I prefer mutton to lamb, so please don't get in the meat argument.
- 405 Posts. Joined 7/2010
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Short form review of B&O.... sound quality equivalent to components of similar functionality costing 20-30% less
Company which invests hugely in R&D as well as design (justifying the cost?)
Over the years:
Linear tracking turntables with world leading cartridges
Developed Dolby HXpro and had top notch cassette decks
B&O afficionados could go on...
I still prefer Quad electrostatics - but I have heard very good things from B&O speakers - and have a pair in my study.
For a fully integrated system they are hard to beat
Yes, this is an OLD thread, but I think the topic still warrants discussion as the same concerns and questions persist and perhaps someone will find this thread useful even though the OP has likely made a decision! Or, if they're making decisions at my pace, as of late, maybe they're still thinking!
So, if I may continue...first, I will say that @rasmushorn is BANG-On in my books; just realized that is a pun. Kind of. Always let your ears judge is what I tell people when asked. Similarly, in 99.9% of the cases asked on any message board about sound quality comparisons, it's my perception that the general consensus would agree that your ears are your best tool of judgement. While many people love to ask others' opinions, It's usually useless to even try and compare what variations one can hear between speakers/systems; by that I mean it's pretty much just an 'opinion' of someone informed or experienced, to accurately and consistently explain to others what they hear/what is "best". If they're close enough of a match in terms of specs, price, niche-market and you (the potential buyer) have heard neither / any of the models of which you are curios about, asking for subjective, possibly biased opinions, is just a form of survey in essence. Sure, glaring shortcomings, flaws, and products that the manufacturer clearly missed the mark on, are nearly unanimously agreed upon after a few months after release (beware of paid reviewers / forum posters). In this case, the OP's question, I do feel that @rasmushorn's advice would be echoed (and likely amended) by most non-BO fan-boys though (i.e. many of the great people on here); also, someone mentioned that for the same money you may spend on BO, you could set yourself up with a nice pair of B+W (or similar) and I more than agree. Personally, if you can, get out and listen to as many different speakers as you can and ask as many questions as you can; if you can think of it, ask it. Another option is having something custom made up if you have a few grand; or spend time researching drivers/components/enclosure design and do it yourself if you are into that sort of thing. I like that option myself (designing and actually creating the enclosures); it's very gratifying AND if you are handy and patient, your money goes a LOT further. What WAS your budget precisely (Should you happen to come back and see this)?
One thing I learned a long time ago, and I am guessing that most long-time audiophiles on here would likely agree with, to some extent at least, is that "price" only goes so far in determining what you should expect strictly in terms of actual audio quality from an established company. Ask yourself what it is that a particular company is in fact selling you. As @rasmushorn's list indicates: there's more than just pure-sound that some companies design, build and market to you. Inside the space-age box, what are you actually getting? (one non-audiophile example of this is Apple vs PC...that's for another day/forum...or, closer to home, take a BOSE 'top of the line' home-theater set-up, vs say, a set of NAD 7.1 powered Energy speakers...$3500-4000 vs $400-500+). That said, a certain level of quality can loosely be expected from a WELL established company as the price rises; however, keep in mind that there is often a point of diminishing returns on your investment. Sure, to many reading this, it's likely old-news; however, there's always someone reading and assimilating things for the 1st time and we all learned what we know for the 1st time somewhere, gradually... somewhere, somehow. I have been learning about higher-end audio for 25 years now (wow I just did the math) and I continue to tweak and refine my views, preferences and build on my fact-based knowledge, learning more everyday; the more I teach myself, the more I realize how very little I do actually know. I am a bit off-track, specifically I wanted to finish up the point I was making about cost vs sound and the (usually) well-intended subjectivity of comparisons being conveyed across the audio forums in response to people's request for those with well-trained and well-traveled ears in the audiophile community (i.e. the vagueness of someone's opinion of product X being better than the Y and Z models). While I do know that I am about the 100 billionth person to say this; but, when you/anyone does an "A/B", or side-by-side comparison, of several different sets of cans or speakers that are in a certain niche (eg bookshelf, or near-field monitors, or 2 channel stereo floor-standing setups, studio monitor headphones etc) what you may enjoy the most, will likely be different than the next person and if you tried to explain the specific reasons 'why' you just LOVE a specific setup, will likely vary between others who like the same system as well; it's commonsense, that's all. However, somethings that I feel are just about as close to commonsense as you can get when evaluating, or reviewing/considering a purchase of speakers, are often left out of general discussions. The following are things to consider as they DO influence the 'sound' you hear when auditioning a speaker arrangement; in fact, the sound can depend on MANY factors as well as the speakers/cans themselves. If you are at an audiophile shop, they will likely have a listening room and as such, the acoustic properties of the room/environment itself, their top-end amplification, perhaps optimal crossover settings if dealing with an active system, the source/head unit and music used to demo and so on. All something to keep in mind or ask about when you are test-driving speakers; however, one piece of advice that I like to share, is that I like to audition speakers with a CD/digital lossless file which I know really, really well. That way your mind and ears will usually 'just know' if you will like a certain speaker as you should have an idea of how that reference album should sound to you, ideally. Lastly, I like to take a 2nd CD which I also know well, but one that's perhaps not as ideally engineered or mastered, one that reveals what you feel to be a speaker's weaknesses, or one with excess mid-range frequencies for your taste,.or a particular CD that sounds good ONLY on a great speaker. What I am getting at is that I sometimes like to try and reveal a speaker's weakness or identify if it has one. Be wise to the sales person changing the preamp settings or even crossover points in some cases. I think you get the idea: a shop or a wise guy on c-list, could drop in almost any Floyd CD, Brothers in Arms, a Norah Jones CD, Melody Gardot etc and make anything sound like gold. Anyhow, good luck to anyone who actually read this! Feel free to ask anything, I will reply.