Auditioned B&W Speakers--Conclusions? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 438 Old 01-07-2007, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I drove an hour and a half back to my former home town of Canton, Ohio to listen to the NHT Classic 3's for potential use in my planned 7.1 home theatre system since the dealer locator said Audio Corner is an official dealer. Well, I knew where Audio Corner was. I've been there before. Well, I guess I should have called because they're out of business. So much for listening to NHT that day....

I went instead to the only other place I know in Belden Village (Audio Visions) since I was already there to see what their current lines are. They carry B&W, Martin Logan and Definitive Technology. I talked with the store manager and he seems like a really nice guy. We stayed there an hour after closing running a Tori Amos track I brought with me through 5 varying B&W systems plus a set of $5500 Martin Logans for comparison purposes. I'm used to listening to Carver AL-III planar/ribbon speakers biamped through custom active crossover network (now my music only room setup), so of course that is the basis of comparison I judged by. The Carvers are good to about 27Hz and I have a sub to augment that, when neccessary (not too often with music only).

As I described in another thread, bookshelf style monitors are probably the best fit for my planned theatre room given the bookcases in the front of the room which front a perfect area for a 100" ceiling drop-down screen. So we stuck mostly to the bookshelf monitors, but threw in a pair of Martin Logans and a set of 803S floor-standing speakers as well.

I used Tori Amos' "A Sorta Fairy Tale" track from her album Scarlett's Walk as it's a good recording with lots of different instruments from deep bass to the Bosendorfer Grand to guitar and other percussion instruments plus I'm intimately familiar with almost all her work and know the sound of her voice on my Carvers without having to think twice and any speaker that cannot reproduce her voice realistically is going to fail my test as she is bar none my favorite artist and most of her albums have been well recorded (save Venus & Choirgirl, which are poorly compressed and sound somewhat foggy). And in fact, Tori's voice proved to be the easy comparison factor on all the speakers in question.

First off, the 605, which is the closest priced to the NHT Classic 3's I planned to audition originally. Its bass output was reasonably impressive for a small speaker, but that's about the only thing positive I can say about it. Tori's voice sounded thin and well, speaker-like for lack of a better term. I could instantly tell her voice was running through a speaker and one that strangled the sweetness right out of her voice and gave it a mechanical quality of sorts. I didn't want to hear any more.

The manager got a pair of $1500 705s and there was a noticeable improvement in the reproduction of instruments and imaging and a bit more bass, but Tori's voice while now less mechanical sounding, now sounded almost nasal in character! It's like some kind of grainy hash, almost like she had a sore throat that day and was slightly froggy. This is not the sweet beautiful voice I was used to hearing. At this point, It's occurring to me that perhaps more conventional piston-action drivers simply aren't going to convey what I'm looking for. I was also concerned about bang for the buck because I've heard the PSB Stratus Gold before and for only a little more than the 705, it does a better job all over the entire frequency spectrum, including Tori's voice and has full range bass. It doesn't really fit in my room, though.

As there were a pair of Martin Logans in the room, I asked if we could hear the track on those--not that I was terribly interested in Martin Logan from when I compared it against Carver, Magnepan and Apogee 10+ years ago and ML struck me as the least impressive sounding of the bunch and very nebulous, murky imaging, but who knows what progress 10 years might have brought? I didn't even bother asking what the model number was after I heard the track on them. Tori's voice sounded notably better on them, but the other instruments had lost most of their precision directionality and the whole presentation seemed like a big foggy nebula with instruments dangling like they had been decomposed into a mist and spread around the front of the room. I don't quite get that because Magnepans have a huge surface area to their drivers and yet they sound VERY sweet to my ears. If it weren't for their limited dynamic range and huge floor space requirements, I might have gone Magnepan ten years ago instead of Carver Amazing, which are slightly brighter, but can play dynamic range and loud volumes with no strain, providing they have enough power (deep bass was a little sloppy with the passive crossover, but an active one with a lower Q has improved that to a satisfying degree with minimal cost compared to the alternatives as a $12,000 pair of Vonschweikerts were the only speaker I auditioned at the time that I liked better than the AL-IIIs and then it was mostly in the bass region, but the mid-range was comparable at that point).

Anyway, the manager wasn't about to give up after I voiced my mid-range concerns and he pointed out the Carvers retailed for $2000 a pair back when I bought them, so I needed a price-range comparable speaker to listen to. I'm already thinking I came in for home-theatre speakers and all the sudden I'm looking for speakers that can equal my music system...remember I'm thinking I need 7 speakers plus a sub here, not 2.


He connected a pair of 805s ($2500/pr) and we ran the same track through it. Bingo! FINALLY, a pair of B&Ws actually portrayed Tori's voice in a believable manner. Imaging was a bit more subdued and lacked the rock-solid presence of my Carvers (which eerily sound like the musicians are in the room with me) and bass is simply not comparable given the Carvers have lower extension than most of the B&W range, but at least tonal harmonics were now right on the money. Tori sounded like Tori again! Instruments were clear, distinct and believable in character. I could live with this speaker, providing I had a good matching sub to fill out the bottom octave and a half or so.

What's troubling, though is the price range when I need 7 speakers and a sub (there are matching surround and center channel speakers for around $1100 each). That brings the total system cost (barring any discounts for a moment) to around $8000 + whatever sub I go with. That still leaves the projector and screen to contend with and if I go with the Panasonic 720P LCD model I've been looking at and a 100" manual pull-down screen, that adds another $1800-2000 or so on top of that, bringing the total system cost to over $11,000, which is about twice what I originally was budgeting for.

I drew a sketch of my room for the manager and he thinks the one rear side-wall (due to a half-bathroom off the back 1/3 of the room) is too close to where the rear left channel would go, causing unwanted coloration from near-wall reflections on that side and so he thinks the room is better suited to 6.1. Plus he said he doesn't like any of the 7.1 matrixed effects used with 5.1 material from any processor he's heard (including the Yamaha I have) except from Lexicon. I have yet to hear 7.1 in action, but I do know my long, narrow room is going to sound a little weird without some rear fill, given half the room is behind the listening couch (compared to my old home setup where the couch was right by the rear wall and so 5.1 was the only real option, but flyover effects never really went way behind me; they just seemed to disappear as they went over my head).

Personally, I think the wall thing could be overcome with a wall-mount that extends the speaker away from the side wall (the ideal location is the rear wall, x amount of feet from the side walls, but seeing the one side-wall is extended to that location, mounting at the back-side should work reasonably well, with the other side mounted on the rear wall, extended outward from it to line up with the side-wall speaker. B&W's surround speakers look as though they are made to be flush-wall mounted or close to it, so maybe that's simply not a good combination there. Using 6.1 instead, though would save me $1100 off the total system cost.

I suppose I could buy 4 speakers for now (use a phantom center and no rear surrounds) and add them later to reduce the system cost to make this system a bit more feasible, but overall, I'm thinking I should probably audition some other competing brands first and see if the old axiom of "sound as good as speakers costing 2-3x as much" might hold true against B&W's range as anything less than 805s from them is sonically unacceptable to me due to the mid-range coloration I was hearing.

I believe there's an NHT and PSB dealer near Cleveland so it looks like I should plan for another road trip next week and see how their bookshelf systems compare.
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post #2 of 438 Old 01-07-2007, 03:00 PM
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8 series B&Ws are a different animal from their 6 and 7 models. I personally think the 6 and 7 series speakers are easily outclassed and I'd recommend looking at PSB, Triangle, Focal (one of my faves) and whatever else is within your area.

my NADs are new
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post #3 of 438 Old 01-07-2007, 05:34 PM
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Maybe find a VMPS dealer nearby? They have HT speakers with ribbons.

I use Maggies for music, Paradigm Studios for HT. No they don't perform the same, but when one has to include a budget into the equation, then compromises have to be made.

I give less of a priority to tonal accuracy of musical performances in movies, some of them are pretty disappointing, audio wise, no matter what system plays them. In HT, I want a system with clear dialog, matching timbre, dynamics, bass, and slightly forgiving to handle those "stinkers" .
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post #4 of 438 Old 01-07-2007, 05:57 PM
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listen to the CM1's

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Maybe someday in the future we will be able to quantify perceived Sound Quality .
(But not today....)

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post #5 of 438 Old 01-07-2007, 05:58 PM
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The CM series (I've heard the CM1) is the best thing B&W has shy of the 800 series. I wouldn't buy them as they don't suit my personal taste but I would recommend them.

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post #6 of 438 Old 01-07-2007, 06:22 PM
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Yes, tastes will differ, but all B&W's series will usually make the short list of what to audition in any of their given price ranges. Each series seems to have quite a following here.

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Maybe someday in the future we will be able to quantify perceived Sound Quality .
(But not today....)

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post #7 of 438 Old 01-07-2007, 06:38 PM
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Do you have access to KEFs?

"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it."
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post #8 of 438 Old 01-07-2007, 06:46 PM
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I have Maggies (1.6QRs) as my music speakers and decided upon Monitor Audio RS6s and an LCR for my home theater. I have a Sonos system so I can stream the same FLAC file over both systems simultaneously and then walk back and forth (the are almost in adjacent rooms) to compare them. I'm pretty happy. Those three speakers list for about $1,500 but you can get decent discounts off them (probably get the three for about $1,200 to $1,300).
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post #9 of 438 Old 01-07-2007, 08:00 PM
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Im curious to hear what kind of electronics the dealer was using? Also, you didn't mention your impression of the 803s?

The 800 series speaker are very critical of the upstream electronics. Yamaha would not do them justice. Neither does rotel. My favorite combination is classe, but a lot of people like McIntosh as well with them.

It is a slippery slope, and I'd recommend looking elsewhere or in a comparable range to your electronics if you arent prepared to go the distance to get the most out of the speakers.

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post #10 of 438 Old 01-08-2007, 01:46 AM
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Well, considering the Carver speakers are your benchmark...

Bob Carver is now making a ribbon based surround speaker setup with his new company Sunfire.com.

I'd be very interested what you think if you listen to them. I happen to be a fan of the Carver Amazing as well. Just gotta love 60" of ribbon.

-john
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post #11 of 438 Old 01-08-2007, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Being an electronic engineer myself, I'm not a big believer in fantasy electronic differences in sound (safe to say the dealer wasn't using a Yamaha receiver, though. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to what was there, though and don't recall because I simply don't buy into that stuff or green cd audio pens or any other snake oil crap that many 'audiophiles' believe in religiously. I only noticed it was a huge monolith of an amp). Now I realize if you have a receiver and it's underpowered for the task, you're going to have problems, but this particular Yamaha amp got some pretty darn good benchmarks and seems to have almost 50% more continuous power than it's rated for. I personally seriously doubt it's going to make 800 series B&W speakers sound bad, but to each their own opinion goes. I spent a lot of years following the mystic audiophile trends and ultimatley found I couldn't hear squat for differences in a blind test with some of those magic devices and so I tend to think they're largely psychological phenomina.

As for the 803s, they sounded at least as good as the 805s in the mid and upper range, but had considerably better and deeper bass response, which should be expected from a full range floor standing speaker in that range. The dealer went on about how the surround-less midrange driver produced unbelieveable detail, but honestly I couldn't hear anything new or better in that part of the recording. I'm not saying that the source material could not have been a limitation at that point and if I were looking into full range speakers, I'd go back with some my Japanese 'anime' orchestral CDs that are about the best quality recordings I've ever heard (Heroic Legend of Arslan Volumes 1-4 come to mind immediately and are stunningly beautiful music to boot), but I figured if it could do Tori Amos's music justice, I was in the range I was looking to reach sonically, especially given this was meant to be for a home theater system, not my primary music system. If the latter were the case, I'd be looking to audition a lot more speakers in the $2000-6000 price range. But my limitations for this room mean I need bookshelf size speakers and a subwoofer and either a 6.1 or 7.1 speaker arrangement.

Now what I do know is that when I went home and listened to my Carvers again with the same track, there was still simply no contest. They sound better to me overall than the 805s and the 803s. I'm not sure I'd say tonally better, but certainly the Carvers seemed to fair no worse in that area. But what the Carvers can really do that is 'amazing' is make you feel like the musicians are right there in the room with you when the source material is good. Also, the Carvers are good right down to 27Hz and do a good job with 30Hz material as well. I think the 803s don't quite so low and played loudly, they didn't seem to expand quite as well as the Carvers. The Carvers (if you have enough power) can play very loud without sounding even slightly strained. The 805s seemed to give a bit at loud volumes like some ranges were fairing better than others.

If anyone is curious what electronics I'm using with the Carver AL-IIIs, I have a custom active crossover made specifically for Carver speakers and I'm powering the ribbons with a very large and heavy duty 1980s Yamaha sliding class A amp 120 watt amp, although after testing Class A biased (sliding above 25 watts to Class AB) mode versus AB mode (all the time), I couldn't hear any real difference. I chose the amp because I got a great deal on it used about 12 years ago (it was about 10 years old at the time) and I needed a 2nd amp when I got the active crossover. The amp still works like new today. I drive the woofers with a Carver TFM-35x 250 watt amp (350 in to the Carver Amazing 4-ohm load, which is purely resistive now with the active crossover in place compared to the old passive crossover which was quite reactive by comparison and harder to drive. Efficiency is also up now from 87db to 90db using that system). I was using a Denon receiver in the old setup which did double duty for home theater and music, but now use my Carver C-5 Sonic Holography pre-amp since it's a music only system now (now the Sonic Holography mode when engaged does make a huge sonic difference once the speaker alignment is painstakenly adjusted for the central seating position; music engulfs the room like a big half-circle, with sounds coming as far out into the room as directly to the sides of the listening position with some material. Whether you like the effect or not is subjective. I like it on some albums and can do without it on others.)

As for listening to Sunfire equipment.... I'm afraid I think Bob Carver has gone a bit deaf since his old Carver days (the amps are about the only thing that interest me in that line). Sunfire seems to have largely been about shrinking speakers to as small as they can make them. The ribbon based system mentioned has its bass cut off well above an acceptable range to blend with a subwoofer so I don't see any point in listening to it. He might as well go and compete against Bose. Plus he sold Sunfire off to foreigners who are now building overseas and destroying more domestic jobs, which is a big turnoff. so I want nothing to do with them.

Heck, given the comments John Atkins made about the original Amazing Platinums and how they were still a work in progress as he was giving them out for a review and some of Atkins' comments caused changes in the speaker design, I'm starting to feel amazed that his speakers turned out as well as they did in the end...almost a miracle even. My ribbons are showing some signs of fatigue in the left speaker (they are over 10 years old now) so I may soon seek replacments. Fortunately, another big name ribbon company makes direct replacment drivers of the same design ($600 a ribbon).

I'll probably go listen to PSB and NHT speakers in Cleveland next Saturday and see what I think of those. It might be I'm simply not going to be happy with cheaper speakers even if I only plan to use it mostly for home theatre (I did have in mind some multi-channel music like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon in SACD in the future and so I don't want music to sound like crap on it).
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post #12 of 438 Old 01-08-2007, 10:20 PM
 
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Being an electronic engineer myself, I'm not a big believer in fantasy electronic differences in sound (safe to say the dealer wasn't using a Yamaha receiver, though. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to what was there, though and don't recall because I simply don't buy into that stuff or green cd audio pens or any other snake oil crap that many 'audiophiles' believe in religiously.


Thank goodness we don't have competent engineers like you designing our audio equipment! I feel much better knowing that there are magic gnomes inside my amplifiers playing miniature instruments and that I can put little sticky dots on my walls to improve the "laminar flow" of my room. (joking!)


My only addition is that if this is only for HT use and not for music use, you may be pretty dissappointed when you encounter the quality of most film soundtracks.
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post #13 of 438 Old 01-08-2007, 10:27 PM
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Good to know I am not alone in the WTF is going with people claiming this BIG BUCKS amps sound much better than a well design but down to earth amp. Anyone read that test where the so called "audiophiles" couldnt consistently tell a high priced amp vs a $300 av receiver?

IMHO if you have a good amp (or av receiver) and a normal size room, the real investment should be in speakers AND room acoustics.

Back to topic :-)

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post #14 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by MagnumX View Post

Now what I do know is that when I went home and listened to my Carvers again with the same track, there was still simply no contest. They sound better to me... what the Carvers can really do that is 'amazing' is make you feel like the musicians are right there in the room with you when the source material is good. Also, the Carvers are good right down to 27Hz and do a good job with 30Hz material as well.

If I read your post right, you want a 5.1 system for around $4000 that will equal this...good luck . You sound to me like many of the maggie fans over at the MUG forum (no offense to them or you ) who pretty much can't go back to box speakers.

http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/MUG/bbs.html

Also you don't state whether you now have a HT system, or have ever heard one that you liked. Some folks just prefer 2 channel more, I wonder if maybe you should start out with a 2.1 HT system. If you are use to full range speakers, you probably are going to have a hard time accepting integrating a sub into you mains (unless they too are full range).

If you can nix the bookshelf requirement, many folks have put together a satisfying Magnepan HT system, using the smaller Maggie models plus a sub. With the MMGs and MG12s, they are light enough to be moved/stored up against the wall when not in use.

Also, again no offence, IMHO, your using a music (I presume stereo) recording as a benchmark for choosing a 5.1 HT system is incorrect. Different recordings sound better or worst on different systems, no one system is perfect.

You should pick up a few known HQ DVDs with a decent music and effects track ("Masters and Commanders" come to mind) to use to audition HT systems. You are used to the Tori Amos music because you listen to it repeatedly. How many times are you going to watch a particular movie, once or twice a year? And if this is for Hi Def. TV sources, you are really in for a disappointment.
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post #15 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 04:51 AM
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Maybe another ribbon hybred would satisfy, you might want to investigate these:

http://www.salksound.com/HT1.html
http://www.selahaudio.com/id124.html
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post #16 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 06:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by emorphien View Post

8 series B&Ws are a different animal from their 6 and 7 models. I personally think the 6 and 7 series speakers are easily outclassed and I'd recommend looking at PSB, Triangle, Focal (one of my faves) and whatever else is within your area.

While the differences between the 700 and 600 series are much larger than the differences between the 800 and 700 series, all B&W speakers have a characteristic sound. If somebody does not like one of them (as strange as that seems), it is improbable that they would like any of them.
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post #17 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 06:40 AM
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While the differences between the 700 and 600 series are much larger than the differences between the 800 and 700 series, all B&W speakers have a characteristic sound. If somebody does not like one of them (as strange as that seems), it is improbable that they would like any of them.

I don't know about this. I listened to the 6, 7 and 8 series and while I agree that the 7s and 8s aren't worlds apart (and both very good imo) I really thought the 6s sounded like dog crap (but ymmv). Is that a word normally used to describe speaker sound? I haven't really mastered the whole warm, airy, full and bright nonsense. Seems to me that B&W made some serious compromises to put a speaker out in the price range of the 600 series. If I were a proud owner of a 700 or 800 set of B&Ws I would disavow all knowledge and relation to the 600s (unless of course I had previously pimped the 600s until I was blue in the face).
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I don't know about this. I listened to the 6, 7 and 8 series and while I agree that the 7s and 8s aren't worlds apart (and both very good imo) I really thought the 6s sounded like dog crap (but ymmv). Is that a word normally used to describe speaker sound? I haven't really mastered the whole warm, airy, full and bright nonsense. Seems to me that B&W made some serious compromises to put a speaker out in the price range of the 600 series. If I were a proud owner of a 700 or 800 set of B&Ws I would disavow all knowledge and relation to the 600s (unless of course I had previously pimped the 600s until I was blue in the face).

The 700s improve on the 600s in three ways: They are more transparent, have better imaging/soundstaging, and have more defined/articulate bass. In all other respects, they sound the same. The 800s offer additional (but much more subtle) refinements in these same areas, and can play louder without distortion because of the stronger, better braced cabinets.
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post #19 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by jkhome View Post

If I read your post right, you want a 5.1 system for around $4000 that will equal this...good luck .

I agree with this. I (sortof) had a set of Carver Amazing Platinums for a while and it really messes with your perspective. Lucky for you, you only had the AL-III! :-)

Seriously tho, you are going to be hard pressed to match the sounds of that 48" ribbon, BI-AMPED(!), no less as jkhome points out, get a 5.1 system that can compete and do it for $4k.

Regarding Carver -- I think he is just reacting to the market. People want small, and the new speakers are small. Given the ribbon design, perhaps they sound decent for the size.

As for built in America? Well, I would prefer it, but I doubt it is very common these days. It's just the reality of economics.

As for selling out? I don't know the details, but he has been in the game for quite a while and given us a lot of interesting products. Owning a business is a very difficult, and I'm not sure I can fault him for it.

If you don't want to do business with him because of it, well, OK, but I'd rather remember he changed my perspective of audio with those Amazing Platinums and I'll be forever grateful (and POed!). ;-)

-john
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post #20 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by MagnumX View Post

My ribbons are showing some signs of fatigue in the left speaker (they are over 10 years old now) so I may soon seek replacments. Fortunately, another big name ribbon company makes direct replacment drivers of the same design ($600 a ribbon).

What company is this?

Thanks,

-john
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post #21 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 09:44 AM
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I don't know about this. I listened to the 6, 7 and 8 series and while I agree that the 7s and 8s aren't worlds apart (and both very good imo) I really thought the 6s sounded like dog crap (but ymmv). Is that a word normally used to describe speaker sound? I haven't really mastered the whole warm, airy, full and bright nonsense. Seems to me that B&W made some serious compromises to put a speaker out in the price range of the 600 series. If I were a proud owner of a 700 or 800 set of B&Ws I would disavow all knowledge and relation to the 600s (unless of course I had previously pimped the 600s until I was blue in the face).

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post #22 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 09:51 AM
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It sounds like you like your Carvers. And nothing you have heard you like better. So, if you can give up the space for them I'd suggest buying a another pair (or two).

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #23 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 09:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droht View Post

I really thought the 6s sounded like dog crap (but ymmv). Is that a word normally used to describe speaker sound?

Only when describing Bose. Applying it to any B&W indicates seriously flawed hearing.
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post #24 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droht View Post

I really thought the 6s sounded like dog crap (but ymmv). Is that a word normally used to describe speaker sound?

It's acceptable terminology. I think the 6s are definitely well below average, while the 7s are average. The 6s have been around a while and B&W seems opposed to updating them too much for fear of overstepping the 7 series (which IMO the CM already does). Compared to pretty much everything in the market competing against it, it's hard to give a win to the 6s except for the fact (as shown here) B&W is a flashy name even among a lot of people who don't know a whole lot about audio.

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post #25 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 12:30 PM
 
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It's acceptable terminology.

Only when applied to your speakers.
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post #26 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

Only when applied to your speakers.

If you think so, although I'm not sure what that has to do with this thread. Perhaps you could keep it on topic?

Any terminology, as long as it's easy enough to understand, is fine by me droht. Although I do put the limit somewhere at soundstages that reach out the door and down to the bus stop and midranges as smooth as the finest swiss chocolate.

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post #27 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 01:05 PM
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MagnumX - Try auditioning the Opus Line from Wharfedale. I think they are comparable to the 805's - yet less money.
Opus 2 or Opus 3 are the place to start.
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post #28 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 01:10 PM
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I really thought the 6s sounded like dog crap (but ymmv).

I think thats a little harsh for the 600s... They don't sound like dog crap, but I'll agree that they don't sound particularly good either. The BWs I auditioned also were pretty much the poorest performers in the price ranges...

So while its true they sound inferior to the competition, I wouldn't say that they sound bad... They could probably beat a few B&M speakers in the 300$ range. Still, I'd pick quite a few sub 400$ speakers before a pair of 600/601/602s...

Thats the thing with BW, they're great for people who don't know any better, but they don't hold up too well to the competition... Thats probably why a lot of inexperienced folk seem to like them so much... Not quite different from Bose, which someone mentioned before... Not that they sound as bad as Bose, but, they're reknowned and all but most knowledgeable folks know better... Also not to say they're bad value, if some love the sound of a particular speaker (Bose, BW, etc..), I'm sure it offers great value to them...

Anyhow, the OP already dismissed the 600 line, so he seems to know his audio, so no reason to keep kicking the dead horse. I totally agree that the 800 line doesn't sound like the 600 line, but, again, I'd audition non-BW stuff... Not too hard to find a better value speaker IMHO.
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post #29 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 01:12 PM
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It's acceptable terminology. I think the 6s are definitely well below average, while the 7s are average. The 6s have been around a while and B&W seems opposed to updating them too much for fear of overstepping the 7 series (which IMO the CM already does). Compared to pretty much everything in the market competing against it, it's hard to give a win to the 6s except for the fact (as shown here) B&W is a flashy name even among a lot of people who don't know a whole lot about audio.

I love the new CM series dearly and would agree that they are in a lot of cases even better than the 700 series (with one exception being the superior bass performance of the 703). I'm in the process of breaking in the new CM7s I got for my showroom as we speak.

I was hearing a rumor from the grapevine that B&W might end up retiring the 700 series in favor of the CM series, but who knows what's going to happen. But I think B&W is starting to realize that perhaps they are too good... At $1,800/pair, I can almost say with certainty that at least to me, the CM7s outshine the 704s (which are $2,200/pair) by a small margin.

My only gripe with the CM series is that you can't get them in Black Ash! What were they thinking? BTW, I think the Wenge finish is butt-ugly.
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post #30 of 438 Old 01-09-2007, 01:24 PM
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Wenge is the darker color if I recall, I rather liked it.

Would I buy the CM speakers? Not personally, as with most B&W I have found other things I like better, but no doubt they're still pretty good!

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