B&W 683 vs NHT Absolute Zero Tower - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 04-10-2013, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Everyone,

Been almost 6 years since I had to look for speakers. Been quite busy reading all the fun reviews and opinions last few days here in AVS. Forum is as good as ever.

I am looking for a pair of Floor standing speakers. I have narrowed down the choices to the following:
- B&W 683
- NHT Absolute Zero Tower
- PSB T6

I currently own a pair of Martin Logan Montages. I drive them with Marantz SR8002. The ML sounds great. Very transparent, detailed and forward speakers. But honestly, they do get a bit tiring after a while. A very different speaker compared to say B&W. Besides, we recently moved and I really need something that will deliver bigger sound...we have a large family room where this will go. ML is just not cutting it.

So, the 2 things I am looking for in my next speaker:
1) It should be a pleasant speaker. I don't mean muddy...just good clarity with decent bass/treble without making my ears hurt. Something I can listen to for long
2) Looking for a big sound

I listened to the 683, paradigm studio 60, KEF q900. The paradigm studio 60, KEF sound a bit bright. good speakers but i have a feeling they are more like my ML. The 683 had a very different sound. I am not saying it was perfect, but it was good and big so it remains in my list.

I have been reading rave reviews about NHT absolute zero. Any of you have it?
- How does NHT compare to 683?
- How does NHT compare to PSB T6

I am sure there are plenty of similar threads, but I am hoping i can better answers by focusing the discussion with just 3 names.
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post #2 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 05:26 AM
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I don't know how NHT compares to those other speakers, but I can tell you that the Absolute Zero is a great speaker for the money.
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post #3 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 06:05 AM
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I haven't heard the others, but I love my 683s. They are top notch.
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post #4 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 06:07 AM
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You may want to consider the Aperion Grand Verus Towers. May give up a bit of detail but very enjoyable for music and never fatiguing.

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 #5 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 06:10 AM
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I think the 683 would get old pretty quick; it is not one I personally care for.

I had the PSB T6 speakers for a couple of years, and they are very good; I never heard anything I didn't like from them.

I replaced them with the Gallo Classico CL-3 speakers, which are even better; they are great speakers for only $1600; online direct from Gallo. I don't think anything for under $3000 can touch them.

You can get them and do a FREE 60-day home trial; shipping paid both ways if they are returned. Can't beat that with a stick. I'll bet no one has ever returned a pair...rofl. In any case, there is no substitute for hearing them at home with your gear before buying. Always try them at home for a few days.

I would still have them, but for the fact that I listened to a pair of Vandersteen Treo speakers, and my wallet suddenly became $6K lighter.

The devil grabbed my wallet before I knew what had happened, so help me God!

The Treo is magic, so don't make the mistake of going anywhere near a pair...lol. They are jaw-droppers.
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post #6 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 06:15 AM
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IMO the best advice is to pick one or more towers and listen to them yourself preferably I your home, or otherwise wherever you can. Most places have demo policies or return policies. There is nothing wrong with using them.

Most of the advice you get on the Internet is just opinion from people who don't have your ears or your rooms acoustics.
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post #7 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 08:04 AM
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Yeah, don't listen to people who think they know it all. biggrin.gif

Just listen to the speakers for yourself in your own home.

Objectively speaking, the NHT will have better speaker measurements than the B&W. But you just need to pick the one that sounds the best to you, not other people.
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post #8 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 08:35 AM
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To my eyes the NHT tower is a lot uglier though, if looks matter.
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post #9 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 08:51 AM
 
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Don't change your speakers,change your receiver. I felt the same way about my Logan EM ESL's with my Onkyo 805.. I bought an Onkyo 818 and it was like I bought new speakers. They sound incredible now! Your Montis are leagues above the speakers you just listed! Pair them with a different receiver.
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post #10 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 08:56 AM
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i can only vouch for the bowers 683's they been great so far , and the fst driver is very nice,


the studiios monitors are great also

dont forget to looking into monito audio gold or silver series..



i would demo all of them and see what works best , every one has different tastes in audio

the bowers 683 are power hungry and will require a seperate amp

i have a yamah rx a2000 down at 6 ohm at 150 wpc im still shy on power
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post #11 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 08:59 AM
 
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Monitor gold series is excellent,good call. But I still think if he changes to a little warmer receiver,he will fall in love with the Montis.. The Montis out class everything mentioned.
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post #12 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarg37 View Post

the bowers 683 are power hungry and will require a seperate amp

I have heard a few people say this, but it hasn't been my experience.

I have a lowly Denon 1613 AVR (that I bought before I bought the speakers) and they power my 683s great even at high volumes. I hear an excellent full range sound. In fact when I was demo'ing them at BB Magnolia, I could not personally hear any difference even at reasonably high volumes (not close to "reference" but way higher than I would ever listen) between their most expensive class D amp and their cheapest AMP in the cabinet. Nor could I get the BB salesman to explain to me what the supposed "distortion" was sounding like to him.

If you really like to crank up the volume to "raise the roof" levels then possibly the 683s will be power hungry but I didn't notice it.
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post #13 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harishk25 View Post

I listened to the 683, paradigm studio 60, KEF q900. The paradigm studio 60, KEF sound a bit bright. good speakers but i have a feeling they are more like my ML. The 683 had a very different sound. I am not saying it was perfect, but it was good and big...]

Both the KEF & Paradigm measure accurately on frequency response. So will the NHT Absolute Zero.

ML & B&W will not measure as accurately as those 3 speakers.

If you think the KEF & Paradigm are "bright", then my gut tells me the NHT will be also. But that's just theory. A lot of people think the B&W 683 sound very bright as well, but you did not think so.

Only way is to audition for yourself in your own home! Only way!
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post #14 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfD View Post

I have heard a few people say this, but it hasn't been my experience.

I have a lowly Denon 1613 AVR (that I bought before I bought the speakers) and they power my 683s great even at high volumes. I hear an excellent full range sound. In fact when I was demo'ing them at BB Magnolia, I could not personally hear any difference even at reasonably high volumes (not close to "reference" but way higher than I would ever listen) between their most expensive class D amp and their cheapest AMP in the cabinet. Nor could I get the BB salesman to explain to me what the supposed "distortion" was sounding like to him.

If you really like to crank up the volume to "raise the roof" levels then possibly the 683s will be power hungry but I didn't notice it.

Hearsay is rampant on forums. biggrin.gif

Power requirement is overrated IMO.

I'm sure someone could give their little personal experience as to why B&W need 500WPC! biggrin.gif

I've powered my 802D2 with only a Denon 3312 and the 802D2 sounded perfect to me even at high volume.
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post #15 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 09:40 AM
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I think the OP may be referring to the NHT Absolute Tower, not the Absolute Zero.
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post #16 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 65 Electra Glide View Post

I think the OP may be referring to the NHT Absolute Tower, not the Absolute Zero.

Yeah, I meant the Absolute Tower. biggrin.gif

Both the Absolute Zero bookshelf & Tower measure accurately.
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post #17 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 10:14 AM
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The idea that the B & W 683 is power-hungry seems pretty silly, when you look at its sensitivity.

It is rated at 90 db/watt by B & W, and that means one watt will play them pretty loud, and 10 watts will give you 100dbA, which is damn loud...lol.

Speakers rated less than 86 db/watt might deserve to bo considered a bit power-hungry, but not the 683.

They would play as loud as most would want with a 40 WPC amplifier.

I don't much care for their sound quality, but that is strictly subjective and is another subject.
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post #18 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The idea that the B & W 683 is power-hungry seems pretty silly, when you look at its sensitivity.

It is rated at 90 db/watt by B & W, and that means one watt will play them pretty loud, and 10 watts will give you 100dbA, which is damn loud...lol.

Speakers rated less than 86 db/watt might deserve to bo considered a bit power-hungry, but not the 683.

They would play as loud as most would want with a 40 WPC amplifier.

I don't much care for their sound quality, but that is strictly subjective and is another subject.
It was measured at 86dB/2.83V/m by .hometheater.com...so not really very sensitive.

http://www.hometheater.com/content/bw-683-surround-speaker-system-measurements

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post #19 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 11:07 AM
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I'm surprised that B & W is that far off in their specs; that's quite a difference.

In that case I would think at least 80 watts per channel should be recommended; an HONEST 80 watts, that is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

It was measured at 86dB/2.83V/m by .hometheater.com...so not really very sensitive.

http://www.hometheater.com/content/bw-683-surround-speaker-system-measurements
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post #20 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 11:14 AM
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That measurement review is also from 2008. And the B&W website is presumably up to date.

Is it possible that B&W quietly improves the internals of the speakers from time to time which could have improved the specs? (I saw a review which was referring to 4th generation 683s which makes me think they do improve things.)

In any case, since there are two conflicting measurements, I would be happy if there was also a third more recent measurement.

Either way nobody is going to convince me to get rid of my 683s!
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post #21 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfD View Post

That measurement review is also from 2008. And the B&W website is presumably up to date.

Is it possible that B&W quietly improves the internals of the speakers from time to time which could have improved the specs? (I saw a review which was referring to 4th generation 683s which makes me think they do improve things.)

In any case, since there are two conflicting measurements, I would be happy if there was also a third more recent measurement.

Either way nobody is going to convince me to get rid of my 683s!

Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I'm surprised that B & W is that far off in their specs; that's quite a difference.

In that case I would think at least 80 watts per channel should be recommended; an HONEST 80 watts, that is.
It could also be a difference of in-room vs anechoic. The B&W site does not specify.

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post #22 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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First of all, thanks for the all the great responses and keeping everything in perspective. I am not too worried about a speaker power hungry or not. I have not heard anyone say one is better than the other when they were auditioned together. They all seem to be good in their own way. The big question I still have which I am hoping someone can answer is about soundstage. Given that B&W and PSB have larger woofers, 683 also has a larger mid range cone compared to the smaller NHT mid/woofer (5.25) should I be concerned that NHT soundstage won't quite fill the room?
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post #23 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

Both the KEF & Paradigm measure accurately on frequency response. So will the NHT Absolute Zero.

ML & B&W will not measure as accurately as those 3 speakers.

If you think the KEF & Paradigm are "bright", then my gut tells me the NHT will be also. But that's just theory. A lot of people think the B&W 683 sound very bright as well, but you did not think so.

Only way is to audition for yourself in your own home! Only way!
thanks. between the 683 and NHT, which one do you think will have a bigger sound stage?
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post #24 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Goat1 View Post

Monitor gold series is excellent,good call. But I still think if he changes to a little warmer receiver,he will fall in love with the Montis.. The Montis out class everything mentioned.

you mean the ML montages would beat some of the speakers I listed? Possible, I wont be surprised. Do you mind listing out what receivers you consider warmer than my Marantz SR8002 (beast)
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post #25 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The idea that the B & W 683 is power-hungry seems pretty silly, when you look at its sensitivity.

It is rated at 90 db/watt by B & W, and that means one watt will play them pretty loud, and 10 watts will give you 100dbA, which is damn loud...lol.

Speakers rated less than 86 db/watt might deserve to bo considered a bit power-hungry, but not the 683.

They would play as loud as most would want with a 40 WPC amplifier.

I don't much care for their sound quality, but that is strictly subjective and is another subject.

thanks! agree
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post #26 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harishk25 View Post

First of all, thanks for the all the great responses and keeping everything in perspective. I am not too worried about a speaker power hungry or not. I have not heard anyone say one is better than the other when they were auditioned together. They all seem to be good in their own way. The big question I still have which I am hoping someone can answer is about soundstage. Given that B&W and PSB have larger woofers, 683 also has a larger mid range cone compared to the smaller NHT mid/woofer (5.25) should I be concerned that NHT soundstage won't quite fill the room?
You should not be concerned.

What you should do is try to listen to these speakers, home trial preferably.

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post #27 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ProfD View Post

Either way nobody is going to convince me to get rid of my 683s!

I won't. wink.gif

Enjoy your fine B&W 683!
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post #28 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by harishk25 View Post

thanks. between the 683 and NHT, which one do you think will have a bigger sound stage?

I would guess about the same. I think bipole speakers like your ML, Magnepan, & Def Tech would have a bigger soundstage.
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post #29 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 02:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by harishk25 View Post

you mean the ML montages would beat some of the speakers I listed? Possible, I wont be surprised. Do you mind listing out what receivers you consider warmer than my Marantz SR8002 (beast)

An Onkyo 818 or 3009 would be a perfect match. I was astonished at the difference in sound with the logan's between the 805 and 818. Plus the 818 or 3009 has Audyssey XT32,your Marantz might have it too,I'm not sure. Wait a sec? I thought you said you had the Montis? IF you have the montages,then the other speakers you mentioned will be on par with what you have. The montages aren't electrostats..

Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

I would guess about the same. I think bipole speakers like your ML, Magnepan, & Def Tech would have a bigger soundstage.

ML/Magnapan are dipole.. Def Tech is bipole.. And your right. All three types will fill up the back wall with a huge soundstage..So did Mirage..
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post #30 of 45 Old 04-11-2013, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

I would guess about the same. I think bipole speakers like your ML, Magnepan, & Def Tech would have a bigger soundstage.
But I don't think their imaging would be as good.

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