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Monitor Audio GR20's vs PMC GB1;s - the verdict... well sort of !

gsrai

Wammer
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Aug 18, 2005
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Black Country
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Gobind
For those of you following my ramblings over speakers and hifi I managed to purchase a set of PMC GB1's from this forum recently.

The reason for the purchase is that I have a set of Monitor Audio GR20's but their footprint is a little large and the gaffer (as much as she likes the look - more on that later) was hoping to get something more aesthetically pleasing and I didn't want to lose sound quality.

My method of testing was to take some of my favourite songs and listen to them on each set of speakers with the volume set to about 1/3 and the PMC's faced straight ahead whilst the GR20's were toed in a little.

This is all IMHO and not meant to offend anyone - so don't be offended!

Here are my conclusions:

ALBUM : Nellyville

ARTIST : Nelly

Track : 13 called "#1"

PMC GB1

This track has a lot of short sharp snappy bits to it with a deep and bass and the PMC's handled the bass really well and made it sound very tight. Each instrument/vocal had a precise cut-off (anyone familiar with Nelly will recognise the abruptness of his music). Instruments and vocals were clearly placed in the air and the sound did not feel like it was coming from the speakers.

MA GR20

The first thing to strike was the amount of bass - that extra driver really fills the room but equally disappointing is the lack of tightness to the bass. The topend (smoething I really like to shine) came across as piercing and the overall sound felt like it had more presence but less clarity than the PMC's.

ALBUM : Romanza

ARTIST : Andrea Bocelli

Track :1 called "Con te par ti ro"

PMC GB1

The opening to this track has some brushes being played across a drum and they sound comes across nice and clear. Andrea's vocals have a nice weight to them and once again the voice is not muddied by the instruments but more well placed in the soundstage. The warble in Andreas voice is more noticeable than the GR20's but disappointingly the kettle drum part way through sounds quite distand and muffled. The soundstage impresses and the strings come across very nicely.

MA GR20

The opening brushed drums have clarity and come across distinctly and Andreas voice is quite warming. The soundstage is a bit worrying as the voice is sometimes overpowered by all that is going on and it is difficult to pick out instruments in the last quarter of the song.

ALBUM : MTV Unplugged

ARTIST : Bryan Adams

Track :7 called "Summer of '69"

PMC GB1

The opeining guitar sounds quite lush as if it was being played in front of me and Bryans voice is easy to place and quite weighty. When the crowd roars it feels as if the crowd is in the room - very believable. The piano is quite easy to pick out and when all instruments kick in there is real power to the music. Not sure if this is atechnical temr but the music had height.

MA GR20

Opening guitar bit had a nice weight to it like the PMC's but the voice of Bryan lacked life/spirit. The crowd sounded quite flat and the guitar sometimes got lost in the music (piano was really hard to find). When everything kicks in the impact is did not pull at me as much as the PMC's but I did like the sound of the guitar overall.

ALBUM : One Night Only

ARTIST : Bee Gees/Celine Dione

Track :7 called "Immortality"

PMC GB1

When the introduciton of Celine is done by M Gibbs there feels like there is a lot of air around him and the crowd really take over the room. A bit boring but the soundstage is very impressive and the drum rolls have some serious weight behind them.

MA GR20

The introduction sounded flat as did the crowd. Celine's voice did not sound as full/airy but the piano did have a weight behind it. The whole experience felt louder than the PMC's and the male voices came through better.

ALBUM : Balle

ARTIST : Sukshinder Shinda

Track :8

PMC GB1

I don't expect you to know this Panjabi artist but lets just say the music is very garage indian flava
wink.png
. In my car this tracks opening bass drone real hits the chest but the PMC's Kinda' lost the whole experience - very disappointing. The high end Tumbi sounded crisp and sharp and the rap was amzingly 3d and clear.

MA GR20

Same disappointment as the PMC's with the opening and the rap lacked snap. The singers voice carried more weight and topend tumbi was harsh.

In terms of quality of finish the GR20's win hands down with a beautiful grained finish that oozes quality whilst the PMC's look petite and nice but the Veneer is a bit wishy washy and looks cheap to me.

Conclusion

I can safely say I am edging towards the PMC's but it is not as clear cut as I had hoped it would be and I do like the GR20's (the gaffer loves the finish of the GR20's and is willing to overlook the footprint for a while to keep the look).

I don't think this thread is over yet, thediscovery continues . . .

 

Polarbear

Old bear
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Jul 24, 2005
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PB
HiFi Trade?
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Nice review
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keep enjoying those speakers and keep us informed,

Regards

PB

 

Glens of Antrim

Wammer
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Jul 25, 2005
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Norn Iron, , United
Very honest, interestingreview Gobind & I'd love to hear that Indian garage. Listen to the Asian Network sometimes & enjoy a lot of what they play. Let us know what way you decide.

Cheers, John.

 
E

earl of sodbury

Guest
Good review, Gobind, and pretty-much what I've experienced and what I'd expect TBH.

Your mainissue is the size of room - it's a big room, and your speakers are firing down its length, and feisty though the GB1s are, the larger, multi-coned MAs have the bass advantage.

You don't say what electronics you are using, but if you haven't done so already substitute the X-150 (to drive treble alone) for the X-Pre and see what you think.

Also, in my small room, the GB1s sound best toed-in to fire directly towards your ears, may not apply in your situation, but worth trying.

Lastly, although front-ported, bass will be reinforced if you get the PMCsbacknear thewalls.

cheers, Paul

 

gsrai

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 18, 2005
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Black Country
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Gobind
Paul

Cheers guv!

I have only used the pre/power to date (the X150 hasn't come out of its box yet) and i have to admit I do like these PMC's.

Will let you know how i get on with the rest of the test.

 

Chewie

Wammer
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Jul 20, 2005
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The Fens
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Carl
Nice review gsrai, I’m glad you are appreciating the joys of the GB1’s :Coool:

earl of sodbury wrote:

Also, in my small room, the GB1s sound best toed-in to fire directly towards your ears, may not apply in your situation, but worth trying.Lastly, although front-ported, bass will be reinforced if you get the PMCsbacknear thewalls.

cheers, Paul
I have had similar results EofS; my GB1’s definitely perform at their best when toed in more than I would usually expect.

I will also have to try your recommendation with a closer rear placement, I think at the moment I have my GB1’s about 400-500mm of the back wall.

Cheers EofS
thumbs_up.gif.3c8ee62eda0e86146178ab30b9facd86.gif


 
E

earl of sodbury

Guest
Chewie wrote:

Nice review gsrai, I’m glad you are appreciating the joys of the GB1’s :Coool:earl of sodbury wrote:

Also, in my small room, the GB1s sound best toed-in to fire directly towards your ears, may not apply in your situation, but worth trying.Lastly, although front-ported, bass will be reinforced if you get the PMCsbacknear thewalls.

cheers, Paul
I have had similar results EofS; my GB1’s definitely perform at their best when toed in more than I would usually expect.

I will also have to try your recommendation with a closer rear placement, I think at the moment I have my GB1’s about 400-500mm of the back wall.

Cheers EofS
thumbs_up.gif.3c8ee62eda0e86146178ab30b9facd86.gif
Hi Chewie, I'd only consider moving 'em back if you're in a biggish room and the bass output is unsatisfactory - in my small room they work best about the same distance as yours from rear and side walls.

Notice on your sig that you use Atlas Navigator i/c - I've tried them in mine and much preferred both the Cambridge Studio whatevers and more so, VdH's 1st Ultimate Metal Screen - have you experimented with any of these? The VdH cables seem to have a bit of an affinity for MF, but I know they're very definitely not to evereyone's taste...

Always fun to have a bit of a tinker!

churz, eofs

 

Chewie

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 20, 2005
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The Fens
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Carl
earl of sodbury wrote:

Chewie wrote:
I have had similar results EofS; my GB1’s definitely perform at their best when toed in more than I would usually expect.

I will also have to try your recommendation with a closer rear placement, I think at the moment I have my GB1’s about 400-500mm of the back wall.

Cheers EofS
thumbs_up.gif.3c8ee62eda0e86146178ab30b9facd86.gif
Hi Chewie, I'd only consider moving 'em back if you're in a biggish room and the bass output is unsatisfactory - in my small room they work best about the same distance as yours from rear and side walls.

Notice on your sig that you use Atlas Navigator i/c - I've tried them in mine and much preferred both the Cambridge Studio whatevers and more so, VdH's 1st Ultimate Metal Screen - have you experimented with any of these? The VdH cables seem to have a bit of an affinity for MF, but I know they're very definitely not to evereyone's taste...

Always fun to have a bit of a tinker!

churz, eofs
Yeah I have considered Van den Hul 1st ultimate metal screen interconnects EofS, I keep an eye on e-Bay in search of a bargain but as you will be aware they are few and far between. On the recommendation of someone else I do have some Van den Hul CS122 to try when I am next in the mood to have a tinker.

I will also have a tinker with the placement, they are probably a bit too far apart at the moment but as you can see I am limitedon that front by my cabinet.

HiFiE.jpg


 

gsrai

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 18, 2005
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Black Country
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Gobind
Chewie - you do know you only need the screened version if you are running a prepower combo - otherwise the normal stuff is fine (like I sold to EFFEM last week!).

Nice setup - very neat!

 
E

earl of sodbury

Guest
Chewie that is one SMART setup - they mightbea bitfar apart if you are inside the old equilateral triangle, but TBH that's how I have mine and they sound fine. Maybe it's their monitoring heritage, but I find they sound best quite close-in, I'm only about 2M away from mine...

Henley Designs were knocking out 1st Ultimate Metal Screens for £85 / 0.8M pair at the last Hetahrow show, that's where I got mine (even haggled a bit off) - might be worth contacting them to see if they have any left... They are de-rigeur if used between pre-power, but I find most CDPs (see other threads) leak a fair bit of RFI, so find them useful there as well. That said, I transformed my first pair of unscreened 1st ultimates with some bacofoil, an earth drain wire and some heatshrink tubing. Sounds naff, but works extremely well - so if you see some cheapish, this is always an option...

churz, eofs

 

gsrai

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 18, 2005
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Black Country
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Gobind
I've reached a decision:eek:j:

No I haven't :Unhappy:yes I have :)no I haven't :Unhappy:yes I have
smile.png


Oh for crying out loud - this is really annoying.

My ears tell me the PMC's sound better for all of the reasons given above but everytime I look at the GR20's I think wow - whata finish/looker!

I know looks arent why you buy stereo but aaaaaaaaaaaaargggggggggh!

Does anybody know anyone who wants some GR20's in Natural Oak?

 

supercapman

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Jul 19, 2005
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Chris
Don't want to put a spanner in the works, but someone is selling a pair of meadowlark Shearwater HR's in Hifi News classifieds for £750:shock:, a bargain in my book.

 

gsrai

Wammer
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Aug 18, 2005
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Black Country
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Gobind
phewww!

Just had a look at them - not my cup of tea.

Will you stop it :zip:this is hard enough as it is.

Joking aside, ta for the info but I reckon I have my "honsons choice" - just gotta make it!

 

icehockeyboy

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Aug 14, 2005
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Craig
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Having heard a pair of GR20s recently, i would certainly go for the PMC's.......but...thats just me,the only person who should decide is you!.... ill give you just .one reason that springs to mind..

If id taken Earls opinion re my Quads into consideration, i wouldnt have given em room space, as it was i didnt, and replaced my much loved Focal jm Labs with them......got around to an A/B test last week.........No comparison!! Quads were clear winners.

If YOU think the PMC's sound better.....keep them..........Simple aint it!!!!!!?????!!!
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gsrai

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 18, 2005
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Black Country
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Gobind
ICE DUDE - that's a fair point and I think the PMC's will be what I end up with (as I flit between the 2 the GR20's do surprise me but I think the fact they need space that I can't give is the problem). The final part of the dilemma is not so much about the sound but the look - the GR20's are a work of art but the PMC's are a bit cheapy looking to me (and more importantly, the wifes eyes!). When you think these things cost over a £1k each I like to think of the speakers as fruniture but my old mission 773e's had a better finissh than the PMC's.

I suppose what I am wondering is do I sell both and have a look for a PMC equivalent with a nicer finish.

I know it sounds daft but gotta feel good allround - not just my house (although when the extension is done...!

 
E

earl of sodbury

Guest
Smack a bit of furniture polish on those PMCsGobind (mind the drivers
shock.gif.7732780fe7e208b945ce79ca96402fca.gif
) - look better straight away : finish is acceptable, not in the ART / Castle league, but plenty better than Totems...

ICE: shiny... :shock:shiny...
shock.gif.7732780fe7e208b945ce79ca96402fca.gif
shiny... :shock:shiny...
shock.gif.7732780fe7e208b945ce79ca96402fca.gif
shiny... :shock:shiny...
shock.gif.7732780fe7e208b945ce79ca96402fca.gif
shiny... :shock:shiny...
shock.gif.7732780fe7e208b945ce79ca96402fca.gif
shiny... :shock:shiny...
shock.gif.7732780fe7e208b945ce79ca96402fca.gif
...

:raoflmfao:sod of earlbury

 
M

Mr Coherent

Guest
Same they don't float your boat looks wise, as they certainly see off the other 2 speakers with ease.

Though I can see your point of view they are an aquired taste looks wise. Mr.C

 

gsrai

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 18, 2005
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Black Country
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Gobind
I'm going to give it a couple of days of listening (I think it will be the PMC's) in the end but don't want to get it wrong as upgrading isn't as much fun as it used.

 

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