B&W PM1 Vs PMC 22 Vs Spendor SP3

bigmoose

Well-known member
May 9, 2009
14
1
18,525
Hi There,

I'm just back from audiotioning a couple of speakers in different shops, and I have short-listed the 3 following speakers:

- PMC 22

- B&W PM1

- Spendor SP3

Those were linked to an Audiolabs 8200CDQ and 8200P.

I could compare the Spendors with the B&Ws, and the Spendors did sound slightly more detailed and relaxed at higher volumes.. But I can't help thinking the B&Ws looks just awesome (I couldn't help myself staring at them during the whole audition)! :)

I tested the PMC 22s in a different shop, and was godsmaked by the detail! I initially went for the Kef R500, and after recommendation from the dealer, I gave the PMCs a go, and gosh, they just smacked the Kefs right in the face.

Only thing is, I could not compare the PMCs directly with the B&W and the Spendors. Would anyone have an opinion on this? I would be happy with any of those speakers, but I'm wondering if the price difference between the PMCs and the other speakers is justified.

My opinion at the moment is:

- PMC: Most sensible option for the price, and looks great in black-gloss

- B&W: Higher end of my budget, but looks like a super-model and sounds amazing.

- Spendor: Higher end of my budget, sounds even more amazing, but lacks the WAF.

I'm torn between the PMCs and the B&Ws, but might go for the Spendors if they are million miles better than the PMCs.

Thanks for your help!
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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Hi there and welcome. Do you have that same Audiolab kit at home, and were all demos done with them as well?
 

FennerMachine

New member
Feb 5, 2011
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If you can, demo them all again for an extended time, each separately.

Get home demo's of all three.

Its a lot of money so take your time.

Sometimes speakers sound great on a short listen but you will possibly have to live with them for many years. From personal experience, sometimes the ones that sound 'OK' on a quick demo are much better over the long term. Others may say different from there experience, so YOU need to demo them again and make sure YOU are happy with your choice.

Have fun!
 

bigmoose

Well-known member
May 9, 2009
14
1
18,525
Hi CnoEvil, I auditionned everything at the shops unfortunately - Room size were quite similar than my lounge, so it should work. I don't have the audiolabs yet, but due to the rave reviews, they seem the most logical choice for a decent kit. The reason for the higher part of the budget on the speakers is because I'm more likely to upgrade the electronics rather than the speakers. Thanks.
 

bigmoose

Well-known member
May 9, 2009
14
1
18,525
Hi FennerMachine, I didn't asked to try from home - But true, it's probably the best! It's a fair bit of money, but since it's my first step into audiophile domain (My only piece of audiophile kit until now is a pair of AKG 701's headphone), I want to do it right! I'll check with them next week. Thanks for the advice.
 
bigmoose said:
Hi There,

I'm just back from audiotioning a couple of speakers in different shops, and I have short-listed the 3 following speakers:

- PMC 22

- B&W PM1

- Spendor SP3

Those were linked to an Audiolabs 8200CDQ and 8200P.

I could compare the Spendors with the B&Ws, and the Spendors did sound slightly more detailed and relaxed at higher volumes.. But I can't help thinking the B&Ws looks just awesome (I couldn't help myself staring at them during the whole audition)! :)

I tested the PMC 22s in a different shop, and was godsmaked by the detail! I initially went for the Kef R500, and after recommendation from the dealer, I gave the PMCs a go, and gosh, they just smacked the Kefs right in the face.

Only thing is, I could not compare the PMCs directly with the B&W and the Spendors. Would anyone have an opinion on this? I would be happy with any of those speakers, but I'm wondering if the price difference between the PMCs and the other speakers is justified.

My opinion at the moment is:

- PMC: Most sensible option for the price, and looks great in black-gloss

- B&W: Higher end of my budget, but looks like a super-model and sounds amazing.

- Spendor: Higher end of my budget, sounds even more amazing, but lacks the WAF.

I'm torn between the PMCs and the B&Ws, but might go for the Spendors if they are million miles better than the PMCs.

Thanks for your help!
Hi bigmoose

If you haven't already done so then i'll suggest that you also consider ATC's SCM19 monitors. Anyway -

What do you and anyone else who is also likely to use the system generally listen to?

The size of your room?

Is the room lightly or heavily furnished?

Room positioning of the new speakers (distance to walls, corners, will there be anything between the speakers such as a chimney breast, cabinet, windows etc.)?

Distance between the speakers?

Listening distance?

Will anything be in the way of the speakers?

Will you wall stand, shelf or wall mount the speakers?

Your general listening level?

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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bigmoose said:
Hi CnoEvil, I auditionned everything at the shops unfortunately - Room size were quite similar than my lounge, so it should work. I don't have the audiolabs yet, but due to the rave reviews, they seem the most logical choice for a decent kit. The reason for the higher part of the budget on the speakers is because I'm more likely to upgrade the electronics rather than the speakers. Thanks.
Buying something based on reviews, without checking out the best of what is available at that price (as you did with the speakers), is one of the biggest pitfalls that you can fall into. Audiolab may be the right way to go for you, but you need to make certain.

Also, as Fennermachine rightly said, try at home if possible.
 

bigmoose

Well-known member
May 9, 2009
14
1
18,525
Hi Rick,

None of the shops have the ATC.

My lounge is 7.5m x 5m (With high ceiling, not sure if it matters), but the listening area will be about 4m x 4m. It is lightly furnished... Minimalist even! Nothing will be in the way of the speakers (Not even the cats :shame: ). I have wooden floors (I believe carpeted is the best but no choice here).

I'm planning on standmounting the speakers, and I'm going to have a fixed seated position for listening (Having a narrow sweet spot is not so much of a factor to me).

I have quite a eclectic music taste, but most likely enjoy pop, rock or electro (I used Adele and Massive attack for my auditions). My listening level is low to medium (I have neighbours :shhh: ).

I'm quite new to audiophile equipments: The clostest thing I have is my old pair of AKG701's, which I can listen for hours, but selecting a full stereo is something else.

Any help is much much appreciated!
 

bigmoose

Well-known member
May 9, 2009
14
1
18,525
I totally agree CnoEvil, but the next step up for me would be the Naim, which is totally out of reach financially. According to the dealers, the Audiolabs are the best in my budget, so I'd have to stick to it (Plus the 8200CDQ can be plugged to my PC and have a class A headphone amp, which are major plus).

All of the 3 speakers put a big smile on my face... One could measure the grin on my face to choose which one makes me the most happy, but I guess I'm looking for something a bit more tangible.

I'll try to get a audition at home and will let you know.

Thanks for the input so far.
 
bigmoose said:
Hi Rick,

None of the shops have the ATC.

My lounge is 7.5m x 5m (With high ceiling, not sure if it matters), but the listening area will be about 4m x 4m. It is lightly furnished... Minimalist even! Nothing will be in the way of the speakers (Not even the cats :shame: ). I have wooden floors (I believe carpeted is the best but no choice here).

I'm planning on standmounting the speakers, and I'm going to have a fixed seated position for listening (Having a narrow sweet spot is not so much of a factor to me).

I have quite a eclectic music taste, but most likely enjoy pop, rock or electro (I used Adele and Massive attack for my auditions). My listening level is low to medium (I have neighbours :shhh: ).

I'm quite new to audiophile equipments: The clostest thing I have is my old pair of AKG701's, which I can listen for hours, but selecting a full stereo is something else.

Any help is much much appreciated!
Hi bigmoose

Thanks for your reply.

What other speaker brands do the shops which you visited also stock?

Your maximum budget for cdp, amp and speakers is?

What do you like about the AKG701's performance?

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft
 

bigmoose

Well-known member
May 9, 2009
14
1
18,525
Hi Rick, CnoEvil,

Budget for the electronics + speakers would be anything up to £3500. I was offered a very tempting offer at less than £1200 for the Audiolab kit (Didn't give an exact figure but said he could go less than that).. And I didn't even had to haggle! 8)

This gives me quite some additional budget for the speakers, and I should be able to negociate the prices of the PM1s or Spendor down a little bit to fit in my budget.

I live in Edinburgh, which means the choice is quite limited in terms of dealership. The dealer that has the PM1s, has a range of Roksan, Rotel, Marantz and Naim. I have heard wonderful things about the Roksan M2, but it is over my budget, and the USB input is a big thing for me (It means I don't have to get a Hifi soundcard to plug it on my PC). Really, the choice of the Audiolab is pretty much set for me. Besides, after listening to the Audiolabs, I really like the sound of it.

I love my AKGs, the detailing is immense, and the bass is very tight. I'm not a big fan of bombastic bass, and much appreciate precise bass. I'm particularly attentive to piano, guitar and female solo voice when I listen to music (Pardon the non-audiophile language, I'm new to this).

With mortgage and all :help: , I'm really looking at the best value components for my price range. Getting the PMCs would allow me to stay comfortably within my budget, but I wonder if the little extra for the PM1's or Spendor actually makes the difference. Like I mentionned one of the guy in the shop, I don't want to get a kit and wonder "I wonder how that would sound if I would have paid that little extra". I will try and see if it's possible to keep a pair of speakers for few days and compare.

Thanks!
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
While an audition of a speaker will give you an idea as to whether you'll like it or not, hearing different speakers in different places is going to do an injustice to one of the speakers on your list (whichever that may turn out to be).

From your list, for me, the PM1's have probably got the best HF of any speaker at the price point. It's just so open and detailed, and certainly sounds a step above. The PMC's are similarly open, but the HF seems to blend together more seamlessly with the midrange than the B&W, and they certainly allow you to hear very deeply into the mix. The only drawback (for me personally) of these two is the bass response. While the PMC's are quite easy to implement into almost any room, unlike most ported speakers, they just don't have the depth or presence in the bass for some of the electronic music I listen to. While the bass is more prominent on the PM1's, it's still not deep enough for me. Many of our customers have loved them though, and those that don't need such depth and presence in the bass have two near perfect speakers in the PM1 and Twenty.22.

As I say, to get a genuinely fair comparison between any speaker, they need to be heard in the same system in the same room - rooms differ too much to be able to make a meaningful comparison.
 

gregvet

Well-known member
Dec 24, 2008
128
10
18,595
FrankHarveyHiF said:
Many of our customers have loved them though, and those that don't need such depth and presence in the bass have two near perfect speakers in the PM1 and Twenty.22.

As I say, to get a genuinely fair comparison between any speaker, they need to be heard in the same system in the same room - rooms differ too much to be able to make a meaningful comparison.
Sounds like the PMC and B&W are fairly evenly matched then. I love PMC but I have to say the B&Ws are beautiful speakers (not heard either for fear of getting upgradeitis!).

David, in your opinion how do the Kef R300's compare to the above speakers? Overall, and in terms of bass response?

Just strikes me that they may allow a bigger portion of the budget to go to amplification and source, ending up with a better balanced system. I have nothing against the audiolab stuff, indeed the cd player with integrated preamp looks like a nice bit of kit. I suspect you can improve on the amp side tho for your budget.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
I'm going to have to take your exact wording to answer this (response, rather than range).

I think of the three (R300/PM1/22), the PM1's and R300's have the advantage in bass response. The bass of both of them is more prominent and more fun than the 22's, which sound a little leaner. Of course, this all changes if you're talking about frequency range. As far as range is concerned, the R300's and 22's come out on top. I find the bass reaches deeper on the R300 than the other two speakers, even though the R300's are cheaper. I've had bass notes in this room from my R300's that even some floorstanders find it hard to reach.

The sound of all three differ, so you really need to get a listen yourself. The R300's will certainly allow you to spend a little more on the electronics, but the 8200P is a very capable power amplifier, so don't dismiss it too quickly.
 

bigmoose

Well-known member
May 9, 2009
14
1
18,525
Hi there,

Thought about it overnight, and the choice is now reduced to the PM1s and PMCs.. I really don't think my partner and I can live with the way the spendors look unfortunately.

Point taken about the amp, and this is probably the next item I would probably look at upgrading. I'm looking at electronics I'm happy to live with for the next 5 years before I feel the need to upgrade. The Audiolabs seem a perfect fit. Speakers are there to stay though, hence the difficult choice.

@ Gregvet: I heard the R300 and R500 - I found they sound extremely good and look superb.. Until I heard the PMCs! Teardrop from Massive Attack was an eye-opener. My partner (Who is not into audio at all) could notice the additional details and separation which says a lot. I only tested the PMC 22, but they have a smaller version in the 21s that might be closer to your budget. They might not look as good (Although the black gloss is really ncie), but they sound amazing! This is coming from a previous Kef Coda owner, which I loved!

Time to test the PM1s and PMCs at home... Can't wait! :)
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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bigmoose said:
I totally agree CnoEvil, but the next step up for me would be the Naim, which is totally out of reach financially. According to the dealers, the Audiolabs are the best in my budget.
What other brands does your dealer stock? eg. Creek, Rega, Sugden, Electrocompaniet, Leema, Moon, Primare, Musical Fidelity, Linn, Arcam, Cyrus, Bel Canto, Pathos etc.

A dealer will very seldom recommend a product that they don't sell. Audiolab make great products, especially their CDPs/Dacs, but if they were categorically "the best", there would be no need for any other brand. Do a lot of demoing before parting with over £2k, and take everybody's advice with a pinch of salt (until you have heard it for yourself), especially if you are relatively new at this.

Sometimes the synergy of a particular amp and speakers produces a sound that is greater than the individual components would lead you to expect. Taste is so subjective, that definitive statements are often meaningless in what may work best for you.
 

iceman16

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2011
148
42
18,620
I had demoed both the PMC 22 and 24 with naim kit and they sounded fast,agile and very detailed but a bit lean for my liking.They are both easy to drive though and looks gorgeous in piano black and walnut:)
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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bigmoose said:
Hi Rick, CnoEvil,

Budget for the electronics + speakers would be anything up to £3500.

I'm particularly attentive to piano, guitar and female solo voice when I listen to music (Pardon the non-audiophile language, I'm new to this).

I'm really looking at the best value components for my price range. Getting the PMCs would allow me to stay comfortably within my budget, but I wonder if the little extra for the PM1's or Spendor actually makes the difference.
With that budget, you have a great choice, but it's all too easy to think that there is "no life" outside the likes of Naim and Roksan. That statement isn't meant as a slur on those products, but it's easy to forget about what else is out there. The list of brands I gave in a prior post were more mainstream, but there is a whole list of incredibly good products that are all too often over looked, that have reasonably affordable models like Audio Note, Unison Research, Audio Analogue, Pure Sound, Icon Audio, Lavardin, Vincent, Denson.

You should try and listen to different types of amplifier ie, Valves, Hybrid, Class A / AB / D. Hi-fi is so personal, that looking for the "best value", can lead you astray. This may seem a funny thing to say, but imo. it is starting in the wrong place. The first thing to do is fully understand what is out there, and which components hit the sweet spot. The only way of doing this is trying, for example a Creek vs Sugden vs Pure Sound vs Unison Research..

Once you understand what you like, then take your budget and see how far you can stretch it. Companies like Jordan Acoustics and The Home Cinema Centre are a great place to start. There are more specialist shops out there, than you would imagine...and a world of great sounding stuff, that is more affordable than you'd think, which most people never get to hear.

Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but I feel strongly that you shouldn't jump at the first "good value" deal you are offered.

I'll shut up now and get off my soap box

Cno
 
bigmoose said:
Hi Rick, CnoEvil,

Budget for the electronics + speakers would be anything up to £3500. I was offered a very tempting offer at less than £1200 for the Audiolab kit (Didn't give an exact figure but said he could go less than that).. And I didn't even had to haggle! 8)

This gives me quite some additional budget for the speakers, and I should be able to negociate the prices of the PM1s or Spendor down a little bit to fit in my budget.

I live in Edinburgh, which means the choice is quite limited in terms of dealership. The dealer that has the PM1s, has a range of Roksan, Rotel, Marantz and Naim. I have heard wonderful things about the Roksan M2, but it is over my budget, and the USB input is a big thing for me (It means I don't have to get a Hifi soundcard to plug it on my PC). Really, the choice of the Audiolab is pretty much set for me. Besides, after listening to the Audiolabs, I really like the sound of it.

I love my AKGs, the detailing is immense, and the bass is very tight. I'm not a big fan of bombastic bass, and much appreciate precise bass. I'm particularly attentive to piano, guitar and female solo voice when I listen to music (Pardon the non-audiophile language, I'm new to this).

With mortgage and all :help: , I'm really looking at the best value components for my price range. Getting the PMCs would allow me to stay comfortably within my budget, but I wonder if the little extra for the PM1's or Spendor actually makes the difference. Like I mentionned one of the guy in the shop, I don't want to get a kit and wonder "I wonder how that would sound if I would have paid that little extra". I will try and see if it's possible to keep a pair of speakers for few days and compare.

Thanks!
Hi bigmoose

Thanks again for your reply.

I paired Audiolabs's 8200CDQ/8200P to ATC's SCM19 monitors earlier on today. The qualities which you enjoy from your AKG were more or less reproduced with this Audiolab/ATC combination. The reproduction of piano was particularly noteworthy (hardly surprising given the ultra low distortion Super Linear Magnet Technology incorporated into the massively engineered and built Mid/LF drive unit). Given this I therefore still believe that you should also try SCM19 monitors. Audiolab components generally offer good VFM and SCM19's are IMO probably the VFM passive bookshelf speakers currently available on the market regardless of price.

If you are still wiling to consider SCM19 monitors then please contact Audio Emotion (who are also based in Scotland) as they should be able to assist you.

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft
 

bigmoose

Well-known member
May 9, 2009
14
1
18,525
Hi all,

Thanks for your replies! I'll look around for the ATC. As I don't drive, I'm a bit limited but it's worth having a look. The Acoustic Energy Reference 2 look awesome, I'll definitely also have a look at those.

I was also recommended the Tannoy DC8, which I'm going to listen to sometimes this week (They are currently being built, and the dealer is expected to receive a pair this week). The dealer mentioned they are easy to drive and therefore should match the Audiolab 800p.

While looking at the Audio Emotion website, I became quite intrigued by the Davone speakers. Anyone heard those? Surely, speakers that good-looking speakers can't sound as good as the PM1/PMC/Spendors? Can't say I'm really interested, but more like intrigued really...

Thanks.
 

bigmoose

Well-known member
May 9, 2009
14
1
18,525
Just adding a conclusion to this thread: I have the 3 speakers with me right now, and indeed, a home audition should be a must!

The PMCs were my favourite at the shop. They sounded a tiny bit bright, but they sounded the most dynamic. The Tannoys sounded extremely relaxed compared to it.

Strangely, my lounge (7.5m x 5m x 3.6m) seem to accentuate the brightness to an unreasonable level. Additionally, slow-paced music sounded a bit too dynamic, and I understood the review in What Hifi mentionning they could wish it could be a bit more relaxed. The PMCs sound terribly exciting with Rock, but needs to sound more relaxed on slow paced music.

The Tannoy DC8s became clear winner: The high ends are just beautiful, and are feel easier to listen. Radiohead: No Surprises is just beautiful. The high end gives a sort of errie feeling, and the sound feels silky smooth which gives it an incredible charm. They also have no problem filling the large room, and sound good wherever my position in the room. The more I listened to them, the more I loved them.

Today, the B&W PM1 arrived and they are litteraly... half the size the Tannoys! They sound incredibly loud for such small speaker and it is quite difficult to understand how big the sound is looking at their size. The size difference with the Tannoy DC8s however is evident, and the PM1s don't quite fill the room the same way as the Tannoys.

Now how do they sound? The sound is just magnificient and the praise they received well deserved. They are extremely fast, very dynamic and immediately enjoyable. They don't go as deep as the Tannoys but the bass have more impact. They also don't go as high as the Tannoy either, but the music sounds more "true". The voices feel more natural, piano have the right impact, etc.

I'm not sure because the Tannoy DC8s go higher, but the voices have more presence. Listening to Adele 21, Adele's voice is predominant and it feels like she is in front stage and the instruments are in the background.

On the B&W PM1s however, it feels the instruments are taking the front stage, and Adele is singing from a slightly behind position. It is hard to explain (Particulalrly since I'm no audiophile), but I would not say one is better than the other. It is just different. Adele's voice on the B&W sound more natural and "true". On the Tannoys, Adele's voice has incredible charm but admitedly, it doesn't sound as natural.

Another thing is, the B&W are harder to drive and I need to push the amp a bit higher to achieve the same volume as the Tannoys.

In short, I have honestly NO preference between. :help:

Tannoy DC8:

- Incredible highs and bass are really deep for a standmount

- Fills large rooms extremely well

- Easy to drive

- Eerie sound is charming but feels less natural

The B&W PM1:

- Fast paced, dynamic sound is extremely enjoyable.

- Excels whatever the type of music

- Sound is very natural and sounds "true"

- Very detailed sound (slightly more detailed than the Tannoys)

- But is not as easy to drive, might be more suited for slightly smaller room, and listening position feels more important

Because I tend to listened to slow paced music, I don't mind too much the Tannoys don't excel as much as the B&W at fast paced music. For the type of music I listen to, I probably enjoy the Tannoys best. However, the B&W excels at every type of music which is impressive, and they sound very very true to what the music should sound like IMHO.

Anyway, I think I'd be equally happy with both sets (I wish I could afford both :rofl: )

If I could have the B&W PM1s with the size of the Tannoy, it would be perfect! At this point, I might roll a dice and decide...
 

bluedroog

New member
Mar 4, 2010
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Moose - Have you tried the PMC i series? In terms of size the TB2i are very similar to the Twenty 22s and the DB1i are smaller, similar to the 21s. Now most people consider the Twenty series better than the I series, some just consider it ‘different’ and there are also those that find they actually prefer the i series. They are described as a little more laid back and a perception of being slightly fuller in the bass which gives them a warmer characteristic. They are definitely considered to be less lively than the Twenty series and some people find that easier to live with.

Listening to how you descried your experience of the Twenty series and your likes and dislikes I think you may well find the i series are more to your taste. The TB2i are also several hundred quid cheaper than the 22s.
 

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