Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

amplifiers, receivers and loudspeakers
garpt
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Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by garpt » 03 Nov 2018 16:02

OK, Audiophile fans- need suggestions in a VERY crowded market and limited access here in S. Florida for auditions.
I spent over two years and $1500 to rebuild my B&W Matrix 802 speakers. Almost all new drivers (two woofers just needed new rubber surrounds I was actually able to procure), two new tweeters (ferrofluid dried up), brand new crossovers custom made by a pro in the field who replaced all the caps and coils with the finest. The crossover now takes up the complete bottom inside panel of the speakers. On the bench, the performance curves are exact to the originals. well within +/- 3% better than factory tolerances.

I've tried everything; three different sets of cables, room placement, room treatments, toe in/ don't toe in.... The midrange blare only gets worse as my equipment gets better and much more expensive. About $15K- $17K later, my system sounds worse than it did with the rotels and my Thorens TD145.

I need new speakers. I would like to think I can make a substantial improvement in the $5000- $7000 range with all the competition. I MAY have to buy them without hearing them, as the dealer networks within 150 miles of here are terrible, mostly small Home Theater installers that often work out of their houses. Of course, we have Best Buy, Brands Mart, and Sound Advice- the "big blocks." I would like a speaker certainly "mellower" in the midrange , but still good resolution, I love a big soundstage, I have a tough room (all tile floors, peaked ceiling, plaster walls), so I need good tight, fast and bass as deep as possible. Of course I don't want a sopeaker that "colors" the sound much if any, but I do have hundreds of '70's, '80's LP's that right now sound unlistenable with the B&W's.

Please Help I'll seriously take all suggestions.

Pauw
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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by Pauw » 03 Nov 2018 16:41

I suggest before spending anything ........relax and do a bit of reading.......there are some great articles on vinyl engine about a) speaker placement .......and b) the furnishing of a room to get the best acoustics......the third thing c) is I found the more uptight I get with my system ....the worse I think it sounds.....so I often have a glass of wine or maybe two ! and then relax and remember .....I'm here to enjoy the music ......and I know that no system will ever be perfect........if after this you still want new speakers then I would do all that is at all reasonable to audition them and hopefully with your set up in your room......I know that can be a tough ask but if not you run the risk of being disappointed again .. :D

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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by Alec124c41 » 03 Nov 2018 16:49

Ever hear of the "BBC dip?"
You could try tuning your speakers to your ears instead of to an electronic instrument. If the midrange is too prominent, knock it back a few decibels.
Watch the crossover frequencies. There should probably be a slight dip in the measured response. The ears seem to add the outputs of 2 drivers differently than a microphone does.
Your room won't Help. If you clap your hands, and the room rings, almost any speaker will sound harsh. Either treat the room, or tune your speakers to compensate for it. Flat response in the speakers won't do.
The other possibility is an equalizer, to cut the output at the frequencies exaggerated by the resonanves of the room. This is, after all, the application for which they were originally developed.

Cheers,
Alec

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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by sivagriva » 03 Nov 2018 17:04

Can't really Help here, as I got rid of box speakers long time ago, for decades I listen to Magneplanars. The only box speakers I would consider, are Dynaudios, based on what I've heard at various hifi shows...
Perhaps you could try to listen to this one

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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by pivot » 03 Nov 2018 18:28

If your Best Buy has a Magnolia division try listening to Martin Logan electrostatic. Can't tell you if you will like them but they are very different than your B&Ws. They certainly don't "glare" in the midrange. Have heard Magnapans? May not do the bass you want but they will not sound like B&W.

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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by bra10n » 03 Nov 2018 21:24


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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by hobie1dog » 03 Nov 2018 21:52

Magnepan for the win. The 802's were always too forward in the midrange and lacking any real bottom end IMHO

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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by katana1100 » 03 Nov 2018 22:20

I would say get esl ( I have acoustat 2+2) but given your overly live room, whatever you put in their will sound bad.
If anything, a planar type ( Maggie’s , esl, etc) will be worse unless you deaden that room.
You have to make a decision: sound, or looks?
I have a dedicated sound room but despite having g carpet , I had to put rug runners behind the speakers and the walls are covered with old concert t shirts , to deaden the sound and give the sound I want .

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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by sysynn » 03 Nov 2018 23:45

If you like real american style sound, I would like to recommend one of westlake audio speakers.

Their products have been used in famous recording studios.
Also, these speakers are not mass product. They deliver speaker only by custom order.

This is just an entry model of their product lines

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0-cFu_ealQ


I had westlake bbsm-10, due to financial reason, delivered it to my friend.

Now seriously regret to missing bbsm-10.

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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by bra10n » 04 Nov 2018 00:28

The link I posted earlier discusses the B&W's as designed. Troels also provides a slightly tweaked xo; attenuating the mid- high mid range bump while boosting power to the bass. He makes it clear he likes this combination of drivers as they have some fine attributes together. You'd be foolish to abandon all you've done thus far and move on IMO.

It sounds that your room is clearly the main issue when combined with the B&W's. As has been already stated by others though, any speaker 'as designed' will struggle to please. They might in fact be an improvement over the B&W's but will still be lacking. So you need to soften this room as much as possible and in a manner that you can live with long term. If this is attainable then and only then make the alterations to the xo. The process is a balancing act between the room and speaker, with the mid and highs from the speaker asking less of the room while the additional bass output from the speaker compensates for the room somewhat. Ultimately you could also incorporate a sub to around 60Hz.

If the room is something you're willing to take on then adjust the flat freq response you currently have downward towards the treble from 700Hz onward. If you can manage this you are headed in the right direction. But be aware that these speakers will become specific to that listening space so note any and all changes made should you wish to revert at a later date.

I'm confident you have a good ear as what you describe is exactly what Troels heard and measured. Fortunately Troels provides insight on exactly how to tame the mids and treble. After reading the link I'd suggest in fact Troels would have liked to have gone further with his refinements but that was not the brief :wink:

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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by sysynn » 04 Nov 2018 01:19

Another Utube presentation of entry model, Lc-6.75, similar with real performance.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdLhSR9JGZ4

Considering price, their technical specs and inside structures seems to be very poor.

But, No more gimmik, tricks with luxury appearance, technical specs, etc.

Unlike mass products, they do not deliver speakers to customer unless they are satisfied.
Once you order, need to wait a couple of weeks, sometimes months :D

garpt
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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by garpt » 05 Nov 2018 01:22

Pauw wrote:
03 Nov 2018 16:41
I suggest before spending anything ........relax and do a bit of reading.......there are some great articles on vinyl engine about a) speaker placement .......and b) the furnishing of a room to get the best acoustics......the third thing c) is I found the more uptight I get with my system ....the worse I think it sounds.....so I often have a glass of wine or maybe two ! and then relax and remember .....I'm here to enjoy the music ......and I know that no system will ever be perfect........if after this you still want new speakers then I would do all that is at all reasonable to audition them and hopefully with your set up in your room......I know that can be a tough ask but if not you run the risk of being disappointed again .. :D
Pauw, Believe me I've been workinh\ on this since August. Placement- room treatment- spend hundreds more in cables- bi-amp- don't bi-amp- roll tubes in line stage, phono stage- a couple of cases of wine- put acoustical foam behind midrange grill- Then, something hit me, and I will post a new thread on what I found since it is a different topic than the speaker selections: (hint: It had something to do with a McIntosh Amp and my shopping quest for new speakers over the weekend.)

garpt
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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by garpt » 05 Nov 2018 01:37

Yes, sir- I actually have read that article and actually spoke with Mr. Jantzen and discussed this problem when I had to call his office to order the special high- quality BMW underseat woofers they sell aftermarket. There is only one distributor in the U.S. and he didn't have any, and said it would take a couple of weeks to get one. I had the car laid over in a custom shop and needed them within a couple of days. He sent them to arrive within 48 hours, and just charged me regular shipping. Great guy.

But I'm not going to throw all that money into new crossovers; these current ones are brand new. And I had them built, a lot of labor cost.
Last edited by garpt on 05 Nov 2018 02:09, edited 1 time in total.

garpt
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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by garpt » 05 Nov 2018 01:53

sivagriva wrote:
03 Nov 2018 17:04
Can't really Help here, as I got rid of box speakers long time ago, for decades I listen to Magneplanars. The only box speakers I would consider, are Dynaudios, based on what I've heard at various hifi shows...
Perhaps you could try to listen to this one
Those are VERY nice speakers, price can work, but I would like new- I've raised my budget- but the Dynaudio dealer here in S. Florida is horrible; he is ruining their brand with his tiny thrift- shop type store, and his listening room has almost NO new gear (I don't think he can afford it, or no credit, or is just letting the place burn out.) He has broken gear from the '70's and '80's laying everywhere. He DOES, however have one pair of Dynaudio bookshelf models (they sound great- "invisible"), and a few Rogue Audio pieces. It's too bad he is tying up these two great brands for the (I'm certain) many people that would like to hear these products.

garpt
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Re: Sick of my B&W's (never thought I'd say that)- Need Suggestions

Post by garpt » 05 Nov 2018 19:47

pivot wrote:
03 Nov 2018 18:28
If your Best Buy has a Magnolia division try listening to Martin Logan electrostatic. Can't tell you if you will like them but they are very different than your B&Ws. They certainly don't "glare" in the midrange. Have heard Magnapans? May not do the bass you want but they will not sound like B&W.
For those recommending Martin Logan and "Maggies", I did have the opportunity to hear a pair of the higher end Maggies, (the 6 footers) driven by the same amp I have the McIntosh MC452. I was highly underwhelmed. Although the soundstage was massive and the imaging was marvelous (probably to be expected in a 6' tall speaker) the dynamic range was not great, of course resolution was excellent. But of course no palpable bass as is to be expected, but I did expect better mid- bass, say just above a sub's range. And I know they are very inefficent, but the McIntosh appeared to be straining and reaching its limits to get higher volumes, and it's rated at 450 watts/ ch. at 4 ohms. One would need some monster high output sub and certainly more power, probably more dynamic power to make those things sing. I believe, IMHO, the Mcintosh is not a suitable amp to drive those speakers. I've heard Martin- Logan, none of them impress me much more, but I like that they are now combining a traditional sub in their design. Good solution to a common problem. In fact, I own two of their subs and they are extremely "musical".

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