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B&W vs NHT

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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 OFFLINE   Mdwst



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Posted August 14 2002 - 03:00 PM

I'm looking into a 5.1 dts speaker setup and would like input on these NHT or B&W say around $1500.. for the setup. Any prefrence???

#2 of 16 OFFLINE   Haru


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Posted August 14 2002 - 03:35 PM

oh, this kills me. I am almost unreasonably devoted to both brands. I switched from B&W to NHT when I found a pair of 2.9s for the price of a pair DM604s, and subsequently built my HT up around them. But I helped my dad put together his sytem and upon my recommendations he has a B&W Nautilus series system.

I was a big fan of the NHTs that were the creations of Mr. Ken Kantor, the co founder of NHT, and the man who ordained what the "NHT sound" should be. However, the guard at NHT has changed and the days of the Glorious Super Zero and the 3.3 are past. I have no expereince with the new order of NHTs, but they seem to be getting the most favorable reviews.

On the other hand, B&W is a company that seem incapable of producing a bad speaker. B&Ws always define the state of the art in every category. But more importantly, they have a sonic character very different from the NHTs. The NHTs are clear and sharp, where as the B&Ws are warm and smooth. A dry champagne to a good single malt. what do you prefer?

Your $1500 price barrier seems to suggest that you would do very well with a set of NHTs from the dicontinued line which are being sold at very low prices. For example, the deservedly famed NHT Super Zero can be had for $85 each, from One Call. You could have 5, including one to use as the center channel, add an Hsu VTF-2 sub, and have an absolute riot of a system for about $900. I can't imagine anything pre packaged approaching this level of performance for that much. the correct matching center channel is the super center but its very difficult to find now. You could even get 6 Super Zeros (including two for the center channel), a pair of the floor stander Super Twos (what a gorgeous speaker that one is) going for $450/pair, and a VTF2, for a tick over $1400, and you would have 7.1 channel sound with plenty of center channel strength, a SUPERB pair of L/R mains, and a fantastic sub.

The alternative is a set of B&W 303s, an LCR3, and an Hsu VTF2. for about $1300. you'd get the B&W sound, and damn good sound it is, but you would have only a 5.1 system, and it would not have the tremendous dynamics and 7.1 capability of the NHT set up I suggested.


#3 of 16 OFFLINE   stephen_z


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Posted August 14 2002 - 06:57 PM

I could be wrong, but this will be the first of many posts... go with the B&W's.

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   Chris Carswell

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Posted August 14 2002 - 07:58 PM

For $1500 you will get a little "more" with the NHT. Specially if you find some close outs or "B" stocks.
What are you looking for? Towers or monitors, sub no sub...
It's better to have loved and lost, than never to have had a good pair of speakers at all !!!

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Jose S.

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Posted August 15 2002 - 02:46 PM


Being a fan of B&W, I had the 804/HTM Matrix a few years ago and wanted to upgrade to the Nautilus 804/803. After hearing the Nautilus, IMO, it was overpriced. I felt I was paying for the cabinet more than anything. A dealer friend recommended I check out the NHT VT3 series. I've been happy with the VT3's/VC3 setup ever since. One caveat with the NHTs...they need lots and lots of power. There are great deals on NHT closeouts(2.9s,2.5s,VT2s pre-Evolution line) if you look.


#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Stuart R.

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Posted August 27 2002 - 07:05 AM

Crutchfield has a complete (including sub) NHT Super Audio package on sale for $999.00. NHT Super 15. I purchased this same deal from a local dealer a couple weeks ago. Waiting to get my new receiver to fully realize the 5.1 potential of these speakers, but LOTR was amazing with the limited Dolby ProLogic of my old receiver. Maybe check 'em out.

#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Mark C.

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Posted August 27 2002 - 01:27 PM

If you're looking for speakers primarily for HT, it's my opinion you'll get more bang for your buck with some of the discontinued NHT lines--and this coming from a guy with B&W speakers all over the house.

If you're looking for a speaker that can handle both HT and music well, I'd recommend looking at the B&W 600 series. In my listening experiences, NHT always struck me as VERY accurate speakers, reproducing every little detail of an audio track. This can be good or annoying, depending on your preference. The B&W lines I have (CDMs and Nautilus) just seem smoother.

For my tastes, B&Ws are excellent speakers for music and very good for home theater.

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted August 27 2002 - 01:37 PM

Having heard both I much prefer the B&W's and mainly because most NHT's except the 3.3 which I haven't heard yet have a very limited sweet spot. If you sit off axis then the sound to me isn't very good. They just don't image to well IMHO. Then again on HT this might not be a big deal. As far as sound, the NHT's are brighter to me but not to the point of where fatigue comes in. B&W's are very sweet sounding but tend to be more in your face and less balanced to me.

Try your hardest to find a local dealer and audition them and figure out which one works for you and your room. Speakers are a personal thing and what sounds what to me is probably totally different than it is to you.

#9 of 16 OFFLINE   Larry B

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Posted August 27 2002 - 02:27 PM


where as the B&Ws are warm and smooth

That's the first time I've heard B&W described as "warm."


#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Frank joe

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Posted August 27 2002 - 02:47 PM

hi i recently heard the nht package its on sale (half odd at 6th ave) you can view this on their web site . 5.1 package for 1,299 including sub. if you want 7.1 you can do that fot the 1,500 you want to spend. i would have bought it myself but i also heard the new energy c-9 and it rocks i can put a whole 7.1 package together for 2,000 and i think i heading in that direction. only thing that stopping me in a buddy of mine that recently bought phase tech 9.1 and they also rock so im confused too. by the way its www.6ave.com good luck frank

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   Scott Oliver

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Posted August 28 2002 - 12:16 PM

I would have a hard time categorizing B&W's as warm and smooth as well at least from the FR graphs I have seen on the Nautilus line. They all have an upward spiking high end. Starting at around 10K-15K Hz the response shoots upwards severly. Check stereophile's measurements for confirmation if you like.

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   Nathan J

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Posted August 28 2002 - 01:03 PM

I like B&W's

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   Phuong


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Posted August 28 2002 - 07:45 PM

Why not get 5 NHT SuperZeroes and a Hsu VTF-2 sub for around $900--as Haru has already mentioned--and use the $600 you saved to get a really nice recliner chair for your home theater?

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   Haru


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Posted August 29 2002 - 12:18 AM

I couldn't less what the graphs look like, what interpretations are put on them. I only listen.

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   AaronD


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Posted August 30 2002 - 02:37 AM

I don't know if I would categorize them as bright either. I'm speaking of the 600 series though, and not the CDM or Nautilus line. I own 604 mains and a LCR600 center, and while they certainly aren't dark I don't consider them bright. When I was auditioning speakers I spent a while comparing the 604's to similarly priced Paradigm and Klipsch sets. While I eventually decided that I didn't prefer the bright sound of the klipsch horns, I also felt that the paradigms had a dark sound to them that I also didn't like. As a result I found the 604's to be a happy medium. The real selling point for me was the smoothness of the low to high mid range. Vocals just sounded right. But, that's my opinion. Posted Image

I've never auditioned NHT's, but I don't think you would be disappointed in the B&W 600 series. You may want to look at a package something like 602 mains, LCR60 center, and 600's for surrounds. A friend of mine just picked up the same package and is very pleased. He also purchased the ASW600 sub to accompany everything. I however, prefer my new Velodyne SPL-1000...But that will really blow your budget. Posted Image

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#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Kris Keen

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Posted August 31 2002 - 01:16 AM

B&W 603 S3, 601 S2 and LCR 600 S3 for my setup.. the B&W 603 need lots of space, lots of power and careful positioning, but they make a fantastic HT setup and really shine with 2CH stuff for their money..
B&W 603 S3,B&W 601 S2,B&W LCR 600
Denon DVD-1600, Grundig Elegance82
Coming: I've got NO IDEA!

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