Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kicker KMT60 Long-Range Tower System Marine Speakers Review

Up for review today is a pair of marine speakers from Kicker, their KMT60 Long-Range Tower System. We like to be able to listen to music wherever we go. Out on the lake is no different. While it is a lot of fun on the lake, it is even more fun with our tunes.
The marine environment is a bit different. Boats tend to be loud, and also open. So designing a speaker for the marine environment, it should be able to play loud as well. Typically, you can design speakers to do that a couple of different ways. First, you can design a speaker to be extremely energy efficient. That means it can play louder with less power. So for example, a common speaker efficiency rating is 85db. A speaker that is rated at 88db will be able to play just as loud with half the power. The next way is to design the speaker to handle high power. The more power you give it, the louder the speaker can play. The Kicker KMT60 Tower System is actually designed with both in mind, thanks to the MTM design (midwoofer-tweeter-midwoofer). They are extremely efficient, and can handle a lot of power. So whether you are drifting, or tearing down the lake at 50 miles an hour, your tunes will be heard.
Their features and specs include:
Let's you "live loud" 50 ft. from your boat
Can also be used as patio speakers
Stainless steel hardware
5 way binding posts
Fits seven different diameter wake board tower pipes
Removable grilles
Removable front baffle for flexible mounting
Type: 2-Way
Woofer (in., cm): 6-1/2, 16.5
Tweeter (in., cm): 3/4, 2.0
Tweeter Horn (in., cm):2x6-1/2, 5.1x16.5
Max Rec Amplifier Power (watts PEAK/RMS)*: 300/150
Sensitivity (dB 1w/1m): 93
Frequency Response (Hz): 50-21k
Standard Dimensions (in.): 19-1/16W x 9H x 11D
Metric Dimensions (cm): 48.4W x 22.9H x 28D
The Kicker KMT60 Tower System came well packaged and double boxed, so they were well protected. Opening their box revealed your typical molded styrofoam to the shape of the speakers. They are designed to mount on the wakeboard of a boat. Accessories included are the metal mounts that wrap around the wakeboard and attach to the speakers. And then there are several inserts that go between the mounts and the bar. Many of these wakeboard bars have a chrome finish, so the inserts protect the finish of the bar.
Build quality was also very good, with excellent fit and finish. The box was a black plastic that felt solid. The front showed off its dual 6" midbass drivers, and a horn tweeter in the middle of the two midbass drivers. The midbass drivers also had a plastic grill mounted over each one, to keep them protected. The binding posts on the rear at the enclosure was also of high quality, and twisted down to hold the wire in place.
I also like the design of the Kicker KMT60. The tweeter in the middle of the two midbass drivers is a great sounding design. Horn tweeters can be loud, and also gets extra protection with the actual driver being deep in the horn. There was also a small cloth filter for further protection from the elements. The sleek enclosure is pleasant looking, and sealed for further protection from the elements.
I thought I would start out with some great vocals with the Eagles: Take It Easy. The vocals had great timbre and harmonics without any coloration....very smooth sounding. The cymbals and percussion were nice and crisp without being too harsh. The imaging was excellent!
Next up was Metallica: Nothing Else Matters. I love this track for testing out a tweeter with the strings of the acoustic guitar in the beginning of the song. The horn tweeter did a phenomenal job! The guitar came thru really crisp and clean. And when all the other instruments kicked in, the KMT60's really showed off their dynamics and midbass punch.
Since it is the Christmas season, I thought I would finish the listening test with some Mannheim Steamroller: God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman. Since my Kenwood Exceleon DNX9980HD reference receiver can handle DVD's, I used a DVD for it's higher resolution. WOW! The resolution and detail was phenomenal! The soundstage was excellent and imaging was spot on. The horns were smooth yet not brassy. And the midbass from the drums had great extension, pitch definition, and played with authority.

When it comes to marine speakers, they don't get much better than the Kicker KMT60 Tower System. The fact that they come in their own enclosure, you know they will sound good in your install. And while they are categorized as marine speakers, they can be used in any recreational vehicle, such as an ATV, or just out on the patio. Based on their features, design, and performance, the Kicker KMT60 has earned our Editor's Choice award. Their MSRP of $600 may seem a little high to some, but you do get what you pay for. And they do sound great! For more info and complete specs, check out their website at Reference gear included Kenwood Excelon DNX9980HD receiver, Vibe Audio Black Death Bass 1 sub amp, Vibe Audio Litebox Stereo 4 amp, and dual Diamond Audio D6 12"subwoofers.