Personal speaker "mystery".

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
367
97
970
Just about after the year 2000 B&W released the 602/s3 speaker; a three-way standmount that won an award in its class. Critical reviews and user reviews were positive in general.

A friend of mine bought a pair and I really liked the sound. One thing that caught my attention was its resolution with great detail, for example in guitar strings. This eventually was a reason for me to buy them.

And this is something I wonder about. Since I bought them and over the years they sound as I first bought them and I think they sounded well. But in recent years I began to wonder if they ever met the resolution I heard that day they were demonstrated. Now I wonder if this is just the way it has been or it should be different.

Recently I got the Wharfedale evo 4.2's, which were prize winning last year. They nearly share the same cabinet dimensions, but really sound like they have overall better balance and way more resolution. Given the same input sources connected to the same setup as the B&W.

A few factors
- Back in the day my reference of what Hifi speakers were capable of before I got them was kind of limited to small bookshelf Tannoys I had, and the bigger B&W DM7's from the mid 70's my dad once owned. Mid 70s to early 2000 is about nearing the same time difference as 2000+ till nowadays.

- The room accoustics could have played a role. He placed the speakers following the lenght of his home while the room was nearly empty. Though creating absorbers is best, a bit more reverb and distance might actually have added a dimension to the bass and the overall colored experience.

- Differences in amps(?) I believe he used Denon, I use a Harman Kardon amp that matched. I have had it connected to a Denon for a test with no differences.

- Connection. I sometimes read about people who think their speakers are damaged because they dont produce that much bass. This might be due cross connection (the red and black cable) In my case I didn't have polarity issues. The cables were well connected with strong solid cores connected to the right binding posts.

Long story short.. three questions
- Have speakers really improved a lot in resolution from 2000 till now?
- What are some other experiences here similar to this?
- Could it be that there is another factor at play?

many thanks in advance!
 
Last edited:

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
1,204
573
20,070
I don't see mystery here but happy to share a personal story to illustrate a point.

I once met this beautiful girl. She was the prettiest girl I've ever seen. I married her eventually just to realise there are many prettier girls.

Human memory isn't the most reliable. That's why we created this thing called divorce.

The end.
One man's divorce is another man's trade-in.
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
80
19
18,545
One factor in the perceived change in detail retrieval could be the ferrofluid in the tweeters of the B&W's. It can dry and thicken over time, gradually restricting tweeter dome movement, lowering output (and thus perceived detail) as it does so. After 20 years its very possible this could be a significant change in the sound, some tweeter designs suffer more than others so it's a variable.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: AJM1981

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
367
97
970
One factor in the perceived change in detail retrieval could be the ferrofluid in the tweeters of the B&W's. It can dry and thicken over time, gradually restricting tweeter dome movement, lowering output (and thus perceived detail) as it does so. After 20 years its very possible this could be a significant change in the sound, some tweeter designs suffer more than others so it's a variable.
Thanks for the suggestion, though I did not get the impression that the quality faded over the years. The treble seems to be fine, hihats and ride cymbals are really good to my ear and I didn't have the idea that it started in higher quality and gradually faded.

I think that at that time it was a reference issue. The 70's dm7's sounded well but were not detailed as high resolution was not really a thing back then. Also the frequency range values were less broad on paper. Then the dm602/s3 sound (still do) really as an upgrade.

My recently purchased Wharfedale evo's 4.2 often get branded as a speaker that exceeds its price tag into higher ranges as by today's standards. It can easily compete with the KEF ls50 meta and some prefer its signature over the meta. And the meta on its own is a detailed speaker of a category that was barely available for reasonable pricing around 2000.

p. s. I hope the B&W's tweeters will not die soon. I've read that instructions as listed elsewhere to replace the fluid are making it seem too easy whereas the real procedure is a painstakingly surgical undertaking according to someone who succeeded. Not my cup of tea.
 
Last edited:

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
367
97
970
An update.. the difference might have been the 'loudness' button Denon amps have to adjust the curve for lower volumes by gradually cranking up the high and lows on lower volumes.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Al ears

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS