1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Which B&W speakers?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by HiFiFan, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. HiFiFan

    HiFiFan
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Greetings All

    I'm currently contemplating upgrades to my HT setup with the purchase of a set of matching speakers for HT duties.

    My thoughts/likes from auditioning favour so far the B&W 603 series 3 floorstanders, or for the same price (not including stands) the 705 standmount.

    Amp is a Sony integrated AV amp the TA-DA9000ES digital amp.

    In the context of a movie where the picture is 50% of the experience and thus subtlties in sound not as noticeable as in 2 channel stereo listening, would the 705's be overkill perhaps?

    I have been able to so far audition the two speakers separately, but not in an A/B comparo, and would appreciate opinon from those who have experience with these speakers, or others in the 600 or 700 series B&W ranges for HT duties.

    Value for money seems to favour the 600 series, and the additional savings would enable a better sub etc to be added, and also a move to 7.1 etc.

    All advice appreciated. Intended use of the system will be 90% movies/general TV and some multi-channel music.

    Many thanks

    Cheers

    John....
    :smashin:
     
  2. jonan73

    jonan73
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hi!
    I'm very very happy with the CM serie. They look great and sound great too.
    CM4 or 6 for floorstanding, CMC for central and CM2 for surround.
    Unfortunately, I read that this line was EOL?
    Anyway, I love them and can highly recommend themm :D
    Take care,
    Johann
     
  3. Kier

    Kier
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    133
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Ratings:
    +3
    My vote definitely goes for the 603. A pair of these and an ASW675 and you're ready to rock (don't consider the lesser B&W subs, the 675 and above are in a different league)
     
  4. HiFiFan

    HiFiFan
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks for the input; I notice you are using 603's as both the main fronts and as your main surrounds - what do you feel are the benefits from using matching surrounds exactly to your main fronts, as against say, using 602's for the sake of argument as your surrounds to compliment the 603's at the front?

    Also, the 700 series is supposedly the 'next' level up the B&W ladder; apart from the wood grain finish, and the time-aligned tweeter, what, if anything would they bring to the HT role that would/could justify the price difference over the floorstanding 603's for HT duties?

    Many thanks again;BTW that sure seems a nice HT setup in your profile...

    Cheers

    John.. :smashin:
     
  5. Kier

    Kier
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    133
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Ratings:
    +3
    I wouldn't recommend the 602s as surrounds partnering the 603s, as the 602s use the larger drivers as found in the 604s - the 601s are a much better surround partner to the 603s.

    As for the benefits of having four 603s as both the main L/R and the surround L/R - that wasn't my original intention, but I had the opportunity to get a second set at a later date, which pushed my 601s back to the surround back position. It sounds awesome, but the 603s don't get used to their full potential as surrounds, so I wouldn't say it's worth the cost unless you get a really astonishing deal from your supplier (or your insurance company, as was the case with me). If you're on a budget I'd have no hesitaiton in recommending 603s at the front, 601s as surrounds and spending the rest on an ASW675.

    As for the 700 series, there's no doubt that they are stonking speakers, but you need a pretty spectacular system to extract the extra finnesse they offer over the 600 series, so again I'd recommend going for the 603/601/675 combination.
     
  6. SKA.face

    SKA.face
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I would go for the 705,the 600 are good speakers,but the 700 are in another leauge,I would think a Sony ES amp would get more from them.The 600 are good budget boxes,but the 700 would take upgrades your more than likely want to do in the future.Match with the 750 sub,and you'll have exellent A/V speakers and superb for the little music too,which may grow.
     
  7. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,896
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    I'd agree with what SKA.face has said.....if you can go to the 705s,you'll be getting a much better speaker overall,and one that has many of the qualities of the 805,at a lower price.
     
  8. Pat Marcus

    Pat Marcus
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Messages:
    607
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Ibstock
    Ratings:
    +8
    If you rate clarity and subtlety above balls n clout then the 705 will make you smile.
     
  9. whats_this

    whats_this
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    484
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +8
    i would thoroughly recommend the 705's, listened to them when i went to demo a asw750 and they blow the 600 series away (demoed 602's 600's).

    Much more detailed sound, bigger sound stage, smoother, less bright. For the money the 705's win hands down, especially in the long run as you wont feel you need to replace them when you want to upgrade again.

    Wish i could afford some. If anyone wants to buy me a small christmas present Pm me :D
     
  10. HiFiFan

    HiFiFan
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Greetings All

    Many thanks for the most insightful and helpful comments, and apologies for the tardiness in responding due the Xmas/N/Years festivities etc... :)

    On the basis of the separate auditions I've been able to have so far, and from the comments here, I'm leaning more and more towards the 700 series. Hopefully sometime later in Jan, a local dealer may (tentative) have some 700 series in stock alongside his existing 600 range, so I'm hopeful depending upon his circumstances to be able to do an A/B comparo.

    The more I think about it, the more I realise that speakers are probably the item one keeps the longest in any given setup, and need to be good enough to withstand possible equipment upgrades, which for me would be HD-DVD/Blueray when it comes, along with hopefully the new high resolution sound formats.

    And whilst Sony as a brand doesn't register highly on some folks radar when it comes to high end AV amps/receivers etc, the TA-DA9000ES flagship is more than good enough to hold it's own against and in some cases better the other mainstream competition such as Yamaha, Denon etc, and I would think good enough to do justice to the 700 series, whereas the 600 series may be a limiting factor in that regard.

    Heh, having more or less convinced myself that I "need" the 705's, temptation strikes yet again when i do the sums and see that when taking the price of the matching B&W stands for the 705's into consideration, the floorstanding 704's then move closer to my reach....heheh just a bit more time and saving...LOL

    Any thoughts as to what would be the better set for movie use: 705's or 704's? I'd be using the HTM7 matching center - as yet a bit undecided re sub - most proably the ASW750, or delay whilst saving further and look towards an ASW850, or Velodyne DD15 perhaps.

    All further comments welcomed, and a Happy New Year to All

    Best Regards

    John... :smashin:
     
  11. stevos

    stevos
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2004
    Messages:
    5,979
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +541
    704 will suit an AV setup far better than a per of 704's. You haven't said if you have a sub, but if you don't, you will need one with the 705's. They will suffer if you watch any movie's with a bit of bang such as a war flick.

    I use my existing Mission 74's (which I am saving to replace, probably get some KEF XQ5) for both Hifi and AV, and I would replace them with the 705's at a drop of a hat if it wasn't for the lack of AV bass.

    Oh, in my opinion (from a copy of tests) I much prefer floorstanders to a bookself / sub. The floorstanders intigrate better.
     
  12. HiFiFan

    HiFiFan
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Greetings All

    Stevos said:

    Many thanks for your input stevos; I assume you meant 704 will suit and AV setup better than a pair of 705's?

    Like you, from tests/reviews I prefer the idea of floor-standers to a bookshelf/sub setup from integration point of view, albeit I haven't done any A/B comparos myself on that one to make up my own mind for certain.

    You're right in that I don't as yet possess a sub - on the shopping list as well!

    My HT setup as it stands is a 'hybrid' - I have a Naim-Audio 2 channel setup, and run the Sony TA-DA9000 front pre-outs to it, and hence my main front speakers (Naim SBL's) and the Sony drives two pairs of Tannoy MX2's for surround duties. Center is phantom, and sub-less - all speakers set to large. It works well up to a point, but I really want to 'finish' it.

    I'm between a rock and a hard place with Naim, as there are no available speakers in there range to match the SBL's at a price one could afford (outside of the UK) and second hand SBL's are scarcer than hens teeth. The forthcoming sub/sat combo could be an option, but again a sub sat combo, most likely ideally tuned to Naim amps and processor (again horrendously priced down under).

    Rather than stick with the 'hybrid' combined setup, or going with mismatched speakers to the front SBL's (either a different brand, or Naims own) and then trying to find/spend the price of a car on the Naim processor/add on 3 channel amp to match it all, it seems a better performance and cost effective option to separate them out, and go with speakers to match the Sony.

    Hope this helps to explain my setup and reasoning re upgrading/change a bit better.

    Best

    John....:)
     
  13. stevos

    stevos
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2004
    Messages:
    5,979
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +541
    Set the rears to small and tell the sony to be sub less, you will get a better sound. The SBL's will produce the bass for the rears. The theroy is that bass information is hard to locate.

    I also have a hybid system (Acram A32 amp -> Denon 3802 -> Mission 74 Surround) and i won't change it. The stereo sound from the Arcam far exceeds the Denon's.

    If you have the room, then two systems is the way to go.

    I don't know how good the Sony is (without digging up a back issue of whathifi) but a quick check of the internet it could cost around £2400, so could produce a good enough stereo sound.

    Could you go for the baby b&w first with the matching center and keep the tannoy at the rears. Then when money allows move the b&w's to the rear and buy the floor standers. This I am guessing is going to be way too expensive.

    If you split your systems you could buy a cheap 5.1 setup, say the B&W 6xx series or even the kef eggs.

    In my experience the only need the same speakers for the fronts in a 5.1 setup, and therefore you could keep the niam's and buy some di or bi poles for the rears.
     
  14. HiFiFan

    HiFiFan
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Stevo said:

    I'm curious about that one. I tried that and found that whilst it did give better bass, there was also a slight but noticeable penalty in loss of fine detail, leading edge attack of transients etc in the sound, notably in the mid-band/dialogue, such that one lost more than one gained.

    I can only put this down to the signal filtering inherent in using bass management. (Another reason I'm not overly keen on sub/sat combos in HT - the other one being mono bass as against stereo bass using floor-standers)

    Heh, I do and I don't. A separate room would be ideal, but for the time being this would have to be a two systems in the one room approach - I'm already there with racks and equipment plus rear speakers; it's the extra pair of speakers across the front that concerns me from a sound perspective.

    Well I had thought of this, and hence my starting this thread along the lines of whether in the context of movies (with the 'distraction' of the picture) 700 series would be overkill compared to the 600 series. However on the grounds of refinement, subtlety, and detail, the 700 series, whilst more expensive appeals slightly more, especially in the longer term view with likely upgrades to High resolution sound formats with forthcoming blueray DVD etc.

    I'm interested on your reasoning and experience in this regard. I have heard many systems, usually friends, assembled along the lines I am doing from an existing 2 channel setup and adding on speakers etc to build a HT surround setup, and whilst not deeply experienced myself, every setup that I've heard that has matched speakers all round sounds better to my ears as regards an immersive and seamless 360 degree soundfield. I may be wrong, but I feel that whilst one can get away with mismatched rears to a degree, it's usually better if one does match them.

    I must confess to feeling in a bit of a dilemma re this one, as ideally I'd like to utilise the SBL's, but there are many compromises whichever way I seem to turn; It's just a matter of finding the least compromises all-round - no easy task!

    To sum up, the negatives with the Naim speakers as I see it for HT use in my present situation are:

    1. Lack of suitable matching rears (can get matching Naim center)

    2. Some questions on sound presentation as regards air and space with the limitations of a back to the wall speaker design and the suitability thus for HT, where I find that an airy and spacious soundfield is almost a prerequisite for the immersive 'being there' experience.

    3. Cost - not just for the speakers, but assuming the need of Naim processing and amplification to get the best out of them.

    The TA-DA9000ES is up in the top league for integrated processors/amplifiers - roughly Yamaha Z9, Denon AV1 material, and of course the top Rotels etc.

    The Naim AV2/175 is better re PRaT, and dynamics generally, and has perhaps the best dialogue reproduction/clarity/naturalness I've yet heard. However the fact that down-under it is within $5000 dollars of the cost of a new Honda Jazz places big question marks over it re value for money. Unfortunately with exchange rates what they are, UK equipment is very pricey indeed down-under.

    The reality is that whilst it is better than the Sony, without doing an exact AB comparo, the Sony is well good enough to provide an awful lot of satisfaction for movies, price notwithstanding. It is fast, clean, very (exceptionally) detailed, with a firm and very well controlled bass, and a bright, but smooth, slightly sweet and grain-free top end.

    Hence my thoughts about separating them as mentioned earlier on a price/performance basis, and the aforementioned difficulties with matching etc for the Naim speakers.

    Sorry about the convoluted and lengthy reply.. :)

    This is a bit of a headache trying to figure out the right way to go to finish the AV side of it, and I'd certainly be very grateful for any further opinions/experience you, or anyone else may care to add.

    Best

    Regards

    John... :)
     
  15. stevos

    stevos
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2004
    Messages:
    5,979
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +541
    The sound detail on a DVD is far less detailed than a cd, and therefore the sony should be great on its own. I can tell the effect of DRC within the MPEG stream from the Denon, so I am guessing the sony will show it as well. Which should mean that you won't get much of a improvement in 5.1 mode with the Naim attached. It could be argued that you will get a worse sound, with the main speakers (where most of the sound comes from) having a different sound to the centre (when you get one)

    Good news is that Naim do centre and rear speakers.

    http://www.naim-audio.com/products/intro_loudspeaker.html

    However I have no idea how much they cost, but lots from the look of the pictures.

    The speaker / amp changes have come from my experience with mine / friends and demos of AV systems. However like everything it is all down to personal tastes. After all I bet I have plenty of DVD's that I love and you will hate.

    I have always been tempted to buy a pair of stand mounters and place them on top of my floorstanders for stereo sound, and thus saving the room of having 8 speakers in different locations. However I am guessing it won't work, either that or I will knock them off the top.

    Naim seemed quite popular in Australia and singapore, when I was last their. Could you buy from one of these countries?

    I am going to demo some 704 & 705's on Saturday, and will update you on their bass weight / sound. I wish the January sales effected B&W / Kef prices.
     
  16. HiFiFan

    HiFiFan
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Stevos said:

    Hehheh, well yes, they do, and they don't. Either the Access or Accent center speaker would work/match with my SBL's as they use a variant of the same scan-speak tweeter, and in-house drivers similar to the ones in the SBL, only smaller of course, and also the same precision acoustic bass loading etc.

    The problem is the rears as regards matching my SBL's. The new Arriva uses totally different drivers - I've heard the tweeter is an Audax unit, and unsure about the other drivers. The thing is, apart from the Naim 'house' sound of PRaT & dynamics etc, it's a totally different tonal balance to the likes of SBL's, Allaes, or SL2's, and of course the Accent/Access centers, as they all use a variant of the Scan-speak tweeter, as fitted to my SBL's.

    The Allae would be a possibility, because it has a similar albeit not as good sound as the SBL, and uses a variant of the same scan-speak tweeter. But they are very expensive here in Australia at $circa $7000 a pair - almost what the SBL's retail was 8 yrs. ago when they were new, and still not a 'perfect' match, and not as good into the bargain. Meantime, the update/replacement for the SBL, the SL2, is a cool AUS$15,000 a pair. By way of value for money comparisons, a new Honda Jazz, is AUS$15,999. But, other than a second hand pair of SBL's, that would be the ideal speaker as a compliment for the SBL as regards close as possible matching, price etc not withstanding.

    By way of comparison, B&W 705's are AUS$2,500 pair, plus factory stands at $600, and the 704's are $4,000 a pair. The ASW750 is $3,500AUS.

    Straddling those, price wise, are the Naim Arrivas, at $3,300 pair, but again not a match for the SBL's, and no doubt at their best/voiced for Naim electronics. Not here yet, but coming is the new Naim sub/sat combo, the N-sat, N-cent, and N-sub - again all using similar drivers to the Arriva, and hence not a match for SBL's. The N-sats will be somewhere around the B&W 705 mark, with a projected price $2,500 pair, plus stands, but only provisional prices - far more likely to rise than go down!

    So as you can see, unless one has pockets of a millionaire, someone like me on a more modest income feels very much between a rock and a hard place when it comes to going AV the Naim route, and on a value for money proposition the Sony, plus say B&W set up is a far cheaper and more cost effective route, with levels of performance that will come very close, but certainly in isolation easily just as involving and rewarding IMHO.

    Great stuff! - I will be very interested indeed to hear of your thoughts.

    Best

    Regards

    John... :smashin:
     
  17. stevos

    stevos
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2004
    Messages:
    5,979
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +541
    Okay, I am back from my demo.

    It didn't quite go to plan, in that I ended up buying a Cyrus PSX-r for my CDplayer.

    Anyway. I would stear well clear of the standmounters, they are harder to drive (and therefore lack the brightless of other speakers) and the lack of bass weight is really noticable. They would be a big movie no / no.

    The floorstanders on the other hand, were amazing, and I almost bought them also. The treble does not stand up to the KEF XQ5's nor does the openness of the sound, but the bass depth and control is spot on. The midrange also excels.

    Now all I need is a spare £1500, time to raid my savings account. Damn, I hate hifi.

    Not sure that is the answer you wanted.
     
  18. HiFiFan

    HiFiFan
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hi Stevo

    Many thanks for getting back on your thoughts, and congrats with the new purchase of the Cyrus etc.

    Actually your comments more or less confirmed what i suspected, but hadn't heard, so really appreciate your comments, especially as you also seem to listen with a somewhat critical ear.

    I'm hoping though, that as I mentioned earlier, that my local dealer will be getting some 700 series in, so I can have a comprehensive demo, and of course AB them to the 600 series. No doubt the 700's will be better, but I'm interested to see if it's better enough to justify the price difference for me personally.

    The other combo I haven't ruled out completely will be the Naim N-sat/N-cent/N-sub combo when it arrives here, hopefully also later this month. It is a sub-sat combo which is a negative IMHO, but from a few comments I've read on the Naim forum, seems to perform very well indeed. time will tell!... :cool:

    Thanks again for your time and input....

    Cheers

    John.... :smashin:
     
  19. stevos

    stevos
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2004
    Messages:
    5,979
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +541
    I will be interested in your 60x vs 70x test.

    I didn't have time to compare, and didn't want to take up any more of the dealers time.
     
  20. SKA.face

    SKA.face
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    600 and 700 are very differnt,the 600 are less refined,more steely/metallic in the treble,thinner midrange,less natural,and poorer definition,less solid construction adding box colouration.
     
  21. HiFiFan

    HiFiFan
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    SKA.face said :
    I don't doubt the 700 series speakers are the better units; just whether the difference would be all that noticeable in an surround sound HT context, and relative to the difference in price for that usuage. Critical 2 channel listening to music - I'd say 700 series every time. But this is principally for HT apps.

    Hence my desire and hope to audition them side by side for that purpose.

    Cheers

    John.. :smashin:
     
  22. stevos

    stevos
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2004
    Messages:
    5,979
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +541
    I was thinking, the 600 series use matalic bass drivers which take, from experience, time to warm up. In hifi made this won't be much of a problem, because you will be listening to music for hours every day and the cones should stay flexible.

    However with AV you will only be watching a few films a week (or day), which will mean that the bass cone will still be warming up, for most of the beginning of the film. Maybe as much as 40 minutes.

    When you demo them, make sure they haven't been used recently. Hifi shops appear to warm up the hifi before you demo them, I guess to make them sound as good as possible so you spend the cash.

    Not sure if this is any help or not, but i thought i would mention it.
     
  23. Kazman

    Kazman
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,266
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Luton, Bedfordshire
    Ratings:
    +139
    Can I ask why you have limited yourself to B&W? There are lots of other quality speaker manufacturers out there, Quad, Spendor, KEF, Monitor Audio and PMC all spring to mind.
     
  24. pjclark1

    pjclark1
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,411
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Thailand
    Ratings:
    +271
    my b&W 220s are still going strong after 20 years
    the only bit thats looking a bit tired is the front speaker cloth
     
  25. HiFiFan

    HiFiFan
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Kazman said:

    Here in Australia, of the brands that you mention, only KEF and Spendor (& B&W) come readily to mind of UK brands that are relatively easy to find, and where you have a fighting chance of being able to hear them compared to other brands that may interest one. Most dealers will carry one or two brands only that one may be interested in, making AB comparo's very difficult.

    I owned a pair of the orginal B&W DM2A's for many years, and quite like the 'house' B&W sound.

    Also, my TA-DA9000ES amp has been ( to the best of my knowledge) voiced/tuned with B&W speakers, which is a bit of a plus re matching, given that I like the sound. I also have a liking for Tannoy Dual concentrics, and auditioned the Senys DC2's, but found them a little too 'slow' dynamically for my tastes (being a Naim 2 channel man) but otherwise superb soundstaging and imaging etc. Hence my predilection (although not necessarily exclusively) towards a B&W/Sony match.

    stevos said:

    Interesting, and thanks for that. Funnily enough, I notice the same thing with my 2 channel naim kit. Even though it is on 24/7, it takes up to an hour when starting a 'session' of listening, for the sound to really 'gel' and come on song. I don't really know why, but am inclined to put it down to the changes in thermal temperature of the voice coil, hence impedance and hence sound. And I would suspect the roll surround's mechanical damping could/might change as it flexes as well, coming from a 'static' state - but Heh, I don't really know, just a guess really.

    Cheers

    John.. :smashin:
     

Share This Page

Loading...