Price Direct from Sequerra: $850/pr
Ben Harper - The Will To Live
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms
Diana Krall - Only Trust Your Heart
The Rolling Stones - Now!
Flim & The BB's - Tricycle
Miles Davis - Autumn Leaves
The White Stripes - Icky Thump
Dada - Puzzle
Lizzie West - Holy Road
Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose
Ok, so out of the box - let's get the cosmetics out of the way. The fit and finish is good - no blemishes, all corners were nice and tight (sharp), and the finish had a nice color and grain. That being said, they don't say $1500 speakers - not by today's standards. Don't get me wrong, they don't feel and look cheap - but they don't scream furniture grade either.
I like the idea of bringing the woofer forward to align the voice coil with the tweeter. I can't think of many designs that have taken that approach - it is usually the opposite - recess the tweeter. Speaking of the tweeter, it appears to be a simple 2 inch paper cone type, with a modified center phase plug - I believe they call it a 'coaxial radiator'. The woofer appears to be a coated paper cone, sporting a woven cloth dustcap and rubber surround.
So how do they sound?
For lack of a better term, they sound amiss. Something just isn't right. Stay with me here.
The specifications state a 40Hz extension on the bottom end - I'm just not getting that, not at any useable level anyway. Placement doesn't really seem to enhance or detract from the bottom end either. They played the same right up against the rear wall as they did 3 feet out into the listening room. I think they would benefit from porting assuming the woofer can be used in that sort of alignment - if not, surely a bigger cabinet would help. I was excited to hear some decent sealed box bass, and it just isn't there, period.
I haven't opened them up to have a look inside, but I have a feeling that the woofer is running full range, without even so much as a zobel network installed. It sounds like there is a hole in the low midbass, maybe centered around 120Hz give or take. Move up to the midrange and it sounds 'hot', over emphasized and maybe even a tad bit strained. Male and Female vocals alike sounded compressed and thin. Recordings I've become very familiar with over the years suddenly sounded foreign and cold in the midband.
The top end is very lively, I set the tweeter attenuator on the rear to dead center. Fatigue sets in very quickly listening at any 'real' volume. I don't think it is so much the tonal signature of the tweeter, as it is simply playing MUCH louder than the woofer. Perhaps there is an efficiency mis-match between the two, and either no or not enough compensation was made in the crossover network. Adding a Signet SP100 subwoofer into the mix, crossed over at 100Hz made the sound a great deal more listenable.
Imaging is spot on. Great left to right separation, and a center image anchored slightly above the speakers, dead center. The soundstage was impressively wide - even with the speakers toed in towards the listener - it seemed to blossom even further. Off axis - 'walking around the room' response was nice - the sound didn't just collapse under a veil once I left the sweet spot. The problem is there was no real depth, either in front of, or behind the speakers. Placement from the rear wall did not seem to have an effect either, near or far. Great soundstage width, and really good left-center-right imaging - but little to no soundstage depth. I couldn't get these speakers to disappear.
As far as power and tone - it was a toss up. I think the top end and midrange sounded best on tubes - but the low end had better control and weight on solid state. They do seem to crave power. These aren't a pair of speakers to run on a flea powered amp, that's for sure.
I wish I could say more, I really do. This is one of the first reviews I've had where I was really distracted by the bad, instead of being wooed by the good. I'm sure Mr. Sequerra has forgotten about more audio than I may ever get to know - but I don't think this particular speaker, in this particular state, can even begin to compete at it's pricepoint. I think it has potential, and I think the best place start is the crossover.
During the review period, Mr. Sequerra informed me that the MET 7.7 MK 6 would no longer be sold by Acoustic Sounds, their sole agent to that point, and that he would be selling them directly from his website for a reduced price of $850 per pair. We published that announcement at the time. A few weeks later, I ran into Chad Kassem, owner of Acoustic Sounds, at his exhibit at THE SHOW in Las Vegas. During our conversation, I happened to mention that we were reviewing the Sequerra's he used to sell. To make a long story short, Chad was not aware that Dick was pulling his speaker from Acoustic Sounds and cutting the price almost in half, especially since he still had some in stock at the $1,500 price. A quick check of the Acoustic Sounds site two months later still shows the Sequerra Met 7 Mk 6 at $1,499 per pair, though the status shows 'backordered".We thought you needed to know of the discrepancy.
I might also add that, like Russ, I have known the name Dick Sequerra for decades and know him to be an icon in the pantheon of audio designers. I cannot speak for Russ, but as my evaluation progressed, I kept questioning what I was hearing because my expectations, based on his reputation, were very high. After the review was complete and I saw the measurements from GR Research which we publish at the end of this review, my qualms about our impressions were put at ease a little more. It is not easy to publish a less than stellar review of a product by such a highly thought of gentleman.
We also must disclose that one of the initial speakers arrive with a tweeter that was DOA. Mr. Sequerra quickly sent a replacement.
James L. Darby
I should love these. Small monitors. Paper cones up and down. Time aligned. Quality bubinga on the cabinets. No speaker grills, but I never use 'em anyhow. Minimal crossover - very minimal. Adjustable tweeter level. Pretty efficient at 89dB and play like they might be even more so. Dick told me 20 watts or so should drive them well in a small room. These definitely are small room speakers. Driving them with Joe Fratus' 845 tube-based Art Audio Carissa did the trick.
I had a little more success with listening adventures than did Russ, but I can't argue with his overall assessment. In fact, after a hundred hours of break in before any serious listening and evaluation began, my initial impressions were pretty much identical. I had placed the Met's on regular 22' speaker stands and even adjusting the high frequency knob all the way down, I found the tonality unusually bright. Toeing them in a bit at a time did little to change that. As usual, I had placed them four feet away from the back wall in my small, well-tuned auditioning room, but it was obvious that the Met's were not at all happy there. I moved them progressively back toward the wall, adding a bit of bass reinforcement each time, until the best blend of frequency response vs. imaging was achieved. Things were better, but I still was not hearing the type of solid bass a speaker claiming to go down to 45 Hz should have in comparison to the high end which was still etchy and bright. I should state here that there is no owner's manual accompanying the speakers and when I asked Dick about that, he replied that he just had not gotten around to writing one. I also asked him about placement, mentioning my excursions into finding the best wall to speaker ratio, to which he replied that the user needs to experiment to find the best placements, that his recommended 3' from the back wall was "just a starting place'.
It occurred to me that perhaps the main issue was not the low end, but the high end. By slowly standing from a seated listening position, I noticed that the top end improved noticeably as my ears rose above the tweeter level. Apparently, my stands were too short. I placed some material under each speaker until the best best overall sound was produced, then played with positioning again. I settled on a little more than two feet from the back wall, slightly toed in. The tweeter adjustment on the back was set just below the middle position.
I then did something I don't normally do and that is to play test tones and white noise. I did this on two different days to make sure my ears weren't having a bad day on one of them. What surprised me is that the very top end is not bright at all. In fact, it sounds rather rolled off. But it sounded like there was a big dip somewhere south of 10kHz and an emphasis
(a hump) somewhere north of 10kHz before the top end rolls off. That would account for the for the perceptionof brightness. In other words, they did not sound very linear or flat in critical areas. I'll be anxious to see GR Research's measurements.
As Russ observed, the speaker's strength is in its imagining as far as placing instruments and voices in a very rock solid locality from side to side. I was able to coax a good depth in definable layers behind and above the speakers, allowing them to disappear to a large degree. Not the best Houdini act I have ever heard, but very good indeed. The impression began to form that these sounded much like small commercial recording studio monitors with lots of detail and energy. When I mentioned this impression to Dick, he enthusiastically said, "That's exactly how they are supposed to sound!"
The problem is, while they sound kind of like a studio monitor, Russ was also correct in that this is a speaker that does not invite prolonged listening sessions, at least to my ears. I have spent many years in recording studios and maintain a digital studio in my home now. The Met 7.7 MK 6's would not be my first choice for that application, even though we did receive an email from a reader who does use them in his small mixing studio for radio and TV spots and likes them a lot. Even after many hours of experimentation and moving them about, the Met's just never made me wish I could keep them. Their uneven response suggests they would not lend themselves to critical studio monitoring where a response as flat as possible is desired.
At their initial price of $1,500 per pair, we could not recommend the Met 7.7 MK6. Even at their reduced, direct price of $850, we think there are competitors that are much easier to work with and provide more of a satisfying musical experience. Many of the speakers in our Great Small Speaker Shootout would be good alternatives - notably the LSA Monitor One, Epos M12.2 or the Outlaw Bookshelf. You will also find individual reviews of these with their corresponding measurements:
LSA Monitor One
As always, even though two different reviewers in two different systems, rooms and even states agreed on the outcome of the Sequerra Met 7.7 MK 6, the final arbiter is always you and your ears.
by GR Research
The first measurements I made on these was to determine something about the adjustable resistance in line with the tweeter. With a control knob on the rear next to the binding post one can adjust the output level of the tweeter.
The red line is with the tweeter adjustment all the way up and the orange line is with the tweeter adjusted all the way down.
Since the level was closer to flat with the level turned all the way up, I left it there for all other measurements.
It was still down in output compared to the rest of the response and some may still feel that the speakers might lack a little in the
upper ranges because of this.
These measurements were made on tweeter axis and with a 1 watt input at one meter.
From information found here on the web site about this model: http://www.sequerra.com/electronics/data/met7.7.htm and from the measurements, it was not hard to conclude that the woofer had no network on it. It was allowed to play full range and the tweeter is brought in with a first order crossover, covering the range above the natural roll off of the woofer.
Primary adjustment of the tweeter increased or decreased output in the 7kHz and up range. Also noted in these responses was that turning the tweeter down slightly increased output in a range of 1kHz to 3kHz while turning the tweeter up decreased it in this range. This shows that the two drivers are not necessarily in phase (acoustically) very well in that range.
Another thing quickly noted is the amount of baffle step loss. With no woofer network there is no correcting for this loss. While there are advantages in clarity from having nothing but high quality wire in line with the woofer, some may not like the lack of body in the lower ranges and thinness to vocal ranges that this will attribute to.
The second set of measurements involved the vertical off axis response. Since a low order crossover is used in these speakers, and the drivers cross over to one another in a very high range, finding the right axis to listen to them will be more critical than with other types of speakers. With this type of speaker changing the vertical height will change the offset of the drivers in relation to one another just like any other speaker. However, since the crossover point is high where wavelengths are short and since the crossover is a very shallow slope with a lot of overlap, the effect on the response will be more drastic than with most speakers.
Measurements were made on tweeter axis (red line), and then each subsequent measurement being made by moving the mic up 4”. So orange, yellow, then green were 4”, 8”, and 12” above tweeter level. All were from 1 meter away.The first four inches of upward movement made a pretty drastic change in response with a swing of about 17db. I could see that there might be a possibility that a slight movement (maybe somewhere in between) might offer a compromise of the two curves and give a more accurate response across the board. So I began taking measurements with incremental changes that ranged from the woofer level and up. I found the best response was made when the mic was even with the top of the box (top of the box). So when listening to these speakers it will be the more ideal reference axis. I also left the mic height there for all other measurements.
Next was the horizontal off axis response measurements (horizontal). The red line is on axis. Then from orange, yellow, green, and blue we go 10, 20, 30, and 40 degrees off axis. We can see from the measurements we loose quite a bit of output in two places the further off axis we go. Since the woofer is playing full range and up into a fairly high range, we see a drop off in output due to the limited off axis response of the woofer. This is in direct relation to the width of the diaphragm. The tweeter really does not play low enough to pick this area up as the output from the woofer drops out. So we see a range centered around 2,700Hz that is the area most effected. We also see a lot of dropping out in the top octaves as well. The tweeter is about a 1 and 3/4” paper diaphragm. So the off axis response in the upper ranges will be limited by that diaphragm size. This is typical of a diaphragm of this size. With those things in mind this is a speaker that might be preferred to listen to with the speakers toed in towards the listener.
My next measurement was to show a step response. In this regard the speaker maintains a perfect step response just as it was designed to. Another positive attribute to no network on the woofer is the near flat impedance response. Just as the inductive reactance of the woofer causes the impedance to rise, the tweeter drops in and averages the over all impedance back to flat. With a flat line at 6 ohms this is going to be a pretty easy load to drive for just about any amplifier out there.
Lastly is a cumulative spectral decay. For the woofer to be playing full range it looks pretty clean. There is a little bit of break up resonance in the 3 to 5khz range, but not too much. It is a pretty well behaved woofer. It will be interesting to see what the reviewers think of these. It might be the type of speaker one might really like or really dislike depending on ones preferences.
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