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  1. #1
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    Listened to speakers yesterday - B&W came out as a winner!

    So my mind is ALMOST made up. I am almost positive that I am getting the B&W 683's, but I also really liked the Monitor RS6! The only thing is the Monitors were a bit brighter and it seemed to distort a bit on the high notes when the volume was really cranked up. The B&W's on the other hand handled the tune flawlessly even when it was turned way up.

    Now my mission is to find the best componets that I can for my set-up. I am looking to spend about $1,000 on the receiver/amp set-up. What I am planning on getting right now is an Onkyo 805 with a $400ish decent amp. Do you guys think that this is a good route to go? I have been recommended by other audiophiles that I really do need a dedicated amp for the B&W 683's. Do you think that an amp will really make that big of a difference?

    All I am buying right now is the 2 mains, receiver, and possibly an amp. In a few months I will buy the surrounds, center, and a sub to go with the system.

    Any suggestions would be GREATLY apprecaited!

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The 805 should drive those speakers failry well. For power amps around 1K, consider the Vincent Audio Hybrid SP-331 $999, Parasound Halo A23 $850, Parasound 2125 $699,
    B&K reference 125.2 $600, NAD C272 $700.

    These are all good budget amps, with the Vincent Audio being a hybrid tube amp.
    I've heard the Parasound Halo and its a very good amp.

    You can probably find some used Adcom amps for a very good price as well.

    My choice would be the Vincent (although I havent heard it, the reviews have been great and it has plenty of power and should drive anything you throw at it) or the Halo A23 which is a balanced amp.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Or ...

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    The 805 should drive those speakers failry well. For power amps around 1K, consider the Vincent Audio Hybrid SP-331 $999, Parasound Halo A23 $850, Parasound 2125 $699,
    B&K reference 125.2 $600, NAD C272 $700.

    These are all good budget amps, with the Vincent Audio being a hybrid tube amp.
    I've heard the Parasound Halo and its a very good amp.

    You can probably find some used Adcom amps for a very good price as well.

    My choice would be the Vincent (although I havent heard it, the reviews have been great and it has plenty of power and should drive anything you throw at it) or the Halo A23 which is a balanced amp.
    For a grand, with a little careful shopping, BM could nab a pair of Monarchy SM-70 Pro's like I've got -- highly recommended.
    ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Listened to speakers yesterday - B&W came out as a winner!-monarchysm70pro-700.jpg  

  4. #4
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    My choice would be the Vincent (although I havent heard it, the reviews have been great and it has plenty of power and should drive anything you throw at it) or the Halo A23 which is a balanced amp.

    I haven't been too impressed with the Vincent amps...

    none of them, actually...

    powerful and all, but no soul, no magic...
    and all of them are rip offs from other brands, that particular Vincent is a cheap (and waay inferior) rip off from a Mark levinson amp, just this one got tubes in it.

    good if you want it to go loud, stay away if you want to really enjoy music.

    the Parasound, however, is a really good amp IMHO..

    Keep them spinning,
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  5. #5
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    I meant $1,000 for the receiver AND an amp. I wish I could afford a nice receiver and then get a $1,000 amp, but that is not going to happen. I can get the Onkyo 805 for $650, so I have about $400 or less for a 2 channel amp!

  6. #6
    PDN
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    Crash32:

    I agree that you don't need a receiver and seperate amp. The 683's have a 90dB sensitivity and are a nominal 8 ohm speaker. Therefore, it not's a great strain on a receiver or integrated to drive them. If you can buy a preowned Rotel RSX-1057 5.1 channel surround sound receiver for $1K or under, take it. It's rated at 75 watts/ch into 8 ohms all 5 channels driven or 100 watts/ch into 8 ohms 2 channels driven. But it's such a fantastic piece of equipment. Very musical and also great for surround sound HT and surround sound music, 2 channel or 5 channel music. Brand new it's approx $1300.00. If you can squeak out another $300.00, you'll be very happy (as long as you don't plan to build a 7 channel surround sound system). Don't be fooled by the 75 watts/ch all 5 channels driven. Believe me, it's 75 watts from high current discrete amplifiers of Rotel quality. You can't compare that to the mass market receivers out there. I'm driving B&W DM603 S3's as my mains and there's plenty of power. I listen to music in surround sound and this unit has so many different formats to choose from. It has a separate volume control on the remote for the center channel speaker for those movies where you can't hear the dialog very well but the rest of the system is loud enough. I love that feature.

    Another suggestion is the Marantz SR6001 A-V receiver for $999.00 new or the NAD T754 A-V receiver for $1100.00 new or less preowned. Can't go wrong with these recommendations. Good luck.

  7. #7
    PDN
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    Sorry, one more comment but a good one.

    Yes, the 683's are fabulous and I've listened to them a few times at two different audio stores. They will be my next upgrade to replace my DM603's should that time come. Fantastic for the money. Go for it !!

  8. #8
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    Before I make my final decision, I want to make sure that there are not any other speakers that I need to listen to. The B&W 683's are going to be $1500 for the pair, which means that bumps up my budget from $1,000 to $1,500.....are there any other speakers that I should consider that is in the $1,500 range and not in the $1,000 range?

    Thanks

  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I would try to find some Thiel CS2.2's or 2.4's used. I've seen some good deals on the 2.2's.

    That onkyo 805 your looking at will do just fine. 130wpc of high current power. That unit is a beast at 51lbs. Are there better amps, sure, but you will get pretty good sound from the onkyo.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  10. #10
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    The NAD & Rotel receivers may have an edge over Onkyo on sound quality but to my knowledge they are not as up to date as the 805 on HDMI and HD audio decoding.

    For amps you might want to read the thread here on the Emotiva LPA-1 which will provide 5 to 7 channels of quality power for the price of the 2 channels suggested. I have no personal experience but Kex says he likes his better than the NAD and Adcom he owns. Outlaw also provides some bargain prices on amps that get good reviews.

    Have you listened to, or have access to, any Dynaudio Audience series?

  11. #11
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    Have you tried JM Labs-Focal speakers? For the same money the Labs clearly outperform the B&W, especially with music.

    bill
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    dac= sim audio moon 300d

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  12. #12
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    How bout a pair of Maggies?

  13. #13
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    Hey Bill, where have you been lately? If you are still looking for a MC amp you might want to drop in on Kex's Emotiva thread. He seems pretty happy and they are relatively cheap. I also thought of you when I saw MusicDirect blowing out the Sim Equonox.

  14. #14
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    Hey Mr P how have you been, i have been real busy changing jobs so i have not posted much lately but i have been sticking my nose in now and then. I have read those threads with interest
    as i have not bought yet but all the talk of Rich and Kex running at 100db plus is not really the info that i want, i want to know how it sounds at moderate volume levels. It is a much bigger test to sound great at moderate levels than just to play loud.Speaking of Sim Audio i recently got to spend some time with a stack from heaven, p-8 amp, w-8 pre and supernova cd player, my local shop has it set up and i have been lucky enough to spend three evenings listening to some great music, unfortunately they were set up with with 800 series B&W and they were clearly outmatched by the Sim gear. Their was a set of JM Labs Utopias sitting in the corner but they were burning in the 800's prior to delivery, i have to hear the Sim- Utopia combo.
    Anyway things are settling down and i will have more time to post, so see you soon.

    bill
    Speakers-Jm Labs
    Disc player-Sim Audio Moon Calypso
    Pre-amp-Sim Audio P-5.3 SE
    dac= sim audio moon 300d

    Amp-Sim Audio Moon I-3
    Display-Toshiba CRT
    Wires and Cables-Kimber,Straight Wire, ixos, Gutwire and shunyata research
    Sacd-Cambridge Audio
    Bluray--Sony and Cambridge Audio
    Remote-- Harmony 1100

    Power-- Monster

  15. #15
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    Bill, have you heard any Dynaudio?

  16. #16
    Meh. Brett A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash32
    Before I make my final decision, I want to make sure that there are not any other speakers that I need to listen to. The B&W 683's are going to be $1500 for the pair, which means that bumps up my budget from $1,000 to $1,500.....are there any other speakers that I should consider that is in the $1,500 range and not in the $1,000 range?

    Thanks
    I own a pair of 683s and am very happy with them. It's a lot of engineering technology for the money and it results in speakers that do what they should---make music without drawing attention to themselves.

    I listen mostly to acoustic jazz (bop), classical, and neo-folk/alt (Bonnie Prince Billy, Sufjan Stevens) and occasionally Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Gang of Four Can, etc. All at moderate levels. These speakers perform well at all comfortable listening levels.

    As for the $1500 you quoted, that's full suggested retail...I don't know where you live, but you might be able to find them cheaper. I got mine at Spearit Sound in Northampton, MA (45 minutes form me) for $1240.
    Amp Shanling A3000-> speakers Vienna Acoustic Mozart Grand CD Rotel RCD 991 AE TT: Well Tempered Record Player-> AT OC9MLII -> Jolida JD9. cables from AQ, Siltech, Bogdan, Signal DH Labs, etc...
    Some pictures of it all

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Bill, have you heard any Dynaudio?
    No i have not but i have read many good things. There are no Dynaudio dealers near me.


    bill
    Speakers-Jm Labs
    Disc player-Sim Audio Moon Calypso
    Pre-amp-Sim Audio P-5.3 SE
    dac= sim audio moon 300d

    Amp-Sim Audio Moon I-3
    Display-Toshiba CRT
    Wires and Cables-Kimber,Straight Wire, ixos, Gutwire and shunyata research
    Sacd-Cambridge Audio
    Bluray--Sony and Cambridge Audio
    Remote-- Harmony 1100

    Power-- Monster

  18. #18
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    I listened to the Focal 827v and I thought that they were good speakers, but they did not impress me NEARLY as much as the B&W's did!

    How do the B&W CM7's compare to the 683's. I did not listen to the CM7's and I think it is worth listening to before making a decision. What do you guys think!

  19. #19
    RGA
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    I can't speak to the 683 but the CM series was not better than the 600 series of the past. It was a marketed brand (as most of what B&W has become now) for people wanting nicer cabinets - ala Totem (though not as nice as Totem's cabinets).

    IMO the best lines in terms of value and reasonabless for the money is the 300 and 600 series. Beyond those two lines there is better for less money. There's worse too so it depends on what is in your area.

    I would try an avoid all loudspeakers using metal tweeters if you can once you get above this $1k price range.

    I am not saying the CM series is worse than the 600 series it's just not enough better to warrant the price hike. If you can get the CM series equivalent for the same money then it's pretty good. The 700 series is dreadful in my opinion.

    Personally if you MUST have a B&W I would at the CDM 2SE or the 805Matrix or any other Matrix over any of their new stuff.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash32
    I listened to the Focal 827v and I thought that they were good speakers, but they did not impress me NEARLY as much as the B&W's did!

    How do the B&W CM7's compare to the 683's. I did not listen to the CM7's and I think it is worth listening to before making a decision. What do you guys think!
    Well speakers can be subjective, i heard the 683's hooked up to several thousand dollars of Sim Audio gear, much better than what they normally would be mated with and to be honest they were awful. Now to be fair they were new and not broken in yet so they should get better but they have a long way to go.

    bill
    Speakers-Jm Labs
    Disc player-Sim Audio Moon Calypso
    Pre-amp-Sim Audio P-5.3 SE
    dac= sim audio moon 300d

    Amp-Sim Audio Moon I-3
    Display-Toshiba CRT
    Wires and Cables-Kimber,Straight Wire, ixos, Gutwire and shunyata research
    Sacd-Cambridge Audio
    Bluray--Sony and Cambridge Audio
    Remote-- Harmony 1100

    Power-- Monster

  21. #21
    RGA
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    Metal tweeters do not break in and no driver using a rubber surround breaks in. Give it 10-30 hours but beyond that the spiders are done settling and that's it - at the very best it will be a subtle change.

    Sim Audio has some impressive stuff - one of the few SS brands that I like. The new stuff not the older stuff. They have a very nice integrated amp and cd player for $1500.00 each that is quite terrific - i1 or something 50 watts per channel.

  22. #22
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    Hum..... seems like some people here do not like B&W : )

    I listened to the Monitor RS6, NHT Classic 4's, and Focal 826v's and the B&W came out on the top. I had a friend with me, and he also agreeded with me that the 836 really did sound marginally better than the others. The Focals were actually my least favorite.

    We used Sarah Brightman, Seal, Pink Floyd, Andrea Bocelli, Miles Davis, and Conjure One to test these speakers in case you guys were wondering. The B&W has a very nice tone to it even though it has a metal tweeter.....a very warm tone.

    The only speakers that I MIGHT be interested in that I have not heard yet are the Song Towers. I know this might sound a bit uneducated, but they look pretty lame lol. But after reading a lot of reviews, they sound like some really nice speakers. Maybe I should listen to some Song Towers and see how I like them before commiting to the B&W's.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    All this shows is how we all have different likes and dislikes. We can recommend speakers out the wazzu, but it all comes down to personal preference.

    Just out of curiosity Crash, what did you think of the NHT 4's? I know they cant match the B&W's in treble but they have much better bass and are warmer sounding in my listening experience.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  24. #24
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash32
    Hum..... seems like some people here do not like B&W : )

    I listened to the Monitor RS6, NHT Classic 4's, and Focal 826v's and the B&W came out on the top. I had a friend with me, and he also agreeded with me that the 836 really did sound marginally better than the others. The Focals were actually my least favorite.

    We used Sarah Brightman, Seal, Pink Floyd, Andrea Bocelli, Miles Davis, and Conjure One to test these speakers in case you guys were wondering. The B&W has a very nice tone to it even though it has a metal tweeter.....a very warm tone.

    The only speakers that I MIGHT be interested in that I have not heard yet are the Song Towers. I know this might sound a bit uneducated, but they look pretty lame lol. But after reading a lot of reviews, they sound like some really nice speakers. Maybe I should listen to some Song Towers and see how I like them before commiting to the B&W's.
    First problem is most of the speakers you are listening to share a similar design principle. Stick a bunch of drivers on top of each other in a slim (deeper than wider) box with some sort of a metal tweeter.

    It is very possible that B&W sounds better - it sounds better than a lot of these kinds of speakers - I recommended the 602, 603 and 604 because for the money and what they do they do it well. I used to own B&W. They still make good loudspeakers against their mainstream competitors. As prices rise so enters a lot of lesser known companies and that is where IMO B&W gets trounced. The 604 for $2k is good - the 703 for $4k is junk because it is marginally better than the 604 (and even then not in all areas) and for $4k there is VASTLY better than the 703.

    I think it's unfair to attack B&W as a company because they do make good speakers and bang for the buck - they also make rubbish - but you know I could say that about virtually any company.

    Try listening to the B&W against differently designed speakers - horns (not Klipsch) and panels or off the beaten track designs.

    And to be fair to B&W they're two trick pony. You buy B&W for both surround sound and 2 channel music. Many of the better speaker makers that are no names are geared ONLY for 2 channel enthusiasts - like a Reference 3a or Gershman Acoustics etc. So they rule themselves out if Home theater is important.

  25. #25
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    Home theatre is very important to me. Probably JUST as important to me as music. I am still using music to judge the speakers thought since I really do want a great musical speaker.

    Is there a different design I should look at if I am going to be using them for music and home theatre? The only horn speaker I have heard is the Klipsch and they were too bright for me.

    I really did like the NHT, but the Miles Davis and Sarah Brightman track sounded better on the B&W and I really do love listening to Jazz and Opera.

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