B&W Tweeter Pod vs FST Midrange Driver - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-27-2019, 05:02 AM - Thread Starter
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B&W Tweeter Pod vs FST Midrange Driver

Originally posed this question in the B&W Owners' thread, but then questioned if that was the most appropriate place given the context. Apologies to anybody forced to double-read, and apologies again if that really was the better placement for it.

TL/DR - is the B&W tweeter pod a big enough improvement over non-tweeter-pods to warrant exclusively looking at something like the CM6s2, 705s2, etc?


Long verison:
I've got a set of Emotiva T1 towers. I have raved about them to friends + family, and still hold them in highest regard in their price bracket in terms of pleasing sound output. However, having only had them for a couple of months, I'm starting to feel like I'm missing something, specifically in the midrange. I hate terms like "musicality" and "inviting", but those are kind of the things I'm missing. They remind me quite a bit of the old Boston Acoustics speakers VR1/2/3 towers actually. Very neutral, wonderful highs (the Airmotiv tweeter is damn near perfect in my book), yet lacking something in the middle. And also, to this day, I think they are homely-looking at best. I have the T1 up front, T-Zero in back, and C1 in center. That's a lot of ugly staring back at me.

I've had that nagging sensation in the back of my mind for a few weeks now, and all the while I'm listening to my B&W P9 headphones that my wife got me for our 10th anniversary 2 years ago. Every single time I put them on and start listening, my mind just goes "gahhh these headphones" (in a good way). They don't measure anywhere near flat, yet they are the only music-listening things I've ever had that make me want to just melt into goo (also in a good way). Couple this with just having watched the original Kingsman movie, and Galahad (Colin Firth) has a pair of what appears to be 802d2 (I'm not a B&W expert so I could very well be wrong here, but the aesthetics are what's important in this instance), I got the bug.

So I guess I'm on the hunt for the best B&W speakers I can afford. I know some of you will try to get me to look at other brands, and that's fine to suggest, but I have a very specific notion of the aesthetic and (assumed) sound that I'm going for. This is kind of a nutty comparison, but I imagine this is like somebody who's gotten the bug to buy a Porsche. There are other cars that are quicker, handle as well, and cost less. But there is just something special in this person's mind about the combination of looks, performance, the sound of an inline-6 behind you (unless you get a new one with the turbo-4, sigh).
*Note - I don't actually have any idea what a Porsche sounds or drives like (and at the rate at which I change speakers, probably never will), this is just for the sake of analogy

Now that's out of the way - I'm seriously thinking about picking up a used set of CM6s2 speakers. I like the tweeter-on-top design and I've heard it does good things for imaging, which will be important since I can only afford to go 2.1 if I do this. Given that assumption, and my budget ( $1,500 tops), my options really are limited to the CM6s2. I am 100% fine with bookshelf speakers (svs pb-3000 doing low-end duty), and in my room I almost prefer them because towers can have a tendency to just overwhelm things. Am I needlessly limiting my options here based on a false assumption of how much better the tweeter pod allows them to do image and soundstage? Would I get more benefit by going with one of the tower options with the FST midrange drivers? Is the new 606 w/continuum actually an upgrade, performance-wise, over the CM-s2 line?
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-27-2019, 06:47 AM
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I find your post somewhat amusing as it translates to me as someone seeking permission or approval to make the change, and that's ok. You've fallen in love with a pretty face and you might as well buy them, consummate the relationship and live happily ever after or have a fling and get it out of your system.

B&W makes some interesting speakers and they seem to have a somewhat polarized following, you love them or hate them, or at least that's been my experience with the brand for the last 40+ years. There is no question B&W has had and still has specific voicing for their speakers as well as interesting design aesthetics thru the years. Certainly in the last 20 or so years, B&W has put a lot of emphasis on their tweeter designs and implementations with varying degrees of success ranging from gimmick to functional.

I understand your quandary and desire as I've also had a love/hate view of B&W and have but one speaker, an HTM61 center channel to sell off. To cut to the chase, IMHO, B&W's can do a great job with the reproduction of music but they suck at home theater. Harsh criticism on my part as I believe a good speaker should be able to do both but B&W's voicing falls short for home theater applications specifically in the mid-range and male voices.

Having said that, I've also had over 40 years experience with Dr. Oskar Heil's AMT type drivers. I started with the ESS AMT-1b's back in the 70's. The AMT driver is not without it's own picayune's, but in general, it adds a sense of depth and clarity that is simply not present in dynamic speaker drivers. And many have had a love/hate position with them as well.

Good luck with your new B&W's! FWIW, I also have two Porsche's in my garage.


Just for fun, here's two very different speakers from B&W from the 1970's where you see the B&O type approach to design where form follows function. The first is the B&W DM6 which was a time/phase alignment design following Jon Dahlquist's ground breaking work with the DQ-10. The second picture is the B&W DM70 which was a hybrid dynamic/electrostatic speaker.





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post #3 of 15 Old 03-27-2019, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b curry View Post
I find your post somewhat amusing as it translates to me as someone seeking permission or approval to make the change, and that's ok. You've fallen in love with a pretty face and you might as well buy them, consummate the relationship and live happily ever after or have a fling and get it out of your system.
Well put. There's truth in there, and now I feel a bit like the guy that just bought a Mustang GT (or maybe 370z) but has secretly always wanted an F-Type.

Problem is, I've had nothing but excellent experiences with B&W so far. Granted both are with their top-of-the-line offerings (P9 headphones and some variation of the 800-series floor standers in a Magnolia Design Center with amplification that cost more than the speakers), but the fruit was sweet.
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-27-2019, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Those vintage speakers look fantastic. It's been a while since I've listened to something older than me, I wonder how sound quality stacks up to modern options.
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-27-2019, 11:05 AM
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I have the CM10 S2 they do image very good. I also have the 606 and they image very good also but not like the 10s. The 606 is not as dynamic. What type of music do you listen to? They both do vocals very well in my opinion.


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Basement system: Yamaha 2060, Cambridge Azur 851W, Sony HAP-A1ES, Rega RP-1, B&W CM10S2, B&W CM Centre S2, Cambridge Minx XL,2 JL Audio e112
Upstairs: Yamaha R-N803, B&W 606 Continuum, 1 JL Audio D108
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-27-2019, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post
Well put. There's truth in there, and now I feel a bit like the guy that just bought a Mustang GT (or maybe 370z) but has secretly always wanted an F-Type.

Problem is, I've had nothing but excellent experiences with B&W so far. Granted both are with their top-of-the-line offerings (P9 headphones and some variation of the 800-series floor standers in a Magnolia Design Center with amplification that cost more than the speakers), but the fruit was sweet.
Maybe look for a speaker that doesn't have a dip from 2khz to 7khz like the T1, (purple line below).

Here's where to look at some measurements.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...=16&Itemid=140

https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...iew-test-bench

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post #7 of 15 Old 03-28-2019, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Here's where to look at some measurements.
This is supremely helpful. I've run across some of their measurements but did not realize they had a master list.
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-28-2019, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post
This is supremely helpful. I've run across some of their measurements but did not realize they had a master list.
Happy hunting!

Better measurements are no guarantee you will prefer them but Floyd Toole devised experiments that pointed to about an 85 percent rate when comparing a speaker with good measurements vs one without to audiences.

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post #9 of 15 Old 03-28-2019, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Maybe look for a speaker that doesn't have a dip from 2khz to 7khz like the T1, (purple line below).

Here's where to look at some measurements.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...=16&Itemid=140

https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...iew-test-bench

i think maybe the kef r series *might * do it for him , but that's purely speculation..seems that everybody seems to like that speakers mids (for the most part anyway).. or maybe some wharfedale revas...

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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i think maybe the kef r series *might * do it for him , but that's purely speculation..seems that everybody seems to like that speakers mids (for the most part anyway).. or maybe some wharfedale revas...
The R300 were among the first contenders in this round of "must have new speakers". They are gorgeous, and did work some absolute magic when it came to three-dimensional sound staging. I remember only 2 things about the sound: The highs were a little soft (subdued a bit?) for my taste, and the low-end was generous. I have to imagine the mids were very good, but those other two aspects are what left a lasting impression.

I went from the R300 to the Emotiva line and would do so again if I was in the same situation.

Measurements are a funny thing. Take the P9 headphones I love so much. The only frequency response chart I've been able to find online measures them very...interestingly, and looking at the chart alone I probably would have passed them over. But when listening, I certainly don't detect the massive dips, and I'm in love with them enough that I'm asking myself if there must be some inherent flaw in trying to measure anything at all. Or maybe my ears are just a complete mess, that's possible too.
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post #11 of 15 Old 03-28-2019, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post

Measurements are a funny thing. Take the P9 headphones I love so much. The only frequency response chart I've been able to find online measures them very...interestingly, and looking at the chart alone I probably would have passed them over. But when listening, I certainly don't detect the massive dips, and I'm in love with them enough that I'm asking myself if there must be some inherent flaw in trying to measure anything at all. Or maybe my ears are just a complete mess, that's possible too.
My LX16s measured very poorly when Sound and Vision tested the identical Motion 15s but I really like them.

Oddly they measured very well in my actual room using REW and Umik.
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post #12 of 15 Old 03-28-2019, 12:04 PM
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My LX16s measured very poorly when Sound and Vision tested the identical Motion 15s but I really like them.

Oddly they measured very well in my actual room using REW and Umik.
yes , i too think that in room demo is the only way to really know.. my 2 sets of b1's sound different by a noticeable margin in my separate rooms.. it isn't huge , but it is there...

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #13 of 15 Old 03-28-2019, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post
The R300 were among the first contenders in this round of "must have new speakers". They are gorgeous, and did work some absolute magic when it came to three-dimensional sound staging. I remember only 2 things about the sound: The highs were a little soft (subdued a bit?) for my taste, and the low-end was generous. I have to imagine the mids were very good, but those other two aspects are what left a lasting impression.

I went from the R300 to the Emotiva line and would do so again if I was in the same situation.

Measurements are a funny thing. Take the P9 headphones I love so much. The only frequency response chart I've been able to find online measures them very...interestingly, and looking at the chart alone I probably would have passed them over. But when listening, I certainly don't detect the massive dips, and I'm in love with them enough that I'm asking myself if there must be some inherent flaw in trying to measure anything at all. Or maybe my ears are just a complete mess, that's possible too.
if you didn't much go bonkers over the r300 then my guess is the reva's may not float your boat either.. but it isn't a given, just a prediction..

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-07-2019, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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if you didn't much go bonkers over the r300 then my guess is the reva's may not float your boat either.. but it isn't a given, just a prediction..
Funny enough, probably correct I did have a pair of Diamond 10.2 a few years ago that I was very happy with though, guess my tastes have changed.

On a related note, I was playing around with Crutchfield's "virtual sound comparison" tool they just rolled out, luckily my P9 headphones are in their list. I really, really wonder how similar this is to actual listening. Using the tool to compare the Reva's with some Monitor Silvers and KEF Q550 / 750. This is where this tool is either the coolest new thing in the world or the worst, as I wouldn't even consider the Reva based on this virtual comparison thing.

On the topic of my original post: I picked up a used pair of CM6s2 with their stands for what I'm choosing to believe is a steal ($1100 all-in). Guess I'll find out when they arrive in the next day or two.

When I got the P9 headphones, on my first listen I could tell they were in a completely different league than the $400-500 stuff I'd been burning through trying to find something I loved, at least in terms of the sonic characteristics I valued. I'm very interested (hopeful) to see if that's the case with the CM6s2.
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-07-2019, 02:50 PM
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Funny enough, probably correct I did have a pair of Diamond 10.2 a few years ago that I was very happy with though, guess my tastes have changed.

On a related note, I was playing around with Crutchfield's "virtual sound comparison" tool they just rolled out, luckily my P9 headphones are in their list. I really, really wonder how similar this is to actual listening. Using the tool to compare the Reva's with some Monitor Silvers and KEF Q550 / 750. This is where this tool is either the coolest new thing in the world or the worst, as I wouldn't even consider the Reva based on this virtual comparison thing.

On the topic of my original post: I picked up a used pair of CM6s2 with their stands for what I'm choosing to believe is a steal ($1100 all-in). Guess I'll find out when they arrive in the next day or two.

When I got the P9 headphones, on my first listen I could tell they were in a completely different league than the $400-500 stuff I'd been burning through trying to find something I loved, at least in terms of the sonic characteristics I valued. I'm very interested (hopeful) to see if that's the case with the CM6s2.
i have never heard the CM6s2's , but i hear they are pretty great, i kope they work out well for you..

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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