Bowers & Wilkins 607 S2 Anniversary Edition review

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SpursGator

Well-known member
Jan 12, 2012
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18,570
I did not say that "bigger speakers are easier to drive." I keep trying to explain further but your takeaway always seems to be this statement, and it isn't true. In fact I have said very little about "easy to drive."

Think of it as a triangle, and the three points are size, efficiency, and bass response. An engineer can move their design around this triangle, favouring one or another, but you can't have all three. Yes, you can make the same speaker more efficient (or produce better bass response) by making it bigger, but that does not equate to "bigger speakers are easier to drive."

In fact, I think I pointed that almost any solid state amp can "drive" any of these speakers just fine. An inefficient 80 dB speaker will blow your eardrums out in a living room if you put 10 watts through it.

What we are talking about it is how they SOUND. You are trying to make this too simple, Rob, by looking for simple numbers to explain a very complex interaction. That has been my point in every one of my responses: the sensitivity/efficiency number offered by the manufacturers is practically useless, and that you are being reductionist by equating a single sensitivity/efficiency number with "easy to drive." But you keep squinting harder, hoping this will make sense. It won't ever make sense because the numbers are mostly BS.

Manic gave an excellent example: Monitor Audio. Let's compare two similarly-sized speakers. The Bronze 100 has a sensitivity of 87 dB, and a nominal impedance of 4.5 ohms. The Platinum PL2 100 has a sensitivity of 88 dB, with a nominal impedance of 6 ohms.

So you tell me, which is "harder to drive?" I can tell you from personal experience that the upper reaches of the Monitor range soak up gobs of power. Don't even bother trying to run a Platinum speaker on low-power or low-end anything - it will sound crap. Ask a Monitor dealer, they will tell you! The Bronze series pair nicely with good low-hi-end amplification like Marantz, Cambridge, and NAD. WHF didn't love these 100s but they did say that they "rendered a huge sound" and that they go "loud and deep."

How would you know this from the sensitivity numbers, and how do they relate to this real-world outcome? You wouldn't, and they don't.

By the way, Monitor Audio do offer an important additional detail on the PLII 100 specs, that they don't mention on the Bronze, by giving a minimum impedance of 4.5 ohms at 160 Hz - this is their little hint to the knowing that these speakers might need serious amplification. Just be aware that this is more info than manufacturers often give.
 
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robdmarsh

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2015
551
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Ok, if specs like these are pretty meaningless for the consumer, this begs the question are any specs useful to the end user who simply can't audition models they might want to own? And also, can you give me explanation as to why the Elac DBR62 worked so poorly with my amplifier and the Elac debut b5 and Triangle Titus worked so well?
 

SpursGator

Well-known member
Jan 12, 2012
58
46
18,570
Sorry for the slow reply. In my experience the specs are not very useful at all. They can give you an idea of the speaker's aspiration (if it says the speaker is 92 dB then they clearly are aiming at a high-sensitivity spec, if they say 81 then they are falling on their swords and saying, maybe go with Krell and some really thick power cords. Read between the lines within a range. But yeah, you can't tell that much from these silly numbers any more than you can with the amps.

If I had to buy a speaker without auditioning, I would already know what size I was looking for and what amp I wanted to use (or use later). Then I would look at the construction of the cones. Soft tweeter or hard dome (or ribbon or other)? Hard metal or ceramic woofers, or paper? What kind of paper - sandwich, sliced, hard pressed, fibre-infused? Poly? Exotic? They all sound different but they have characteristics that could guide you.

Price is probably the most useful stat, much as it sucks to admit it. Good components cost a lot of money, so the more you pay for the speaker, the better components they can use. Or they might be ripping you off. Do you trust the company? Do you trust any company? Would you buy a painting for your living room without ever having seen it?

Your question about the two sets of speakers is the holy grail of hifi curiosity and the real answer is: I could speculate but nobody knows. Every combo sounds a little different. By "worked so poorly" I assume you mean "sounded bad." I assume it didn't make smoke come out or dim the streetlights. "You never know until you try it" is a deeply unsatisfying answer but it's the truth - and you must admit, much more plausible than something so complex being easily sorted out with a few high-level numbers.

BTW I build speakers, as I said. That's even worse: it takes months and months for a normal person to build a really good set of speakers, unless you want them to look like an R&D mockup. It's awful - you have NO IDEA what they are going to sound like until they are fully built, especially if using a published crossover design (so that you didn't do a lot of prototype testing or anything). The anticipation of plugging them into an amp for the first time in stereo and finding out whether it was all worth it...it's like a small heart attack. What if it was all a big waste of time and money?

Bottom line, if you buy quality, it usually works out. But you never really know what it will sound like until you hit play. If you can't audition, sometimes you just have to carefully box them up, swallow any restocking fee, and try something else.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Anyone after these who’d like £150 off, then Audio T have this Easter offer until 29th April. Or £200 off the larger 606.

 

robdmarsh

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2015
551
192
19,070
Sorry for the slow reply. In my experience the specs are not very useful at all. They can give you an idea of the speaker's aspiration (if it says the speaker is 92 dB then they clearly are aiming at a high-sensitivity spec, if they say 81 then they are falling on their swords and saying, maybe go with Krell and some really thick power cords. Read between the lines within a range. But yeah, you can't tell that much from these silly numbers any more than you can with the amps.

If I had to buy a speaker without auditioning, I would already know what size I was looking for and what amp I wanted to use (or use later). Then I would look at the construction of the cones. Soft tweeter or hard dome (or ribbon or other)? Hard metal or ceramic woofers, or paper? What kind of paper - sandwich, sliced, hard pressed, fibre-infused? Poly? Exotic? They all sound different but they have characteristics that could guide you.

Price is probably the most useful stat, much as it sucks to admit it. Good components cost a lot of money, so the more you pay for the speaker, the better components they can use. Or they might be ripping you off. Do you trust the company? Do you trust any company? Would you buy a painting for your living room without ever having seen it?

Your question about the two sets of speakers is the holy grail of hifi curiosity and the real answer is: I could speculate but nobody knows. Every combo sounds a little different. By "worked so poorly" I assume you mean "sounded bad." I assume it didn't make smoke come out or dim the streetlights. "You never know until you try it" is a deeply unsatisfying answer but it's the truth - and you must admit, much more plausible than something so complex being easily sorted out with a few high-level numbers.

BTW I build speakers, as I said. That's even worse: it takes months and months for a normal person to build a really good set of speakers, unless you want them to look like an R&D mockup. It's awful - you have NO IDEA what they are going to sound like until they are fully built, especially if using a published crossover design (so that you didn't do a lot of prototype testing or anything). The anticipation of plugging them into an amp for the first time in stereo and finding out whether it was all worth it...it's like a small heart attack. What if it was all a big waste of time and money?

Bottom line, if you buy quality, it usually works out. But you never really know what it will sound like until you hit play. If you can't audition, sometimes you just have to carefully box them up, swallow any restocking fee, and try something else.
Thanks for another slice of your interesting takeon this subject. When I said worked so poorly, I meant that they just sounded wrong and out of puff, like they had asthma as I said on an earlier post. The Titus worked so brilliantly because they were obviously a very good match for amplifier but they also taught me to a love a new sound that was different to what I liked before, namely a more lively and detailed but untiring sound. That is why I was so impressed. Btw, you should hear the titanium tweeters on these. I can't make them sound shrill, no matter what I play on them!
 

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