Speaker or amp at fault?

Michael Crump

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Nov 14, 2021
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I have just bought a pair of B&W 607 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers and am at the moment very disappointed with the sound I get from them. I listen mostly to classical and find the sound (especially in the strings) lacks definition. I would even describe the sound as slightly fuzzy. Are the speakers likely to be faulty or is the problem possibly my amplifier? It is a Rotel RA-06 which must be 17 or 18 years old. The amp used to be partnered with Tannoy speakers that were even older but they always performed well together. I could risk upgrading the amp but don't want to spend a good bit of money only to find that I have not solved the problem. If I were to take the plunge, what amps are recommended? I have heard good things about the Rotel A11 Tribute.
 

nads

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Do they sound like they did when you auditioned them? Or did you blind buy?

if you did audition them what is different In the set up?
 

nopiano

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If they are literally brand new then there might be a few possibilities.
1. have they been connected correctly and not out of phase?
2. if they have just been unpacked, they may sound a bit ropey until they are warmed to room temperature, and may need a bit of loosening up. (Play them continuously if you can for a few days)
3. once run in they will sound very different to Tannoys
4. your amp might be drifting off spec at its age

Can you try them on a friend‘s system, or borrow an amp? What is your main source?
 
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Michael Crump

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Nov 14, 2021
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1. No, the connections are OK.
2. Could be - although I've had them 3 weeks, I haven't been able to use them for more than 10 hours or so.
3. I'm happy with different as long as it's not inferior.
4. Could be. I don't have another amp but was able to substitute some old B&W 601 S1 and felt some of the same fuzziness was present, but less pronounced. My hi-fi knowledge is next to nothing, but I read that the 607s are a rather inefficient speaker rated at 84 dB. I notice that I need to turn the amp volume up a fair bit. The 601s have a rating of 89 dB, so the volume can stay lower. I wonder if that accounts for the difference - i.e. the amp is at fault, so naturally the speakers which require the higher amp volume setting will sound worse. Does that theory stand up or is it nonsense?
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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I Googled your RA-06 amp and this local review came up:
"Sounds out of puff
Up against the best at this price point the Rotel sounds a little out of puff. As a result, tunes that should power along with urgency lose some excitement.

Tonal balance is fine, so we wouldn't worry overly about speaker matching. However, the Rotel doesn't quite have enough muscle, and if it's presented with a complex arrangement it…"
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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I have just bought a pair of B&W 607 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers and am at the moment very disappointed with the sound I get from them. I listen mostly to classical and find the sound (especially in the strings) lacks definition. I would even describe the sound as slightly fuzzy. Are the speakers likely to be faulty or is the problem possibly my amplifier? It is a Rotel RA-06 which must be 17 or 18 years old. The amp used to be partnered with Tannoy speakers that were even older but they always performed well together. I could risk upgrading the amp but don't want to spend a good bit of money only to find that I have not solved the problem. If I were to take the plunge, what amps are recommended? I have heard good things about the Rotel A11 Tribute.
When you say "slightly fuzzy" do you mean it doesn't have the clarity of RA06 and Tannoys, or is there obvious distortion? If it's the latter is the distortion throughout the whole frequency range or is it most noticeable in the higher frequencies? If it's the former it might be because the Tannoys sound a little clinical.
 

Michael Crump

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Nov 14, 2021
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The best way I can describe it is this; it's a bit like listening to an LP when there is a little bit of fluff on the stylus. It is certainly more noticeable on higher frequencies. Someone listening to the music just as background would probably not hear any problem. It's subtle, but enough to spoil my enjoyment and certainly the sound is not what I'd expect from speakers that have been so positively reviewed. I want a clean, sharp and precise sound-image but I would say this sounds woolly and out of focus
 

plastic penguin

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The best way I can describe it is this; it's a bit like listening to an LP when there is a little bit of fluff on the stylus. It is certainly more noticeable on higher frequencies. Someone listening to the music just as background would probably not hear any problem. It's subtle, but enough to spoil my enjoyment and certainly the sound is not what I'd expect from speakers that have been so positively reviewed. I want a clean, sharp and precise sound-image but I would say this sounds woolly and out of focus
Tricky.
Does this "fuzzy" sound happen on all sources? Do you not have the Tannoys any more, or do you have a spare pair of speakers or amp?
 

Sliced Bread

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Which Tannoys did you have?

Speakers haven’t improved that much £ for £, so just wondering if you’ve inadvertently down graded.

The fact you are highlighting the treble would suggest to me that this is not a power issue per se. I would also suggest poor pairing of speaker / amp from a tonal characteristic point of view for your taste. This may yet be the case, but Rotel is tipped to pair very well with b&w.
 
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TrevC

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It seems the 607s are rather poor quality, which is disappointing. See if you can swap for Wharfedales.
 
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manicm

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It's not the speakers, there's probably some fault with your amp, if you say you hear similar fuzziness with your older speakers. Try with another amp if you can.
 

Michael Crump

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Nov 14, 2021
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Thanks everyone. I now have an appointment with the retailer on Saturday, to which I will take the amp and speakers. We will see then if a different amp does the trick. I do wonder about the B&Ws though - the reviews seemed to vary widely, but of course I saw negative views only after purchasing the speakers.
 

nopiano

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Thanks everyone. I now have an appointment with the retailer on Saturday, to which I will take the amp and speakers. We will see then if a different amp does the trick. I do wonder about the B&Ws though - the reviews seemed to vary widely, but of course I saw negative views only after purchasing the speakers.
Good news! Please let us know what transpires. If anything, your speakers are brighter than typical, which is why they get mixed reviews.
 
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Michael Crump

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Nov 14, 2021
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I decided the amp MUST be at fault. Since I've not been feeling well for some time, I skipped the visit to the retailer, which would have involved a 2-hour round trip. I ordered a new amp and expected the result to be a revelation - but I actually hear the same faults! I kept the installation as simple as possible - no bi-wiring, attached the speaker wire direct to the binding posts at both ends and attached no other equipment to the amp other than speakers and CD player.I have even put them on small tables instead of their speaker stands (which are not the B&W ones). I think I've now changed every possible variable, so I will see about getting the speakers changed. I don't regret my amp purchase, but this is getting really frustrating!
 

Gray

Well-known member
I decided the amp MUST be at fault. Since I've not been feeling well for some time, I skipped the visit to the retailer, which would have involved a 2-hour round trip. I ordered a new amp and expected the result to be a revelation - but I actually hear the same faults! I kept the installation as simple as possible - no bi-wiring, attached the speaker wire direct to the binding posts at both ends and attached no other equipment to the amp other than speakers and CD player.I have even put them on small tables instead of their speaker stands (which are not the B&W ones). I think I've now changed every possible variable, so I will see about getting the speakers changed. I don't regret my amp purchase, but this is getting really frustrating!
You've the played the identical music / CD source via both your RA-06 and a new amp into the B&W speakers - and it doesn't sound as good to you, as it did via RA-06 into your old Tannoy speakers?

How about the sound into headphones?
 

Michael Crump

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Nov 14, 2021
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To answer the above questions - I'm nowhere near 50 hours yet.
I tried the sound from the amp direct through headphones today and was again disappointed. So I am starting to think about other causes. Apologies if what I am about to write is complete nonsense.

The room in which the Hifi is used has undergone a lot of changes recently, of necessity. A few weeds ago, we lost broadband and landline connections completely. It took two weeks to resolve the problem. It turned out that not only was there a fault outside the property, but inside it too. The wiring inside probably dated back to old GPO days, and there was tons of it around the property, supporting phones in various rooms. With the advent of cordless phones, all of that wiring became redundant but had been left in place. In addition, it was felt that the main phone socket in the house was poorly placed and it was changed, so that the telephone cable now enters the house in the room where the Hi-fi is situated.

This means that the base phone, which used to be in the hall, is now in the same room as the hi-fi too; and attached to that phone is one of those alarms that works with a pendant to alert someone when the wearer of the pendant suffers a fall. The broadband router is in this room too (but always was there, as indeed is my computer).

Since I have tried so many combinations with my hi-fi equipment, with the same disappointing results, I am now seriously wondering whether there is some interference generated from the other equipment in the room, which has an effect whatever combination of speakers, amps, headphones and CD players I use.

Is that complete nonsense, or is there likely to be some truth in it? Later on today, when I feel I can risk being unavailable, I shall remove this equipment and see if any positive changes result.
 

nopiano

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What new amp are you trying? Most Hifi doesn’t like being near devices that emit potential interference like Dect phones, PCs and laptops, mobile chargers, routers, wall wart transformers, etc. However, I’m not sure the consequences will sound like you report, but your experiment will determine it one way or another.

Are you still able to swap back to your old speakers, or have they gone? And, in the nicest way I can ask, are your ears perhaps needing a syringe?
 

Michael Crump

Active member
Nov 14, 2021
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The new amplifier is the Rotel A11 Tribute but I still have all of the old equipment available. Don't worry about the hearing question - it logically occurred to me too. My hearing has always been pretty keen and I don't detect any problems generally. As it happens, someone is coming to tune the piano tomorrow and, if he does not object, I will ask him to listen for a few minutes. We'll then see if his response if similar to mine. If he says 'Wow, that's amazing!' I will be booking an appointment with an audiologist!
 

12th Monkey

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I would be really surprised if your phone or internet were causing interference like this. If you are out of the house leave the stereo playing and get some hours into the speakers, preferably at reasonable volume. I wouldn't change another thing until you can be sure that this isn't the issue.

Beyond that, do you know anyone nearby who could bring a different set of speakers so you could see whether the same problem presents itself?
 

Gray

Well-known member
I tried the sound from the amp direct through headphones today and was again disappointed. So I am starting to think about other causes.
Oh well, you've learned a hard lesson Michael - the importance of the elimination process before further spending.

If the piano tuner thinks the sound is bad too.....I suggest (however much hassle it may be) that you take CDP, amp and speakers to a relative's house for a listen.
That would rule out all potential interference sources in your house (and allow others to see what they think of the sound).
 
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Gray

Well-known member
I would be really surprised if your phone or internet were causing interference like this. If you are out of the house leave the stereo playing and get some hours into the speakers, preferably at reasonable volume. I wouldn't change another thing until you can be sure that this isn't the issue.

Beyond that, do you know anyone nearby who could bring a different set of speakers so you could see whether the same problem presents itself?
The thing is, now that he's tried headphones, he finds the sound on them to be a disappointment too. So there is likely to be no issue with the speakers.
 
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Edbostan

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Aug 5, 2021
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I have just bought a pair of B&W 607 S2 Anniversary Edition speakers and am at the moment very disappointed with the sound I get from them. I listen mostly to classical and find the sound (especially in the strings) lacks definition. I would even describe the sound as slightly fuzzy. Are the speakers likely to be faulty or is the problem possibly my amplifier? It is a Rotel RA-06 which must be 17 or 18 years old. The amp used to be partnered with Tannoy speakers that were even older but they always performed well together. I could risk upgrading the amp but don't want to spend a good bit of money only to find that I have not solved the problem. If I were to take the plunge, what amps are recommended? I have heard good things about the Rotel A11 Tribute.
Look at the source as the amp is not always to blame. Amps usually do very well at accurately reproducing and matching the signal in to 5he signal out. For example, I have compilations of 60s music and most tracks are flat lack dynamics and high frequency distortion. I only listen to them for nostalgia sake as they sounded acceptable on mono Dansette record players and transistor radios. When I currently listen to, as an example, Gregory Porter the quality is far, far better and convincing as a better system. I would experiment with the source as you said that a change of amp brought no improvement
 

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