B&W 600 Series Home Theater Advice - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-26-2012, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I've decided to spend some money and upgrade my home theater setup. I have a room that's 15' x 14' and 12' ceilings.

I'm in NYC and finding a place that will give me some attention and answer my questions seems impossible. The only way I've been able to research is to walk into best buy / magnolia and play with the equipment on display my self.

Starting with things I've narrowed down after some research and in-store demos.
- I like the B&W 600 series, they sound great and fit the budget I'm aiming for.
- I like Marantz receivers but Denon these days seems like the better choice for similar/same thing.

So here's kind of what I had in mind:
Denon AVR-3313CI Receiver
B&W HTM61 For Center
B&W 683 for Fronts.
B&W 685 for Rears
B&W ASW 610XP for the sub.

Now my only concern is that I've looked at a few 683's in store and all the aluminium woofers are distorted with finger print size dents, even the ones that have the grills on. I'm almost certain the finger dents aren't part of the design so are they just really easy to permanently distort if touched?

I'm very concerned by this, that someone might touch my speakers by accident and then those dents would bother me forever. So I was thinking about getting the 684s, which are more practically sized, and considering I live in NYC I can't really crank my speakers too loud anyway. The problem is do I then change the centers and rears for their small counterparts, is there any advantage of still keeping the higher end rears and centers. I also think the smaller size are better looking / more practically sized but either way I can make it work.

Looking for advice from the masses, particularly those who own this receiver and/or speaker series.

Tank
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-26-2012, 04:55 PM
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I would get the 684, HTM62, 686 and ASW608 and just get a Denon AVR-4311. The HTM62 is lower sensitivity and some people have complained about lower sound so just ask in the B&W thread if it would really be a problem or not.

Smaller speakers but don't underestimate how much bass 5 inch woofers can put out with a better amplifier. biggrin.gif
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-26-2012, 05:40 PM
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IMHO the 683s are much better than the 684s . I would stick with the 683s for your fronts. The HTM61 does have a narrower sweet spot so the HTM62 might work for you. The HTM62 is rather inefficient though at 85 dB so you will need more power to get the volume you need. Another 685 would actually be the best option over either of the 600 series centers.

B&W offers tweeter protecters if you're concerned about possible damage. But, unless you have small children or perhaps partying guests I wouldn't worry too much about this.

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post #4 of 10 Old 08-26-2012, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tankarma View Post

I've decided to spend some money and upgrade my home theater setup. I have a room that's 15' x 14' and 12' ceilings.
I'm in NYC and finding a place that will give me some attention and answer my questions seems impossible. The only way I've been able to research is to walk into best buy / magnolia and play with the equipment on display my self.
Starting with things I've narrowed down after some research and in-store demos.
- I like the B&W 600 series, they sound great and fit the budget I'm aiming for.
- I like Marantz receivers but Denon these days seems like the better choice for similar/same thing.
So here's kind of what I had in mind:
Denon AVR-3313CI Receiver
B&W HTM61 For Center
B&W 683 for Fronts.
B&W 685 for Rears
B&W ASW 610XP for the sub.
Now my only concern is that I've looked at a few 683's in store and all the aluminium woofers are distorted with finger print size dents, even the ones that have the grills on. I'm almost certain the finger dents aren't part of the design so are they just really easy to permanently distort if touched?
I'm very concerned by this, that someone might touch my speakers by accident and then those dents would bother me forever. So I was thinking about getting the 684s, which are more practically sized, and considering I live in NYC I can't really crank my speakers too loud anyway. The problem is do I then change the centers and rears for their small counterparts, is there any advantage of still keeping the higher end rears and centers. I also think the smaller size are better looking / more practically sized but either way I can make it work.
Looking for advice from the masses, particularly those who own this receiver and/or speaker series.
Tank

I'm surprised there are no quality independent dealers of B&W in NYC. Maybe you should open an audio shop? Just kidding.

The 683 are better than the 684. The 61 is the matching 3-way center. I have much experience with the system but with Marantz models...5000, 6000, 7000 series.

The only reason the woofers would be dented is if someone were poking at them. In a typical environment this won't ever happen as the grills would remain on.

I'm sure you'll be fine.

PS I work at a dealer in L.A., so if you can't find someone to sell you the product let me know...

B.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-26-2012, 07:58 PM
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Back when I lived in NYC, I bought my B&W speakers at Stereo Exchange in soho and have had mostly positive experience.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-26-2012, 08:01 PM
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I'll echo most of what postrokfan said here. My front stage is currently comprised of B&W 600 Series speakers (685 for L/R, HTM61) powered by a Marantz AVR [SR5006]. The 3313 is a fairly powerful receiver, and will do well for the 683s - I have found that the 683s sound cleaner and more open with better amplification. The 600 Series centers don't get much love here or from reviewers, since they have off-axis dispersion problems. I"ve read here that the B&W 600 centers sound better placed vertically rather than horizontally, but have not the space required to test that out. If you're sitting directly in front of the center most of the time this won't be an issue. I almost bought a CM center instead, but since my room layout only allows for on-axis seating, the HTM61 works fine for me.

If you're going to get 600 series B&W floorstanders, I agree that the 683 is the way to go. They are better speakers overall than the 684. From my listening sessions with the 600 series towers, the 683s had a more defined midrange, better imaging, and less boated bass. In fact, I was originally going to get the 684. When I compared them to the 685, I found I liked the bookshelves better. The 684 sound like a slightly bloated, more bass-heavy 685 to me. After getting the 685, I was was also originally set on an HTM62 center and came away not liking it at all. It sounded weak, probably from the lower sensitivity, and lacked presence. Perhaps the FST midrange drivers in the 683 and HTM61 are what make them sound better.

As far as the dents go, to put it simply and for the sake of brevity: people are dumb. For whatever reason, they think expensive loudspeakers are meant to be poked and prodded and that the dust cap over the tweeter is some sort of button. Once they get to pushing in the tweeter, they get curious and start to push the drivers. This was a huge problem when Best Buy/Magnolia started carrying B&W product, and B&W reps came to install protectors for their tweeters (Fun side note: I had heard that people pushing in the tweeters were actually B&W fans angry at BB for starting to carry their product); If you have small children running around, it may be a problem, Otherwise I wouldn't worry about it. You can also keep the grilles on the speakers when not in use. In any case, the most commonly damaged part, the tweeter, like I mentioned is just the dust cap and shouldn't impact sound quality should it accidentally get pushed in.

While the 600 series are great speakers, I'd also advise that you try to find a Monitor Audio dealer in your area (http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/dealers shows quite a few NY dealers), and give their Silver RX line a listen before committing to purchase anything. They occupy about the same price bracket as the 600 series and IMO offer a better value, not to mention more finish choices and exemplary build quality. To me, they were sonically closer to the CM range, definitely more refined and controlled than the 68x. I actually preferred the sound of the RX over the CM, I think. The RX center also sounded really good. Full disclosure: I recently purchased a pair of MA RX6 hat are going to replace my 685s. Doesn't hurt to check them out. cool.gif

Whatever you end up doing, I wish you luck. Hope this post helped!

ht Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Monitor Audio: Silver RX6, RX Centre, Radius 90HD; Martinlogan Dynamo 700, Marantz SR5006, PS3, Oppo BDP-103D
2ch Marantz PM8004, Sony BDP-S1000ES, JVC T-X3 tuner, Monitor Audio Silver RX1, REL T3, Apple TV, Peachtree Audio DAC•iT
lr Panasonic 50ST60, Sony BDP-S5100
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-26-2012, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatuglyguy View Post

I'll echo most of what postrokfan said here. My front stage is currently comprised of B&W 600 Series speakers (685 for L/R, HTM61) powered by a Marantz AVR [SR5006]. The 3313 is a fairly powerful receiver, and will do well for the 683s - I have found that the 683s sound cleaner and more open with better amplification. The 600 Series centers don't get much love here or from reviewers, since they have off-axis dispersion problems. I"ve read here that the B&W 600 centers sound better placed vertically rather than horizontally, but have not the space required to test that out. If you're sitting directly in front of the center most of the time this won't be an issue. I almost bought a CM center instead, but since my room layout only allows for on-axis seating, the HTM61 works fine for me.
If you're going to get 600 series B&W floorstanders, I agree that the 683 is the way to go. They are better speakers overall than the 684. From my listening sessions with the 600 series towers, the 683s had a more defined midrange, better imaging, and less boated bass. In fact, I was originally going to get the 684. When I compared them to the 685, I found I liked the bookshelves better. The 684 sound like a slightly bloated, more bass-heavy 685 to me. After getting the 685, I was was also originally set on an HTM62 center and came away not liking it at all. It sounded weak, probably from the lower sensitivity, and lacked presence. Perhaps the FST midrange drivers in the 683 and HTM61 are what make them sound better.
As far as the dents go, to put it simply and for the sake of brevity: people are dumb. For whatever reason, they think expensive loudspeakers are meant to be poked and prodded and that the dust cap over the tweeter is some sort of button. Once they get to pushing in the tweeter, they get curious and start to push the drivers. This was a huge problem when Best Buy/Magnolia started carrying B&W product, and B&W reps came to install protectors for their tweeters (Fun side note: I had heard that people pushing in the tweeters were actually B&W fans angry at BB for starting to carry their product); If you have small children running around, it may be a problem, Otherwise I wouldn't worry about it. You can also keep the grilles on the speakers when not in use. In any case, the most commonly damaged part, the tweeter, like I mentioned is just the dust cap and shouldn't impact sound quality should it accidentally get pushed in.
While the 600 series are great speakers, I'd also advise that you try to find a Monitor Audio dealer in your area (http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/dealers shows quite a few NY dealers), and give their Silver RX line a listen before committing to purchase anything. They occupy about the same price bracket as the 600 series and IMO offer a better value, not to mention more finish choices and exemplary build quality. To me, they were sonically closer to the CM range, definitely more refined and controlled than the 68x. I actually preferred the sound of the RX over the CM, I think. The RX center also sounded really good. Full disclosure: I recently purchased a pair of MA RX6 hat are going to replace my 685s. Doesn't hurt to check them out. cool.gif
Whatever you end up doing, I wish you luck. Hope this post helped!

Hi fatuglyguy,

I am curious, as I have the B&W CM5s, but have found myself looking for a bit more detail and less of a (IMHO) restrained, polite sound, especially at lower volumes. Specifically, how did the Monitor Audios sound compared to the CM5s? Thank you for your thoughts on how they both stack up against each other.

BTW - I am also close to NYC, and have found Stereo Exchange extremely pleasant and helpful to deal with for B&W, and all other gear.
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-27-2012, 12:13 AM
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Ears to You,

Unfortunately, I never compared the MA bookshelves the dealer had on display (RX1 only) in any serious capacity to the CM5, Since I was looking to purchase floorstanders. I compared the RX6/RX8 to the CM8/CM9/684/683. I can tell that when comparing the floorstanders, e.g. the RX8 vs. the CM9, the Monitors did not seem to have quite as wide a soundstage or as precise imaging as the CM9, but at the same time I found the upper registers a bit thin and maybe a bit too forward on the CM9. The MA retained a lot of what I liked about the CMs, though - better separation and localization while eking more refined detail out of recordings, but maintained a more pleasing treble to my ears (less forward), and a more rich, dynamic quality that I like about the 600s. I guess you can call the Silver RX line a mash up of what I like about the 600 B&W and the CM series. While I didn't compare the bookshelves, I suppose the sonic qualities of the floorstanders largely carry over to their smaller counterparts. Also, keep in mind the standard disclaimer: I'm not an expert, I don't have a golden ear, and these are my opinions from listening to these speakers via the same source through the same amp in the same room without any room EQ software running. I only know what sound I like, and the best answer I can give you is to get out and listen to MA speakers yourself tongue.gif

Without getting too off-topic here - If you really are looking for something detailed, I remember months back comparing the CM5 to the PM1. The PM1s were incredibly detailed and sounded much more pleasing to my ears. They sounded almost as good as the 805D for half the price. With that said, they were in separate rooms and driven by different electronics so a direct comparion between the diamonds and the PM1 wasn't possible. I would definitely give them a listen though.

ht Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Monitor Audio: Silver RX6, RX Centre, Radius 90HD; Martinlogan Dynamo 700, Marantz SR5006, PS3, Oppo BDP-103D
2ch Marantz PM8004, Sony BDP-S1000ES, JVC T-X3 tuner, Monitor Audio Silver RX1, REL T3, Apple TV, Peachtree Audio DAC•iT
lr Panasonic 50ST60, Sony BDP-S5100
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-27-2012, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatuglyguy View Post

Ears to You,
Unfortunately, I never compared the MA bookshelves the dealer had on display (RX1 only) in any serious capacity to the CM5, Since I was looking to purchase floorstanders. I compared the RX6/RX8 to the CM8/CM9/684/683. I can tell that when comparing the floorstanders, e.g. the RX8 vs. the CM9, the Monitors did not seem to have quite as wide a soundstage or as precise imaging as the CM9, but at the same time I found the upper registers a bit thin and maybe a bit too forward on the CM9. The MA retained a lot of what I liked about the CMs, though - better separation and localization while eking more refined detail out of recordings, but maintained a more pleasing treble to my ears (less forward), and a more rich, dynamic quality that I like about the 600s. I guess you can call the Silver RX line a mash up of what I like about the 600 B&W and the CM series. While I didn't compare the bookshelves, I suppose the sonic qualities of the floorstanders largely carry over to their smaller counterparts. Also, keep in mind the standard disclaimer: I'm not an expert, I don't have a golden ear, and these are my opinions from listening to these speakers via the same source through the same amp in the same room without any room EQ software running. I only know what sound I like, and the best answer I can give you is to get out and listen to MA speakers yourself tongue.gif
Without getting too off-topic here - If you really are looking for something detailed, I remember months back comparing the CM5 to the PM1. The PM1s were incredibly detailed and sounded much more pleasing to my ears. They sounded almost as good as the 805D for half the price. With that said, they were in separate rooms and driven by different electronics so a direct comparion between the diamonds and the PM1 wasn't possible. I would definitely give them a listen though.

Hi fatuglyguy,
Thank you for the honest and very helpful answer! I also do not have the legendary golden ears, but like you, I look for that gut level feeling of the music sounding like "real" music, and not a facsimile of it. I will try to hear the MAs and the PM1s, and the quest for the golden fleece of audio goes on. Good luck with yours!
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-27-2012, 08:52 PM
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To the OP. You also might want to consider some of the internet direct subwoofers that are available such as Rythmik, HSU Research and SVS. The B&W subs aren't bad but quite expensive (especially the 610XP) for the performance.

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