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  1. #1
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    i'm confused why B&W 685 sounds a lot better than MA GS20

    Hi guys, is anybody know why my speaker B&W 685 sounds a whole lot better than my MA GS20 ( my concern is the GS20 cost 3x more expensive than BW685 ). I hooked them up with my Roksan Kandy L.III Mk.III ( integrated amplifier) and Arcam DV79 ( cd player ) and I used QED Silver Spiral for analog connection and I used Analysis Plus Oval 12 bi-wire for speaker connection. After I tested them with B&W685 and MA GS20, I'm very surprised because the BW685 sound is very good, very smooth, very natural and the treble is very nice to hear meanwhile the GS20, oh man... !!! the treble is too bright, the sound is not very smooth not natural, I don't understand I paid the GS20 3x more expensive than BW685, but the result is very very bad...
    Is this because of my Roksan Kandy ??? or my Arcam DV79?
    Can somebody help? If it is because of my Roksan kandy, what integrated amplifier is the best matched with my GS20?

    Thank you guys in advance.....

  2. #2
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Actually the GS20's cost more like 4-5 times the 685's. I own the 686's, and I like 'em. Never heard the Gold series although many people appear to rave about them. Perhaps it's a matter of taste? I couldn't imagine synergy being that bad as to make the GS20's sound bad in comparison to the 685's. I don't know..

  3. #3
    Ajani
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    I'd guess synergy and personal preferences.... I've found the reverse to be true.... I loved even Monitor Audio's cheaper Silver series in preference to B&W CM, 700 and 800 Series & the most interesting thing is that I found the B&Ws to be too bright....

    So a few quick questions:

    How long have you owned both the B&Ws and MAs? Have you let them burn in properly?

    Also you can try the MAs on different equipment... I've never tried them on Roksan but heard the GS20s sound amazing on the latest Musical Fidelity X-Series gear and Audio Refinement Complete series... if neither burn in nor different equipment changes your assessment, then I'd suggest selling the MAs (preferably to me for a nice discount lol ) and getting the B&W 683s instead...

  4. #4
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    sorry, I can't sell it to you even though I want, I can't

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I'd guess synergy and personal preferences.... I've found the reverse to be true.... I loved even Monitor Audio's cheaper Silver series in preference to B&W CM, 700 and 800 Series & the most interesting thing is that I found the B&Ws to be too bright....

    So a few quick questions:

    How long have you owned both the B&Ws and MAs? Have you let them burn in properly?

    Also you can try the MAs on different equipment... I've never tried them on Roksan but heard the GS20s sound amazing on the latest Musical Fidelity X-Series gear and Audio Refinement Complete series... if neither burn in nor different equipment changes your assessment, then I'd suggest selling the MAs (preferably to me for a nice discount lol ) and getting the B&W 683s instead...
    I'm sorry Ajani, I live in Indonesia so I don't think I can sell it to you... I have 5 of my friends to listen to them.. all of them says the BW685 sounds a lot better ( and I agree with them ) all of them says the MA GS20 is too bright.. the treble is very high it doesn't feel good to the ears meanwhile the BW685 is calm and natural, and the soundstage the BW685 is wider.... I owned the GS20 for about 7 months and the BW 685 for about 3 months ( my friend gave it to me when he moved to USA )... I think I have let them burn in properly... so before I have BW685, I'm pretty satisfied with my GS20, but now that I have tested with BW685, I don't like GS20
    I haven't try the Musical Fidelity X Series but I heard it is a good amp...
    The thing that make me stressfull is that my 3 - 4x times more expensive speaker sound bad .... I just can't accept that

  5. #5
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    sounds weird...

    the Gold series from MA compares to the 800 serie from B&W (with exeption of the 802,801 and 800D)

    maybe it's the synergy...

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  6. #6
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuksxyz
    I'm sorry Ajani, I live in Indonesia so I don't think I can sell it to you... I have 5 of my friends to listen to them.. all of them says the BW685 sounds a lot better ( and I agree with them ) all of them says the MA GS20 is too bright.. the treble is very high it doesn't feel good to the ears meanwhile the BW685 is calm and natural, and the soundstage the BW685 is wider.... I owned the GS20 for about 7 months and the BW 685 for about 3 months ( my friend gave it to me when he moved to USA )... I think I have let them burn in properly... so before I have BW685, I'm pretty satisfied with my GS20, but now that I have tested with BW685, I don't like GS20
    I haven't try the Musical Fidelity X Series but I heard it is a good amp...
    The thing that make me stressfull is that my 3 - 4x times more expensive speaker sound bad .... I just can't accept that
    Indonesia is a bit far from St. Kitts... so it'd probably be cheaper for me to go on a plane to Puerto Rico and buy a new pair than for you to ship it to me... lol

    Seriously though... after that much time, they should be burned in... and I wouldn't suggest changing amp (even to the Musical Fidelity) UNLESS you get to do an in-home audition to ensure that you like the result better than the B&Ws.....

    And you shouldn't feel bad about a much cheaper speaker sounding better than your existing reference gear... It happens far more often than you might think... Just a matter of listening preferences & synergy...

  7. #7
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    thanks Ajani, that helps my stressfull a bit but still I will try the Musical Fidelity with my GS20... coz I still can't accept the fact

  8. #8
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like you've discovered the truism that price doesn't always equal performance. I'm not saying the MA's are bad, only that they are bad (at their price point) to you...and since your opinion is all that matters...well, you get the point.

    If you are adamant on keeping the MA's but want to tame them, try installing Musical Fidelity's Tube Buffer into the chain and see if that helps. The buffer will roll the highs off a touch and introduce some harmonics that you may find pleasing. It's certainly cheaper than replacing speakers...speakers that you liked enough (7 months ago) to purchase.

    Hope this helps.
    "If you can leave black marks on a straight from the time you exit a corner till the time you brake for the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." Mark Donohue

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Sounds to me like you've discovered the truism that price doesn't always equal performance. I'm not saying the MA's are bad, only that they are bad (at their price point) to you...and since your opinion is all that matters...well, you get the point.

    If you are adamant on keeping the MA's but want to tame them, try installing Musical Fidelity's Tube Buffer into the chain and see if that helps. The buffer will roll the highs off a touch and introduce some harmonics that you may find pleasing. It's certainly cheaper than replacing speakers...speakers that you liked enough (7 months ago) to purchase.

    Hope this helps.
    Right now I'm in Singapore and I think I might as well buy the Musical Fidelity Tube Buffer and try installing it at home, but I need to make sure the product code is Musical Fidelity x-10 V3 Tube Buffer, correct? Let me know if it's not it.
    Thank you topspeed, I will let you know what happen after I installing it.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I have heard alot of of speakers and have heard my share of less expensive speakers sounding better then their more expensive counter parts. Its a matter of what sounds good to your ears and our personal likes and dislikes. Recently I auditioned a $5000 pair of Paradigm S6's and thought that they in know way came close to my Magnepan 1.6's which cost $1800.
    Now that doesnt mean that other people would think the same.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Sounds to me like you've discovered the truism that price doesn't always equal performance. I'm not saying the MA's are bad, only that they are bad (at their price point) to you...and since your opinion is all that matters...well, you get the point.

    If you are adamant on keeping the MA's but want to tame them, try installing Musical Fidelity's Tube Buffer into the chain and see if that helps. The buffer will roll the highs off a touch and introduce some harmonics that you may find pleasing. It's certainly cheaper than replacing speakers...speakers that you liked enough (7 months ago) to purchase.

    Hope this helps.
    I've finally installed the Musical Fidelity Tube Buffer, and it really helps roll off the highs a little bit, but now the sound is a little bit nicer than before but I'm still not sure, do I have to break in the Tube Buffer for some hours ( maybe 15 or 20 hours? ) then it will roll off the highs more? Coz right now I've only played it for 2 hours....
    but anyway thanks TOPSEED for the info

  12. #12
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuksxyz
    I've finally installed the Musical Fidelity Tube Buffer, and it really helps roll off the highs a little bit, but now the sound is a little bit nicer than before but I'm still not sure, do I have to break in the Tube Buffer for some hours ( maybe 15 or 20 hours? ) then it will roll off the highs more? Coz right now I've only played it for 2 hours....
    but anyway thanks TOPSEED for the info
    I would let it break in some more (even if it doesn't improve the sound, it certainly can't hurt it).....

    Do you find that the Tube Buffer also improves the sound of the B&Ws?

    Anyway, your comparison of the B&Ws with the MAs leaves me feeling the need to reconsider my stance on B&W speakers.... as I found they were much brighter than MA.... but since I have never been able to do a side by side comparison on the same equipment, it may just be the Rotel and Yamaha gear were really pushing the B&W over the top, while the Musical Fidelity and YBA gear were really ideal for the MA.....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I would let it break in some more (even if it doesn't improve the sound, it certainly can't hurt it).....

    Do you find that the Tube Buffer also improves the sound of the B&Ws?

    Anyway, your comparison of the B&Ws with the MAs leaves me feeling the need to reconsider my stance on B&W speakers.... as I found they were much brighter than MA.... but since I have never been able to do a side by side comparison on the same equipment, it may just be the Rotel and Yamaha gear were really pushing the B&W over the top, while the Musical Fidelity and YBA gear were really ideal for the MA.....
    The sound of BW 685 is worse ( for me ) when using the Tube Buffer, I can say worse becuase the high frequency is cut off too much. So I don't think the Tube Buffer improve the sound of BW 685. Meanwhile the Tube Buffer helps the MA by cutting off the high a little bit, although I can still hear that the MA sound is still a little bit bright, but I can accept it now.
    BTW, what is YBA?

  14. #14
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuksxyz
    The sound of BW 685 is worse ( for me ) when using the Tube Buffer, I can say worse becuase the high frequency is cut off too much. So I don't think the Tube Buffer improve the sound of BW 685. Meanwhile the Tube Buffer helps the MA by cutting off the high a little bit, although I can still hear that the MA sound is still a little bit bright, but I can accept it now.
    BTW, what is YBA?
    YBA is a french brand:

    http://www.yba.fr/uk/YBA_present.php

    I've heard the MA's combined with the Audio Refinement Complete Integrated Amp & CD Player (Audio Refinement is made by YBA)....

    But the best setup I heard was definitely the Musical Fidelity X-T100 Integrated, X-Ray V8 CD & Monitor Audio GS20...... It was in a small room, just 11' by 11', but it did everything right and was definitely not bright... I didn't notice any special room treatments... just a carpet and a leather sofa....

    Since you find that the MF Tube Buffer helps tame the MAs but hurts the B&Ws, then your issue is quite possibly just system synergy after-all....

    If you eventually want to change your amp and cd player.... you can try some of MF's other tubed Gear... The X-T100, A1008 & KW550 Integrateds are all Tubed... while the X-Dac V8, A5.5, A1008 & KW Dacs/CD players are also tubed....

  15. #15
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    I'm glad the tube buffer helped tame the MA's. I auditioned the Gold series monitor (can't remember the specific model #) when I was looking for bedroom speakers a while back. With a Parasound Halo front end, they were too hot for my taste as well so it sounds like the MA's voicing are simply not to your liking. Remember, tastes evolve with experience.

    Someone once said installing the MF tube buffer is, in effect, adding distortion to the signal. Proponents call this harmonics, dissenters call it noise. Technically, the latter are right. To the purists, the goal is always straight wire with gain. IOW, take the uncorrupted signal from the source, boost the signal (gain), and play through your speakers. Personally, I think you should do whatever you want to do in order to derive the most pleasure from your system. No one will ever truly recreate the live event anyway so if that includes adding "noise," so be it. As long as you're happy, it's all good.
    "If you can leave black marks on a straight from the time you exit a corner till the time you brake for the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." Mark Donohue

  16. #16
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    I'm glad the tube buffer helped tame the MA's. I auditioned the Gold series monitor (can't remember the specific model #) when I was looking for bedroom speakers a while back. With a Parasound Halo front end, they were too hot for my taste as well so it sounds like the MA's voicing are simply not to your liking.
    Hmmm that's good info on the Parasound Halo/MA combo.... As I have the option to buy that combo, BUT since both brands are available at different stores (in different islands) I wouldn't be able to audition the combo before buying. I guess I'll probably stick with MF/MA. The Halos sure look preeeeetty though....

    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Someone once said installing the MF tube buffer is, in effect, adding distortion to the signal. Proponents call this harmonics, dissenters call it noise. Technically, the latter are right. To the purists, the goal is always straight wire with gain. IOW, take the uncorrupted signal from the source, boost the signal (gain), and play through your speakers. Personally, I think you should do whatever you want to do in order to derive the most pleasure from your system. No one will ever truly recreate the live event anyway so if that includes adding "noise," so be it. As long as you're happy, it's all good.
    Amen my brother... lol.... seriously though; I couldn't agree more.... the musical experience should be about enjoyment, not merely being able to say that you have a 'technically perfect' setup that adds zero distortion...

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