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Monday
Jan142013

Sony SS-M3 ES Speaker Review (Circa 1998-2002)

MSRP - $900 Pair

USED - $250-$500 Pair

SS-M3 User Manual

 

Impressions

When I first listened to these speakers I thought they were a bit flat. They had gobs of detail, but not much spark. The trebble seemed mutted and the speakers seemed to lack excitment. I listen for a while and while overall I liked them, I could not get very excited about them. The funny thing is, after hours and hours of listening I found these speakers were actually quite fantastic. The more I listened to them, the more I felt I was hearing the music as it was meant to be heard. There was no boomy bass, only tightly controlled bass. There were no shrill treble sounds, just clean soft highs. These speakers do not add to the sound, but they do faithfully represent what the original recording intended. The vocals sound extremely smooth and warm. I can listen to these speakers for hours and my ears do not tire. These speakers are best on stands about 24" high and should not be used against a wall.  However wall placement does help the bottom end. Sony produced matching stands (WS-M3) for these speakers and if you can find them that is great. These are true audiophile class speakers that can be had on the used market for a song simply because of the Sony name. Many audiophiles feel Sony is too commercial and pass judgment without even listening. As far as I am concerned that is great for the rest of us who do not have unlimited budgets. The Sony SS-M3 speakers are built extremely well and are quite heavy (29lbs) for their size. I like these speakers so much that I now have two sets. You can find these speakers on the used market via eBay or Audiogon. In mint condition these speakers go for between $400-$500 a pair. The Sony SS-M3 speakers have become my favorite small monitors and I now use them as my reference speaker against other speakers in their class.

Product Description

Cabinet:

- 2-Way sealed enclosure Loudspeaker System.
- Anhedral baffle design minimizes frontal area to minimize cabinet diffraction; musical tones remain clear and distinct, with amazing detail, transparency and three-dimensionality.
- Non-parallel cabinet surfaces to minimize standing waves; bass response is ""tight"" and accurate, even during loud passages.
- One-inch thick Cabinet Walls made from Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) with a burst strength of 4,000 psi for phenomenal resistance to vibration; even when the speaker is playing full blast, you hear the drivers' vibration, not the cabinet's.
- Individual Cabinet Pieces are cut by Computer Numeric Control (CNC), dadoed and assembled with high-strength wood glue, instead of conventional hot-melt glue, for superb rigidity.
- Extensive Cabinet Bracing made from inch- thick MDF.
- Slanted baffle board and meticulous crossover design for time and phase coherence at a listening distance of 3 meters (10 feet); musical transients are clear and distinct, stereo imaging is broad and deep.
- Cherry wood veneer on all sides, even the back, for a deep, lustrous finish.

Crossover network:
- Steep-slope 24 dB-per-octave crossover for reduced comb filtering, more focused, more linear, more natural sound.
- Crossover Frequency kept more than one octave away from any driver resonance or nonlinearity for smooth, consistent frequency response.
- Computer-optimized crossover design for maximum effectiveness and maximum simplicity.
- Separate high-and low frequency circuit boards for reduced interference, more direct connection between crossover and driver.
- Polypropylene capacitors for superior stability regardless of frequency, heat or humidity.
- Laminated steel core inductors exhibit ultra high saturation for superb power handling, low DC resistance for high efficiency.
- Ceramic resistors for excellent heat dissipation, simpler impedance.
- 5% Tolerance crossover parts compared to the typical 10%, for far higher uniformity, far better matching between the left speaker and the right .

Drivers:
- Mineral-filled polypropylene woofer and midrange cones for optimized stiffness, extremely low distortion, extremely linear response.
- Butyl rubber woofer and midrange surrounds for high compliance and high internal damping.
- Computer-optimized theile/smallparameters for deep bass extension and superb bass transient response.
- Extended woofer voive coil with increased overhang for high power handling, lower distortion during demanding musical peaks.
- Aluminum voice coil formers in the woofer has a large diameter, uses high-temperature wire for high power handling.
- Pro-flux demodulation rings in the woofer cancel harmonic distortion that arises from inductive coupling between voice coil and magnetic field.
- Fabric dome tweeter with directivity control plate for optimal high-frequency dispersion pattern.
- Ferrofluid tweeter

Cheers, David

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