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Old 07-30-2014, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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B&W 685 or new Klipsch Reference 1, or...

Hi all,

New to the forum and of course I have questions. I have a modest HT setup. A 60" sharp LED, Yamaha RX-V675 receiver, and currently B&W 685s as front L/R, a Yamaha center that's about 9 years old, Paradigm Atom rears, and a new Klipsch 8" sub that I got cheap on clearance.

I've been fiddling with my system recently because I just haven't been in love. I do some gaming, casual TV watching (sports during football and basketball season) and stream movies and TV shows. I don't do as much music listening in this spot as I'd like to, mostly because I have a recording studio and like listening there better. I'd like to have something comparable in the media room.

The room is about 12x20 and the system is set up at one end along the long wall. I put up a cruddy picture to give you an idea of the set up.

I thought about going more minimalist so I tried the Sonos Playbar and that was OK, but not comparable to my current set up. Still, the B&Ws did seem to be filling in the sides in a satisfactory way. I know that wal mounting isn't ideal for any speaker, but it was an attempted compromise with the wife.

Last night I returned the Sonos and saw the brand new Klipsch Reference I series on display. Since it's completely impossible to demo anything in a Best Buy I decided to grab the R26 models and try them in place of the B&Ws. The results are definitely fuller, but I worry that I'm trading down and will be unhappy after the honeymoon period wears off.

I really wanted to get the R28s (8" woofers) but was afraid to try to stretch the budget that far (although I did buy the demo sub that put the cost up there anyway).

My question is this: Should I live with the 6.5" r26s for a bit, bite the bullet and go for the 8" speakers, or stick with the B&Ws and tweak my placement. I've noticed at times the B7Ws have strained themselves on louder HT stuff. But could be user error, I guess.

Another option is the Klipsch Icon series KF28, which are priced in a more comfortable range now that they're last year's model.

Thanks.
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:06 PM
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Your 685's would benefit from getting them off the wall, and on some stands. B&W and Klipsch are pretty far apart as far as sound goes. I can't imagine someone who likes the B&W "sound" liking the Klipsch, and vice versa. What about moving the 685's to surround duty and picking up a pair of 684's, or 683's for fronts?
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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That's the thing, I can't be sure I really like the B&W sound. I thought I would, but maybe I don't. In the recording studio I like something the be revealing, maybe even clinical, and the B&Ws have always felt a little soft to me.

There aren't too many places where I can test out gear in Iowa City and the B&W dealer does more contracting business than retail, so their set up is poor for demoing. our local Best Buy is just a ginormous room, so no dice there. Maybe I'll set up the B&Ws next to the Klipsch and see what I think. The bookshelf design didn't seem to be filling the room, but it could very well be the positioning.

I don't think the 683/4 are in my price range, honestly. I mean, I'd love to spend that kind of money, but I'd be living under a bridge in a house made out of the speaker boxes if I spent that much.
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so I have the B&Ws set up on the zone 2 on my Yamaha amp. I have them on stands now too. This way I can listen to both speakers a/b style. Was able to do it for a whole before the kid took over the tv.

I put on Dark side of the Moon (of course) and listened some. The Klipsch definitely has more body, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. On one track I felt like the b&w were winning, but then not so much on the next song. I'm going to spend more time doing this.

I will say I love the fullness of the Klipsch for games (playing Last of Us Remastered right now). This is going to be tough. I wonder of going for the 8" Klipsch would be something to consider. That's what I wanted anyway. But if I'm going that route I might as well save for the b&w towers, right?
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:13 AM
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I do have a couple thoughts:

Have you considered looking at Internet-direct manufacturers? Ascend and NHT (amongst many other brands) are frequently recommended here.

My impression is that not many people would recommend 8" woofers. Better to stick with the 6.5" bookshelf speakers and then look at a better subwoofer with a 12" woofer. SVS and HSU are great ID brands.

I also wonder speaker positioning could help, but if you own a recording studio you probably know all about this.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:23 PM
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I own the 685s and they sound much bigger than their size for sure!!
Even @ full-range they are just stunning speakers! I am kinda sad I made my 685s work for the surround duties (now) as I got their bigger brother 684s (due to style / look preference).
But if I ever needed to downsize for anything, I would not hesitate to put the 685s back up in the front (L/R) and make them work. They are worth ever cent!!
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thejtl View Post
Ok, so I have the B&Ws set up on the zone 2 on my Yamaha amp. I have them on stands now too. This way I can listen to both speakers a/b style. Was able to do it for a whole before the kid took over the tv.

I put on Dark side of the Moon (of course) and listened some. The Klipsch definitely has more body, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. On one track I felt like the b&w were winning, but then not so much on the next song. I'm going to spend more time doing this.

I will say I love the fullness of the Klipsch for games (playing Last of Us Remastered right now). This is going to be tough. I wonder of going for the 8" Klipsch would be something to consider. That's what I wanted anyway. But if I'm going that route I might as well save for the b&w towers, right?
Rock is probably better given the dynamics of horn speakers. I've owned both Klipsch THXs and B&W (DM602s). The B&W sound clearer and better at low volumes and for classical music, no doubt. More musical, but lacking the testicular fortitude that more dynamic speakers can achieve at higher SPLs. However, the tradeoffs for horns are well known : they aren't as clear at lower volumes, and often can sound harsh because let's face it, most recordings have tons of crap in them and having a super high sensitivity speaker will be more likely to bring out the imperfections in most of the recordings you have, than to make those passages shine.

Maybe the best solution is owning two sets of speakers : horns for home theater and parties with loud rock, and B&Ws for well-recorded music that isn't just about SUDDEN LOUD BANGS. There is a time and a place for both. At this stage in my life, I don't need super high dynamic range speakers, simply because even for movies I don't listen to them that loudly, and even when I do, I don't want my neighbours to call the cops on me.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:52 PM
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I had 685's for a time and was amazed how "big" and "full" they sounded. Definitely off the wall on stands will sound better. I'm not sure that receiver in 2 channel stereo is doing them justice. I think they say they are 8 ohms but they sure didn't seem like it. I bet if you fed them more power they would sound much better. That has been my experience.
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