Revel M126Be vs. B&W 705s2 (and centers) - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 35 Old 06-30-2020, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
If you've owned neutral speakers with excellent normalized off-axis response, and own B&W and still like the B&W, then you do not need to be ashamed to speak out! It's great that you've found what works for you.

If there is ever a "problem" when people recommend B&W, the issue is not that their experience or preference is invalid! Of course your subjective experience is valid to you and your music, but that's the thing -- it's only valid to you. When I recommend speakers to others, it's no longer about what I prefer.

We know scientifically that if compared in a blind test (to remove aesthetic biases, brand perception biases, and much more), speakers with a more consistent and smooth off-axis response (closely matching the on-axis/listening window response) are preferred by the vast majority of people, over the widest range of music genres.

Moreover, speakers with good normalized off-axis response are EQ'able to fit just about any preferred target frequency response curve you prefer! In fact, this is completely fine and encouraged, and will work fantastically well on good speakers that have well-behaved off-axis response. In contrast, speakers whose off-axis response differs wildly from the on-axis response (like pretty much all current-gen B&W's) cannot ever be EQ'ed to fix issues related to this.
Are you referring to the results from testing by a single speaker company or are there independent testing results to reach this conclusion?
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post #32 of 35 Old 06-30-2020, 07:13 AM
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Are you referring to the results from testing by a single speaker company or are there independent testing results to reach this conclusion?
I'm referring to published scientific AES papers from research pioneered originally in the Canadian National Research Council.

I'm not saying it's perfect or flawless, but there is a lot of really solid science there that still holds up today.

Again, I'm not saying it's 100% the last word on speaker preference. In fact, there is growing evidence and justification that the CEA2034 spec is missing some important information that is otherwise visible clearly in the horizontal off-axis plots: the horizontal dispersion width (whereas I believe CEA2034 equally weights horizontal and vertical response into a single directivity index).

So, I'm certainly not one of the Harman worshipers or anything like that. I remind you that many of us are recommending non-Harman speakers as excellent choices to consider, in case you forgot.

But regardless, there is a lot of very solid science there. There's a lot of wiggle room for individual preference along dispersion characteristics and overall spectral balance. You may like wider dispersion speakers, or narrower dispersion, or bass tilted, or treble tilted. That's all fine. However there's not much room to justify extremely bad off-axis frequency response -- it's pretty conclusive that the vast majority of people do not prefer that, and extremely well justified as to why that is.
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post #33 of 35 Old 06-30-2020, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
If you've owned neutral speakers with excellent normalized off-axis response, and own B&W and still like the B&W, then you do not need to be ashamed to speak out! It's great that you've found what works for you.
I'm more of a "soundstage" guy rather than an "accuracy" guy when critical listening. Not that I don't appreciate accuracy, but I especially appreciate good soundstage - where the 705s2 is as good as the BMRs (now the 702s2 - not as much, it's a muddy mess). When passive listening, I don't really care.

For well recorded music I definitely love the BMR for critical listening. But when I listen to Classic Rock I wish the mid-bass could be stronger and the sizzle could be hotter. I acknowledge that I can't replicate live concert feeling with these small speakers, no matter how accurate and dispersion-blessed they are. Otherwise, I could have bought PA speakers with the loudest SPL I could get. But life is full of compromises, whether or not you're willing to negotiate.

BTW, I listen to music with the BMRs in full range for the utmost bass coherence and accuracy. But I use subwoofer with my other bookshelves to compensate.

Now all this discussion about accuracy and coherence is futile if someone use room correction. I am a "purist" when it comes to 2 channel music. I use room correction only in my HT systems. That's why I value accuracy as much as anyone else with their dedicated 2 channel speakers.

I once measured the LSiMs on my HT system and was impressed at what Audyssey XT32 could do (see attached FR graphs). The same speaker was a bloody mess when measured on the same spot directly driven by my humble integrated amp (HINT), bypassing the room correction from the Denon. (The LSiMs are not the speakers the OP asked about, but I just wanted to make a point.) Bottom line, one can achieve accuracy with proper room correction. When choosing speakers for HT duty, one can be liberal with his selection criteria.

Disclaimer: The FR graphs are room response curves - specific to my room.

As for the OP, he is looking for bookshelves along with a matching center, implied by the thread title. So I would think he would be using room correction on his AVR, and he might listen to music (2 or 2.1 ch) in room-corrected mode. In such case, accuracy would matter, but not as much.

One other thing OP @geoffdblair , if you go the B&W route, the 705s2 and HTM71s2 are NOT exactly voice matched. But between the HTM71s2 and HTM72s2, the larger 3-way center is better than the smaller 2-way model despite the slight mismatch. And I give this advice from personal experience (not from theory) because I also own the HTM71s2 and I demoed the smaller HTM72s2 at the store. I don't normally give advice on this forum, as I am not an expert like the rest. But while I'm on it, I better give some which you might find useful somehow. Afterall, I already wrote a freakin story up here.
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post #34 of 35 Old 06-30-2020, 10:12 AM
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Now all this discussion about accuracy and coherence is futile if someone use room correction. I am a "purist" when it comes to 2 channel music. I use room correction only in my HT systems.
You are welcome to be a "purist", whatever that means, but your first sentence in this quote is factually inaccurate (backwards, actually): It is almost impossible to achieve accurate bass response without room EQ (though sadly Audessy makes a big mistake of also EQ'ing above the Shroeder frequency, which should not be done and is why Audessy auto calibration always makes my speakers sound worse for music). And if your speaker has a bad off-axis response, it is impossible to correct that with room EQ. You still need speakers without off-axis flaws, if you want the best sound quality.

TLDR: If you can, you should always EQ bass (below the Schroeder frequency only) as this is essential to optimal bass sound quality (both subjectively and in terms of objective accuracy). But if you have speakers with bad off-axis response (highly mismatched vs on-axis), there is nothing that can be done to fix that in your signal -- no amount of DSP (EQ or otherwise) can ever fix those flaws.

P.S. I also love soundstage! I agree B&W did it quite well. But as you've noted, it can be matched by other speakers that are better in other ways as well.

And I'm also with you on wanting more midbass vs what many speakers offer. But there are ways to achieve a healthy dose of midbass, plus great soundstage, plus neutrality and other nice benefits from a speaker that measures well. Revel is one brand that does particularly well at midbass in my experience (and the comments from my Ascend vs Revel did reflect this, for example).

So it's really up to the OP wants. But my point is simple: There's still no real evidence that any significant percentage of people prefer bad off-axis response. Some people like B&W for other reasons and that's fine. But you can get all that and more from other brands. I mean that as an FYI to the OP who has not yet purchased speakers. I am not trying to insult existing B&W owners. As a former B&W owner and someone with a decent grasp of the science, I'm just being honest with the facts towards best helping out the OP.

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post #35 of 35 Old 06-30-2020, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
You are welcome to be a "purist", whatever that means, but your first sentence in this quote is factually inaccurate (backwards, actually): It is almost impossible to achieve accurate bass response without room EQ (though sadly Audessy makes a big mistake of also EQ'ing above the Shroeder frequency, which should not be done and is why Audessy auto calibration always makes my speakers sound worse for music). And if your speaker has a bad off-axis response, it is impossible to correct that with room EQ. You still need speakers without off-axis flaws, if you want the best sound quality.
What I meant by "purist" is that I avoid or minimize altering the content from the source such as going through DSP or room correction (when listening to music, but HT is another story as stated in my previous post). By bass coherence, I meant bass driver coherence with the mid-range and highs. Being a "purist", I can achieve the best coherence with my BMRs (among my other speakers) by skipping the subwoofer (because I am satisfied with the BMR's low end extension for music). Compromises - as I stated in my earlier post. I only use the BMRs in a dedicated 2.0 ch music system.

As for the OP, I don't think he needs to be concerned with my criteria above, as stated in my earlier post.

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Originally Posted by echopraxia View Post
If you've owned neutral speakers with excellent normalized off-axis response, and own B&W and still like the B&W, then you do not need to be ashamed to speak out!
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Originally Posted by Gyroscopics View Post
I do own neutral speakers (Philharmonic BMR, JBL 306p Mk2, AA+[DIY]) among other colored ones. I enjoy them all in different situations.
I like them all as previously stated. And given the situation, I speak my mind, but refrain from preaching someone else's bible.
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