Originally Posted by southleft
B&W 685 S2 will provide the most neutral sound. This means no exaggeration of some musical tones over others. For example, treble (higher pitch sounds) can be boosted to give more bite, more snap to cymbals. However, you will probably notice that violins, flutes and even female voices sound too sharp, almost shrill. The more evenly balanced the sound is the more natural everything will sound. Now, not everyone likes this. Maybe you want some exaggeration depending on the music you're playing. I can apply that sort of boost with Bass and Treble controls on the amplifier/receiver or, since my entire music collection has been copied onto a spare hard drive on my computer, i can use the equalizer tone controls in Windows Media Player to give a little "boom" and "ting" to my Reggae music, etc.
Originally Posted by postrokfan
In my earlier post I stated that it was difficult to say which one of the speakers being considered is better. Both are great but different. I happen to currently own B&W speakers and have had the 685S1 and 683S2 speakers in the past. I really enjoy them but I'm not sure I would describe them as 100% neutral. The JBLs I would consider neutral but that's just my opinion.
Originally Posted by danielrg
If you aren't planning to audition - I'd pick the ones you like the look of best and fit your price point best.
Also - read a lot of reviews. I have found that if I read a lot of reviews on a speaker, and the people that like the speaker seem to talk about their music like I do, or like the same music, or seem to like "warm" or "cool" or "snappy" sound - the same as you'd like your sound, and also like the speaker, then you probably will too.
Example - I auditioned B&W and Monitor Audio. Both sounded great. But the B&W really seemed to envelop me in the kind of sound I like - classical symphonic, romantic era music, choir music, 80s and 90s alternative rock. They were warm, cozy, and I liked that. When I listen to music - it is to relax.
Well, people that reviewed the B&W 683s, and LIKED them, seemed to like what I liked. Liked a warm, enveloping, relaxing sound. They seemed to like similar music. Since I identified with the reviewers that preferred the B&W, I figured I'd like the speakers too. And I did.
With the Monitor Audio, reviewers talked more about jazz and pop, lively single vocals. They talked more about using their music to invigorate them, add energy to the room, and get them hopping. Not as much what I use my music for. I didn't identify as well with the reviewers that liked Monitor Audio. And so I figured I wouldn't prefer there speakers. And that was true.
Now, I did a lot of reading before I auditioned. When I auditioned, the results matched pretty well with what I expected. Both speakers were great (B&W 600 S2 series, Monitor Silver series) but I liked the B&W better, like I figured I would. One could say it was placebo effect, but I like to think that I identified with people that liked B&W, and being more like those people, also liked them...
I would expect the JBLs to be quite neutral. JBL does theaters and studios for the most part, and I believe they are known for neutrality and doing their best to disappear and just present the material, whatever it is. B&W are more for audiophiles that tend to relax to their music and want a warmer sound that will downplay any harshness, even if it was present in the material - at least that's my impression.
So think about the type of person you are. But what you'll probably find if you are not a critical music listener, is that you'll get one or the other, get it positioned right, and really like it - so I am with you on focusing on price point and the look you like - and read reviews and see who you "identify" with best.
I wouldn't say I'm looking for the most neutral sound possible, I want something that sounds warm, natural and "deep", not extremely bright, but I'm not exactly an expert on the subject so I think any decent speaker would sound good to my ears even if it's too dark or too bright. I think
described accurately what I mean with the word "enveloping". I listen mostly to modern music, be it djent, melodic death metal, trance, edm, pop, rock etc. I've made a list with speakers that fit into the limits of my budget:
B&W 685 S2
JBL Studio 530
Indiana Line Tesi 560
Indiana Line Tesi 542
Canton GLE 496
Wharfedale Diamond 10.6
Dali Zensor 3
If I go by looks I like the Klipsch and the B&W the most. The 530 look strange but cool, I hate them and like them at the same time. The others look "normal" . Some of them are floorstanding so I guess it would be wiser to exclude them since my room is smallish. Considering the genres I listen to which between the 530, 160M and 685 S2 would be a better fit? I've read that Klipsch speakers tend to be bright so I don't know if should eliminate them from the list or if they'd still do good with the kind of music I listen to.