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Second Audition: more speakers in my ranking!!

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by cribeiro, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Ok, I went again for audition... And I have some more input about what I like. I have already posted this in the thread of my first audition ("Speaker Audition: impressions"), but it received little attention, so I put it as new to make people realize that there is some extra info (with the consent of Spectre).
    Apart from the hi-end shop I visited (there is a related thread), I went on Saturday to a shop were I could listen to some Magnat speakers. I also went to the one that had the Wharfedale Diamod, but they told me some wrong opening hours, so it was closing when I arrived... No chance for the Diamonds!
    Anyway, I got something else into the list, and it made me realize that I will need to invest more money than expected...
    What I listened to:

    B&W 603 (again, but good that I can keep them as reference)
    Magnat Vintage 620 (top of Magnat line, capable of sacd freq ranges)
    JM Lab Chorus 714
    Canton LE 109
    Magnat Vector 77

    This last two are much cheaper, but they belong to the money bracket I expected to spend in the beginning, so I wanted to see if it wouldn't be enough. It wasn't. But let's take it easy... BTW, they had also some Mordaunt Short I'd like to listen to, but they simply didn't care, like "maybe if you come another day...".
    Ok, this time I couldn't get it all plugged to a Yamaha amp and player, so the comparison might not be fair with respect to my first audition... but I can keep the sound of the B&W's as reference for any comparison.
    I started with the B&Ws, which I loved once again. This time even more, maybe because the source and amp were better. I was impressed by the amount of detail, enough bass but controlled, good image. What else can I say? I rediscovered the songs I played.
    After that came the JM Lab. Almos same price (a little cheaper), but not worth for the difference... Ok, they were not bad, also detailed although lacking a bit of bass... But what really put me off was the very tight stage, no dinamics there, the sound didn't come out (and it was not a problem of loudness!), stayed there, too shy to show something. I don't know the proper words, but I start understanding the way that reviewers describe how speakers sound.
    Then came the Magnat, after convincing the dealer (not easy!). The very good points were a very detailed sound, I think I could feel they reach higher in freq than others (I know that a cd cuts at 20 kHz, so it should be a placebo... But I only realized that the Magnats have that feature after I thought "wow, what an extreme detailed sound"). Anyway, it was a little bit "in your face", not yet agressive but jumping to you. Good stage feeling, and plenty of detail. The bad points, apart of the "on your face", was an incredible lack of bass. When you see that tall and proud speaker, you think it will kick your ass... Well, it doesn't. That is funny in a Magnat speaker, since they tend to exagerate bass...
    Finally, since I couldn't listen to the Magnat Vintage 120 (first I asked, the guy said "there is no point, it is like compare a Golf with a Ferrari". Then I convinced him that I anyway wanted to do the comparison, and he went... but told me they don't have any unpacked!!! So he couldn't do it for me.)... So, finally, since I couldn't listen that, I asked them if they could plug the Canton's... Ok, it is true, it was a waste of time, but I need to hear it from the speaker, not from the dealer! These canton speakers are very well regarded as medium level hifi, but they were a complete disappointment. The most agressive sound I have ever heard! (of course, compared to the B&W's, because my speakers at home are worse than the Canton's). Just imagine you filter the sound through an equalizer, and make an smile out of it... Now make a laugh out of that smile, peak both ends and you will get this Canton sound. I must say that everything was there, it didn't lack of detail as far as I could hear, but it was thrown to you, almost hurting the ears, while the B&W's were simply exposing the sound in front of me, nicely and relaxed, in a wide and deep image that was both dinamic and pleasant. The bass, more of the same. Boom, boom... It is not that it came completely out of control, but it was too loud and not refined at all.
    After this (I had got to listen to the Canton's already as a kind gesture of the dealer), I'd like to listen to the Mordaunt Short, but I didn't have the chance.
    The Magnat Vector 77 is another story... They were pluged somewhere else with music, so I went there and try to see what it sounded like. Much relaxed than the Canton, but less detailed.
    Further input I got in the hi-end shop, but I didn't go there and listen relaxed, up to now I could only get a first impression with some Triangle speakers (sorry, I can't tell the model, but the bookshef speakers were 400 euro the pair, to give you a hint). I went there really late, and it was impossible to make an audition. I actually didn't expect to listen to anything, I went there just to take a look... But it turned out that they were really nice (you can read the related thread, sorry, it is as long as usual..., my PhD advisor also tells me I must learn to be concise), and they invited me for a long session listening to their products, finding out my likings and offering me the most suited speakers. Ok, now the fast impression I got with these Triangle's... It is not a fair comparison, because I am lacking of my reference (oh, my beloved B&W's...), but this is what I felt: very rich and detailed sound, never agressive, good stage, good dynamics. I only felt it was lacking bass... but it was a concert of the Corrs (I only know their two first studio albums), so I can't assure that. And it must also be said that the subwoofer was turned off (maybe in the mixing they sent everything to the sub, who knows). I will tell you more as soon as I go there again, hopefully this weekend.

    If I sum all this up with my first audition, I end up with the following ranking (for further model names, read the thread :) ):
    1. Klipsch (rf series)
    2. B&W (any)
    3. Triangle
    4. Magnat (Vintage 620)
    5. JM Lab (Chorus)
    6. Kef
    7. Infinity
    8. Canton (LE series)
    9. Magnat (Vector 77)

    (last two in a different price bracket, though)
    Pity that I cannot include the Diamonds there, and also the Mordaunt Short...
    As a closing remark in this attemp of review, I would like to say that there seem to be some tendency depending on the country (that means, on the people living in the country :) ): EEUU makes Klipsch, which are very energic, dynamic but not agressive; UK makes B&W, Kef... , these are relaxed, exposing the sound in front of you so you can let it come easily to your ears; Germany makes MAgnat and Canton, which are agressive and throw the sound to you. Of course I'd need to listen to many, many more speakers to make this kind of statement, but the tendency is that.

    So after this I realized that my ears are too bad... for my pocket! I wish I couldn't feel the difference between the B&W's and the Vectors... I'd be going home happy after spending 250 euro for a pair!! But I think that almost anybody can tell you the difference, and even make the same ranking I did. The point is most people can live with a radiocassette, while I can't.


    PS: I really dislike the way they treated me. You know, they didn't pay much attention, it was a pain for them that I wanted to listen to more than what they recommended (B&W and JM Lab). And in the end, they asked me which ones I liked more. I said the B&W's, and their answer "ok, you take them now or you pay them only and pick them up another day?". So they expected I'd buy already! I mean, they almost were forcing me to do it, like "hey, I must get paid for that audition". I won't go there again...
     
  2. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    What do you expect? The dealer is running a business and is trying to sell you something. He is entitled to push for a sale after a demo - and an extended one by the sound of it too!

    Also I think you are moaning unfairly when you say they couldn't be bothered to demo the MS speakers. You already heard 5 different models and probably had system overload by then anyway.

    You must have a good idea by now what you like out of the dozen or so models you've tried. Stop demoing and buy something. There isn't anything out there that will be a night & day improvement in your price range. You've heard the best, ignore the rest. ;)

    You are approaching NicholasB levels of indecision here when you should be enjoying a system in your home already. :D
     
  3. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Ok, I suppose I didn't make myself clear... I am talking about different shops! The one I complained about let me demo 2 models, and the other 2 were hard to get demoed. I didn't spend more than 20 min, I think, when I have learnt here that it takes much more time to get all of an speaker...
    In the first shop I went (first audition impressions thread...), they simply gave me the switch and let me demo alone all speakers they had plugged in. I think that is the proper way of doing things. Of course they try to sell something, but not ANYthing... Not to me, at least :)

    I thought it was common to go demoing and then take your time to think about the differences and what you liked more, and so on. I always believed this thing should take time, and it was not a one day business....
    Oh, btw, it is 9 models I demoed... I know, it looks like much more, with all the rubbish I add...

    And believe me, I am far from my limit of indecision levels :)

    Anyway, the purpose of this thread was to share my impressions about the different models, if they can be of any help. I hope I didn't missed it, and made a complaint out of it instead.
     
  4. yant

    yant
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    Hi Cribeiro,

    I read this post and your other thread and here's a few comments that you might find helpful. Unfortunately, music is a lot dependent on taste so the following are according to my taste:

    Generally, I find that the entry level floorstanders of a series is not as good as the lower priced top bookshelf one. For example, I found the B&W 602.5 to be a worse speaker than the B&W 602 large bookshelf. I prefer the Dynaudio Audience 52 or 42 to the floorstander 62 (let alone the 52SE...) and I think many peoples will tell you the same about the Kef Q3 vs Q1. So you may want to reconsider what you dealer told you about floorstanders being the way to go. The main advantage is that the can reproduce lower frequencies however, their size makes it more difficult to achieve the same speed and precision at a given price. Plus if you are going to use a subwoofer, the bass extension of floorstanders might not be as essential.

    It seems to me that the 603s are a step up from your amp (2-3 times price?). Not a bad thing since you may want to upgrade the amp in a couple of years but you will not get the best of the speakers with you current amp.

    I don't know what is available in your country but a few names I could throw for you to try: Monitor Audio Siler S series: not that far from the BW 600 series and I slightly prefered them. Much more defined: Dynaudio Audience or Quad L series. I am also quite a fan of the sound of the Spendor and PMC monitors. Don't forget Totem acoustics... mainly because they use dynaudio drivers and are built at a nice place :) (Sorry, just trying to help the economy of my home country but they did sound nice in Bristol).


    Yan
     
  5. yant

    yant
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    Hi again,

    Just saw another one of your post. If your budget is 400 euros for a pair of front speakers, personally, I wouldn't recommend floorstanders. IMHO at this price point, floorstanders are too much of a compromise compared what you can get with a bookshelf. Seems like the 603s are well above your budget then but go have a listen to the 602.5 vs 602 for example.

    Yan
     
  6. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Yes, well... It is quite complicated to explain... The point is, I do have 1000 euro but I don't dare to spend it... It is part of a kind of "insurance" thing in case of any emergency that I have in the bank.
    Ok, as I started thinking of an upgrade, I thought that 300-400 euro should buy me a couple of front speakers that would match in quality with my receiver; even floorstanding ones, if you think about the prices of MAgnat and Canton here in Germany (but now I know I don't like their sound...). But it turned out that dealers told me that such speakers wouldn't be enough upgrade, that I could get more of my receiver with better speakers, and as a good match, they showed me all that I have mentioned in the price bracket 300-500 each speaker. Anyway, each time I went to one shop, I said that my total budget was 300-400 and see what they said.
    Actually, the guy in the high end shop told me that he is in favour of floorstanding speakers, but for that price he recomended me bookshelf (and "maybe" some Acoustic Energy floorstanders he had in a special offer).

    You are the first saying that these speakers I auditioned are too much for my amp. And actually, I expected that, but I don't know why everyone in the shops says another thing. I especified that I don't want to buy something that, as you say, is a step up from my amp.

    With the exception of Dynaudio and Monitor audio, I don't know the brands you mention, and I think I haven't seen them around here. Dynaudio is not suited because they cannot be fed by my amp, they need a lot of power (as far as I have been told here, and also realized in a shop). I am interested in the Monitor Audio, but didn't find them in shops... I will try to find those other makes you say... IT is nice to find some advice here, as usual!
     
  7. avanzato

    avanzato
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    I would put the Triangles in a class above all the other speakers you've tested. Though the Yamaha really isn't good enough for them and you'd bust the budget to get one of their models that does big bass. I had two pairs of Titus in the 90's and would still buy Triangle if I could afford them! The UK price just kept going up and up.

    Do go back and listen to the Acoustic Energy. I think they they might be a bit 'dark' sounding for you to like them immediately but they're easy to live with and are probably a special price as AE are bringing out a new range. You obviously like the B&W but I wonder if they might be to bright/course sounding with the Yamaha and you'll just be back to the wearing sound of the Magnats. Also have you asked the High end dealer if he can get Monitor Audio. Many companies will send out demo units to dealers on approval or it may be that he doen't do Monitor Audio for his own reasons.
     
  8. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Speaking of who, where's he gone?
     
  9. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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    Hey, Avanzato, many thanks for all your advices. I have an appointment for tomorrow morning there, I will listen to the Triangles and the Acoustic Energy. He is waiting for some other speakers at the same price, but they come in 2 weeks. I told him that it would be better for him if I go only when they arrive, but he doesn't have problems if I go twice. Nice guy!
    The recomendation of the dealer was that I could get now the bookshelf speakers for 400 euro/pair, and start enjoying stereo. Then, once I have more money, the center would come. And later on, I could go for the floorstanders and send the bookshelf to the rear part. Since I have enough space behind (same as in front, actually), it seems that normal speakers produce a good rear field, without need of dipoles or whatsoever.
    He also said that in principle, these speakers are in a higher leage than the amp, and considered that I should also change amp, later and later on. He said that, from my comments, I should really invest in a good hifi, because I would enjoy it very much. But he understood my situation and didn't push me to spend money that I don't want to right now.

    And yes, I am also worried about the brightness of the amp. And I will ask about the Monitor Audio. BTW, is there a fast way to quote?? Typing all the html doesn't look like the way to go...
     
  10. gringottsdirect

    gringottsdirect
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    Nicolas is still here, posted yesterday in PVR, Tivo, VCR section. :)
     
  11. cribeiro

    cribeiro
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