PMC twenty5.26i Loudspeaker Page 2

I appreciate the optimism, but found it still took time with set-up to lock in a stereo image, not least because I felt the speaker's detailed delivery – more on this later – made it easier to detect less than optimal placement. Positioning close to a rear wall for a bass boost isn't discouraged, particularly as there's no rear port to contend with, but I tried to give them as much breathing room as possible.

sqnote Tight As A Nut
Realism, transparency and musicality. This is the three-pronged mission statement of the twenty5i series and with that in mind it's hard to consider the twenty5.26i as anything other than a success. This new-breed floorstander picks up the baton from previous PMC speakers, impressing with the clean, nuanced delivery, precise sense of rhythm and top-to-bottom balance the company's fans expect.

This clarity and timing was there to savour on the Queen track 'Another One Bites The Dust' [The Game; Tidal Hi-Fi 44.1kHz/16-bit], one of the band's most disco-infused moments and so dry it sounds vacuum-packed. The big PMC speaker conveyed the tight-as-a-nut production and work of musicians at the top of their game. The punchy drum pattern and rhythm of the bassline were locked in perfect unison, while Freddie Mercury's rapid-fire verses fizzed from the centre stage yet retained a delicate reverb. His vocals are then layered during the chorus, and the interplay between them was scintillating.

Raise A Glass
With the Queen recording there was an enjoyably taut and unmuddied feel to the twenty5.26i's handling of the bass, but with Faithless's dance tune 'We Come 1' [Outrospective; BMG 74321 850832] I got more of an impression of how much that 170mm driver punches above its weight. Given a physical leg-up by the cabinet and the ATL architecture, it managed to range impressively deep but still sound lightning-fast and responsive. This ability surfaced again and again throughout my audition, providing large scale, energetic footing to tracks that demanded it.


I could have happily fed the twenty5.26i a diet of electro-pop and dance music to savour its adroit handling of up-tempo music, and the slick manner in which it dots musical flourishes across its soundstage. But I changed the pace with Philip Glass's 'I. Opening', the first movement from his 1982 release Glassworks [Tidal Hi-Fi; 44.1kHz/16-bit]. Almost entirely a piano instrumental, with an unusual triple-note construction that gives it the air of falling forward, this let the delicacy of the twenty5.26i's mid and treble come to the fore, and its talent for dynamics as the music ranged from soft to forte.

Listen to more straightforward material that's not so skilfully mastered and you may feel you're not tapping into the twenty5.26i's obvious full potential. Yet even as I ran through a variety of relatively low-fi recordings, I was never 'disappointed' by what I heard.

AC/DC's 'It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)' [High Voltage; EMI 494 6712] does not have the holographic imaging of other compositions, but while the speaker did not have to dig deep, neither did its midrange driver gloss over the distorted guitar riffs, retaining the distinctive layering. The wide soundstage also stood out, with Malcolm and Angus Young's guitar parts enjoying a breadth that mirrors their on-stage setup.

There's a cohesive nature to the twenty5.26i's performance that's addictive. The effect is that you can lose the sense you're listening to a set of speakers, the sextet of drivers instead forming a balanced, even whole, from pure-sounding bass at the bottom to grit-free highs.

Party Piece
At the same time, the overall presentation favours transparency, insight and smoothness. You'd never consider these warm or rich, and occasionally the emphasis on midband precision seems to come at the expense of high-end sparkle. I can imagine some considering this speaker lacking in 'excitement', but counter to this is the pleasure you get listening to something that never seems to put a foot wrong. I also found it easy to drive with quite modest amplification, and tonally consistent with off-axis listening.

I finished my audition, as I knew I would, with 'Won't Get Fooled Again' [The Ultimate Collection; Polydor 065 234-2], which had me tapping my feet and air-drumming to Keith Moon's frantic rhythms. So for all the twenty5.26i's mature looks and neutral performance, that doesn't mean it's not suited to getting the party started. At one point Daltrey demanded I 'take a bow for the new revolution'. I'd doff my cap to this speaker.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Those seeking a speaker that works with the music, rather than unduly adding to it, will cherish PMC's premium-priced floorstander. Dynamic and detailed, transparent and well-timed, the twenty5.26i doesn't resort to bass bluster or overt treble to impress. There are more eye-catching rivals out there, but park your superficiality and you'll discover PMC's from-the-studio aesthetic suits the performance.

The Professional Monitor Company Ltd
Supplied by: PMC Ltd
01767 686300