS-400s (?) in the '80s and RS-4s in the '90s and I loved them to death. I guess the MTS is just not my cup of tea either........John
Thank you very much for all your advise and feedbacks!

As you've made many positive comments on Infinity, I am quite convinced now that the set-up at Audio shop might not have been an ideal one. For fair judgement, I think, I have to negotiate with the shop to allow me a loaner, or allow me to test Infinity with my equipments on site.

Altho I don't think I have a very shallow personality, I really liked Infinity's killer look. :) As the listening experience is very personal, however, I have slight concerns that Infinity's sound might not be for my taste even with my gears (or mine is yet an another incorrect set-up. who knows?). Thank you everybody, and thank you Kchahoc for pointing me Mr. Fremer's article. That was very useful for me to understand Infinity.