KEF LS50 vs B&W PM1 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-01-2014, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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KEF LS50 vs B&W PM1

Hi All,

I am trying to put together a 5.1 system and have the opportunity to purchase a used pair of PM1s for $1800 and could possibly get them a bit lower. I love the finish and style of the PM1s but I've seen all the great reviews on the LS50s which I know are $1500 new. Unfortunately there are no local dealers for the LS50 so I can't audition them. I was wondering if anyone has experience with both these speakers and could answer a few questions.

1) Obviously, which sound better?

2) I bought a pair of Noble in-wall L-65 lcrs for my rear surrounds. Would the LS50s be a good match for these?

3) Will either speaker pair be sufficient as a "phantom center" in a 4.1 setup? I eventually plan to buy a 3rd LS50 or perhaps a B&W HTM2 or similar center depending on which L/R speakers I end up with. I have no experience with a 4.1 setup but I've heard it can do the job as well as a center only with more restriction on seating position.

4) I have an older 5.1 Yamaha receiver with 75wpc. Will that be enough to drive them? My room is 14.5' deep x 17.5' wide and is open to a kitchen/breakfast area with similar dimensions.

5) With the room dimensions listed in #4 will I be disappointed in SPL given the PM1's 84db and the LS50s 85db sensitivity? I plan on eventually upgrading my receiver to a yamaha aventage rxa740 with 90wpc.

6) Would I see much difference in the speakers listed and say 3 B&W 685 S2s? They would certainly hurt less in the $$$ department...

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-02-2014, 04:42 AM
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The PM-1's are excellent sounding bookshelf speakers, and yes, i do like them better than the LS50. They really do sound so nice! If you are planning to use a phantom center, the PM-1 would be optimal as they image better and have a more fresh & detailed sound, at least in my opinion.

The 75watt receiver is not going to cut it with either of these speakers because that power spec is probably over estimated anyway and being that the speakers are between 84db and 85db sensitivity you won't be able to go very loud without clipping and distorting the SQ.

My advise would be to get the PM-1's first, then save up for a good center channel, (a third PM-1 would be the best center channel option, I can't recommend the CM series as I do not believe that they are no where close to the PM-1's in sound quality) then save up for a new or used receiver and add a dedicated power amp to it. The cheap and easy way of doing this would be to buy an older used Yamaha RX-V663 for around $125 which supports the DDTrueHD and DTS-MA, and purchase a Behringer iNuke1000dsp for $185 and that would give you freaking awesome sound quality and the ability to use the Dsp in the amp to EQ the speakers to your room, all while giving you. 300 to 400 watts per channel.

Last, save up for a pair of good subs. I would suggest a pair of Dayton HO18's in a Stonehenge enclosure from DIYSG as they would crush ANY of the HSU's or SVS's for a fraction of the cost!
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-02-2014, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post
The PM-1's are excellent sounding bookshelf speakers, and yes, i do like them better than the LS50. They really do sound so nice! If you are planning to use a phantom center, the PM-1 would be optimal as they image better and have a more fresh & detailed sound, at least in my opinion.

The 75watt receiver is not going to cut it with either of these speakers because that power spec is probably over estimated anyway and being that the speakers are between 84db and 85db sensitivity you won't be able to go very loud without clipping and distorting the SQ.

My advise would be to get the PM-1's first, then save up for a good center channel, (a third PM-1 would be the best center channel option, I can't recommend the CM series as I do not believe that they are no where close to the PM-1's in sound quality) then save up for a new or used receiver and add a dedicated power amp to it. The cheap and easy way of doing this would be to buy an older used Yamaha RX-V663 for around $125 which supports the DDTrueHD and DTS-MA, and purchase a Behringer iNuke1000dsp for $185 and that would give you freaking awesome sound quality and the ability to use the Dsp in the amp to EQ the speakers to your room, all while giving you. 300 to 400 watts per channel.

Last, save up for a pair of good subs. I would suggest a pair of Dayton HO18's in a Stonehenge enclosure from DIYSG as they would crush ANY of the HSU's or SVS's for a fraction of the cost!
Thanks for the recommendations. The receiver especially sounds like a good bargain. The amp appears to be 110w/160wRMS @ 8 ohms. Would that really be a huge improvement over the RX-V663s 95wpc? What did you mean by 300 watts per channel? Could I get by with just the receiver in the beginning and add an amp later? I never considered PA amplifiers but that definitely sounds like a good way to go budget-wise. I never did subscribe to the high-dollar boutique amp logic...

I also never considered a DIY sub either. Would another iNuke1000dsp bridged at 750 watts RMS, 1050 watts peak (4 ohms) be enough to drive the Daytons you recommended? Is this the sub you are referring to? Is this the enclosure: box?

Also, I totally agree with the CM center channel sound quality. The one I listened to at best buy was really boxy with men's dialog. I am going to try a phantom center at first I think...
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-02-2014, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh also, do you think $1800 is a good price for the PM1s or should I expect them to go much lower?
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-02-2014, 01:26 PM
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Imaging is 90% environment, control of short distance reflections. Not the speaker. Surprise!
Both speakers are respected. I happen to like the PM1's, but I like my own even better. B&W does very well managing diffraction issues, so in a proper room setup, they have the possibility of fantastic imaging.

BTW, I will put my DIY subs against any store bought ones. Hands down. I can afford to do things to make them match my room and needs, size, and weight not practical for stores.

The iNuke amps have a fan that sounds like a tornado. It was unbearable even in the adjacent room where my electronics are. I modified mine with different heat sinks and a larger, slower, ultra quiet fan.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-02-2014, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by horrorshow View Post
Oh also, do you think $1800 is a good price for the PM1s or should I expect them to go much lower?
That's not bad depending on the condition and age of the pair. They normally retail for $2800 (without stands) so that's about 65% of the new price.

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post #7 of 8 Old 08-03-2014, 05:22 AM
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You can buy the LS50 from Amazon and get a 30 day trail period.

Remember when you buy used speakers for HT, you need to insure that you can later match them up with other new or used (for timbre match), which might be difficult, especially if you are on a budget.

Years ago I started a HT system with a pair of used Thiel floorstanders. But I couldn't afford any of the new Thiels to match, so threw together SOBs (some other brands) for the center and surrounds. Never really sounded right.

Later tossed it all for a matching set of Paradigms Studios. Much better complete "system".
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-03-2014, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post
Imaging is 90% environment, control of short distance reflections. Not the speaker. Surprise!
If this is the case would I be much worse off buying 3x b&w 685 s2s which are 87db sensitivity and much less expensive? They seem to have similar frequency response/range to the pm1s.

Also thanks for the heads up on the Behringers fan noise. Is that a pretty common with all professional PA equipment?
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