I'm demoing a pair of B&W 685's. I wanted to compare them to my Nola's. I was curious about the sound of an aluminum tweeter comparied to a soft dome. They need to be run in for about 30 hours. We'll see who wins the shootout. Both are well reveiwed and highly recommended in their price range.
Mordecai, those Nola's are one of the best speakers in the world at their price and their price is more than double the B&W. You have fantastic speakers. Even if you like the B&W's keep them both...you'll be sorry if you don't. We could have used you feedback at AK where a fella was trying to decide what contemporary speakers he should buy...here is a link just in case you feel like contributing.
Yes Dave, BB sells B&W now. Some of us who shop there DO care about good sound. The problem is that the only other store in my area that sells audio doesn't sell everything I want. I buy what I can from the other store since it's an independent dealer and their sales staff cares about customer satisfaction. BB somehow manages (believe it or not) to pick up where the other store leaves off. The trick is to know more than BB employees (which isn't hard at all) and politely ignore what they say (pretend you're listening to them) while exploring their merchandise. They're very helpful when you do that. They think they sold you something while you walk out with what you picked out on your own. WIN, WIN!
Yeah, my response (as usual) was mostly tongue-in-cheek.
I think it actually is a good thing if the unknowing masses get exposed to stuff other than the utter crap that they usualyl sell at big-box stores.
Here in Canada, we have 2 leading big-box stores: Best Buy and Future Shop. FS is actually owned by BB, and caters to the more "savvy" electronics buyer (hilarious). BB is the bottom rung, and mostly just sells junk.
I'm actually considering the 685 or Epos Epic 2 for the living room. It's my "summer listening in the back yard with my windows open" system. One of those 2 speakers would replace the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1's in that setup...that is if they could unseat my Pinnacle AC650's for the summer duty.
I like what I'm hearing so far. They are easy to listen too. That said, they are not better than the Nola's. I have put about 30 hours on them so they might open further with more time. The aluminum tweeter isn't has bright or forward as I expected. The detail isn't as good as the Nola's and they are not as airy. I could live with them though. They are a good value.
It is really sad that a metro area the size of Dallas/Fort Worth doesn't have any high fidelity stores. Most of the stores around here are primarily home theater driven. Sadly, I had to buy these to listen to them. I have 45 days to return them however. The guy in The Magnolia store doesn;t think i'll return them. Of course he's never heard of any brand outside of what they sell. I told them they are up against some really speakers.
I had the 685's at one point, gently used and broken in (which I don't believe in, but since some believe in it, I'll mention it anyway ).
Was not a huge fan of them. Though they were good. The midrange was rather good and guitar strings sounded quite detailed, but they seemed a bit warm/flavored. Still a great speaker, though I'd argue the slightly smaller 686 is a better deal overall as they're quite a bit cheaper and sound almost nearly as good as the 685's.
And yeah Best Buy carries the 600 and CM series as well as a few others like the MM1's--all are made in China. I was fortunate to get one of the last CM1 models that were made in England with the rare maple finish. Although I can't speak to the longevity of the new made-in-China B&W speakers, they seemed to be built well and ostensibly live up to B&W's desire to keep production standards just as high as over in England. Still a disappointment to see such a high quality manufacturer move some of its production over to China and even into Best Buy. But as mentioned, I agree that it spreads the B&W image to a wider audience, as well as fit B&W's new marketing strategy since boutique shops are slowly dissipating.
One thing I will always love about B&W speakers is the resale value. Although incredible speakers, brands such as Mission, Dynaudio etc. lose value quickly and must be sold in a niche community for the most return (AudiogoN). B&W speakers can be put up on ebay and sell easily at high prices. I'm shocked to see how much B&W speakers from the 80's and 90's still sell for, such as the CDM series.
The 685's go back tomorrow. I listened to them for two weeks. They have about 30 hours on them. I just put the Nola's on the standmounts and all I can say is wow! Art, you were right. There really is no comparison. The Nola's are better in every category. I found myself this week missing their sound. I planned on keeping the 685's for a month. I learned that I already have high end speakers. No need to look further. Besides, i'll never spend the money to move up dramatically in sound quality. Damn! The Nola's sound so much bigger then the 685's. This is exactly why I wanted to listen to different speakers.
BB (Magnolia stores) carry some very good gear. Samsung top of the line televisions (8000/9000 series), Onkyo's flagship AVRs (ie, TX-NR5009), B&W and MartinLogan electrostatics.
I actually used Magnolia to see the NR5009 in person prior to purchasing one, and nearly went to them for my 8000 series Samsung plasma.
Breaking in the speaker mainly loosens up the spider on the drivers. Once that's done, which you can do in a day or two at moderate volume playing continuously, give them a comparison.
As for BB returns, you have 30 days from point of purchase. After that, it's hit or miss if you'll have any luck returning anything. They have gotten very prickly lately about sticking to the letter of the law on returns now.