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What to listen for while auditioning high end computer speakers like MM-1 and A5+?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm currently auditioning two sets of computer speakers, the B&W MM-1 and the Audioengine A5+. This is my first time auditioning audio gear this high-end, and I'm not entirely sure what all to listen for. I was able to get the MM-1 for about half price (open box at Best Buy), and I got the A5+ refurbished, with the result that the normally less expensive A5+ actually cost me $60 more. 

 

So far, my main impressions are that the MM-1 are better on the high end and the A5+ are a better on the low, but I've been surprised how well the MM-1 hold up on the low end given their tiny size. Both are plenty powerful for my small-ish home office. The MM-1 has a nice, clean, warm sound to my untrained ears, while the A5+ are a bit more harsh but fuller on the low frequencies. 

 

For a track like "Doin' it Right" off the new Daft Punk, the A5+ win, but for things like jazz, the Velvet Underground, or the National I prefer the MM-1. 
 

Overall, I'm pretty sure I will keep the MM-1 for their overall performance, plus additional goodies like: power button easy to reach, automatic sleep mode, built in DAC and headphone port, plus taking up much, much less space on my desk. But is there anything else I should consider or listen for? 

 

Thanks for your help.

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Ugh, I don't know, now I'm leaning toward keeping the A5+ just because they can get so much louder than the MM-1, and sometimes I just want to rock out at my desk!!!

post #3 of 8

Listen to the music you like...

post #4 of 8

Keep the MM-1 as it has its own build-in DAC with better highs, and the sound won't change with a different desktop/laptop setup.  Bowers and Wilkins in general gear towards very good high and lows for their stuff across their product line.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

The way I lean depends on what I'm listening to and at what volume. Jazz, softer rock, and low volumes are much better on the MM-1, but electronica, harder rock, post-punk and louder volumes are better on the A5+. The MM-1 are amazing for what they are, but they are limited: small drivers, not very deep/full bass, don't get very loud. Maybe the real solution would be to pony up yet more cash and get something like the Emotive Airmotiv 5, which might be the best of both worlds, at least sound-wise. But I just can't justify another $100. I'll have to compromise on one end or the other, and I just can't decide which!

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebe View Post

The way I lean depends on what I'm listening to and at what volume. Jazz, softer rock, and low volumes are much better on the MM-1, but electronica, harder rock, post-punk and louder volumes are better on the A5+. The MM-1 are amazing for what they are, but they are limited: small drivers, not very deep/full bass, don't get very loud. Maybe the real solution would be to pony up yet more cash and get something like the Emotive Airmotiv 5, which might be the best of both worlds, at least sound-wise. But I just can't justify another $100. I'll have to compromise on one end or the other, and I just can't decide which!

I think you are right. Small drivers such as in the MM-1 have a tough time generating the midbass like larger drivers can. I would imagine better dynamics as well.

Steve Guttenberg of CNET like the sound of the Airmotiv 4s better than the A5+s, even to the tighter bass in the 4s:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57367525-47/emotivas-astonishing-desktop-speaker/

I've heard the Airmotiv 4s, and they are quite nice (I think his description is accurate). Could be they are the sweet spot you are looking for smily_headphones1.gif And $299 + shipping right now.
post #7 of 8
post #8 of 8

i agree in not picking speakers based more on looks/small size but more along the lines of SQ else you'd prolly end up looking at those speakers than actually enjoying listening to music u love deadhorse.gif

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