Question Suggestion on improving music on B&W 683 S2

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Speakers' started by Slash21, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. Slash21

    Slash21
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    Hey Guys,

    I have a 683 S2 with Yamaha RX-A1060. I am somehow not entirely satisfied with the music quality. Somehow only good recordings sound nice but not the normal CDs.

    Do you think I should plug in a pre-out Integrated Amp (Thinking of Rotel 1570 or 1592) or it it's just that the 683 S2s are not good for music? The Yamahas are rated at 110W 2 ch so it looks like there is some power there. I am not sure which way to go... speaker issue or just missing a good amp to see a significant improvement in audio quality. (P/S: I also have the SVS PB2000 as a sub).

    Thanks.
     
  2. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    The Yamaha is an impressive beast.

    It is however still not a dedicated stereo amp and has all sorts of wizardry in there that must be paid for.

    The speakers too are more than respectable, as is the mighty fine subwoofer.

    So, if anything is amiss, it’s likely the amp that is the issue but not by a big margin at all.

    First of all I’d check and double check that when playing stereo music that you have as direct a path through the amp as it allows, bypassing as much of the unnecessary electronics as possible.

    That means simply ensuring that direct mode is on for stereo music and making sure stereo is selected.

    Also I’d try not using the sub for stereo music; the speakers hardly need it. If you do need the sub ensure that it is turned down such that it is not overpowering the sound. It’s so easy to overdo subwoofers. Everyone does it at some point. The volume should be low enough so that it’s just helping out the very low frequencies... then turn it down a tiny tad further.

    Also, if you’re not already doing so, it may well be worth using the digital output from the CD player to the Yamaha’s inputs. The sabre dac in the Yamaha is as good as it gets.

    That’s all I’ve got. My apologies if what I’ve said is already obvious to you :thumbsup:
     
  3. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    One more thing though. I’m not sure what you mean by good recordings?
     
  4. Slash21

    Slash21
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    Thanks Paul. Currently I'm streaming from Tidal with a LAN cable to the Yams. I am assuming this is similar quality to CDs? Thks
     
  5. Slash21

    Slash21
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    No idea why but some albums sound better like norah jones, miles david.. etc. Is it just that some albums are recorded better than others?
     
  6. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    What CD player do you have?
     
  7. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    That’s about it. When all else is equal, there’s no substitute at all for a great recording.
     
  8. Ugg10

    Ugg10
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    Tidal will only be CD quality if you are paying for the full fat lossless Hifi £20 per month HQ service.

    As Paul has said, music has a wide range of production quality. There is a thread on here about good quality recordings and a discussion on how there has been a recent trend to "compress" music both in terms of soundstage and also dynamic range which is fine for radio broadcast but not for HIFI listening. This was brought home to me when listening to some tunes on my Son's Yamaha HS7 active monitors which have a flat response aimed at reproducing what the produced intended. Some tracks that you thought would really rock were awful, flat, lifeless other really popped giving you the ability to "see" each separate instrument and it's position on the stage.

    Especially good recordings

    May not be your thing but Haken - Cockroach King is a good test I find.

    Daft questions but worth stating the obvious -
    are your speakers wired up correctly - red/+ to red/+, black/- to black/-
    are you using the FRONT speaker ports (far right set)
    have you got the front speakers set to "large"
    as Paul says use "direct stereo" and "stereo decoding"
    set the sub cross over to 60Hz (speakers rated to 52Hz - 22kHz) on amp and sub
    set sub volume as Paul says
    Speaker placement - manual says -
    "Conventional Stereo Systems
    To begin with, the speakers should be positioned between 1.5m and 3m apart at two corners of an equilateral triangle complete by the listening area at the third corner. The speakers should be approximately 0.5m away from the back wall, and at least 0.5m away from any side walls (above)"

    hope this helps.
     
  9. Slash21

    Slash21
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    Yea I am on Tidal HiFi and I guess its the deal with recording quality. Having pulled the trigger for a new system I am still learning. I have a gut feel that ripping flac or wav from CDs will still be better than Tidal hifi. I will try this out and see how it goes...

    Now I am just hunting well recorded songs to listen too. Even Adele did not sound good compared to the ones I mentioned.

    Thanks for all the tips, I will double check them...

    So I guess a new Int Amp or speaker upgrade (CM 9s :) ) will not significantly improve quality?
     
  10. Ugg10

    Ugg10
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    The other thing to remember is that with an AV amp you are sharing the price (cost of parts) between a lot of components that are built to be crammed into a small (ish) box. So the £800-1000 for the Yammy has to be shared between 7 amplifiers, HDMi switches, preamp section, decoding hardware and software licenses, networking etc. so this comes down to the stereo equivalent of approx £200 amp.

    That said, there is no reason why your components can't sound good with a bit of setup and tweaking the amp and the speakers are both pretty decent.

    If you have spotify there is a playlist on there for Cambridge Audio called "speaker testing tracks". there are some really well produced ones on there -

    Sarah McLachlan - Angel - mega vocal imaging
    Lou Reed - Walk on the wild side - feels like you are in a bar listening to him, listen out for the double base string rattle
    Bela Fleck and the flecktones - flight of the cosmic hippo - load of floppy bass
    Daft Punk - get lucky - if this does not pop then nothing will

    Other I have found -
    Jethro Tull - Songs from the wood on the new Steven Wilson remix
    Avenged Sevenfold - the stage
    21 pilots - stressed out
    Opeth - masters apprentice (there are two version, the original 2002 and a recent re-mix, I prefer the original, remix is much more bass heavy and less tight well worth a listen to the comparison, good example of different remix techniques).
    Kauan - Lahja - bit of odd Finnish ambient metal but very well produced IMO
     
  11. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    WHERE are the Speakers Placed?

    Bad Placement can play hell with sound quality. Back against the wall or over in a corner - not good.

    Usually this manifest itself in muddied recessed midrange. Really the bass is overwhelming the midrange, but it comes off as muddied recessed Mids.

    Just as a test, pull the speaker at least 3 feet or perhaps 4ft into the room and away from side-walls and see if the sound quality improves. If it does, then you have determined you have a placement issue. Once that is determined, you can start moving the speakers back until you find a compromise position that you can live with.

    I've heard both the 683 and the 683-S2, I though the clarity and the balance of the 683-S2 was a lot better, and I thought they came very close to the higher B&W CM models.

    Now, you may simply not like the speakers, that's fine. But generally speaking they should be good speakers for the money, and they should preform reasonably well on the Yamaha Amp, which is on the higher end of Yamaha AV Receivers. Bit it is an AV Receiver and not a Stereo Amp, at least not until you get up into the very high end of AV Receivers, and I am talking £2000 and above.

    Check the placement as I described. I had a similar situation and performed a similar test, and ultimately was able to find a compromise just a few inches from the original placement.

    Generally though, floorstanding speakers need at least 1 foot behind them and perhaps 1.5ft to the side. More if they are a bass heavy speaker.

    For what it is worth.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  12. Slash21

    Slash21
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    Thanks all.

    @Steve, I have been playing with the speaker placement and will try to do so again as you suggested.

    @ugg, I've listen to those and yes they are great. I tried these here: http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/music/six-songs-to-make-the-new-600s-sing/ they are good too

    I just wanted to be sure that some albums are generally worst than others to the extent that they sound awful because of mediocre recording quality. But on some albums the 683 S2s are amazing. I googled a bit on Adele's albums and found a few sites complaining of the quality and what a waste since her vocals are pretty good. I am just wondering if some songs sound good on a car stereo but on a better system the fault shows...
     

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