MC-6C Speaker Setup and Listening Tests
I placed the MC-6C’s on my 30” sand-filled Plateau speaker stands which puts the tweeter right at about ear level on my Continental theater seats. The speakers were positioned about 5ft from side and back walls and spread apart about 10ft from each other which was roughly the distance from my primary listening position. After experimenting, I found they sounded their best with a slight toe-in, adding more focus and tightening up the soundstage without sounding bright. I used the Emotiva Reference Theater Series preamp and processor, the Denon DVD-5910CI as the source with my trusty Status Acoustics Decimo’s reference bookshelf speakers and Dali Mentor 1’s on hand for comparison. All cables were furnished by Impact Acoustics (Sonicwave toslink) and Bluejeans Cable (10AWG speaker cable and analog interconnects).
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a huge Pat Metheny fan and strongly feel that long after his time, he will be remembered as one of the greatest jazz guitarists ever. I selected We Live Here not only because of its significant musical content, but because it’s a well recorded CD that really can give a speaker system quite a workout.
In track #3 “The Girls Next Door,” the cymbals had a lot of air to them, while the persistent cha-ching sound of Paul Wertico’s stick work was highly detailed and focused though not quite as much as I’ve heard on my Decimos and especially the Dali Mentor 1’s. While the Dali’s were clearly the most revealing speakers of the group for high frequencies, they lacked in the critical midrange area. In comparison, Pat’s guitar carried much more presence and realism on the significantly less expensive RBH MC-6C’s. The MC-6C’s set up a nice 3 dimensional soundstage placing the guitars left of dead center and back. I heard a very prominent stereo effect in the guitars that I didn’t hear on the Dali’s. In track #8 “Red Sky”, the sound was very open and expansive. Piano had a genuine tonal signature, similar to that I experienced on my Decimos. You could delineate the type of pickups in Pat’s guitars. Bass was well controlled and tight and regardless of how loudly I played these speakers, they didn’t bottom out or falter on dynamic passages.
I was quite pleased when Steely Dan beat out all of the gangster rap so called “artists” and won a Grammy at the music awards for this CD. Finally a band won because of its musical talent and not because they were hip on MTV. Two Against Nature not only contains musical content worthy of the name Steely Dan, but also exists as a reference quality recording that any audiophile should have in their collection. Track #1 “Gaslighting Abbie” demonstrated the MC-6C’s excellent imaging abilities with clear separation of instrumentals and with the vocals of Donald Fagen pinned dead center as they should be. I found a slight toe-in improved the focus of these speakers without shifting the tonal balance or making them sound bright as so many other speakers tend to.
The MC-6C’s portrayed nice air in the triangle instrument in Track #3 “Two Against Nature”. The bass was tight and the reverb in the clap percussion was right on. The Dali’s were more revealing in the upper treble, but the clap percussion on them seemed almost dead when directly compared to the RBH’s. The RBH tweeters maintained their composure even at high listening levels. It didn’t take me long to realize that the MC-6C’s had some of the best sounding metal dome tweeters I have heard in speakers, regardless of price. Not since our review of the Canton Karat reference speakers which sold for considerably more, have we heard metal dome tweeters sound this clean and free of distortion or stress.
I cranked up Track #4 “Janie Runaway” to see what these speakers were made of. I recorded SPL levels of 96dB at the listening position 12ft from the speakers in my 6,000ft^3 room. Trumpets were slightly forward sounding and came off crystal clean. Not once did the woofers bottom, nor did the speakers sound like they were running out of gas. This is a tribute to their sealed design and excellent woofer driver. In comparison, I quickly switched over to the Dali Mentor 1’s that have the same sensitivity but are a ported design and utilize a slightly smaller woofer. They immediately bottomed out and I swiftly reduced the volume as I felt the woofers were literally going to pop out of the cabinet. This taught me something important about speaker design. With speakers, and especially subs, there are two critical parameters a designer must consider, extension and SPL. In a bookshelf type product, if you go after more extension like Dali did, then you ultimately sacrifice SPL. RBH decisively chose SPL, purposely rolling off the bass response in consideration that the user would pair these speakers with a subwoofer. In my opinion this was the better choice. The MC-6C’s had plenty of extension to play down in the 60Hz range making it easy to blend with a subwoofer. Best of all, you can still run them full range without fear of bottoming or distressing the woofers since the design of the speaker naturally rolls off the bottom end much like a THX certified speaker system does.
I almost always throw this CD into my reviews because it tests so many capabilities of a hi-fi system and the musical content is quite enjoyable. In track #4 “How Long”, Dianne’s voice didn’t have a lispy sound to it like I’ve heard on many speaker systems. Instead her vocals remained clear, and percussions sounded great, though the bottom octave of bass in the track was extremely anemic. If you are running these speakers for mostly two channel duties, I strongly suggest stereo subs placed in close proximity to the speakers equidistant from the listening position.
I again pushed the MC-6’s hard with Track #2 “Never Too Far” and they never faltered. These speakers had something to prove to me. It seems they wanted to decompose all of my preconceptions that they would be no better than their predecessors. I had to acquiesce as I was clearly proven wrong.
This is an old recording, but a classic musically and a marvel sonically. Nearly 22 years old, this recording has stood the test of time and is a must have for any music lover that also values high quality fidelity to show off their speaker system.
Track #4 “Your Latest Trick”, the saxophone was right in your face, as it should be, when listening to it on the RBH MC-6C’s. Vocals were clear and avoided that “cupped” sound I so often hear on lesser quality speaker systems. Guitars really stood out in the recording making me appreciate the awesome musicianship not typically found in today’s mainstream pop/rock music genre.
Track #6 “Ride Across the River” made me feel like I was on an African safari. The MC-6C’s did a great job rendering the bass parts but simply couldn’t reproduce the deep kick drums. Again, stereo subs would certainly fill out the sound spectrum nicely. The guitar soloing in the left speaker captured my full attention while the background insect sounds had me reaching for a can of Off. I spent more time than I wanted too listening to this album.
The MS 10.1 sound is rich, deep & has a nice punch. It's very accurate and starts/stops when it's supposed to. I also like to feel the sound when appropriate and this little speaker has the goods.
I know it's been a while since the original post, but better late than never. ;-)
You have a PM
Everyone thanks for all the answers. I was just wondering do you think that it is benneficial for the added cost to move up to the Signature series or do you think that the MC series is almost as good? To give some insight I will be using these speakers for HT primarily. Thanks in advance.
I know it has been a while since this was posted but I was wondering the same thing. I am about to pull the trigger on some MC-6Cs and a MC-616 but I am wondering if I should keep saving for the SEs.