In praise of humble PMC 20.21

Hi I have had these speakers around 5 years now…and they have been with me from Nait 5si right through to a full fat 500 system. I use them in a fairly small bedroom set up as my listening den. These speakers keep on giving…and have got better and better…they sound incredible. The clarity imaging timbre and bass punch is amazing. Ultimately they do have their limits in the bass… but in my system in my room they go to around 40hz… at that point the bass softens… Their midrange clarity without sounding synthetic or hard is their strength. If you are limited in space…these are amazing. To put it into context I have listened to some quite exotic speakers…and they square up well. Their limitations are rather obviously rooms size and ultimate bass weight … get them in a small to mid size room partner them with an amp that gets hold of them by the scruff of the neck…and you are in for a treat…an audiophile bargain…


The original Twenty range is fantastic and punched way above it’s weight. I had the 20.23 which I swapped for 25.23.

But honestly, the 20 range did a few things better. If laser point imaging is your thing, the 20 range definitely has the edge. While the 25 range is better overall, if I had to do it over again, I might have just stuck with the 20.23 and saved myself the agro of a speaker swap.

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My 20.21s perform wonderfully in my 3.5m x 4.5m room with my SN2. I was previously driving them with a UQ2, then an Atom. The SN2 made a tremendous difference, with much more grip and low down grunt. I did not know what I was missing until I got the SN2.

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Make sure you keep them … if ever you upgrade …they are not the weak link - they are a classic speaker that love to boogie. I did add a velodyne sub … to add the bottom 2 octaves… that was good but not essential.

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My dealer was trying to persuade me to change to the 25.21 … but in all honesty I did not think the top/midrage any better … bass yes … but on audition I had a niggling feeling the bass and the driver construction construction kinda got in the way of the boogie factor… and the sweet spot had shifted…as always speaker construction is one big bunch of compromises… I am building some Super Mk1 Kans at the moment … I think that will be the only thing to seriously challege the 20.21

On reflection … I think the 20.21 main driver is a brilliant mid range unit and a good bass driver. The 25.21 main driver is a brilliant bass unit and a good mid range driver…

The midrange on the Twenty5 series isn’t handled by the bass unit. The crossover is much lower on the Twenty5 so the tweeter actually handled mid and high and the bass unit just does bass. They effectively moved most the mid to the tweeter.

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The 21 is similar it crosses over at about 1.7khz from memory - your right the 25 … is a touch lower …at about 1.6khz … which is unusual…there is still a huge amount of information under 1.6khz …

They’re quite spectacular with my UQ2, and still around if you look hard enough…

There are other contenders in the small speaker space, the Neat Iota for a start, however, I found the PMC 20.21’s to be well within the UQ2’s capabilities.



This is my point they are so great and flexible …but are also so very capable…they are very inefficient about 83db per watt…forget pmc figures…see Ken Kesslers review… My system is theoretically totally overkill for these speakers…but I did try 805 D3’s nope…a bit big for my space… so they did not sound right…I also tried ATC’s…nope…

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Yeah sensitivity is often confused with how easy something is to drive. It has little relation in reality and probably shouldn’t be used anymore. I found the 25.23 at 86db far easier to drive than the 20.23 at 87db.

And the OP is right. Cost aside, the 20.21 respond well to higher end electronics so are a real bargain. I was constantly told my 20.23 were a weak link as they were disproportionately lower cost than the amp and source. Rubbish. They were a great match.


I think that speaker to amp matching is super critical… I just think the pmc’s just seem to suit Naim …:sunglasses:

I use 25.23s on my Nova, and it is a lovely combination. Although I also really like the B&Ws on the end of my olives, and B&W isn’t seen by all as a great match for Naim.

I could imagine that an excellent match…that extra bass power…will make the spaeker punchy and balanced…even at low volumes…

It works really well, well balanced sound, really good grip on the low end, lots of drive and pace, I’m pulled in to the music.

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Hi Folks, I have moved to a smaller room in my apartment, around 12-13 sq m and I was looking for some options for a smaller bookshelf, my current is ones are Dali Rubicon 2, which are great, but I have it now for more than 5 years and I would like to get a second pair, just to hear some different sound, the Rubicons are definitely staying, I would not be looking for upgrade, just something smaller, so I can move closer to a wall, as the Dali’s are currently at about 50cm from rear wall and are taking too much space, presumably the pmc’s would be closer due to the front port. I’ve read that the 20.21’s are not doing that good at lower volumes, which for me is crucial, as I am mostly listening late nights via sn2. Any thoughts be appreciated. thanks

Mine are pretty good at low volumes… however my system is a bit of a monkfish…they really respond to an amplifier with good grip. it is true they like a bit of welly… I think they would suit…your size room…with a bit of careful placement…there are some great secondhand bargains out there…my room is the same size…I use them across the room …

The Twenty series is pretty good at low volumes actually. The thing is, the Twenty.21 are absolutely not bookshelf speakers. They are standmounts.

They can get away with closer wall placement though. 15cm at the top inner corner. The recommendation is about 30cm but they are flexible.

I really wanted to like the 25.21, as they look the part, but for me I found a roughness in the treble that seemed to exaggerate sibilance in close compressed vocals and choral music resolution as well as adding a bit of an artificial edge to strings. The dynamics were a little sat upon compared to what I am used to, but other than that it was a good performer… but the sibilance thing and seemingly slight lack in hf resolution was a deal breaker for me.

I did not compare with the 20.21.
Used ND555 & Statement, and 552 & 250

You could try Harbeth P3ESR, I listen to them at low volumes and they are very clear. Not the last word in bass or whoompf but very clear and very delicate. Also very good with voices .

I agree - I changed from a computer monitor desk - and mini 150mm stands - to the proper pmc stands - that was a massive upgrade…so they really need the pmc stands. Mine are best around 300mm from wall … but when I had NAP250dr they were 150mm from wall :sunglasses: