BW 703 with AX10Ai...good match?

ak77

Active Member
Hi all

I am planning for :
Denon 3910 --> Pio AX10Ai --> B&W 703 / 804s (Bi-amped)

I have read at many places that B&W 804s is power hungry. Would B&W 703 be able to sing well through AX10Ai if Bi-amped? I do not want to sell AX10Ai and am not planning to buy an expensive dedicated high power stereo amplifier soon. Which other floor standing speakers could do well if not these two?

Thanks
AK
 

paulst10

Distinguished Member
Hi, I have run my 704's off of my old Pioneer AX3 for a couple of weeks, I have also run them from an AX2 which I borrowed from my dealer when my Arcam went back for repair.

To be honest I really didnt like the sound they produced when connected up to the Pioneer AV amps :( .. everything sounded too thin, bright, and certainly lacked bass compared to the Arcam.

Your Pioneer AX10 will be considerably better than both the Pioneer models I used, I would recommend trying to get a demo to give you a better idea even if it means taking your amp down to your local dealer :)
 

ak77

Active Member
Thanks Paul

I have a few demos lined up...lets see how they go

Cheers!
 

ak77

Active Member
Hi all

After plenty of demos, I finally purchased a pair of B&W 803s. It has been a very difficult but rewarding experience to finally be able to get a set of speakers to my taste. Although I would not be running them upto their full potential with my AX10Ai amp for now, but thats the whole fun... another sonic orgasm waiting to happen when I upgrade to a dedicated stereo amp. So here is how it goes.

Over the past few weeks, I demoed the following:
B&W 685, B&W 704, B&W 703, B&W 805s, B&W 804s, B&W 803s
MA RS6, MA GS20, MA GS60, MA PL100
PMC OB1, PMC FB1
Totem Sttaf

I heard them with Pio AX10Ai or a similar grade amp and then with a reference amp, which were mostly Rotels or Classe.

To my taste, I found the B&W 803s and 804s very refined and mature. MA PL100 too were very good and felt easier to drive but to me the highs, mids and lows sounded best on B&W 800 series...803s to be more musical out of the lot with very accurate bass. Also, PL100 felt a bit expensive for the sound but without a doubt they are the best looking speakers. Splendid finish and quality. As I also own a Bose AM15 system, I was very spoilt for the low bass. 704, 703 etc sounded very bass shy...especially the 703, very disappointing. AM15 does do plenty of bass, but that can be a disadvantage as it over shadows other sounds and spoils the whole fun.

Anyway getting back to 803s, I first heard them on AX10Ai amp which anyway convinced me that these are the ones for me. If I can say the cliche...."I heard sounds that I had never heard before". Even my wife who is an ardent bose fan and loves lots and lots of bass gave her seal of approval after hearding the sound clarity and accuracy. I played some Poison - Every rose has its thorn....amazing guitar, vocals....too good. Then some Pink Floyd - comfortably numb (didnt know there was a lady shouting in the back ground as the song starts), Sarah Mclachlan, Alanis Morisette, Peter Gabriel, Madonna - Ray of light (all songs are extremely bass heavy in general and sounded fantastic on 803). It was all very good, but after hearing them on Classe pre/power amps, i was pushed to the point of no return that I had to shell out twice my budgeted amount !!

:clap:I am an extremely happy bunny for now. Cant wait to get delivery of them.

:lease:A quick question - my dealer has suggested Supra bi-wire cable for these. Does anyone have any idea if these will go well with the speakers? any other recommendation - most welcome.

Thank you all :hiya:
Andy
 
R

recruit

Guest
Hi ak77 - Beautiful speakers the 800 series are :thumbsup: and good choice !

Ref to cables please use the cables forum for any questions relating to them.
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
As I also own a Bose AM15 system, I was very spoilt for the low bass. 704, 703 etc sounded very bass shy...especially the 703, very disappointing.
Hello Andy,

I have only heard a comparable bose system in a shop. The bass they project is quite catchy and groovy, but after a while listening, I realized there is not much more to it. It enhances certain frequencies to make up for the rest. I very much doubt that the 700 series of B&W have worse bass than the bose system, although I listen to them too long ago to remember. They do sound more even, although they also enhance a bit the bass IIRC.
AM15 does do plenty of bass, but that can be a disadvantage as it over shadows other sounds and spoils the whole fun.
This very much confirms what I wrote above. Although enhanced mid-bass sounds fun for a while, it is boring in the long run because all recordings sound the same. An even response can be disappointing at first, but then you realize how much sound you were missing.

I must admit that my system may sound boring for a party, and my car stereo makes more fun with its fake bass. But when I want to seriously listen to music, I know what I choose :cool:
 

ak77

Active Member
Hi Cribeiro

Without a doubt, bass from Bose AM15 is not accurate...it is overwhelming and "everywhere" to say the least. Albeit it does sound pominent and groovy...as you rightly mentioned.

With B&W703 I experienced as if it was totally missing. May be it was the wrong room or a duff piece....B&W 704 sounded better and had more bass presence. I was surprised to see that an MA RS6 had more bass than B&W 703. Although RS6 bass was on a slightly similar lines as Bose AM15 - very boomy and inaccurate....not as much.
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
I was surprised to see that an MA RS6 had more bass than B&W 703.
Many people tend to mistake controlled bass asa lack of bass. Better speakers are more in control of the notes they are producing, starting and stopping more quickly. Cheaper speakers, due to their construction and limitations on driver costs etc, sound as though they have stronger bass because the edges of the notes are more vague, and cabinets resonate more, adding in more bass than should really be present. This is also affected by the quality of amplification. Generally, one box AV amplifiers can't produce the sort of current and control needed for the level of speaker you're auditioning. Try the same speaker with a decent pre/power amp to get an idea of what I mean.
 

ak77

Active Member
Hi Dav1dF, I understand what you mean by controlled bass as I have heard lots of un-controled and artificially extended bass from my AM15 system. But what good is a controlled bass if it does not even give you a feel of it being present? Thats what I felt from 703. Again it might be due to room acoustics or being a duff piece as 704, PMC OB1 and FB1 played in the same setup after 703 did sound better in bass region.

The point that you mentioned about speakers shining with a good pre/power amp....can I expect to hear difference if pre and power amps are from different makes? or if I use my av amp as a pre amp and use a dedicated power amp for good quality amplification and healthy drive of current?

Thanks
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
[...]I have heard lots of un-controled and artificially extended bass from my AM15 system. But what good is a controlled bass if it does not even give you a feel of it being present?
[...]
can I expect to hear difference if pre and power amps are from different makes? or if I use my av amp as a pre amp and use a dedicated power amp for good quality amplification and healthy drive of current?
That's the difference between critically listening and giving a party.
My system would need to be EQ'd for a party, because it is rather neutral sounding, so it would sound boring if everybody wants to feel the punch on the chest and jump to the music (note also that the presence of a lot of people in the room would also absorb a lot of bass, so it would anyway need re-EQ for an even frequency response). But if I leave such EQ for critically listening, I soon realise that I only have a one-note bass and masks the whole "musical message". I would say thus, "to each its own".


Regarding the pre-power combo, I don't think they need to be of the same make. I have heard great tunes from a mixed pre-power combo. Using a AV receiver as pre-amp will be a limiting factor in a good system, because they are not of a great quality. I have compared in my system, and the pure stereo does sound better, I feel specially better dynamic swings, somehow :confused:
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
Hi Dav1dF, I understand what you mean by controlled bass as I have heard lots of un-controled and artificially extended bass from my AM15 system. But what good is a controlled bass if it does not even give you a feel of it being present? Thats what I felt from 703. Again it might be due to room acoustics or being a duff piece as 704, PMC OB1 and FB1 played in the same setup after 703 did sound better in bass region.
The PMC's work a little differently to the B&W's. The PMC's are transmission line speakers (effectively like a long reflex port), helping extend the bass lower than most normal speakers. They do extend lower, but tend to need better amplification to control the extra bass. Personally, I've never liked the 700 series, and never really found any amps that justified their price. They're also way overdue for an overhaul.

Most decent quality speakers will have the bass you require, it just needs the right amp to bring it out.

The point that you mentioned about speakers shining with a good pre/power amp....can I expect to hear difference if pre and power amps are from different makes? or if I use my av amp as a pre amp and use a dedicated power amp for good quality amplification and healthy drive of current?
There will be differences. SOmething like a Quad 99/909 will be quite smooth, with more emphasis on the midrange, whereas MF is the opposite. As this is the most important match, make sure you audition the speakers you're interested in with the amp of your choice. Make sure the amp is well warmed up, and listen for a decent amount of time. When A/B ing
amplifiers (or anything for that matter), never dismiss a product after a few minutes listen. This is the biggest mistake to make, and usually leads to the wrong decision.
 

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