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M24 and M25 Powered Speakers Review & Comparison
Regular Price $349.00 - $389.00 $349.00 - $389.00
Regular Price $349.00 - $389.00 $349.00 - $389.00
Regular Price $449.00 - $489.00 $449.00 - $489.00
Regular Price $449.00 - $489.00 $449.00 - $489.00
Company & Product Overview
While today’s comparison is on the Peachtree Audio M24 & M25 computer speakers, we felt like it would be fun to go over a little bit of history.
It was around 15 years ago that our founder, Leon Shaw, was walking to a restaurant at an electronics trade show with some good friends. They revealed that for the last few weeks, they had been mapping out a new company and planning on leaving their industry jobs to get to work on a venture that would become Peachtree Audio.
About a year later, David Solomon and Jim Spainhour dropped by our Raleigh store with their first product: a new integrated amp called the Decco. When we hooked it up, we felt it sounded like it should sell for at least 5 times its modest price. Right then, Audio Advice became one of the very first Peachtree Audio dealers.
What was unique about this little integrated amp, beyond the fact that it sounded so good, was the fact that it was a pioneer in the computer music realm. That very first Decco had a great DAC built-in. The team at Peachtree back then had (and still does today) some really good sets of ears to compare various DAC technologies and come up with a combination that sounds really great.
The revolutionary thing about the Decco was that you could access the DAC in several different ways. There was a Toslink or optical digital input, which was very popular then and still today, and a coax or RCA digital input, which again is still popular today. But the part that made it one of the best amps for computer music was its USB input. This meant you could run a cable right out of your computer where all your music was stored and take advantage of the great DAC inside the Decco.
This all leads us up to the subject of today’s comparison & review of the M24 and M25 powered speakers. We see a lot of similarities between these speakers and the first Decco. The Decco was a new way to look at an integrated amplifier in a market where tons of integrated amps already existed, and the M24 and M25 speakers are a great approach to the very crowded powered speaker category.
Comparing the M24 and M25
The M24 and M25 are nearly identical, including nearly all of the same features, inputs, and outputs. For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to refer to them as “M Speakers” throughout this review.
The M24 has a slightly smaller cabinet, standing about 8 3/4” tall, 5 ½” wide, and 8” deep. The M25 is almost 10 ½” tall, 6 ¾” wide, and 9” deep.
The M24 has a 4" woofer while the M25 uses a 5 ¼” woofer. Both speakers use the same soft dome tweeter. The larger woofer along with increased cabinet size allows the M25 to reach much deeper into the lower bass range to fill up a much bigger room. The M24 seems to be about the perfect size for a desktop computer speaker, while the M25 could be used as the heart of a full stereo system.
Design & Build Quality
The Peachtree M Speakers are beautiful and will feel right at home on your desk or living room side table. Both models are available in gloss black or a beautiful real bamboo and come with removable grills.
We think the bamboo version actually looks great with the grill off, plus it gives you quick access to the controls on the front. As we’ve come to expect from Peachtree, the build quality is impeccable, especially when you consider their modest price.
The woofers and tweeters used in the Peachtree Audio speakers are similar to what you would expect to find in audiophile-level component speakers. The M Speakers feature a 1” silk dome tweeter and custom-designed woofers using a special fiberglass cone material. This material is both light and stiff making it ideal for the midrange and bass frequencies they cover in the M Speakers. The rear-ported speaker design enhances the bass and allows you to get some decent punch from these small-sized speakers.
Peachtree felt that while there were lots of powered speakers on the market, none of them addressed all of the needs of today’s music lover. Many offered very good sound, but with limited connectivity, while some of the ones with lots of inputs missed the boat on sound. Peachtree’s extensive experience in both amplifier and speaker design results in the M Speakers being an outstanding product with the best of both worlds, great sound, and connectivity.
All of the connections, DAC, and amplifier are contained in the right speaker. To set them up, simply plug it into AC power and run the included speaker wire over to the left speaker. Plug in or select a source, and you’re ready to go!
On the right speaker, you will also find some basic controls on the front, including a dual purpose knob. Rotate it to adjust the volume or push it in and you can click through the various inputs that we’ll discuss next.
There is a little window on the left side of the speaker with different colored lights that indicate which input you are on. Our only complaint here is that the knob does feel a little less solid than we’d like, but considering the price and the fact that it comes with a remote, this is only a minor gripe.
Features & Technology
We will start out with a turntable. With most powered speakers, you need a separate phono preamp and more cables, but the M Speakers have a built-in MM phono stage! You can connect your turntable directly to the speakers and you are ready to go!
If you are not going to use a turntable, you can flick a switch on the back, and change the phono input into a standard aux input for more flexibility.
With built-in Bluetooth, you’ll find streaming music from your smartphone or tablet to be a snap. They quickly connect up and you’ll be enjoying your favorite playlist in seconds.
Another way to use the optical input with the M Speakers is with a TV with optical out. The M Speakers will be a huge upgrade from your TV speakers, plus you can get them spread far apart for great separation. This is really awesome for video gaming as the M Speakers have a lot of impact.
For use as a computer speaker, we recommend the USB connection on the back of the M Speakers. It can handle 24/96 Hi-Res Audio files and will really bring your computer music to life. We do recommend a good set of speaker stands for any computer speaker. Peachtree makes a matching desktop stand for these that are a good choice or for an even better one, check out the Iso-Acoustics ISO-130!
A handy feature both M Speakers have is a USB charging port on the rear. You can keep your phone charging cable plugged in there and not have to worry about finding an open outlet.
If you want to up the bass output of either M Speaker, they both include a subwoofer out on the rear panel.
A small, simple remote comes with the M Speakers and makes everything easy to control. You can change inputs, control the volume, and skip tracks, all from the remote. Believe it or not, the remote also comes with tone controls, allowing you to tweak the bass and treble. When you want to put everything back, there is a “flat” button to return the bass and treble to neutral.
While the flexibility and inputs on the M Speakers are great, it would all be for naught if there was not also some first-class tech inside. The M-series speakers are deeper than you would expect, considering the other dimensions. This allows them to have a small visual face, while still having a decent-sized cabinet. This, combined with the rear-port allows the M Speakers to produce great bass for their size.
Powered speakers like the Peachtree models, by definition, have the amplifier built directly into the speaker cabinets. When the manufacturer knows the exact amplifier and speakers used, it gives them a huge advantage, allowing the manufacturer to save money while perfectly matching the amp and speakers. Peachtree used both their amplifier and speaker expertise when building the M Speakers. Peachtree made some super well respected passive speakers before the M Series. When you combine their expertise there along with their long history of building great-sounding integrated amps, you have quite the winning combination.
Another great piece of tech inside the M24 is the Hi-Res Audio DAC. It comes from the same technology used in their great Nova series. You’ll be able through the USB or Digital inputs to decode audio files that are 24/96. This is quite unique for sub-$400/pr powered speakers!
The best word we can think of to describe the sound of the M Speakers is FUN. They have that great sensation we always look for in a speaker, allowing the music to flow through without over-emphasizing any aspect over another. The top end is pure and sweet and the bottom does not try to push the bass beyond its capabilities. All-in-all, it’s a very natural sound -- pure and clean with lots of detail. It was super easy to hear the bass tonality on, for example, Chicago’s “I’m a Man”.
Over the course of our listening, we tested out tunes from Jimi Hendrix, The Avett Brothers, Rolling Stones, Chicago, Led Zeppelin, Stephen Stills, the Beatles, and Mark Ronson. No matter what was playing, we found the M Speakers really got you involved in the music. They have a tendency to make you want to stop what you are doing, turn them up and just listen, which is about as good a compliment as you can pay any speaker
On some of the older recordings, we loved the fact you would pick up the remote and tweak the tone controls just a bit. Bumping down the treble a shade took that edge off so we could enjoy the music.
When you compare the sound of the M24 to the M25, the difference is simply a bigger sound with more bass impact and detail. The M24 is probably the perfect size for a computer speaker, while the M25 has enough output to fill up a pretty good-sized room. Either model pairs well with a good turntable for a pretty sleek complete vinyl playback system.
We preferred them set up in an equilateral triangle configuration. In other words, if they are 6’ apart, they sounded best 6’ away from them. When you set them up this way, your music will take on a great three dimensional quality with the main vocals floating in between the two speakers
There is one little quirk that once you figure out is no big deal, and it only applies when using Bluetooth, but you have two volume controls to deal with. We discovered you should turn the volume knob on the speaker all the way up, then use the controls on your phone. If you do not, you might find you have the phone turned wide open and you still don’t have much volume. This is a quirk with all Bluetooth speakers though. Of course with any source directly connected to the M24, you only have the one volume control on the unit
We have tested other powered speakers that can produce more ultimate output than the M24, but nothing we have heard for the money can beat the sound they can put out in small rooms at their price point. They just sound so musical. The M25 will give you that same great musical sound, but with more output for larger rooms. You will be hard-pressed to find a better speaker for the price points these two models fall within.
If you are looking for a great desktop speaker or are in search of a great pair of small speakers to pair with a turntable, the Peachtree M24 or M25 must be on your list! With their built-in phono stage, USB DAC, digital input, and Bluetooth streaming, you can get music to them any way you can imagine. Their sound is extremely musical, but more importantly, just downright fun to listen to.
HIGH NOTES UNPACKED
The M Speakers are one of the best sounding desktop speakers we have ever tested. They are warm, rich, and silky, along with just being a ton of fun to listen to! Stretch their musical muscle even more with the built-in tone controls.
Phono Stage Included
Not only do they have a built-in MM phono stage, you also get digital, USB, and a DAC built in capable of 24/96 Hi-Res Audio
Enjoy the convenience of streaming anything from your phone or tablet to the M Speakers.
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