Bowers & Wilkins 603 s2 anniversary edition for movies/HT

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ciotime

Audioholic
I'm considering the bowers & wilkins 603 S2 anniversary edition for my dedicated HT room used mainly for movie watching. However after reading some reviews people have been complaining about it's midrange drivers.
Some quotes I've read are " I cannot understand why B&W feels that it must push a mid-range driver to higher frequencies than it can handle, all to avoid stomping on the speech discrimination band. Yet, it deliberately designs their crossover network to create a deep & wide dip in response centered at 2 kHz. In my opinion that has a worse effect on speech discrimination. "
" The 603’s foremost flaw is, in my opinion, the elevated treble response around the on-axis angle. Listening on-axis could make some recordings sound quite harsh, especially rock or pop music. It also gives many vocals a sibilant sound where the T, S, and CH parts of speech were overly emphasized. "
Is it really that bad?
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
How did you get to looking at B&W's from Dali and Focal's

 
C

ciotime

Audioholic
How did you get to looking at B&W's from Dali and Focal's
I took a look at them considering my present setup is the DM 602 S3. Plus a saw Steve Guttenberg review the bookshelf's version. I know I seem to be considering a LOT of speakers. :) But wanna get it right coz if I do get new one's it'll be another 10+ years before I upgrade again. So as of now these are my 3 choices...the B&W's Dalis and the Focals.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
B&W seems perfectly capable of building a top notch loudspeaker, but so much of what they do is function following form. A baffle-less tweeter? Giant midrange driver that is asked to reproduce frequencies whose wavelengths are smaller than the driver? (=narrow dispersion)....

Yeah, they're pretty, but for performance, you can do alot better! Focal makes great stuff, but you really need to try n find some places with good return policies that will allow you to audition. Especially if you're in the market for the likes of B&W! $$$$$$
 
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mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
Do you have these available to you


The reason why I ask is because it has a three way Center Channel compared to the other speakers your looking at that only have two way centers. Center channel is very important speaker Paradigm Center is a very good one
 
C

ciotime

Audioholic
Do you have these available to you


The reason why I ask is because it has a three way Center Channel compared to the other speakers your looking at that only have two way centers. Center channel is very important speaker Paradigm Center is a very good one
I'm not quite sure it's available here. Paradigm used to have a big presence here but not anymore. The popular brands here are B&W/Wharfedale/Mission/Polk Audio/Q Acoustics.
 
C

ciotime

Audioholic
B&W seems perfectly capable of building a top notch loudspeaker, but so much of what they do is function following form. A baffle-less tweeter? Giant midrange driver that is asked to reproduce frequencies whose wavelengths are smaller than the driver? (=narrow dispersion)....

Yeah, they're pretty, but for performance, you can do alot better! Focal makes great stuff, but you really need to try n find some places with good return policies that will allow you to audition. Especially if you're in the market for the likes of B&W! $$$$$$
Unfortunately return policies don't exist in my country. I can audition them but then again the sound in the showroom won't be the same in my dedicated room.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Unfortunately return policies don't exist in my country. I can audition them but then again the sound in the showroom won't be the same in my dedicated room.
For the most part, it is the bass response that will not be the same in your room.

If you have some singing or instrumental songs you like, you can use those to audition in a store. Just focus on the midrange and higher frequencies, less on drums, for example.
 
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ciotime

Audioholic
For the most part, it is the bass response that will not be the same in your room.

If you have some singing or instrumental songs you like, you can use those to audition in a store. Just focus on the midrange and higher frequencies, less on drums, for example.
Thanks...will definitely follow your advice.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I'm considering the bowers & wilkins 603 S2 anniversary edition for my dedicated HT room used mainly for movie watching. However after reading some reviews people have been complaining about it's midrange drivers.
Some quotes I've read are " I cannot understand why B&W feels that it must push a mid-range driver to higher frequencies than it can handle, all to avoid stomping on the speech discrimination band. Yet, it deliberately designs their crossover network to create a deep & wide dip in response centered at 2 kHz. In my opinion that has a worse effect on speech discrimination. "
" The 603’s foremost flaw is, in my opinion, the elevated treble response around the on-axis angle. Listening on-axis could make some recordings sound quite harsh, especially rock or pop music. It also gives many vocals a sibilant sound where the T, S, and CH parts of speech were overly emphasized. "
Is it really that bad?
I wrote the passage that you quoted. B&Ws have a peculiar design philosophy and it has nothing to do with speech intelligibility. They are trying to avoid phase distortion, and so they give the midrange driver a lot of bandwidth. The problem is they give it too much bandwidth for the cone diameter. They would have had much better success using a couple small cones for the midrange rather than one big one if they wanted to have such a high crossover point. But then there is whatever the hell that tweeter is doing above that point...

As for the sibilance, it is pronounced on-axis, but it is less prominent off-axis. I have heard worse. When listened at the right angle, these speakers don't sound as bad as the graphs would suggest, in fact, I enjoyed them when I learned how to set them up optimally. Nonetheless, they would not be my first choice at that price point.
 
C

ciotime

Audioholic
I wrote the passage that you quoted. B&Ws have a peculiar design philosophy and it has nothing to do with speech intelligibility. They are trying to avoid phase distortion, and so they give the midrange driver a lot of bandwidth. The problem is they give it too much bandwidth for the cone diameter. They would have had much better success using a couple small cones for the midrange rather than one big one if they wanted to have such a high crossover point. But then there is whatever the hell that tweeter is doing above that point...

As for the sibilance, it is pronounced on-axis, but it is less prominent off-axis. I have heard worse. When listened at the right angle, these speakers don't sound as bad as the graphs would suggest, in fact, I enjoyed them when I learned how to set them up optimally. Nonetheless, they would not be my first choice at that price point.
Thanks so much for the info. Would you say the Focal Chora 826 is a better choice? Or the SVS Prime Towers/Revel F36?
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Thanks so much for the info. Would you say the Focal Chora 826 is a better choice? Or the SVS Prime Towers/Revel F36?
I don't know about the Focal, but I would guess it is not as idiosyncratic as the B&Ws. The Revels are about as straight of a shooter as you can get among these brands. They will have a flat frequency response and smooth off-axis response. I don't know about the SVS Primes, but the Prime Pinnacles are pretty nice. They do have a bit of a recessed treble, which is good if you like a warmer sound.
 
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ciotime

Audioholic
I don't know about the Focal, but I would guess it is not as idiosyncratic as the B&Ws. The Revels are about as straight of a shooter as you can get among these brands. They will have a flat frequency response and smooth off-axis response. I don't know about the SVS Primes, but the Prime Pinnacles are pretty nice. They do have a bit of a recessed treble, which is good if you like a warmer sound.
The B&W 603 S2 anniversary edition is cheaper by about $400 a pair compared to the REVEL F36 in my country. The Revel F36 and the Focal Chora 826 are similarly priced. I don't mind getting the Revel's but do you think it's worth the $400 difference?
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
The B&W 603 S2 anniversary edition is cheaper by about $400 a pair compared to the REVEL F36 in my country. The Revel F36 and the Focal Chora 826 are similarly priced. I don't mind getting the Revel's but do you think it's worth the $400 difference?
Is it worth paying the difference for the Revels over the B&Ws? In my opinion, absolutely.
 
C

ciotime

Audioholic
Is it worth paying the difference for the Revels over the B&Ws? In my opinion, absolutely.
Thanks...the Dali Oberon's seem like good speakers as well. Just not a lot of review's though.
 

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