BW 685 for nearfield? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-03-2013, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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My PC desktop system is in need of some new speakers.
Currently I have the following:
PC -> Emotiva XDA-1 via optical
Emotiva Mini-X
Woo Audio WA3 -> HD650


I just picked up some B&W 685s and have them on the desk now with the mini-x amp. They sound nice and I have the desktop room to support them, but I'm concerned that I'm misusing the speakers being so close to them. Speakers are ~3.5 feet from my listening position. I'm generally a B&W fan, but are there other options more suited to near-field listening I should try out before keeping these? No sub is/will be used, so as much low end as possible is a priority. Behringer 2031p seem to be recommended often, but damn are they large even in comparison to the 685s!

And before they get mentioned, Sierra-1's are out of my budget and I dont want to wait on a used set to come up.

TIA
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-03-2013, 12:31 PM
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Kef LS-50s are made to be near field monitors. Several B&W fans have endorsed them.
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Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-04-2013, 04:38 PM
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I'll start by saying I do something similar. I have Sonus Faber Venere 1.5s 3-4 feet apart, and I listen maybe 2 feet away sitting at my desk. I absolutely love having a wall of sound so close to me. People will tell you "Get those things on stands, spread them out..." blah blah blah...but if you're listening to these and enjoying it, then they're obviously sounding good to you.

If the Sierra 1's @ $850 are out of your price range, I'm not sure you're going to do better than what you've got. I'm a big fan of near-field listening, and I've found the sweetspot for me in terms of performance/price is the $1200 mark. If you can't hit that mark, or wouldn't want to wait for something used, I've been very happy with $400-$550 powered monitors (again, I don't think even those would do be any better than your 685's, especially in terms of quality of the higher frequencies.) I generally recommend anyone starting from scratch to give powered monitors a try. You already have other components to run traditional bookshelf speakers, so this doesn't apply.

Of course this is just what I prefer in terms of what sound I get for the money I have to spend. I started with some Def Tech StudioMonitor 450's, and I thought the sound of the Aon 3's from Goldenear was worth the extra money. My current Sonus Faber Venere 1.5's are worth every penny to me for near-field listening.

It's always easy to think there might be something better out there. Most people get something, but never really sit down and enjoy it. As a test, go audition some bookshelf speakers that are double the price of the 685's. Make sure they set them up like you would have them at home, at least in terms of spacing. Then sit as close as you would to them if you had them in your current setup. Do they sound THAT much better?

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post #4 of 7 Old 03-04-2013, 04:39 PM
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Here's my setup, although my desk is normally not in the corner.

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post #5 of 7 Old 03-05-2013, 11:40 AM
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I would recommend active studio monitors as nearfields. I have a small home studio setup where I'm currently running a pair of Genelec 8030's which are excellent and have good low frequency response aswell. I've had also yamaha and dynaudio active studio monitors which I can also recommend. I've compared my monitors vs my b&w's and become to the outcome that theyre designed for completely different things. Small nearfield studio monitors ARE small nearfield studio monitors. The quality of output can rely significantly wether you are in the sweet spot of the system or not where as the 685's can be in comparison a little more forgiving. The 685 are quite accurate speakers in this price range in comparison to its active powered rivals, however atleast in my case I've noticed that atleast the 8030 genelecs have little more detail and precision (I have music/ht 5.1 setup of 2x 685, 2x 686, htm61 plus asw10xp). So I have testedand compared in my studio (and vice versa in my living room) my b&w's vs my studio monitors.

In conclusion I would recommend active nearfield speakers if you plan to use your system as described. Some ideas:

Geneled 8030 @ 555e (VERY good)
40w + 40w
55Hz - (-3dB)
http://www.thomann.de/de/genelec_8030amm.htm

Dynaudio @ 450e (Good, Good...)
90W (2x 45W RMS)
48Hz - (-6dB)
http://www.thomann.de/de/dynaudio_bm5a_mkii.htm

Yamaha msp5 @ 265e (Excellent considering the price, acutally I think they are almost as good as the 8030's even they are significantly cheaper)
40w + 27w
50Hz -
http://www.thomann.de/de/yamaha_msp_5_studio.htm


And a wild throw... http://www.thomann.de/de/tannoy_reveal_601a.htm
Never heard this one, but would be interested to hear it if its any good.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-05-2013, 12:25 PM
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I went through this painful process a year or so ago, debating between active and passive speakers, justifying one over the other. I finally decided on passive, allowing a bit more flexibility. By far the hardest part was determining which speakers I could tolerate sitting that close to me, and auditioned multiple pairs until I finally reached a decision. Many of the mainstream manufacturers - B&W, Paradigm, PSB, Def Tech... - were all ruled out as too lively or bright. I didn't want to be frustrated with fatigue. If you like the B&W and listening fatigue is not an issue then I agree with others, stick with what you have. Much beyond the 685s you're reaching the point of diminishing returns.

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post #7 of 7 Old 03-06-2013, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice.
The reason I don't want to go to sierra-1 or salk speakers is that I don't listen to music from these much, more of youtube/pc games etc from them + background music on occasion.
For serious listening, I either use my headphones or I go into my theater which has much better B&W CM9s.

I just can't justify spending as much as even the 685s were for pc gaming when I was replacing some junk altec lansing speakers. So I returned the B&W and got some polk TSi100s for $100. They make me feel better about the budget, and they work for my purposes. Helps that they're not as massive as the 685s were either.
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