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Auditioned B&W Speakers--Conclusions? - Page 3

post #61 of 438
As far as B&W goes, let's get to a few facts that are real in the business/marketing world.

1. If a company can build its brand name to have top of mind awareness, it will charge extra for that brand name. Bayer does it, Honda does, Bose does it, B&W does it, any sane company that can do it *will* do it. Does B&W charge more than they would if they had no good name? Of course.

2. If a customer perceives a product to be superior in advance of testing it, he will likely retain that almost regardless of how the product performed. Further, if a product is thought of highly in the customer's mind before hand, *however* that product performs will be consciously or subconsciously placed as "the standard by which others will be judged". If that is the case, then that product will win almost any contest because any deviation from the performance of the "standard" will be judged as inferior. This is why companies, especially in high end where subjectivity rules, try to set themselves up as "the standard". If you are perceived as such, you win. Regardless of what auditioning tells you.

That's how marketing/business works. B&W is exceptional at both. Extrapolate from there.
post #62 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zues View Post

Does nht make thier own speakers?

You mean their drivers? No. They use Vifa, Seas, Peerless, Tonegan, another I can't remember. They use the drivers most suited for the job for the money, regardless of material, design, branding, etc.
Quote:



I could of bought some st4 for $500 and balked. Im so used to titanium tweeters that the nht just did not sound right.
It was not harsh, floaty a good word i think but i think it lacked accuracy for sounding real.

Well, what speakers are you used to that are titanium? In my recollection, I can't think of a titanium tweeter that wasn't a bit overbearing (including JMLab/Focal), so you may just be used to a brighter, more aggressive treble. The ST4s measure very flat in the treble and that tweeter is very well known for its accuracy and is used throughout most of the NHT lines.

The main failings of the ST4 (since you can't have everything in a $1000 speaker) are:

1. Warmer, subtractive upper midrange (which many people like, BTW)
2. A bit hefty, less damped bass (which many people like, BTW)
3. Muted upper mid dispersion which sounds less spacious than wider dispersion designs (like the new Three/Fours that replaced them)

On the other hand, I think you passed up a good bargain because these have a very full, powerful sound, are easy on the ears and "rock" quite well, very much like a jr version of the PSB Stratus Gold.
post #63 of 438
Yea no doubt at $500-550 they were great for the money. Im pretty much a MbQuart fanatic though and did not feel they bested them. Yea quart/ focal/ or any other non soft dome can be bright, but it's all about calibration and some quality eq i think.
post #64 of 438
Ah. Yeah, MB Quarts drive me out of the room. The tweeters are just too much for me. Interesting that NHT and MBQ were sister companies for a few years. Bright or not bright really has nothing to do with the type of tweeter. I've heard bright soft domes and smooth, warm aluminum comes. I don't generally like soft domes, but some people take metal drivers too far for my tastes. Boston is another culprit these days.
post #65 of 438
Haha alimentall, if you heard my Qls-830 in action, which i doubt you heard a pair, i could play alot of music that sounds great at extremely high volumes. I know you would not be running out of the room and would be digging it thats for sure. Im pretty sensitive to high frequencies. I can combat that It did not take long before i ran out of the room on the st4's
post #66 of 438
Quote:


1. If a company can build its brand name to have top of mind awareness, it will charge extra for that brand name. Bayer does it, Honda does, Bose does it, B&W does it, any sane company that can do it *will* do it. Does B&W charge more than they would if they had no good name? Of course.

2. If a customer perceives a product to be superior in advance of testing it, he will likely retain that almost regardless of how the product performed. Further, if a product is thought of highly in the customer's mind before hand, *however* that product performs will be consciously or subconsciously placed as "the standard by which others will be judged". If that is the case, then that product will win almost any contest because any deviation from the performance of the "standard" will be judged as inferior. This is why companies, especially in high end where subjectivity rules, try to set themselves up as "the standard". If you are perceived as such, you win. Regardless of what auditioning tells you.

Point 1 is absolutely true. Point 2 is interesting.

I'm new to audio gear (well, absent for about 20 years is more like it) and certainly new to anything mid fi or beyond. I epitomize what Grandarf has mentioned in a few posts. I started researching speakers and kept running across B&W as the standard. Prices are high, beyond what I am willing to spend, and I am wowed by their marketing. But then I see the 602 S3s for $600/pair. I literally was ready to buy them before I heard them.

This is where I disagree with point 2. I go to audition the 602 S3s with huge expectations and am hugely disappointed. The exact opposite of Alimentall's supposition. I have posted that those speakers sounded like "dog crap" to me. In hindsight that is likely my opinion because I expected so much from them. I have assigned horrible sound quality to them, which is in actuality the gap between my ridiculously high expectations and my perceived reality. In a blind test I'm sure I wouldn't like them, but I doubt I'd rank them so badly.

This whole psycho acoustics thing is very interesting and no doubt very real.
post #67 of 438
In the past(not sure so much now) but in the US, the consumer paid a premium for B&W speakers based on the exchange rate and the fact that they were imported from the UK.
post #68 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zues View Post

Haha alimentall, if you heard my Qls-830 in action, which i doubt you heard a pair, i could play alot of music that sounds great at extremely high volumes. I know you would not be running out of the room and would be digging it thats for sure. Im pretty sensitive to high frequencies. I can combat that It did not take long before i ran out of the room on the st4's

I traded in QLS-1030s for NHT T6s. I sold them for $500 after about a year of struggling to sell them. They were $3K new. No one could get past the tweeter.
post #69 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by droht View Post

This is where I disagree with point 2. I go to audition the 602 S3s with huge expectations and am hugely disappointed. The exact opposite of Alimentall's supposition.

Well, this is the other possible outcome. If #2 doesn't hold, *then* you have a problem. However, if you build a product that holds up *most* of the time, you still win, even if you have many that are seriously disappointed. That is the double edged sword of being in such high regard. If a person is disappointed, it is often a very deep disappointment and it's hard to get that person back. BUT, the goal isn't to get everyone, just a substantial percentage. And you can't please everyone, so they try to get as many people as they can.

I had a guy who listened to Bose and he was trying to describe them in a way that sounded like he felt unworthy. I said "let me guess, you listened to them, you didn't like them, but because Bose is 'so good', you feel like maybe your hearing must suck" and he said "yes, that's it exactly". I just smiled and assured him that his hearing was quite a bit better than he'd thought. But that is good marketing, when the customer actually doubts his own hearing.

There was a review of B&W Diamond vs Nautilus and the guy *actually* said that the Nautilus were "so revealing" that it made 90% of his music collection sound like crap. But that the Diamonds had this magical ability to "smooth out" his collection and so it was even more detailed, but in a different way. Or something like that. That is good marketing. It works even on reviewers. What was really happening is that the Nautilus were harsh, the Diamonds were not. Simple as that. But see how his perceptions were altered by what he had come to believe about the products.

A good marketing guy will tell you that me can make you buy something and make you think it was completely your idea to do it.
post #70 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

I traded in QLS-1030s for NHT T6s. I sold them for $500 after about a year of struggling to sell them. They were $3K new. No one could get past the tweeter.

I can buy that. But like i said some EQ, amps stable into 4ohms, they can be tamed. They are not one of the dominant iasca world final champs, like focal, for nothing.
post #71 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhagi Katbamna View Post

In the past(not sure so much now) but in the US, the consumer paid a premium for B&W speakers based on the exchange rate and the fact that they were imported from the UK.

Well, that and people in the Europe pay a premium for just about everything audio/video. European brands aren't much less expensive over there than in the US. A little socialism goes a long way. A guy died there yesterday because it was against the union rules to pull an ambulance crew off their lunch break. I was watching a Volvo documentary that, in one part, described how unions almost put a rapidly growing Volvo out of business as a world-wide player and probably set them back for more than a decade.
post #72 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

...A good marketing guy will tell you that me can make you buy something and make you think it was completely your idea to do it.

That would be a good salesperson not marketing person. I have worked with a large number of marketing people, all who thought they were great salespeople, and most of them sucked! A good marketing person can increase mindshare, can increase awareness, can detail features until you can't take anymore, but its a salesperson who closes the deal and makes you feel that you've won as if they really have done their job, you have.
post #73 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zues View Post

I can buy that. But like i said some EQ, amps stable into 4ohms, they can be tamed. They are not one of the dominant iasca world final champs, like focal, for nothing.

Car and home audio are different specialties. Car audio performance isn't even close to home audio performance. Never will be.
post #74 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by atdamico View Post

That would be a good salesperson not marketing person. I have worked with a large number of marketing people, all who thought they were great salespeople, and most of them sucked! A good marketing person can increase mindshare, can increase awareness, can detail features until you can't take anymore, but its a salesperson who closes the deal and makes you feel that you've won as if they really have done their job, you have.

Good marketing has little to with detailing features. It's creating an emotional response. Once a person is emotionally attached to a brand or product, the battle is over. I went through this with a young kid who simply couldn't accept any new facts once his decision had been made. It's a fundamental part of people's brain, the ability to resolve conflict between feelings and reality. Unfortunately, it's the emotional side that wins with about half the people.

Also, being a great marketer and a great salesman are different specialties, even though they have much in common. Just because someone works in the marketing department doesn't make them great at it. There are few people that are truly great and they get paid enormous amounts of money for doing what they do. It's kinda like the NFL. Only a few get paid well at all, but they're worth it (usually). Some marketing people are just good at marketing themselves.
post #75 of 438
Quote:


I have guys that come in and say the Threes don't hold a candle to the even the 602s (though the Threes measure substantially better).

I would prefer the threes, for my tastes, especially if I was going to use a sub, but the CM1's would make for a better comparison if a sub was going to be used.

Quote:


2. If a customer perceives a product to be superior in advance of testing it, he will likely retain that almost regardless of how the product performed. Further, if a product is thought of highly in the customer's mind before hand, *however* that product performs will be consciously or subconsciously placed as "the standard by which others will be judged". If that is the case, then that product will win almost any contest because any deviation from the performance of the "standard" will be judged as inferior. This is why companies, especially in high end where subjectivity rules, try to set themselves up as "the standard". If you are perceived as such, you win. Regardless of what auditioning tells you.

Do blind auditions and all this is meaningless. It's also meaningless if you are always biased against the "leader"...there are tons of people who always want the underdog to win, just like people want to believe the ID brands are a better value. Again, audition blind, if not, there are MANY mental influances that may color your perceptions.

Quote:


In my recollection, I can't think of a titanium tweeter that wasn't a bit overbearing

I like Mirage's PTH.

Quote:


In hindsight that is likely my opinion because I expected so much from them. I have assigned horrible sound quality to them, which is in actuality the gap between my ridiculously high expectations and my perceived reality.

SORT OF A COUNTERBALANCE TO MARKETING , DON'T YOU THINK?

Quote:


the Nautilus were harsh, the Diamonds were not. Simple as that. But see how his perceptions were altered by what he had come to believe about the products.

I'm sure glad we have you as the absolute authority.

Quote:


A good marketing guy will tell you that me can make you buy something and make you think it was completely your idea to do it.

That would be an effective salesperson not marketing person.
post #76 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by tweeterex View Post

I'm sure glad we have you as the absolute authority.

Hey, it's simple, all you have to do is read the review. The explanation of how the Nautilus made his music collection sound bad and how the Diamonds did not is mind bending. Even the B&W fans are coming in and admitting that Nautilus is harsh sounding now that Diamond is out. They wouldn't admit it *then* even though I pointed it out. But the psychology dictates that it is "safe" to admit that the *discontinued* product wasn't that good because "the new stuff is fantastic!".
Quote:



That would be an effective salesperson not marketing person.

I don't think you understand the difference. A marketing guy creates perception and emotional attachment before a product is seen, touched, tried. A sales guy just closes the deal. Good marketing makes you ooh and ahh over the release of a product you've never heard. Good salesmanship just makes you complete what you already want to do. Great salesmanship can overcome marketing, but it's hard.

You should stop by if you're in this neck of the woods and sit in on one of my "deprogramming sessions". I had one last night. The kid is a true believer, but I'll open his mind with a bit of time.
post #77 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Car and home audio are different specialties. Car audio performance isn't even close to home audio performance. Never will be.

The rta meter will beg to differ. You can achieve excellent results. Blown Away if you heard a good sytem. You cant get a back massage from the bass in your house, no comparison there.
post #78 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhagi Katbamna View Post

In the past(not sure so much now) but in the US, the consumer paid a premium for B&W speakers based on the exchange rate and the fact that they were imported from the UK.

I think that this is an important point--aren't a lot of companies moving their production to China/Taiwan/etc.? (Of course, Monitor Audio still makes their speakers in the UK (I think), and they seem to offer better value for the money than B&W.)

Another thing to keep in mind is that B&W offers multiple veneers on their products (the CM has at least three different ones available and the 7 series has five or so). Also, from what I remember, they don't charge extra for them--unlike, say, MartinLogan who charges $300 for Maple on the Vantages (I won't even get into how they charge $1K just to get the panel in clear anodized aluminum instead of black ). The NHT Classic Three may be a great speaker (I haven't personally heard it) but it comes in black only, which is a big turn off for me.
post #79 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Hey, it's simple, all you have to do is read the review. The explanation of how the Nautilus made his music collection sound bad and how the Diamonds did not is mind bending. Even the B&W fans are coming in and admitting that Nautilus is harsh sounding now that Diamond is out. They wouldn't admit it *then* even though I pointed it out. But the psychology dictates that it is "safe" to admit that the *discontinued* product wasn't that good because "the new stuff is fantastic!".

I don't think you understand the difference. A marketing guy creates perception and emotional attachment before a product is seen, touched, tried. A sales guy just closes the deal. Good marketing makes you ooh and ahh over the release of a product you've never heard. Good salesmanship just makes you complete what you already want to do. Great salesmanship can overcome marketing, but it's hard.

You should stop by if you're in this neck of the woods and sit in on one of my "deprogramming sessions". I had one last night. The kid is a true believer, but I'll open his mind with a bit of time.

I personally think the Nautilus is much more truthful and faithful to the recording than the Diamond every thought about being,but neither in my opinion are worth their retail price which goes back to what Granderf said they offer poor performance compared to their competition thats not to say they are bad in absolute terms,but just not good for the money.
post #80 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

Only when applied to your speakers.

I've heard his speakers and spent a month with them,602s are certainly not better,and for that matter the 705s arent either and they are almost a $1k more.
post #81 of 438
There appears to be some confusion here regarding the roles of sales and marketing professionals. Let me clear that up:

Sales - job is to screw the customer
Marketing - job is to hold the customer down while sales screws them
post #82 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zues View Post

The rta meter will beg to differ. You can achieve excellent results. Blown Away if you heard a good sytem. You cant get a back massage from the bass in your house, no comparison there.

???? RTA doesn't take into effect the problems with boundaries. You can't get away from that in a car. Or the glass. You can almost always make a home sound better with the same amount (or far less) effort.

And, yes, you can easily "get a back massage" from any home audio system that either a) has way too much bass or b) has visceral effects devices installed.
post #83 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robonaut View Post

The NHT Classic Three may be a great speaker (I haven't personally heard it) but it comes in black only, which is a big turn off for me.

And a reddish brown lacquer called "Special Dark"
post #84 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by droht View Post

Let me clear that up:

More like:

Sales - job is to screw the customer
Marketing - job is to have the customer screw himself and brag about it to all his friends.
post #85 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

As far as B&W goes, let's get to a few facts that are real in the business/marketing world.

1. If a company can build its brand name to have top of mind awareness, it will charge extra for that brand name. Bayer does it, Honda does, Bose does it, B&W does it, any sane company that can do it *will* do it. Does B&W charge more than they would if they had no good name? Of course.

2. If a customer perceives a product to be superior in advance of testing it, he will likely retain that almost regardless of how the product performed. Further, if a product is thought of highly in the customer's mind before hand, *however* that product performs will be consciously or subconsciously placed as "the standard by which others will be judged". If that is the case, then that product will win almost any contest because any deviation from the performance of the "standard" will be judged as inferior. This is why companies, especially in high end where subjectivity rules, try to set themselves up as "the standard". If you are perceived as such, you win. Regardless of what auditioning tells you.

That's how marketing/business works. B&W is exceptional at both. Extrapolate from there.


And, of course, you completely ignore the positives of having a marketing force behind a company. If it costs you 10 million dollars to develop a set of speakers and you sell a thousand of em they're going to cost a lot more than if it costs you 10 million dollars and you sell a million of them.
post #86 of 438
Quote:
it's simple, all you have to do is read the review. The explanation of how the Nautilus made his music collection sound bad and how the Diamonds did not is mind bending.

One man's opinion, or that of a few.
Quote:
A marketing guy creates perception and emotional attachment before a product is seen, touched, tried.

Only if you have been exposed to the marketing in the first place, considering most of the uninformed don't know B&W from Adam, I doubt that marketing has had much influence in the first place.
Quote:
A sales guy just closes the deal. Good marketing makes you ooh and ahh over the release of a product you've never heard.

Unless you've never heard of the product in then first place or only recently have, in which case the salesperson is the one who makes you ohh and ahh.
Quote:
Good salesmanship just makes you complete what you already want to do. Great salesmanship can overcome marketing, but it's hard.
You should stop by if you're in this neck of the woods and sit in on one of my "deprogramming sessions"

Don't you mean "reprogramming sessions"?
post #87 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by NicolasKL View Post

And, of course, you completely ignore the positives of having a marketing force behind a company. If it costs you 10 million dollars to develop a set of speakers and you sell a thousand of em they're going to cost a lot more than if it costs you 10 million dollars and you sell a million of them.

Not necessarily. That's largely unrelated, which is why I "ignored" that. What it does do is allow the company to be more profitable. That, in and of itself, does not translate into lower priced, higher value merchandise. The goals of any company are to:

1. Sell for the highest price possible
2. Sell as many as you can
3. Build it/bring to market for the lowest cost possible

How they balance that and how they do it have a direct impact on the value. If there is massive name recognition, that is better for the company, but not necessarily better for the customer. If there is not, then the company is more likely to be more competitive in pricing/value. Micro economics is so predictable, it's almost like physics.
post #88 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by tweeterex View Post

Don't you mean "reprogramming sessions"?

Only if you mean that people should be "reprogrammed" to listen with an open mind and not base performance on price, prestige or other useless things.
post #89 of 438
Quote:
Only if you mean that people should be "reprogrammed" to listen with an open mind and not base performance on price, prestige or other useless things.

Downselling is such a misunderstood art, isn't it Joel?
post #90 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Sm View Post

Wow, what a load of ........ They are admired by tons of people who have much audio experiance most of these people have gone into places where good auditions can be had and taken the time to compare. You are innacurate and insulting. Kal, A PROFESSIONAL REVIEWER WHO POSTS HERE, has obviously listened, critically, to tons of speakers and guess what he owns. Better luck with your next insult.


Well , so much for that insult, it's written so poorly it seems indecyperable, but as for being "renowned" (check spelling), hardly, EXCEPT among those who DO know good audio.

Yes, do personal auditions.


If that were the case why did they overstep the 700 series now? As far as being below average, the 602's are on almost everyone's short audition list in their price range.


Really? Take a poll of what bookshelf speaker models people here, on this forum, own between $500- $800 and see how many have 602's. I'd bet many. Then go out and poll 100 people ata random and ask how many have heard of B&W speakers. I'd bet very few. Now take a third poll and ask people in the audio industry , reviewers, and people who frequently post here, what they think of the quality of B&W speakers. I'd bet you'd get a lot of very positive responses.
I have heard many speakers over the years that I have prefered to the closest B&W in blind and sighted comparisons, but I have always felt that there were some brands that almost always held their own and never embarresed themselves, and B&W has always one of those brands.

So what makes Kal Rubinsons words above everyone's on here,its some people on here thats as experienced as he is,and a couple of us on this forum dissagee with him about the review of the 802Ds.Stereophile is not a magazine that caters to the people they cater to the manufacture,not you,the manufactures profit is whats important to them,they pay the reviewers salary,so of course they are gonna be positive about a B&W product,its all part of the marketing.Ask Kal why you never see reviews from Onix,Ascend,ACI,Tyler Accoustic,GR Research,Salk,Devore,Odyssey and many more because they are small companies that dont generate large sales volume this is what has made B&W and other big chain companies very popular and wealthy.Performance for the people is not what mags like Stereophile are about,they are about how much revenue they can pull out of your pocketbook and put into the giant chain manufactures bank account.
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