I recently posted a review of my new L/R mains, a pair of Behringer B215XLs. I ran a search here on AVS and found very little information about those speakers. The thread I found was three years old and very short.
The B215XL with grill removed
Evidently the low price and the PA (public address) speaker designation dissuaded people from considering the Behringers for home use. However, over the past year I've heard a lot of different speakers, including DIY SEOS builds and a broad array of commercial speakers, from $100/pair up to $150,000/pair. Overall, speakers I liked the most had a lot more in common with the Behringer B215XLs than typical dome tweeter-based speakers aimed at consumers.
"I've heard many great speakers while reporting on the New York Audio Show, CEDIA, and CES. However, every time I came home and played some music on my decidedly modest home theater, I found myself surprised at how well the Andrew Jones-designed Pioneers performed.
However, when I went to the AVS GTGs, I had a different reaction. After hearing a few nice 2-way speakers with compression-driver horn tweeters, I'd think to myself, "I sure do miss those B-52s." I was thinking about that last week when a light bulb lit up over my head—could a molded plastic PA speaker give me the sound I craved in a more manageable package?" Mark Henninger's review
Brand-new Behringer B215XLs in my system, with the grills off
I was confident the Behringer B215XL would perform well in my system, they are 8 Ohm, 96 dB efficient, and handle 250 watts RMS—a great match for my Pioneer Elite SC-55 receiver. My experience with other Behringer products amounts to a grudging recognition that the company's aggressively priced pro audio gear is quite musical. I decided to take the plunge and buy a pair.
I'm currently on my fifth day with the B215XLs acting as my mains. I suspect they will serve that purpose for some time because it's really hard to find fault in them. Yesterday I even got goosebumps while listening to Metallic Spheres, a collaboration between The Orb and David Gilmour. I'm really enjoying everything I listen to through them, be it rock, rap, classical, or electronic music. Movies are even better, each time I watched one I forgot about the speakers altogether.
I planned on a much longer integration, with perhaps a bit of tweaking, before I was happy with my new speakers. That never happened; the B215s were so good out-of-the-box, I positioned them, ran MCACC on my SC-55, and measured the results with REW (Room EQ WIzard software for PC). The resulting setup sounds exceptional and measures flat at my listening position (+/- 3dB) from 80Hz to 17 kHz. Subwoofers take care of the low end and old age makes the rolloff at the high end irrelevant—I can only hear up to about 17 kHz. The speakers have so much headroom, it's easy to EQ them to extend both the bass and the treble response. However, I found that the only EQ they needed was a 3dB bump at 20 kHz, to counter a bit of roll-off at the very top.
I love compression driver horns; last year I modified a pair of Pioneer SP-FS52s, replacing the dome tweeters
I built my own 2-way speakers a couple years ago, but considering the value the B215s represent it's unlikely that I'll ever embark on another DIY speaker build. Before I got into DIY tweaking, I used to have a pair of B-52 LX1515 speaker, which were way too big for my home theater and (for various reasons) didn't sound nearly as good as the Behringers.
These B-52 LX1515s served me well for a long time, however they were too large and lacked refinement
I feel really good about buying the Behringer B215XLs. In fact, next time there is an AVS get-together where members compare different speakers, I'll jump on it. My guess is the B215XLs will hold their own against significantly pricier competition.
Nice review of the Behringer B215xl speakers. The post should say 96 db efficient as in your review otherwise one would think the speakers are not a easy load for a receiver. Several companies are using horns with compression drivers for pro audio and pro cinema: JBL, QSC, JTR speakers, EAW, Danley. Several AVS members are using these types of speakers for HT and music. Like you, they seem satisfied with the performance when crossed over to a sub woofer.
I couldn't agree more, whether you DIY it or buy it. Compression driver horn tweeters and nice big woofer go together well.
Yes, it will. It is an 8 Ohm speaker and that's the main thing you need in terms of compatibility, and when I said "standard AVR" I was basically thinking 100 Watts output. That combo will get into the 115 dB ballpark.
Yesterday I performed the one modification that I think is important for a compression driver tweeter that's used for critical listening. I replaced the bug screen with open cell (aquarium filter) foam. Even if the difference in sound is right on the edge of imperceptible—similar screens are usually measured as causing about 1dB attenuation—I think replacing the screen makes the tweeter sound just a tiny bit crisper.
Besides, the screen is reflective and the foam is black, it's an aesthetic improvement and downright necessary if you are using an acoustically transparent screen in a front projection rig—the bug screens are silver and reflective.
I've read a bit about how the use of foam also cuts down on reflections inside the horn's throat. I think any such effect is below the threshold of perception, but anything that helps with SQ, even just a smidge, is welcome.
Open cell foam, cut to size, takes the place of a metal screen in the tweeter's throat
Lol. Of course you don't need all that power.
Get 'em from Amazon, send them back if you don't like. I, like you, found a bit of cognitive dissonance when talking to music store guys about home theater applications for PA speakers.
Yorkvilles are great, no question. Nevertheless, Behringer is the value leader.
Considering the price of the sub and the positive experience I had with the speakers, I'm considering giving a pair of those 18-inch Behringers a try. I used to thing infrasonics were important but recently I've applied a high pass filter at 30 Hz to my subs EQ and it's put an end to a number of room rattles, yet I'm hard pressed to find anything missing from the overall listening experience.
The sub is in my Amazon shopping cart, will probably pull the trigger this week. I can't deny how good the speakers turned out to be, I need to find out how the sub sounds. Especially since I currently have a SVS PB2000 in for evaluation. It would be interesting to see how the Behringer does compared to a $800 home theater sub.
I'd go for the passive units (Behringer VP1800S) since I already have an amp dedicated to subs. My current system uses four 12-inch drivers so two 18s would be a fairly even swap in terms of displacement, but the Behringer 18s are much more efficient. I'm going to start with one and see how that goes.
I've owned a dual 18-inch horn loaded pro sub in the past, so yeah I know what it's like to have a beast like that at home.
I think it's worth mentioning, I'm enjoying these speakers tremendously. I'm playing older recordings that I found "difficult" for lesser speakers to resolve like PIL, Cocteau Twins, and Laurie Anderson. I played well-recorded classical—some Beethoven and some Berlioz. I'm really digging how Pretty Lights sounds on my system.
I don't know how Behringer packed so much performance and quality into speakers this affordable. All I can say is that the low price is still having a weird reverse psychological impact—I struggle to give credit where credit is due, and these speakers absolutely deserve praise.
Right now they are cruising at 76-80 dB and projecting an exceptional stereo image. There's no sense that they lose anything at lower volumes, or that they are too big for a modest room. I'm just loving them, at every volume and with every genre they put a smile on my face.
Tomorrow I'm headed to NYC to hear some rarefied systems, that'll give me a good reality check.
Every movie I've watched, I literally forgot about the speakers and got lost in the sound itself. I watched Gravity last night, it was awesome-sounding.
I have the active 215's and 1800d sub for my "garage stereo" and they sound good and the sub does a pretty good job. If you can live without the lowest octave it can't be beat for the cost. It does get very load and has a nice soft clip feature and also a low bass boost dial. I have 2 Peavey SPX5 BW with dual 15's in each and the one 18 kills them.
Placement is the chief determining factor when integrating a sub. There's no reason a speaker with a 15-inch woofer would be any harder to integrate than a speaker design based on smaller woofers. I had zero issues integrating my B215XLs. I'm considering the B212XLs for surround duty, the horns on those have wider dispersion than the B215XLs but they are also not quite as good in terms of high-frequency extension (19kHz vs. 20kHz).