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Mid-bass missing from my B&W 683s - Fixable?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I just bought Bower & Wilkins 683s and got them setup in my apartment.  The high to mid range sounds fantastic.  Very wide and realistic.  As you get to the lower end of the midrange something is missing.

 

I have my old speakers still setup on a different channel so that I could a/b test.  They are old Technics (picture below).  I replaced all the speakers, so it's really just a Technics cabinet filled with new speakers.

 

They are hooked up to a Yamaha htr-5240 amp with 70 watts per channel.  The music is coming from my computer and an m-audio Firewire 410 is acting as the DAC.

 

Here is the test I ran:

 

I played Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues, which is my go to reference traffic.  

 

When I play both speaker paris separately, the B&Ws are clearly better.  The Technics sound narrow and a bit muddy by comparison.  When I play all four paris at once it sounds incredible.  The Technics have something in the mid-bass range that the B&Ws lack.  When you play all four at once and then cut the Technics, it leaves behind a giant hole in the audio.

 

I've tested this on a lot of different styles of music like rock and electronic.  It's not a big issue there.  It's really glaring on acoustic and classical music.  Specifically the lower harmonics of string instruments like guitars and cellos   

 

Is this just how the B&W 683s are?  Is there something I can do to fix the issue?

 

post #2 of 12

 

 


Edited by Livermorium - 2/23/14 at 5:39am
post #3 of 12

Hi

I have listened to B&W Speakers side by side Dali Ikon 6 And Focal 826v , 726v.

B&W's are very balanced and Warm Speakers But if you listen to classical music's I prefer Focal.

It's not a good idea to test speakers just with one music if you think mid-bass lack's. Sounds like Cello , Male Voice and Bassoon are approximately on mid-bass.

 

I recommend :

Chris Botti & Yo-Yo Ma - Cinema Paradiso

or

The Mission - Yo-Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone

or

The Very Thought of you - Al Somma

 

I recommend you to change your amplifier.Using Integrated amplifier is better than AV Receiver's For music.

Denon has more sharper amps and in other hand Marantz has Warm sound. in my case i will choose Marantz but it's your taste and finally you decide to choose which one.

 

It's just thoughts.

 

Nicolas


Edited by Livermorium - 2/23/14 at 2:20am
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input Nicolas.

 

I just swept the room and there is a noticeable drop at 250hz. 

 

post #5 of 12

I think thats normal.

Using Iphone Or ipad maybe not accurate but gives a vision.

there is no perfect speaker in the world. if you look at link below even B&W's must expensive series has drops in some ranges.

 

http://www.stereophile.com/content/bw-802d-loudspeaker-measurements

 

i think that's why we use equalizer to eliminate our speaker Weaknesses. but i dont recommend changing your equalizer.
i recommend changing your amplifier. for example you have speaker that it has very sharp sound if you use a sharp amplifier maybe just maybe gives unpleasant and harsh sound in this case you need smooth and warm amplifier to Balance your speaker.

 

it's rational to choose Denon for B&W but i said before i like marantz sound more than denon's.

 

Finally before using you speaker you should play music in low sound for 48hr for burning in yor speaker for the mechanical parts attain their real sound.

i suggest you play directly from CD but i dont think changes anything.

 

 

 

again all of these is just thoughts and sorry for my poor english.


Edited by Livermorium - 2/23/14 at 8:46am
post #6 of 12
Wow, that is terrible advise! Changing your amp will make no difference. Amps just amplify the signal, they do not add anything to the signal. That is one of the dumbest things that I have ever read on this forum. OP-do some research! You will find that what I say is the truith. If you lack mid-bass, you have several options. The likely fix would be to add room treatments, such as absorbing panels on the side walls, front and rear walls, and bass traps in the corners. You really need some measuring gear to get an accurate idea of what is going on in the room. Other possibilities would be a better subwoofer, or an EQ devise to boost the frequencies that are in question.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

Wow, that is terrible advise! Changing your amp will make no difference. Amps just amplify the signal, they do not add anything to the signal. That is one of the dumbest things that I have ever read on this forum. OP-do some research! You will find that what I say is the truith. If you lack mid-bass, you have several options. The likely fix would be to add room treatments, such as absorbing panels on the side walls, front and rear walls, and bass traps in the corners. You really need some measuring gear to get an accurate idea of what is going on in the room. Other possibilities would be a better subwoofer, or an EQ devise to boost the frequencies that are in question.

+1 !!!!!
post #8 of 12
Comparing a speaker like the B&W with its - relatively speaking - ruler-flat response to speakers (the Technics, in their original form at least) that were imo probably partly designed to attract attention on the sales floor i.e. loud/thumping/rather boomy bass, is IMO definitely going to make one think the B&Ws are lacking something. Plus it looks like the Technics uses a 12" woofer, which has significantly more radiating surface than the two 6.5" woofers in the B&Ws i.e. more output, and lower bass output is probably also increased over the B&W's low-bass output.

And based on what I've seen repeatedly over the decades, highly accurate speakers like the B&Ws almost always seem to be more difficult to drive as far as amps are concerned, no matter what their printed efficiency rating may be. So I'll bet that entry-level Yamaha receiver cannot drive them as well as it can the Technics, which in their original form are most probably much more efficient & just overall easier to drive (e.g. much simpler crossover, little-to-no power-robbing frequency correction circuitry; lighter cone materials, etc). And while amps can sound different from each other*, this difference in my experience usually isn't enough to cause such a significant difference as the OP is reporting.

So to sum up, the B&Ws may actually be lacking in the mid-bass compared to the Technics: depending on the size/shape/decoration of the room (along with that measured dip at 250Hz), the possible effects of the aforementioned Yamaha/B&W combination, not to mention the sonic personality of the Technics vs. the B&W's, the B&Ws may simply be incapable of supplying enough output in the mid-bass region at the listening position.



* because just like speaker designers, amp designers may also want their creation to sound a certain way, and there are engineering-based ways to do this using different circuits (there are lots out there), different types of individual components, etc., plus amps most definitely can react differently to different speakers.
Edited by donutfan - 2/23/14 at 1:37pm
post #9 of 12
Forgot to add this! Changing the physical location of the B&Ws may help improve their mid-bass output. And/or using a graphic EQ can also help but these are difficult to find these days, though I think the more sophisticated versions of the automated room correction systems - MCACC, Audyssey, etc - are usually an easier & more accurate solution anyway.
post #10 of 12
I think you should replace the Yamaha. I had a Yamaha of similar range (590) and whilst ok, changing to a dedicated stereo integrated amplifier made it a hell of a lot better.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the feedback.  I've made some progress, some of which I suspect is going to be controversial. 

 

1. I added the stands to the bottom of the speakers.  My floor is wood over concrete, so I didn't think this would matter.  It did.

2. I replaced the wire with 16 AWG. I was using 12 AWG wire from parts-express.com http://www.parts-express.com/wired-home-skrl-12-50-12-awg-ofc-speaker-wire-50-ft--100-024.  I tried the 12 AWG wire on my old speakers and noticed a significant drop in the mid-bass region. 

 

Both changes leveled out the response I was getting when I swept the room.  The drop at 250 disappeared.

 

I was getting a flat response according to my sweep, but I still wasn't happy with the sound of the mid-bass. It sounded wimpy. 

 

3. I reversed the polarity of the speaker wires.  

 

That seemed to fix the issue and I am much happier with the sound.  I have always suspected that my amp wasn't wired properly, and my old speakers also sounded better with the polarity reversed.

 

I have a feeling that this is going to raise some eyebrows.  Let me know your thoughts.

post #12 of 12
Take one subwoofer and call us in the morning. biggrin.gif

BTW, that FR graph looks normal to me. Just add a sub or two. Try XO of 80Hz vs. 100Hz and see.
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