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Performance 6 Unpacking and Build Quality


It was last year at CEDIA (yes last year, 2004) that we caught our first glimpse of the Performance 6 loudspeakers from Mordaunt-Short. The reception was incredible as the rather elegant looking speakers were shown off and the new era of Mordaunt-Short was emerging in phoenix-like fashion. Rather than make excuses as to why it took us so long to get to a review, let me just say that it was well worth the wait and allow you to read on.

Unpacking and First Impressions

When the Performance 6 loudspeakers arrived via FedEx Ground I had no idea they would be as large and heavy as they proved to be. The speakers ship face down, individually boxed and surrounded at critical points (top, bottom, middle) by firm foam which is molded to the contours of the loudspeaker. A thick nylon carrying strap is placed within the box around the entire loudspeaker assembly. Via two convenient slots in the top of the box you can perform a simple two-man lift using the straps. These are the first speakers I' ve encountered that sported such a packaging system. It really worked and made sense, considering each speaker weighed in at just over 66 lbs each (much more with the packing materials).

Once I opened the boxes and removed the top protective board and foam, the speakers were shown to be wrapped in a protective cloth and gloves were even provided to aid in setting up the system without leaving visible oils or fingerprints on the polished enclosures. Spikes are available for the bottom as an option and could be screwed in- though users should take care to only tilt the loudspeaker down while on carpet or some other cushioned surface- and only on its side, never on its front or back. I quickly "spiked" the Performance 6 speakers and set them up for a closer look.

Build Quality

We were fortunate enough to be able to speak with Mordaunt Short designer/engineer Graeme Foy about the design and build concepts that went into the Performance 6. The Performance 6 series was born from the developmental work that went into the newly revamped 900 (Avant) series. Drive units, specifications and engineering were all done in-house at Mordaunt Short. The cabinet design was developed over a period of time as MS designers realized that they wanted something a bit different than could be constructed with traditional wood-based materials. The final monocoque polymer resin cabinet was unique in that curves and varying thicknesses could be used to virtually eliminate resonances within the structure. The cabinet itself is injection molded and the varying thicknesses within gave way to creative acoustical dampening methods. Other enhancement that came out of this style of cabinetry was the ability to literally "float" the drivers off of the front baffle and connect them directly to the rear of the cabinet. If you look at a cross section of the cabinet design you will see how the drivers are secured directly to the rear of the cabinet through a set of six anchor points. This is something that is nearly impossible with a standard MDF cabinet.

baffle The tweeter is a favorite of Graeme and the design team and was specifically developed to address phase issues associated with traditional tweeters and speaker placement. The noticeable venting that exists on the rear of the aspirated tweeter is tuned across 1.5 octaves and arranged in a logarithmic spiral such that these slices of the frequency spectrum are intended to recombine with the originating sound and enhance spatial imaging and overall response. It is designed to have the advantages of adding a back fill tweeter without adding distortion.

The damped 2nd order crossover was especially developed to address the unique nature of the driver complement and enclosure. It is mechanically isolated at the bottom of the loudspeaker and uses polypropylene capacitors. The goal was complete driver integration and minimal distortion. Very slick-looking 3-way nickel-plated bullet style terminals offer the option of bananas, bare cable, or spade connectors. These are possibly my favorite binding posts to-date and I'd love to see them on more loudspeakers (where practical). They can be easily turned, fit banana connectors easily and securely and lock down resolutely.


Notice the driver is never connected directly to the front baffle.

The midrange driver has a molded basket and CPC driver.

The dual woofers are magnetically shielded with a removable rubber gasket that covers the magnet structure.

Notice how the voice coil attaches to the CPC.

The tweeter passes through the entire enclosure, essentially floating in mid-air.

The crossover is located in the bottom of the loudspeaker, solidly attached to a thick metal base.


I wanted to ensure that the Performance 6 speakers would be given a chance to image well, so I placed them about 9' apart and sat about 10' back from the center point (forming close to an isosceles triangle). After doing some experimentation, I found that placing them about 2' from the rear wall and providing a moderate (but not drastic) toe-in provided the best overall imaging and sound. In performing these toe-in tests I moved the speakers in and out quite a bit to get the desired placement. Toeing them in too far resulted in an overly crisp sound, so play around with your particular configuration to get it just right.

I wired up the Mordaunt-Shorts using Velocity Speaker Interconnects from Impact Acoustics to the nickel-plated bullet terminals on the back of each speaker. The Mordaunt-Shorts are capable of being tri-wired or tri-amped, though I don't see the attraction in "tweaking" a pair of speakers at this price point- but to each his own.

These loudspeakers have an extremely wide dispersion and you can really sit anywhere in between them and get a clean, accurate soundstage (at least more so than with many other systems I've reviewed). There was very little off-axis coloration of the sound, even at the top end. These are the type of speakers you want if you don't plan on requiring people to sit in your lap in order to share the sweet spot.


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