PMC Twenty5i 5.1 speaker system review Page 2

I do have a criticism of this array, though, and I'll get it out of the way early. The Twenty5.sub is not a monster woofer, which you can probably tell just by clocking its dual 6.5in design. There's no doubt it can drop deep, and is supremely well integrated with the other speakers – there's an even flow from sub-bass to mid-bass to treble in this system that's simply delicious. But with certain moments in the Bad Boys mix, such as the helicopter crash, I wanted a little more slam and attack; a little more unbridled subwoofer lunacy to match the onscreen mayhem.

Having said that, with the first sequences in Blade Runner 2049 (UHD Blu-ray), I was quickly rethinking my opinion. The bassy swell that accompanies the eyeball close-up was deep, rich and grew and grew in output with the subwoofer never sounding like it was straining. The sense of control it has, which smoothed over some of Bad Boys' rough edges, was beneficial to the scene here.


Skip to K about to ruin Sapper Morton's day, and the Twenty5i speakers are in their element. Everything about the slow-burning scene in the latter's grubby kitchen just sounds ridiculously natural and refined. From just five speakers, you get a seamless bubble of sound. Minor details, such the simmering pot and footsteps on floorboard, are articulated with finesse rather than just plonked into play. Dialogue is nuanced; Ryan Gosling clipped and professional, Dave Bautista gruffer and (seemingly...) resigned to his fate. It's the sort of sound delivery that has you tensing up, completely immersed in the drama. And when the fight breaks out, the dynamics are extreme. Fists connect with wall with a high-frequency crack, layered atop a lower-frequency punch from the sub. This is A-grade audio.

Still Got Atmosphere
PMC doesn't yet sell any Dolby Atmos upfirers or integrated models, and I don't expect it to start soon either. It believes the best solution is in/on-ceiling speakers, the same as in film mixing suites. I was surprised, though, at how adept this array was at capturing some of the sense of height routinely thrust into modern soundmixes. In Blade Runner 2049, it was there when K's 'spinner' takes off; with Bad Boys For Life, when the hotel roof collapsed. Not overhead, of course, just the result of speakers with a wide dispersion and a multichannel system singing in unison.

The Colin Farrell Total Recall remake (Blu-ray) has some superb sound design, and it thrilled through this 5.1 set. Chapter 8's car chase features the pulsing engines of vehicles zipping across the soundstage, accompanied by slick, LFE whumps. The score hammers along underneath as the chase develops, and there's the grate of metal on metal as police cars crash. It all sounded crystal- clear and without a trace of distortion. It's an unfatiguing delivery, smooth but not in a bad way, and one that you could listen to for hours.

And if it's musical mastery you seek, you've come to the right place. Use the Twenty5.26i pair for traditional stereo and you'll enjoy an image that's clean enough to pin-point instrumentation, and wide enough to send music way beyond the speakers' edges. The airy electronic soundscapes of Fuego by KOAN Sound (16-bit/44kHz FLAC) extended for miles, leaving me sat in front of a detailed, deep stage of rhythmic throbbing bass, lush synths and hand-clapped percussion, with high frequencies smooth and unfettered. And with those floorstanding surrounds and overall cohesion, it's a great setup for multichannel music too.

My time spent with this PMC sextet was pretty eye-opening, as there haven't been many other 5.1 systems I've heard with such a revealing, detailed and all-encompassing soundfield.

Of course, in the world of loudspeakers different sonic signatures appeal to different ears. There's none of the warmth here that some big floorstanders engineer, and some might consider the purity of PMC's treble handling lacks an element of attack. The subwoofer, meanwhile, is fast, responsive and never flustered, rather than aggressive and overtly largescale.

None of that means this system isn't 'exciting.' Far from it. With movies and music it never seems to put a foot wrong, and that makes it it top of the class.

HCC Verdict

PMC Twenty5i 5.1

Price: £20,500

We say: These sound dynamic, detailed, transparent and effortlessly natural, and bring new insight into movie mixes and music tracks. Premium speakers with a premium performance.

Overall: 5/5


DRIVE UNITS: 1 x 0.75in Sonomex fabric soft dome tweeter with Ferrofluid cooling and 1.5in surround; 1 x 2in soft dome mid-range; 1 x 6.5in long-throw g-weave bass driver ENCLOSURE: Advanced Transmission Line (ATL) front-ported FREQUENCY RESPONSE (CLAIMED): 27Hz-25kHz SENSITIVITY (claimed): 86dB Power handling (claimed): N/A DIMENSIONS (excl. plinth bars): 1,040(h) x 192(w) x 439(d) WEIGHT: 25kg

DRIVE UNITS: 1 x 0.75in Sonomex fabric soft dome tweeter; 1 x 6.5in long-throw g-weave bass driver ENCLOSURE: Advanced Transmission Line (ATL) front-ported FREQUENCY RESPONSE (CLAIMED): 27Hz-25kHz SENSITIVITY (claimed): 89dB Power handling (claimed): N/A DIMENSIONS (excl. plinth bars): 1,015(h) x 192(w) x 419(d)mm WEIGHT: 23kg
DRIVE UNITS: 1 x 0.75in Sonomex fabric soft dome tweeter; 2 x 5.5in g-weave bass drivers ENCLOSURE: Advanced Transmission Line (ATL) front-ported FREQUENCY RESPONSE (CLAIMED): 45Hz-25kHz SENSITIVITY (claimed): 90dB Power handling (claimed): N/A DIMENSIONS: 174(h) x 554(w) x 314(d)mm WEIGHT: 11kg

Twenty5.sub (subwoofer)
DRIVE UNITS: 2 x 6.5in long-throw g-weave bass drivers ENCLOSURE: Advanced Transmission Line (ATL) rear-ported ONBOARD POWER (CLAIMED): 400W Class D FREQUENCY RESPONSE (CLAIMED): Down to 22Hz DIMENSIONS (excl. plinth bars): 587(h) x 200(w) x 516(d)mm WEIGHT: 25kg FEATURES: 2 x balanced XLR analogue inputs (RCA unbalanced adapter provided); AES and RJ45 digital inputs; DSP engine for volume, low-pass filtering, parametric EQ and phase alignment