• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Audition: B&W 685 S2 / Amphion Argon 2 / Monitor Audio Silver 2 / Focal Aria 906

friendly_ghost

New member
May 8, 2014
17
0
0
I've finally come around to getting a decent pair of loudspeakers.

Since I live in an apartment, I limited my choice to standmounters instead of floorstanders even though the room is pretty big. I think I'll get by firing them across the room and that way there won't be too many angry neighbours.
My budget is 1000 euros and I listen to a lot of music, mainly jazz and rock (but also some metal, classical, etc...)

The first audition was of the Amphion, B&W and MA at the end of a Marantz 5003 (I own a PM6005). The volume during this first audition was pretty loud (95 - 98 dBA on a smartphone app).

The Amphion was too bright for my taste and I think I would have been tired when listening to it for too long, amazing amount of sound from a speaker that tiny though. It also was slightly above my budget.

The B&W's were very nice to listen to indeed, very amusing and good rhythm. I wanted to keep listening to more songs.

The MA's were something else entirely and were my favorite of these three, their size and larger drivers gave a lot better bass definition and depth. They filled the listening room more easily and the highs were good as well.

After this first listening, I asked if it was possible to hear the Focals, since I had heard that these tend to agree well with Marantz as well, he ordered a demo pair and we did another listening session last Saturday. The Marantz amp was sold, so I had to listen on a Naim 5si (60W/ch), which is a little more powerful then my Marantz but not too much. I tried listening at a more modest level (82 - 85 dBA), because I tend too listen at these levels more often and the speaker should perform well at this volume. I was glad I did:

The B&W's had lost all of their liveliness and sounded flat. They seemed to be playing in the background and did not present the music to me. I liked to get pulled in, so I was a little dissapointed.

The MA's were a lot better in this respect, they kept filling the room and their bass helped a lot in keeping things exciting.

The Focals were even better I think! They might not go as low as the MA's, but every bassnote was more clear. There was a lot of detail to be heard when playing music through the Focals. They were still very exciting to listen too and pulled me into the music (just in a different way to the MA's).

I think that for higher volumes and party music the MA's might be better, but the Focals will be getting a place in the apartment when I get back from vacation!
 

DaanS

New member
May 24, 2015
5
0
0
Good read :)

I had the exact same experience when comparing those B&W speakers with MA. I settled on a pair of BX2s, which were just too good for the money. Would you say MA is similar to Focal? (more similar than MA and B&W for instance) I want to audition for some amps in a store where they have all the amps I want to compare, but don't have my speakers. They do have a variety of focals though, so if they sound similar that would be a great brand for me to compare amplifiers with and get a decent first impression.
 

friendly_ghost

New member
May 8, 2014
17
0
0
I can't really say for sure, not having heard the BX2's, but from this one test I'd say MA and Focal were more of a front row sound. With the B&W's I was placed quite a few seats back, they seemed different to the other two in this regard.
They were however also smaller and a little cheaper than the MA's and Focals, so that could be a factor as well...
 

friendly_ghost

New member
May 8, 2014
17
0
0
It's how I percieved the music. The difference between speakers was like sitting in different places at a concert. The MA's and Focals were more present while the B&W's seemed to play background music...if that makes any sense?
 

Carlozero

New member
Jul 3, 2017
0
0
0
Is the focals that much better than Silver 2? i can get the MA for 600$ on sale (new) or buy 906 for 580$ used

Cheers
 

friendly_ghost

New member
May 8, 2014
17
0
0
I can only say I liked the Aria's better and haven't looked back since! The MA's are known to be tiring to some ears and though that wasn't my experience, I'd urge you to compare both speakers before buying.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
339
124
19,070
Hi. Imo, the Aria 906 (along with the Wharfedale Jade 3) are the best speakers for that kind of money. I haven't heard the new MAs, but I doubt they can compete. Wharfedale Jade 3 need powerful amplification, though, and are pretty big (they are very deep). Aria 906 are really easy to drive, and easier to position.
 

Carlozero

New member
Jul 3, 2017
0
0
0
rainsoothe said:
Hi. Imo, the Aria 906 (along with the Wharfedale Jade 3) are the best speakers for that kind of money. I haven't heard the new MAs, but I doubt they can compete. Wharfedale Jade 3 need powerful amplification, though, and are pretty big (they are very deep). Aria 906 are really easy to drive, and easier to position.
Tried to buy the Focals used but ofc the seller just wont freaking show up. Go for broke with the Aria at 1100$ new or the MA during this sale for 660$. Is the Focal sound worth 440$ more?
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
So you bought the one speaker you couldn't listen to with an amp that most closely resembles the one you have?
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
339
124
19,070
drummerman said:
So you bought the one speaker you couldn't listen to with an amp that most closely resembles the one you have?
OP: indeed, you should try to audition - take your amp to a dealership and a couple of songs you know well. This is all a matter of preference. The Arias do work well with a lot of amps, but you might find you don't like them, who knows?

As for the price difference, you can't really quantify like that, but in my experience, it's better to avoid something that will leave you unsatisfied in a short while - I swapped a lot of gear (for my pocket) which I sold at a loss because I didn't follow 2 simple rules: 1. audition before buying, and 2. audition before buying :) (of course, if you can returnt the product or sell with no loss, you can go that route)
 

ivavcr

Well-known member
Jul 16, 2013
8
0
10,520
Since you are stating the prices in USD, you may find interesting that Music Direct (an American company) is selling Aria 905 for USD 499.-. I had an extensive listening session with Aria 906 and was really impressed! Based on what I been reading 905 and 906 have a very similar sound character-906 going 5Hz deeper, so at 499.- I could not resist. Today is the third day since I started listening to mine an I could not be happier! If you are finding lows on 905 missing, the price difference between the 905 and 906 is leaving you enough room for a decent (reasonably) sub. Even the REL T Zero will have deeper low end than the 906 at the lower cost and with greater flexibility. What's not to like there?
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts