Choices for surround speakers for B&W 683 and HTM61 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 07-01-2013, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally, I planned on picking up a set of bookshelf speakers for my rears (5.1). However, I spoke with someone in my area's only real home theater specialty store. The salesman strongly urged me to use the same speakers for L/R and surround. While I'm sure these guys are very knowledgeable, they don't seem all that trustworthy. The salesman didn't ask me many questions before making recommendations, and his recommendations are _always_ more expensive than the advice I can find on the web.

My room is 15x24 but one side of the room is open to my kitchen and dining room. The primary listening positions are approximately in the middle of the room, giving about 12 feet in front and 12 feet behind the listener. If I were to use tower or bookshelves, I was thinking about placing them on the back wall. If I use something like the bipole DS3s, I'm able to place them on either side of the listening position near the ceiling. However, the left DS3 will be ~13ft from the primary seating position and the right DS3 will only be ~7ft.

I've been told that the dipole speakers have fallen out of popularity (at this price point, I suppose) because most movie audio is tuned for localized rear effects. Is that statement accurate?

Given the following choices, which would you recommend and why?

B&W 683 (matches fronts.. twice the cost of the 685)
B&W 685 (larger bookshelf)
B&W 686 (smaller bookshelf)
B&W DS3 (see comment above about placement)

I generally like my music loud and movies louder. I'm using a Denon X4000, but I may be considering adding a power amplifier to the fronts.
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post #2 of 21 Old 07-01-2013, 09:21 AM
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In an ideal world, I'd pick matching 683's. In the real world I'd most likely be looking at either the 685's or 686's.
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post #3 of 21 Old 07-01-2013, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post

In an ideal world, I'd pick matching 683's. In the real world I'd most likely be looking at either the 685's or 686's.

/thread

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post #4 of 21 Old 07-01-2013, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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It would only be /thread if there was some semblance of agreement on why. smile.gif
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post #5 of 21 Old 07-01-2013, 09:57 PM
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Having a matching 5.1 is indeed important for multi-channel music. I think the 685s would be a good fit for surrounds for HT and they would even be fairly well matched with the 683s up front for multi-channel music if that interests you.

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post #6 of 21 Old 07-01-2013, 11:09 PM
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I have B&W's HTM62 Center, 685 L/R, and 686 Rears, Denon 1713

For my setup, the 686's do fine for the rears. Given that you have 683's for the L/R, likely have a little more sound than the 685's i would assume, i would have to recommend 685s for the rear. Going with 686s would be drowned out by the front i would think, and i don't think it's necesarily worth it to get towers for the rear speakers as well.

Just my .02

Setup:
- Bowers & Wilkins 685, HTMC62B Speakers, ASW61 Sub -
- Denon 1713 Receiver -
- Panamax MR5100 -
- Samsung PN51F8500 -
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post #7 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 05:45 AM
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If you're using a sub, get 685s for surround duty. If you're not using a sub, 684s or 683s.
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post #8 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Any opinions on the B&W DS3s?
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post #9 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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DS3's would be the best of both worlds. Dipoles are still great for movies.
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post #10 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Due to my room configuration, it's tough for me to place side speakers. If I do towers or bookshelf speakers on stands, the speaker might be less than 90* from the listener's ear (slightly forward). If I wall mount speakers, I can get them 90* to the listener's ear but the left speaker will be 6-7 ft further away than the right speaker.

The red squares below represent where I'd place speakers on the floor. The green represents where I could place wall-mount speakers (near 9' ceiling).



This picture shows rear speakers. Those have not been purchased yet.
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post #11 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 11:29 AM
 
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You gotta go with the red placement. There are adjustable stands you could buy. Are you going 7.1? I see you have grey boxes on the back wall,I'm assuming rear speakers?
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post #12 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, but why do I gotta go with red? I watched a movie last night with a pair of satellites sitting in the red position. With them sitting slightly forward of my ear, they were somewhat of a distraction.

Yes, as I mentioned below the graphic, the rear speakers haven't been purchased yet. They will likely be 683s.
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post #13 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 08:31 PM
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If you went with the "green" placement I don't think even the DS3s would improve the sound with that wall and stairwell in the way. I think the DS3s might actually work pretty well with that difficult room arrangement in the red positions as they will naturally provide more diffuse sound.

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post #14 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 08:39 PM
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I'd go with 685s on the back wall - roughly where the gray squares are - mounted higher up and aimed down and toed in toward the listening position. Having surround speakers even slightly forward of your listening position makes for a crappy less-than-optimal surround experience.
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post #15 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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In case you hadn't noticed on the drawing, the stairway and wall behind the chair are half walls. There would be no obstruction from the green location.
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post #16 of 21 Old 07-02-2013, 09:19 PM
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Fair enough. I was just stating my preference for speakers mounted equidistantly - relative to the listening position - on the back wall. smile.gif
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post #17 of 21 Old 07-03-2013, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techstl View Post

It would only be /thread if there was some semblance of agreement on why. smile.gif

Get 685's and place them in the red location. Reason for 685's instead of 683's is because of cost and no real gain. If you have too much money, go for 683's. 685's over 686's because the 685's are better matched to the fronts and are more sensitive. 685 over DS3, because of price (minor, but still 25% increase). The THX and Dolby specs differ on whether those speakers should be directional or not. It's a matter of preference. Frankly, if money isn't a concern, then maybe DS3 would be a better option as you can choose the sound you want with the flip of a switch.

So in the end: 685 or DS3, depending on which one fits your space better physically and aesthetically. You can't really go wrong with any of your options, though I'd stay away from the 686's. It's been a while since I auditioned those, but I remember being disappointed by 686 & HTM62, FWIW.

Hope that helps.

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post #18 of 21 Old 07-08-2013, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for a complete response with supporting reasoning for your choices.

I've decided to change the TV location in the room for two reasons.

Having the couch positioned like it is makes the room feel smaller. There are basically only 2 seating positions that have a good view of the TV (typically 3 adults don't sit side-by-side on a standard couch unless there are no other seats).

Secondly, there doesn't appear to be a consensus on the appropriate speaker choices and placement in this thread.

Moving the TV over the fireplace opening solves both of these problems. I have removed by mantel and made a large opening in my wall in order to frame out a spot for a center channel. Due to the construction of the fireplace, I'm able to recess the HTM61 into the wall (leaving the face flush or slightly protruding, whichever sounds better in the end). Before anyone says it, I've already considered heat and TV viewing angle. I sent an email into B&W's support team to ask if they recommend staying with the HTM61 or returning it in favor of an in-wall center.

This picture mostly inspired the room changes:
http://st.houzz.com/simgs/c4d117980e271045_4-4160/contemporary-family-room.jpg

Like my room, it has an open floor plan and half-wall behind the couch. I plan to mount 685s on stands between the couch and the half wall.
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post #19 of 21 Old 07-08-2013, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is an updated diagram:

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post #20 of 21 Old 07-18-2013, 09:03 PM
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I have a very similar setup 683 fronts rears 685 with x4000 no center yet coudlnt find one i like yet but the 685 i think does the job as surrounds and i too listen at very loud volume. i see you might get an amp for your fronts i too am thinking of getting a stereo amp. im looking into the emotiva but im scared to buy without demoing

Samsung 64e8000 plasma
denon x4000
BW 683 Fronts,HTM61 Center, BW 685 Rears, sc4000 sw
apple tv
harmony 650
panasonic 210 blu ray
panamax m5300
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post #21 of 21 Old 07-19-2013, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm also considering a two or three channel amp. If you pull the trigger before me, please post back your opinion. smile.gif
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