MoFi Electronics SourcePoint 8 loudspeaker Page 2

The SourcePoint 8 demonstrated remarkable bass for a small box with a bass driver of modest size. They did not reproduce much output below 50Hz, but above that frequency they proved capable of tight, powerful bass. I subjected them at high levels to my stress-test track: "Jazz Variants," from the O-Zone Percussion Group's La Bamba (Klavier KD 77017, CD rip). The result was thrilling in its dynamic range; the powerful bass pounded the room and my chest. The SourcePoint 8s (on their own, I emphasize—no subwoofers and no DSP) were satisfying because they did not break up or bottom out, unless I exceeded neighborly decorum. It would be a lie to say that they were the equal of what I experience from the far larger KEF Blades (which were lurking in the background) or with the assistance of a subwoofer or three. The results of releasing the energy in that additional octave of bass were undeniably awesome.

The SourcePoint 8s provided convincing bass; let's see what they can do with complex music covering a wide dynamic and frequency range. Spurred by Stephen Francis Vasta's comments on the CD release of Mahler's Symphony No.2 ("Resurrection") with the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Semyon Bychkov, I downloaded a 24/96 PCM version from the Pentatone website. Immediately, with the opening's deep chugging of lower strings, it was apparent that the SourcePoint 8s can reproduce a convincing sense of symphonic weight and space. Indeed, the first movement (first published independently as "Totenfeier," a symphonic poem for large orchestra) evolves, expands, and, through multiple tutti (with bass drum), eventually concludes with a note of fatalistic dejection. The SourcePoint 8s presented all this movement's churning and heaving, as well as its intervals of sweetness and hope, clearly and powerfully in an acoustic space that permitted the orchestra to breathe. The sonic highlights were the entry of Christine Kulman's creamy alto voice in "Urlicht"; the explosive opening and recurring outbursts in "Im Tempo des Scherzos. Wild herausfahrend," and the inexorable momentum of the conclusion, starting with "Aufersteh'n, ja aufersteh'n wirst du" with large chorus, off-stage instruments, and a massive coda that includes all that plus an organ. This symphony never fails to be thrilling and cathartic live. To be similarly affected by this music presented through a modest-sized pair of standmounts was quite remarkable.

Several people, including Andrew Jones, have mused on the possibility of using the SourcePoint 8 or its bigger brother as the center channel in a multichannel system. Before I boxed them up to send to JA1 for measurements, I gave that a brief try. The plan was to compare three configurations: my two KEF Blade 2 Metas in stereo, the KEFs in multichannel (with phantom center, footote 1) using the Revel Performa3 F206s for surrounds, and the KEFs and the Revels with a SourcePoint 8 as a discrete center channel (footnote 2) in a full 5.0 multi-channel arrangement.

With Marianne Beate Kielland singing Finzi's "Come Away, Death" (2L 2L-064-SACD), I switched between stereo and multi-channel (with a phantom center) by selecting the respective DSD files on my server. Predictably, multichannel resulted in a wider, more immersive acoustic and a very subtle improvement in the perceived solidity of the piano, but it seemed to have no effect on Kielland's lovely voice. Switching between a phantom center and discrete center with one SourcePoint 8 required selecting between two virtual zones in JRiver. This time, the most notable difference was in the definition of Kielland's voice, which was now a step farther forward, still slightly to the left of the piano and marginally fuller—more human if that's possible.

As a center channel, I don't think that the SourcePoint 8 did anything other than what any well-balanced speaker would do, and I cannot say with certainty that it was worse (or better) than, say, a third KEF Blade Meta or a different KEF. What I can say is that five SourcePoint 8s would likely make for a dandy, compact multichannel system.

Some comparisons
As I was completing this review, I received the July Stereophile, which includes my review of the B&W 705 S3 with its picture on the cover. I decided to compare and contrast the two experiences.

The MoFi and B&W speakers are similar in size and application, but they sound quite different from each other. The B&Ws were more open and threw a wider, taller soundstage and managed, occasionally, to disappear outright. The concomitant was an elevated treble, to which one can adapt but which may still prove fatiguing, especially with bright, aggressive recordings.

Tonally, the SourcePoint 8s were more self-effacing. They did almost everything right, without attracting attention to themselves. (Spatially though, the script was flipped: The SourcePoint 8s disappeared less readily than the B&Ws did.) The MoFi speakers proved capable of revealing even fine differences among sources, yet I never tired of listening to them.

When I set up the Revel Performa3 F206s to compare them with the SourcePoint 8s side by side, the differences were elusive. Voices via the Revels were a bit more reticent and farther back than they were through the SourcePoint 8s, although the soundstage was similarly detailed. The Revels had more extended low bass, but with most source material, the SourcePoint 8s seemed fuller. I find myself listening to the Revels at somewhat higher levels than I do the SourcePoint 8s. Perhaps this is why.

To say that I am pleased with the Mobile Fidelity SourcePoint 8 speakers is an understatement. But before I sum up, let me get the few caveats out of the way. First, these speakers do not delve into deep bass, though except on a few specific tracks (including those with prominent low-Fs and F#s on piano or bass) and in direct comparison to much larger speakers, you're unlikely to notice that anything is missing. Second, although I have enjoyed larger loudspeakers at higher levels than the SourcePoint 8s are capable of, this would not be a practical constraint for most serious listeners. Third, the SourcePoint 8s should be evaluated at ear level. Truly, these are less caveats than application notes.

Making no accommodation for their small size, the SourcePoint 8s are balanced, wide-range speakers, enjoyable at all practical volume levels. They generate a fairly wide and deep soundstage that is notably transparent and detailed. They are engaging and nonfatiguing, and they encourage long, enjoyable listening sessions.

The SourcePoint 8s demonstrate how satisfying a small, relatively affordable loudspeaker can be.

Footnote 1: I did this because, at this time, I do not (yet) have my third matching KEF for center channel. To redistribute the center channel info to the L/R KEFs, I used JRiver's undefined JRSS algorithm "Move Center to Front L/R" or my own implementation where the center content is sent to each of the front speakers with a –3dB attenuation.

Footnote 2: I tried the SourcePoint 8 as center in both vertical and horizontal orientations, but they were indistinguishable.

MoFi Electronics
1811 W Bryn Mawr Ave.
IL 60660

avanti1960's picture

Thanks for your review and enthusiasm - it mirrors my own enjoyment when I heard them.
Your setup mentions 4-1/2 feet from the wall behind them. I assume this is to the rear baffle- correct?
This would be difficult for many rooms to handle- how adversely is the sound affected with positioning closer to the back wall?

Kal Rubinson's picture

Yes, I meant 4.5' from the rear surface of the speakers and I do appreciate that one may not be able to accommodate that in smaller rooms.

There's nothing magic about the rear spacing in distinction from any other since, at low frequencies, the radiation is omni-directional. In my setup, the side spacing was 3' and I'd expect that 3' would work well for the rear. However, in that case, I'd recommend changing the side spacing so that the two near boundary distances are different.

MhtLion's picture

Great review! Mr. Rubinson consistently produces amazing reviews which are informative, easy to read, not holding back on weaknesses, and most importantly more objective because he often uses the same reference points/frame of perspective over his series of reviews. Compared that to some reviewers who are over-joyed over the fact they got an expensive gear for free for a set of period.

Indydan's picture

Just come out with any box with drivers in it, proclaim it is designed by the legendary Andrew Jones, and little audiophiles all over the world orgasm in their pants!
The "Andrew Jones" moniker feels more like marketing than anything else. If Andrew Jones is so exceptional at designing speakers, why did Elac, KEF or TAD not employ him for longer? Why does he jump around from contract to contract? Designing speakers for MOFI, which is primarily a record selling business, is not the most prestigious of assignements.

cafe67's picture

well aren't you just a happy little ray of sunshine

funambulistic's picture

Show us on the doll where that dastardly Mr. Jones hurt you.

Glotz's picture

I think you have turn the doll over first.. lol.

pbarach's picture

Have you actually heard these speakers? Or do you want to belittle them solely because you don't like the marketing tactic ("designed by Andrew Jones"). Are you saying speakers he designs aren't good because he has designed them for a bunch of manufacturers? As to why Jones "jumps around," or how prestigious a company he works for, those notions is irrelevant to whether he produces good designs. Also, for over 20 years MOFI has been owned by MusicDirect, an audio retailer; oh, they sell records, too.

MZKM's picture

Seems like the SourcePoint 10 has a bit deeper bass, a less linear frequency response, and wider dispersion?

Unless in a small room, seems like the SourcePoint 10 is better overall.

Trevor_Bartram's picture

I own a pair of Andrew Jones Elac speakers & I'm happy with them. I've heard the displacement theory before but I believe it's a marketing ploy to differentiate these Mofis from his Elacs. Also, Kef's Uni-Q drivers have large displacement & achieve exceptional performance. So what the Mofis are uniquely offering to the US market is Tannoy (& Fyne) technology for the 21st century.