Philharmonic Audio - Dennis Murphy - Page 169 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #5041 of 5048 Old 08-04-2015, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mrlittlejeans View Post
Meh. I'm not worried about derailing the thread. If you were so disappointed in the finish that you were selling the speakers, you should let potential buyers know of the issue. Period.


I said I'm selling the speakers because I want to buy the BMR's, not because I'm disappointed in the finish. I said I wanted the custom finish because I was disappointed that my speakers arrived with minor imperfections that I had to spend time and money restoring personally. Overall the speakers look great. Even when initially posting about the flaws when I first noticed them, I mentioned they were insignificant and only needed a matching speaker color marker (which perfectly masked the 1" black sharpie line that was on the speaker originally).

Trust me, if the speakers had anything more than a couple of easily repairable minor imperfections, I would've asked Dennis Murphy for a return. Having said that, when paying $850 for speakers, it's fair to expect there not to a black sharpie mark on it. Furthermore, I've been insisting on selling these locally, in person, meaning that any person buying these is going to have a chance to thoroughly examine them before buying. Your fuss is unwarranted.
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post #5042 of 5048 Old 08-04-2015, 05:11 PM
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Dennis, have you decided if you will be showing anything at CAF this year?
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post #5043 of 5048 Old 08-04-2015, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Saturn94 View Post
Dennis, have you decided if you will be showing anything at CAF this year?
I'll be taking a pass this year. Although I've enjoyed meeting a lot of great people at the past Capital Audio Fests, from a business standpoint there's no point in spending all that money if you can't get reviewers to come into the room. Last year the rather meager press that attended only bothered with brick and mortar companies with the exception of Enjoy The Music, and that reviewer was never able to get his write-up published. There's just not a lot of reader interest in a small regional show.
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post #5044 of 5048 Old 08-04-2015, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post
I'll be taking a pass this year. Although I've enjoyed meeting a lot of great people at the past Capital Audio Fests, from a business standpoint there's no point in spending all that money if you can't get reviewers to come into the room. Last year the rather meager press that attended only bothered with brick and mortar companies with the exception of Enjoy The Music, and that reviewer was never able to get his write-up published. There's just not a lot of reader interest in a small regional show.
Understood.

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post #5045 of 5048 Old 08-04-2015, 08:36 PM
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Capital AudioFest 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post
I'll be taking a pass this year. Although I've enjoyed meeting a lot of great people at the past Capital Audio Fests, from a business standpoint there's no point in spending all that money if you can't get reviewers to come into the room. Last year the rather meager press that attended only bothered with brick and mortar companies with the exception of Enjoy The Music, and that reviewer was never able to get his write-up published. There's just not a lot of reader interest in a small regional show.
Dennis, I apologise for the coverage not reaching publication. The room you shared with Salk and VanAlstine was outstanding! The Phil 3s, Exotica 3s, and Soundscape 8s all offered great sonics with Salk adding stunning finishes and the Phil 3s offering reference performance at a bargain price. Driven by VA electronics, also bargains, this room was packed all 3 days, I visited at least 6 times, just hanging out enjoying the music. You and Jim were the hardest working guys at the show, like a pit crew, speaker swaps were often and swift, thanks for letting us hear many speakers with the same electronics and room.
Kemper

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post #5046 of 5048 Old 08-05-2015, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by klh007 View Post
Dennis, I apologise for the coverage not reaching publication. The room you shared with Salk and VanAlstine was outstanding! The Phil 3s, Exotica 3s, and Soundscape 8s all offered great sonics with Salk adding stunning finishes and the Phil 3s offering reference performance at a bargain price. Driven by VA electronics, also bargains, this room was packed all 3 days, I visited at least 6 times, just hanging out enjoying the music. You and Jim were the hardest working guys at the show, like a pit crew, speaker swaps were often and swift, thanks for letting us hear many speakers with the same electronics and room.
Kemper
Thanks very much for the post Kemper. It's greatly appreciated. As I said, I enjoy doing the shows, particularly since I get to meet great people like you. I only did the show last year because I was able to share expenses with Jim Salk. Although we managed to make it work with a lot of huffing and puffing, I think having two brands of speakers in one room kind of confused people and made for some difficult logistics.
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post #5047 of 5048 Old 08-12-2015, 09:01 PM
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New - 2015 Affordable Accuracy Monitor2 by Philharmonic Audio

Dennis Murphy's cost for the Pioneer speakers he previously used for his Affordable Accuracy models went up and Dennis started looking for a new economical platform to work with.

He found the Dayton Audio BR-1 kit... which he assembles with his own crossover. The result is the Affordable Accuracy Monitor2.

I was excited with the opportunity to audition it! However, I have learned is that the human ear (mine, at least) is incredibly sensitive for relative (or comparative) measurement, but not so good at absolute measurement. Consequently, I decided to find an appropriate speaker for comparison.

Enter the The WaveCrest WAVECREST HVL-1! It is a favorite speaker often recommended on audio forums as a great value in the ~$200/pr. price range. It has a 5-1/4" mid-woofer and 1" soft dome tweeter with a front firing port. I like front ported speakers because they allow more placement options. Shipping cost another $25 (I believe this is fixed for anywhere in the lower 48) for $224 total price. 12" x 7" x 9.5" and 12 pounds each.

The AA MONITOR2 is a Dayton Audio kit which has benefited from a crossover redesign by Dennis Murphy (this is a new and improved mod, not the old one posted on the Murphyblaster website a few years ago). The kit runs $180 from Parts Express and uses a 6.5" mid-woof and 1-1/8" silk dome tweeter with a rear port. As I understand it, Dennis Murphy builds the crossover (with new parts), and assembles the kit. Historically, Murphy’s offerings have been great bargains because he is not trying to capture typical profit margins or grow a business. The final price of the AA MONITOR2 is $195 (seriously? Only $15 more than the bare kit?). Fedex shipping to GA was $25 for a total of $220 (but shipping cost will vary depending on your location). 14-1/4" x 8-5/8" x 11" and about 22 pounds each.

Summary (For the impatient!)
Both are over-achieving budget bookshelf speakers. The WAVECREST HVL-1 is more compact with front ports, allowing more positioning options. The air space needed for the rear port and the weight of the AA MONITOR2's make them a difficult wall-mount.

If you will not use a sub, the AA MONITOR2 is the obvious choice between these two! The bass it produces is truly prodigious (both, deep and accurate) for a 6.5" bookshelf! With a sub, the choice is not so easy.

The AA MONITOR2 offers better mid-range detail, and the WAVECREST HVL-1 offers better high frequency presence or shine. Much of the following review defines how these attributes showed up in different musical content (to my ear). Hopefully, this will help people decide between these two offerings.

IMHO, neither of these speaker designs has any real design flaws, as a matter of fact, I got the sense that both were very well designed such that their limitations were essentially defined by the drivers used. If Dave Fabricant and Dennis Murphy can get this level of performance at these prices, it reflects rather poorly on more mainstream speaker manufacturers.

My biggest take-away is that it is a good time to be buying speakers on a tight budget! Both the HVL-1 and the Monitor2 are very nice speakers at budget prices, and if you intend to use a sub to cover the bass, it gets down to size, placement concerns, and individual preference for mid-range detail vs HF presence. Please understand that the WAVECREST HVL-1 does not sound blurred, nor does the AA MONITOR2 sound dull. These are both well-rounded speakers and I would recommend either, depending on the situation. I hope describing my subjective experience of both speakers assists prospective buyers in getting the best value and enjoyment out of their speaker budget.


WAVECREST HVL-1 on left and AA MONITOR2 on right. The silk dome tweeter of the AA MONITOR2 is mostly transparent with an open mesh of fiber.
The photo is misleading, there is 24" clearance to the right wall from the AA MONITOR2 and 20.5" clearance behind the AA MONITOR2 (which is 1.25" deeper than the WAVECREST HVL-1).


The camera flash of the previous photo is misleading. These are flat black, not shiny (and the WAVECREST HVL-1 mid-woofer does not have a light gray dust cap!). All of the lights in my room are on (as you can see from multiple shadows) and there was still good daylight in the room at 6PM in July in GA.

Setup.
I used two Marantz SR-6001 receivers in Pure Direct Mode and level matched the speakers (using music and adjusting when needed to keep levels matched). Muting one receiver, allowed instant switching every time the mute button is pressed. Speakers were set side by side in an A-B A-B configuration (so width between the pairs of speakers was equal).

Music.
I tried to select music based on the following criteria:
High quality recording
Common (some chance you might know it or have it in your collection)
My personal familiarity with it
Diverse (listening to a wide array of music reveals characteristics that would not be revealed if all tracks were similar)

LISTENING SESSION.
The AA MONITOR2 is a larger speaker with a larger driver. It pumps out deeper bass. Moreover, it pumps out exceptionally clean and deep bass for any 6.5" bookshelf speaker! Of course it did this for every song. I do not want to belabor this point throughout the review, and will only mention it where it really stood out.
Note: I provided YouTube links for some songs, but did not check for sound quality of the YouTube version. I used CD’s for all review material.

Norah Jones - Don't Know Why (Come Away with Me)
Norah's voice is a favorite proving ground for sound reproduction. She has lots of nuances such as subtly lilting and bending notes with a soft vibrato. The ability to produce these details is a good litmus test for speakers.
Both speakers do well, but the AA MONITOR2 captures more of the nuances of Norah Jones vocal style. The WAVECREST HVL-1 gives a more breathy sound, not inappropriately so, just different – it stages Norah closer to the listener. My preference would be to have both the midrange detail of the AA MONITOR2 and the breathiness of the WAVECREST HVL-1, but, if I have to choose one based on Norah's voice, the AA MONITOR2’s extra detail and openness wins. AA MONITOR2!

Ed Palermo - Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Album of the same title)
There is a lot going on in most Big Band Jazz ensembles! Since I play in a big band, this is where I listen to the instruments I know best.

Switching between speakers through this song resulted in the following observations:

For cymbals, WAVECREST HVL-1 did a better job of capturing the presence and shine of well recorded cymbal taps (ride cymbal). This was a strong benefit of the WAVECREST HVL-1!

For a brashly played trombone, the AA MONITOR2 was slightly better at catching the raspy (edgy, saw-tooth) character of the tone. The WAVECREST HVL-1 sounded a little bit thinner, but was better at catching the brassy upper harmonics. TIE!

For kick drum I had to double check that my subs were off. This was my first realization of just how good the bass from this speaker is! I did not expect so much kick from a bookshelf alone. AA MONITOR2!

For the tenor sax solo (in this case played in a throaty style), the AA MONITOR2 did a great job of capturing the resonance, causing the sax to sound more substantial and solid. The WAVECREST HVL-1 was comparatively unconvincing, sounding a bit thin. AA MONITOR2!

Pink Floyd – Time (Dark Side of the Moon)
I selected this mainly to get an idea of the high frequency character of the speakers when the alarm clocks and various chimes present a cacophony of resonating metals.

For the detail of clockwork preceding the alarms, the WAVECREST HVL-1 offered an extra crispness to the higher frequencies while the AA MONITOR2 had more delicate detail in the midrange. TIE!

When the clocks all rang, both speakers did an admirable job and sounded realistic. They truly sounded different, but I did not get a sense of anything sounding wrong from either speaker and both rang impressively clear! TIE!

Many times switching between speakers in this song revealed no audible differences. Then, there were times where there was an audible difference, but I would be hard pressed to declare one better than the other. TIE!

I'm not sure if it is the added presence of bass or midrange detail, but the AA MONITOR2 stood out as offering more depth of stage. AA MONITOR2!

At 4:20, the guitar sounds fuller on the AA MONITOR2. AA MONITOR2!

At 5:25, the WAVECREST HVL-1 sounded better with the male voices, offering a more breathy sound (which suits). WAVECREST HVL-1!

At 5:25, the female voices sounded more pure on the AA MONITOR2. AA MONITOR2!

At 5:25, the overall balance between the male and female vocals was better on the AA MONITOR2. AA MONITOR2!

Yes - Heart of the Sunrise (Fragile - Master Series)
This is a standard of mine. I listen primarily for the unique sound of Chris Squire’s bass, but there have been several times where the unusual instrumentation reveals something unique.

The intro to this song is hard driving with bass and drums carrying the song. The AA MONITOR2 distinguished itself with great solid bass and drums, but was barely trumped by the nimble sense from the WAVECREST HVL-1's treble on the cymbals. WAVECREST HVL-1!

This song was written by bassist Chris Squire and has a lot of places where his uniquely tuned bass stands out. Amazingly, while the AA MONITOR2 was clearly more solid, the HF content of the WAVECREST HVL-1 captured enough of his unique sound to hold its own! TIE!

At 2:50, the band goes back into the same hard driving phrase as used for the intro. Surprisingly, this time, the AA MONITOR2 was a clear winner as the WAVECREST HVL-1 seemed treble heavy. This happens again at 8:35. The AA MONITOR2 is more transparent and it is easier to pick out each voice that is playing. AA MONITOR2!

Jon Anderson's voice is a tie. The closeness presented by the stronger treble from the WAVECREST HVL-1’s matched the extra richness the AA MONITOR2’s captured from his voice. TIE!

The better rendition of the cymbals on the WAVECREST HVL-1 gives it the nod and the WAVECREST HVL-1 often (but not always) sounded better overall when the ride cymbal was in play. WAVECREST HVL-1!

For tom drums, the AA MONITOR2 dominates with a greater solidness. AA MONITOR2!

For snare, the WAVECREST HVL-1 offers greater presence. WAVECREST HVL-1!

Emilie-Claire Barlow – C’est Si Bon (the very thought of you)

In contrast to Norah Jones' voice, the midrange detail offered by the AA MONITOR2 on Emilie's voice was not sufficient to beat the closeness and breathiness the WAVECREST HVL-1 offered! This makes sense because Emilie’s voice is a higher pitch and not quite as rich as Norah’s. WAVECREST HVL-1!

In this piece, the sax is played with a thinner tone (likely to better match Emilie’s) and in contrast to the Ed Palermo song above, the WAVECREST HVL-1 was a more natural presentation of this sound. WAVECREST HVL-1!

Here's a link:

Steely Dan - I Got the News (Aja)
I always have Steely Dan in the mix. Their sound is tight and percussive, with sharp attacks, and the recording quality is always very good.

The deep and accurate bass of the AA MONITOR2 stands out as the clearly dominant difference throughout this song. AA MONITOR2!

The ride cymbal has more shine on the WAVECREST HVL-1, as a matter of fact; it was exceptional for any soft dome tweeter. I don’t know if this speaker has a bit more emphasis on the upper frequencies or actually has extension beyond other (including more expensive) soft domes, but either way, to my ear, it sounds more like a live cymbal tap. WAVECREST HVL-1!

For cymbal crashes, the WAVECREST HVL-1 lost a bit of control. The AA MONITOR2 was not as strong with the cymbals, but maintained control (clarity). AA MONITOR2!

Chet Atkins – Sunrise (Stay Tuned)
Musically, it borders on Muzak, but between George Benson and Chet Atkins, there are some very nicely played light and delicate details in this piece that cause me to like it (despite the Muzak). It is very well recorded and I love the nature of the bass on this piece (especially the contrast of the slap notes).

It was a surprise, but the triangle was a match between these two speakers. I expected the WAVECREST HVL-1 to present more shine, but I didn't hear it! TIE!

Much of this song presents lots of guitar picking and fretwork. The AA MONITOR2 exhibited more detail in the midrange, but the brassy sound of the guitar strings presented in the top end by the WAVECREST HVL-1 was nicer and the WAVECREST HVL-1 held its own. TIE!

There is some electric bass that gets nicely aggressive (but still playing under melody) in this tune with some slap notes. The AA MONITOR2 nicely presented this bass performance which were lost on the WAVECREST HVL-1 (you can hear them if you listened for them, but probably would never notice them in casual listening). AA MONITOR2!

Here is a link:

Herbie Hancock – River (River – the Joni letters)
I have found that this song is good at revealing issues with speakers. I’d liken Corinne Bailey Rae to taking Norah Jones voice and raising it about ½ octave. She has high frequencies in her voice that extend on up there. There is also the brushes on the drums and cymbals which doesn’t always sound right, depending on the speakers.

Corriane Bailey's voice played well with the breathiness and shine of the WAVECREST HVL-1, but also thrived on the AA MONITOR2's ability to produce a fuller resonance. I could not pick a favorite. This surprised me as I really expected this to be a similar situation to Emilie Claire Barlow’s voice and WAVECREST HVL-1 to dominate (see above). TIE!

There is a lot of brush work from the drummer. The sounds of the brushes on the drums as produced by the WAVECREST HVL-1’s came across a simple, but strong shhhh. It is not as strong on the AA MONITOR2, but that is neither better nor worse; however, the AA MONITOR2 captures more of the resonance of the drum skin, and that is better! AA MONITOR2!

Here is a link:

Katy Perry - I Kissed a Girl (MTV unplugged)
Pop star, Katy Perry is a guilty pleasure of mine (though I felt somewhat vindicated when Jon Anderson listed her among his favorite modern singers). I am also a big time fan of acoustic versions…especially for vocals. It keeps them very honest. I believe there are not as many places for a singer to “hide” so they up their game even beyond their normal level of extraordinary! In this particular version of this song, it begins with an upright bass solo which repeats the same phrase so I can listen to the phrase on one speaker, then hear it again on the other. I also love the jazz leanings of this version.

The AA MONITOR2 presented this introductory bass solo with amazing depth! Since when does a 6.5" bookshelf under $500/pair put out this type of bass? AA MONITOR2!

The detail of the AA MONITOR2 wins out by better replicating the richness and strength of her voice. AA MONITOR2!

The AA MONITOR2 was clearly advantaged for this song. Throughout, it portrayed more substance and a deeper soundstage. AA MONITOR2!

Eagles - Hotel California (Hell Freezes Over)

As with Katy Perry, the bass in this song capitalizes on the AA MONITOR2's strengths in a way that often dominated the sound quality. AA MONITOR2!

For the guitar work, while I must point out there were places (higher notes) where the WAVECREST HVL-1's made the sound border on that of a banjo, the WAVECREST HVL-1's ability to capture the brass in the strings gave it the advantage to my ear. WAVECREST HVL-1!

Rikki Lee Jones - Traces of the Western Slopes (Pirates)

This song has a lot of space and I expected it to highlight the AA MONITOR2's depth of stage advantage; however, they matched on this count. The content is largely austere, so I might guess neither speaker was challenged. TIE

RLJ's voice favors the added presence offered by the upper register of the WAVECREST HVL-1. WAVECREST HVL-1!

Again, the slap notes of the bass called attention to the solid bass of the AA MONITOR2. AA MONITOR2!
Here is a link:

Eric Clapton - Tears from Heaven (unplugged)

As in the Chet Atkins song, not enough difference in the presentation of the triangle to pick a favorite. TIE!

Sir Clapton's voice was fuller on the AA MONITOR2's. AA MONITOR2.

While the AA MONITOR2 consistently offers better depth of stage, for this song, I found the pin-point imaging of Clapton's voice on the WAVECREST HVL-1's to be exceptional. WAVECREST HVL-1!

Lyle Lovett - She's No Lady (Pontiac)

Lyle's voice carries lots of nuanced details and not much breathiness or other HF content. The AA MONITOR2 wins with a richer, fuller sound. AA MONITOR2!

Here's a link (music starts at 0:30):

Conclusions

As mentioned earlier, the bass reproduction of the AA MONITOR2 clearly outclasses the WAVECREST HVL-1 (and many 6-1/2" speakers!). The bass output of the WAVECREST HVL-1 is entirely competent for a 5-1/4" bookshelf speaker, it simply does not have the displacement to compete with the larger driver. Using a sub would do a lot to level the playing field on this count. It bears repeating that the bass of this bookshelf is exceptional for its price-point (and many more expensive 6.5” monitors). This is the greatest and most obvious difference and makes the AA MONITOR2 a stand-out value if you are looking for a full range speaker in this price range.

The AA MONITOR2 consistently provided a deeper soundstage, but on at least one song (Eric Clapton), this was countered by exceptional imaging from the WAVECREST HVL-1.

The AA MONITOR2 offers better midrange detail resulting in a very clean and transparent sound. Because of this it was consistently the more accurate speaker.

The WAVECREST HVL-1 offers more shine and presence through the upper harmonics of the music. There were a few places where the WAVECREST HVL-1 seemed to be overloaded while trying to present these higher frequencies resulting in some low level distortion (which would have never been noticed if I wasn't listening critically and switching between speakers). Based on what I heard with the balance between male and female voices in the Pink Floyd song; the upper range of this tweeter probably has a slight touch of over-emphasis, but I have to say it plays nice to my ear. Overall, the appeal of the shine and presence (and the details revealed thereby) of the WAVECREST HVL-1 was a positive addition.

One thing that became apparent was that most manufacturers in this price range do not invest the talent in speaker design that these two speakers offer. I have not heard a B&M "off the shelf" speaker under $500/pair to compete with the likes of these for overall smoothness and balance. With both of these speakers, I felt like the drivers were essentially the limiting factor. The larger mid-bass driver of the AA MONITOR2 was clearly the biggest difference between these speakers. After that comes a close contest (as reflected in the review) between the AA MONITOR2's midrange accuracy/detail/transparency and the shine/presence of the WAVECREST HVL-1's. If the bass differences are ignored, it is a hard call!
t1337Dude and Falcons023 like this.

Cheers,
Kurt (aka KEW)

Last edited by Taking Notes!; 08-13-2015 at 08:47 AM.
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Hey everyone, I made a separate thread for this in the appropriate forum but I also thought I'd ask here because there may be people who've experienced the BMR Philharmonitor's can give their input.

I'm trying to drive a couple of BMR Philharmonitor's. According to Dennis Murphy, this require 100w continuous at 6 Ohm. Right now I'm using a TX-SR607, which might be serviceable, but I'm sure everyone would agree than an old 7.2 A/V receiver isn't ideal for a 2.0 setup in terms of sound quality. My budget is $500-$1000. ~$800 would be ideal to spend but it really just depends what's out there that people might recommend. I plan to use it with my computer, near-field, in a small room.

What do you think about something like this? Yamaha A-S701 Integrated Amplifier

Spending this sort of money, I'd be hoping for an general audio performance improvement (louder, less distortion, tighter+clearer bass, etc.)
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