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B&W P5 Headphones - "Coming Soon" - Page 3

post #31 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cankin View Post
warpdriver: thanks for nice reply
no problem. I think the key is to get out there and actually hear some speakers. Bring some good recordings, and just get out there and meet some speakers. You can browse dating sites all you want, but you really won't know if that speaker is your true love until you hear it.

Don't take too much stock on any one person's advice on which speaker brands are good and bad. With headphones, I read the reviews, and followed this forum closely for advice, and I still ended up with headphones I didn't like. With speakers, you are more likely to be able to hear them beforehand and sometimes that helps you narrow the field more quickly

I've had MANY MANY speakers pass through my own hands (mostly smaller ones) and in my house (sometimes at the same time), and there were tradeoffs in all of them in their sound quality, and none of that was ever apparent by studying reviews, or looking at the internal parts. Some of the ones I thought would be great disappointed and sometimes I didn't expect one speaker to be as good as it was. Like headphones, they come in some many flavors that you can't expect everybody's favorite will be yours too. This is ESPECIALLY true with loudspeakers since your room has a huge role to play in the final sound. So try to find a dealer that has a return policy. The local dealers I bought from allowed me to return speakers I didn't like, and I wasn't afraid to buy and try them out.
post #32 of 100
Listening to them yourself kind of goes without saying IMO...but the problem is that not much is available locally, so one has to research the technology, subjective opinion of sound quality, value, etc. beforehand.

Once you figure out exactly what you NEED, you can narrow it down...because speakers all have tradeoffs. Sealed designs won't go as low and may require subs, but they are better for mounting near walls and roll off more gradually than a ported speaker. Some speakers are designed with large settings in mind, others are meant for smaller rooms. Many companies just use off the shelf drivers (or very slightly 'tweaked' versions of the same) and average or worse quality crossover components. For those types of speakers, the crossovers will be slightly different and will have different 'flavors' of sound.

Some companies are thinking outside of the box and achieving better results. Gedlee using waveguides with pro drivers will have dynamics that are second to none. I pair mine with a dual-driver open baffle servo subwoofer and get flat results in-room down to 20 hz (actually lower). Because of how they're setup, I get no sidewall reflection smearing the image and their 95 db sensitivity makes them easy to drive by anything from a few watts.

Home setups are quite complicated because so much is necessary to achieve great sound in-room. Room treatments, proper amplification, proper toe-in, integrating subwoofers, etc.

My whole point, I guess, is that B&W is another 'me-too' in the speaker world. They don't really do anything special...John at FritsSpeakers is a one-man operation that provides far better value in his products if you want a top 'me-too' design.

Auditions will only tell you so much...there's far more out there than just those few stores in your area where you can audition.

Lastly, I realize now I failed to mention Seaton sound...Mark Seaton's line of products are wonderful, as well.
post #33 of 100
cujobob, you recommend "Listening to them yourself kind of goes without saying IMO", but every company you mentioned is direct or DIY or (in the case of Seaton which has no website) doesn't even have information available.

Help me out here, should someone buy blind, or try before buying?

Don't get me wrong, I have auditioned stuff carefully (B&W & HD800s), and bought blind (RSA Hornet), but I've heard enough variation when auditioning to believe that I am missing something when I do go direct.
post #34 of 100
There are options: finding someone local who has a pair of the particular speakers you're interested in (if its a big purchase, you could consider travelling to do this...a few hundred dollars out of several thousand seems worth it). Trials...many companies offer 30 day trials which can often be extended. Or...just sell them off if you dislike or can't get to work properly in your system.

Buying used is an excellent option in the speaker world because speakers rarely break, if built with quality components. If you buy used, selling them off if you dislike is pretty easy with all of the various forums one can use.

DIY is nice because you're basically paying just for driver/crossover component costs plus a small engineering fee. You can choose your own company to build you out a cabinet (or do it yourself) and choose the veneer, hardwood, etc. that suits your needs. Look on forums and find someone local that has what you're interested in, ask for an audition. If not available, ask the manufacturer if they have a loaner pair or audition system. GR-Research has been sending around pairs of their bookshelf speakers all over the country, one person ships them to the next, all you're out is a small shipping fee (since its organized by location).

For someone on a budget, be sure not to invest too much into electronics...while there are differences in quality, it is easy to obtain excellent sound from inexpensive sources and amps. Invest as much as you can into the best speakers you can find, use multiple subwoofers (if possible), and don't get sucked into the expensive cable market until your room treatments, speakers, and electronics are at a high level. You could spend a few thousand dollars on cables and electronics for a 5-10% sound quality improvement or invest most of that money into better speakers and achieve even better sound.

On the topic of auditioning...remember, a dealer room is not your own. The room acoustics are different, the electronics are different, and often...the material may not even be yours. Its hard to compare several speakers through auditions because a person's recollection of sound is pretty poor. Auditioning will tell you if a sound isn't for you...something terribly 'bright' or that type of flavoring.
post #35 of 100
under $1k epos...under $2k spendor (love my 3/5se's in my bedroom setup but sometimes I wish I spent almost a grand less for the epos)...above that sonus faber (my main 2 channel setup)....and in any budget Linn (I have them in my HT setup).
post #36 of 100
Schmick tho' aint it?
post #37 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by cujobob View Post
My whole point, I guess, is that B&W is another 'me-too' in the speaker world. They don't really do anything special...John at FritsSpeakers is a one-man operation that provides far better value in his products if you want a top 'me-too' design.

Auditions will only tell you so much...there's far more out there than just those few stores in your area where you can audition.

Lastly, I realize now I failed to mention Seaton sound...Mark Seaton's line of products are wonderful, as well.
The problem is always going to be: auditioning takes time and effort, and that effort usually pays off. Of course the dealer's room isn't your own, but in reality, I haven't had too much difficulty extrapolating the experiences at my dealer to my home environment.

I don't buy you should always avoid brands are "me-too". I have heard some me-too brands sound absolutely wonderful, so just because it's a mass market brand doesn't mean it can't provide a wonderful result. I think the success of any particular model of speaker depends on the synergy of parts. The designers at these large speakers companies aren't dunces, and I certainly think, say the guys at Harman, with their their state of the art automated testing speaker facility knows a thing or two about making world class speakers. Sometimes even within a model line you have some gems. I think that generalizing speaker brands is always a successful excercise. You keep bringing out B&W and generalizing about them, but even within their lines, they have some great and not so great speakers.

I've participated in a few local speaker shootouts and when it comes down to it, there is no correlation between perceived value (by looking at specs, prices, and parts lists, and inclusion of the hyped driver of du-jour) and the one my ear picks out to be the best. A few times a speaker that was available in my local best buy compared favorably to some ID and local boutique brands in several respects.

I do agree that the ultimate litmus test is to eventually get the speaker into your own home. Part of the allure of ordering speakers directly is that you get to try to hear them in your own room, but they are also betting that you'll generally like the sound once they are shipped to you and since returning them is a hassle (and sometimes incurs extra cost), you'll more likely keep them. To get around this and make an objective assessment, some people order several from speaker companies directly, compare them and return the ones that they don't like. That's one approach. I try to audution locally at some stores, listen carefully, and bring home the winner, and then have a shootout of my own (carefully level matched of course). The winner stays and the loser goes back assuming you are dealing with a store that allows this (sometimes not possible) You do have to make a leap of faith sometimes and take a chance on one speaker brand without hearing it first. But I think part of the fun of hifi in general is the journey, don't be in a rush. Hearing speakers in the flesh for even a few minutes with your favorite music often gives you a perspective that hours of reading forums won't give.
post #38 of 100
I hope they make better headphones than loudspeakers!
post #39 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdriver View Post
The problem is always going to be: auditioning takes time and effort, and that effort usually pays off. Of course the dealer's room isn't your own, but in reality, I haven't had too much difficulty extrapolating the experiences at my dealer to my home environment.

I don't buy you should always avoid brands are "me-too". I have heard some me-too brands sound absolutely wonderful, so just because it's a mass market brand doesn't mean it can't provide a wonderful result. I think the success of any particular model of speaker depends on the synergy of parts. The designers at these large speakers companies aren't dunces, and I certainly think, say the guys at Harman, with their their state of the art automated testing speaker facility knows a thing or two about making world class speakers. Sometimes even within a model line you have some gems. I think that generalizing speaker brands is always a successful excercise. You keep bringing out B&W and generalizing about them, but even within their lines, they have some great and not so great speakers.

I've participated in a few local speaker shootouts and when it comes down to it, there is no correlation between perceived value (by looking at specs, prices, and parts lists, and inclusion of the hyped driver of du-jour) and the one my ear picks out to be the best. A few times a speaker that was available in my local best buy compared favorably to some ID and local boutique brands in several respects.

I do agree that the ultimate litmus test is to eventually get the speaker into your own home. Part of the allure of ordering speakers directly is that you get to try to hear them in your own room, but they are also betting that you'll generally like the sound once they are shipped to you and since returning them is a hassle (and sometimes incurs extra cost), you'll more likely keep them. To get around this and make an objective assessment, some people order several from speaker companies directly, compare them and return the ones that they don't like. That's one approach. I try to audution locally at some stores, listen carefully, and bring home the winner, and then have a shootout of my own (carefully level matched of course). The winner stays and the loser goes back assuming you are dealing with a store that allows this (sometimes not possible) You do have to make a leap of faith sometimes and take a chance on one speaker brand without hearing it first. But I think part of the fun of hifi in general is the journey, don't be in a rush. Hearing speakers in the flesh for even a few minutes with your favorite music often gives you a perspective that hours of reading forums won't give.
Many consumers tend to think that larger companies have these far superior engineering departments and technology which helps them build better speakers, but that's not the case. Designing a speaker isn't rocket science, in fact, any of us can download the software necessary and spend a fairly small amount to have a nice set of test equipment. Thus, any of us can build a 'me-too' that will be on par with most companies' offerings.

Yes, B&W has its own speakers that provide better value at various spots...often, speakers are priced at their perceived value and not sound quality. A large speaker with many drivers should cost more...and therefore does, but it may not sound better.

And if you're doing a shootout of similar designs, yes, you'll find it difficult to compare them...some drivers have different sound characters, and that's about the end of it (if the shootout is done correctly with levels matched, speakers hidden, same tracks used, etc.).

Have you listened to any of the following?

Linkwitz Orions, Gedlee Summas, Pi speakers, Seaton Catalysts, Danley's various offerings, Open Baffle Coaxial setup like the GR-Research Super Vs (paired with Open Baffle Servo Subs), properly done Line Sources from GR-Research/Selah, etc. etc....

There is more out there than traditional point sources...and if you're not hearing these systems, you're missing out. I own or have owned quite a few speakers and have been to shows...there is so much compression in a standard system it will shock you when you finally hear one with unlimited dynamics.

And specs will tell you all sorts of things, but there is more than just frequency response. Polars, CSD, Impedance, etc.....(polars being the most important to compare, from what I understand)...

If you want to learn more, check out: Papers

Some interesting stuff...
post #40 of 100
loved by the air-trafficker community!
post #41 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by cujobob View Post
Many consumers tend to think that larger companies have these far superior engineering departments and technology which helps them build better speakers, but that's not the case. Designing a speaker isn't rocket science, in fact, any of us can download the software necessary and spend a fairly small amount to have a nice set of test equipment. Thus, any of us can build a 'me-too' that will be on par with most companies' offerings.
Sorry, but that's crap. I disagree with this especially if you are talking about the facilities at a company such as Harman. You have no idea what actual research goes on at these large companies

Feature Article - Kevin Voecks

And to say that years of experience of the best speaker designers working at these companies with facilities like those at such as anechoic chambers, precision measuring equipment, lab time, and results attained with innovations such as a pneumatic speaker mover, can be replicated by a home DIYer is quite ignorant.
post #42 of 100
Really? Small operations like Danny Richie (GR-Research, Usher, Epiphany, and a few others), Dr. Geddes, Dennis Murphy (Salk) and others do most of their measurements in their own treated rooms (and I know for a fact that Danny Richie has used Anechoic chambers in the past...I believe Geddes' too in his Thailand operation)...I've seen Dr. Geddes' home and how he does things. Danny Richie started off as a DIY speaker designer...so yes, it can be replicated at home if one knows what they're doing.

The speakers you're talking about are quite expensive, could the previously mentioned designers better their own designs with those facilities? Quite possibly, but is Revel offering a better option at the pricepoints these guys are? Not exactly.

Companies with large facilities add so much markup that they can no longer compete...labs, dealer costs, all of that....it adds to the price of the speakers. Knowing how to interpret data and get quality measurements is possible in the home, while it may not better a full lab, you skip a ton of added costs.

Edit:

I see that you're in Ontario, Dr. Geddes' is in Novi, Michigan...it would be worth your time to setup a visit with him. A several year old $300 receiver powering his speaker system...one of the most fantastic theaters I've experienced. His multiple subwoofer concept and waveguide speakers need to be heard to understand just quite how good it all can be.
post #43 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by cujobob View Post
but is Revel offering a better option at the pricepoints these guys are? Not exactly.
Not exactly? How so? Please be specific. You are implying that Revel is poorer performing than any of those brands, of which I have yet to see any proof. Revel makes all sorts of speakers in all price ranges, so I'm not talking specifically about flagship products. Show me how a $1500-3000 Revel is inferior to those offered by the others, designed by people working in their own home. Proof can constitute objective measurments, blind listening observations, or any combination of the above.
post #44 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdriver View Post
Not exactly? How so? Please be specific. You are implying that Revel is poorer performing than any of those brands, of which I have yet to see any proof beside your opinion, which is why your arguments about value hold no water. Also, you imply those R&D lab costs are wasted, but they would probably argue that they indeed result in real improvements and economies of scale along with OEM manufacturing provide MORE value.

Sorry, but most of your posts about value, R&D effectiveness are just pure speculation, nothing more than that.
Proof? What proof would you like? And what proof do you have that Revel is better than the Gedlee speakers I use?

What you're not understanding is that I'm sure Revel does offer a high quality product (I've listened to some), but they aren't the best value out there. I have a limit to how much I can spend. I assume you do, as well (and congrats if you don't).

Dr. Geddes has done ABX comparisons and written papers. He first developed the 'waveguide' which is an evolution of the typical horn. His designs use constant directivity, patented foam plugs to lessen HOMs (higher order modes) and some of the highest quality drivers available. He accounts for diffraction in his designs like few others, too. His speakers are designed to be used with several subwoofers (which the article you linked to attests is the right way to do it).

The Revel Ultima Salon 2 probably could not match the dynamics of the B&C DE250 driver in a 12 or 15" waveguide like the Gedlee Abbey or Summa use. Compression is something I want no part of and their 86 db sensitivity (and $22,000 pricetag) are not things I'm fond of, either. I would love to compare a Gedlee Summa with high quality crossover components (Dr. Geddes uses standard components to bring the price down, but can substitute if buyer provides) with the best Revels. Will the Revels best them in some areas? Possibly, but I bet you'd be surprised at how well the $6,000 Summas, or $3,400 Abbeys do. There is very little on the market which compare.

This is my opinion, but Dr. Geddes backs up his work with detailed measurements. You provided your opinion, but believe its fact when it isn't, either.

Find me a speaker that can best the Gedlee Abbeys for the $3,600 I paid (some options were added). Better yet, listen to his setup in Novi and tell me your opinion of it.

I wish B&W, Klipsch, Paradigm, and others pushed the speaker market further with their designs...but are they doing that? Revel has a nice setup, absolutely...and I've not mentioned them previously (so why you brought them up I'm confused about). Are they bringing new technologies to the table? Are they really that much better than their competition in their priceranges?
post #45 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdriver View Post
Not exactly? How so? Please be specific. You are implying that Revel is poorer performing than any of those brands, of which I have yet to see any proof. Revel makes all sorts of speakers in all price ranges, so I'm not talking specifically about flagship products. Show me how a $1500-3000 Revel is inferior to those offered by the others, designed by people working in their own home. Proof can constitute objective measurments, blind listening observations, or any combination of the above.
Few people who buy speakers do blind listening tests...and those tests are normally done quite poorly when attempted.

Most companies don't offer full polar measurements...and distortion tests of anything are useless (linear and nonlinear are quite different beasts). CSD and a basic FR sweep is pretty standard...and even those don't tell too much. This is why the hobby is so subjective...its difficult to prove anything, either way.

The Revel F32 uses a standard dome...none of which that I've seen can better the Neo3 planar tweeter that GR-Research's inexpensive offerings use. The Gedlee Nathans (Nathan) or Abbeys (Abbey) offer full polar response measurements and are extremely sensitive designs (so easy to drive).

Show me some Revel polars and the debate can begin if you're interested.
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