B&W 801's as fronts, JM Lab Cobalt as rears: WILL THIS WORK?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Jason Cheung, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. Jason Cheung

    Jason Cheung Agent

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    Hi,

    I'm building my first HT. And I don't have a lot of experience with speakers and their "sound." ANY advice is much appreciated...

    I have an old pair of 801's and would like to ADD new speakers. I talked to a sales guy and he suggested JM Lab speakers. I've never heard of the company but but from what I've read so far, they seem reputable.

    So after all is said and done, the proposed speaker set up would be this:

    Fronts: B&W 801's (series 80)
    Rears: JM Lab's Cobalt SR 800
    Centre: JM Lab's Cobalt CC 800

    My questions:
    1) Is "blending" speaker brands a good idea? How big of a difference will there really be?

    2) Are JM Lab speakers a good match with the 801's

    [3) Is the Marantz SR7300ose a good receiver to drive the JM Lab speakers?]

    Thanks in advance to all your input!

    Jason
     
  2. Jason Cheung

    Jason Cheung Agent

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    Oh yeah...

    The sales guy said the bass from the 801's is more than enough...

    Any thoughts on that?

    Thanks again!

    Jason
     
  3. JustinDR

    JustinDR Agent

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    Both companies make great products but they also sound very different. I don't think that mixing them together would work very well, although I've never tried it. Blending, or timbre matching is important in creating a consistent and cohesive sound-field in surround, but even the newer B&Ws won't sound the same as your 801s. Your main concern for matching would be the center, so if you can, try and take a few different ones home to compare. Having mismatched speakers isn't going to kill your setup, but the closer a match the better.

    The marantz should do fine for the JM Lab speakers, but I assume you have a separate amp for the 801s, because the marantz won't do for those. As for the bass, the 801s will probably suffice, but depending on room size and your tastes, a sub might not hurt.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Paul Chalk

    Paul Chalk Stunt Coordinator

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    I use both B&W and JMlab in my system. I use JMlab Electra 906's for my mains, and B&W 602 S3's for rears, no center. It sounds great.

    Your setup sounds like it will work well except for the Cobalt center. The front soundstage won't blend that well. With home theater, you want your front speakers to match as close as possible. This isn't as important with the rear speakers.

    Your best option is to get a current Nautilus center speaker like the HTM1. It probably won't be a perfect match, but it's likely your best bet. Or you could do what I do. Because my 906's image so well, I don't use a center speaker. I run a phantom center, where all the center channel information gets sent to the mains. I'm pretty sure your 801's can image better than my 906's. [​IMG] However, using a phantom center is only ideal if there's only one or two viewers. If multiple people are going to be using this system at one time, a dedicated center will work better.
     
  5. Jason Cheung

    Jason Cheung Agent

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    Thanks Justin and Paul...

    Justin: You're right about a separate amp for the 801's. I'll be using an Audio Research amp to drive the pair. And your point about the centre being the main concern is a good point. I'll remember that.

    Paul: Thanks for your advice! I never really considered running a phantom centre. But I guess it's worth trying. And, if it works out, it'll be lighter on the pocketbooks. But, how much is the Nautilus HTM1. Once I hear "Nautilus" my knees tremble at the loud "Cha Ching" I hear in my head...
    [​IMG]

    Well, thanks again...

    And for anyone else reading this...can you suggest a suitable centre that would fit well with the 801's?

    Thanks!!

    Jason
     
  6. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    I would suggest selling the 801's and getting something that matches. 801's hold their resale value well. Check audiogon!

    Or, alternately, find a used center channel that will match your 801's. Again, audiogon is perfect for that. Since I don't think B&W made dedicated matching channels for the series 80, find one of their 800 series bookshelves of the same period. I don't think the Nautilus series would timbre match very well...it's as different from the mid-80's 800 series as speakers from a different manufacturer would be. You might also find a Matrix center channel...there happens to be one on Ebay for around $500 but I would negotiate...it would be closer to the series 80 than the Nautilus.

    Rears aren't nearly as important to timbre match, but then again, if it were me, I would be tempted to find mint matching used rears.
     
  7. Jason Cheung

    Jason Cheung Agent

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    Thanks Steve for your post...
    I never thought of going retro with my setup...but it makes sense, especially if matching is a priority for me.
    Still, I guess I won't know just how much of a difference the sound will be?

    I am still considering, however, a center and rears from the current B&W CDM line: the CDM CNT and CDM SNT.
    First of all, would this be SO different from my old 801's that the sound would be disruptive? Secondly, compared with another brand of centers and rears (i.e. JM Lab's) would the CDM line still fit better?

    Again, thanks for helping me out...I'm a noobie in this HT thing, so everything helps. I value every opinion...

    Thanks in advance,
    Jason
     

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