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Author Topic: B&W speaker question  (Read 23302 times)

MASSIVE Mastering

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2007, 02:10:07 am »

bblackwood wrote on Sun, 02 September 2007 09:54

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...

Gotta second that from raw experience.  Had a 4B on my 802's for some time.  Researched amp upgrades and found what seemed a chorus of people yelling "Pass X250!" at me (with a couple guys in the wings yelling "Krell!" also, for the record).  Found a good deal on a X250 and had a local studio owner/buddy come over to help me with it (I have a whisker of a back problem and the Pass is somewhere in the 110lb range and absolutely gigantic compared to the 4B).  

Just for fun (and I'm glad he was here, otherwise I probably wouldn't have done this) we hooked up the left channel to the Pass and the right to the Bryston.  Pink'd it and trimmed within a 10th of a dB or so and started playing some "classics" --

Needless to say, it wasn't even a fair fight.  The mids *did* seem "forward" and the highs *did* seem "harsher" with the Bryston.  The Pass was simply "bigger" and more "natural" sounding -- By a long shot.  I only wish I hadn't waited as long as I did to swap 'em out.  

Certainly, I was expecting a difference.  But I wasn't expecting a "DIFFERENCE!"  Not that I don't think Bryston makes fine amps also - But they're just not for these speakers.  
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John Scrip
Massive Mastering - Chicago (Schaumburg / Hoffman Est.), IL - USA

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2007, 08:13:40 am »

When I was putting my room together (still am putting it together) I audtioned a pair of B&W 803D with a Classe amp at a local dealer. Just amazing!   However the combo price was way out of my reach so off to Audiogon I go and come away with a pair of B&W 802 matrix 3's and an older Classe CA-200 amp.  Not what I had heard in the 803D's but still very good.  

2 weeks later the Classe's right channel went out so while its away in Canada being fixed I found a good deal on a McIntosh MC252.  I could hear the difference  but it was not until the Classe was back in my hands and i did a side by side comparison that the  beauty of the sound from the McIntosh was revealed.  The Classe made the Speakers sound brittle and hollow, the McIntosh made the speakers sound  open, smooth and with a detail that was not there with the Classe.  I was astonished.  I have to say nothing so far has made such an impact on the sound of my room.  

I look forward to the day when I hook the McIntosh up to a pair of Nautilus or perhaps Diamonds

Best...

.Julio
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Matt_G

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2007, 08:42:08 am »

Good topic, I'm at a point now where I am also looking to upgrade my monitoring path very soon. I've already been lucky enough to pick up a Pass Labs X250 for a great price so I'm on my way.

I'm going to be trying out some of the B&W 800 series speakers at a local dealer on Wednesday to see how they fare, I'll pay particular attention to the High Mid/Highs & also report back to the forum for those interested. I'll try to take my X250 with me to test them as this will be the amp I will use them with if I decide they are the ones for me.

It would be great if I could get them in here for a listen but like Thomas, the shop is reluctant to do an in house demo as they are hard to transport due to the weight & they don't want to risk them getting marked or damaged (maybe their insurance doesn't cover this?).

I've also looked into the Duntech Sovereigns but as a number of people have testified, if the room isn't big enough or they don't agree with the design of the room, then they can sound average. I've also heard the sweet spot is quiet narrow on them as well. Also it might be a bit weird with the Sovereigns as the main L/R monitors if I decided to do surround down the track.

Another monitor on my short list is the Lipinski L707's but they aren't being distributed to Australia at the moment, making a demo not possible. I've also been scared off them a bit by people describing them as 'audio microscopes' I know that description is supposed to sound appealing to a mastering engineer, but not when the majority of your work coming in the door is indie rock bands that are working on a tight budget. I think the Lipinski's might depress me too much if it revealed all the sonic imperfections found in some of these recordings that come in. Even after mastering I probably still wouldn't be happy with the end presentation on these. I'm hoping that the B&W 802D's are somewhere in between "musical" & "sonically detailed & revealing".

I've tried some of the smaller ATC's & been impressed with them, but I think they are over priced for what you are getting when you compare other speakers in the same price range.

I'm sure PMC's are great too, but again it's hard to demo the bigger sets.

Usually the releases I personally enjoy listening to most were done by ME's who use the various B&W 800 series monitors. They tend to translate very well everywhere & sound well balanced. This speaks volumes to me.

Matt
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Matthew Gray Mastering

Brisbane Australia

Andy Krehm

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2007, 10:52:19 am »

Matt_G wrote on Mon, 03 September 2007 08:42

...Another monitor on my short list is the Lipinski L707's but they aren't being distributed to Australia at the moment, making a demo not possible. I've also been scared off them a bit by people describing them as 'audio microscopes' I know that description is supposed to sound appealing to a mastering engineer, but not when the majority of your work coming in the door is indie rock bands that are working on a tight budget. I think the Lipinski's might depress me too much if it revealed all the sonic imperfections found in some of these recordings that come in. Even after mastering I probably still wouldn't be happy with the end presentation on these. ...Matt

Hey Matt:

Obviously, if you can't get the Lipinsky's to audition, other's comments don't really matter.

However, if you do, you might find them quite suitable.

I master a fair amount of indie rock and still like using them. However, my room is on the small size so I use the 505's with stereo Velodyne subs. Sometimes I think the subs, which require a high roll-off in order to mesh seamlessly the mains) offer just a touch of that "euphoric" sound that offsets the "clinical" sound of the 505's.

The old adage still applies, though. If it sounds good, it will sounds good on my system and if it sound bad, and I can't improve it enough, it will still sound bad (please excuse the black and white analogy!).

BTW, I have bought gear from two local audiophile shops and both were willing to let me try their products in my studio. One company even insisted on delivering them, so they wouldn't risk being damaged in transit. However, the catch was that I had to pay in full, in advance, on c.c. I thought that was fair, especially after I saw one company take my c.c. slip and tear it up when I returned $3,000. worth of goods to them. I started the dialogue by mentioned that I was a mastering engineer and strangely enough, they all knew what that was and that seemed to smooth over the "borrowing" process. I also showed one company my website so they could see the level of gear that I already owned. In the end, getting the goods from audiophile stores was no problem.

Gold

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2007, 01:15:51 pm »

The one set of B&W's that I think sound great are/were the B&W 808. It was like two Matrix 801's in a single box with a single tweeter. It had two of the midrange drivers and the tweeter in a D'Appolito arrangement with two 15" ish speakers. Those sound right to me. It's also possible I would like the 800's but I've never heard them.

It's not only the amount of high end most have, it's the quality. It just sounds weird to me. I've heard them with a variety of amps. The Brystons are sizzly and have never been at the top of my list. They do mate well with some things though.
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Paul Gold
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turtletone

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2007, 10:01:21 pm »

The amp makes all the difference on the b&w's. Probably the best working speaker i've heard were the N800's. too big for my room so I went for the N802's. I'm not "thrilled" with the tweeter but it bonks you on the head when the high end isn't right. Again the amp makes a huge difference. I would like to try the diamond series as I'm sure they sound much better than the N series.
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Michael Fossenkemper
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Matt_G

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2007, 12:51:01 am »

TurtleTone wrote on Tue, 04 September 2007 12:01

Again the amp makes a huge difference. I would like to try the diamond series as I'm sure they sound much better than the N series.



And perhaps that's why they updated the tweeter, hopefully the diamond series are a lot smoother then the Nautilus. I'm going over tomorrow with my X250 to try the 802D's, so I'll report tomorrow sometime.

Matt
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Matthew Gray Mastering

Brisbane Australia

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2007, 08:17:13 am »

Matt

So what happened when you auditioned the speakers?

I am very interested in your thoughts and insights.

Thanks!
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Matt_G

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2007, 09:05:58 pm »

Ok, here is an update...

I went into Northside Hi-Fi here in Brisbane yesterday & took a long listen to some 802D's with a bunch of CD's that I know well which covered lots of different styles. The listening room was about the size of the typical family lounge room with drapes lining the front & side walls, no acoustic treatment whatsoever, thick carpet with underlay on a concrete slab. The walls & ceiling were made of plasterboard with the exception of the back wall which was common brick. The owner of the shop said that he wants his listening room to represent the lowest common denominator with regards to acoustics so that if people like them in that environment they wouldn't be disappointed when they got them home in their own houses/studios etc.

Now he also sells Electrocompanient & Class
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Matthew Gray Mastering

Brisbane Australia

Jerry Tubb

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2007, 04:02:54 am »

Interesting review Matthew... sounds like the 802D/Pass Labs will be a great combo for you.

Some of your phraseology made me crack a smile:

"nice solid phantom centre"

"very commanding"

"euphoric in the highs"

"authority of the bottom end"

JT
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Terra Nova Mastering
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Gold

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2007, 10:33:43 am »

Matt_G wrote on Wed, 05 September 2007 21:05


One other thing I noticed was that the mid/highs sounded seperate to the lows, like they were still 2 different boxes.


This describes what I hear pretty well. My guess is that it is the cabinet design. The 808's are in a standard box with the same componants as the matrix and sound good to me.
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Paul Gold
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Matt_G

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2007, 10:43:03 am »

Jerry Tubb wrote on Thu, 06 September 2007 18:02

Interesting review Matthew... sounds like the 802D/Pass Labs will be a great combo for you.

Some of your phraseology made me crack a smile:

"nice solid phantom centre"

"very commanding"

"euphoric in the highs"

"authority of the bottom end"

JT



Ha! thanks Jerry, on looking back that is a very 'hi-hi' like review Smile Sometimes it's hard to describe sound in words... glad it made you smile though.
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Matthew Gray Mastering

Brisbane Australia

Matt_G

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2007, 10:48:40 am »

Gold wrote on Fri, 07 September 2007 00:33

Matt_G wrote on Wed, 05 September 2007 21:05


One other thing I noticed was that the mid/highs sounded seperate to the lows, like they were still 2 different boxes.


This describes what I hear pretty well. My guess is that it is the cabinet design. The 808's are in a standard box with the same componants as the matrix and sound good to me.




I wouldn't necessarily describe it as a bad quality though. On the plus side the imaging was beautiful & seemed to extend well beyond the speakers & envelope you. It could just be that it's something that you would just need to get used to as it is a different approach to what we are normally used to hearing compared to the traditional box type designs.
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Matthew Gray Mastering

Brisbane Australia

Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2007, 11:57:42 am »

Matt_G wrote on Wed, 05 September 2007 21:05

Ok, here is an update...

I went into Northside Hi-Fi here in Brisbane yesterday & took a long listen to some 802D's with a bunch of CD's that I know well which covered lots of different styles. The listening room was about the size of the typical family lounge room with drapes lining the front & side walls, no acoustic treatment whatsoever, thick carpet with underlay on a concrete slab. The walls & ceiling were made of plasterboard with the exception of the back wall which was common brick. The owner of the shop said that he wants his listening room to represent the lowest common denominator with regards to acoustics so that if people like them in that environment they wouldn't be disappointed when they got them home in their own houses/studios etc.

Now he also sells Electrocompanient & Class
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-TOM-

Thomas W. Bethel
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Room With a View Productions
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Gold

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Re: B&W speaker question
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2007, 12:25:56 pm »

Matt_G wrote on Thu, 06 September 2007 10:48

I wouldn't necessarily describe it as a bad quality though.



It's a popular speaker that good work get's done on. If I was forced to work on them I'm sure I could figure them out. They just don't make immediate sense to me. Carry on.
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Paul Gold
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