The front baffle is solid aluminum and is mounted to the main enclosure through the use of six stainless-steel pillars screwed to interior reinforced braces. Laminated birch wood is used for the enclosure body. Additionally, the top and bottom are reinforced by 12mm-thick tempered-glass plates, which, in addition to vibration control, add a nice aesthetic touch. The matching stands are also well executed and rigidly couple the main cabinet to the ground plane.
The payoff was evident in the M1’s majestic reproduction of the doublebass and cello bass-range with excellent pitch definition and timing. The 7-inch woofer generated a fair amount of punch on loud tympani strikes, though don’t expect it to equal the slam factor of a much larger woofer.
There was also much to rave about at the other frequency extreme. The treble range was capable of being sweet, cogent, and detailed without a trace of harshness. Struck cymbals shimmered with plenty of air, and massed string sound was simply luscious. Soprano voice was accommodated with superb timbre fidelity. One of my test tracks, and a favorite tweeter test, consists of a poorly recorded violin with occasional overload on loud transients. Most tweeters choke on it and it isn’t a pleasant sensation. The M1 did well here, negotiating the overload distortion without introducing any lingering lower-treble sizzle.
The wide-range tweeter facilitated pinpoint imaging that could only be described as spectacular. Image outlines coalesced in space around well-defined spatial coordinates, yet would expand spatially in concert with the ebb and flow of the harmonic envelope. Sitting in the sweet spot, with the speaker axes intersecting just in front of the listening seat, yielded a linear soundstage of remarkable depth and breadth, which was also totally untethered from the speakers. The M1’s disappearing act was as good as I’ve heard. But wait, there’s more. Its midrange and treble purity and transient control contributed to a superb sense of transparency. A recording’s ambient information was readily discernible as was low-level detail often fuzzed over by lesser speakers. It was this combination of soundstage transparency and palpable imaging that was responsible for the urge to reach out and touch some- one. However, as a planar speaker aficionado, I should throw in a couple of caveats at this point. First, I still prefer the image scale, and in particular, the illusion of image height that a good planar is capable of. Second, I don’t find a monitor class speaker with its controlled directivity produces a particularly im- mersive listening experience. Dipole and omnidirectional radiators do a much better job of that. However, what the M1 did extremely well was to offer a clean and tonally realistic window onto the soundstage.
My initial instinct was to protect, that is to baby, the silk-dome tweeter. But I need not have worried. It could handle loud playback levels with aplomb, that is, with little change in the distortion spectrum. Thus, the M1 should do well even in moderately sized room. The M1’s feel for microdynamic nuances and ability to scale the macrodynamic range from soft to loud captured much of the music’s dramatic content.
I suspect that the M1 will in due course garner a heap of critical praise, and indeed I’m about to jump on the bandwagon. But before I do, let me verbalize one concern, that is, that a speaker as clean and as tonally accurate as the M1 may fail to appeal to those who are after spectacular sound per se. To a great extent, the M1 will reflect the sonic character of the front end and matching amplification. It is extremely revealing of the rest of the chain and will only perform its best with top-notch gear.
With that out of the way, let me emphasize that the M1 Mythology wields considerable emotional power, which combined with exceptional tonal balance and an almost magical sense of transparency make it an insanely attractive proposition at any price point. It is a sure bet for music lovers. And you should know that it has given me many hours of musical enjoyment. The M1 is one of the very few compact monitor speakers that I could happily live with for years to come.
SPECS & PRICING
Frequency range: 40Hz–40kHz (w/Sopranino)
Sensitivity: 85dB (2.83V/1m)
Recommended amplifier power: 50–200Wpc
Nominal impedance: 4 ohms
Dimensions: 9" x 15" x 14"
Weight: 19 kg (speaker); 20 kg (stand); 2.7 kg (super-tweeter)
Price: $14,690 w/stands; $13,690 w/o stands
Irvine, CA 92618
Lamm Audio M1.2 Reference and Carver Cherry 180 monoblock amplifiers, AYON Stealth DAC Pre and April Music Eximus DP1 DAC, Sony XA-5400 SACD player with ModWright Truth modification; Kuzma Reference turntable; Kuzma Stogi Reference 313 VTA tonearm; Clearaudio Da Vinci V2 MC phono cartridge; Pass Labs XP-25 phono stage; Pass Labs XP-30 line preamplifier; FMS Nexus-2, Wire World, and Kimber KCAG interconnects; Acoustic Zen Hologram speaker cable; Sound Application power line conditioners