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B&W 805 advice

post #1 of 159
Thread Starter 
I currently have a set of CDM-1's driven with two Bryston 2b-lp amps (I know, too many watts but better too many than too few )

I like them very well...wait for it....however I am thinking of upgrading. I find them a touch "bright" and just a bit fatiguing with louder pop/rock music, though wonderful for jazz.

On my short list would be a set of 805's (I want to stay with a bookshelf monitor size) as well as offerings from Totem, Avalon and Harbeth and maybe Vienna Audio.

Question is are the 805's going to have the same bright sonic signature as my CDM-1's? I really have now where to audition a set (I know I should listen to them but it would require quite a long drive) and I whatever I buy will probably be used of audiogon.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris
post #2 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by raulduke69 View Post

I currently have a set of CDM-1's driven with two Bryston 2b-lp amps (I know, too many watts but better too many than too few )

I like them very well...wait for it....however I am thinking of upgrading. I find them a touch "bright" and just a bit fatiguing with louder pop/rock music, though wonderful for jazz.

On my short list would be a set of 805's (I want to stay with a bookshelf monitor size) as well as offerings from Totem, Avalon and Harbeth and maybe Vienna Audio.

Question is are the 805's going to have the same bright sonic signature as my CDM-1's? I really have now where to audition a set (I know I should listen to them but it would require quite a long drive) and I whatever I buy will probably be used of audiogon.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris

B&W's are a love em or hate em speaker and those that hate em typically have one of two complaints. One of those is their tweeters. They switched to metal domes about 15 years ago depending on model and many think they can be a bit harsh. The 805's use a higher quality driver that will give a cleaner sound but but can still be a little harsh to some ears and it will also be less forgiving up upstream equipment. And some people have the same complaint even with far more expensive models than the 805.

If that is your complaint of the B&W, from your list I'd be looking at Harbeth and Vienna, not Totem and Avalon.
post #3 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt View Post

B&W's are a love em or hate em speaker and those that hate em typically have one of two complaints. One of those is their tweeters. They switched to metal domes about 15 years ago depending on model and many think they can be a bit harsh. The 805's use a higher quality driver that will give a cleaner sound but but can still be a little harsh to some ears and it will also be less forgiving up upstream equipment. And some people have the same complaint even with far more expensive models than the 805.

The new 805s have a diamond tweeter which is much smoother than the metal domes. However, the price has gone up substantially on these and they are not yet in the retail chain. It might make for some good deals on the older 805s.

To answer the OPs question: in my opinion, even the non-diamond 805s will be substantially smoother than the CDM-1s (among other things). However, you will have to listen for yourself to determine if they give you the sound you like. fwiw, I'm in the camp that has no problem with well implemented metal domes: I find the metal domed 800 series to be very smooth and non-fatiguing and generally prefer their presentation to soft domes. YMMV and all that.
post #4 of 159
The new 805 diamond will not exhibit any of the harshness associated with metal dome tweeters.
post #5 of 159
what about Matrix805's?
post #6 of 159
i actually just got rid of my 805's because the metal tweeter was so fatiguing after extended listening... the bass would probably be the second area of weakness.. like you said, they do sound great with delicate music like acoustics/jazz, but when you play faster & bassier music, it leaves much to be desired.. not only does it get harsh, but it can also sound congested imo.. i'm talking about hard rock/metal/electronic/etc

anyway, i've been demoing many speakers in my home and none have satisfied me completely or blew my mind away until i took a chance w/ fritz speakers and invited him to do an in-home demo on his $1750 flagship carbon 7's, which he was happy to do since he's local

long story short, ive had these for a week now and they walk all over the b&w 805's when it comes to music. the sound is SO much more natural.. the timbre and tone are so accurate and life-like, it's really amazing. the soundstage is not only left and right/up and down.. it's also front and back, it goes deep.. there's a lot of depth and the imaging is off the charts.... bass is excellent for it's size and very tight/clean.. the mids are probably my favorite, incredibly lush and the highs extend effortlessly with ZERO fatigue... very smooth yet still detailed

this is after i've heard the following speakers, also in my room:

b&w 805
totem forest
paradigm signature s2
usher x-719
proac response 1.5
joseph audio rm7si
monitor audio rs6

all of these speakers have their pros and cons... but i cannot find ANY weaknesses on the fritz carbon 7's, especially when you factor in the price (amazing low for the sound u get, these can easily retail for $4k+ if sold/manufactured by a big company". i feel like i've found a hidden gem, it's a one man operation based on word of mouth so i doubt many people have heard of fritz... but man, he's actually been doing this since 1973 and these speakers are simply breathtaking. just fyi, he uses scan-speak drivers, it's one of the best i've ever heard. anyway, sorry to ramble, you can probably tell how excited i am about these speakers, i'm really in love with them. again, they walked all over 805's when it comes to music, and they're much CHEAPER!

good luck with whatever you choose, definitely shop on audiogon for the best deal.
post #7 of 159
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip on Fritz. Spoke with him on the phone and he seems great. I am going to audition some of his speakers for sure.
post #8 of 159
that's awesome! i'm glad some of my excitement rubbed off on you

and yeah, fritz is an amazing person to talk to. extremely friendly and knowledgeable. no high pressure sales pitch or anything, he just loves to chat about speakers.

keep us updated, i have no doubts that the carbon 7's will blow your cdm-1's away.. they certainly walk all over my 805's.
post #9 of 159
The B&W 805s sounded a bit harsh to me compared to the metal tweetered Revel M20 and the silk domed Dynaudio Contour 1.3 back in the day. I bought a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.3 SEs and have been one very happy camper.

I can listen to the Dyns all night long with no fatigue. They seem to offer what I liked abou the B&Ws without the brashness. Though built very well the Dyns don't offer quite the same asthetics of the 805s(d).
post #10 of 159
It's pointless to try to "compare" speakers from memory. The only true way to make comparisons are same room auditions using the same equipment and source material. Often we "hear" what we want to "hear" when trying to make comparisons with our previous speakers, especially when we just bought new ones!

The 805S to me are neither "bright" nor "harsh". Sometimes these characteristics can brought on as a result of set-up or room issues. They definitely are not as smooth and sweet as the diamonds, but there are very good and a reasonably good timbre match with the more expensive 800s with diamond tweeters. Really you need to demo them in person to see if they are right for you. In the right room, they can sound very warm, dynamic, and have surprisingly good bass output. For imaging and soundstage, they are one of the best at any price for standmounts.
post #11 of 159
Koven......you had me at Totem Forests!
post #12 of 159
One thing I have found is that for example when listening to Michael Jackson's thriller album a couple of his songs are very pitchy sounding which comes across as bright sounding to my ears. All I do when I notice this is put the tweeter covers on. It takes that edge off for me and allows me to enjoy the music. I thing mainly though it is reproducing what is being sent to them. I listen almost exclusively with my covers off all the time. I don't know if you are a believer in cables or not, but you can use cables to adjust the tone of the sound being reproduced. I've heard it and believe cables can make a difference. Also your source has a lot to do with it. You might consider running them with a tube preamp to give them a warmer more forgiving sound. Or a simpler solution would be to run a tube CD player. Take a look on underwoodhifi.com for tube CD players such as the modified jolida 100.
post #13 of 159
Thread Starter 
I already use a Musichall DAC 25.5, with rolled tube (currently using a NOS Tesla) and I have a tube buffer, though I don't use it very much because I feel like it adds some distortion at higher volume levels.

Driving a set of Magnepan SMGa's the sound is warm and lovely although it lacks the necessary "punch" for rock music.

I am looking seriously at a set of Fritz Carbon 7's.

I think I am just not in love with the metal tweeter sound. Subjective personal preference I know...
post #14 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagorep View Post

Koven......you had me at Totem Forests!

haha, not quite sure what you meant by that.. but i had the totem forest and fritz carbon 7's side by side and the carbon 7's easily came out on top... granted, it may be due to my electronics/room, it may be due to my bias against metal tweeters, but that's just how it was for me

the only thing the forests might have did better than the carbon 7's, was bass, but i kind of expected that

funny thing is, i actually found another carbon 7 owner on audiogon (tim_j_thomas) who switched from totem forests to carbon 7's and couldn't be happier... it was hilarious when i told him i thought the same.. then we had a nice chat about how awesome the carbon 7's are, heh

also, the carbon 7's are $1700 new compared to the $3300 forests, i was seriously in shock. i honestly though i'd pick the forests (before i heard them) but man, i can't believe how easy the decision was


Quote:
Originally Posted by KyaDawn View Post

It's pointless to try to "compare" speakers from memory. The only true way to make comparisons are same room auditions using the same equipment and source material. Often we "hear" what we want to "hear" when trying to make comparisons with our previous speakers, especially when we just bought new ones!

The 805S to me are neither "bright" nor "harsh". Sometimes these characteristics can brought on as a result of set-up or room issues. They definitely are not as smooth and sweet as the diamonds, but there are very good and a reasonably good timbre match with the more expensive 800s with diamond tweeters. Really you need to demo them in person to see if they are right for you. In the right room, they can sound very warm, dynamic, and have surprisingly good bass output. For imaging and soundstage, they are one of the best at any price for standmounts.

i'm not sure if you're referring to me, but all those speakers i listed were demoed in my room and NOT compared from memory

actually five of those speakers (including the carbon 7's) i listed are STILL in my room and being a/b'ed... although i've come to the conclusion that the only two worth deciding between are the fritz carbon 7's and proac response 1.5's... the rest falls short... whether it's due to room acoustics, preferences, or electronics, who knows, but that's just my experience

also, i'm was referring to the 805 Nautilus, i have heard that the S and D get rid of the harshness/fatigue... but hey, i've also realized that b&w's are not the end-all of speakers... sure they're great sounding and great quality.. but they're not a great VALUE.. you can get better bang for buck elsewhere. for example, the fritz carbon 7's, i have no doubt in my mind that the carbon 7's sound better than the n805's, especially when you factor in cost, the choice is a no brainer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by raulduke69 View Post

I already use a Musichall DAC 25.5, with rolled tube (currently using a NOS Tesla) and I have a tube buffer, though I don't use it very much because I feel like it adds some distortion at higher volume levels.

Driving a set of Magnepan SMGa's the sound is warm and lovely although it lacks the necessary "punch" for rock music.

I am looking seriously at a set of Fritz Carbon 7's.

I think I am just not in love with the metal tweeter sound. Subjective personal preference I know...

i hate to sound like a broken record... but again, judging by your preference you will NOT be disappointed, in fact, you'll likely fall in love w/ them

did you already speak to fritz about shipping a pair to you? i'm very curious to hear what you'll think of them
post #15 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by koven View Post

i'm not sure if you're referring to me, but all those speakers i listed were demoed in my room and NOT compared from memory

actually five of those speakers (including the carbon 7's) i listed are STILL in my room and being a/b'ed... although i've come to the conclusion that the only two worth deciding between are the fritz carbon 7's and proac response 1.5's... the rest falls short... whether it's due to room acoustics, preferences, or electronics, who knows, but that's just my experience

Point taken. Why do you have so many sets of speakers in your room anyway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by koven View Post

also, i'm was referring to the 805 Nautilus, i have heard that the S and D get rid of the harshness/fatigue... but hey, i've also realized that b&w's are not the end-all of speakers... sure they're great sounding and great quality.. but they're not a great VALUE.. you can get better bang for buck elsewhere. for example, the fritz carbon 7's, i have no doubt in my mind that the carbon 7's sound better than the n805's, especially when you factor in cost, the choice is a no brainer.

That explains it. The Nautilus 805 is quite different than the 805S, and not many people have heard the 805 Diamond, but it should be leaps and bounds better than both with the diamond tweeter.

I thought what you wrote about the 805 was very different from my experiences so I thought perhaps it was from set-up or room issues (or just distorted memory ), but perhaps not taking into consideration the fact that we own different ears, but it turns out we were just talking about different speakers.

You can definitely get more "bang for buck" than B&W particularly if you stay away from B&M brands, smaller brands like Fritz or ID brands could provide much more value, though that's not right for everyone as it's only a deal if you live in the US or perhaps Canada where shipping costs are manageable if you have to send return the speakers for any reason, and I for one need to demo any speaker extensively before I buy. Not practical when the shipping costs could be more than the cost of the speaker. And the B&W 800 series won't ever be a "value proposition", that's the B&W top line, but they have others like the 685 which I think are good bang-for-buck values.
post #16 of 159
^ I'm moving away from the 805's, looking for my next speakers and bought a bunch off Audiogon to demo.

quick pic.. carbon 7's in the middle.. proac response 1.5 to the left, totem forest to the right.. usher x719 on the ground, joseph audio rm7si under the carbon 7's
post #17 of 159
I'm curious to know your impressions. Despite the glowing reviews of the Ushers, I found them to be the least involving speakers that I've heard of late.
post #18 of 159
If we are talking about the 805 Nautilus, I had these for at least a year or two and found them fatiguing. I switched everything else--cables, amplification, stands--and finally decided it was the speakers.

Also, if you are going to put them on stands, then supposedly the best choice is the comparatively expensive pair that B&W makes for them. My opinion is that it's better to spend the money on floorstanders instead.
post #19 of 159
Thread Starter 
What are your impressions of the Carbon 7's? I am really interested in those but have been unable to listen to them.
post #20 of 159
While scrolling through the posts I saw Carbon 7 and my first thought was Scan-Speak 8545. If the Carbon 7 uses that, which it looks like it does, that is a fantastic driver. I know the owner of Meniscus Audio whom custom make loudspeakers to your exact desires. I once owned a 3-way made by Mark which used two 8545s as woofers, one 7" Kevlar Eton for mids and a Scan-Speak Revelator tweeter per each speaker. They were incredible!

I now own Dynaudios monitors due to smaller living space but I still miss those custom made floorstanders. I like the sound of Scan-Speak, Dynaudio and Eton drivers and I'll bet the Carbon 7s sound damn good.
post #21 of 159
I sure hope they do sound good, they sure are ugly! Do they do free in home demos if you pay for shipping? I might be interesting in comparing them to my B&W 685 and 804S....just for fun.
post #22 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by koven View Post

^ I'm moving away from the 805's, looking for my next speakers and bought a bunch off Audiogon to demo.

quick pic.. carbon 7's in the middle.. proac response 1.5 to the left, totem forest to the right.. usher x719 on the ground, joseph audio rm7si under the carbon 7's

Koven,

Can you describe to me the differences between the Monitor audio rs-6 and the Carbon 7?

Thanks

Dan
post #23 of 159
B&W uses a surprisingly small amount of stuff on their crossovers, especially on the high end. As a result, there is less filtering and homogenization of treble, compared to other speakers. B&W does not cater to the HF rolloff that so many brands are convinced consumers love, but since so many are used to hearing this gauze-covered treble, B&W becomes "bright." Not surprisingly, run of the mill solid state gear mated with most B&W product will elicit this response. With gear that is commensurate with the speaker (as it should be) this complaint tends to go away. Try B&W with Audio Research, for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KyaDawn View Post

You can definitely get more "bang for buck" than B&W particularly if you stay away from B&M brands, smaller brands like Fritz or ID brands could provide much more value, though that's not right for everyone as it's only a deal if you live in the US or perhaps Canada where shipping costs are manageable if you have to send return the speakers for any reason, and I for one need to demo any speaker extensively before I buy. Not practical when the shipping costs could be more than the cost of the speaker. And the B&W 800 series won't ever be a "value proposition", that's the B&W top line, but they have others like the 685 which I think are good bang-for-buck values.

The whole internet direct thing is the ultimate scam. Perception of value backed by nothing that resembles proof of such value. Some people think that the cost or reputation of a bunch of individual drivers and a hand-tweaked crossover must equal an amazing end result.
post #24 of 159
A well constructed and implemented metal dome tweeter is not any more harsh than any other material used. Metal domes do have their advantages.

In my experience, B&W speakers are very revealing of any deficiencies upstream of them, and more sensitive to placement as well. It sure would be fun to have experienced what Koven did, though!
post #25 of 159
Room setup and room treatments are paramount for the type of improvement the OP is looking for, in addition to, perhaps, a speaker upgrade.

The toe-in of the speaker will affect the amount of treble that reflects off of the side walls vs. the amount that is sent directly to the listener. Improper toe-in could cause harshness in the treble depending on how much of the high frequency energy is sent to the side walls or how much is sent directly to the listener. Speaker height can also affect this quite a bit. Early reflections from hard surfaces can also add to the harshness of high frequencies.

On and off-axis response profiles of the speaker can help to better understand the effect of high frequency performance on angle of incidence with respect to the tweeter.
post #26 of 159
So Raulduke, what did you compare and what did you decide on? Did you ever get to hear the Fritz's? What did you think of them? I imagine you've had your choice for a while now. Still in love?
post #27 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpjibberjabber View Post

The whole internet direct thing is the ultimate scam. Perception of value backed by nothing that resembles proof of such value. Some people think that the cost or reputation of a bunch of individual drivers and a hand-tweaked crossover must equal an amazing end result.

I don't think anyone is claiming that internet direct always beats B&M. But there do happen to be quite a few internet direct speakers that are regarded as best in class. When an ID company does a good job designing a speaker they are able to sell the speaker much cheaper than a B&M brand because they have zero marketing expense and there's no 100% retail markup.

The Songtowers for example will absolutely crush a pair of B&W 805, despite being much cheaper. They are an exceptionally well designed speaker, and the internet direct aspect is what allows them to compete well above their price class.
post #28 of 159
LOL...some of you guys kill me. To the OP, buy some wall
treatments before you invest in speaker upgrade. That will
have a bigger effect then what most of the mob is offering.
post #29 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpjibberjabber View Post

Not surprisingly, run of the mill solid state gear mated with most B&W product will elicit this response. With gear that is commensurate with the speaker (as it should be) this complaint tends to go away. Try B&W with Audio Research, for example.

That won't change the audible tweeter response of B&W such as 805 Nautilus shown below.

The boosted upper end is a reason why the listener would interpret it as "bright" or "fatiguing" and I don't blame them. It's not a natural sounding speaker.

Switching to Audio Research amp shown below (Reference 110) won't change the sound characteristics of the tweeter. If it did, it's a poorly designed amp and a good reason to avoid it.
post #30 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

The boosted upper end is a reason why the listener would interpret it as "bright" or "fatiguing"

I would blame this more on the room then ANY speaker
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