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Should i upgrade my B&W 300s to get "bigger" sound?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Nazgul9, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. Nazgul9

    Nazgul9
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    My current setup consists of four B&W DM303 for L/R/Surround, one LCR3 for the center and an active subwoofer (Jamo D7 Sub). Now i'm quite happy with these speakers (i'm speaking of the B&Ws, not the sub which is superb), they can play pretty loud and produce a fine sound and are quite possible enough for my small home theater (the half of a 18 square meter room, sitting approximately 2.3 meters close to the speakers) the only thing that bother me is a certain lack of the upper bass, probably in the 80-120Hz region, the so called kick bass, therefore it seems to me that the sound is somewhat thin sounding. It's quite hard for me to explain it to you, because english is not my native tongue, so i hope you got it what i meant. I'm not quite sure if this is because of a to weak amp (i have an Onkyo 595 for now but will replace it in the near future, probably with the NAD T752) or because of the speakers. What should i expect from a front speaker upgrade, let's say to the B&Ws DM602 for L/R and an LCR600 for the center channel? Is the price premium justified or is it overkill and i should go with the smaller models DM601 and LCR60 considering the small room or should i upgrade at all? And what about the receiver, how big would be the difference between my current one and the NAD T752 or should i get the T762 right away (take into account that i listen at reference levels sometimes)? I hope you can give me useful advices on my current situation.
     
  2. sr78

    sr78
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    I wouldn't upgrade to 601s, the difference in bass is minimal, and IMHO they don't sound as good as the 303s. The 602 is a different beast altogether, it's twice as big as the 303, and does deliver a powerful bass. However, before upgrading 5 speakers you might consider upgrading the amp first. A 762 should ensure that there will be enough power driving your speakers, whatever they are.
     
  3. MuFu

    MuFu
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    :eek:

    Have you heard the 601 s3's in direct comparison with the DM303? I had a chance to when I bought my 601's and there really was no comparison at all. Of course... that's just my opinion too, and the 601s were fully run in. When they are new they definitely do seem to lack in "punch to the chest" bass and can sound very bad with certain amps.

    I agree that if you are going to upgrade a step up to a pair of 602/603's and an LCR600 would make it more worthwhile, although that might make your amp more of a weak link.

    This might sound like a strange suggestion, but have you thought about upgrading your sub? One of the most subtle and under-appreciated effects of integrating a decent subwoofer into a system can be a perceived tightening of mid-bass.

    MuFu.

    P.S. NAD amps (at least the integrated ones) tend to be very tight when it comes to the type of bass register you talk about - could be worth a demo or two, definitely. :)
     
  4. Nazgul9

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    Sorry for not answering for several days but i haven't got an email notification so i thought nobody has yet participated in this thread.

    What do you think makes the 601 so much better compared to the 303, as you stated? And have you also compared the 601 to the 602? What did you think?

    I'm as well concerned about the receiver as the weak link when upgrading to the larger B&Ws, that's the reason i also want to upgrade my receiver. Probably i will first upgrade the receiver and later on the speakers, 'cause i don't have the money to do it all at once. But i heard so many people talking that speakers are much more important to the sound than the amps, that upgrading speakers is the better way to improve sound. But oh well, i'm sure that these statements take into account that you already have at least a decent amp, which my Onkyo isn't i guess.

    What about the NAD + B&W combination? Does it sound good?
     
  5. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I also don't think that your problem is with the B&W speakers but with the sub and changing for something better and setting your speakers to small should give you the lower midbass output that is missing at the moment.

    Your receiver was well liked by the magazines when it first came out.
     
  6. Nazgul9

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    I just bought this subwoofer and it wasn't cheap, almost 780 GBP. It is also very well liked by forum members on one german forum and received together with the rest of the system (Jamo D7, which is THX Ultra 2 certified) an EISA award for best hight end speaker system, so i don't think that's the problem. And BTW, i'm already driving the speakers as small. I don't know, maybe i explained it the wrong way what i'm missing, but it's perhaps not so much the lower midbass, i mean, when the Terminator is firing with his gun in T2 there's this boom from the sub which is fine, but..., i don't know, it would be cool if the other speakers would also produce more "umpf" sometimes, not in the same scene specifically but generally speaking, maybe i prefer warmer sound, it's difficult to explain sound characteristics, at least for me, first of i'm not english and second i'm a home theater and hi-fi newbie. I mean, my receiver was well liked, i know that, that's why i bought it after all, the same goes with the speakers, but nevertheless they boath are more low-mid-fi than hi-fi considering their price points, whereas the sub is more higher end as i described above, so i assume the fist thing what i should do know to improve sound is upgrading the receiver or the speakers. Or maybe i'm just wrong. Phew, this hobby is a tough one.
     
  7. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I didn't realise that you were not in UK as Slovenia has only recently appeared against your name.

    In UK Jamo sell mainly cheap speakers and I assumed that your sub was one of these. Having looked it up on a German website I see that it is a THX sub and should be good.

    I wonder whether your problem is with the integration of sub and speakers and perhaps you have the crossover set too low, either on the sub or amplifier.

    If you have an adjustable crossover on the amp try setting it to 80Hz and then increasing it bit by bit to see if that helps.
     
  8. sr78

    sr78
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    In my opinion the 303 is a better speaker than the 601, but there is an enormous difference between the two, so other people may find the 601 to be superior. I don't even consider them competitors. The 303 has a full, warm sound, while the 601 sounds much more sterile, but also tighter and more detailed.

    I don't like the combination NAD - B&W, since the metaldome tweeters in B&W, which tend to be rather sharp with high tones don't go well with the rather sterile and sharp sound produced by NAD amps. Again, it's purely subjective. The 303 might actually go very well with NAD, but I hate to hear the 601 with it.
     
  9. MuFu

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    Ditto. Sorry about that. :)

    It is very common for people to set the gain on a sub too high when they first set it up - this may be another possible cause of your problems. There is a strange psychoacoustic effect that makes you want to "hear" the £780 you just spent. :D I really don't think that a sub should be noticeable until you turn it off, if you see what I mean...

    I agree with everything said there yet have the total opposite opinion! It just goes to show how important it is to go out and hear these things. I personally much prefer a very clinical, dry sound (like a studio monitor) and can fully appreciate someone liking the fuller tone of the 303's. Same goes for the age-old Arcam vs. NAD integrated amp debate - the Arcams tend to sound "richer" while the NADs are decidedly better with LF transients an HF detail (IMO, of course). When listening to anything with fast bass passages the difference between the two is very apparent. I was very sceptical about the NAD + B&W combination myself (using silver cables as well, argh!) but it worked for me - initally very harsh, but strangely complementary once run in. I guess it could be a power thing - B&W's are notorious for demanding capable amplification and the NADs have power in abundance. There's certainly no shortage of people using B&W speakers with NAD amps. Maybe we'll all get tinnitus as a result. :(

    MuFu.
     
  10. WhyAyeMan

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    Its funny how you guys are saying that you though NAD amps were on the "sharp" side. When I listened to one, I found it on the warm side for me. I actually preferred the Rotel amp, which was sharper and more detailed. I cant imagine NAD + B&W being harsh. Edgey at first perhaps, but it will probably work out ok in the end. I'd probably say the NAD was relatively neutral to be honest.
     
  11. sr78

    sr78
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    I have to admit that I've not heard an amp that has more power on offer than the NADs usually do. I demoed my Arcam A85 against the C160/270 pre/power combo, and while I liked the sound of the Arcam better, the NAD combo beat it when it came to sheer power. And the A85 is no slouch when it comes to power...
     
  12. Nazgul9

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    Contradict opinions, i love that. :rolleyes: :D Yeah, i'm well aware of the fact that sound is a subjective matter and that listening for yourself is the only real way to find out how it sounds to YOU, but, you know, here in my country most of the stores don't borrow equipment to be able to listen to it at home, furthermore most of the stores are small and don't sell to many brands so comparing is not an easy task here.

    Concerning sub integration, i have done the most i'm capable of at the moment to deal with it. As said before my room is quite small and the sub is quite the opposite. The only free location with enough room is one of the front corners. The crossover on the receiver is fixed at 80Hz, the optimal frequency as i think. The crossover on the sub is at max since the receiver is doing all the processing. The phase is adjusted for producing the most bass in the upper region, so i believe there's no cancellation going on. The volume is neutral as i have barrely moved the volume knob from the start position (which is THX reference level) and it's at 0 on the receiver. So i think it is as it should be, neither to much nor to weak.

    As it is now, i'm tending to the 602's and LCR600 for the front when it'll be time for upgrading speakers but am quite certain that the first think i'll do now is buying a new receiver, probably the NAD T762, 'cause i believe that's one of the reasons i'm missing fuller sound since many times i read on this and other forums that japanese receivers in general tend to sound more "clinical", more "thin", stressing the higher freqencies more, whereas the NAD is more warm, fuller sounding and also because B&W and NAD are supposed to be a good match (i know, not everyone's opinion, but i'll try my luck). Then i'll have powerfull amps and will be able to connect any speaker in the world to it, power won't be a concern any more, at least for a while.
     
  13. sr78

    sr78
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    I'm not sure where you read that Japanese receivers are clinical and NAD warm, because my and many other people's experience is that it's the exact opposite.

    Marantz is known for it's warm character, Denon less so, and NAD makes very neutral sounding equipment. So don't be surprised if it doesn't turn out the way you want it.

    In the end, however, if you don't listen to anything and just go ahead and buy, you won't have a frame of reference and it'll probably sound fine to you. And you'll have saved all the time many of us waste listening to all that stuff :)
     
  14. Ian J

    Ian J
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    This wins my nomination for daftest quote of the week.
     
  15. Paul Smith

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    Hi,

    I must admit I don't know much about your amp and don't really know much about your speakers (apart from Jamo Subs, Jamo can make nice subs if they try).

    So just out of interest I had a look at the review of the Onkyo 595 on the HCC website, and Interestingly it said:

    "Less impressive is the bass. Bass lines and sound effects reach down as low as any other in this test, but there is a distinct lack of power, leaving explosions and crescendos sounding rather underwhelming."

    "Lows: A lack of bass weight"

    Could this be what you are experiencing? :(
    It's just a thought, I hope this helps,

    Paul.
     
  16. sr78

    sr78
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    Well excuse a non-native speaker, mr. moderator. You're doing a fine job here.

    What I'm trying to point out is that if you don't compare things, you won't know the difference. That means that if you decide to buy, for instance, an NAD amp, it probably won't disappoint once you get it since you don't know what the Marantz would have sounded like. Anyway, you can't go far wrong if you stick to NAD, B&W, Marantz, Denon etc.
     

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