NHT MS Tower review featured_2

NHT MS Tower Review

TESTED AT $699 each
WHERE TO BUY

The NHT MS Tower is a $699 3-way speaker featuring an up-firing Atmos module. It consists of three 5.25-inch drivers, a one-inch aluminium dome tweeter plus the 3-inch Atmos-enabled driver.


Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.

Pros
  • Compact, elegant design
  • Great build quality
  • Vast, wide soundstage
  • Vocal clarity and forwardness
Cons
  • Needs to be paired with a subwoofer for best results

NHT MS Tower

Specifications
  • Configuration: 3-way acoustic suspension
  • Woofer: 5.25” aluminium woofers (n=2)
  • Midrange: 5.25” aluminium midrange
  • Tweeter: 1” aluminium dome
  • Frequency Response: 58Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 87dB ([email protected])
  • Impedance: 8 ohms nominal, 4.2 ohms min.
  • Inputs: Nickel-plated 5-way binding posts
  • Recommended Power: 75 – 150 w/ch
  • Dimensions: 39″ x 5.75″ x 7″ (H x W x D)
  • Weight: 29.2 lbs (13.24kg)

Design

NHT badge and woofer

Like most NHT speakers, the MS Tower has a classic and timeless glossy black finish. Its body is boxy and fairly basic apart from the 20° angled top and bottom sections. The tower is quite narrow at just 5.75″ (14.6cm) in width and the overall impression one gets when observing it is slim and elegant.

Both the front and the top Atmos module have magnetically attached mesh grilles. The magnets are pretty strong and the grilles snap firmly into place in a satisfying manner. It makes me wish that my NHT C3 Carbon’s had the same system instead of fasteners.

MS Tower Dolby Atmos module
The Dolby Atmos module.

Removing the front grille gives us a clear look at the three 5.25-inch drivers and tweeter. The two bottom drivers act as woofers, while the top 5.25-inch driver handles the midrange. Those looking for the most minimal aesthetic will appreciate the grille but I think the MS Tower looks much more interesting with it detached.

Under the top grille is the single up-firing 3-inch Atmos-enabled driver. This driver is angled at a 20° angle and is designed to bounce sound off the ceiling to add an extra dimension to the soundstage. Around the back of the tower are two pairs of nickel-plated binding posts. The lower ones are for the main speaker and the top ones are for the Atmos module.

Overall, the quality of the build and finish of the MS Towers are superb. At a glance, it could easily be mistaken for a more expensive speaker.

The dual rear binding posts

Setup

Most of the testing was done with my Pioneer AV receiver, the NHT C3 Carbon LTE and Polk HTS 10 subwoofer. The crossover point for the MS Towers was set to 60Hz. I also did some stereo music testing using just the MS Towers with the DA&T K-422 integrated amplifier (in Class-A mode) and then later with the subwoofer included.

Sound

NHT MS Tower aluminium tweeter

The NHT MS Towers are designed primarily to be used as part of a home theatre setup. With that in mind, I’ve had them serving up sounds in my living room for the past couple of months. During that time, I made sure to watch some Dolby Atmos movies like 1917 and El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. While El Camino turned out to be underwhelming, the MS Towers were quite impressive.

The C3’s are regular stereo speakers and don’t have an Atmos module, so it was left up to the MS Towers to do all the Atmos-related duties. My first impressions were of a very wide and spacious soundscape with an immersive character. The Atmos effect definitely adds an element of height to the already wide sound, making the entire soundstage feel even bigger.

While the Atmos effect is cool, what really impresses me about the MS Tower is its tone and clarity. Vocals, in particular, are very forward and articulate. In the context of a home theatre system, that vocal quality makes a lot of sense. Despite its focus on vocal presence, the sound is free of any sibilance.

The overall tonality is neutral with an upper midrange lift. It’s this upper-midrange emphasis that makes voices so crisp and lively. The MS Tower has a fairly fast, light bass. Depending on the speaker’s placement, it can produce some convincing mid-bass that’s sufficient for some music genres such as jazz and rock. But for things like hip-hop, EDM and action movies, you’re really going to want to pair the MS Tower with a subwoofer. The small woofers on the Tower simply can’t do justice to explosions or big bass drops, which makes sense considering they’re designed to be part of a system, not the system in its entirety.

In Oceans of Slumber’s “The Colours of Grace”, Cammie Gilbert’s vocals are highlighted and rise above the electric guitars with vibrance and lucidity. Those electric guitars were reproduced with texture and bite and the MS Tower’s accurate tone had me nodding in appreciation. Mike Moss’ contribution to the song shows that male vocals sound natural and full-bodied on the Tower as well.

It was a similar story for “Limehouse Blues” from Jazz At The Pawnshop. All of the instruments sounded realistic and natural with the MS Tower’s accurate tonality. Although the speakers have a tendency to make dialogue slightly bright, there was no shoutiness here from the xylophone, saxophone or piano. The soundstage was once again large and wide.

Changing the pace, Aes Dana’s “Nuphar Log” sounded surprisingly punchy and full-bodied. The bass which is normally fairly subdued on the MS Tower was resonating through my room convincingly. This was also a good track to showcase the speaker’s sense of rhythm and drive and it didn’t disappoint.

NHT MS Tower front grille off

Conclusion

The NHT MS Tower is a slim, compact speaker with a classic aesthetic and superb build quality. With its included Atmos modules, crisp vocals reproduction and uncoloured tonality, it’s ideal for a home theatre system.

As standalone music or movies speaker, I don’t think it makes much sense. But when it’s paired with a good subwoofer it comes to life. Where it really shines though is when it’s part of a 3.1 or 5.1 living room setup. So if you’re looking for some towers for your home theatre system, the NHT MS Tower is a great option.


Founder of Prime Audio
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