T/5x & Tzero MKIII: Small but Mighty

How to Sort Out Which One You Need

I’ve chosen to combine this series of short guides that are intended to help prospective buyers make better choices, ones that better meet their needs before they buy. Making things harder for the customer is that BOTH units generate fantastic reviews.

But, there’s a major difference between T/5x and Tzero MKIII, even though they have a lot in common. Only one, the T/5x,  can drive medium (and, in the right circumstances, even slightly larger) rooms successfully. The other (Tzero MKIII) shouldn’t be asked to drive anything larger than a small-to-medium-sized space . So, what’s a medium-sized room? The definition varies slightly by geography. In Europe, for example, the average room size is a little smaller than in North America, for instance. Let’s define a medium-sized room as one not exceeding 8’x 12’ x 15’ (2.6M x 3.9M x 4.9M). That’s an arbitrary but reasonably, sized room for many families, whether they’re in modest houses, apartments, or flats.

Both use a single, down-firing driver; 8” (200mm) for the T/5x and 6.5” for the Tzero MKII (170mm). Both use solid and reliable amplifiers, though the T/5x’s 125-watt amp is a high-current Class A/B old-style grunty amplifier with a substantially larger power supply than that found in the Tzero MKII’s Class D 100-watt unit.

While these are seemingly minor differences, when we look at the driven surface area and compare an 8” cone to a 6.5” cone, things begin to come into focus (I’m going to use the full 8” and the full 6.5” for this math, though the cone sizes for both will be somewhat smaller due to the surround – the half round rubber ring that attaches the outer edge of the cone to the frame). The larger T/5x produces a number just over 50” sq. inches, while the Tzero MKIII checks in at a hair over 33” square. That’s more than a 50 % larger driven surface area, which accounts for a big increase in how a subwoofer can drive a room.

Then there are the amplifier differences. While a power difference of 25% may seem like a lot to a novice,since power isn’t rated on a linear basis it’s less dramatic than it seems at first  glance. No, it comes down more  to the power supplies and the amount of headroom ABOVE the stated wattage. The T/5x simply has a dramatically more robust power supply which  allows it to significantly exceed its rated power when hit with a LOUD transient (like special effects in a movie or a big drum thwack). The T/5x will soar through this where the Tzero MKIII might strain a bit more.

And that explains why T/5x is far better suited to fill the role of budget-beater that “solves 70% of customers’ needs with ease.” The Tzero MKIII is a fantastic piece for small-ish apartments and flats. Friends use them in offices,libraries, or bedrooms being used in 2.1 applications. However, one is advised to make the affordable step up to T/5x if they have  any doubts  regarding the size of their room or the ultimate loudness that they hope to achieve.

March 23, 2023 - Posted in: System Thinking