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Rotel 1062/B&W 685 vs. Rega Brio/Dynaudio Audience 42 vs. Cambridge Audio 540A/Focal 807V

 

New member
Username: Ktp888

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jan-08
I have narrowed my choice for an integrated amp/speaker combination down to these three different systems from three different dealers:

1. Rotel 1062 and B&W 685 ($1350 US total)
2. Rega Brio and Dynaudio Audience 42 ($1450 US total)
3. Cambridge 540A and Focal 807V ($1395 US total)

I would appreciate advice regarding build quality, sound quality, and speaker efficiency. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Hoanghai2k

Melbourne, VIC Australia

Post Number: 34
Registered: Oct-05
rega/dyn wins over to my ear... then what is ur cdp Kevin Pad???
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 9576
Registered: Dec-04
That rega/dyn set is probably pretty good, but I heard the rotel/Bowers setup and really liked it.
I didm't listen long and hard, but the sound is something that I am familiar with and really like. The B&W 685's seem to me to be less restrained and demanding of power than older models, thankfully, not requiring an amp of epic proportions.
 

New member
Username: Ktp888

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jan-08
Forgot to say, my cd player is marantz 5001.
 

Silver Member
Username: Unbridled_id

ChicagoUsa

Post Number: 217
Registered: Mar-04
A number of places are selling the Nad c352 for 499 as it is being replaced by the c355, just an idea.
 

Silver Member
Username: Chicomoralessxm

Dutch islesCaribbean

Post Number: 215
Registered: Feb-07
hmm i was looking at the amp as well . But my main problem was finding another pair of speakers that will match nicely with it? what speakers good nice with nad? i was told dyna and nad were not a good idea.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 2635
Registered: Sep-04
I only know the first two options and I'd take the 2nd.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 2386
Registered: May-05
Chico -
Look at PSB, Paradigm, and Energy to pair up with NAD. Some like B&W with them, but I'm not the biggest fan. I haven't heard Dyns and NAD together.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 1028
Registered: Jun-07
I havn't heard the Dyn's myself with NAD. But it is sure displayed a lot with NAD's Masters Series for some reason. I think Stu's rec. of PSB, Paradigm and Energy is perfect.

I like to looks of the Rega/Dyn combo though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 5966
Registered: Feb-05
Ditto to Frank relative to option 2.
 

Silver Member
Username: Sukhoi30

New Zealand

Post Number: 170
Registered: Jun-06
Easy Choice - Option 2

3rd to Frank's suggestion
 

New member
Username: Avnewbie

Falls ChurchUnited States

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jan-09
What are the reasons for the Brio/Audience over the 1062/685? I really enjoyed what I perceived as richness and accuracy of the 685's while listening to Keb Mo and Jack Johnson cd's. Their voices seemed deep and full, while Keb Mo's acoustic guitar seemed so accurate. One of my problems is that I didn't ask what was driving the 685's...I want to pay $2k or less on the A/V receiver and heard Integra might be a nice match.

I've never auditioned the Audience, and am interested in this group's opinion's of them.

I'm putting in home theater 80% music 20% movies...though if I put in a weak system for movies my wife won't be happy.

Any thoughts or help appreciated -- I know this is quite subjective, but I still love reading what experienced folks have to write. Many thanks.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3475
Registered: Sep-04
Actually the Rotel 1062 into the Dyns would also work, but you didn't offer me that option. In some ways the 685 is among the best of the B&W offerings since it has a lot of depth and curbs the excesses of the B&W bass a little.

I find the B&W bass overwhelming. Many people love it because it gives a warmth and lushness to the sound which is pleasant and 'safe'. In my view it's just overblown and inarticulate. This is why those voices sounded deep and full. Jack's voice is not deep, it's actually quite high pitched (not familiar with Keb Mo).

By comparison the Audience 42s (which are now discontinued so check availability) have a little less depth, but are far more articulate. Admittedly I'm not as convinced by their treble but as a solution I'd choose the 42s simply for their engaging qualities.

The 685 is a good speaker, but it's not for me, and the above are my reasons for not liking it. That said, if you liked what you heard, then I can't argue against that. After all, you're the one who has to live with the system, not me. :-)

I don't understand how the home theatre comment factors into this. Do you want to use the same speakers as the fronts? Or is this something completely separate? If separate then you should open a thread in the Receivers section.
 

New member
Username: Avnewbie

Falls ChurchUnited States

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jan-09
Sorry, I was unclear on several accounts.

For "deep", I'd meant the voices were (to my ears) rich and had nice depth...the voices were the opposite of shallow. I thought everyone knew that we spoke a different version of English on the left side of the pond? All part of our stategery (unsure I spelled it the way Pres Bush meant it to be spelled).

More generally, I am putting together an A/V solution -- home theater -- and was considering $2k USD for Arcam / Denon / Rotel / Integra receiver (unless I can get great used amp/pre/pro) with 685's as speakers all around. I'm not thrilled with the HTM62 (centre) and have not heard the ASW608 (sub), but I enjoy the speakers.

Sorry if I've unknowingly entered an audiophile site...but my search began as I try to do comparative analysis on Rotel/B&W 685s against plausible alternatives in similar price range. After auditioning Triad, Monitor Audio, Klipsch, Def Tech, era, SunFire's, et al., I'm very close to finding a price/performance speaker I really like. In a world where I am king, perhaps Focal Electra 1027 Be's with Musical Fidelity or Classe components would grace my cabinets. But I'm a salary-man.

I appreciate any thoughts on subs, centre's or electronics to mate with the 685's, but unless there's another $650/pr USD speaker that I must listen to, I think my current search will now focus on on correctly mating the 685's. I've spent too long researching and listening and now want to actually own something!!

Many thanks again, I will seriously consider any thoughts / opinions. But i do want to get some home theater sound very soon.

Happy new year.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 11392
Registered: Dec-04
The Rotel/B&W pair has worked for years.
I like the setup of a Rotel amp and 685's.

And a REL sub...
 

New member
Username: Ktp888

Post Number: 5
Registered: Jan-08
I ended up with Rega Brio and Focal 807v. The 807v's turned out to be a nice compromise between the Dynaudio's and the B&W's. I found the Dynaudio's lacking in depth and imaging. The B&W's were just too boxy sounding although they have improved their bass clarity from past versions. The Focal's have excellent clear (non-boomy) bass. Their tweeter is amazingly revealing (sometimes too much so) yet not too bright. My only complaint is sibilance on certain vocals (i.e. female vocalists) but this breaks in over time and is helped by correct placement. Hope this helps.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3482
Registered: Sep-04
Garson,

In my opinion, the best B&W sub is the PV-1. It's also the only B&W sub I recommend! All their other subs, including the much more expensive ones, sound like cardboard boxes to me. The PV-1, on the other hand, is a masterpiece, no question.

Cheaper subs that should integrate well (but I haven't tried with the 685) include the Velodynes, for which I have a huge amount of respect, the RELs (again, respect), and perhaps the Totems (quirky but good).

Kevin,

I think the sibilance is coming up because the Brio isn't really capable of controlling such a high quality speaker. It's not the way I wouold have spent my money. I think you'll find that provided you don't play too loudly, the Brio will have the control to not allow that sibilance through.

Cheers,
Frank.
 

New member
Username: Ktp888

Post Number: 6
Registered: Jan-08
Frank,

I mostly play at lower volumes and have overall been happy. For future, however, what integrated amp less than $1500 would you recommend for future upgrade to drive my Focal 807v's???
 

New member
Username: Avnewbie

Falls ChurchUnited States

Post Number: 3
Registered: Jan-09
Ok, i'm getting very excited. i believe i'm ready to audition the 685's all around, with htm1 in the center and will try to get the pv-1 as sub. for sure, i will also hear a $700 velodyne sub (the name of which i was told but don't remember).

i've asked the store to use rotel 1550, integra 9.8 (?), denon 3808...while i'm also considering how to listen to this setup with NuForce processor + amp.

i know i'm all over the place (receivers, separates), but my family appreciates my first order of business being my new 4 month old baby. if i wanted to spend more time on a/v, i should have obtained that first before producing my first child. shame on me.

frank - i can't thank you enough for the details. i feel like the guy who keeps saying, "just one more question" and then pretty soon i've got 100 posted questions.

i will share my experiences as much as possible. i will try to listen to REL 3 and as much gear as possible, tempered with my new time constraints. thank you all.

Garson
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 11400
Registered: Dec-04
Your priorities are straight anyhow, Garson.
Have fun!
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3498
Registered: Sep-04
Kevin,

Not sure to be honest. I wouldn't normally match 800 series Focals with anything less than the $2000 mark.

Garson, questions are what the forum is all about, so keep firing away. the Denon AVR3808A is a very good machine as is the competing Onkyo TX-NR906. Velodyne have a couple of ranges. Consider the SPL-800R if it's in your price range. Otherwise you're probably looking at the DLS-3750R or DPS-10.

As Nuck says, have fun!
 

New member
Username: Avnewbie

Falls ChurchUnited States

Post Number: 4
Registered: Jan-09
Nuck, Frank...I brought home the 685's to audition and enjoyed the sound. I heard on my Adcom separates (535 pre-/555 amp) the same sound I enjoyed, but wondered after an hour or so if the speakers weren't beginning to sound a little harsh to me. So strange, I thought. I still like the sound...but maybe a little too much treble. Don't really know how to precisely state the situation.

However, the wife was not loving the 685's (12" deep) sitting on our 8" deep fireplace mantle. Perhaps 12" = 300mm? Sorry.

So I now have a new set of requirements!! Satellite or tiny bookshelf speakers with depth no more than 9" / 225mm! I think I'd be wise to listen to a speaker that might be a little mellower on the ears (again, lacking the precise audio terminology but "fatigue" is a word that I've seen which might be what I'm looking for. The 685's are so present and open, I worry that it might grate on me after long periods of cymbals/percussion.

I've now been reading about Epos M5 / ELS, Tannoy, and yes, DynAudio. I think if I'm "willing" to give into my wife's desire for a less-deep speaker to sit on the mantle -- I know this is sub-optimal speaker placement -- then the wallet can open a bit wider. 685's were perhaps USD 2800 for 5.1, now I'm willing to go USD 3500. Any thought on "less-deep" 5.1?

This is to help me with a list of 3-6 to audition; I have to make a decision because if I don't get rid of my wife's old Bose 3-2-1 soon it will eliminate all the fun I've had in thinking about, saving and planning for home theater execution. I want to enjoy the system, and relatively soon.

Thoughts or help (or prayers)?? Take care.

Garson
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8643
Registered: Feb-05
The Epos M5 is anything but mellow...if you thought the B&W's were bright the M5's would take your head off. The ELS 3 is pretty mellow and sound very good for the money. I'm listening to mine in my office as I type.

If available to you, one of my favorite small speakers is the Era D4 and D5. Beautifully crafted with a full, rich, detailed yet easy to listen to sound and they are very small.

http://signalpathint.com/index.php/Design-4-Series/
 

New member
Username: Avnewbie

Falls ChurchUnited States

Post Number: 5
Registered: Jan-09
Art: I want your job! My cube-mate is yelling into his speaker-phone initiated conference call.

After some initial research, I'd narrowed down to Paradigm Ref 20, Mordaunt Short Avant, Polk and era D4 (none available in my area, each sold at different locations).

I drove an hour to listen to D4's after reading wonderful things. Yet listening to D4's on well-known music, they sounded to me like background speakers. I don't mean it as an indictment. The highs didn't sound crisp to me, the male vocals sounded muffled, and I heard barely any bass articulation (the contra-bass and drummer's thump...thump-thump is apparent normally. I was disappointed, but wondered if my ears were so used to the little Bose 3-2-1 speakers (4" wide, 2" high, 2" deep) that I couldn't appreciate some aspect of the era D4's?

The sales-guy heard my desire for brighter and more present sound, and switched to B&W FPMs. These sounded as if they had a shallow spot in the exact midrange point where my male vocals were supposed to sound sweetest. A wonderful speaker with Dave Matthews, not so much with acoustic male vocals. He then switched to the 685's and I thought everything just opened up and was playing right in front of me!! I drove an hour to audition era D4's, only to find B&W's which were sold 5 minutes from my home.

I've been asking questions without giving any commentary...so I wanted to describe my opinions.

I really want to love the era D4's; superior reviews from audiophiles and audio professionals (I am not one), and they exceed all aesthetic criteria. I now believe that it's possible the era D4's were under-served by an amp with too little power. In the reviews I've read, folks have mated these speakers with USD3000++ pre/pro/amps. I will call the store and ask them, but it's quite possible I'll go back to that store and re-audition the D4's and have them use beefy electronics. Do I get the full D4 setup, or are there recommendations for Center or Sub to go with D4's? Receivers / components to get well-mated sound (USD2000)?

Alternatively, I'll check out the ELS-3. With the money I "save" over D4 range, I'd buy two-channel speakers for my Adcom setup. Recommendations on Center or Sub for these, or just use the full ELS 5.1 combo? Receivers / components to get well-mated sound (USD2400)?

I can't find anyone selling Tannoy or Mordaunt-Short anywhere near Washington DC; we must be too remote an outpost.

I know my questions are very subjective, but I'm learning what I like and what I should consider each time I get input. I may still end up buying something totally unrelated to this thread (Bose, Sony, Logitech!) but I do like learning.

Perhaps I should switch to another thread because I now am moving away from 685's or Audience. Please let me know the etiquette.

Thanks so much.

Garson
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3508
Registered: Sep-04
Garson,

For a tiny speaker which will make your wife think you still love her :-) have a look at Totem Dreamcatchers. They're about 9" tall, 6" deep and 5" wide and they sound amazing irrespective of size. Alternatively, with a slightly less forward upper midrange, have a look at Totem's Mite - a bit shorter and a bit wider but always very engaging. Both have matching centre speakers and there's a dinky little sub (which works!). They're very well made speakers too, the cabinetry being more robust than most and finished with lovely veneers. Have a look on Totem's site for resellers in your area here:

http://www.totemacoustic.com/resellers/

Just plug in your zip code and see what happens.

As for the AV receiver since music is important to you I'd normally always recommend Arcam. However, Arcam's only receiver which also copes with bluray hi-res audio is a lot more than $2k so I'd go with Onkyo's TX-SR876 or TX-NR906 if you want internet radio. The Onkyos are more engaging musically than the Denons in my view.

The other brand that's usually a good musical listen is NAD. Not as popular as the more well known brands, NAD has a couple of models in your price range which are full-function too I believe.
 

New member
Username: Avnewbie

Falls ChurchUnited States

Post Number: 6
Registered: Jan-09
Frank -- brilliant work, you are a mind-reader. Not sure how you decoded my hugely fragmented set of posts, but I'm most appreciative.

There's a Totem dealer 45-minutes from me, and I'm calling them now to set up a Rainmaker / Dreamcatcher audition. Thanks for Onkyo / NAD / Denon / Arcam discussion points.

I've not figured out how to listen to Epos, their US dealer is 4-hour drive from my home.

era D4's are still on the slate.

I'll find some appropriate place to post my Totem review; I'm going to leave work early and am very excited to audition the Totem's today (now I love MY job).

garson
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8645
Registered: Feb-05
It's my home office Garson...at my work office I listen to a Sony radio.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8646
Registered: Feb-05
The problem with the Dreamcatchers is that they are brighter than the 685 or the M5...much luck there.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3514
Registered: Sep-04
It's true that the Dreamcatchers can be a touch bright but in my experience they never sound harsh. The 685s aren't bright, but when you notice the treble unit by golly they sound harsh.

Even so, if Garson finds the Dreamcatchers a touch bright, then the Mites are probably the answer because they have a much reduced treble output by comparison.

Garson, I think Rainmakers are a step too far. they're fabulous speakers but very critical of the electronics driving them. That said, get them working and you'll never need another pair of speakers most likely.
 

New member
Username: Avnewbie

Falls ChurchUnited States

Post Number: 7
Registered: Jan-09
All, after a wonderful audition of the Totem Mites...I regret to say that all my work to date is somewhat moot. In the end, the form factors were just too large to gain enthusiastic approval. The Mites (to my ears) were rich, clear, a little laid back relative to the B&W 685's, but gorgeous timbre. NOTE: I may not be using timbre correctly, but let's just say I thought voices and instruments were not grating or constrained at all.

I will need to find the appropriate venue to inquire about in-ceilings. On-walls won't work in my 60 foot x 13 foot great room (the listening area of this kitchen/breakfast nook/television room) is 13 x 13 with 9 foot ceilings. Due to location of tv, windows, external door and fireplace...there's just no room for on-walls or in-walls. Floor-standers or stand-mounts could not -- in the end -- overcome concerns about baby/dog/child knocking over the speakers.

I will likely find a way to A/B ProAc, Paradigm Studio Ref, Mites and perhaps stretch into used 80x's in the future wrt the room where i listen to 2-channel, but for the great room I'll switch my requirement to 90% Movies 10% Music and try to audition Tannoy, RBH, Sonance, SpeakerCraft, KEF and B&W in-ceilings at a cost of USD 2500 for the 5.1 speakers. I currently have a quote for ccm 816, but somehow this quote got to USD 8000 after a DTR 8.9 receiver, velo sub and USD 1,000++ in cabling.

still, if you have quick thoughts they're much appreciated. for some reason, a speakercraft quote uses speakers priced nearly equal to ccm 816 but overall quote is USD 2500 less (using onkyo 906, only a few hundred in cabling, etc.)

Apologies if comments on cost are not appropriate.

V/R
Garson
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