After a short break-in period, armed with a selection of my favorite CD’s, I sat down to listen to this high performance system in my dedicated listening room. Regular readers of my speaker evaluations will recall that I prefer to do my listening in a very quiet room with controlled acoustics, so my listening experiences and opinions are not colored by all the variables encountered when listening in a vehicle. With the system mounted in the baffles and the tweeters connected to the 0dB positions, I began with Diana Krall’s, “S’Wonderful” from the CD “The Look of Love.” This is a very good track for evaluating how well the speakers re-create her fantastic vocals, and also for getting a feel for the recreation of a sound stage. The first thing I noticed, was how warm and natural the midrange sounded! The timbre of her voice, and the ambience in the recording was plainly evident. Switching to Dire Straits stellar “Brothers in Arms” CD, I played “Ride Across the River.” Again, the Hertz system had a smooth warmth and natural timbre, and very good midrange definition! I thought the tweeters were a bit on the polite side for my taste, so I increased the level to the +2dB setting, and the top end then had more of the detail and sizzle I expected from Mark Knopfler’s guitar work. Bass output is strong and smooth with good definition and impressive clarity.
I listened to the system for about 3 hours, which only happens when I really am enjoying myself, so the speakers obviously sounded pretty darn good to me. Whether I played Pop, Rock, Jazz, Classical, or Rap, the Hertz system simply reproduced the music as intended, which is all you can ask of a great speaker system. Unlike some less proficient systems, the Hertz HSK 165XL’s did not require any tone adjustments when switching musical genres or when making large changes in volume. And I did get them rocking for a while, at volumes high enough to not be able to speak over, and the system had no complaints at all. My only relatively minor criticism was while the mids are quite good off axis, I found the tweeters to be fairly diffused and more than a bit subdued when I got 30 to 45 degrees to the side. I’d suggest mounting the tweeters as high and on-axis as possible with this system, to be able to fully appreciate their high end capabilities. A chat with Hertz confirmed this, as they recommend mounting the tweeters in the cars A pillars, and as on axis as possible for best performance.
On The Bench
After my listening was done, I moved the system into my speaker lab and ran frequency response plots as well as impedance curves. No big surprises, the system measured just like it sounded, nice and smooth, with a bit of a bump down low which is where the “warmth” of the sound came from. My system showed a woofer resonance at just over 70Hz, and another small impedance rise at about 1500Hz, no doubt the resonance point of the tuned chamber tweeter.