Com­po­nentm­po­nent Re­view view

Pasmag (Canada) - - Front Page -

From a bluff over­look­ing the Mis­sis­sippi River, Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, is fa­mous around the world as the home of blues and the birth­place of rock `n roll. Home to fa­mous places, such as Beale St., the Gib­son gui­tar fac­tory, and Elvis' Grace­land man­sion, the mu­si­cal his­tory is rich, deep, and abun­dant. An­other his­tor­i­cal com­pany in the mu­sic busi­ness not only calls Mem­phis home, but it's the com­pany's name­sake. Founded in Mem­phis in 1965, Mem­phis Car Au­dio has been a leader in the car au­dio mar­ket­place for decades, and has won “Best Over­all” brand from In­side Track for 11 con­sec­u­tive years.

You don't reach those sorts of ac­com­plish­ments by rest­ing on your lau­rels, and with the in­tro­duc­tion of the new VIV “SIXFIVE” Se­ries of prod­ucts, they con­tinue to show why so many peo­ple swear by the brand. For this re­view, we'll take a look at the brand new VIV60C com­po­nent speaker sys­tem. The prod­uct is so new that the sys­tem we got for test­ing was still a fac fac­tory pro­to­type set, but by the time you read this, the gear should be in Mem­phis dealer's show­rooms. The VIV60C sys­tem is a two-way, 6.5-inch com­po­nent sys­tem fea­tur­ing a 37-mm (1.5-inch) silk dome tweeter and a bi-am­pable cross­over net­work. This high-end sys­tem has a sug­gested re­tail price in the U.S. of $629.95.


Built with a fo­cus on over­all sound qual­ity and high out­put, the VIV60C sys­tem's woofer uses a spe­cial high-per­for­mance two-layer com­pos­ite fiber cone. The ma­te­rial was cho­sen for its very low mass and over­all stiff­ness. En­gi­neers call this stiff­ness a “high mod­u­lus of elas­tic­ity,” which is a mea­sure­ment of a given ma­te­rial's re­sis­tance to de­for­ma­tion when a force is ap­plied. What that means to the rest of us is a stiff cone that does not de­form and cause un­wanted dis­tor­tion when we are en­joy­ing our tunes at en­thu­si­as­tic lev­els.lev­els

The woofer is built around a pro­pri­etary cast alu­minum SIXFIVE bas­ket, which is home to a two-ohm 30-mm (1.18-inch) cop­per voice coil, wound on a Kevlar-based former. Sus­pen­sion for the woofer's mov­ing mass is han­dled by a lin­ear-type spi­der made of Conex. On the top side, sus­pen­sion du­ties fall to a NBR (ni­trile butyl rub­ber) sur­round de­signed for high ex­cur­sion ca­pa­bil­ity. In­stead of a tra­di­tional dust­cap, the woofer uses a black an­odized alu­minum bul­let shaped phase plug, de­signed to re­duce phase can­cel­la­tions be­tween the cone and a tra­di­tional dust­cap.

Con­nec­tions to the speaker are made with nice set-screw­type ter­mi­nals that will ac­cept 12-gauge wire. Cos­met­ics are classy and sub­tle, with a dis­tinc­tive, high-end look and feel. A Mem­phis badge is built into the mount­ing flange of the woofer. The woofer will mount in any spot with a min­i­mum of three inches of mount­ing depth.



The tweeter used in the VIV60C sys­tem is an in­ter­est­ing de­sign with a 37-mm silk dome, and a 25-mm voice coil. Mag­netic en­ergy is, of course, Neodymium-based, and a threaded hous­ing makes the tweeter easy to mount. The grille is in­te­grated into the hous­ing to pre­vent ac­ci­den­tal dam­age dur­ing in­stal­la­tion.


There has been a lot of at­ten­tion paid to the de­sign of the pas­sive cross­over net­works sup­plied with this sys­tem. The crossovers are bi-am­pable and have user ad­justable set­tings for tweeter shelv­ing, tweeter level, and slope. As the graphs show, all of these adjustments make sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in the sound of the sys­tem and al­low the tuner to set the sys­tem up for the best per­for­mance in that spe­cific ve­hi­cle. The fil­ters use high qual­ity parts, with me­tal film ca­pac­i­tors and air core in­duc­tors. The look of the crossovers is also high-end ori­ented, with acrylic bases and top cov­ers con­nected by alu­minum stand offs. Ter­mi­nals are of the nickel-plated, Phillips-screw-type, sim­i­lar to what you see on a qual­ity am­pli­fier.


As al­ways, my fa­vorite part of re­view­ing any prod­uct is lis­ten­ing to it, and the Mem­phis SIXFIVE sys­tem cer­tainly did not dis­ap­point. I be­gan with the sys­tem ba­si­cally set max­i­mally flat, and as it turned out, I left it that way. The over­all sound of the sys­tem is quite ac­cu­rate and smooth, with a warm midrange. High fre­quen­cies are smooth and non-sibi­lant, with­out harsh­ness or bite, even on tracks with close mic'd brass sec­tions. Some­times the most telling tracks can be sim­ple acous­ti­cal “un­plugged” mu­sic. I lis­tened to some clas­si­cal acous­tic gui­tar from Ottmar Liebert and Stan­ley My­ers. The de­tail and dy­nam­ics are ex­cel­lent, and the gui­tars had a nat­u­ral tim­bre. Was it good enough that I could I tell D'Ad­dario strings from Ernie Ball's? Well, maybe not, but I could eas­ily tell a Martin from a Takamine, so it's very good in­deed.

Bot­tom end re­sponse has depth and warmth, re­tain­ing ex­cel­lent ar­tic­u­la­tion and good con­trol even at higher vol­umes. Speak­ers like this make lis­ten­ing to re­ally good bass

play­ers like Geddy Lee, (Rush) Jim Creeg­gan (Bare­naked Ladies) or Jaco Pas­to­rius (Weather Re­port) that much more spe­cial. Clar­ity and dis­tinct voic­ing in fe­male and har­mony vo­cals from The Man­hat­tan Trans­fer and The Ea­gles were also ex­cel­lent. One sure sign of a well-en­gi­neered speaker sys­tem is that it sounds good re­gard­less of the mu­si­cal genre you play, so I went from clas­si­cal to coun­try, from rock to rap, and it was all good. Af­ter spend­ing a few hours lis­ten­ing, it would seem the de­sign goal of an ac­cu­rate, yet still ex­cit­ing sound­ing speaker sys­tem was def­i­nitely achieved.


With the new SIXFIVE se­ries of com­po­nents, Mem­phis Car Au­dio has done their her­itage and in­deed there name­sake proud. These are speak­ers that will be well re­ceived by any­one who truly loves mu­sic, whether you're play­ing Elvis, Isaac Hayes, or W.C. Handy. The VIV60Cs will bring out the best in your tunes, and thanks to the ad­justa­bil­ity in the sys­tem, be able to sound great in pretty much any ap­pli­ca­tion. Well-built and worth ev­ery nickel. Drop into your lo­cal Mem­phis Car Au­dio dealer and au­di­tion a set for your­self.

A prop­erly built com­po­nent sys­tem that stays true to the Mem­phis her­itage in ev­ery way imag­in­able.

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