B&W 602 Replacement?

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Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#1
I have a pair of the 602S3 which I love, but I think I could get more clarity. Is it the speakers or my amp, I'm not sure but I'll start here with my speakers. I love the 602s' warmth and larger sound than the 685s, so I'm reluctant about those.

I have a Cyrus One amp (which I'm considering changing for a Rega Elex-R). I listen to vinyl on a Rega RP1 and stream Spotify through a Pro-Ject Pre S2 DAC.

I wouldn't mind going smaller as long as it sounds as big and has a little more clarity.

Any suggestions in the less than $2-3k per pair range?
 
R

Russdawg1

Audioholic
Ratings
106
#2
I think there are plenty of speakers out there that would crush your B&W’s for under $3000. Check out this thread here on AVS.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/3062418-aa-sierra-2-kef-ls50-focal-906-shoot-out.html

I’m relatively sure that the Arias and Sierra’s would be much more detailed than the 602’s as it’s a much flatter frequency response and doesn’t obscure detail like those B&Ws do. Same with the Kef’s but I’m worried about the lower octave performance as the Kef’s are a bit anemic down there.

Check out Salk Sound for some really beautiful finishes that sound as good as they look, and then also Selah Audio.

Do you have a subwoofer? That could be very important as a subwoofer fills in those bottom octaves and can provide a much fuller sound than a simple full range speaker.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,036 11 6
#3
I have a pair of the 602S3 which I love, but I think I could get more clarity. Is it the speakers or my amp, I'm not sure but I'll start here with my speakers.
Your instincts are correct. Replacing your 602s will provide much more noticeable change, and hopefully improvement, than replacing your amp. By the way, welcome to Audioholics :).
I love the 602s' warmth and larger sound than the 685s, so I'm reluctant about those.
Understood. For a replacement, I think you should stay away from B&W speakers.
I have a Cyrus One amp (which I'm considering changing for a Rega Elex-R). I listen to vinyl on a Rega RP1 and stream Spotify through a Pro-Ject Pre S2 DAC.
I'm not familiar with that amp, but it looks fine on paper. I see no reason to replace it.
Any suggestions in the less than $2-3k per pair range?
I gotta agree with Russdawg1. There are a lot of good choices of speakers in that price range – that will be easily driven by your amp – speakers that will make it easy for you to retire your 602s, as much as you now think of them as beloved friends :).

I highly recommend Salk speakers. They're sold directly on the internet directly by Jim Salk who is located nearby Detroit. I don't know what type of speakers you're looking for. Look at the choice in these 3 categories, arranged by price, low to high.

Floor Standing Speakers
Bookshelf/Surround Speakers
Monitor Speakers

I've owned Salk SongTowers in the past and now own Veracity STs. Both are excellent sounding floor standing speakers.

Although the BMR Monitors are somewhat large for stand mount speakers (8" wide × 20" tall × 12½" deep),they are an outstanding choice. I've heard these in my own house. See my comments & photos here. The BMR Monitors were also recently reviewed, highly favorably, by James Larson of Audioholics (aka shadyJ). Please note that these speakers were designed and built by Dennis Murphy, a well known and highly regarded speaker designer. Due to a recent illness, Dennis no longer builds and sells these speakers. Now Salk does that, at a higher cost. Despite that price increase, I still regard these speakers as among the very best you've never heard.

For a floor standing speaker in your price range, I'd recommend the SongTower or SongTower RT.

If you're looking for a 2-way speaker similar in size to your B&W 602s, that would cost less than $2000, I'd recommend the Song Surround Plus speakers.

Any of these speakers will make it easy for you to retire your 602s (I've heard them too :)). In addition, Salk speakers come with the best looking finishes I've seen on any speakers or furniture.
 
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P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#4
I'm looking for bookshelf speakers...no subwoofer...at this point.

I've tended to veer away from the wireless KEF LS50s. Are they really as good as wired speakers can be though??

Good advice all around though. I think a trip to the local shop is the weekend plan now.
 
R

Russdawg1

Audioholic
Ratings
106
#5
I'm looking for bookshelf speakers...no subwoofer...at this point.

I've tended to veer away from the wireless KEF LS50s. Are they really as good as wired speakers can be though??

Good advice all around though. I think a trip to the local shop is the weekend plan now.
The Wireless are actually better than the normal LS50’s. The EQ, perfectly match amp, DSP, and other features make it not even a fair fight. If you were to get the LS50’s, the Wireless would be the way to go.

I’d really highly recommend a quality sealed subwoofer if you want the best performance for your dollar, but if not, Towers would be a really good idea. But even if not that, I’d be looking for speakers that have 6” woofers or larger.

Those BMR’s mentioned are fabulous speakers. While they were $1350, they are now almost twice that price at $2400. They are even still top contenders in that price bracket actually.

I also recommend Selah Audio’s Filarmonica and Vigore. If you’d like to save a bit of money, they also make kits for you to assemble. Going the kit path puts the Tempesta in your range, and is a fabulous speaker, utilizing a Raal tweeter and a Accuton midrange. Top transducers in their category.

Revel also makes some really nice bookshelves. The M106’s are in your price range. A bit cheaper would be the M16’s which are just a less refined version of the M106’s with a bit less bass.

Checking out your local shop is a great idea, as most of the above mentioned are hard to listen to being ID companies.
 
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#6
Ok, I've been trying to avoid buying a subwoofer. I live in an 800 sq.ft. condo, open concept and the speakers sit on either side of the couch facing inwards towards the living room/dining/kitchen areas. Subwoofer recommendations??

My local shop has these Linn Majik 109s which seem interesting. Any thoughts?
 
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Russdawg1

Audioholic
Ratings
106
#7
Ok, I've been trying to avoid buying a subwoofer. I live in an 800 sq.ft. condo, open concept and the speakers sit on either side of the couch facing inwards towards the living room/dining/kitchen areas. Subwoofer recommendations??

My local shop has these Linn Majik 109s which seem interesting. Any thoughts?
I’d 100% recommend a sealed Rythmik subwoofer. I haven’t heard a subwoofer that can even come close to the musicality of a Rythmik subwoofer. Two to delocalize any sort of bass for a more coherent sound. They don’t need to be played loud, but by filling in the lower octaves, your music enjoyment will increase tenfold.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,534 3
#8
I have to agree with Russ and Swerd's recommendations, too. For the most part, I have been converted from a non-believer into a solid Dennis Murphy fan! His crossover work and driver selection is impeccable. He had a major part in designing most of Salk's Speakers. That BMR monitor that was mentioned... I have 3 right now, and wish I had 5! They easily went toe to toe with Flagship Towers at twice the cost (1350/pr) before Dennis retired and Jim took the design over. Monitor Audio Silver 500 (2500/pr) and Martin Logan Motion 60 XT (3000/pr) were the two best mass market towers I listened to, and the BMRs easily out-performed them... even at their new cost. I also listened to B&W 600 series... no comparison!
And for strictly music, you don't really need the sub. Its nice, don't get me wrong, but in-room performance, those BMRs get 34Hz, so unless you listen to a lot of Grand Organs or crazy percussion, the BMRs do very well. ;)
Also, I'm a very big fan of 3-way speakers, and I can't recommend these enough. However, I've said it before and will again here: I would gladly consider any of Dennis 2-way speaker designs over many other 3-way designs on the market. Swerd's recommendation for the Song Tower... or any of the iterations of that speaker is pretty spot on.
If ever you were going to blow your budget, this is where to do it! :)
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
4,865 34 17
#9
I would be looking at products from Monitor Audio and PSB as well, they tend to be very neutral, as well as Revel. You definitely can not go wrong with the BMR Philharmonitors. If you don't need your speakers to look pretty, take a long hard look at the JBL 708i speakers, extremely accurate speakers.

As for subwoofers, in Canada, look at Paradigm Defiance or MartinLogan Dynamos. SVS makes great subs as well. I definitely disagree with the notion that Rythmik subs have some kind of advantage other other well-engineered brands.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,036 11 6
#10
I'm looking for bookshelf speakers...no subwoofer...at this point.
Ok, I've been trying to avoid buying a subwoofer. I live in an 800 sq.ft. condo, open concept and the speakers sit on either side of the couch facing inwards towards the living room/dining/kitchen areas. Subwoofer recommendations??
OK, bookshelf speakers in 800 sq. ft. That narrows the choices. Judging by your amp's appearance, you seem to prefer small audio objects. Correct?

Salk has a number of smaller bookshelf models. I'd focus on the SongSurround I with 5¼" paper/reed fiber mid woofer, the WOW I with magnesium alloy mid woofer, or the SongSurround Plus, with 6" woven polypropylene fiber mid woofer. All of them feature clear, detailed, & focused mid range, with pin-point imaging, and no audible distortion or resonant noise (unlike your 602 Kevlar mid woofers which can become shrill at higher volume). The WOW I's metal mid woofer allows for a more detailed sound, and the SongSurround Plus's 6" mid woofer and larger cabinet allows for deeper bass.

Because you said you listen to music only, turntable and Spotify downloads, I'd hold off on a subwoofer until after you've settled on new speakers. Unlike the others here, for music only, especially in a small condo, I think a subwoofer is optional. Subwoofers are certainly large & expensive boxes – no way around that. If your listening habits tend towards lower volume music, as opposed to loud music, I'd say make a decision on a sub at a later time. You appear to have gotten along without a sub with your 602 speakers.
I've tended to veer away from the wireless KEF LS50s. Are they really as good as wired speakers can be though??
I've heard the standard LS50s, but not the wireless version. I liked them and I think they sounded better than the B&W 602, but I consider LS50s overpriced. When I heard them, I directly compared them to a DIY version of the Salk SongSurround Is that I have. I thought both speakers were equally satisfying, but not identical sounding. At $900 to 1000/pair, the SongSurround Is cost less than the LS50. They're similarly small, the SSIs are 8" wide × 10" deep × 13" tall. If you like the sound of LS50s, and can find them at a comparable price to SS Is, they might be a good choice. I know I'd rather have the SSIs, but this is about what you want.

I don't really believe that the wireless LS50 could sound different or better than the standard LS50. If it has the same drivers and cabinet as the standard version, how could it sound different? What would you do with your Cyrus One amp if you had wireless self-powered speakers? Remember, wireless speakers come with an internal power amp or two, and require an electric power connection. So, in that sense, they aren't really wireless.
My local shop has these Linn Majik 109s which seem interesting. Any thoughts?
I haven't heard those and it's been a very long time since I heard any Linn speaker. My first and only thought is that they're overpriced.
I think a trip to the local shop is the weekend plan now.
A good idea. Listen and see what you like and what you don't like. Download some music you are familiar with and bring it along.

Remember that you will not find Salk speakers in any local shop. They are sold only by Internet Direct. If you're interested in hearing them, contact Jim Salk and ask who in your area is an owner who would demo speakers for an interested shopper like yourself. Most Salk owners are happy to show off their speakers. I myself have domo'ed my speakers several times – I live in Maryland just outside Washington DC. If that's too far away, contact Jim Salk.
 
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ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,534 3
#11
I would be looking at products from Monitor Audio and PSB as well, they tend to be very neutral, as well as Revel. You definitely can not go wrong with the BMR Philharmonitors. If you don't need your speakers to look pretty, take a long hard look at the JBL 708i speakers, extremely accurate speakers.

As for subwoofers, in Canada, look at Paradigm Defiance or MartinLogan Dynamos. SVS makes great subs as well. I definitely disagree with the notion that Rythmik subs have some kind of advantage other other well-engineered brands.
PSB would be very intriguing. Wanted very much to hear them, but near me, I couldn't find anybody that had them.
My experience auditioning the Monitor Audio Silver series was excellent. I very gladly could have been an MA Owner. The Silver 100 reviewed very well as I recall, and if the word is to be believed, the Golds are a serious step up. At your price range, the Gold 100s should be a consideration. In counterpoint to my earlier recommendation, they are 4-ohms nominal, with extension to 40hz (-6dB): compared to the 3-way BMR which is 6-ohms and capable to 34Hz (+/2dB, anechoic) (from the Philharmonic Audio website).

Here's a review of the new Gen5 MA Gold 100s: https://www.avforums.com/review/monitor-audio-gold-100-standmount-speaker-review.15830

I had a hard time making the break from looking at Mass Market products to considering any of the Internet Direct companies. Once I heard the bigger brethren Phil 3s by Philharmonic Audio (compared to KEF, B&W, MA, Martin Logan, etc),all that changed, instantly. I bought the BMRs completely unheard and am glad I did. My Phil 3s should arrive in a week or two, now.
(In Dennis' unexpected retirement, Jim Salk took over my order and is building Dennis' Phil 3s from start to finish at his shop. Working with both of these guys has been great.)

If you love sound, it is worth exploring Jim's offerings. ;)

Cheers!
 
T

thebrieze

Audiophyte
#12
To throw another option your way, take a look at the new Dynaudio Evoke 20. They produce a very big sound with incredible imaging, and the tweeter is a direct trickle down descendant from the new Contour 20. They are quite an impressive speaker. The big brother Evoke 50 (at 5K a pair) was easily one of the top performers for speakers below 10k at the recent AXPONA show

The LS50 is a very good speaker but will be lacking without a sub. The KEF R3 (almost an LS50 + a woofer) might be a better fit. It will not have quite the pinpoint imaging as the LS50, but should come close, and perform much better low down


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