Martin Logan Odessy or B&W 802's

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Mike Albano, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. Mike Albano

    Mike Albano Extra

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    Newbe here, so take it easy on me if this question has been discussed in the past.

    I am looking to spend around 10K on my fronts and a center speaker, the rears and sides will follow suit with my fronts choice. My listening is about 65% Movies and 35% Music. These speakers will also end up in a soundproof dedicated theater in the next couple of years if that matters or not.

    So you veterans out here who may have owned one or both of these speakers, please give me your opinion on their strong and weak points. I just don't want to spend that much cash and feel that I made a bad decision. I have listened to both and love them each for their own reasons, but I have not spent hours playing different types of music and movies on each to get a true feeling for these speakers.

    If you want feel free to throw some other strong contenders that I should be auditioning for my usage. Thanks.
     
  2. Stephen M

    Stephen M Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, which speaker sounds best to you? That is the real issue since you will have to listen to them and if you find out later that you are not satisfied, you will have to deal with the hassle of selling them. I am partial to ML, but have nothing bad to say about B&W as they are also excellent. The logans tend to be a little more airy sounding due to the dipole effect. The B&W probably will image a bit better and are smaller which can be an issue in a lot of rooms. I don't think you can go wrong with either line, but listen for yourself. Regarding other brands, PSB has a new reference speaker line that is getting good reviews. I think that Paradigm has such a line too. I also like a Thiel setup too with the right amplification. The key factor though is what you think. I suggest you listen to as many top line speakers as you can with music and movies that you are familiar with and narrow it down to the one you want most.
     
  3. DannyL

    DannyL Stunt Coordinator

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    i would go for the b&w's. i currently own both martin logans (sl3's) and b&w n804's. i love the martin logans for two channel audio, but i did not like them for home theater. i found that with movies the logans were beaming sound with a very narrow dispersion. i could not achieve a smooth soundstage in the front; it was too easy to localize each speaker. it could have been my room or equipment, but i could never get them to sound right for home theater.

    my b&w's on the other hand (n804's, htm1 center)create a very smooth and cohesive front soundstage. by the way if you go with the nautilus line of speakers be very patient in the beginning- there is a very long break in period. they will sound extremely harsh, but once broken in- heaven!
     
  4. Mike Albano

    Mike Albano Extra

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    Danny when it comes to music are the logans head and shoulders above the b&w's or just slightly better. Between the two which speaker sets a wider less direct sound that would make you feel as if the speaker had disappeared?

    I am also curious what everyone thinks about the advantages or disadvantages of a dipole vs. conventional speaker? If you get a good enough speaker and set your room up properly, will a conventional speaker (b&W) ever sound as enveloping as the logans seemed to.
     
  5. Stephen M

    Stephen M Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike, the answer to your question is no. Reality for many users is that once you go with ML you do not go back to box speakers no matter how good. A line source like the ML will always sound more lifelike than a point source, especially with large scale material like orchestra and movies. The dipole pattern is also more lifelike IMO. However, many people like point source speakers like B&W, which goes back to my original advice to listen and chose for yourself. I can tell you that the best setup of B&K will not give you the sound of Martin Logan. If you like the ML sound, then you need to buy it.
     
  6. Mike Albano

    Mike Albano Extra

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    Thanks for the advice stephen. I like what I have heard, but I am slightly sceptical about how well the logans will deliver the mids andd lows of todays demanding music. I have very eclectic tastes that will have me listening to classical one day and rap the next. I know the logans shine in the uppers, but when it comes to rock and rap can they amaze me?
     
  7. DannyL

    DannyL Stunt Coordinator

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    mike, try auditioning both- your ears will tell you what you like. martin logans and b&w's have completely different sounds.

    martin logans: beam the sound to your ears. it's like you are in the first row at a concert. very revealing speakers- play a lousy recording and it will sound lousy. logans need plenty of power and they take a long time as far as room placement. it took me about a month to find the perfect position.

    b&w nautilus: much more relaxed sound, smoother highs and midrange- like you are in the middle of the auditorium, no the front row. more forgiving of poor recordings. b&w's have a very long break in period- tweeter, midrange sound like fingernails on a chalkboard right out of the box, but they eventually smooth out. Definitely need a subwoofer- even after the break in.

    both speakers are very revealing of the electronics you use. i like them both. that's why i use the b&w's for my home theater and i have a separate 2 channel system with the martin logans.

    just my 2 cents.
     
  8. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Supporting Actor

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    Both are excellent speakers and both require pairing with the proper electronics for system synergy. I've heard B&W's sound harsh and grating when not properly matched and absolutely awesome when matched with the right gear. A friend has a pair of 802s which I think sounded great on his Rotel 1090, he "upgraded" to a Krell KAV-250/3 and I didn't like the sound at all. I've only auditioned MLs briefly and I really liked them but I'm a planar guy myself as I'm running Magnepans.
     
  9. Robert Cowan

    Robert Cowan Supporting Actor

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    ive sold both, and currently sell B&W. the odyssey was one of my least favorite good speakers i sold. it was WAY too power hungry (you needed to give it the world before it sounded adequate), and its sweet spot took a year to find sometimes. plus, the bass integration with the midrange was sloppy.

    the b&w's (not my favorite, but very good), are much better. easier to drive, but will still reward for much higher power given to them. they have a smooth integration all the way around... they have great delicacy but also provide immense slam when needed.

    p.s. - Alex, yah for maggies! (i have a pair of 1.6QR's and have stopped thinking about upgrading my speakers)
     
  10. Mike Albano

    Mike Albano Extra

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    Alright guys, so I had a chance to get out and hear some magneplanars. Wow, nice sound. The great thing was that the same store carried B&W 802's as well. So after being able to listen to the maggies and the b&w's one after the next, the maggies (3.6) sound a heck of a lot better IMO than the 802's, and at about half the price [​IMG]. I am now looking for some more magneplanar dealers so I can compare them to other brands that they may carry. I just think you have to audition head to head with the same exact electronics and music to get a true comparison.
     
  11. Robert Cowan

    Robert Cowan Supporting Actor

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    good thing is that maggies are VERY light. most dealers are willing to move them in and out of a system so you can hear them A/B'd with other speakers.

    IMO, the 3.6's are about as good as you can get for the money, or twice. they are just picky about the gear, room placement, and need a sub. but, if those bases are covered, you have amazing speakers.
     
  12. Mike Albano

    Mike Albano Extra

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    Robert I am still going to hear as many speakers as I can but from what I have heard thusfar the maggies are the way to go. Is there a particular amplifier and sub that you guys know about that compliment the magneplanar 3.6's if that is the route I take.
     
  13. Robert Cowan

    Robert Cowan Supporting Actor

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    listen to as much as you can, its a lot of money.

    give the sonus faber a listen too. they are VERY nice.

    as far as amps go, maggies like power, amperage and a lot of each. bi-amping makes them happy.
     
  14. Lon

    Lon Extra

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    Mike,

    I actually had a very similar experience. We started out looking at B&W and Martin Logan speakers and ended up with Magnepans.

    For subs I use 2 SVS CS-Ultras. They seem to do the trick for me. [​IMG]

    Btw, are you related to Bob by chance?
     
  15. Kevin Magee

    Kevin Magee Agent

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    I'd recommend the Maggies as well. I faced the exact same decision. I'd narrowed my search down to B&W N802 and the Martin Logans. Then I read a review of the Mcintosh LS-360 in The Perfect Vision and while taking a holiday trip was able to find a dealer that had both the N802 and the LS-360 on hand. It was great. My choice was the LS-360 because of the 5 tweeter Bessel array. Finally I was able to get those extended room filling highs like with an electrostat and at the same type get great bass. I listen to a lot of live music and when a bass guitar is playing you really hear a lot of pitch changes. Most speakers are not able to convey this which always reminds me that I am listening to speaker and not live music. The one note bass of most speakers really irks me especially when you consider the price of some of the speakers. Now with drums or bongos, I can hear it all and I have those electrostat type highs to got with it. I'm very happy with these speakers. Check the www.mcintoshlabs.com site for a pdf of the review.
     
  16. Kevin Magee

    Kevin Magee Agent

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    Oh, I should note that when I say electostat highs I mean broad room filing highs that seem to just come from the front of the room. The LS-360 is not a bright speaker and the highs are kind of mellow compared to many speakers but I think they are closer to what live music sound like.
     
  17. Lon

    Lon Extra

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    Oops, forgot to mention Magnepan dealers. Your best bet is Audio Consultants. They've got 4 locations in IL.

    IL CHICAGO AUDIO CONSULTANTS
    IL EVANSTON AUDIO CONSULTANTS
    IL HINSDALE AUDIO CONSULTANTS
    IL LIBERTYVILLE AUDIO CONSULTANTS

    They also carry a pretty extensive list of other brands for you to audition.

    http://www.audioconsultants.com/brands.html

    That link has their store hours, location, and phone number.
     
  18. Mike Albano

    Mike Albano Extra

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    Yeah that is where I went to hear them. I believe they are the only dealers here in the chicagoland area. They do have some really nice stuff like a couple of $12,000 boulder monoblock amps just lying around. Hell the speaker wire they use cost an arm and a leg. It is nice to be able to hear what test speakers are capable of, but I cant afford the kind of sources they use to drive them. But somebody must have that type of cash [​IMG] .
     
  19. Mike Albano

    Mike Albano Extra

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    As my search continues, I heard some Veinna Strauss today that had a real nice sound. I don't know why but a lot of the speakers I am listening to lately sound a lot better to me than the B&W's at a lot better prices. I have a feeling this will be my winter quest, to hear as many high line speakers as possibe at my price point.
     
  20. Al B. C

    Al B. C Supporting Actor

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    I got my N802's last March and have never regretted the purchase.

    These babies bring a smile to my face every time I fire them up.

    And I fire em up quite often! [​IMG]
     

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