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  1. #1
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    How do you get the B&W 705 sounding right?

    Hey Guys,

    A few months ago I purchased a pair of 705s. Delightful in the shop, however at home they're ear cutters. They've had at least
    a 100hrs on them, so they have settled down a little. I'm using a Marantz PM 7200 with a Marantz SA8260 CDP, which is quite a nice sounding combo, but is the amp enough to drive the 705s'. I've heard although they are efficient, they want truck loads of power. Is this true? I'm thinking maybe changing my amp to an NAD c372. Would this be a good combination? Or would I have to go as far as biamping a C372 with a C272 power amp to get rid of the dry and hard sound that they have...after 10min. of listening my ears are grating. I'm worried about using Rotel -I once owned the Rc/RB 1070 combo and felt it was a little bright, so I'm thinking this might make the problem worse - but I really don't know.......

    Advice Please!

  2. #2
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    Are you using direct mode, or are you using the tone controls on the receiver. My inlaws have a marantz/b&w combination and I would hardly call it "bright". I think they have the 705s as well.
    Definitive Technology Fan, Owner and Advocate!!!!! never paying retail IS half the fun of buying audio products!!!! Good shopping!

  3. #3
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    Before you purchase a new amp take a look at your room. Do you have a lot of open, hard surfaces like a hardwood floor, large windows or open walls? You may want to try some inexpensive room treatments like rugs, drapes or rearranged (or different) furniture. Also experiment with speaker placement to emphasize bass such as moving them closer to walls or corners. You can try some gradual adjustment of your tone controls too. If you do decide to try a new amp, try to borrow one first or see if your dealer will let you do a home demo before you buy. The point is that there are a lot of things which would cause your problem including the possibilty that the 705's may just be wrong for your ears or room. A new amp could be the solution but the PM7200 is a decent product so I would consider other (inexpensive) solutions first. Hope this helps and good luck.

  4. #4
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    These speakers require amps of higher quality than the mid-fi Marantz and Rotel examples quoted. They need at least 100w of power despite the quoted efficiency figure and sound much better biwired (but don't use Audioquest cable as my son-in-law originally did - this simply exacerbated the perceived harshness). His pair either broke in after 6 months of heavy use or else we got used to the treble emphasis after that time - I don't know which. A hundred hours is nowhere long enough. Fix the speakers to heavy metal stands with Blutak, not cones or spikes, and toe them in so that the axes cross in front of the listening position. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter regarding positioning relative to side and back walls.

    Like their predecessor the CDM1 they have a magnificent mid-range and excellent bass for a small stand-mount speaker, but the quality and quantity of treble is something else.

  5. #5
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    Dry and hard sound suggests to me that your amplifier is clipping, in this case your amplifier does not like low impedance loads, this speaker hoovers around 4.2 ohms above 15KHz and I think the hardness you are hearing is due to this, whilst it is very sensitive speaker @90dB, it is much better suited to a amplifier that is very comfortable with low impedance loads. IOW, I think the Marantz PM72000 is the culprit.

  6. #6
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    B & W 705 not hard to drive.

    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    Dry and hard sound suggests to me that your amplifier is clipping, in this case your amplifier does not like low impedance loads, this speaker hoovers around 4.2 ohms above 15KHz and I think the hardness you are hearing is due to this, whilst it is very sensitive speaker @90dB, it is much better suited to a amplifier that is very comfortable with low impedance loads. IOW, I think the Marantz PM72000 is the culprit.
    Actually, the B & W 705 is a relatively easy load for an amplifier. The impedance plot in Stereophile shows a minimum of about 5 ohms in the bass and lower mids and above that it stays much higher until you get above 10 khz, where there is very little musical energy. As well, it is reasonably sensitive at 89 dB. His amplifier should have no trouble with it.
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlton
    Hey Guys,

    A few months ago I purchased a pair of 705s. Delightful in the shop, however at home they're ear cutters. They've had at least
    a 100hrs on them, so they have settled down a little. I'm using a Marantz PM 7200 with a Marantz SA8260 CDP, which is quite a nice sounding combo, but is the amp enough to drive the 705s'. I've heard although they are efficient, they want truck loads of power. Is this true? I'm thinking maybe changing my amp to an NAD c372. Would this be a good combination? Or would I have to go as far as biamping a C372 with a C272 power amp to get rid of the dry and hard sound that they have...after 10min. of listening my ears are grating. I'm worried about using Rotel -I once owned the Rc/RB 1070 combo and felt it was a little bright, so I'm thinking this might make the problem worse - but I really don't know.......

    Advice Please!
    I'm a little surprised that you would keep the speakers so long since you didn't like them at home.

    The 705 is a fairly easy load for an amplifier. Your amplifier is rated for 155 watts into 4 ohms on the European website.. According to Stereophile, the estimated sensitivity is about 89 dB and the minimum impedance in the high energy frequency ranges is about 5 ohms or a little above. So I really don't think your amplifier is at fault.

    http://stereophile.com/loudspeakerre...bw/index4.html

    I heard the 705s in a store with lots of space around them, so I have a good idea of what they are capable of. I liked them quite a lot and thought they sounded quite smooth though they are balanced brighter than the speakers we ended up with. While the bass was reasonably satisfactory, I feel they do benefit greatly from a subwoofer and that is mostly how we listened to them. Perhaps you are playing them louder in an attempt to hear more bass.

    Trying them out at home can be a different matter, however. It may be that they are justed not suited your room acoustics and placement options. How far are they from the room surfaces, especially the side walls? What sort of furnishings are in the room?
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

  8. #8
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    Hi Pat D,

    Above 15kHz, the speaker stays at 4.2 ohms, the stereophile measurements say this

    dropping to 4.2 ohms only above 15kHz and staying above 6 ohms for almost the entire midrange and treble.
    And I do want to cry foul, but though the specs say 155Ws into 4ohms, it does not quote any distortion figures through 20Hz-20KHz, which leads me to think that it only goes into 4ohms very grudgingly.

  9. #9
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Carlton,

    You've been given some excellent advice from everyone here. Like Matt mentioned, the first thing I would address is your room acoustics and speaker positioning. Every speaker interacts with specific rooms differently so while it's highly likely the 705's were perfectly dialed-in at your dealer, it appears you'll need to take similar efforts. Remember, room acoustics will have a far greater effect on tonal balance than changing your front end.

    If tweaking the room and positioning still leaves you wanting, than I would address the front end. The CDM's were notorious for their sensitivity to amp choice and I think that's where you're getting the impression that the 700's are similarly challenging. When B&W designed the 700 line, one of their goals was to make them easier to drive than their predecessors. Based on measurements and changes to the magnet structure, it appears they were successful. Whether 4.2 or 5 ohms, neither can be considered a difficult load and any competent amplifier should be up to the task. This is not to say that amps sound the same, because they don't. System synergy is far too often overlooked when piecing a rig together. Specs simply don't tell the whole story. How products interact with each other is paramount to building a musically satisfying system. Unfortunately, this requires a lot of auditioning and even more patience on your behalf. Find some dealers or friends that will let you demo equipment in your own home on your own rig because this is the only way you will be able to tell what works and what doesn't. FWIW, I spent 6 months auditioning amps until I found switching amps like my PS Audio HCA2 to be the best fit with my CDM 7NT's. However, what I like could be completely different from what you like so relax, do your homework, and enjoy the ride.

    Hope this helps.

  10. #10
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    I've always found McIntosh amps to match well with B&W. One thing to try might be a used McIntosh integrated. I like the MA 6200 and 6400. I think they're in the same performance range as the 705s. Besides ebay, another place to try is audioclassics.com

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    Hi Pat D,

    Above 15kHz, the speaker stays at 4.2 ohms, the stereophile measurements say this



    And I do want to cry foul, but though the specs say 155Ws into 4ohms, it does not quote any distortion figures through 20Hz-20KHz, which leads me to think that it only goes into 4ohms very grudgingly.
    I suspect he simply listened to the 705 in a rather different acoustic environment in the store than he has at home.

    The speaker's impedance gets close to 4 ohms above 15K. So what? There is very little musical energy that high so the current demands would not be much at such high frequencies.

    The 705 is a moderately sensitive 5 ohm speaker and most any decent receiver or amplifier should be able to drive it just fine.
    "Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony."
    ------Heraclitus of Ephesis (fl. 504-500 BC), trans. Wheelwright.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    As others have said, before you go pursuing anything involving amp upgrades, you need to figure out whether your room is creating a problem. Even if you upgrade the amp, room problems will still affect your system, which is why you need to flag them BEFORE you go making another huge investment.

    Typically, the problems that rooms create are related to cabin-gain and standing waves that affect the low frequencies, and hard reflective surfaces that increase the decay time for the rest of the frequency range. It's easy to hear the effect of long decay times by just standing in the middle of the room and clapping your hands together. If you hear a "slap echo" then your room, then your room has an acoustical problem. Since it's the highs that you don't like and you liked how the 705s sounded at your dealer, it's likely that you got a lot of hard flat surfaces in your room that don't absorb the sound reflections. When the sound waves reflect at high amplitude and take a longer amount of time to dissipate, it can make the sound seem harsh and less coherent.

    Fortunately, it doesn't have to take a lot to make big improvements in this area. Cushy furniture, thick rugs, and wall tapestries can all absorb the reflected sound. If you want to be more focused in your approach, you got plenty of room treatments on the market. The typical prescription is to use absorbing panels or acoustic foam all along the front wall, and then go with absorption at the reflection points (you can identify these by sitting down at your listening spot and have someone go along the walls with a mirror -- the reflection point is where you can see the tweeters in the mirror from the listening spot). Room treatments are not a panacea if you simply don't like the speakers, but they do allow you to better evalute the speakers as they are supposed to sound, without the room effects creating a distorted impression of how they sound.

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...s-12-2004.html

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the advice,
    My listening room is carpeted, with heavy drapes behind me and soft couches. Positioning is almost to the B&W manual, so I would think its' not the room, especially because I've tried different positioning. The speakers are also secure - they've been fixed via screws to the B&W FS700 stands (although they are not filled with sand or leadshot). I can say that the amp doesn't sound like it has much drive through these speakers...so I guess I'll have to keep bringing home different amps to try and gain a better synergy and still experiment with room placement or even try a different & bigger room. When I listened to the 705s' in the store, their 2 channel room was rather big. Approx 5m x 10m with the listening couch at the halfway point. Maybe this was the difference!

    Thanks again everybody!

  14. #14
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    A quick CHEAP fix;

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlton
    Thanks for all the advice,
    My listening room is carpeted, with heavy drapes behind me and soft couches. Positioning is almost to the B&W manual, so I would think its' not the room, especially because I've tried different positioning. The speakers are also secure - they've been fixed via screws to the B&W FS700 stands (although they are not filled with sand or leadshot). I can say that the amp doesn't sound like it has much drive through these speakers...so I guess I'll have to keep bringing home different amps to try and gain a better synergy and still experiment with room placement or even try a different & bigger room. When I listened to the 705s' in the store, their 2 channel room was rather big. Approx 5m x 10m with the listening couch at the halfway point. Maybe this was the difference!

    Thanks again everybody!
    The Magnepan true ribbon tweeter is one of the finest high frequency drivers in the world. The being said, the response can be a bit too much for some rooms. To address this Magnepan has included a set of 1 ohm resistors to be added by the user in case he/she finds it useful to attenuate the tweeter.

    So, my CHEAP advice is to biwire the speakers, and add a resistor to the tweeter leg to attenuate the high frequency response slightly.
    Audio;
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    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
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    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  15. #15
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    He doesn't even need to biwire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    The Magnepan true ribbon tweeter is one of the finest high frequency drivers in the world. The being said, the response can be a bit too much for some rooms. To address this Magnepan has included a set of 1 ohm resistors to be added by the user in case he/she finds it useful to attenuate the tweeter.

    So, my CHEAP advice is to biwire the speakers, and add a resistor to the tweeter leg to attenuate the high frequency response slightly.
    Good idea. I like that. He can simply run the existing cable tho the bass terminal and replace one jumper with that resistor. ...one that can handle several watts.

  16. #16
    RGA
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    First of all to adress the impedence -- this speaker is dead easy to drive as are point of fact the vast majority of B&W loudspeakers. They do have a sound not everyone is going to like and John Ashman noted that as a dealer B&W and like speakers were useful because people always are in upgrading their amplifiers to fix the unfixable. I'm no fan of receivers but I do own a lower end Marantz and I run it with horn loaded Wharfedales -- it may be a lot of things but bright the amp isn't.

    By all means if you have a lot of glass or hard reflections (hard wood floors barely any furnature no drapes) in your room then that can make a system lean bright. Your room however does not indicate that problem.

    Now the B&W 705 I personally have a number of problems with but the biggest is the lack of dynamics (throughout the spectrum) bass depth and bass dynamics(important to distinguish them all)...but bass depth at least can be augmented via a subwoofer. When you auditioned the speaker in the store were they using a subwoofer?

    The tweeter itself may not be the problem but the fact that you notice the treble acting out of sink with the woofer creates a slightly detached sound (so you can sorta hear what the drivers are doing focussing atention to that rather than the music). The good news is if this is what you are hearing then in my opinion you have a very good ear...the bad news is like Roy Scheider(said in JAWS) said about "needing a bigger boat" you're going need "a better speaker."

    Sure the amplifier can be upgraded to make the sound more open and engaging but generally I don't find the amps responsible for horrendously bright sounds (some older Yamaha's but they have corrected it). NAD if anything is a bit bright so that would not help you.

    Do everything everyone else suggests before paying this post any heed...but if in the end you have to come back it's not the end of the world...B&W fetches good money on the used market and you'll be on the road to disocvering what you really like. B&W is often referred to and I have as well(as an ex owner of B&W's) a great place to START on the path to high end.
    Last edited by RGA; 03-24-2005 at 09:19 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlton
    Thanks for all the advice,
    My listening room is carpeted, with heavy drapes behind me and soft couches. Positioning is almost to the B&W manual, so I would think its' not the room, especially because I've tried different positioning. The speakers are also secure - they've been fixed via screws to the B&W FS700 stands (although they are not filled with sand or leadshot). I can say that the amp doesn't sound like it has much drive through these speakers...so I guess I'll have to keep bringing home different amps to try and gain a better synergy and still experiment with room placement or even try a different & bigger room. When I listened to the 705s' in the store, their 2 channel room was rather big. Approx 5m x 10m with the listening couch at the halfway point. Maybe this was the difference!

    Thanks again everybody!
    Why not take your amplifier to the store, and listen to the dem 705 speakers there with your amplifier, this is very smooth sounding speaker, so if it sounds hard, especially given your acoustic environment, I will look at the amplifier.

  18. #18
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    I'll take theaudiohobby's advice and take my amp to the shop, this way I'll be able to eliminate the amplifier. I don't think that the speakers themselves are bright, there's just something not right here - as I've said before, almost as if something is sounding hard or dry and edgy, but if its not the amp I'll try Geoffcin resistor trick. If that doesn't work, then maybe RGA's right, it's my perception of lack of bass that's the problem.

  19. #19
    RGA
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    Carlton

    I want to be clearer than I was. The 705 does nto possess much bass or bass dynamics -- that in itself isn't necessarily the biggest deal for me. Bass is certainly important and without it the sound can be thin - but that is true for almost every standmount speaker in the 705's price. A Cohesiveness problem may be what you're detecting and the first several auditions I heard with the CDM 1NT I never noticed it either. The woofer and tweeter need to create a given instrument making it sound as a complete instrument but at some point (usually at 4khz) the midwoofer crosses over (passes the signal) on to the tweeter for the tweeter to complete the task. Many have questioned B&W's choice of a high crossover coupled with the way Kevlar as a material breaks up and they claim there is an audible hick-up. B&W selected it no doubt so that when meausred it does better on the graph...for whatever the lingo and rational many of us can hear that hand-off (some call it the BBC dip of Suckout etc). So when listening to such speakers (and most of the competition is no better and often worse) you can hear it on many acoustic instruments cello violin strings etc. Some say this is not a problem which is true if you're not hearing it and it is if you can.

    A lot of people complain about metal tweeters as well - if you notice B&W exhausts quite a lot of advertising to explain their tweeter's role in solving the problem their tweeter creates.

    Indeed rather than bringing your amp to the dealer why not bring their amp to your home? If the speaker amp cd player combo at the dealer sounds great and you bring thsoe componants to your home and there is a problem it could be your room or speakers.

    If you go to the dealer -- you may in fact hear the same problems there because you have logged way more hours on the speaker by now - sometimes it takes a while before you notice the problems with a componant...my dealer who has heard practically everything over the last 30 years still says he makes huge mistakes by deciding to carry a line based on a quick audition at a trade show and then after several hours and having the distributer come down to fix the unfixable ends up dumping them in the used section for a pittance --- point is stuff can sound good in shorter listening sessions than longer ones --- I've been there that's for sure.

  20. #20
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    the crossover issue is a redherring, it is associated with brightness or excess detail not hardness, hardness may indeed occur but I think it will due to excessive distortion in producing deep bass frequencies.

  21. #21
    IRG
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    RGA, what's your take on Monitor Audio..

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Carlton

    I want to be clearer than I was. The 705 does nto possess much bass or bass dynamics -- that in itself isn't necessarily the biggest deal for me. Bass is certainly important and without it the sound can be thin - but that is true for almost every standmount speaker in the 705's price. A Cohesiveness problem may be what you're detecting and the first several auditions I heard with the CDM 1NT I never noticed it either. The woofer and tweeter need to create a given instrument making it sound as a complete instrument but at some point (usually at 4khz) the midwoofer crosses over (passes the signal) on to the tweeter for the tweeter to complete the task. Many have questioned B&W's choice of a high crossover coupled with the way Kevlar as a material breaks up and they claim there is an audible hick-up. B&W selected it no doubt so that when meausred it does better on the graph...for whatever the lingo and rational many of us can hear that hand-off (some call it the BBC dip of Suckout etc). So when listening to such speakers (and most of the competition is no better and often worse) you can hear it on many acoustic instruments cello violin strings etc. Some say this is not a problem which is true if you're not hearing it and it is if you can.

    A lot of people complain about metal tweeters as well - if you notice B&W exhausts quite a lot of advertising to explain their tweeter's role in solving the problem their tweeter creates.

    Indeed rather than bringing your amp to the dealer why not bring their amp to your home? If the speaker amp cd player combo at the dealer sounds great and you bring thsoe componants to your home and there is a problem it could be your room or speakers.

    If you go to the dealer -- you may in fact hear the same problems there because you have logged way more hours on the speaker by now - sometimes it takes a while before you notice the problems with a componant...my dealer who has heard practically everything over the last 30 years still says he makes huge mistakes by deciding to carry a line based on a quick audition at a trade show and then after several hours and having the distributer come down to fix the unfixable ends up dumping them in the used section for a pittance --- point is stuff can sound good in shorter listening sessions than longer ones --- I've been there that's for sure.
    The Monitor Audio Silvers - S2 or even the Gold Reference GR10 speakers. They use metal cones but these newer versions aren't supposed to have the problems that most metal cones possess. Have you given these speakers much of a thorough listen?

    I have a pair of Energy C-3 now, which are fine speakers for the $300 they cost me. Time to move up a notch in a year or less. The MA S-2 are on this list (I have a local dealer, and have found them online for under $600), also the Boston Acoustic VRM-60, Paradigm Ref 20v.3, - not sure what else to add to the list. Maybe some of the online vendors like GR-Research - they get great reviews over at AA.

    Also, they speakers must look nice, as well as sound good. They will be paired to a NAD T-743 (just got it, and like it a lot) and eventually a quality power amp in 1-2+ years. For now the NAD will suffice though.

    Music ranges quite a bit. Progressive rock, classical, some jazz and blues - IMO a good speaker should be able to play all genres. It will have a sub, still shopping for that too, probably an Adire Rava.

    Budget, prefer to stay under $1k for now. Could be stretched, but that will take at least a year then. Would be slightly used too (like I did with my C-3). Comments are appreciated.

  22. #22
    RGA
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    Really it matters what you think of them when listening. Clearly a lot of people like B&W and I recommend many of them and even in spite of the problems I note about the CDm 1NT I still LIKE the speaker and recommended strongly for years -- it's not perfect it has problems but so does most stuff. It's the problems you can live with that is key.

    Unfortunately, problems mentioned are weird - reading the latest issue of Hi-fi Choice they seemed to stress heavily about the colouration of a bosendorfer speaker -- yet they gave it their highest rating -- another speaker the Elac 203 they noted other problems and basically rubished it with a very low sound ratintg -- apparently they call good sound a colouration since even the guy noting some issues ends up buying the speaker -- maybe colouration is a code word for excellent???

    In other words listen and decide for yourself. The B&W has a problem -- some people can live happily with it and some can't --- for the money I would not want the 705. Indeed the 705 improves the cohesiveness over the CDM 1NT but it also sound banal in many other areas which ends up for a less engaging treatment of music IMO.

    I have heard speakers using metal tweeters that I have liked obviously many I recommend - JM Labs uses metal exceedingly well - and many speakers using soft domes are good while many are extraodinarily dull - some Ribbons have been used well others not.

    Still it's preference --- and I happen to think my preferences are correct -- but really if it's my money then I want to be damn sure I trust the only preferece that matters --- MINE -- not a review magazine not Floyd Toole etc.

    There is a reason some companies bombard the industry with advertisements --- good products sell themselves -- hype is hype (of course this is just opinion and not proveable no flame suit required becuase I have conceded this point).

  23. #23
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    RGA,

    For someone who does not care about reviews or magazines, you sure read a whole lot of them.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    My friend RGA, well its funny how he writes a whole book and it usually contains 95% advertisment for a box from Audio Note. Mmmh...jummy... LOL anyways

    How do you get the B&W 705 sounding right?

    Buy a different speaker !!

    Sorry couldnt help myself
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

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