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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought B&W 604 S3's about 18 months ago and continue to be amazed by their performance. I've been running the speakers on an Onkyo 797 receiver from the beginning, anticipating building a surround package in small steps. Well, last night my wife surprised me with a pair of 601's as an anniversary gift. This raises the following questions:

1. The B&W literature recommends the 602's as surrounds with my 604's. I'm sure the 602's are an improvement on the 601's, especially with bass extension, but they are really big for a stand-mount. Are the 601's too overmatched by my 604's to make good partners in a surround system?

2. This may seem a strange question, but I had imagined that when building my HT system, I would buy a center channel speaker before the surrounds. The 797 has a 2-channel setting that generates a "virtual center channel" and that works pretty well. The B&W centers are priced roughly the same as two comparable surrounds. If the current budget only fits one center or two surrounds, which should come first in my system?

3. Finally, the biggest obstacle I face is that we are renting our condo, so there's no way we can drill holes in the floor or otherwise run the speaker wire anywhere but on the floor against the walls. Any suggestions re dealing with speaker wire in an open floor plan? Can only hide so much under the couch.

Any responses will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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1. The 601s will work VERY well as surrounds. As you stated, the 602s are much better in regards to bass - however you most likely will cross them over at 80Hz and run them as small - so this is somewhat negated.


2. If you don't sit off axis to your 604s - the virtual surround will work great - and the available funds would be better used on surrounds.


3. Speaker wire can be hidden under carpet. You may also consider talking to your condo owner about having the condo wired for surrounds with the connection terminated in an attractive wall plate. It could end up being a selling point for future renters - most people want 5.1 in their living room.:D


Good luck and enjoy.
 

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Hey SoxFan-If I read your post correctly you already have the 601's and as Mit said they will work great with the 604's. Only thing left is the Center.


I am a firm believer in a center channel as movie conversations are sometimes very location driven. And there is nothing like a crashing helicopter going from FL to C to FR to everywhere.


Keep the 601's and buy a center you will be glad you did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. I'm feeling much better about the whole situation now. I think I'll keep the 601's and the LCR600 will be next on the list. My next question concern speaker wire. Due to my open floor plan, non-owner situation (Mit--I'd love the owner to wire the living room for surround sound, but that's a pipe dream), I'm probably looking at running wires along the baseboard to the 601's. Likely around 20-25 feet of length. I'm guessing that 14 guage wire would be appropriate, based on my research so far. Now for the questions:

1. If I go with bulk wire and decide to add connectors (my 604s use banana plugs), how do I know what size crimper I'll need?

2. Is bare wire connection worst-case scenario, or are banana connectors and such more a convenience issue?

Thanks again for the replies. I'm new to the whole HT arena, and have never ventured into DYI territory, speaker wires or otherwise. Your help is greatly appreciated.
 

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Here are my opinions-


1. I always try to go for at least 12ga wire (buy in bulk at home depot).

2. Bare wire is supposed to be the best connection (one less vehicle for the signal to pass through). However I like to use bananas for the clean looking and convenient connection, and everything still sounds great.

3. I would not use crimp style bananas, one use and they are done, so when the system config. changes...more bananas. I use the twist style monster ones, though set screw style ones can be found cheaper (acoustic research at best buy and some generic ones at home depot.)


You should be able to squeeze the 12 (or 14 ga) wire between the baseboard and carpet with no problem (this is what I did).


good luck.
 

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I have a LCR60, 600, and LM1, and I use bare wire at the speaker side, but I use bananas on the amp side. The bananas simplfy connections, make things look neater, and make changes easier. On the speaker side I didn't see a need to have them though.


I use Ultralink bananas with 2 screws, and they've been great so far. I couldn't notice a difference. The wire I'm using is 14 guage 4 conductor. So I'm using 2 conductors per terminal, but only for the fronts and center.
 

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B&W's 600 series speakers are very well matched with one another. The 601 will be a fine match with the 604. The 602 is a superior speaker overall, but as someone else mentioned, you'll likely cross them over at 80 Hz, so the bass advantage of the 602 is negated. To me, the weak link with B&W's 600 series was the DS6 dipole surrounds (which they had discontinued when the S3 models came out, but recently reintroduced). The 601 will be a fine surround speaker and match well enough to give you all the advantages with multichannel music soundtracks as well.


The key with surround speakers is to position them correctly. A frequently recommended alignment is to elevate the surround speakers above ear level and point them towards one another. This slightly diffuses the sound, but it still preserves the imaging quality in the surrounds. I would also place the surrounds at an offset angle of 110 degrees from center if you have the room, and adjust from there. Just make sure that you use a SPL meter and a test disc like the S&V Home Theatre Setup disc or the new Digital Video Essentials DVD to correctly set the levels. Also, if your speakers are not equidistant from the listening position, then you'll need to adjust the delay timing so that the sound arrives at the same time.


IMO, the center speaker is important, but with a 5.1 setup, the surrounds are more important because the discrete split surround effect is really what defines the jump from Pro Logic to 5.1. Going without a center speaker gives you a slightly less stable center image, but the surrounds make a much bigger difference in the overall sound than the center speaker will.


With regard to the speaker wire, you can run them underneath an area rug or along the wall. There are also speaker cables designed to sit flat against the floor, making it easier to conceal them.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Woochifer


The key with surround speakers is to position them correctly. Also, if your speakers are not equidistant from the listening position, then you'll need to adjust the delay timing so that the sound arrives at the same time.
If I may hijack here, I am using B&W 600 S3s as surrounds in a 5.1. I have 2 choices for placement:


1: to the sides of the listening position, but one speaker will be about twice as far away from the listening position as the other


2: behind the listening position and equidistant.


Which is the better/worse tradeoff?
 

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Sickman - I think the answer depends on your room. When you say behind the listening position - do you mean 180 degrees? This is far from ideal. You want to place them from 90-110 degrees from the listening position - and above ear level.


If you place the speakers to the sides of the listening position - the distance difference can be negated by adjusting the delay and output with an SPL meter.


As always - experiment. You will find what you like and sounds best to you.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mit07
Sickman - I think the answer depends on your room. When you say behind the listening position - do you mean 180 degrees? This is far from ideal. You want to place them from 90-110 degrees from the listening position - and above ear level.


If you place the speakers to the sides of the listening position - the distance difference can be negated by adjusting the delay and output with an SPL meter.


As always - experiment. You will find what you like and sounds best to you.
Appreciate the input. Problem is, I can't really experiment because the 2 options would require radically different paths for the wires (in wall, etc.) and I'm reluctant to wire it twice.


The "behind" option would be roughly 5-6 ft back and 8-9 ft apart. Not 180 degrees, but closer to 180 than to 90.


If I go to the sides (90-110 degrees), how much faith can I put in adjusting the delay and output? Is it really as good as placing them symetrically? Do I assume correctly that if they are on the sides, they point "in" towards the listening position?
 

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The Dolby website (and others) are good resources for speaker placement.

http://www.dolby.com/ht/Guide.HomeTh...0110.html#s3.2


IMO for your situation - I would place the speakers to the sides (90-110) degrees, 3 feet or so above ear height when seated - and angle them toward the listening position. Nothing is as good as perfect symmetry - but if you set up delay correctly and calibrate with an SPL meter - I'm sure you will get excellent results.
 
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