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Bowers & Wilkins - Vs - Monitor Audio??


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#1 of 29 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted March 27 2005 - 02:28 AM

Hey gang,


I'll be moving into my new condo-loft in a few weeks and have been speaking with a home theatre expert discussing the possible setup, hardware, instilations and wiring for everything, etc.


This person owns his own HT and electronics company and has been working in this field for nearly 20 years. He seems to have an extensive knowledge of everything relative and it's obvious he's very passionate and sincere about his hobby which conveniently also happens to be his work.

He's told me stories about previous employers who've had zero knowledge whatsoever about this stuff, but have had an immense budget to work with and wanted a professional setup and he's built theatres for them that probably cost as much as my entire condominium (triple hundred k digit range)!


Anyways, last week I gave him a spec list of what I was looking at and considering and I mentioned that I was interested in the 1. BOWERS & WILKINS NAUTILUS SCM1 (2-way vented box) Speakers and 2. ASW 850 Subwoofer (active-closed box) system.

I had gotten advice from members on this forum last year and these were recommended within my price range. They also come in great wood finnishes that match the dark oak floors of my loft.



I spoke with my guy the other day who was supposed to get back to me with a quote on all of the above (plus a number of other items incl. projector, screen, etc) but said it would take him a few more days to get in touch with several people. My mom is a designer and has worked with him on different houses from time to time and he always gets the best prices available. He has all kinds of connections on equipment.


Anyways, when speaking with him over the phone the other day, he said he'd send me an email with the quotes as well as his own suggestions and opinions regarding the setup but suggested quickly over the phone that I look into a company by the name of MONITOR AUDIO for my speaker setup. He told me that for the same price, and possibly even a little less, I could get better quality from MONITOR AUDIO (Gold Series) than B&W.


I'm sure he'll get back to me with exact specs of everything within the next few days so it'll be easier for me to come here asking for advice when I have the exact details of the items in question... but given what I was looking at in the B&W NAUTILUS Speakers as well as general price range, I'm sure you guys could get an idea of what he might be considering in the MONITOR AUDIO setup...


What I really want to know is - what's your opinion on this?


Would you agree that better sound could be had from MONITOR AUDIO than through B&W given the price range and what would you all reccommend?


Why would you/he suggest MONITOR AUDIO over B&W?


If you disagree, could you please offer stances against it so that I could get a better understanding and standpoint on the issues to bring up and question?



PLEASE HELP ME OUT HERE -- I'M SPENDING A TON OF MONEY AND REALLY VALUE THE KNOWLEDGE THAT YOU GUYS POSSESS!!!



Please let me know what you all think and thank you so much in advance!!!

#2 of 29 OFFLINE   Mark Danner

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Posted March 27 2005 - 03:29 AM

Okay, I will be the first one to say it....as far as subs go I would check out HSU or SVS over B&W. Dollar for dollar they are better subs.

#3 of 29 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 27 2005 - 03:34 AM

Monitor Audio makes quality speakers but only your ears will be able to make that call. See if you can audition both.

#4 of 29 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted March 27 2005 - 03:43 AM

Thanks a lot Mark, and Scott... I definitely can't audition because of the deals this guy gets, he orders them specially from whatever connection or resource he's going through to get the best prices.


In YOUR opinions, if it was YOUR dollars, which would you opt for... B&W or MONITOR AUDIO?


I've only heard the greatest feedback from B&W and must say I'm really drawn to their sleek appearance and casings but obviously quality of sound is the number one factor.


I'm sure it is a slim margin here, but I'd like to get opinions on what everyone prefers about each. Is the quality of sound crisper with this one, etc?

Are there any specific aspects of either that I should be taking into account?

#5 of 29 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted March 27 2005 - 03:49 AM

BTW Mark,

Could you reccomend any specific SVS or HSU subs I should take a look at in specific?


I guess I'm looking to spend in the ~ 4.5k range.

#6 of 29 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 27 2005 - 03:51 AM

I think both have a similar sound IMO. Nice midrange but a little too forward in the lower treble for my taste. If style is important then the B&W's win out over monitor audio. There are other speakers I prefer over both like Energy, Totem, JMLab, Dynaudio, Dali and Amphion.

#7 of 29 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted March 27 2005 - 04:21 AM

Thank you very much Scott.

If the difference is really that thin and hardly discernable, than I think I'd prefer to stick with the B&W's since they look so great.


Out of the other speakers mentioned, is there one you personally prefer over the rest and do you think overall better sound could be achieved through one of the above models over the B&W's?


To give an idea of the room accousitcs btw, it is a condo loft with 10-foot high concrete ceilings and oak floors with lots of depth in the room for sound to resonate. I'd say the livingroom-dingroom area is roughly 750 sq.ft. and I'd obviously be going with 6 speaker surround setup. The two back wall in the lvingroom are floor to ceiling window but optherwise the room takes up a majority of the condo space (loft is 1200sq.ft.) so it's the main portion of living space and well enclosed by surrounding walls.


If you were working on roughly an 10-20 k budget for strictly audio setup (speakers, subs, amps, receiver, processor) ... what would you suggest?


Thanks again for your help Scott (and anyopne else) - It's really appreciated!!!

#8 of 29 OFFLINE   AlanZ

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Posted March 27 2005 - 04:28 AM

Marco:
You have some great choices there for speakers.....I have never heard the Nautilus line of B&W, but I have heard the Monitor Audio Gold line and Energy Veritas line. Both are very, very good, but I am very partial to the Energy Veritas. They are wonderful speakers.

You may also want to consider the new Paradigm Signature line. It came out last year and is very well-regarded.

I also wanted to mention to you that since you have a pretty nice budget to put a system together, consider Simaudio for your preamp and amp. They are based right there in Quebec, I believe, and make some very high quality, stylish components.
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#9 of 29 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted March 27 2005 - 04:45 AM

Thanks a lot Alan, I'm looking into the Veritas and Paradigm Signature lines right now!


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#10 of 29 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 27 2005 - 05:17 AM

Marco

Will this be mostly for HT or music? Of those I mentioned I like Dali and JMLab the best. I really like the Dali Piano series. They sound good and have a cool industrial look that would go well in a loft. Here is a link to them http://www.dali.dk/P...3&UMID=1&PID=63 Sim Audio makes very nice equipment and if you want separates they would be a great choice but they are pricey. Another way to go would be Theta if you want separates. My favorite receiver right now is the Arcam AVR300 which is good for HT and music. As far as subs go people here like SVS alot but I like REL since I listen mostly to music. As far as a DVD player I wouldn't spend too much right now and just wait for the HDDVD players to come out. Dali's other speaker lines have some best wood finishes i've ever seen.

#11 of 29 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted March 27 2005 - 05:34 AM

Scott,


Primarily I'd like to have it centered around my HT for movie-watching. That's what I'd like the focus to be and what I'm really trying to get optimal use from, BUT, I will be wiring the rest of the condo for music-listening as well. I've also picked up a Pioneer Elite w/ SACD and have a CD collection over 2,000 discs and an immense record/vinyl catalogue as well. Music is a huge part of my life and in truth I'll probably be putting more use in from my setup in this regard, however, I'm fairly certain that once I'm going high end and hitting a certain price mark... the variances in sound from system to system are much finer and less distinct. I have to admit that I'm not a huge audiophile but can discern between what sounds good and great. I've been used to listening to my music these past few years on crappy Pro-737 PC speakers to give you an idea... I'm much more compulsive about theatre sound though. Music complements just about every other minute of my life, it's really the soundtrack to my daily living, but movie-watching is more of a seperate experience I feel and the audio really plays an integral role in that "experience". For that reason, I'd like to focus on my HT while still takinginto account that I will be getting a lot of digital music usage from the speaker setup as well, and have invested in SACD so quality is obviously still a factor there as well.. just not AS significant as with the HT.

#12 of 29 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted March 27 2005 - 05:43 AM

And thanks for all your suggestions, I'm taking EVERYTHING into account and am going to discuss all of these options w/ the person I've been dealing with as well to get his take so that I can compare everyones opinions and make my final decision.


Also, as far as a receiver, I've been considering the Pioneer Elite VSX-59TXi.

I have the Elite model DV59-AVi DVD player and from the feedback and reviews I've read as well as basic specs, I just decided this would be the way to go. Plus having the two Elite units atop one another on shelf would really "fit".

Do you think the Arcam AVR300 is any better, if so, why?

#13 of 29 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 27 2005 - 06:03 AM

The Arcam is the most musical receiver i've heard period. It compares very well to their 2-channel integrated amps. Another reason is that the Arcam will reproduce it's rated power specs throughout the frequency range which most receivers don't. It's as close to separates that i've heard in a receiver. Good luck with your loft! I'll be moving into a loft in downtown Kansas City this summer.

#14 of 29 OFFLINE   AlanZ

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Posted March 27 2005 - 07:18 AM

Marco:

Don't forget to consider these:
http://www.integraco...pix/HT/pat.html

What you said above basically states why I have become a huge fan of Maggies......Even though I spend more time with HT than I do with music, I didn't want that to mean that I had to sacrifice anything when it came to 2-channel listening. In fact, I wanted it to be spectacular. I've been able to achieve that goal Posted Image
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#15 of 29 OFFLINE   Robert_Dufresne

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Posted March 27 2005 - 10:55 AM

Marco

The B&W Nautilus line of speakers is regarded as a standard in the industry. They are used as monitors at the Light and magic studios in CA. Certainly one of the better speaker out there. As Alan said, when you reach those levels of quality and monetary investment, there are other solid contenders like the veritas and the signature etc.
You should definitely go around specialized stores and listen. There are a lot of them in Montreal.

A good start would be the "Festival image et son" starting april 1 at the Delta hotel on Sherbrooke street.It is the largest audio and video show in Canada.

As for the sub, the 850 is a hard one to beat in the sealed enclosure category which IMO is the better way to design a sub. Even if it give you less bang per dollar, a a sealed enclosures will give a bang of a better quality.
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#16 of 29 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted March 27 2005 - 10:17 PM

Thank you SO much Robert, I had no idea about the festival in April.. I will definitely be at the Delta and I'm really excited!

#17 of 29 OFFLINE   Ron T

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Posted March 27 2005 - 10:33 PM

The Veritas, Golds and Nautilus are all wonderful speakers. The MA are quick and have a seductive midband. The Nautilus are accurate but to me slightly less musical, while the Veritas combine the best of both the MA and the Nautilus. To my ear the Veritas are very hard to beat at anywhere near their price range and much higher, but you need to listen to all 3 of them.

#18 of 29 OFFLINE   Robert_Dufresne

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Posted March 28 2005 - 05:48 AM

Marco

Here is the link to the festival site.

http://www.hifiexpo.com/

I plan on going friday afternoon, too many people on the weekend.
"and if my grand-mother had wheels she'd be a wagon" Montgomery Scott Eng. USS Enterprise

#19 of 29 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted March 28 2005 - 06:18 AM

I saw pictures once from the mixing booths at Skywalker Ranch and they were using 5 B&W 800 towers.

Which is kinda odd, because the THX people weren't even using using THX certified speakers........
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#20 of 29 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted March 28 2005 - 10:28 AM

Which is kinda odd, because the THX people weren't even using using THX certified speakers........


Sorry to derail the thread a little, but this is probably the single best argument that THX is pretty irrelevent. George Lucas uses B&W speakers to do his mixing for all his THX movies, yet B&W doesn't pay to get them certified. Hmm, surely a $1000 setup of THX stuff would be much better than those B&W 800's!?!?!

Anyway, B&W are great, but definitely listen to anything you can. I understand that you can't audition through this particular guy, but cetainly there are other dealers in your area where you could go listen.