On Wall Speakers: Weberns are an Excellent Value [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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02-14-2007, 09:55 AM
I was standing inside of the Magnolia store yesterday and I was talking with this guy who was building a 5.1 system with a TV. I was trying to convince him that his best bang-for-the-buck was the Vienna Schonberg series, as I have recommended them to many people now. In the end, he wound up spending far more on the TV than he had planned and had no money left to buy the speakers. "I'll just use the TV's speakers for now," he said.

Before he left he asked me what I had, and I told him that I had a fine Axiom system that I was very happy with. He then asked if the Schonbergs would be an upgrade from that and I couldn't help but say yes, although I really had not compared them in my home. Basically it was a best guess. He left but that got me thinking....

Now I've been thinking of on-walls for some time now. My kids are becoming much more rowdy (one of my speakers already was knocked over) and besides, the TV room has pretty much become "their" room anyhow. Hanging the Axioms on the walls would make them stick out too much, especially since they would have to hang pretty low to be at ear level. I've been playing around with a pair of Magnepan MMG-W's for a while now but I really don't like the lack of bass and they sound shrill to my ears, probably because of the missing bottom end. I also auditioned others: Def Tech Mythos (sound small and metallic), a couple of Polk RM types (sound small and lifeless) and even the Yamaha sound bar thing (yeah, forget about rear sound on that one). The only ones I never heard where the Von Schweikert on-walls, and that may be regrettable, but they sure are hard to find, too.

I then did a careful audition of the Martin Logan Frescos & Vignettes, and the Vienna Waltz and Webern, using my own CDs at the store (they actually allowed me to plug & unplug at will, believe it or not). The Martin Logans sounded small and high pitched. While they would be OK in a surround system with a good sub, they really did not deliver in stereo 2-channel sound. To be perfectly honest, the best sounding speaker of the lot was the Waltz, but the Magnolia Sales rep wasn't willing to deal at all on the price and that's a pricey little number. The Weberns were a very close second, although they lacked a little bit in the higher frequencies and sounded just a tad less clear. But they make up for it in full midrange and bass. While not as deep as the bigger Schonbergs, for 1/3 the price, they were incredibly rich, full-bodied, and even across the frequency range.

So I bought five of them!

I also had the option of adding a pair of Schonbergs or Bergs to the mix, but since I listen to a lot of SACD, I really wanted to have the same speakers all around. I may pick up a pair of Bergs for 7.1 sound later (since SACD doesn't utilize those), but for now I am incredibly satisfied. I was running out of time yesterday, but I compared two of them against everything I had on hand: Vandersteen VLR-1s (not as clear), Axiom M22TIs (not as full), the MMG-Ws (uh, yeah), Klipsch RB5s (too boomy), even my Meadowlark Swifts (which did have better bass, but the mids were more enjoyable on the Weberns).

Anyhow, I'll stop here. It was not cheap for all five speakers, but at the discount price ($350 each), there simply is no better value out there. I asked Magnolia to check their stock in SoCal, and they are pretty much sold out of them everywhere. But if you can find them, they are a great bang-for-buck.

P.S. I almost picked up the SubSon, but that would have been another ~$1K. has anyone heard that sub?

Dusty Chalk
02-14-2007, 06:44 PM
Thanks for the info -- we're going to outfit a rather large conference room at work, and that's about the budget I have to work with, so I may switch to those -- do you think they're powerful enough (I.E. go reasonably loud) to drive a large room (30'x25', IIRC)? I was going to amp them with Rotel's 7-channel digital amp...

Currently we're slated to use Focal Sib XL from their Cub & Co. (http://www.focal-fr.com/home/en/sibco/index.htm) series, which are priced just slightly higher, but the money hasn't come in yet, and we can change whatever I want...

02-14-2007, 07:51 PM
Nice purchase 'flier. Make sure to post pics when you get the new rig up and running. I'm looking forward to hearing your impressions on how the Weberns handle SACD playback.

I love it when AR peeps get new toys.

02-15-2007, 07:55 PM

They are actually not too hard to drive. I presume that for a conference room, you'd use 7-channel stereo, right? If so, they should be fine. I currently have two of them in my 2-channel system and I did get a chance to turn up the volume a bit. They had no trouble and my amps didn't really get hot, even after 2 hours of use. I don't think the JMLs have the same size or number of drivers (the Weberns have two woofers). If on the other hand, you'll be using this for DD or DTS sound, you might want to consider Vienna's 3 tweeter, 3 woofer center channel. It is also being discontinued, although I do think it will cost a little more than the Weberns.


I'm still looking for a nice flat screen to go with the speakers. I can't quite afford a Pioneer, but I'd settle for one of the new Panasonic 1080p plasmas. Anyhow, I'm still shopping around for a good TV.

Dusty Chalk
02-15-2007, 11:13 PM
They are actually not too hard to drive. I presume that for a conference room, you'd use 7-channel stereo, right? No, 5.1, actually. Most software is oriented towards 5.1, hence...besides, it's just background music. I think.

02-16-2007, 03:15 AM
I'm still looking for a nice flat screen to go with the speakers. I can't quite afford a Pioneer, but I'd settle for one of the new Panasonic 1080p plasmas. Anyhow, I'm still shopping around for a good TV.

I'm waiting for the 1080p Hitachis that are scheduled for release next month(?) Reportedly, the price will be oh-so-right.

Dusty Chalk
02-16-2007, 04:10 AM
I investigated these further, and it looks like you got an excellent price.

Waltz (http://www.sumikoaudio.net/va/prod_waltz_ref.htm) vs. Webern (http://www.sumikoaudio.net/va/prod_webern.htm) -- they should've been priced similarly...

02-16-2007, 10:50 AM
No, 5.1, actually...

If the receiver supports 5-channel stereo, you'd be better off doing that for background music. This way, the sound will be the same out of all five speakers, rather than using the rears as surrounds. This is what you will get from two-channel sources like radio, iPods, standard CDs, etc., because the 2 channels will be matrixed to a Dolby ProLogic format with the rears only receiving some of the signal. Most receivers have a 5-channel stereo option and they should still output low frequencies to the sub in that mode. I haven't tried the Weberns in 5.1 yet, but given how good the 2-channel sound is, it should be pretty good.

Waltz (http://www.sumikoaudio.net/va/prod_waltz_ref.htm) vs. Webern (http://www.sumikoaudio.net/va/prod_webern.htm) -- they should've been priced similarly...

The Waltz were not discounted, unless I missed that sale. I might have opted for those if they had been less. In my opinion, the Waltz is not necessarily better, but different and given that most of my hardware is to the warm side, they might have been a better match. They do sound smaller and less full than the Weberns, which may be because of the smaller squarish wood cabinetry and the smaller drivers. On the other hand, they are a tad clearer, crisper, and have an impressive trebble. Vienna originally intended these to be used as surrounds with their larger tower speakers up front, as these would probably hide the Waltz' shortcomings a bit, but they sound good enough for an on-wall speaker so many people have purchased them for stereo sound in cramped quarters. Of course, I only heard them in the store (powered by Pioneer Elite receivers), so they may not be as impressive for me at home - while the Weberns are working extremely well for me. Who knows, maybe it was a good thing they were not on sale.

When I get a decent plasma, I'll post pictures. Right now my crt tv and the Axiom speakers take up so much space that my small-ish TV room feels very closterphobic. I can't wait to get that all up on the wall.

P.S. I will be selling my Axiom 7.1 setup, my SVS sub and some other gear, hopefully to a good home, so if anyone's interested, PM me.

02-16-2007, 07:08 PM
i'm just posting here cause i'm bored...

on wall speakers are pretty great IF they're done right, and these look like they're done right...

Dusty Chalk
02-17-2007, 04:23 AM
Well, no, it's going to be computer based. And by background music, I don't mean elevator music, I mean soundtrack to a powerpoint-type presentation background music.

And maybe the occasional movie. If the boss allows it.