And we're up and running! Although I received my BMR's a week ago, the electronics to drive them didn't arrive until this week . . . while I was out of state at a conference. But I got home last night at 4:00 a.m., and I was up first thing this morning putting my system together.
Said system is a new Parasound ZPre3 preamp (their half-rack size offering), an Onkyo cd player I originally got a year ago to listen to headphones, a very old Parasound HCA 1200 ii amp (one of the old John Curl THX certified designs with a mighty 205 wpc). And now, a pair of Philharmonic Audio BMR Philharmonitors.
I've been listening to some of my favorite cd's all day. Either the BMR's or the Parasound Amp needed some time to get warmed up. The 32 hz test note included on Dennis' test cd (which is fantastic, btw) caused an alarming rattle out of the right speaker when I first tried it out. But after a few hours of listening, I tried it again and everything was smooth as butter. As advertised, these speakers put on a very real, very usable, 32 hz sound. I don't know if the original rattle was the fault of the speaker (the amp has not been used for 15 years, so it might have been working out some stiffness itself), but wherever the problem was, it fixed itself in short order.
To get my general first-day impression out of the way, these speakers sound beautiful. "Flat" does not sound like either a compliment, nor an adjective for sound. But these speakers *sound* flat, and that's a very huge compliment and a completely appropriate adjective for the sound of these speakers. As many others have mentioned before me, when you first start listening to these, it almost sounds like they're missing a "punch" compared to other speakers. But as you settle in and get used to them, you realize the punch isn't missing . . . it's just exactly where the artist intended it to be, instead of where most speakers tell you it should be. It's actually exciting to focus in on various parts of the spectrum and realize just how smooth and accurate they all sound.
I kicked things off with Pink Floyd's The Final Cut. It's been my favorite album for almost 30 years, and I thought it be a perfect starting point. Not only am I familiar with every tiny nuance, but it's a very dynamic and haunting album, full of silence, some great guitar work from Gilmore, a couple of great sax solo's, and Roger Waters at his most haunting. The latter, in particular, sounded amazing through the BMR's. Waters just wails at various parts of the album, and he had my hair standing on end through Dennis' speakers.
I've been swapping out cd's the rest of the day. So far, the only thing that hasn't sounded good were cd's with lousy production. It's a well-known "fault" of good speakers that crappy-sources sound crappy on them. That's what happens when your speakers are transparent . . . crap going into them will sound like crap going out. But outside of lousy cd production, everything has sounded great. Hell, even the crap sounded like great crap.
So far, I think I'm most impressed with the speaker's namesake, the BMR driver itself. Yes, the Raals are amazing . . . Norah Jones sounds heavenly through them. But the way these BMR's handle complex mid-range passages and vocals is just something else. "Clarity" is a description I usually think of belonging to the highs, not the mids. These mids unbelievably clear. Mids are truly the middle-child of the sound spectrum . . . they don't jump at you like a great high, or pound you like a great low. If BMR's are a middle child, they're the Abraham Lincoln of their driver family. I totally understand why Dennis designed this speaker around them. Wow.
What else can I say? Oh, I can perhaps be the first person to not be blown away by the physical size of these speakers. If anything, they were slightly smaller than I expected. That's neither here nor there, but after reading so many initial impressions saying how huge these things were, I thought I'd at least mention it. But although they're not HUGE, they are heavy, and feel incredibly solid when you pick them up. The piano black finish is gorgeous, and I was very impressed with the quality of the binding posts. I got a pair of Pangea 400 24 inch stands for them, filled with cat litter, and they seem to be a good fit. It would take an act of deliberate malice or negligent drunkeness to dislodge them. I've got a couple of cats, so I was a little worried (they can act both malicious and drunk), but between the weight of the speakers and weight of the stands, I think I'm safe.
So let me now officially add my voice to those who've thanked Dennis for putting out such an amazing speaker. I'm really glad they're going to live on at Salk, and I'm honored to get my hands on one of the last pairs made under the Philharmonic name. Dennis is a great speaker designer and a great guy, and he's created quite a legacy for himself with these speakers.
Last edited by overg; 05-19-2019 at 05:17 AM.