• 10-07-2004, 11:28 AM
    CityMan
    Vienna Acoustics and B&W 602/705
    I'm looking to buy a pair of front speakers and I just spent half the day roaming around and auditioning speakers. I was focused on getting an idea of what speakers sounded like that cost between $250 to $1500. BTW, it's been a while since I've shopped for speakers, and I'm quickly getting overwhelmed and confused!

    Anyways, I had heard a lot of great things about B&W speakers, so I was expecting a lot when I finally heard them.

    This one shop I visited had only two brands; Vienna Acoustics and B&W's. The salesperson played the VA Haydn's for me first and then played a number of the B&W's, including a couple in the 700 series.

    I was totally and utterly underwhelmed by the B&W's. The 602's sounded muddy and lacked presence. After a short period, I had the salesperson turn them off because it just sounded so bad. The 705's sounded very bland, although I could see why people like them. By the way, the VA's sounded wonderful and far better than the B&W's I heard.

    My questions...

    Did the 602's sound really poor to me because I had just heard the VA Haydn's first? The salesperson seemed quite knowledgeable and I doubt the 602's were improperly set up.

    Is it possible that the 602's sounded really poor to me because I'm just so used to my current HT system (Definitive Tech towers, which are good, but not that good). Maybe the B&W's have a character that is really different from the DefTech's?

    Also, if anyone has any opinion of VA speakers, I'd love to hear it. I haven't found much information about any of the VA speakers online and $1000 for a set of bookshelves is a lot. I'm sure at this price point, there are a lot of great speakers.

    Thanks!
  • 10-07-2004, 11:49 AM
    BillB
    CityMan,

    Both companies make very nice speakers. It's a bit of an unfair comparison between the B&W 602's and a pair of Vienna Acoustics Haydn in my opinion.

    I've owned a pair of B&W 601s2 for nearly 5 years now and like their sound. They were my primary speakers but that system has now become my backup rig if you will. They are more neutral than the Vienna sound with a thinner bass response. Midrange is very up front and in-your-face. They sound just fine with my NAD C340 Integrated Amp and Cambridge Audio D300 CD Player.

    I also owned a pair of Haydns for a little over two years. I used them in a 2-ch setup shortly with the same gear the B&W 601's are connected to just for a change of pace. I'm more familiar with the bigger brother Vienna Acoustics Mozarts as they were in my main rig for over 2 years.

    Vienna Acoustics makes very nice speakers with gorgeous cabinetry. They lean towards the warm, smooth, laid-back side of things which butters up some less-than-stellar recordings making them more enjoyable...in some ways. They image amazingly, better than any speaker I've ever owned.

    What I wanted out of my CD collection changed over the course of time and the Vienna setup (Mozarts/Maestro/Haydns) had to go. The overwhelming majority of my CD collection is rock music from the 60's-present. The Viennas were too polite for my taste and I found myself listening to my favorite CDs less and less. They just couldn't convey the raw emotion of the music in an enjoyable manner for me. Your mileage may vary.

    I suggest seeking out some other brands at other dealers in your area. Bring along some of your favorite CDs and, if possible, arrange for an in-home demo.

    Good Luck!
    Bill
  • 10-07-2004, 04:44 PM
    RGA
    Well give a listen to the Audio Note line and you won't look back.

    Seriously I too was very underwhelmed by the 705 - It's at least $1600.00 over priced - it sounds nasal shut in lacks credible moicro-dynamics has even less microdynaimics - integration is reasonable but for that kind of coin the 602S3 is a far better value. You're not the only person who finds the sound of the 602S3 a bit muddy. This speaker I have heard sound very well more often than not - I recently reviewed them and liked them - but even more recently I heard them in another shop and was shocked at how uninvolving they were. I don't think any of the B&W 600 series should be put too far apart - they need to be FAR from all walls (3-4 feet from rear walls) is what I found best and BIG clean power.

    For $550.00US if you can find them I would suggest you try the Audio Note AX-Two or for a fair chank more(~700.) the Dynaudio Audience 42. I give the edge to the former. Both of these IMO are quite a bit better than the 705 for a LOT less money.
  • 10-07-2004, 05:28 PM
    CityMan
    BillB, I've been doing a lot of online research and I'm definitely starting to get a good feel about the VA's. There were a number of people who had a similar opinion as you did regarding the VA's being too polite. I can understand that, but that's actually exactly what I'm looking for.

    RGA, heh. I've been reading a lot of posts in these forum and I was half expecting a post from you recommending the Audio Notes and here it is. :) I did actually log into the AN website and checked out their dealer list, but the nearest one is many hours away. I definitely would have given them a listen if I had the opportunity. As for the Dynaudio's, I did have them on my list of speakers to audition. But I have read in several places that the Dynaudio's require a "good quality amplifier that will be up to this speaker's impedance and relatively low sensitivity." (heh, a quote from your review) I don't think my receiver is up to the task, and I don't know when I'll be able to upgrade my electronics.

    Anyways...

    I heard about audiogon from these forums and checked out that website, just to see what it was like. I have never bought anything used before, so I wasn't really considering placing any offers. But someone had just posted an ad for VA Mozarts ($2500 new) and he was selling them at a very good price (I hope, anyways). I just couldn't resist picking up the Mozarts at a price that was cheaper than the Haydns. So now I'm crossing my fingers and fervently hoping that I don't get burned. I know I'm going to get increasingly anxious until the speakers arrive. I don't know how people buy things from ebay all the time.
  • 10-08-2004, 03:52 AM
    BillB
    I sold my Vienna setup on AudioGon and every experience I've ever had there and Ebay regarding HiFi has been great...the worst part is the waiting!

    Good Luck to you and I hope you enjoy your new speakers! What finish did you get the Mozarts in? Be sure to fill the bottom cavity about 3/4 full with playground sand. The sand must contain ZERO moisture and playground sand is one of the only ones that doesn't.

    Bill
  • 10-08-2004, 06:58 PM
    joesakic
    i owned the VA Hadyn for about 3 months.
    This little speaker will scare you within $1000. It is much worth than the Proac 1SC (remember $2700).
    The sound is warm, high and mid just excellent while the bass is just ok. (remember it is a bookshelf, can't expect much....)
    Especially if you are jazz or classical fans, you will not dissapointed with this speaker. :)
    I used Denon AV amp 1601 to drive before, now i use Musical Fadelity A3.2 to drive.
    Difference?? between Mars and Earth.......what a huge different.

    Just a little remind 30hrs for the first break in and other 270 hrs for the complete break in.

    Hope this help..