New Speaker Demos (long & includes pictures)

jinjer

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Hi All,

Now that my wedding is 'out of the way' I decided to get on with the job of upgrading my Tannoy R2s. I've had these for about 3 years now & they have served me very well indeed.

I have a dedicated listening room that is 9' by 13', carpet over concrete and the speakers are backed onto the narrowest wall. My current kit is listed in my signature.

Now, because of the meager dimensions of the room I am very conscious of the effect the rear wall has on my rear-ported, reflex speakers. After much reading around I had decided that either PMC (front-ported ATL)or PMC (downward firing reflex) would be ideal candidates.

Reading over - it was off to the shop
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My local dealer had a PMC GB1, a PMC FB1+ and a ProAc D15 that they were willing to let me listen to. Although I was quite happy to bung them all on plastic & take them for a home audition the dealers were very keen that I listen tothem at the shop first. Their reasoning was so that I could eliminate anyspeakers that I didn't like the tone of before taking them home. I suspect, however, that this is more akin to judging whethera potential client has any real interest in purchasing. :Not Sure:

Shop equipment was Cyrus CD8 and Cyrus 8vs integrated amp. Room was larger than mine with carpet over floorboards.

Listening Notes (shop)

Sources

  • Eva Cassidy - Songbird
  • Dr. John - Duke Elegant
  • Metallica - The Black Album
  • Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
ProAc D15s

Bass, bass and more bass! Unfortunately, all of it completely uncontrolled! The low frequencies seemed to just wander around the room of their own free will. There then seemed to be a gaping 'hole' between the bottom end and the top end where the midrange should have been!Suspect that it might be the 'lighter' amp's fault - my PreXvs & Smart+ mightdo a better job. High frequencies / tweeter were very nice though. Eva on 'Fields of Gold' appeared in the room right in front of me and sounded wonderful.

PMC GB1s

Strained. The amp simply couldn't push these beautiful looking boxes hard enough. Did nothing for me - turned the off after a few minutes.

PMC FB1+s

Nice! The bass was a revelation on these huge-looking towers. So tight and punchy - even on the 'little' 8vs. The kick-drums on most of the Dr. John tracks were right in my face without any bloating or wallowing. Only drawback was the treble. Compared to the ProAc it seems much flatter and lacking in finesse.

Decided to take both PMCs for a home-trial, excluded the ProAc but mentioned to the dealer that the tweeter might be the dark horse in this!

Listening Notes (home)

R2s (outside), PMC GB1s (inside left) & PMC FB1+s (inside right)

IMG_4905.JPG


Sources

  • RHCP - Stadium Arcadium
  • Sting - All This Time (live)
  • Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
  • Norah Jones - Feels Like Home
  • Andrea Bocelli - Cieli di Toscana
  • Tracy Chapman - Collection
  • Evanescence - The Open Door
  • Rob Jackson
  • Bruch - Violin Concerto
  • Barber - Adaggio for String
  • Joe Satriani - Live in San Francisco
  • Counting Crows - Across the Wire
PMC GB1s

Really great, punchy bass now that it was being driven by the separate amps. All music sounded airier than with the R2s - much more space between individual notes and a fine soundstage was 'seen'.I still had a problem with the tweeter though - very clinical & quite dead sounding. Tracy Chapman sounded decided strained & throaty - very unusual. RHCP's instrumentssounded pretty fabulousbut the vocals were lacking and harsh. Worth £1100 tome? Not sure yet. On to the next ones...

PMC FB1+s

OMG - too much! Although the bass was now much better controlled the speakers were simply too big forthe room (don't let anyone convince you that 'PMCs will fit into any size room'!).I found that I could not really drivethe amp past 1 or 2beforemy ears started to feel pressure!Idecided I would need a much bigger room to be able to drive the Cyrus into its midrange wherethe 'character' is.

So far, then, my predictions from listening in the shop had been completely turned around! On this basis I thought I'd swap the FB1+s for the ProAc that I had earlier dismissed - just in case...

ProAc D15s

IMG_4906.JPG


Took a little while for my ear to re-adjust to 'normal bass' as compared to the tight bass of the ATL boxes. Now that these beasts were in a room with a concrete floor and being controlled a little better they really shone
biggrin.png
. Not quite as insensitive to near-wall placement as the PMCs I was still able to recess them more than my R2s. As I suspected earlier that tweeter was marvelous!

Soundstage, soundstage... If none of you have tried it yet I strongly recommend listening to 'Hump de Bump' on Stadium Arcadium. Typically Chili's 'funky' number; but about 2 minutes into the track they have a weird cowbell section. I swear that these sounds were coming from my neighbours' gardens:eek:j:. Never heard anything like it - fabulous! Still slightly unsure of the midrange and sometime the top end tended to struggle a bit.

On top of that they look gorgeous. That great big copper dome in the middle of the bass cone is lovely. Again, same question - were these worth £1800 to me? Maybe
wink.png
. After calling the shop to give them an update they suggested a speaker that I had never heard of before. Decided to try it to see if it was any good (took the GB1s back). Rear ported reflex, but enlists some cunning technology to enable near-, or even in-, wall positioning. Any guesses?

I'll tell youafter lunch...

In the meantime, what have I learnt?

  1. Moving rear-ported speakers is a damned-sight easier that ATL boxes that have no natural 'handle'!
  2. If the source equipment AND demo room don't match your own setup don't waste your (and the shop's) time with an in-store demo - it tells you nothing.
  3. Ignore ALL magazine reports! Again, they make no allowancesas towhat type & size of room the kit was demoed in.This will be further supported in my follow-up post.
Bye for now,

Chris

 

IHaveNoNaim

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Aug 27, 2005
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Interesting...

I suspect I must have gone to the same shop as yourself when auditioning for new speakers and heard the self same set of speakers with the addition of a set of B&W something or others. And I have pretty much the same results. I really thought the proAcs were all the place in the bass department and that the PMCs were much better in the bass but lacking a touch of refinement, with the B&W somethat inbetween the ProAcs and PMCs.

I didn't pursue any of the options and take any home maybe I should've!

 
E

earl of sodbury

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Hmmm. Good write-up. The GB1s never shine withoutlots of power up 'em.

Look forward to the update
thumbs_up.gif.3c8ee62eda0e86146178ab30b9facd86.gif


 

jinjer

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earl of sodbury wrote:

Hmmm. Good write-up. The GB1s never shine withoutlots of power up 'em.Look forward to the update
thumbs_up.gif.3c8ee62eda0e86146178ab30b9facd86.gif
Nope, I don't think any amount of power is going to bring that tweeter to life. It genuinely sounded like all the guitars needed new strings - dull & dead
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E

earl of sodbury

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jinjer wrote:

earl of sodbury wrote:
Hmmm. Good write-up. The GB1s never shine withoutlots of power up 'em.Look forward to the update
thumbs_up.gif.3c8ee62eda0e86146178ab30b9facd86.gif
Nope, I don't think any amount of power is going to bring that tweeter to life. It genuinely sounded like all the guitars needed new strings - dull & dead
sad.png
Owned and lived with 'em - if anything the tweeter is too damn lively - either partnering kit or they've done to 'em what they did with mine: arrived from the factory with one tweeter out of phase :XI kid you not...

So, what were the mystery speaks?

 

Boxer

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Check out the ProAc Response 1Sc: as detailed in my "Great Loudspeaker Hunt" thread somewhere in this section, I thought they smacked the botties of stuff likePMC FB1, the D15, B&W 703 & 704 (awful speakers, IMO), etc, `s why I bought them.

Boxer

 

jinjer

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So, what were the mystery speaks?
Drum roll .....

Well, apparently they're called Revel ('The World's Finest Loudspeakers') F32s - and I'd never even heard of 'em
icon_redface.gif.eb51a1f92a0314cdfc14dd3cb4473da1.gif
. Not even their illustrious parent company 'Harman International'.Presumably the name comes from their weight in kg, cos these arestupidly heavy!

IMG_4908.JPG


With a new price tag of over £3k+ I'm not interested - but these are their ex-demos that they're thinking about shifting (price to be considered).

The things that pricked my ears about these speakers (even before pluggin' 'em in) was the ability to vary the bass & treble of each individual speaker. 3 settings for the 2 bass drivers will allow for placement in 'clear air' (more than 3 feet around them) all the way to 'in the wall'. Tweeters can also be varied by +/- 1dB in 0.5 dB increments. Sounded like a very nifty addition - especially as we have plans to move to a much larger property in a year or two.

The brochure talks about organic ceramic cones and I can only infer that they have taken human voice boxes and stretched them over the drivers 'cos vocals are just astonishing
biggrin.png


OK, he's maybe not the purists' choice but I could not stop listening to Bocelli. Wonderful soaring vocals that were just so rich and velvety (sp?). Snare drums & high-hats in 'All this Time' were beautifully sonic and bright. Bass was a little less 'thumpy' than with the ProAcs but still incredibly well controlled.

If one word had to be used to describe them it would have to be 'authoritative'. They just ooze class and demand the likes of Krall to be played on them. Listening to Amy Lee's (Evanescence) vocals on Lithium was haunting - she was leaning right out towards me and whispering
wink.png
.

In the first post I mentioned about not paying much attention to magazine reviews. Before picking them up I read Ben Shyman's review http://www.avrev.com/equip/revelf32/on 'Audio / Video Revolution'. Overall he was incredibly impressed but (even with the bass set to 'Normal' - which I tried myself) he still insisted that'the F32s are clearly needy of a high-quality subwoofer like the Revel B15 ($3,000)'. Where were you listening to them - in a field!? When I put it on Normal, my house almost fell down - admittedly I was playing Slip Knot though.

So, what are the downsides? Well, firstly I have quite a bright room that fails pretty miserably on the 'clap test'. I need to put a bookshelf on the left-hand wall next tothe listening position and it sounds like I need toput egg boxes on the ceiling! Whatthis means in practice is that somefemale vocals seem to hit a frequency that the room doesn't appreciate and it really warbles. I also feel that I haven't gotthe boxes placed optimally at the moment - more fiddling to be had.Price is, obviously, another big concern;).

I'll be swapping my old R2s back tomorrow to see if I find themrubbish -or maybe I will just settle back into them?

If I had to choose between the F32s and the D15s - hmm. Well, I think the former are definitely a better speaker (I have assumed that 3-wayis 'better' than 2-way)but dare I say that the cheaper ProAcs are a little more exciting than the Revels?

Anyway, that's enough of my ranting. I would very much welcome comments and feedback on my diatribe.

Chris

 

Boxer

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Interesting....

3 or more ways aren't necessarily better than 2 ways: all the 3 or more ways I heard at up to £2k had BIG problems with integration of drive units, hence musical & temporal coherence, hence me going for 2 ways. That said, properly integrated multi-ways can sound AWESOME, but so is the asking price...

In that room don't rule out smaller stand-mounts: you may be surprised, I was (I'd assumed floor-standers were necessary, but when none of those I heard did the job, friendly dealer suggested something different...).

Happy listening,

Boxer

 

jinjer

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May 8, 2006
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boxer wrote:

Interesting....3 or more ways aren't necessarily better than 2 ways: all the 3 or more ways I heard at up to £2k had BIG problems with integration of drive units, hence musical & temporal coherence, hence me going for 2 ways. That said, properly integrated multi-ways can sound AWESOME, but so is the asking price...

In that room don't rule out smaller stand-mounts: you may be surprised, I was (I'd assumed floor-standers were necessary, but when none of those I heard did the job, friendly dealer suggested something different...).

Happy listening,

Boxer
Yeah, I'd been thinking that maybe I'd get more musicality out of book-shelves rather than pay the extra cost for all that extra wood! However, aesthetically I just don't like the look of any
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E

earl of sodbury

Guest
boxer wrote:

Interesting....3 or more ways aren't necessarily better than 2 ways: all the 3 or more ways I heard at up to £2k had BIG problems with integration of drive units, hence musical & temporal coherence, hence me going for 2 ways. That said, properly integrated multi-ways can sound AWESOME, but so is the asking price...
:Not Sure: Did your listening include Focal and Triangle? IME they integrate their tits off...

 

jinjer

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earl of sodbury wrote:

boxer wrote:
Interesting....3 or more ways aren't necessarily better than 2 ways: all the 3 or more ways I heard at up to £2k had BIG problems with integration of drive units, hence musical & temporal coherence, hence me going for 2 ways. That said, properly integrated multi-ways can sound AWESOME, but so is the asking price...
:Not Sure: Did your listening include Focal and Triangle? IME they integrate their tits off...
I think I just found an interesting result in Google ...

http://www.trianglespeakers.org/

 

jinjer

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earl of sodbury wrote:

boxer wrote:
Interesting....3 or more ways aren't necessarily better than 2 ways: all the 3 or more ways I heard at up to £2k had BIG problems with integration of drive units, hence musical & temporal coherence, hence me going for 2 ways. That said, properly integrated multi-ways can sound AWESOME, but so is the asking price...
:Not Sure: Did your listening include Focal and Triangle? IME they integrate their tits off...
Unfortunately, no. I was intrigued by Focal (once I'd figured out whether they were JMLabs, JM Focal, Focal Labs, or whatever they are calling themselves this week), but they were standard rear-ported - something I was attempting to avoid.

Also, if my recent trip through France is anything togo byboth sets of speakers would only work about 2 hours each day.
wink.png


 

PAG

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Aug 1, 2005
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I love the D range of Proacs.I also love the older Response range. Gorgeous speakers imo. One of my faves in fact. FWIW, i had a toss up between the proacs and the audio physics. The physics won by a little margin due to the slightly bigger image and deeper soundstage, but would very happily live with the resonse/D range, no question. Some peeps say the proacs have a loose bass, but in my experience, if you partner them well and have them set up right (as with most) then for the money they take some beating.

 
S

s2000db

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Hi newbie here so please be gentle, but have just upgraded my speakers, and gone through exactly the same process so hope this is of use;

Listened thoroughly to the PMC's Proac 140, 130 and spendor s5's and found them all to be great with a very neutral sound and various extension of bass depending on the model, also spent some time listening to a couple of the triangle models, which exhibited a good overall sound, with some upper mid/treble inconsistencies.

Howeverwhile they were clinically accurate and excellent speakers, for me theydidn't bring the music to life... I felt that the sound stage appeared very 2-dimensional (if you get my drift!) and flat.

This changed somewhat when I listened to some Sonus Fabers (concerto domus), they felt very alive detailed and articulate, and was very tempted - but ended up with some Opera Callas speakers, that fitted the bill perfectly. They have a good controlled bass, detailed mid range and a treble that 'floats' out of the speakers creating a 3D sound image, they are also excellently crafted.

However I would caution against pairing these with 'bright' sounding sources. But from what you were saying it might be worth giving either of them a listen before you decide - good luck.

 

jinjer

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Has anyone had any experiences with the Revels before? Or, like me, has no-one else heard of them!?

 

The Swedish Chef

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jinjer wrote:

Has anyone had any experiences with the Revels before? Or, like me, has no-one else heard of them!?
home demo'd a pair of the standmounts, m20 i think? they were too small for the room, or the room was too big for them. either way they did show a lot of potential, very open and fast and that was with a system that wasn't especially open or fast.

even from that short experience i'd definitely try and demo a pair again given the chance.

they also had the adjustable bass tap, which i think is actually a cool idea.

 

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