In need of speaker advice. [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : In need of speaker advice.

06-10-2004, 09:05 AM
I'm planning to buy new speakers (only for music) and I was considering the B&W's 603 s2. I now have the B&W's 601i witch I love but they have a very small sweet spot. The 603 reviews tell me that these speakers have a small sweet spot as well, that they need a lot of space behind them and placement is very critical.
Basically I have no experience with speakers other than B&W's (except for a terrible JBL experiment) and I'm looking for some easy on the ear but good, supple sounding speakers that are not as critical (placement wise) as B&W's (in the 603 price range)

Thank you for your advice,

06-10-2004, 01:07 PM
Well, you can certainly do worse than the 603's, especially if you already enjoy B&W's house sound. It's a great speaker, no doubt about it. If you are looking for something with superb off-axis response, I've not heard anything that approaches the non-directivity (is that a word?) of Von Schwiekert's VR series. The VR1 falls into the same price class as the 603's and is a truly astonishing speaker. When auditioning against the 602s3, JM Lab Chorus S, and Paradigm 20v3 among others, there was simply no comparison. You can literally get up and walk around and still hear phenomenal sound. According to Kevin at VSA, this ability to fill a room was a design goal and made possible by Albert's patented "GAIN" crossover, a feature that he installed on the Eggleston Works Andra II to great effect. Of course, it could also be marketing mumbo-jumbo :).

Give them a listen and decide for yourself. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. FWIW, I own both B&W and VSA products so I'm not biased either way.

Good luck and buy what moves you.

06-10-2004, 02:37 PM
Thanks for the advice, I'm going to check them out.
Do you have any suggestions for more mainstream brands? The B&W's go for great prices on Ebay. I was not planning to spend more than $500.

06-11-2004, 06:58 AM
New VR1's can be had for $650-675 if you haggle. Still, you'll have to stretch if you want a ceiling of 5 bones. I'd look into the Wharfdale Diamond 8.1, PSB Alpha, and Acoustic Energy Aego (though none are better than the B&W). has the Athena F2 floorstander on sale for $399 which is a helluva price and you can audition them at your local BestBuy. This speaker has far more bass than the B&W and receives very good reviews so you might want to see if they are your cup 'o tea.

Speakers are soooo subjective therefore you'll just have to listen to as much as you can and pick whatever floats your boat. You're in LA where there's certainly no shortage of hi-fi shops to visit. The Digital Ear in Tustin is very cool.

All of these speakers are from reputable companies although if you can save your pennies for a month and spring for the VR1, it would be worth it. The VSA competes with monitors 3 or 4 times list's that good.

Hope this helps.

06-11-2004, 07:59 AM
Thanks topspeed,
I always loved my b&w's and thought I would never go for anything else, but since I moved to a place with hardwood floors and very high ceilings I'm not satisfied with the sound anymore. I tried every position, new CD player, new cables but for some reason I can't get it right. I can still hear the excellent sound in a very small area, the moment I leave that small area it sounds almost like a very clean transistor radio (even when I crank up my b&w subwoofer, the low end almost sounds separate from the rest). So my first guess was that I should just go bigger. The reason Iím doubting the B&W 603 is because of the reviews. Some of them talk about the small sweet spot they have which is the problem Iím having now with my 601 speakers.
Iím going to check out the VR1ís and maybe spend some more money (b&w deals on ebay are incredible)
Thank you very much for your advice, Iíll keep you posted.

06-11-2004, 08:38 AM
I have a B&W 603 S2 before and their setup in a 17X24 bonus room 1ft away from the wall hook up to a Pioneer Elite 49TX and they sound boomy to me, even the highs are to bright compared to my 604 S2 although they have the same tweeter. I audition the 603 S3 and and it's much better, more balance and no sound fatigue. maybe this could help

06-11-2004, 09:08 AM
Thanks, I'm going to give them a try as well.

06-11-2004, 11:53 AM
I think I found your problem: Your room is too bright. You've got hardwood floors, high ceilings, do you have a lot of glass and acoustically reflective surfaces too? The first thing I try to do is damp the room with some rugs, drapes, bookcases, etc. Check your first order reflections and get something to absorb those if possible. I'd also consider some corner traps. Do a search here for Richard Greene's article on room nodes a couple of months back. He's the resident sub/bass guru and you'll find the article extremely helpful with regards to sub placement. I would absolutely start tweaking my room way before I even considered getting new it's cheaper!

I've played with the 602's and 603's and didn't think they were that room sensitive to be honest. Their sweet spot also wasn't nearly as precise as Maggies. If the above suggestions don't solve your problem (or you simply want new speakers :)), why not get a demo pair from a dealer and see how they interact with your room and gear? That's always the best way and surely there must be one B&W dealer in SoCal that will let you borrow a pair.

Good luck

06-11-2004, 02:13 PM
Topspeed, thanks so much for all your advice.
One more question, are brands like klipsch (klipsch rf-35) and infinity (infinity beta - 50 or primus 360) worht checking out?

06-11-2004, 10:07 PM
No doubt. Listen to everything you can get your hands on so you can determine for yourself what is best. Just because a speaker is mass market doesn't mean it's bad. I love older Klipsch speakers such as the Forte, LaScala, and of course K-horn. Those puppies were just so over the top you HAD to love 'em, especially if you like rock and blues. Infinity and Polk also make decent speakers. Are they better than some less obvious brands such as JM Lab, B&W, or Acoustic Energy?

You tell me.

p.s. Definitely look into Cambridge Soundworks at This company was founded by the late, great Henry Kloss of AR, KLH, and Advent fame (when they set the standard), and they offer tremendous bang for the buck along with a money back guarantee. At least worth an audition.

06-12-2004, 12:14 AM
if you have decided to chnage your 603's then try the quad 21l and 22L

06-12-2004, 06:05 AM
I did compare the B&W 603 series II to a Ref Klipsch ( can't remember the model but it's also a tower ) and in my oppinion, Klipsch hurts my ears. if your Klipsch dealer don't have B&Ws, maybe they will let you bring your B&Ws to there store and let you compare it betwwen the Klipsch RB 35. again that's only my personal oppinion.

Gina Urnshow
06-21-2004, 05:52 AM
There are many reasons why a speaker may sounds boomy. It can be location of the speakers, room treatment, or the amplifier itself. Before spending on a new speaker, try to treat first your current system. Also, how big is your room ? A floorstanders may be too much if you have a small space. If however you still consider on buying a new pair of speakers, try the mission 782 floor standers. They are very relaxing.