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I feel like I took one step forward and two back (1 Viewer)

Jim Kosinski

Auditioning
Joined
Mar 30, 2002
Messages
14
On saturday, I visited a local stereo store that handles B&W and Definitive Technology. My intended purpose was to listen to the B&W 604S2 and to decide whether a 601 or 602 would be the best rear channel. I addition to the B&W line, I was also looking at Paradigm (Studio line) and Boston Acoustics.

My home theater room is approx 20x20 and I have only 50% of a rear wall. One side of what would be a rear wall in an ideal setup opens into an adjacent room with a pool table. Because of this, I've been thinking that the rears should be direct radiating versus one of the effects speakers that fires to the rear. Without a rear wall, I was concerned that the intended reflection from one of the two speakers would not occur and the sound would be screwed up. Also, from reading this forum it sounds like many of you have selected direct radiators for rear surrounds in 6.1 systems.

The salesman suggested I compare the B&W's to Definitive Technology (huge 2000 front right/left with integral subwoofers). First, he played a movie soundtrack. I gotta say, the Definitive speakers rocked and definitely had more impact and did a better job than the B&W's. The 604's were mated to a subwoofer that cost approx 800 (i dont remember the name/model).

Next, we played some music. Here, the B&W's really shined. They were much smoother and easier to listen to. In comparison, the Definitive Technology seemed very harsh.

Since I will be listening to both movies and music, I came away preferring the B&W's. Even though the B&W was not as impressive with home theater, I felt it was a more accurate and musical speaker.

For rears, the salesman recommend the 601 due to my room configuration. He felt that the dipole/bipole speakers would not work well due to the half-wall at the rear. Unfortunately, the 601's were not setup as rears in the room with the 604's and I could not compare directly. I came away thinking that the 604's with 601's was looking like the setup for me.

Over my lunch hour today, I visited a speaker store close to work that sells Monitor Audio. I had never heard of this name, and was mostly interested in finding out if he agreed with the assessment that direct radiators were best in the rear. This particular salesman has a great reputation for knowing his stuff.

Wouldn't you figure, he disagreed and recommended a rear set (made by monitor audio) that can be switched between dipole and bipole. He did not feel that the half-wall would be a problem. Note that he sells a Monitor Audio direct radiator that would compete with the B&W 601.

To make matters more confusing, the Monitor Audio speakers I listened to (Silver 5i, Silver Center 10i and Silver FXi with a matched subwoofer) sounded great. Given several days had passed, it was hard for me to compare with the B&W's (which also sounded great on Saturday).

I've never heard of Monitor Audio. Do any of you have experience with this manufacturer? How is it generally felt to compare with the B&W 604's? Or the Paradigm Studio speakers?

What about the rear effect speakers. I know a lot of you have direct radiators versus bipole or dipole. Why did you choose a direct radiator? Based upon the guy I spoke with today, a good bipole/dipole rear effect is far superior to any direct radiator of similar size.

Once again, I'm confused and am getting headaches about this decision. My wife thinks i'm off the edge. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Bob_A

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 30, 2000
Messages
876
I think any of those speakers you mentioned should sound great for music and movies. I know that Def Techs are particularly difficult to properly set up in a store. Email me and I can give you some tips. The bp2000TL's should be wonderfully musical. I know a couple people who have preferred them musically over the N802's.
 

Adil M

Supporting Actor
Joined
Nov 21, 2001
Messages
922
Jim,

I believe we have the same ears. While auditioning speakers I too had a rough time between the Paradigm, Monitor Audio (golds), Def TEchs, and B&W series... hmmm... seems like a conspiracy.
 

Andrew Pratt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 8, 1998
Messages
3,806
I've heard the Monitor Audio's and really liked their sound. As for the direct vs di/bipoles best thing to do is to buy both from a place with a good return policy and just see which you prefer in your room.
 

Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 22, 1999
Messages
5,182
First, remember that tastes in speakers is like tastes in ice cream. What you like and what I like may be different.

While I love my DefTechs for movies, a DVD sound track is highly compressed compared to a CD. Music has a lot more information in it and will show things about a speaker that a DVD movie will not. In a tie, you should let music make the decision.

I love my bipolar towers, but I have a rather crappy back-wall (large bay window next to a large brick fireplace). Since both bipolars and dipolars depend on wall reflections, I would recommend direct radiators in both our cases. (You can always take a good dipole/bipole speaker and point it towards you - this is not a bad thing. A good speaker IS still a good speaker.)

DOES IT REALLY MATTER? - No in my opinion.

Try this: take a favorite DVD movie into the store, disconnect the front 3 speakers and just listen to how much sound comes out the back. You may be suprised at how little the rear speakers are used. And no critical sounds like dialog, music, etc., (and the music is usually duplicated in the fronts). So you really cannot go wrong. The difference between a monopole and di/bi pole is subtle. I'd really recommend focusing on the front 3 speakers for your buy decision. Then buy whatever matching rear speakers they offer.

(This is just my opinion. This viewpoint is not accepted by all and I have heard some good arguments against my view point. So dont take the advice as definitive.)
 

Bob_A

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 30, 2000
Messages
876
DT does make direct radiators too. For the bipolars, you want to give them about 5-10 feet in between the speakers, using a slight toe in towards the listening position (start with the side-firing woofers kept away from the side walls and firing outwards), and you want to give them about 2-3 feet for the rear drivers to fire. You also want to carefully match associated equipment with the speakers.

With any of the speakers mentioned, you really need to take them home to appreciate them.
 

rodneyH

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 22, 2001
Messages
844
like the other person said, if there is a tie, go with the better "musical" speakers.

as far as the Bipole/dipole VS direct issue, this has been argued at nauseum, with no conclusions, everybody has a different opinion (so I wont offer mine)
 

martyj

Auditioning
Joined
Jun 24, 1999
Messages
5
I auditioned the Monitor Audio Silvers a couple of weeks ago and found them as you said "sounded great"

They seem to be robust and very revealing. They might require a sub to support for movies. I believe they are a great value at around $1200-$1400.

And I'm with others on the music telling you the quality of the speaker.
 

Evan S

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2001
Messages
2,210
Have no fear with the Monitor Audio line. I just gave the Gold Reference 10's a demo and came away awestruck. Awesome speaker. I do think you can get 90% of the performance of these babies for only about 75% of the price, so YMMV.
 

Heath_R

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
56
Any chances the two shops will let you try them out at home? A shop here let me take home two pair of speakers for a weekend. The only way to really know which speaker is for you is to hear it in you room. Get a pair of booksehelves from both lines and try them at home with 2ch music and DVD in stero.
 

Scott-C

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 23, 2001
Messages
863
Jim, for what it's worth - while I haven't heard the Monitor Audio line yet (and hope to rectify that this Saturday), I have yet to read any bad reviews of the Gold Reference series, and the Silver series gets high marks also.
Do a search on this forum for "Monitor Audio" and you should be able to pull up quite a few user reviews of the speakers. I've read lots of reviews of the Golds and they're all really positive.
 

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