Replacement decision on my Kef LS50

ematthews

ematthews

Audioholic General
So you may have read where I stand with the Kef LS50 from the other thread I posted a while back. I am still looking for a bookshelf to replace it. I keep going back to the Focal Aria 906. And now that it is on sale it makes it more attractive. Anyone hear both in the same room. If so what is you thoughts. My only thoughts on the Focal is what I have read and it seems to be a good alternative besides the Sierra 2 to look at. Basically I like the Kef. I think it does lean to the bright side with the tremendous amount of detail, but it lacks body to my ears. Any input or suggestions on other bookshelf options and the Focal?
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
So you may have read where I stand with the Kef LS50 from the other thread I posted a while back. I am still looking for a bookshelf to replace it. I keep going back to the Focal Aria 906. And now that it is on sale it makes it more attractive. Anyone hear both in the same room. If so what is you thoughts. My only thoughts on the Focal is what I have read and it seems to be a good alternative besides the Sierra 2 to look at. Basically I like the Kef. I think it does lean to the bright side with the tremendous amount of detail, but it lacks body to my ears. Any input or suggestions on other bookshelf options and the Focal?
Philharmonic BMRs
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Why are you getting little bookshelf speakers again? :D

Why not just get another pair of towers?

You have Ascend towers, RBH towers, now get some other towers. :D
 
ematthews

ematthews

Audioholic General
Why are you getting little bookshelf speakers again? :D

Why not just get another pair of towers?

You have Ascend towers, RBH towers, now get some other towers. :D
Ha. Smaller room. A 2.1 set up. And good bookshelf's speakers are cheaper than towers. They are also easier to hide from my wife when I sneak them into the room. :D
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ha. Smaller room. A 2.1 set up. And good bookshelf's speakers are cheaper than towers. They are also easier to hide from my wife when I sneak them into the room. :D
Yeah, the Wife Avoidance Factor, eh?

;):D
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
I forgot about those. They are a bit more than the Focal at the moment however.
@KEW just received his BMR's in the less expensive standard cabinet. He also owns two different pairs of active Focal monitors - he might have a more persuasive opinion on the BMR vs. a sale item Focal.
 
ematthews

ematthews

Audioholic General
Sounds good. Those Focals have a lot of positive reviews. I’d like to get something to compare the Kef’s to before I let them go.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Good timing!
Just today, I got around to a "first listen" comparison of the Focal Twin6 Be's to the BMR's.

The Twins run $3,800/pr. and have the same drivers as their top end home audio speakers as best I can tell (but not so pricey as the Home audio version plus you get idiot proof matched amps built in the Twins - "idiot proof" because like a well designed active sub, the amp will prevent blowing a driver and shut-off before clipping becomes an issue).
https://www.focal.com/en/pro-audio/monitoring-speakers/sm6/monitoring-speakers/twin6-be
I am a huge fan of the presentation that the Twin6 with the Be tweeter gives! Like many pro audio monitors, it's weakness from a home audio standpoint is bass. The monitor benchtest done by Resolution magazine puts them about -3dB at 50Hz. Not a problem with a sub, but weak for a 2.0 system.

Both of these are great sounding speakers, as I went through my audition CD with instant level-matched switching, I might guess:
10% of the time, I heard no difference,
50% of the time, I heard a difference, but had no preference
30% of the time, I preferred the BMR's, and
10% of the time, I preferred the Twin's

So where I heard a difference and had a preference, I liked the BMR's better 3 out of 4 times!

I did not count places where the superior bass of the BMR's was the clear reason for my preference, but cannot say that there weren't other places where the added bass tilted my preference to the BMR's.

One place of note where the Focal won were Norah Jones' voice - it sounded just a bit clearer on the Twin, despite sounding wonderful on the BMR. Yet the ensemble supporting her sounded better on the BMR!

Another specific place where the nod went to the Twin was listening to "Sunrise" from Chet Atkin's Stay Tuned album (accompanied by George Benson on this track). There are a couple of places where the player slides his finger down the string. There is no finger noise here, but the resolution at the transitions as the notes change was greater on the Twin. I think the transients (or microdynamics?) of the Twin are slightly better (you have a RAAL, so you know they are damn good at this)!

Unfortunately, I cannot offer such a specific explanation of where the BMR was better because it seemed generally better. I'm sure the added bass influenced some of this and might guess that the actual number if you discounted for the bass would result in a 50/50 split between the two speakers.
So, you have the Twins (which cost 2.67 times as much) essentially being matched by the BMR's (bravo Dennis)!

On bass, I find the BMR's in my living room (with ceiling open to the second floor) work great as full range 2.0 speakers for the music I listen to.

Although I no longer have the KEF ls50's to compare directly, my sense is the BMR's are the "Anti-KEF"! By that I mean the one thing that disappointed me about the ls50's is probably what the BMR's are most excellent at! The fullness of their soundstage is as good as it gets!

If you are looking for a dominantly HT speaker, I'm not positive the BMR's are the best fit as the wide soundstage might undermine some of the intended directional effects of a movie.

However, I have no hesitation saying these are definitely the best music speakers I have ever heard shy of the Phil3's and (maybe) the Twin6! That is high praise when you consider that the Phil3 and Twin6 are some of the highest value offerings at over twice the price of the BMR's!
I'm not at all sure the Phil3's have anything to offer, if you integrate a sub with the BMR's (aside from Max SPL).

By inference, I found the Focal Solo6 a better speaker than the Salk Soundtower with ribbon tweeter, so it is safe to say the BMR beats the Songtowers (I expected that, given RAAL vs LCY ribbon).

As a point of reference, the BMR's cost me $1420 ($1350 plus $70 shipping) delivered to my residence in Georgia.

I got the Cherry version and am happy with the finish as the rich Cherry wood finish I expected. Certainly Salk would look better, but while I am opposed to buying an ugly speaker; but the Parts Express cabinets are nice, and nice is good enough (for me).
 
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D

Dennis Murphy

Audioholic General
Thanks very much for those detailed observations. I appreciate your taking the time to conduct the comparison and report the results. I haven't heard the Focals, so I have nothing to contribute in that area, other than to say your price comparisons are a little tipped against The Twins because they're active and the price includes the amps. I honestly haven't listened to the BMR's in my HT system, partly because I hardly ever use it. But I kind of doubt that the large sound stage that the BMR's throw would obscure directional cues in movie soundtracks. Broad, even dispersion should actually improve imaging and directional cues. But I'm speculating. The one area where the BMR's might differ from a more directional speaker is in reproduction of vocals in studio recording. A voice might appear a little more forward and even more focused on speakers that are projecting relatively more output in the upper midrange and lower treble, such as almost inevitably occurs in two-way designs. I try always to mention that when anyone asks me to compare the sound of the BMR's to my 2-way offerings. That may very well be what you were hearing on the Norah Jones tracks. Thanks again for your write-up Kurt.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Although I no longer have the KEF ls50's to compare directly, my sense is the BMR's are the "Anti-KEF"! By that I mean the one thing that disappointed me about the ls50's is probably what the BMR's are most excellent at! The fullness of their soundstage is as good as it gets!
Thanks, now you got me really scared;)! As you know I like my LS50's a lot, getting none of the negatives that you described, but I am getting the BMR soon for other reasons. I really don't have room for both so one has to go, eventually. The funny thing is, I like my 1028Be much more, so based on your comparison there is a good chance I would prefer the BMRs too, though we both know subjective reviews are subjective.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Thanks, now you got me really scared;)! As you know I like my LS50's a lot, getting none of the negatives that you described, but I am getting the BMR soon for other reasons. I really don't have room for both so one has to go, eventually. The funny thing is, I like my 1028Be much more, so based on your comparison there is a good chance I would prefer the BMRs too, though we both know subjective reviews are subjective.
I am telling you guys, get the biggest most dynamic accurate speakers you can get, which usually means towers or giant "monitors". :D

Too bad you guys missed out on the Black Friday sale that RBH had in 2017 when they were clearing the RBH SX-T1 big monitor for $579 each! :eek:

The SX-T1 is the upper portion of one of Gene's giant T30 towers before he got his bigger 8T towers. :D

You buy small bookshelf speakers and then keep on wanting something bigger and bigger for the larger dynamics and soundstage. :D
 
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AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
...I'm sure the added bass influenced some of this...
Bass, Dynamics, Soundstage, etc.

When you compare all accurate speakers, I think the speakers with more bass, dynamics, and soundstage will get the overall preference.
 
ematthews

ematthews

Audioholic General
I am telling you guys, get the biggest most dynamic accurate speakers you can get, which usually means towers or giant "monitors". :D

Too bad you guys missed out on the Black Friday sale that RBH had in 2017 when they were clearing the RBH SX-T1 big monitor for $579 each! :eek:

The SX-T1 is the upper portion of one of Gene's giant T30 towers before he got his bigger 8T towers. :D

You buy small bookshelf speakers and then keep on wanting something bigger and bigger for the larger dynamics and soundstage. :D
Like the Klipsch RF 2 or 3's..........
 
ematthews

ematthews

Audioholic General
The 2'S are way cheaper and better looking. I had some RF82's way way back in a very low budget HT set up. Never for music or any of their newer stuff.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Bass, Dynamics, Soundstage, etc.

When you compare all accurate speakers, I think the speakers with more bass, dynamics, and soundstage will get the overall preference.
Well the BMR's definitely win out in the soundstage arena!
However, my interest was in trying to isolate where the BMR's sounded better due to having more bass. I see bass as something that can be added with a sub, so when I am trying to figure out which speaker has the best sound quality, I try not to let the amount of bass influence me unless I hear something sloppy in the bass. But, of course this is all subjective at the end of the day!
 
Y

yepimonfire

Audioholic Samurai
Good timing!
Just today, I got around to a "first listen" comparison of the Focal Twin6 Be's to the BMR's.

The Twins run $3,800/pr. and have the same drivers as their top end home audio speakers as best I can tell (but not so pricey as the Home audio version plus you get idiot proof matched amps built in the Twins - "idiot proof" because like a well designed active sub, the amp will prevent blowing a driver and shut-off before clipping becomes an issue).
https://www.focal.com/en/pro-audio/monitoring-speakers/sm6/monitoring-speakers/twin6-be
I am a huge fan of the presentation that the Twin6 with the Be tweeter gives! Like many pro audio monitors, it's weakness from a home audio standpoint is bass. The monitor benchtest done by Resolution magazine puts them about -3dB at 50Hz. Not a problem with a sub, but weak for a 2.0 system.

Both of these are great sounding speakers, as I went through my audition CD with instant level-matched switching, I might guess:
10% of the time, I heard no difference,
50% of the time, I heard a difference, but had no preference
30% of the time, I preferred the BMR's, and
10% of the time, I preferred the Twin's

So where I heard a difference and had a preference, I liked the BMR's better 3 out of 4 times!

I did not count places where the superior bass of the BMR's was the clear reason for my preference, but cannot say that there weren't other places where the added bass tilted my preference to the BMR's.

One place of note where the Focal won were Norah Jones' voice - it sounded just a bit clearer on the Twin, despite sounding wonderful on the BMR. Yet the ensemble supporting her sounded better on the BMR!

Another specific place where the nod went to the Twin was listening to "Sunrise" from Chet Atkin's Stay Tuned album (accompanied by George Benson on this track). There are a couple of places where the player slides his finger down the string. There is no finger noise here, but the resolution at the transitions as the notes change was greater on the Twin. I think the transients (or microdynamics?) of the Twin are slightly better (you have a RAAL, so you know they are damn good at this)!

Unfortunately, I cannot offer such a specific explanation of where the BMR was better because it seemed generally better. I'm sure the added bass influenced some of this and might guess that the actual number if you discounted for the bass would result in a 50/50 split between the two speakers.
So, you have the Twins (which cost 2.67 times as much) essentially being matched by the BMR's (bravo Dennis)!

On bass, I find the BMR's in my living room (with ceiling open to the second floor) work great as full range 2.0 speakers for the music I listen to.

Although I no longer have the KEF ls50's to compare directly, my sense is the BMR's are the "Anti-KEF"! By that I mean the one thing that disappointed me about the ls50's is probably what the BMR's are most excellent at! The fullness of their soundstage is as good as it gets!

If you are looking for a dominantly HT speaker, I'm not positive the BMR's are the best fit as the wide soundstage might undermine some of the intended directional effects of a movie.

However, I have no hesitation saying these are definitely the best music speakers I have ever heard shy of the Phil3's and (maybe) the Twin6! That is high praise when you consider that the Phil3 and Twin6 are some of the highest value offerings at over twice the price of the BMR's!
I'm not at all sure the Phil3's have anything to offer, if you integrate a sub with the BMR's (aside from Max SPL).

By inference, I found the Focal Solo6 a better speaker than the Salk Soundtower with ribbon tweeter, so it is safe to say the BMR beats the Songtowers (I expected that, given RAAL vs LCY ribbon).

As a point of reference, the BMR's cost me $1420 ($1350 plus $70 shipping) delivered to my residence in Georgia.

I got the Cherry version and am happy with the finish as the rich Cherry wood finish I expected. Certainly Salk would look better, but while I am opposed to buying an ugly speaker; but the Parts Express cabinets are nice, and nice is good enough (for me).
I feel the BMR sounds a bit more "natural", especially imaging wise. The way they interact with the room for music projects a very large Soundstage. The focals offer a bit more focus.

Sent from my LM-X210(G) using Tapatalk
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Well the BMR's definitely win out in the soundstage arena!
However, my interest was in trying to isolate where the BMR's sounded better due to having more bass. I see bass as something that can be added with a sub, so when I am trying to figure out which speaker has the best sound quality, I try not to let the amount of bass influence me unless I hear something sloppy in the bass. But, of course this is all subjective at the end of the day!
When people audition to towers (especially those with more bass), they sometimes complain that the bass is "muddy".

When people audition smaller speakers with a lot less bass, they never seem to complain that the bass is "muddy" because there's not much bass to begin with.

So is the bass having an adverse reaction to the room acoustics?

Is the bass too much for the size of the room?

Some people call this "overpowering" the room.

That's why some people ask us on the forum whether some towers are too big for their rooms.

IMO this is one huge advantage of "monitors" (much less bass) + subwoofers because you can easily adjust the amount of bass for any given room. With bigger towers, the bass could be too much for the given room.
 

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