Still on my Nova speaker search: PMC ci45s

I upgraded from a UnitiLite to a Nova a few months ago and have been looking for new speakers ever since to replace my old Neat Motive 3s. Placement has to be in alcoves in our kitchen/diner either on head height wall brackets or on top of the chest-high alcove cupboards. I always asumed the shelves would be best because that way the front of the speaker is beyond the alcove, but the Neats sound much better on the brackets. There is no space for floorstanders. The room clearly has a lot of effect on the sound because the Neats have always been slightly woolly and lacking bass but I knew I could do better with the Nova. So, I’ve been trying whatever speakers I could get my hands on for home demo during lockdown and then trying them both on the brackets and the shelves to see if I could find some that worked with the room. All have been properly run in for a couple of weeks during each trial. So far I’ve tried:

Linn Majik 109s: terrible on the shelves. Surprisingly, very similar sound to the Neats on the brackets.
Focal Aria 906s: ok on the shelves, very good on the brackets. I think the brighter and more forward sound cancelled out some of the effects of being in the alcove.
Proac Tablette 10s (I had high hopes for these given the love they receive on this forum and being fond of walls): very thin and harsh in both locations. Big disappointment, but I have to assume its because of the interface with the room.
Guru Q10s: clean and clear, but no body or bass whatsover.
Kef LS50 Meta: fantastic on the shelves. Bass is deeper and tighter, soundstage is bigger and everything is clean and opened up. No good on the brackets - bass is boomy and uncontrolled.

I was on the verge of stopping the search and keeping the Kefs (and still might) when a dealer I had been corresponding with said he could arrange a home trial of PMCs new on wall range. A few days later, PMC themselves dropped round a pair of ci45s which they said were practically the first out of the factory. I had always wanted to try on wall in my layout but hadn’t been able to find any for home demo, so this was an exciting option.

Well, I put them up today and have started running them in. PMC say they need at least 100 hours to properly get going, so I’m not making any judgments yet. If anyone is interested, I will report back on how they perform.

If they don’t work, I am definitely keeping the LS50 metas because they sound brilliant, the whole family likes the design and looks, and it will be great to finally not have to use the wall brackets.


Something I don’t get as a new person to this forum is how much people are willing to compromise speaker placement.

In my experience speaker placement is way more influential than what you have sitting down the chain from them in most instances. It’s good to see you acknowledge this, but if the KEFs work, maybe they just work? Your last paragraph reads to me like ‘I’ve found the answer, but what about this?’!

I agree with you: in my room with its limitations, the KEFs just work. I think that is what I said. I would have stopped with the KEFs but I was always curious about whether on wall speakers would substantially cancel out the effects of being in an alcove, which I assume has the most impact on the sound. This was the first opportunity to try any so I wasn’t going to pass it up. When you have to compromise on placement like I do, I think it’s worth trying out as many options as possible to find the one that is the best compromise.

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I’m not sensing a great deal of interest in this thread but I thought I would offer an update anyway.

The on-wall PMC ci45s didn’t work at all. The sound did change a lot after about 80 hours, becoming stronger and more engaging, but they were always muffled like listening behind a curtain. I assume this is because they were pushed back even further into the alcove. So, a failed experiment but one that I’m glad I tried and big thanks to PMC to arranging a demo.

So, I hooked the KEFs back up expecting to hear the sound that I had loved the previous week and… well all the punch and big, open bass was still there but now my wife could here some harshness in the treble, especially in female voices that I hadn’t detected before. We had a long listening session with different tracks and it was there every time. I must have missed it the first time around. So, the KEFs are going back too and the Neats are back in the brackets.

Luckily, I seem to have found a dealer who is determined to find me new speakers, so he has arranged another demo from PMC, this time the DB1 Golds, and also a pair of KEF R3s which he says will have similar sound to the LS50 Metas but with more refinement. Both pairs are being dropped off tomorrow so I’ve got a fun few weeks ahead running them in and doing comparisons. The LS50 Metas proved that placement on top of the alcove cupboards can work as I would love to lose the brackets, so my optimism remains undimmed.

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Perhaps you could try PMC 25.21’s? I use them with my Nova and they are a brilliant match. As they are front ported they can go close to rear wall. Although better on stands, PMC claim they will work well on shelves

That’s what I thought too but I sent my dealer a photo of the room and he consulted his contact at PMC who thought the DB1s would work better. I guess I can always try the Twenty5 21s (or 21i) if needed, but I honestly just want to find something that is an improvement on the Neats that doesn’t need to go on the brackets and I’ll be happy.

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Wish you luck with yours searching
Did you have a chance to check the kef r3 ??

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A demo pair just arrived today. They’re a lot bigger than others I’ve tried so may look out of proportion on my cabinets and aren’t as attractive as the LS50 Metas but if they sound the business then that trumps appearance.

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