Country of Origin


Ultrumax M1-ST

Reviewer: Glen Wagenknecht
Financial interests: click here
Sources/DACs/Preamplifiers: Wyred4Soundserver/sStreamer, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Auralic Altair G1 server/streamer, S.M.S.L M400 DAC and Dp5 network player; Amplifier: Audio Zone D-2, SOtM sPA1000 [on extended loan]; Main speakers: Mark & Daniel Maximus Mini Monito and Maximus Monitor Mk2, SVS SB3000 sub; Rack: Codia Acoustic Design Stage 3000 BAB; Stands: Charisma Audio Function Stands   Target Stands; AV Speakers: JohnBlue M3s; Desktop speakers: Swans M200 MkIII; Desktop DAC/Pre/headamp: DA&T U-2; Cables: Arkana Physical Research loom, Audio Art SE, SE-2, e2,and Classic cable looms, JPS Labs Ultraconductor 2 speaker cables, Madison Audio Lab E3 Extreme 1 interconnects/Extreme 2 speaker cables, Signal Cable Silver Reference interconnects, optical and coax digital cables, Audio Sensibility Impact SE balanced interconnects, Statement S/PDIF and Impact USB digital cables, SwanSong USB cable, DH Lab Power Plus AC cable; Resonance control: KAT Audio Terminator 1 Feet, Solid Tech Feet, EquaRack Footers, Weizhi Precision Gold Glory footers, Boston Audio TuneBlock2 footers, Audio Exklusiv Silent Plugs, Audio Exklusiv d.C.d. Footers, CA Electronics Standard Cones, Feet, Cable Clamps, IsoAcoustics L8R130, Aperta and L8R200 SUB speaker stands; Powerline conditioning: Entracte Audio by Design EF130, GutWire Ultimate Ground cable; USB conditioners: Ideon 3R Renaissance; Room treatment: Inity Acoustics Sound Absorption Acoustical panels; Listening room 1: 12' x 17'; Listening room 2: 10.5' x 16.5'

Review component retail price: $2'850/pr

Maximal Ultru. I wasn't quite sure what it meant. I simply understood what it was. Say hello to Mark & Daniel's new modular speaker line. It celebrates their creation of a new air-motion transformer. This Shanghai firm already had their own Oscar Heil-based pleated drivers which added a full octave of bandwidth to the usual 2kHz-up tweeter types found elsewhere.

Theirs could be crossed in at a low 800Hz. Now their 3rd-gen DM-8 and premium DM-9 version add another two octaves. One folded driver thus covers 200Hz to the upper limits of human hearing.

That makes it a widebander, just one that still needs a partner in bass crime. It gave designer Daniel Lee an idea. Hand that task over to three different 'subwoofer' options: one compact 10" downfiring box with 150 watts to the woofer and 100wpc to the satellites; and a front-firing 8" stand version in equivalent active or fully passive guise which the satellites dock to. The passive raises the satellite's high-pass to 350Hz for increased dynamic range.

The satellites themselves come in different flavors to offer stand- or wall-mounted versions with single AMT, dual AMT in vertical/horizontal layout and single or dual AMT capped by a dispersion-lens upfiring omni super tweeter. These options cover all major audio/video scenarios. Customers with existing subwoofers can use theirs as long as the low-pass filter reaches 200Hz. Those who already own amplifiers they want to use will go for the passive bass stands and not pay for the M+D plate amps.

Not Mad Max but Ultrumax. Regardless of speaker type and driver config, all cabs use the company's proprietary cast synthetic marble. That comes standard in subtly flecked black or white and weighs what you'd expect synthetic stone to weigh. Pricing for satellites spans $1'300 to 2'850/pr, the thin monitor stand commands $450/pr, the active box sub is $1'350/ea., the passive stand subs are $3'300/pr or $4'000/pr for the uprated version, the equivalent actives are $3'600/pr.

From that we understand that for Mark & Daniel, the Ultrumax range is about value and its aim not just export but domestic sales. We also understand that the subwoofers are bass extenders to make ~35Hz. They're not true subwoofers aiming at 20Hz or beyond.

With 6moons being in the hifi not home-theater sector and 200Hz too high for non-directional mono bass, I accepted Daniel's review solicitation for a pair of monitors with either passive or active bass stands. He could decide the specifics. What would he pick? We have a few powerful amplifiers on hand so going fully passive as tends to be the norm was just fine. In that case I was simply curious what impedance the amp would see from the woofer/satellite combo.

Naturally I felt bad for Daniel's freight bill from China to Ireland. That would be based on weight. Ouch. But it wasn't my fault that he goes all stony on cheap MDF or particle board. "Got stones, will travel." Even seeing red is possible. But that'll be a surcharge finish with concomitant wait time. Or get two-toned stoned? This modular range has options for ultrurior motives. Those just won't be efficiency. The U1/M1 monitors are 83dB, the U2 upright or center with twin drivers 84dB. Here wide bandwidth isn't synonymous with high sensitivity à la Rethm and Voxativ, even Cube and sound|kaos. This driver is a bit harder of hearing to want a bit more power to wake up. "What's for breakfast?" Here in Westport it'd be a Full Irish.