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B&W speakers with Rega gear,,, a good match?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I was a sceptic myself.

I'd read all those comments saying that Rega amps weren't particularly suited for B&W speakers...

But I've owned a Rega Apollo cd player for years and recently purchased a Rega Brio-R amp.

I tried to get the pair to work with some Energy C-5 speakers, with older Celestion speakers, with older Rega speakers, with BLABLABLA...

I was never satisfied.

Short story: a local ad selling a pair of B&W 685 standmount speakers.



Tried it out at the guy's house, sounded fantastic through his Rotel amp and Audiolab cd player; I had doubts it would work as well with my system, but I figured I had nothing to lose; if things didn't work out, I'd probably get my money back somehow...

Now, I haven't been too satisfied since I got them.

The imaging has been poor, the bass has been either non-existant or overbearing, the mids have been muddied... - how the hell can people say these damn speakers are good? Even for the price? Damn....

Well, so I changed from cheapo 24" stands today to strong and heavyweight 21" ones - and the difference was night and day!

Yes, for some, the pairing of B&W and Rega might seem "bright" or "fatiguing", but the pairing seems to me very balanced, if only a little forceful and energetic.

Try adjusting the speakers. Makes a world of a difference!

I am not saying this is a match made in heaven, but it is definitely better than some have let on.

Would I buy another speaker to make my setup better? Who would say no?

Is it the be-all, end-all system? Definitely not.

Is it better than I expected? You're damn right it is...

I have always loved Rega gear, and I'm sure I'll get to hearing their speakers, but these B&W speakers are reminding me that sometimes one just has to listen and enjoy...

How about you?

A lot of people think B&W speakers are a bit over-hyped and not suited for Rega gear.

What are your thoughts?

Of course, I should specify I've only listened to this combo in my room, which is approximately 9X12'.
Edited by Saturnine Clown - 10/20/13 at 10:06am
post #2 of 4

Hi, this is a very belated response, but wanted to give some feedback. IMO B&W speakers normally err on the side of warmth, while having a slight dip in the upper mids and lower treble. The Rega Brio-R is also on the warmer and musical side and does have a more thickish sound. This could cause a situation like you described. The Brio-R is a very versatile unit, but for the 685s I would pair them a different more neutral amp. Both Rotel and Audiolab err on the leaner and brigther side of the audio spectrum which could be a good match for the 685s. I heard the Rega Brio-R with some Dali Ikon Mk2 speakers and thought the pairing was fantastic and incredibly musical.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
You know, since my original post, I've wavered between loving and hating the combo. I kept changing the positioning, the toe in, going mad trying to add and subtract stuff from my relatively small room.
Some days I'd get along with the combo, other days I just couldn't. I liked the Brio-R from having tried it with other speakers; I enjoyed the B&Ws off my old NAD; but together, it was a weird deal. Soft, acoustic music faired better than anything else, that's for sure: a very laid-back sound.
So, of course, I was always on the lookout for another pairing. Well, just yesterday, I got a good deal on some Totem Dreamcatchers... These diminutive toys couln't possibly be IT, right? I mean, I can fit three or four of these in my 685s... Almost two in my Mordaunt-Short Carnival 2s... But, I kid you not, to hear is to believe.
Now, I don't know if it's because my room is severely flawed to the point of making magic, producing the most amazing sound it's ever given me from so little, but I am in complete awe. Truly, I have not the words to completely express the extent to which I am overwhelmed with what this pair produces... I am sure there is better sound out there, somewhere, at some ridiculous price, but I truly believe this little combo will always have a home with me, even when I am old and frail... Can't recommend enough for a small room...
post #4 of 4

Try B+W with Marantz gear. If you find treble is still very bright, there must be something wrong with the placement of the speakers and also the size-acoustic of the room.

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