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XTZ Sound Bookshelf Speaker Comparison (93, 95 and 99 Series)

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Summary

  • Product Name: 93/95/99 Series Bookshelf Speakers
  • Manufacturer: XTZ Sound
  • Distributor: XTZ Sound
  • Review Date: April 08, 2015 09:00
  • MSRP: $195 - $650 each
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

Swedish audio manufacturer, XTZ Sound in Balance, makes a bit of everything.  When they are not making amplifiers, CD players, cables, measurement systems, DSP, and earphones, they are making speakers.  The wide range of other gear that XTZ has come to offer reflect their intent to provide a full sound solution including electronics, stands, cables, accessories, and even room measurement equipment, but today we will focus on several of the bookshelf speaker product lines.

XTZ Sound was founded in 2004 by Olle Eliasson, whose interest in music and audio reproduction dates back to his childhood.  These interests lead Olle to the study of electronics and to thirty years of building speakers.

Olle contends on the website that XTZ is an extension of his personality and beliefs.  Although a little disorganized, based on what is said throughout the site, there is much said that resonates with our views at Audioholics.

On the audio design side, XTZ focuses on naturalness of sound reproduction, neutral/flat frequency response, and the awareness that room acoustics often plays a bigger role in the quality of sound reproduction that the audio gear itself does.  On the business side, honest marketing without hype coupled with high quality products and prices that allow people across means to be able to afford good audio reproduction.  Of course, central to all of this is enjoyment of music itself.

Model 93.21 93.22 Mk II 93.23 Mk II 95.22 95.24 99.25 Mk II 99.26 MkII
MSRP (each) $195.00 $220.00 $210.00 $280.00 $280.00 $650.00 $650.00
Speaker Design Two way ported with tuning plug Two way ported with tuning plug Two way ported with tuning plug Two way sealed Two way ported with tuning plug Two way ported with tuning plug Two way ported with tuning plug
Cabinet Construction Rectamgular 21 mm MDF Rectangular 21 mm MDF Trapazoidal 21 mm MDF Rectanglular on wall 18 mm MDF Rectangular 18 mm MDF Rectangular 25 mm MDF Trapazoidal 25 mm MDF
Frequency Response (Anechoic) 49 Hz - 25 kHz 45 Hz - 25 kHz 45 Hz - 25 kHz 59 Hz - 35 kHz 45 Hz - 35 kHz 40 Hz - 40 kHz 40 Hz - 40 kHz
Sensitivity 88 dB 89 dB 89 dB 88 dB 88 dB 88 dB 88 dB
Nominal Impedance 4 - 8 ohm 4 - 8 ohm 4 - 8 ohm 4 - 8 ohm 4 - 8 ohm 4 - 8 ohm 4 - 8 ohm
Tweeter 1" soft dome silk
Two-level adjustable
1" soft dome silk
Two-level adjustable
1" soft dome silk
Two-level adjustable
18 Micron Rosin/Aluminum/Rosin composite ribbon 18 Micron Rosin/Aluminum/Rosin composite ribbon
Two-level adjustable
Rotatable
18 Micron Rosin/Aluminum/Rosin composite ribbon
Four-level adjutable
Rotatable
18 Micron Rosin/Aluminum/Rosin composite ribbon
Four-level adjutable
Midwoofer 6.5" coated paper cone with phase plug and cast aluminum basket 6.5" coated paper cone with phase plug and cast aluminum basket 6.5" coated paper cone with phase plug and cast aluminum basket 6.5" titanium electroplated polypropylene cone with cast aluminum basket 6.5" titanium electroplated polypropylene cone with cast aluminum basket 6.5" magnesium cone with phase plug and cast aluminum basket 6.5" magnesium cone with phase plug and cast aluminum basket
Connections Single binding posts Bi-wire/amp Bi-wire/amp Single binding posts Bi-wire/amp Bi-wire/amp Bi-wire/amp
Power Handling IEC 268-5 100 watts peak 300 watts peak
80 watts RMS
300 watts peak 80 watts RMS 150 watts peak
75 watts RMS
200 watts peak
100 watts RMS
300 watts peak
100 watts RMS
300 watts peak
100 watts RMS
Cabinet Finish Painted high gloss black Painted high gloss black Painted high gloss black Painted high gloss black or white Painted matt black or white Eight-layer painted piano gloss black Eight-layer painted piano gloss black
Dimensions (WxHxD) 220 x 375 x 180 220 x 370 x 312 260 x 365 x 340 375 x 220 x 130 244 x 379 x 352 244 x 379 x 352 244 x 379 x 352
Weight 8.5 kg 11.7 kg 11.0 kg 5.2 kg 9 kg 10  kg 10 kg

 Tabulated Comparison of XTZ Bookshelf Speakers

As for the speakers themselves, XTZ Sound sources drivers from manufacturers such as Accuton, SEAS, Visaton and Peerless as the foundation that their designs are then built from.  Attention is paid to optimizing the acoustics and electronics to control costs with the minimum impact to sound quality to achieve the best compromise possible at a given price.  Importance is placed, in particular, on the choice of crossover filters that is a crucial balancing act of compromise for quality designs at various price points.  Olle has fostered relationships with knowledgeable engineers, technicians, and manufacturers throughout Europe, Asia, and the US to bring additional depth and width to XTZ’s design and manufacturing approach.  Production occurs in Sweden and Asia with XTZ handling manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and sales directly to minimize middlemen, which keep cost and prices low without sacrificing quality.

Olle feels this is a better approach than cutting quality of the product to keep costs down.

XTZ also make much of the consideration of room acoustics in actual loudspeaker performance.  Room gain, room reflectivity, and directionality are considered in XTZ designs and functionality to help control these issues are built into many of the speaker models.  All of the ported designs include port plugs with speakers that allows for retuning at the bottom end both for room placement and for acoustic issues.  At the other end of the audio spectrum, many of the models have at least a two position level adjustment setting for the tweeters allowing the user to make corrections for room effects and positioning.  A number of the speaker models also have tweeters mounted in rotatable housings, flexibility that helps with placement options and for those who do not have the time, budget, or knowledge to get into room treatments in a bright room, although they do sell room measurement systems for those who are so inclined.

All of this topped off with the goal of making XTZ speakers into sound furniture with high quality cabinets and finishes.  The cabinets typically are approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick, internally braced, and have radiused corners.  Most of the speaker models are available in several finishes including high gloss black, matt black, and matt white.

 

XTZ 93.21          XTZ 93.22     XTZ 93.23    

The 93 Series features three models, the 93.21 Mk II, 93.22 Mk II, and the 93.23 Mk II.  All of the models are built from a common base of drivers, which include a 1 inch soft dome tweeter and a 6.5 inch treated paper cone mid-woofer in a cast aluminum basket with a fixed phase plug.  The 93.21 is a shallow front ported model with a rear keyhole mount and recessed pair of binding posts along with a –2dB tweeter toggle to facilitate wall mounting.  The larger 93.22 and 93.23 models are considered by XTZ to be identical other than shape.  The rectangular 93.22 is offered as both a surround and center channel speaker, while the trapezoidal 93.23 is designed to also fit atop the 99 W12S subwoofer module to function as a full range speaker combination for those looking for a classic Wilson Audio WATT look on a budget.  Both the 93.22 and 93.23 are rear ported and have dual binding posts and a –3 dB tweeter toggle at the rear.  The cabinets for 93.21 are 21 mm (0.83 inch) thick braced MDF and available in gloss black or matt white while the 93.22 and 93.23 models use 25 mm (0.98 inch) thick braced MDF that are available only in gloss black.

XTZ 95.22     XTZ 95.24

Next, we have the 95 Series with two models, the 95.22 and 95.24, which are built around a titanium electroplated polypropylene mid-woofer with cast baskets and a horn mounted rosin/aluminum/rosin ribbon tweeter.  The 95.22 is a sealed design using a 5.25 diameter mid-woofer.  The shallow cabinet with a pair of keyhole mounts and a single pair of recessed binding posts at the rear facilitates wall mounting.  The rear ported 95.24 is little larger with a 6.5 inch mid-woofer that has dual binding posts and a –3 dB tweeter jumper setting at the rear.  The cabinets for both are constructed using 18 mm (0.71 inch) internally braced MDF with the 95.22 available in gloss black or white while the 95.24 is available in matt black of white.

XTZ 99.25     XTZ 99.26

Rounding things up are the bookshelf models of the 99 series, the 99.25 Mk II and 99.26 Mk II.  As with the 93 series, the 99 series models are consider identical sonically by XTZ but with 99.25 in a rectangular cabinet and the 99.26 in a trapezoidal cabinet, both built from 25 mm (0.98 inch) braced MDF.  The driver compliment is an 18 micron rosin/aluminum/rosin ribbon tweeter using a two row neodynium magnet motor in a ceramic coated carbon steel chassis coupled with a 6.5 inch magnesium coated cone mid-woofer with an aluminum basket and fixed phase plug.  Room tuning features include port plugs along with a rotatable tweeter mount and four tweeter level adjustments by rear jumper at +4, 0, -2 and –4 dB settings.  Both speaker models feature a high quality eight-coat piano gloss black paint finish.

Conclusion

Consistent with considering the importance of room effects on sound reproduction, XTZ feels the best place to audition audio equipment is at home and with one’s own equipment.  To that end, XTZ offers their “Buy & Try” program, a 60 day in-home trail with shipping paid both ways if one decides not to keep the products at the end of the trial period.  XTZ feels that listening in a show room is not only stressful and too short a time to come to a conclusion about the sound of the products, it tells more about the sound of the showroom than the audio gear itself.

I will note that the web site has two English sections, one for product information, and one for sales that do seem to have some consistency issues as to which models are available and what are the product specifications along with an occasional blurb of text still in Swedish.  If you can get past these issues, XTZ does appear to have created some compelling products.

Olle does say many things about his approach to audio reproduction on the XTZ site that we would agree with in concept.  With a risk free in-home trial, perhaps this is the best way to see if he is as good as his word.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Professionally, David engineers building structures. He is also a musician and audio enthusiast. David gives his perspective about loudspeakers and complex audio topics from his mechanical engineering and HAA Certified Level I training.

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