Bowers and Wilkins Panorama impressions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 03-16-2012, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I just received my B&W Panorama. I got a pretty good deal on Ebay for one in like new condition. The guy even included the original receipt even though B&W doesn't honor that warranty (original purchaser only I believe but I might try to register it and see). I might get the square trade warranty offered for one year though. I was never able to get best buy or modia to come down on the Panorama by much (maybe $100 bucks) so I was shocked when I saw his receipt. He either had a hook up or maybe they were just trying to move him. He got it for $400 off the msrp plus tax. It made me wish I would have offered him $100 less than I did, lol. I still saved over $700 off of retail so I can deal with it.

The Panorama is beautiful and without a doubt very well made. The previous owner took care of it because I only found a few swirl marks on the remote and nothing obvious on the speaker itself. I kind of got worried because I noticed what looked like indentations in certain parts of the metal on top where it is curved in the back (you could only see them at an angle with light directly on it). I noticed the same thing at best buy though and assume this is a because of how the metal is shaped in the factory. It has to be hard to shape metal perfectly.

Anyway enough about my boring buying experience . I am very impressed with the sound. I was looking for a solution that would allow me to free up everything in my room. I didn't want to buy a separate subwoofer either even though I know I have that option. First off I have two little kids so I never watch movies at thundering levels of sound. I was shocked when I put Tron Legacy in and hit the surround mode. The bass coming out of this things is crazy. No it's not the earthing shattering, hit you in the gut bass. It is however very impressive and you honestly think you have a little subwoofer somewhere in your room. I have been through a ton of soundbars over the years and this simply destroys anything else I have ever owned sound wise.

My room is not ideal for the Panorama either. I only have one wall to bounce off of and that one isn't even close enough. The surround mode is still very good though and very impressive. I have a 3.1 setup in my other room and have been a dedicated separates person for a few years now. I gave up on soundbars awhile back because they were never good with stereo music and just average on home theater (with a mediocre sub or muffled dialogue/sound). I can tell you that this soundbar comes very close to just having a couple of bookshelfs and sub with a receiver.

Now you might be saying that this isn't a big accomplishment. It really is though because again a soundbar has always been a huge compromise in the past. This is the first soundbar that in my opinion finally delivers with little compromise. It's not perfect but wow does it sound good. When watching movies, I definitely will not need a sub. The bass is plenty for me.

Music is also great but because the sound comes out of the far left and right speakers (where as the surround comes out of the middle for the center and uses the left and right speakers for sound effects), the sound is different. I need to experiment more. I noticed pulling the bar closer to the edge of the table helped a lot with regards to reflections (stereo sounded way better). Stereo sounds good but music on the surround mode is fuller with more bass. Stereo has a more subdued (not in a bad way) feel with less bass. Changing the bass or treble hasn't really helped much on that regard but I need to experiment. There isn't anything wrong with this as I do like the laid back feel in stereo without there being so much bass. I am used to listening to 2.1 music though so I am trying to adjust. An external sub might help in stereo mode but I don't really want to go that route. I will continue to tinker with it because the bass level in the surround mode is amazing and in no way would I ever add a sub for that.

Anyway, if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. Also I know a few others in this forum have the Panorama so maybe they can chime in on what I have experienced. All in all, if you can get it cheaper than retail ($1200-$1500 range), it is a no brainer. I payed a bit more than the range I mentioned but I wanted one in close to new condition. It's still expensive even used but wow does it sound good. HDMI would have been nice but I don't even missi it. It's a small price to pay for something that blows away pretty much any other soundbar out there.

For reference I have a newly purchased Boston VS 260 setup with a SVS sub and yamaha aventage receiver. It is a great setup. Even after owning it, I am still impressed with the Panorama which to me says a lot.
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post #2 of 42 Old 03-18-2012, 12:26 AM
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Hi YOTR, nice to see you back on the forum. I've followed your soundbar experiences/reviews over the years. I listened to the Panorama in a Best Buy Magnolia room awhile back. J.J. Abram's Star Treck was playing. The shoot out on the Romulan ship was amazing. Easily the best sounding soundbar I've ever heard. Didn't notice much in the surround department but of course the set up was in a store.

How did you hook up the Panorama to your various components? Did you place the bar at ear level? I'm also interested in whether further tinkering has improved your satisfaction with music quality.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the Panorama. Great review. Enjoy your new toy and welcome back to the soundbar forum.
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post #3 of 42 Old 03-18-2012, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrope View Post

Hi YOTR, nice to see you back on the forum. I've followed your soundbar experiences/reviews over the years. I listened to the Panorama in a Best Buy Magnolia room awhile back. J.J. Abram's Star Treck was playing. The shoot out on the Romulan ship was amazing. Easily the best sounding soundbar I've ever heard. Didn't notice much in the surround department but of course the set up was in a store.

How did you hook up the Panorama to your various components? Did you place the bar at ear level? I'm also interested in whether further tinkering has improved your satisfaction with music quality.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the Panorama. Great review. Enjoy your new toy and welcome back to the soundbar forum.

Thanks! It has been awhile. I think the surround sound would be better if I had two actual walls on either side. My living room is small but my left side opens up to my kitchen and the ride side is a huge window. You can adjust the Panorama to compensate for this (hard, medium, soft for wall) and you can change the distance, etc. to help.

Honestly I have had a 3.1 setup forever so the lack of surround doesn't bother me. I have heard the Panorama in an ideal room and the surround sound was very impressive. I guess I am still floored by it because again my room is not ideal and the Panorama still sounds great. I am still shocked how full the sound is on surround when watching a blu ray. The bass is insane for it being contained to one single sound bar. I can see why it is expensive to be honest because B&W definitely took the time to design it correctly. It's still over priced but after having it for a few days, I honestly don't think by much. It depends on how bad you want to free up your area. I needed to do this for the kids so for me it was a no brainer. There are sacrifices with sound bar's but the Panorama is the only one I have ever owned that comes very close to owning separate speakers.

The Panorama is probably a little below ear level for me because it's on a medial table. The table is 26" high so the speakers are probably hitting at about 30" (34" is ideal for my setup). It does come with two sizes of feet though (one is about an a half an inch longer). I currently have uverse, apple tv, and a ps3 connected to it. It also comes with a wall mount but I would be a little worried putting something this heavy on a wall. I am sure it would help sound wise though. There is a setting in the menu where you actually select if you have the Panorama on a table or wall.

I was concerned (and almost didn't purchase it) because of the lack of hdmi. I worked it out though. I am running optical to the ps3 and apple tv. I am just using the left/right audio outputs for uverse (most everything is just in stereo on uverse anyway). I still have a spare coax connection for another device. I have a sealed xbox 360 but I am probably going to sell it. If I was keeping it, I would just get a converter for that last coax input (since I am out of optical ones now) so I could still run optical. Overall I haven't had issues. Yes I would have liked hdmi switching because I am used to that and it is fewer cables. It looks like B&W is marketing the Panorama as just a sound solution and it doesn't seem like they have any plans of adding hdmi down the road. If you can make it work, it's worth the minor inconvenience for the sound quality alone.

I have noticed improvements in music by bringing the Panorama closer to the edge of the medial table (I assume because of reflections). Music still doesn't have the bass of the surround mode but I honestly think it's designed like that. There is bass in the stereo mode but it isn't the home theater style bass if that makes any sense. Also, surround sounds fuller/clearer mainly because the dialogue or music is coming from the front center speakers, not the side left and right speakers. It's hard to explain but because the Panorama is curved the left and right speakers (which are your main speakers for stereo) are in the end of the cabinet pointing to the left and right, not fully towards you in front. It doesn't sound bad at all but it's a different than the surround mode. Don't let that be a deciding factor though. I am a 2 channel listener with my other system and I really like the Panorama in stereo. It has a very natural, almost laid back sound.

Sorry for the long post but I hope this helps. Any other questions, let me know.
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post #4 of 42 Old 03-20-2012, 04:02 PM
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I purchased a used Panorama from audiogon about one year ago and have been thrilled with it. I too decided to go the minimalist route due to a child on the way and also to get rid of all those pesky cables. I used to have a rather decent 5.1 setup with Paradigm speakers, separate NAD/Hafler amps, and HK receiver. I must say the Panorama is amazing.

I like my bass, so I did A LOT of bass testing with it. For music, it packs the perfect punch, but for movies, I felt it lacked in the lower range, it audibly distorted a few times during the "fake" trailers of the Tropic Thunder blu0ray disc (downey jr and tobey maguire gay monk movie). I have a HSU-VTF10 connected to it right now and it is the perfect compliment for a bass movie lover.

I also did a lot of testing during music listening and found that the "surround" setting was only good for rap or electronic music. For any other kind of music, both my wife and I feel that the "wide" setting provides the best sound. The "wide" setting is a mix of stereo and surround but doesnt embellish the bass too much. It also uses the wonderful center tweeter, something that the stereo setting does not use.

I have an xbox360 and ps3 connected to it via optical, an apple airport express connected via digitial coax (for itunes listening), and my normal cable tv stations connected via rca stereo.
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post #5 of 42 Old 03-22-2012, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahartig View Post

I purchased a used Panorama from audiogon about one year ago and have been thrilled with it. I too decided to go the minimalist route due to a child on the way and also to get rid of all those pesky cables. I used to have a rather decent 5.1 setup with Paradigm speakers, separate NAD/Hafler amps, and HK receiver. I must say the Panorama is amazing.

I like my bass, so I did A LOT of bass testing with it. For music, it packs the perfect punch, but for movies, I felt it lacked in the lower range, it audibly distorted a few times during the "fake" trailers of the Tropic Thunder blu0ray disc (downey jr and tobey maguire gay monk movie). I have a HSU-VTF10 connected to it right now and it is the perfect compliment for a bass movie lover.

I also did a lot of testing during music listening and found that the "surround" setting was only good for rap or electronic music. For any other kind of music, both my wife and I feel that the "wide" setting provides the best sound. The "wide" setting is a mix of stereo and surround but doesnt embellish the bass too much. It also uses the wonderful center tweeter, something that the stereo setting does not use.

I have an xbox360 and ps3 connected to it via optical, an apple airport express connected via digitial coax (for itunes listening), and my normal cable tv stations connected via rca stereo.

I haven't need a subwoofer yet. I actually can't listen to movies super loud because of the kids so the bass I have heard has been great. I tested out Tron legacy and it sounded amazing. I still can't believe how much bass it puts out without an external subwoofer.

I tried the wide setting last night for music and it is an improvement. I noticed depending on the song/group, the singing/voice sometimes comes out of the center speaker and other times just out of the left and right ones (with the center playing the music of the song).

I think the reason why I view the stereo/wide mode as "different" with regards to sound is because the bass it not aggressive or over done. Surround mode definitely gives you that thump if you like that in music. Overall though, the bass shouldn't be overpowering in music. That is something I am getting used to because I have always used an external subwoofer in the past turned up about midway even with music. The bass on the stereo mode is subdued but still there. That might be why I view it is different or not as full as the surround mode. I honestly don't want to buy an external subwoofer just for music listening. The bass is plenty for me with movies.

Do you listen to music with just the speaker and no subwoofer? If you use the subwoofer with music, what kind of difference did it make? I would rather save $500 (and more clutter) and not purchase an external sub but I thought I would ask since you have the HSU. I definitely don't regret the purchase. It's not perfect but comes pretty close.
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post #6 of 42 Old 03-22-2012, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by YOTR View Post


Do you listen to music with just the speaker and no subwoofer? If you use the subwoofer with music, what kind of difference did it make? I would rather save $500 (and more clutter) and not purchase an external sub but I thought I would ask since you have the HSU. I definitely don't regret the purchase. It's not perfect but comes pretty close.

I almost always listen to music without the subwoofer because the subwoofer rarely turns on when listening to music (unless I am cranking some rap or house music). When the Panorama senses that a sub is connected, it internally sends all freq below 80Hz to the sub. The crossover is not adjustable. I have my bass on the Panorama set to +4 and treble to +3. The sub is really only beneficial for movie listening when you get into the 25-40Hz range where bass is felt rather then heard. The Panorama handles bass from music extremely well because rarely does bass go below the 40/45Hz range (unless you have some crazy dubstep or edm on). The Panorama excels at bass above the 40/45Hz range. You can probably find a used HSU on c-list in the 200-300 range. I got mine for $180 on clist and am EXTREMELY happy with it. Elemental Designs also has very nice subs at great prices, especially if you an find one used.

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post #7 of 42 Old 04-02-2012, 11:16 PM
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I agree it sounds more enveloping when used with a subwoofer.
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post #8 of 42 Old 04-03-2012, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I finally got to try out the Panorama with a few blu rays at louder volumes. With little kids, most of my blu rays are Pixar/Disney movies. I tried out TinTin, Megamind, and Kung Fu Panda 2. I was floored by the bass WITHOUT a subwoofer. So much so, that I had to actually turn down the volume. It confirmed to me that I am definitely not a bass head as it was plenty low for me and I definitely don't need an external sub. I could see where a sub would help if you play it really loud and want that super low end though.

I did try Tron Legacy yesterday which is very demanding bass wise. Again I had not issues or felt like it lacked in any way without a sub. Having kids doesn't give me the luxury of ever turning it up very loud so my limits are probably different from others. Again though, after really letting it open up this past weekend, I have to say I am even more impressed.

Side note, I didn't even realize the Panorama had a fan in it, lol. I had everything on mute last night for about 20 minutes while I was doing something for work and I heard a very quiet swooshing sound (kind of worried me when I heard it. I thought it was my uverse box but I isolated it to a fan that I guess is under the panorama built inside. It would come on for a few minutes and then go off. I guess it's just keeping it cool. I could only hear it in a completely quiet room so no biggie.
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post #9 of 42 Old 04-17-2012, 06:28 PM
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Hi guys first post here,

I bought my Panaroama about 18 months ago. It sounds amazing. I have add multiple B&W products over the years. 2 questions

1-at low level I hear the fan go on and off, enough to bother me if I listen at low volumes, any of you have experienced this issue ?

2-the metal on top seems to be oxidizing. In other words, it is no longer a nice glossy black, I see dots in the metal. I have only dusted the bar from time to time, no product, water or anything. I was wondering if you guys are seeing this on your bar as well. My unit is still under warranty and I will bring it in but was curious.

Thanks
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post #10 of 42 Old 04-18-2012, 04:40 PM
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I'm looking for a little direction. I recently purchased a pair of b&w cm5s. I love them and they sound great with 2 channel music. I obviously need to add a sub, center and rears to complete the set up for movies. Part of me thinks i should take them back ( the cm5s) and just pick up a Panorama and be done. It would be far cheaper and a lot more simplistic. Thoughts?
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post #11 of 42 Old 04-19-2012, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Upgradealways View Post

Hi guys first post here,

I bought my Panaroama about 18 months ago. It sounds amazing. I have add multiple B&W products over the years. 2 questions

1-at low level I hear the fan go on and off, enough to bother me if I listen at low volumes, any of you have experienced this issue ?

2-the metal on top seems to be oxidizing. In other words, it is no longer a nice glossy black, I see dots in the metal. I have only dusted the bar from time to time, no product, water or anything. I was wondering if you guys are seeing this on your bar as well. My unit is still under warranty and I will bring it in but was curious.

Thanks


I have never heard a fan go on or off. Probably because the panorama is about 10 feet away form the couch and there is an xbox or PS3 on in the background.

I have not noticed any oxidizing on my panorama, I usually dust it off once a week with a damp cloth.....

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post #12 of 42 Old 04-19-2012, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwg View Post

I'm looking for a little direction. I recently purchased a pair of b&w cm5s. I love them and they sound great with 2 channel music. I obviously need to add a sub, center and rears to complete the set up for movies. Part of me thinks i should take them back ( the cm5s) and just pick up a Panorama and be done. It would be far cheaper and a lot more simplistic. Thoughts?

Not sure, depends on what you are plugging in, if you need HDMI, if you need video switching capabilities......

Do you already have a home theater receiver?

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post #13 of 42 Old 04-19-2012, 11:33 AM
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I have a Marantz 6005. I think I could reconfigure everything if need be as I have enough HDMI inputs on my TV. I would most likely ebay the Marantz if I decided upon the Panorama.
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post #14 of 42 Old 04-19-2012, 12:57 PM
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The panorama is great, especially if you are looking for a clean, no-nonsense look with almost no cable mess.

It obviously won't sound as good as a dedicated 5.1 system, especially with B&W speakers and a Marantz amp, but it will be much cheaper, easier to set up, and sound pretty decent.

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post #15 of 42 Old 04-22-2012, 12:13 PM
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After 2 years, I'm pretty much still in love with my Panorama B&W soundbar.
I've never had any problem regarding the oxidizing (just use a clean cloth), and I've never heard a fan either, maybe I'm a bit deaf after listening to it so much

Anyway, I recently invited my nephews for a movie night and we watched Puss In Boots, they were pretty amazed and I was too, the sound in that movie is a demo for the panorama, you have sounds coming from all over the place

I still have doubts if the panorama is better than the bose 1SR? anyone can illuminate on the subject
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post #16 of 42 Old 05-26-2012, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Upgradealways View Post

Hi guys first post here,

I bought my Panaroama about 18 months ago. It sounds amazing. I have add multiple B&W products over the years. 2 questions

1-at low level I hear the fan go on and off, enough to bother me if I listen at low volumes, any of you have experienced this issue ?

2-the metal on top seems to be oxidizing. In other words, it is no longer a nice glossy black, I see dots in the metal. I have only dusted the bar from time to time, no product, water or anything. I was wondering if you guys are seeing this on your bar as well. My unit is still under warranty and I will bring it in but was curious.

Thanks

Udate on my 2 issues.

The oxidizing was actually glue left from removing the pellicule. The dealer was able to remove it with a light cleaner. I should have figured that one out on my own but hey..first time I see glue residue from a pellicule.

Regarding the fan noise, my dealer sent the bar back to B&W for repair, they think it is the power supply...we ll see.
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post #17 of 42 Old 08-29-2012, 06:23 PM
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I also have the BW Panorama soundbar also with a glass window to the left and a drywall with a space for the kitchen to the right- how did you set up the Room settings between the soft/medium and hard options? I'm confused by this.
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post #18 of 42 Old 08-29-2012, 06:29 PM
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Also,
Hi with the B&W Panorama Soundbar i have i'm looking for more deep bass primarily for movies but want to compliment the soundbar not overpower it or distort it in any way. I noticed you guys recommend the HSU VTF-1 MK2 10" Sub but do you think the HSU VTF-2 MK4 12" sub will be overkill in 2500-3000 Square foot apartment livingroom?Its only $100 more.
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post #19 of 42 Old 08-30-2012, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fanurios View Post

Also,
Hi with the B&W Panorama Soundbar i have i'm looking for more deep bass primarily for movies but want to compliment the soundbar not overpower it or distort it in any way. I noticed you guys recommend the HSU VTF-1 MK2 10" Sub but do you think the HSU VTF-2 MK4 12" sub will be overkill in 2500-3000 Square foot apartment livingroom?Its only $100 more.

I don't think it would be overkill!

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post #20 of 42 Old 09-04-2012, 04:20 AM
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I just stumbled in here from a google search. I have just recently found out about B&W Panorama, and was also told there is a new model coming out very soon. Does anyone know about the specs for the new model? For example, will there be HDMI input? Like four of them? biggrin.gif
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post #21 of 42 Old 09-04-2012, 10:48 AM
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Hi I just got information from my store in sweden where the panorama is discontinued that a new panorama is coming soon with hdmi and airplay. I didn't get any other specification or when but probably very soon since it just got discontinued. Apparently the sale person I spoke to just came back from a presentation by B&W of this falls news/Martin
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post #22 of 42 Old 09-14-2012, 08:37 PM
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I just picked up a Panorama from BestBuy for $1200. Is this still a good soundbar for the price since a new one is on the horizon? I will be moving overseas before the new bar is released and it will be a lot more expensive there so I probably won't be upgrading anytime in the near future. I plan to use the soundbar mostly for music/tv (80%) and movies (20%). The lack of HDMI and HD decoding does put me off a bit, but I'm not sure if that's reason enough to not keep it. I don't know if there would be much of a sound difference or not.
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post #23 of 42 Old 09-14-2012, 09:01 PM
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^ ^ ^ HDMI switching is a game changer in audio and yes it makes a gigantic improvement. For the longest time I was old school using my very good Wireworld optical cable digital for my Yamaha 5100 for my DD and DTS needs and thought ok I'm getting 5.1 so no worries....WRONG JACK.

My ysp 5100 has 3 HDMI inputs so why not make give it a try after speaking to a Yamaha tech support who told me that I should be using HDMI instead of RCA/optical cable because it does NOT output the latest audio like Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital EX, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, etc or whatever is the latest from Dolby or dts.

So I did it, it was a cinch and the audio went up several notches. Make the transition if you haven't done so and never look back to rca/optical cables.
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post #24 of 42 Old 12-29-2012, 03:24 PM
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Hi Upgradealways,
do you have any update on your first issue? I have the same problem over here.
Best regards
Hauke
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Originally Posted by Upgradealways View Post


Udate on my 2 issues.


The oxidizing was actually glue left from removing the pellicule. The dealer was able to remove it with a light cleaner. I should have figured that one out on my own but hey..first time I see glue residue from a pellicule.


Regarding the fan noise, my dealer sent the bar back to B&W for repair, they think it is the power supply...we ll see.
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post #25 of 42 Old 02-07-2013, 12:09 AM
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Hey everyone, just got one of these for about 700.00 at Best Buy. If you can track one down as an open box deal (it still has the full BW warranty despite this), it will be well worth it. Considering the Panorama 2 is once again retailing for 2200.00, the 1400.00 difference is a no brainer. The P2 does have some sound and connectivity upgrades, but not 1400.00 worth in my opinion. You can add a quality Bluetooth receiver or Airplay compatible receiver to the P1 inexpensively and it suddenly becomes an amazingly versatile sound system, especially for those with limited space and without the desire to run multiple speakers.

If you have what looks like oxidation on the metal surface, a microfiber cloth slightly moistened should remove it all. Mine had all kinds of grime and oxidation looking areas on it from being a shelf display, but two minutes with a microfiber cleaning cloth removed all of it.
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post #26 of 42 Old 02-15-2013, 07:05 AM
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I just recently purchase my p1 at bestbuy it was open box with no remote I paid $650 for it, was that a good price? Also, what are you guys using to listening to music on your iPod or iPhone is there any wireless devices that can be plugged into the p1, has anyone tried the sonos connect?
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post #27 of 42 Old 02-15-2013, 12:16 PM
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650$ is a good price indeed. I paid 1,100 Euros some weeks ago. Unfortunately, I recently sent it back for repair. This fan noise was really disturbing (see above). At home I am using Sonos in every room. The Connect/ZP90 fits perfectly to the Panorama. And I am sure that the recently released Sonos soundbar won't reach the B&W. But let's wait if my noise problem can be fixed...
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post #28 of 42 Old 02-16-2013, 08:35 PM
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The sonos soundbar seem like it'll be okay but no b&w. I've been using my Apple TV AirPlay for now do you think the sonos connect will give better sound quality...
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post #29 of 42 Old 02-17-2013, 11:37 PM
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If you want to stick with the wireless solution keep the Apple TV Air Play. Sonos also supports direct streaming from iOS devices via your WiFi but as long as signals are only streamed and not processed to sound I assume there won't be any difference. The Sonos works more independently from the Apple ecosystem - that's quite appealing in general.
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post #30 of 42 Old 03-04-2013, 08:22 PM
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Hey guys,

I just got a Panorama 1 (600 bucks at Best Buy!). I also purchased a new Panamax 4300 power conditioner to plug my new toy into and help with any possible power issues or interference.

I have also noticed after about 20 minutes of the bar running the fan noise kicks in. I can hear the noise up to a volume level 12. The room I'm in is very small so everything seems louder and resignates. I contacted B&W to get some feedback on this fan issue and am waiting on some responses. They have responded once and did confirm it does have a fan in the unit that comes on depending on the temp but mine seems to run all the time so I'm interested to see what they have to say.

Anyone else heard this fan and had any luck figuring it out? Could it just be normal for this unit?

Thanks,
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