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ASW850 - probably the best sub in the world?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Stonedragon, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. Stonedragon

    Stonedragon
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    I heard the 850 today and WOW WEEEEEEEEEEEEE :rotfl:

    This thing is simply awesome. In the past couple of weeks I've heard the PV1, ASW750 and the DD-18, but nothing, and I mean nothing prepared me for the 850. This thing just blows everything I've heard out of the water.

    I listened to this beast in London, in a room of about 10x30, with the position on the amp set to about 9'O' clock and the volume on the amp at about -10 - in other words the set up was for the 850 to take a leisurely stroll.

    However the 850 had other ideas and I kid you not, the thing nearly brought the building down. :D We started with LOTR when gollum and crew are heading through the marshes and the wraith on the dragon flies past. Each flap of those wings engulfed me, my nephew and the manager of the shop in waves of bass that felt like being punched by an overgrown and p*****d off sumo wrestler. Incredible :D

    Another favourite of mine is when Saron explodes and the energy field flattens everybody to the ground. Now when I've watched that scene before I know what is meant to happen in terms of bass. As the wave passes over the battelefield your'e meant to feel it. Up till now, my eyes have told me what I should be feeling, BUT today I also felt what was happening. That wave left us punch drunk and the whole building wobbled (really).

    When I watched the same scenes on the DD-18 it was good, but it didn't leave me reaching for the asprins - but the 850 did. To quote the manager "I didn't know LOTR had so much bass in it" (and this is from a man that stocks and plays the 750, infact he had one in the corner of the room)

    Moving on to music was a real revelation as well. I've never known a sub to shake a building so much. We played all sorts R&B, Classical a bit of Jazz and organ music. It was so good, we had other customers coming in for a listen!!!

    I could write tons more, but to suffice to say I have found the HOLY GRAIL of subs. No wonder Hi-Fi news said it caused a sense of unease amongst it listeners. When this thing gets going it dosen't just cause your trousers to flap it moves the whole dammed sofa!!! :eek:

    In conclusion, all I can say this thing would satisfy the most demanding bass-holic and would stop any desire to upgrade dead in its track. And thats what I want. No more wishing, longing, desiring. Nirvana has arrived. Go find it at your nearest B&W dealer.
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    rags has been eulogizing about his ASW 850 for some while now and will be pleased to have found an ally.

    You forgot to mention that it also looks rather nice too.
     
  3. Stonedragon

    Stonedragon
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    Good point Ian J. It's got the looks as well. Its not just about brawn.
     
  4. CYRUStheVIRUS

    CYRUStheVIRUS
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    I heard RAGS as850 and it is very good, I have also heard the SVS with 2 cones (help forget the model) and it is the biggest, ugliest sub.
    BUT they are close. Never heard velodyne dd18 but would have thought it should be better at 3 times the cost.

    Must be pc ultra :D
     
  5. rags

    rags
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    No you havent mate ! You heard my ASW750.

    The ASW850 is a recent addition and is the older, bigger and more handsome member of the family. Pop round again when your out an about and have a listen.

    Having heard a DD18 I would expect it DD18 to go lower than an ASW850 due to its larger driver but for me that isnt the whole story. The ASW850 goes low enough but yet still manages to produce a detailed and extremely punchy bass which I prefer. If Stonedragon preferred the sound of the ASW850 over a DD18 then I can only nod my head in agreement.

    I would really love to do a direct comparison in the same room with a DD15 which although cost a full £1000 more is a similar model in terms of driver size. Either way the ASW850 is a corker and is the best sub I have ever heard (I think I have said that before on another thread !).
     
  6. rags

    rags
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    Pretty much how I would describe it !
     
  7. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    rags, i hate it when you talk about the 850 sub - my credit card gets nervous and my dealer rubs his hands together in glee! how much is the 850 and is it availible in silver?
     
  8. rags

    rags
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    dts boy - its £2k and im sure any dealer will chuck in some silver paint for free if your so inclined :laugh: . Anytime you fancy a trip over to North London for a demo just let me know.
     
  9. General Skanky

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    Isn't scary just how capable a good sub is these days?

    I mean a few years ago people were saying the best thing since sliced bread was an air chuffing passive design in a matchbox!

    We were all so ignorant to what was missing. :)

    I almost bought an ASW750 from EBay, but it was the size that put me off. Otherwise it was very tempting indeed.
     
  10. recruit

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    Good review Stonedragon :thumbsup: where did you manage to get to hear one?

    John
     
  11. samhain

    samhain
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    Me too. The 850 was a complete revelation over the 750. Definately worth the cash in all kinds of ways.
     
  12. Kazman

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    I'm hoping to get a good listen of the 850 on Saturday at the What Hi Fi show, if B&W decide to put on a proper demo this time instead of their 'ambience room' they set up at the Bristol show earlier in the year.

    Looking forward to it :), I would say the DD range of subs looks better than the 850 though, but that is my personal opinion, and only formed by pictures I have seen as I have yet to see a DD range sub in the flesh :). A match up between the DD15 and ASW850 would indeed be interesting :D
     
  13. recruit

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    Yes should be interesting to see if they have it on dem i will be along on sunday so i will be sure to have a good listen.

    John :)
     
  14. Stonedragon

    Stonedragon
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    Hi Recruit,

    I finally got to hear one in London, but what a run around. Because the 850 is B&W top end model, they only select outlets which do a minimum of £50K worth of business a year. So out goes your average SevenOaks dealer, which I found in my case. Even then, the listed dealers that could stock the 850 didn't for a whole variety of reasons and didn't even have it for demo. The frustrating thing about this was that these were London dealers and you would expect more living in the capital.

    Anycase, I got so frustrated that I phoned B&W direct and spoke to one of their sales persons and explained the problem. The guy I spoke to was very good and he told me they have a couple of demo models with any one of their select dealers at any given time. As it happened, a dealer up North had just finished demo-ing the 850 and so he was able to ship it to the dealer of my choice, which was Orange and Lemons in Battersea, London. And as you already know- what a demo :D

    I've just got in from work and I've been reading the other posts, about a face off with a REL, SVS etc. Which would win? Well I think it would be so close, that it would just become subjective as to which was the best. But for me it would be the 850 for a couple of reasons. Size, cost, and presentation. The 850 is not a small sub, but at the same time its couldn't be mistaken for a sideboard cupboard. Then there is the cost factor. The DD-18 and the REL mentioned are far more expensive but not necessarily offering a HUGE amount in extension for the extra wedge. And finally presentation. C'mon guys how many curved subs have you seen? The thing is a marvel of design and engineering and those finishes....ooooh....they're gorgeous to behold and touch. So for me, all things considered it has to be the 850. As I've said before, go listen. Get your local dealer to get one in as I did, and then tell me and Rags that we're wrong. You won't be dissapointed. :smashin:
     
  15. recruit

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    Right i'll have 2 then :laugh:

    Stonedragon - i have heard of Oranges and Lemons and like you said there are only a few round london that stock the B&W range.
    Was it an all B&W setup regards to the other speakers and what amp and source equipment were they useing for the dem or was it similar to what you have at home?

    John :)
     
  16. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The 850 has been extensively reviewed. HCC tested it here and Hifi Choice reviewed it here.

    If I wanted to spend £2,000 on a sub it would certainly be on my short list as I think it looks as good as it sounds
     
  17. Smurfin

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    :smashin:
     
  18. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    I think these 2 would be very close indeed....

    I'd happily buy a B+W 850 if I had the funds (or the room for it), as everyone who's seen and heard them will testify, they really are like a piece of furniture:) What I'd REALLY like to hear in comparison is the PB-12 Ultra...I doubt there'd be anything in it except extra extension on the Ultra.
     
  19. rags

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    Barrie - After returning from holiday with my two boys I honestly feel old and knackered (4 days trudging around Disneyland does that to you!). Maybe after a few weeks I will stump up the energy. However in the interim I would love to hear your DD15 if that is acceptable and of course you are welcome to come round mine for a demo as well (and bring your DD15 if you like).
     
  20. rags

    rags
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    Also why cant you guys believe that it can sound better than a DD18 ? After all theres more to subs that how low they can go. It all boils down to personal preference and for me if I felt the DD18 was better I would have bought one. However I have only had a single demo of the DD18 so I am not exactly an authority on it.

    The posters on this thread have a range of subs which are all good. Barrie and Samhain obviously preferred the DD15's they now own (actually I think Barrie didnt demo the ASW850 but Samhain did but still preferred the DD15 on balance). Recruit preferred his MX350 over the DD series but hasnt yet heard an ASW850. All it goes to prove is that there is no right answer to this question. I do know however (and again this is just my opinion) that the PC Ultra although stupendous for a £1k subwoofer is not a match for either the DD series or the ASW850 (in performance and looks). The PB2 Ultra would be the right comparison to make but I have not been fortunate enough to have heard one.

    Also re the comments on the ASW850 being setup hot thats merely speculation. I wouldnt be so sure.
     
  21. Stonedragon

    Stonedragon
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    Okay recruit,

    You keep asking about the setup. Sorry, :blush: I saw your question on the first page, meant to answer it but forgot.

    First of all, let me tell all forum members, the sub was not running hot. It was set at 9 o clock and the amp was set at about -10. Hot? Nah, I'd say pretty cold by my reckoning.

    Now the equipment. The speaker set up was identical to what I have at home. Kef's at the front (Q6 and Q7) and also taking up the rear guard (Q1). They used an Arcam amp and an Arcam DVD player (Arcams low/mid range) and that was it. Nothing fancy giving the extra boost. In comparison, when I heard the DD-18, the amplifier alone in that set-up was probably the best part of a couple of grand, if not a whole lot more.

    All I can say, even with a modest setup which reflects what I have at home, the integration was remarkable. Honestly, the sub just melted into the system and was totally transparent in the way it blended with the rest of the set up. Now its a well known fact that classical music is notoriously difficult for systems to replicate and one of my favourite tracks is Strauss's Sunrise. The track starts of with rolling drums depicting the rising of the sun, and gets progessively louder as the it rises to its zenith. With the 850 it gave a sense that every speaker was rolling out bass, with no hint of its source. The peice gots so loud that everything started to shake, but at no time was their a sense of boom or "I know where that bass is coming from". Really eerie but in an awe inspiring way if you know what I mean.

    Because this thing outputs so much bass, on some R&B stuff I had it was to much, by a long margin and we had to turn it down. This however was not the fault of the 850, but due to the recordings, which are aimed at kids that cant afford the equipment we buy to produce the bass, so the producers lay it on the tracks like as it they were plastering with the stuff.

    A final thought for tonight on the 850 (which I'll buy on Thursday) is that even if the DD-18 is able to win a fight if these two came to slug it out head to head, so what? The output from either of them is such, that in 99% of houses in Britan you couldn't extend either of them, without fear of bringing the walls down or having the local constabulary paying a visit. They both go low and dirty, but in my humble opinion I save my self a grand with the 850 (and perhaps only loose a smiggin in extension) and that cant be bad :smashin:
     
  22. Smurfin

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    9 o clock and -10? That's absolutely no indication of whether a sub is running hot or not.
     
  23. Smurfin

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    In terms of looks I don't think anyone could dispute that. In performance? Bit of a generalisation there :)

    So much comes down to listening levels and rooms: at reference level in a bigger room, the ASW850 will comfortably crush the PC-Ultra, but in small rooms I think there's very little in it at all (and even in his small room, I think Jeff prefers his PC-Ultra to the DD-12, with the caveat - from memory - that doesn't use any EQ on either subs. Of course, we're talking the 12 here, not the 15 or 18).

    That said, I'd happily swap my PCU for your ASW850 though Rags :D
     
  24. rags

    rags
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    Just look at the pics below. Why would you even bother with the rest ? :D
     

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  25. shodan

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    Well I wouldn't say no to either of these bad boys if they were giving them away! Does the B&W have the digital equalising remote control flattening out peaks in the room thingy? That would seem to be a big thing that would swing things in the favour of those with too much money....
     
  26. Stellavision

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    The ASW850 has neither a remote control or any parametric eq.
     
  27. Ian J

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    Those of us that don't have too much money are happy with a BFD and a substantial cash saving but do remember that not only does not every room have problems that need correction but also some people that do have the "digital equalising remote control flattening out peaks in the room thingy" fitted to their subwoofer prefer the sound with it switched off anyway.
     
  28. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Like many threads in the subwoofer forum this one had gone seriously off topic. As this forum like many of the others is supposed to be an archive of searchable information I have removed all of the off topic posts and started a new thread entitled "General Chat Subwoofers" with all of the posts removed from here.

    Could you please use that thread for general chatting about subs so that the other threads can be left devoted to the thread titles.
     
  29. Smurfin

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    Which still means this comment is relevant: most rooms DO need equalisation, and 9/10 people wouldn't switch off the EQ, so the DD's EQ could rarely be considered superfluous.

    If someone's comparing an ASW850 to a DD-15 (assuming they offer similar performance, which I'm guessing they do), the EQ factor in the DD potentially becomes expensive. And though they look god-awful, the BFD does an amazing job for a very cheap price.

    All we need though is for Rags to go and buy the DD-15 that's currently in the classifieds for a real side by side comparison:D
     
  30. recruit

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    To be honest i prefered the BFD to the EQ in the DD series it made more sense if you know what i mean( Just my Opinion DD owners ) more hands on :clap:

    John
     

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