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Author Topic: B&W speaker question  (Read 23303 times)

Thomas W. Bethel

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B&W speaker question
« on: September 01, 2007, 08:06:10 am »

I went to a new stereo store that has opened up in a shopping center near here. They are B&W dealers. I wanted to listen to the B&W 703's and the 802Ds. They were having an "end of the month sale" and were quite busy so the salesman did not have a lot of time. I could not listen to the 802Ds because they were not hooked up but I will be able to audition them in the not too distant future. I did however get a chance to listen to the 703s but not in the best of sonic surroundings and they were hooked up to a receiver and to some kind of switching setup and the salesman kept apologizing for the setup and said that when I come back he will set them up properly and directly to a Class
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Thomas W. Bethel
Managing Director
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
Room With a View Productions
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

bblackwood

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2007, 08:32:56 am »

Never heard the speakers you are referring to, and I certainly don't drive my N802s with a receiver, but I've never experienced this brightness or harshness in the upper mids and top end you mention.

I think it's telling that so many high-profile (cost is no object) mastering rooms use B&W Nautilus speakers.
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Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

MoreSpaceEcho

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2007, 04:00:39 pm »

i have the 805s and they're wonderful, not overly bright at all.
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djwaudio

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2007, 05:26:22 pm »

I have 802Ds and they cook! I heard the 803Ds and thought very highly of them too.
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Respectfully submitted,
Dana

Dana J. White
specializedmastering.com



Gold

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2007, 08:44:45 pm »

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Sat, 01 September 2007 08:06

My impressions so far are that the speakers are overly bright and almost hard in the upper midrange, that they have amazing transient response, that they are extremely well made and that the lower midrange is to die for and that the bass is very well controlled and they image very well. Any observations?




This is generally my impression too. I don't like them. 801's, 802's, matrix, nautilus, they all have this voicing. They sound good from 75 to 85dB but as soon as you turn them up they hurt. I'll go sit in the corner now.
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Paul Gold
www.saltmastering.com

On the silk road, looking for uranium.

mcsnare

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2007, 10:15:48 pm »

That's interesting. I love how everyone hears differently. I consider the Nautilus series very smooth in the mids. Try listening to some Duntechs sometime!
Dave

Gold

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2007, 10:53:57 pm »

mcsnare wrote on Sat, 01 September 2007 22:15

Try listening to some Duntechs sometime!



Ha! I haven't heard Duntechs but if I had the right room I would love Dunlavys. I don't find them harsh at all. Most of the time they sound like dog doo because they are so room dependant but when they are set up right they are nearly perfect in my book.
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Paul Gold
www.saltmastering.com

On the silk road, looking for uranium.

mcsnare

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2007, 12:18:44 am »

The system I'm using in Scott Hull's room(Duntech Sovereigns and Cello amps) sounds AMAZING. The translation I'm getting is the best I've ever experienced. I work like a dog to make it sound decent, but when I take it out anywhere, I'm super happy with it. But if your material has even a HINT of edgy-ness or digital 'brittle', those speakers put icepicks in my ear at about 3-4K. Ouch! I may have to re-evaluate how I feel about the N802's as a mastering tool. Everything sounds good to great on em, which makes then super fun to listen to. I'm curious to see what happens when I go back to using them in about a week or so.
Dave

Silvertone

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2007, 07:46:34 am »

Gold wrote on Sat, 01 September 2007 19:44

Thomas W. Bethel wrote on Sat, 01 September 2007 08:06

My impressions so far are that the speakers are overly bright and almost hard in the upper midrange, that they have amazing transient response, that they are extremely well made and that the lower midrange is to die for and that the bass is very well controlled and they image very well. Any observations?




This is generally my impression too. I don't like them. 801's, 802's, matrix, nautilus, they all have this voicing. They sound good from 75 to 85dB but as soon as you turn them up they hurt. I'll go sit in the corner now.



Not my impression at all but of course all this is amp/room and familiarity dependent. I think the room is very important here. I've built 5 control rooms in my life time and this one has been the best sounding I've ever had.

Dave I feel that way with the N802's like you do with the Duntechs. Go figure, I think they expose ugly music anomalies just fine.

Funny thing is I've never heard a pair of Dunlavys I cared for and 3 friends have them in their mastering rooms. I think their rooms are too small for the speakers and amps.

BTW I have both the N805's and the N802's in two different rooms, I can send signal back and forth between the two. Both seem to translate very well to the outside world.

Viva la difference.
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Larry DeVivo
Silvertone Mastering, Inc.
PO Box 4582
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
www.silvertonemastering.com
To see some of our work please click on any of the visual trailer montages located at... http://robertetoll.com/  (all music and sound effects were mastered by Silvertone Mastering).

Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2007, 10:48:38 am »

I went to another store and listened to the 703s again and came away with a similar feeling that the top was very edgy. The same thing happened in this store as the one I first wrote about they had a pair of 802Ds but they were not available for listening. Again in this store the amplifier was a receiver and not a good power amp and the speakers were not in a good room and were wired with a single piece of what looked like lamp cord and not tri wired. They are going to call me when they get their 802Ds wired in with a good amplifier.

Both of these stores are owned by the same man and both of them have "listening" rooms that look like typical home living rooms and have very flexible walls made out of steel studs and wall board, have carpeting on the floor and a drop in ceiling. The owner says that this way when a person gets their $12,000 speakers home they are "not disappointed with the sound" not sure I agree with him but he is doing a land office business.

Early on when I was just getting into mastering I had a chance to purchase a pair of B&W 801s or the ALON IVs for the same exact price  and I choose the ALONs for over all sound. I have been VERY happy with them but keep reading all the glowing reports on the 802Ds so I am thinking of upgrading down the road. This is why I am doing this exercise. So far I have not heard the 802Ds and have only heard the 703s and not on very good equipment and not in a very good listening environment.

This dealer does not offer "in home trials" so that is why I am looking for some suggestions from members of this board. Thanks in advance.


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-TOM-

Thomas W. Bethel
Managing Director
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
Room With a View Productions
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

bblackwood

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2007, 10:54:31 am »

IME, the B&W's are ruthless at exposing the sound of an amplifier, which is why a truly great sounding amp is necessary. When I've heard the B&W's even with Brystons (good mid-grade amps) they didn't sound as good as they can with something like the Pass Labs amp I use (which mates wonderfully with them).

Don't underestimate the effect that a crappy amp (read: receiver) can have on a speaker...
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Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

craig boychuk

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2007, 03:53:00 pm »

Gold wrote on Sat, 01 September 2007 19:44


This is generally my impression too. I don't like them. 801's, 802's, matrix, nautilus, they all have this voicing. They sound good from 75 to 85dB but as soon as you turn them up they hurt. I'll go sit in the corner now.



I just recently did some work in a room with the matrix variety, and they totally bit my head off. Super bright. Not a lot of LF. That being said, I am really sensitive to HF. I think they were running them through a qsc or something, perhaps not the best match.

Although they were bright for my taste, I really enjoyed the detail in the stuff up top... made me work a little differently, but not in a bad way, I don't think.

I'm not enthused about subs in general, but I think that I would've probably liked them a lot more with some of that action.

Different strokes 'n' all that.

-craig
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carlsaff

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2007, 05:28:25 pm »

Kinda with Paul on this one... horses for courses, YMMV, etc.

Thomas, check out the higher end PMCs if you can. Loving my IB1s. They compare very favorably against higher end B&W speakers, and I think you might like the tweeter more. Still extremely detailed and extended, but of a very different character. I don't find them fatiguing at all, but harshness still jumps out at you when it's there. No compromise whatsoever in the LF.

Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2007, 07:17:59 pm »

No one around this immediate area carries PMCs and I made a rule a couple of years ago that nothing goes into my mastering room without first auditioning it so maybe I will have to travel to some where that they have PMCs that I can listen to. Does anyone know of any place that carries PMCs? within a 150 mile radius of Cleveland, Ohio? I only found this one place

Genesis Audio
1385 E. Johnstown Rd.
Gahanna,
OH 43230
Contact: Art Delorenzo

Ph: 614-939-0802
Fax: 614-939-0805

I will give him a call on Tuesday. I guess they are just North of Columbus. Thanks for the tip.
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Thomas W. Bethel
Managing Director
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
Room With a View Productions
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness.

OTR-jkl

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2007, 12:10:20 am »

I've had a pair of B&W N805s for just over 6 mos. now and I absolutely love 'em. I find the top end smooth and detailed, not harsh or brittle at all. In fact, if the top is crispy, it usually means there's excess up there. I'm finding that, pretty much, all I have to do is just make it sound good on 'em and it'll sound good outside. I'm supplementing them with a pair of Velodyne subs.
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J Lowes ยท OTR Mastering
Professional Audio Production for Life
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