Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So... although I only recently forayed into the hi-fi headphone scene, I've been an audiophile for many years and have been fortunate to own a variety of Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers. For serious listening, I've always turned to high end vinyl or top-notch studio masters, the latter which is a category difficult to get into.

 

Today I discovered that B&W has a service with a variety of lossless recordings with downright astonishing mastering quality. There's a free trial and among these you'll find some lossless binaural recordings that will make your ears pulsate with pleasure.

 

Has anybody used this before? I'm strongly considering subscribing...

 

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Society_of_Sound/Overview.html

post #2 of 12
I heard that one prestigious loudspeaker company demo'ed it's top of the line model to top audiophile critics and received great praise from them. Then they revealed that the source for playback that the critics had been auditioning was an iPod nano playing lossy aac files.

By the way, for normal playback, 24 bit files offer no audible improvement over cd quality files. Higher bitrates increase resolution at the lowest volume levels. It makes absolutely no difference to the dynamic range encountered in music playback. 24 bit is used for recording because it offers flexibility in mixing. Very soft sounds can be brought up in the mix with no loss of quality. But at a fixed playback level, in order to hear the difference the volume would have to be raised to the point that the peak level would be louder than a jet engine at close range. In other words, in order to hear the improvement 24 bit makes to the quiet sounds, the loud sounds would have to be so loud, you would incur hearing damage. In order for your B&W speakers to playback the difference between 16 bit and 24 bit, you would have to turn them up so loud the voice coils would blow.
Edited by bigshot - 5/9/11 at 6:06pm
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

To me, it makes no difference. The key draw to the service for me is that the recordings are all very well mastered. Be it 320kbps mp3 or 16 bit FLAC, the quality of the equipment and the techniques used in recording are all reference-worthy. 

post #4 of 12
Amazon has a lot of reference recordings in full, glorious CD quality sound (on CDs!), and you don't have to suffer through Gergiev conducting music that he is distinctly unsuited to conduct.

If you want beautiful sound AND a first class performance of Debussy, you can get Dutoit's spectacular recordings at a discount price.
Edited by bigshot - 5/11/11 at 9:54am
post #5 of 12

It never occurred to me to search "reference recordings" on Amazon. I just did and WALLAH! a phenomenal selection of great stuff. Several I already own but I see more than just a few I'd like to add to my collection.

 

here's the search http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_20?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=reference+recordings&sprefix=reference+recordings# 

post #6 of 12

Nice thread. It has reminded me that I need to get back to listening to music rather than reading about gear.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamess71 View Post

Nice thread. It has reminded me that I need to get back to listening to music rather than reading about gear.



This is something I've always tried to hammer into many die-hard audiophiles... you use headphones to listen to MUSIC. Running frequency tests and overly critical sessions is no fun unless you kick back and listen to the music you love, in a format with enough quality that it enhances that love.

post #8 of 12
With over 25,000 records and CDs,, including many half speed mastered, direct to disk and SACDs, I've come to the conclusion that if it says "audiophile recording" on the cover, odds are it it a second rate performance with fancy recording techniques. There are one or two exceptions, but on the whole, they're performers or performances that couldn't get signed to a real label. Gergiev conducting Impressionism, Peter Gabriel recording an album of contemporary covers, boring Carl Davis live radio broadcasts with the LSO, another Rostropovich recording of Shostakovich 5 when there's a perfectly good one on Telarc... There really isn't much point to stuff like this. There's a good reason they're "limited editions"... They're of limited interest.

The truth is that there are plenty of fantastic sounding recordings that don't have "reference recording" printed on the cover. The regular old $7.99 CD version of Donald Fagan's "The Nightfly" or Dutoit's Ravel box on London sound just as good as any super high bitrate digital download and have first class performances too. I have recordings from the mid fifties that sound as good as fancy audiophile recordings, but they were just regular commercial products in their day. CDs can sound fantastic, and there are an awful lot of them that sound as good as audiophile recordings. In fact, bad sounding classical music is the exception, not the rule. There is absolutely no reason to seek out audiophile classical.

I remember visiting an audiophile friend's home once to hear his system. He played a Mannheim Steamroller audiophile LP for me. After about ten minutes, I asked him if he really liked Mannheim Steamroller. He admitted that he really didn't. I plugged my iPod into his system and listened to Fats Waller and his Rhythm records from the late 30s. It sounded great and we enjoyed the music a lot more.

It's better to listen to great music than great recordings.
Edited by bigshot - 5/26/11 at 12:47pm
post #9 of 12

I learnt about the Society through Head-Fi, and downloaded some tracks through the trial. Have been sourcing for good music and recordings through friends and recommendations on this site. So I realised that I kept going back to the tracks from B&W society. They are imo. good music recorded very well. I will subscribe to it soon.

 

Anybody else agrees that the music from the B&W Society of Sound is good value? 

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatcat28037 View Post

It never occurred to me to search "reference recordings" on Amazon. I just did and WALLAH! a phenomenal selection of great stuff. Several I already own but I see more than just a few I'd like to add to my collection.

 

here's the search http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_20?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=reference+recordings&sprefix=reference+recordings# 

 

and for those who dont listen to Classical or Jazz, How to find reference recordings?

post #11 of 12

I totally agreed with Bigshot above. There are tons of regular CDs that were so well recorded that will put those "reference recordings" to shame. I liked those 1980 Telarc CDs and of course, everyone of those ECM CDs are fantastic in sound!

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by eron View Post
 

I learnt about the Society through Head-Fi, and downloaded some tracks through the trial. Have been sourcing for good music and recordings through friends and recommendations on this site. So I realised that I kept going back to the tracks from B&W society. They are imo. good music recorded very well. I will subscribe to it soon.

 

Anybody else agrees that the music from the B&W Society of Sound is good value? 

 I greatly motion this the level of depth in any of the albums you choose are just breathtaking my personal favorite is the Portico Quartet live. I seriously thought I was teleported to the concert hall the clarity  was so clear and clean,

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound