So, whilst mindlessly scrolling through Facebook one evening, I stumble upon a post from Stereo Integrity saying he is going to raffle off a couple of weeklong demos of the new TM65 MK3ís to anyone who sends him an email with the proper subject line and a brief message. I thought what the heck and barfed out a quick email, not thinking I would hear back but lone behold, here we are.
A little history, I found about the MKIís on this forum at the beginning of my car audio journey. The TM65ís were frequently being recommended and I decided to get in on the pre-order of the MK2ís. The second I took them out of the box I knew they would be a step up from the silver flutes I previously had installed. I continue to listen to these woofers on a daily basis and my only complaint is I wish I had put them into kick panels because how much time I put into chasing down rattles and buzzing. These little beasts always seemed to find a way to make something want to buzz. Iíve heard they work well in a 2-way configuration crossed up high but Iíve always used them in a 3 way playing from approximately 80-500Hz. The woofers didnít stress when crossed at 60hz but the door buzzing intensified so I settled on 80. I like my music loud and enjoy showing off my system to others, like probably most others on this forum, so Iíll run them right up to their power ratings and they are always nothing but enjoyable. They have always made my pant leg shake and make me think that there are little subs in my doors. Fear not if I have to remove my sub, switch the tune on the DSP and I know I will still have some respectable lows. I love the MK2ís, so how much better can the MK3s be? Well, Iíd be happy to find out .
Before I could admire the woofers, I had to admire the packaging. The woofers come packaged in a very nice foam lined metal case. No need to worry about damage during shipping. The unboxing experience definitely created a sense of significance for me and would set the tone for the way I would relate to the speakers in my mind going forward.
The first thing that you notice is the way that the carbon fiber cone reflects light. My camera couldnít do it justice but I found myself just looking at them at different angles in different lighting. Beautiful like a polished gemstone.
I put them side by side with the MK2ís and besides the cone, I couldnít find any differences from the MK2s visually. The rubber surround on the MK3s did seem to be a little beefier but I am not totally sure.
So with enough ooing and awwing over the golden weave, I got them installed. Itís a shame I had these hidden behind the factory Mazda door panel. They want to be seen. The fact that I had the MK2s previously installed, and this being my hundredth time taking my door panel off, installation was a breeze. The push terminals make wiring complete seconds and you donít have to worry about soldering. I quickly put the door panel back on and got to listening.
I didnít want to start over with the tuning process so I did just a straight comparison with the MK2s, which I am very familiar with. I started off with some songs I know well:
Koan Sound Ė Strike (that first big bass hit, immediately I knew these things are serious)
Koan Sound Ė Dynasty (probably my favorite song for testing midbass, the MK3ís were happy to play along)
Oneohtrix Point Never Ė Chrome County (always great, no perceivable difference from the MK2s)
Deadmau5 Ė FML (another great song for testing midbass, I thought this sounded punchier, more solid, as the song builds in complexity, the various elements can start to merge together, I thought there was better separation and stereo imaging than usual)
Matt Lange Ė Calliope (when the heavy guitar rift comes in, I thought this had more ummph, more emotion)
Matt Lange Ė Removes Me (Trifonic Remix) (This song is mostly sub-bass so I decided to turn my subs off and switch my crossover to 40hz as an experiment, and as expected, these little 6.5 speakers are just beasts, they wonít replace big subs but they would trick the average joe into thinking you have factory subwoofers)
Shpongle Ė Shpongle Falls (amazing stereo image, great low end, this is one of my favorite songs)
Shpongle Ė Strange Planet (turned my subs off knowing that the intro is mostly sub-bass, these little 6.5s are able to pressurize the cabin to very respectable levels. Better than any car with factory subs Iíve been in)
Alon Mor Ė Presudeos (Dear god, music is incredible. If you havenít heard this song at volume in its entirety, do yourself a favor)
Nero Ė My Eyes (I just wanted to rock out at full volume, no issues from the MK3s, Nero always has great low end)
That was enough fun for one evening but I was looking forward to the week with them. My daily commute is about a half hour each way so in total I put a little over 7 hours on these before swapping the MK2s. Granted some of that was podcasts but it was mostly music. There werenít any huge differences from the MK2s during the drive, most likely due to road noise but whenever the engine off, I have concluded that the MK3s produce a better imaging and have a small perceivable amount of increased low end output. The transients are harder, sharper, and power powerful. I listened back to Koan Sound Ė Dynasty a couple of times that week and I conclude that the impact of the sounds was way ďpunchierĒ. I listen to many genres of electronic music and all the kick drums just seemed fuller with more attack. A noticeable increase in the ability for the kick drums to move me, or the strum of an electric guitar, or the feel of the bass notes of the piano.
I consider myself more of a musicophile than an audiophile, meaning I could care less if something sounds true to its original recording, I just want it to sound good to me. As a result, Iíve spent hours adjusting my house curve to my preference and Iíve settled on something pretty close to the whitledge curve for those familiar with Jazziís tuning spreadsheet. As such, I require a boost starting at 200hz throughout the low end, and to avoid my sub playing too high and stealing the sound stage, I need speakers up front that are willing to play low at the volume ranges where I enjoy my music. The TM65s are the first speakers that Iíve had the pleasure of owning that fit the bill and made me stop searching for midbass speakers and thinking that I need 8Ē woofers. The Mazda Bose speakers are shit, pioneers 5x7ís are shit, the silver flute 6.5ís were good, but none of them are close to the TM65s. Itís nice knowing that you get what you pay for and for the price, I donítí know of any 6.5ís better for the price, especially these pre-sale prices. The MK2s were better than the MK1s and the MK3s are better than the MK2s. Nick from Stereo Integrity was a pleasure to work with on this project and I look forward to see what he comes out with next for the community. Get these now on pre-order before the price jumps up soon.