Today I listened to the Philharmonic Audio BMR stand-mount 3-way speakers. This pair of speakers will be sent out tomorrow morning by FedEx for the BMR Road Trip.
When I learned that Dennis Murphy was going to do this, I wanted the chance to listen closely to them. I asked Dennis if I could get them for an afternoon, promising to write something about them. Dennis, who lives about 15 miles away, brought them over and stayed while we listened, comparing it with my own Salk Veracity ST speakers. Dennis has been to my house before, and likes how my family room sounds. He says it has no bass problems. He wanted to directly compare the bass output of the BMR to that of my Salk Veracity ST speakers in my family room.
So, today’s speakers were the Philharmonic Audio BMR Monitors
, and the Salk Veracity ST floor standing speakers
. You can read their specs on the links.
I took some photos, one of the front and one of the rear of the BMR speakers. They are attached to this post.
First, the short version… I think the BMRs are, in a word, excellent. The Veracity STs, and the BMRs are quite similar sounding. I already own the Veracity STs, but I would be very happy to own the BMRs instead. Note that the BMRs sell for about one third the price of the Salks. I can’t imagine how Dennis produces these speakers at such a low cost.
It's important to point out that both speakers were designed by Dennis Murphy. If there is one thing I can say about his designs, it would be consistency. All his speakers, that I’ve heard, share a common sound. He "voices" them to have a neutral overall balance, with very widely dispersed sound, especially in the all-important midrange. All his speakers have a midrange sound that has great detail without sounding too detailed, as some speakers are known to do. (Too much detail has been described as an “etched” sound. It sounds attractive at first, but eventually becomes fatiguing, hard to listen to.) The BMR speaker excels at this sound quality.
Dennis pays great attention to how his speakers present an audio image, the so-called soundstage. This is directly related to how widely they disperse sound, especially in the midrange. All his speakers share this sound quality, this “voicing”. I own or have owned several of Dennis’s designs, a DIY design, the CAOW1, Salk SongTowers from 2007-16, when I replaced them with the Salk Veracity STs. I’ve also heard a number of his other designs over the years, DIY, Salk, or Philharmonic Audio. (It’s nice to live 15 miles away from him.) All his speakers share that common midrange clarity and openness, with the convincingly realistic soundstage. In that regard, the BMRs belong among the best of his work. I can confidently say that the BMR actually presents a more detailed and realistic sounding soundstage than my Veracity ST speakers do. They sound close, but I have to say the BMRs did this just a little better.
The bass and treble in Dennis’s designs extend as low or high as the design cost permits. In the extremes of the audio spectrum, more money buys more performance. But more importantly, the bass and treble blend into the midrange without peaks, dips, gaps, or noisy resonance. Again, the BMR speaker does very well at this. In deep bass, I would say the Veracity ST does out-perform the BMR, but not by much. A transmission line floor standing cabinet with two 6” woofers should produce deeper and better sounding bass than a single 7” woofer in a smaller bass reflex cabinet. And it does. Just to describe this in words makes the difference seem much bigger than it really is. I can’t think of another stand-mount speaker, at any price, that comes close to the BMR’s bass.
As far as the treble sound goes, there was no noticeable difference between these two speakers. They both sounded excellent.
Another well-received speaker, the KEF LS50 (a speaker I like) sells for a price similar to the BMR. I’ve now heard both, in the same room, but at different times. In my opinion the BMR is easily a class or two above the KEF.
It’s fair to point out that I’m a Dennis Murphy fanboy – that I’ve swallowed the Murphy Kool Aid. Guilty as charged
. But I honestly wonder why everyone else doesn’t feel the same as I do. I hope those who get to hear these gems on the Road Tour also acquire a taste for the Kool Aid that I like so much.