|Mordaunt-Short Mezzo Loudspeakers and Subwoofer Review|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Todd Whitesel|
|Thursday, 10 March 2011|
Page 1 of 2
I'm a dog lover. I have two English Springer Spaniels, 7 years apart in age, and both are my favorites. I would hate to choose between the two and don't think I could. In the same respect, it's hard to separate my thoughts of Mordaunt-Short's Mezzo speakers from Cambridge Audio's Azur 650R AV Receiver. I lived with both for several months, and the pairing took my living room/entertainment room to a new level. The Mordaunt-Short Mezzo lineup includes six speakers, four of which feature in this review: a pair of Mezzo 2 stand-mount speakers ($795), a pair of Mezzo 6 floorstanders ($1,495), one Mezzo 5 center speaker ($595) and the Mezzo 9 subwoofer ($1,295).
The Mezzos are extremely detailed and precise and perform equally well with music or movies. My focus here is on music, because that's where you'll really get the full Mezzo experience. I've read other reviews that describe them as sounding somewhat clinical, and to some extent I agree but not in a pejorative sense. They are undeniably clean-sounding, but it's a natural clarity without coloration or flabbiness. To use an analogy, I would compare the Mezzos to a marathon runner – swift, lean, graceful and efficient. The subwoofer is a powerful beast of many colors, and can be dialed in to your sonic tastes or to compensate for a room's deficiencies in seconds.
As a 5.1 system, the Mezzos impressed me by their coherency and ability to handle everything from hard rock to classical to jazz, as well as movie soundtracks and dialogue. The center channel speaker is often the forgotten hero, since most of the time its focus is the spoken word. Mezzo 5 is an example of how important the center speaker is for top performance in a surround system. Of all its brethren, the Mezzo 5 makes full use of the aspirated tweeter to deliver clean, clear voices, be they talking or singing. Most impressive, though, is the utterly convincing panoramic sound when fed multi-channel signals. In my review of the Cambridge Audio Azur 650R, I noted how realistic and fresh and new surround discs sound through the Cambridge/Mezzo setup. One SACD that kept me coming back was Dennis Kolen's Northeim Goldmine, a multi-channel disc from Germany's Stockfisch Records. Kolen's music recalls folk singers of the 1970s, such as James Taylor, and this recording is a stunner. The sense of space and channel separation is as good as I've heard; Kolen's voice is studio quality through the Mezzo center channel. Meanwhile, the guitar chords and lines have awesome resolution and stability.