Revel M126Be vs. B&W 705s2 (and centers) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 35 Old 06-26-2020, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Revel M126Be vs. B&W 705s2 (and centers)

Like many, I can't really get out to a store to listen to these at the moment, so hopefully some of you can help me.

I am deciding between the Revel M126Be (+matching center) and the B&W 705s2 (+matching center). The center speakers for both seem wildly different. The Revel center (C426Be) is 3x more expensive and much larger and heavier than the B&W (HTM71s2). Is it overkill having that Revel speaker between the M126Be bookshelf speakers? I will be committing the sin of having the bookshelf spears in a built-in unit. I do own a good/large sub, so I don't really need the speakers to do deep bass.

From what I've read on these forums and around the internet is that people seem to really like both of these speakers & brands. Based on prices it seems the Revel may be a higher tier, but I know it's not always true that higher price equals higher quality. I will be using these speakers with both movies/tv and music, but if I had to pick I would prefer the movies to sound better.

If anyone has any experience with both, I would be very happy to hear about it.

Thank you.
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post #2 of 35 Old 06-26-2020, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by geoffdblair View Post
Like many, I can't really get out to a store to listen to these at the moment, so hopefully some of you can help me.

I am deciding between the Revel M126Be (+matching center) and the B&W 705s2 (+matching center). The center speakers for both seem wildly different. The Revel center (C426Be) is 3x more expensive and much larger and heavier than the B&W (HTM71s2). Is it overkill having that Revel speaker between the M126Be bookshelf speakers? I will be committing the sin of having the bookshelf spears in a built-in unit. I do own a good/large sub, so I don't really need the speakers to do deep bass.

From what I've read on these forums and around the internet is that people seem to really like both of these speakers & brands. Based on prices it seems the Revel may be a higher tier, but I know it's not always true that higher price equals higher quality. I will be using these speakers with both movies/tv and music, but if I had to pick I would prefer the movies to sound better.

If anyone has any experience with both, I would be very happy to hear about it.

Thank you.
I'd try to go listen to these. The revel center looks a slight bit more impressive but my guess is they're pretty comparable. The left / right speakers are what you care about more for music and the center a lot more for movies. The continuum midrange in the B&W's is exceptional for clear speech though.

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post #3 of 35 Old 06-26-2020, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by geoffdblair View Post
Like many, I can't really get out to a store to listen to these at the moment,

I am deciding between the Revel M126Be (+matching center) and the B&W 705s2 (+matching center). The center speakers for both seem wildly different. The Revel center (C426Be) is 3x more expensive and much larger and heavier than the B&W (HTM71s2). Is it overkill having that Revel speaker between the M126Be bookshelf speakers? I will be committing the sin of having the bookshelf spears in a built-in unit. I do own a good/large sub, so I don't really need the speakers to do deep bass.

From what I've read on these forums and around the internet is that people seem to really like both of these speakers & brands. Based on prices it seems the Revel may be a higher tier, but I know it's not always true that higher price equals higher quality. I will be using these speakers with both movies/tv and music, but if I had to pick I would prefer the movies to sound better.

1. Even if we were not in coronavirus lockdown, there is no substitute for an IN-HOME audition. The B&W speakers and the Revel M126 (but not the 426) you're looking at are available at Crutchfield.com which has a nice $10 flat rate return shipping policy.

2. If you're putting speakers inside an enclosed cabinet, a front-ported or sealed cabinet design would be a much better idea. Both the speakers you're looking at are rear ported. Also, the pretty cabinetry that both speakers offer (and which is the main reason for their high prices) would be largely wasted if they're going to sit inside a cabinet anyway.

3. I'm glad to see that you are not a sucker for the "You get what you pay for" sales/marketing propaganda. However, if you're looking for maximum price-to-performance and your first priority is movies, I would not pick either of these speakers. There's nothing wrong with them of course, it's just that you can do very well for a lot less money if you're willing to go off the beaten path and consider brands that you probably have never heard of.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #4 of 35 Old 06-26-2020, 08:01 AM
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The main value of listening to speakers in a store is that it allows you to figure out what type of SOUND SIGNATURE (e.g. "bright? warm? neutral?") you prefer. But at the end of the day, there is simply NO SUBSTITUTE for an in-home audition. Why not? Because: You never know if the salesperson is inept and/or dishonest (cough cough, Best Buy Magnolia), and how much effect the shop's room acoustics and chosen receiver/amp will have on how the speakers sound IN THE STORE vs how they will actually sound in YOUR home, on YOUR electronics---and most importantly, with YOUR room acoustics in play. Not to mention all the different variables concerning placement, subwoofers, subwoofer settings, receiver settings, etc. which can make a huge difference in your perception of the speaker you're hearing.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #5 of 35 Old 06-26-2020, 08:35 AM
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I've owned B&W 702 S2's, Revel F206, and many other speakers and the Revel is vastly superior IMO. Objectively this is true as well, if you look at the measurements. You can argue that a speaker can sound much worse than it measures, but it's much harder to claim a speaker with flawed measurements will sound better than one without those flaws.

For example, the B&W grow tiring on the ears at times, and are really piercing for certain kinds of music. During the time I was a blissfully ignorant B&W owner, I thought it was normal to fatigue from listening after an hour or so. I thought it was normal that all rock music sounded awful and terribly painful to the ears. Later, seeing the B&W measurements, I started to realize that every issue I had with it was all described there perfectly; nasty resonances in mids/treble, tweeter beaming, wildly inconsistent on/off axis response that is impossible to fix with EQ, etc. As an experiment I tried buying Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers (cheaper than the B&W's) expecting them to come close. But they absolutely blew the B&W 702 S2 out of the water when I applied a mild bass boost to adjust them to my liking.

And the most important thing if you are a music lover: With neutral speakers, you can listen to ALL kinds of music and it will all sound as good as it gets. I am still mildly upset at B&W for making me think certain genres sound bad, when in reality I could have been enjoying them on speakers that were less fatally flawed.

Comparatively speaking, you won't really find much to fault any of Revel's products. If you compare side by side, you may find the B&W's treble and mids spikes to make some music (e.g. jazz) have more of a 'sparkle' to it that my be appealing at first, until it makes your ears bleed. I find myself listening to neutral speakers like Revel/Ascend/Neumman/Genelec (my favorite brands) for far longer before getting tired (if I ever get tired at all), so ever since I switched from my B&W's to neutral speakers, I've never looked back. Note that B&W is not just non-neutral; it has serious flaws in the off-axis response that cannot be corrected with EQ. In contrast, you can EQ a good neutral speaker to just about any sonic character you prefer.

Now as others have said, you may want to look farther than Revel PerformaBe if you're looking for high value-per-dollar. I would recommend Ascend Acoustics for passive speakers and Neumann KH80 / KH120 for compact actives, but have you considered the Revel Performa3 series instead of PerformaBe? The Performa3 series is still a league beyond the best B&W has to offer (yes, their 8xx series etc. -- I've heard them all) in most ways, but the PerformaBe is two leagues beyond and you do pay for it.

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Revel speakers are known for being neutral with flat on and off axis response. B&W "voices" their speakers, they are not flat. Dr. Floyd Toole's research shows most people prefer neutral speakers in blind testing.

Because you have a sub, if you cross over at 80Hz, the rear port will not be an issue. If you can afford and accommodate the C426Be, it is an excellent center channel and has the same drivers and crossovers as the M126Be so it is the perfect match for them. The center channel is very important for movies, most of the content (dialog etc) is in it.
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post #7 of 35 Old 06-26-2020, 09:40 AM
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Not only are B&W "voiced" in terms of intentionally uneven frequency response, but if we look at the normalized off-axis response (which shows frequency response at different angles off axis computed as if you had perfectly EQ'ed the on-axis response flat) you'll notice that there are huge issues that cannot ever be corrected by any sort of EQ.

Here are measurements both from Stereophile for comparison. More detailed measurements are available for Revel, but not the B&W, so we use the same measurement procedure here for comparison sake:

B&W 702 S2 (horizontal response):



Revel M106 (horizontal response):



Having owned both B&W 702 S2 and Revel F206, I can assure you the flaws in the B&W measurements here ARE audible, and will either slowly drive you crazy, or if you're lucky be tolerable if you never listen to a wide range of genres (but even within a genre B&W likes, it's very very hit-or-miss).
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post #8 of 35 Old 06-26-2020, 04:25 PM
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OP, I think you have to listen to each of them with material you like, preferably in your own room. Don't rely on reviews or charts. Listen to them and decide based on your ears.
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post #9 of 35 Old 06-27-2020, 11:30 AM
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OP, I think you have to listen to each of them with material you like, preferably in your own room. Don't rely on reviews or charts. Listen to them and decide based on your ears.
Don’t rely on subjectivist speaker magazine reviews. Yes! Good advise. Those are known to be terribly biased and each review is basically paid advertising disguised as a review.

But don’t rely on measurements at all?? This is bad advise — speaking from experience. I know, because I was given advise like this (“only your ears can choose!”) and gullibly believed advise like this when I bought my B&W 702 S2 (a speaker with flawed measurements that has a great trick of being able to impress in demo rooms, but fatigue horribly when it’s flaws start to grate on your ears over times). So such advise ended up wasted thousands of dollars of my money.

Yes, listening tests are useful, but they have many drawbacks (it’s very difficult to do reliably unless you are comparing in the same room over hours, swapping back and forth, over a wide range of music genres).

I’m all for listening tests to choose between two speakers that have no major flaws in their measurements! There is also a wide range of legitimate preference differences in tonal balance (e.g. treble vs bass tilt etc.), dispersion width, and others. Listening tests to find your preference along these dimensions are all great (especially dispersion width, because you cannot adjust that with EQ).

But there are mountains of scientific evidence that the kind of major flaws we see in the normalized off-axis response of B&W will lead to a less preferred sound vs speakers without those flaws. So I cannot see any justification for that aside from maybe the opinion of extreme subjectivists, and as far as I know this is a Science forum.

P.S. If you check my really early post history, you’ll see I was a big fan of the B&W and the 702 S2. It’s not that you won’t enjoy B&W. It’s that other speakers are way better. You’ll see this in my post history as well when my eyes were opened when I bought my Ascend Towers.

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post #10 of 35 Old 06-27-2020, 12:09 PM
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Don’t rely on subjectivist speaker magazine reviews. Yes! Good advise. Those are known to be terribly biased and each review is basically paid advertising disguised as a review.

But don’t rely on measurements at all?? This is bad advise — speaking from experience. I know, because I was given advise like this (“only your ears can choose!”) and gullibly believed advise like this when I bought my B&W 702 S2 (a speaker with flawed measurements that has a great trick of being able to impress in demo rooms, but fatigue horribly when it’s flaws start to grate on your ears over times). So such advise ended up wasted thousands of dollars of my money.

Yes, listening tests are useful, but they have many drawbacks (it’s very difficult to do reliably unless you are comparing in the same room over hours, swapping back and forth, over a wide range of music genres).

I’m all for listening tests to choose between two speakers that have no major flaws in their measurements! There is also a wide range of legitimate preference differences in tonal balance (e.g. treble vs bass tilt etc.), dispersion width, and others. Listening tests to find your preference along these dimensions are all great (especially dispersion width, because you cannot adjust that with EQ).

But there are mountains of scientific evidence that the kind of major flaws we see in the normalized off-axis response of B&W will lead to a less preferred sound vs speakers without those flaws. So I cannot see any justification for that aside from maybe the opinion of extreme subjectivists, and as far as I know this is a Science forum.

P.S. If you check my really early post history, you’ll see I was a big fan of the B&W and the 702 S2. It’s not that you won’t enjoy B&W. It’s that other speakers are way better. You’ll see this in my post history as well when my eyes were opened when I bought my Ascend Towers.
The rest of the speakers you own (in your signature) aren't too bad either.
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post #11 of 35 Old 06-27-2020, 02:30 PM
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I can’t speak for others, but I assure you I’m not biased or affiliated with any brand. I’ve owned many speakers, some bad, some good, some great. Revel, Ascend, Neumann, Genelec all make fantastic speakers. In my experience, B&W do not, unless you haven’t experienced better.

In case you still think I’m shilling for Revel, take a look at my 4-person blind test of Ascend Towers vs Revel F206 here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...-towers.14259/

They tied, with the Revel winning on bass fidelity and a warmer fuller balance, and the Ascend winning on treble and upper mids fidelity.

Neumann and Genelec make active speakers which are quite different from passives, but if OP is considering all options, they’re definitely worth checking out. You can’t go wrong with any of these brands IMO.

P.S. Oh and KEF makes fantastic speakers too. I’ve heard good things about Dynaudio and Focal though they are less transparent about measurements so I would consider them more risky. For example, Focal do have a measured upper treble increase that most adults can’t hear. I can though, and the Focals I’ve heard in person sound wonderful in the bass through mids except when they get to the upper treble they are unbearably exaggerated there.

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post #12 of 35 Old 06-27-2020, 05:41 PM
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But there are mountains of scientific evidence that the kind of major flaws we see in the normalized off-axis response of B&W will lead to a less preferred sound vs speakers without those flaws. So I cannot see any justification for that aside from maybe the opinion of extreme subjectivists, and as far as I know this is a Science forum
Less preferred by whom exactly? I assume it's not everyone, otherwise B&W would not still be in business. If you boil it down, all you've really said is that some people will prefer certain speakers over others. That's a perfectly logical statement and it's the reason why people should listen to as many as they can before deciding what to buy. So research and read reviews, yes (I didn't mean to suggest people should never do that, so poor choice of words on my part), but at the end of the day you have to listen. That trumps everything.

It's sort of like buying a car. Nobody in their right mind would simply look at 0-60 times, handling measures or fuel economy to make their decision. You have to get behind the wheel and drive it. Data on paper will only take you so far.
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Less preferred by whom exactly? I assume it's not everyone, otherwise B&W would not still be in business. If you boil it down, all you've really said is that some people will prefer certain speakers over others. That's a perfectly logical statement and it's the reason why people should listen to as many as they can before deciding what to buy. So research and read reviews, yes (I didn't mean to suggest people should never do that, so poor choice of words on my part), but at the end of the day you have to listen. That trumps everything.

It's sort of like buying a car. Nobody in their right mind would simply look at 0-60 times, handling measures or fuel economy to make their decision. You have to get behind the wheel and drive it. Data on paper will only take you so far.
To continue your analogy, buying a modern B&W speaker that measures so poorly is like paying Porsche money for a Porsche-styled body kit on a children’s tricycle. Yeah, maybe some people prefer that over a real Porsche — and if that’s your thing, more power to you (you go enjoy what you enjoy)! But the reality is not many people do prefer that.

Similarly, as a matter of fact, we do know (from VERY robust science) what kind of speakers are preferred by the VAST majority of people, over a vast range of music and genres. Please consider looking into the science here.

And before you try to return with anti-science talking points, I remind you the “S” in “AVSForum” stands for “Science”, not “Subjectivist”. There are other forums and places to debate objectivism vs subjectivism, but this is not one of those.

And to say cite that B&W sell as evidence of their quality is a horrible example. Even if it were true, it proves nothing about quality: there is a vast amount of popular expensive junk out there in the world. But B&W is not doing so well, and has been sold a few times and may be on the verge of shutting down. They are going through another potential acquisition that may or may not bail them out.
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post #14 of 35 Old 06-27-2020, 07:18 PM
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https://www.audioholics.com/bookshel...erforma-m126be

That’s an excellent look at the Revel’s. Also, you can find the recently reviewed (as in yesterday I think) M106’s on ASR, which is a no-nonsense look at the speakers—and just think, the M106’s are a step down in Revel’s line up. You can find that review here:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...-review.14363/
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https://www.audioholics.com/bookshel...erforma-m126be

That’s an excellent look at the Revel’s. Also, you can find the recently reviewed (as in yesterday I think) M106’s on ASR, which is a no-nonsense look at the speakers—and just think, the M106’s are a step down in Revel’s line up. You can find that review here:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...-review.14363/
No surprise that a Harman-biased "reviewer" likes a Harman product...
And, of course, the Cult of Toole strikes again with their "Measurement Mantra". Honestly, why the vitriol against speakers that don't measure EXACTLY the same as any Harman product ever?
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No surprise that a Harman-biased "reviewer" likes a Harman product...
And, of course, the Cult of Toole strikes again with their "Measurement Mantra". Honestly, why the vitriol against speakers that don't measure EXACTLY the same as any Harman product ever?
agreed.. i like "neutral" speakers with a smooth top end , but they aren't the only way to enjoy music.. sometimes a bit of "bite" can work well for certain rooms and genres...

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post #17 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 12:54 PM
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That’s why I never post any longer. After being part of this place for a decade plus it’s all the same. Not really anyone’s fault and maybe I was that way once, but sheep follow sheep. You can over read and over read and make all of your buying decisions based on the same parrots reporting the same thing over and over.

I’ve owned some pretty damn nice speakers in my time. Probably not as many as some but a fair share. My last high end I guess would be KEF Reference including the monster center. Two things happened. I moved to a place with a higher mortgage. The big spend days were over. 2, in the new place I thought I wanted in wall keep the look clean, 3, I really grew bored with the KEF Reference sound. Neutral is as neutral does. Sometimes they were great speakers and sometimes it’s an incredibly boring, soulless sound.

I would say KEF sounds more to a Revel than not. In fact damn close.

I ended up with the 702 S2 in White. I was at a new $5k cap. I also picked up the larger center in the series. I have to admit, I have really enjoyed the hell out of these speakers for stereo and HT. Not sure where bright comes from as they are not. It took years but I think for my world, I discovered a $5k speaker can be as enjoyable if not more than a $10k run.

The 702 S2 are frigging beautiful pieces of art as a bonus. In white anyway.

Maybe source gear matters maybe it doesn’t but I still have my three Simaudio mono amps pushing the front three and a Arcam 860 tying things up. NAD Masters Stereo preamp and NAD Masters for streaming.

Who knows, maybe the front end gear is taking the Bowers up a few notches in performance. But the Bowers bashing is quite numerous to me in many of these threads.
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post #18 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 01:58 PM
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I didn’t intend to offend in my post. I don’t believe I’m a sheep, but perhaps I am? The m106 review was just made on ASR literally a couple of days ago, so I thought the poster would be interested. As far as I know, Audioholics isn’t a Revel dealer. Perhaps the conflict of interest on ASR played a part in the review, or, perhaps not (after all, there are negative reviews of other Harman products on that website). I think diversity of opinion is a good thing and I hope what I posted doesn’t discourage long time members from posting opinions.
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post #19 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr.SoftDome View Post
I really grew bored with the KEF Reference sound. Neutral is as neutral does. Sometimes they were great speakers and sometimes it’s an incredibly boring, soulless sound.


B-b-b-b-but Harman's meticulously peer-reviewed (not!) studies PROVED that everybody loves neutral speakers above all!




~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)

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post #20 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 02:21 PM
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I didn’t intend to offend in my post. I don’t believe I’m a sheep, but perhaps I am? The m106 review was just made on ASR literally a couple of days ago, so I thought the poster would be interested. As far as I know, Audioholics isn’t a Revel dealer. Perhaps the conflict of interest on ASR played a part in the review, or, perhaps not (after all, there are negative reviews of other Harman products on that website). I think diversity of opinion is a good thing and I hope what I posted doesn’t discourage long time members from posting opinions.
Don't take it personal, some people get triggered when you mention measurements around here, not surprisingly it's mostly the people who have speakers that measure terribly...except Zorba who has very neutral speakers yet maybe doesn't know it? lol... I personally think a combination of both is best but I wouldn't belittle someone who wants to solely use measurements or solely audition speakers, it's personal preference.

Either way there have now been people on both sides giving their subjective and objective opinion so I think the OP has a lot more information than when he started.
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post #21 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 03:55 PM
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I actually own the B&W 705s2 - one of the speakers the OP is asking about. But I dare not speak about it on this forum for fear of getting condemned.

I do own neutral speakers (Philharmonic BMR, JBL 306p Mk2, AA+[DIY]) among other colored ones. I enjoy them all in different situations. I own speakers more than my house can accommodate. But I rotate among them to have variety and avoid monotony. It would defeat the purpose if all of them were neutral right?

There are things in this world you are restricted to one (a spouse for example) but not speakers. Cheers!
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post #22 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 04:39 PM
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I actually own the B&W 705s2 - one of the speakers the OP is asking about. But I dare not speak about it on this forum for fear of getting condemned.
I don't know why, I think the majority on here won't condemn you for owning B&W speakers, I'm a measurement guy myself but your own personal enjoyment should always come first. My first decent speakers were Polk Rti 1000 and then Monitor 60 ( A downgrade but I didn't know it at the time lol), most would consider these speakers colored but I enjoyed them at the time and they were fun speakers. Hell now that I'm slightly obsessed with measurements I wouldn't mind trying some Polks again and taming the brightness just a tad so they aren't fatiguing.
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post #23 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post


B-b-b-b-but Harmon's meticulously peer-reviewed (not!) studies PROVED that everybody loves neutral speakers above all!



I haven't seen any of the Harmon studies. I have seen some of the Harman studies.
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post #24 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 05:13 PM
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I haven't seen any of the Harmon studies. I have seen some of the Harman studies.
Sorry, it's hard to spell correctly while picking one's jaw up off the ground and simultaneously trying not to go into cardiac arrest.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #25 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 05:15 PM
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Sorry, it's hard to spell correctly while picking one's jaw up off the ground and simultaneously trying not to go into cardiac arrest.
No problem. I correct it every so often. Don't go into cardiac arrest though. I don't think that would be fun.
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post #26 of 35 Old 06-28-2020, 05:22 PM
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No surprise that a Harman-biased "reviewer" likes a Harman product...
And, of course, the Cult of Toole strikes again with their "Measurement Mantra". Honestly, why the vitriol against speakers that don't measure EXACTLY the same as any Harman product ever?

If Amir were a Harman shill, why would he excoriate an Arcam pre/pro?
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Best bet is to try and order both from somewhere like crutchfield, listen to them both side by side for a few weeks, and return the loser.
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post #28 of 35 Old 06-29-2020, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone. I really appreciate it.

I am doing some further research. I looked up the various brands mentioned, such as the Ascend, that I had never heard before. They are intriguing, but I don't think the aesthetic will go over well with the family.

The measurements and charts are a bit over my head at this point, but I like the conclusions.

I also did some forum searches and Google for front port/sealed designs and came across the Aerial Acoustics 5Ts that claim they are designed to be as little as 2 inches away from the wall. Right know I'm thinking the B&W are out, based on the comments. I don't know where I'll end up, but it's at least fun looking it all up.
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post #29 of 35 Old 06-29-2020, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by geoffdblair View Post
Thank you everyone. I really appreciate it.

I am doing some further research. I looked up the various brands mentioned, such as the Ascend, that I had never heard before. They are intriguing, but I don't think the aesthetic will go over well with the family.

The measurements and charts are a bit over my head at this point, but I like the conclusions.

I also did some forum searches and Google for front port/sealed designs and came across the Aerial Acoustics 5Ts that claim they are designed to be as little as 2 inches away from the wall. Right know I'm thinking the B&W are out, based on the comments. I don't know where I'll end up, but it's at least fun looking it all up.
Were you looking at the Ascend SE series, or the Sierra series? The SE are the budget line and have very plain/industrial black MDF cabinets. The Sierras are a lot nicer looking, with bamboo cabinets in various color options.

If you need front-ported speakers, take a look at the RSL CG25s --- they may be more aesthetically appealing to you, and you get the assurance of free return shipping.
https://rslspeakers.com/products/cg2...enter-channel/

The sealed-cabinet (no ports) NHT C3 speakers are also worth consideration, and if you buy them from Amazon you get not just a better price than the NHT website but Amazon's easy return policy.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #30 of 35 Old 06-30-2020, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyroscopics View Post
I actually own the B&W 705s2 - one of the speakers the OP is asking about. But I dare not speak about it on this forum for fear of getting condemned.

I do own neutral speakers (Philharmonic BMR, JBL 306p Mk2, AA+[DIY]) among other colored ones. I enjoy them all in different situations. I own speakers more than my house can accommodate. But I rotate among them to have variety and avoid monotony. It would defeat the purpose if all of them were neutral right?

There are things in this world you are restricted to one (a spouse for example) but not speakers. Cheers!
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.

In contrast, when I recommend speakers to others, it's no longer about what I prefer. In this case, there's nothing better than using the established science on how to select the speaker most likely to be preferred in general. Scientifically, we know that when compared in a blind test (to remove aesthetic biases, brand perception biases, and much more), speakers with a more consistent and smooth normalized off-axis response (i.e. off-axis frequency response closely matching the on-axis 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! EQ is completely fine and should be encouraged -- there is nothing less "pure" about it despite old myths, and if nothing else it's vastly superior to buying an entirely different speaker just to achieve a mildly different tonal balance. EQ 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.

When I first received my Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers, I found them better than the B&W 702 S2 in most, but not all ways. I still enjoyed the B&W 702 S2 more for some tracks, and in some ways (particularly bass-related). But with a simple EQ of the Ascends to my liking, I found their sound quality and subjective enjoyment suddenly exceeded the B&W 702 S2 in every way. You might be surprised how much of the different 'flavors' you experience between different speakers are just due to frequency response. You don't need different speakers for that; all you need is the ability and willingness to play around with EQ.

Now, maybe there is some remaining preference for the idiosyncratic off-axis response that differs wildly from the on-axis response. If so, it's just that we know from the science that you would be an extreme outlier with such a preference.
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