MK is a small boutique manufacturer of loudspeakers that few people outside of the film industry are familiar with. With a mediocre website, non-existing marketing and a range of products much smaller and less impressive than other high end speaker brands, why are they still around after 40 years when so many others have failed?
We visited the UK distributor Gecko’s dedicated listening rooms in Berkshire to find out…
Steve Webber of Gecko home cinema started with the question “What do Dolby, DTS; Lucasfilm and THX have in common?”
These companies are rivals in trying to have their audio formats adopted by film and software manufacturers – so finding any common ground was a long shot, As Steve pointed out however, all trust the same loudspeaker system for the production of their movies – the 150 system from MK.
Since the launch of the new Mk 2 150 series, Disney have joined the long list of user of MK speakers which reads like a who’s who of the film industry. Such heavy weights as Warners Bros, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Universal, Sony, and HBO still use MK speakers daily in the production of their films.
“Mixing film soundtracks is perhaps the most demanding application for any speaker system. In addition to having to mix orchestral scores, dialogue and Foley content for 5.1 and 7.1 playback the mix has to work consistently in 1000ï¿½s of cinemas and homes around the world. Compare this with music production where there are no set parameters for playback systems and the task seems far less daunting.”
“For this most demanding of applications, MK are the speakers chosen time and again by the world’s top film makers. Now we want home cinema enthusiasts to know that if they want to hear their films precisely as the film maker intended then using the same loudspeakers in the same layout is by far the best way of doing it,” explains Gecko’s Steve Webber.
“At our facilities the first system we demonstrate to people is the MK150 5.1 system in a room with no acoustic treatment. With lossless audio formats on Bluray and a correctly located and calibrated MK 150 system, for the first time listeners can hear exactly what the studio engineer heard.”
“We show a wide range of music including Rock, Classical and Jazz as these genres of music are excellent at exposing the weaknesses in surround systems – most of which play loud but without the fidelity needed to enjoy music at its best. With recordings of such amazing quality now available thanks to bluray, the only weak link in most systems are the room acoustics and monitors used.”
“We sell a lot of these systems to people in the music and film industry, but increasingly we also see more home cinema customers coming to us who have done their own research. If audio quality is the main criteria and clients have compared this system with any other – regardless of price, MK is the product that they buy. After all how can you improve on what the film maker heard?” points out an enthusiastic Steve after a particularly superb jazz cut from Fantasia 2000.
“There’s no doubt that other speaker makers make much prettier speakers, and spend much more on marketing than MK who are essentially a company of audio engineers, but if performance is your criteria and film your passion then we believe MK remains the speakers system of choice.”