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Persona vs Bowers & Wilkins (B & W)

 

New member
Username: Givenst

Post Number: 1
Registered: Feb-18
This being my very first post, I am humbly relying on the experts out there to help me select the right speaker for my room and sound system. I would greatly appreciate your input.

I have settled on either the Paradigm's Persona 5F (17k) or B & W's counterpart 803 D3 (. Below are my proposed components to pair these speakers:

Blu-ray: OPPO-205
McIntosh Amp MC8207 (7-Channel Amplifier/ 200w/ per ch)
Marantz AV8805 (Dolby Atmos)
Room dimensions 15'W x 23'L (8' height)
Pre-wired for 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos configuration
60% movie watching / 40% music listening

There you have it! Please give me your opinions or ask any related questions.

TLG
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18495
Registered: May-04
.

Tell us what room treatments you have included or plan to include.
 

New member
Username: Givenst

Post Number: 2
Registered: Feb-18
I have no room treatments....yet. I'm not willing to spend a lot of money on it so I thought I would staple fabric around the room. I definitely wait on your response on that idea.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3474
Registered: Oct-07
No matter WHAT you settle on, the room will make or break your system.

In addition to going thru a detailed room setup as far as physical arrangement, you will need to optimize any setup for best sound. This will minimize but probably not eliminate the
need for room treatments.

Your room dimensions are close to 'phi' so you've got a reasonable start.
 

New member
Username: Givenst

Post Number: 3
Registered: Feb-18
My room is close to "phi"? What does that mean? How do I optimize my room for best sound? Any suggestions?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18499
Registered: May-04
.

I assume you are not working with a dealer.

Unfortunately, domestic living rooms are not intended for high quality sound reproduction values. While you are investing heavily in your equipment in hopes of attaining good sound, the room can account for as much as 90% of what you perceive at your listening position. There are general rules regarding room treatments which you can research on line.

IMO a properly designed room will contain three elements; reflection, diffusion and absorption. Left untreated, the average room has only reflection working against good sound qualities. Stapling fabric around the room is neither logical nor productive. Fabric alone cannot affect a 40' pressure wave.

Either main speaker set you select will be transparent to the point of sounding much like the source. Keep in mind, either speaker system is quite capable of wide dispersion above 1500Hz. The midrange and high frequency drivers in either speaker set are promoted on their wide dispersion characteristics which only go towards causing multiple reflections off all surfaces in an untreated room.

Bass frequencies are, by nature, increasingly omni-directional as frequency response reaches into the lowest octaves. A 30Hz pressure wave is about 40' in length from peak to peak.

Since your room cannot contain even one single wavelength at that frequency, the irregular reflections of multiple pressure waves caused by the surfaces of the room begin to tumble across each other resulting in both additions and subtractions to the strength of the wave at various locations within the room. Locate your listening position in the wrong spot in your room and you will be in a null zone where bass is weak to non-existent. Move your chair a few feet in any direction and the bass may suddenly increase in strength to several times its intended value. This mix of additions and subtractions works up and down the frequency band creating uneven response, poor dynamic range and muddy sound quality.

It makes little sense spending a good amount on equipment if you intend to ignore the one single most important component in the equation; the room.

Unless you are still at the design stages of your home, then the shape of the room is relatively unimportant when it comes to ideals. There are broadly stated dimensions which make a room sonically better than others but, given the dimensions of your room, you have hit on the basics; no two dimensions can be easily divided by a third dimension.


Locating your system and loudspeakers within the room comes down to physics. Results can be calculated long before you place one piece of equipment in the room. The same physics predict the problems you will encounter in a room and can therefore suggest solutions to gain the most benefit from your investment in equipment.

Give ASC a call to discuss just what you might consider in the way of room treatments; https://www.acousticsciences.com/

The money you spend on treatments is well worth the investment if you are dumping large sums on equipment. There are a lot of fly by night acoustics retailers out there, most have never studied acoustics other than reading about them in magazines. ASC is the original and still the best.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3475
Registered: Oct-07
Referring to phi was sort of a test.
Phi is 1.618 (infinite) and is used in the context of audio room design as the 'golden ratio' .
The perfect (it isn't really) PHI shaped room is 8 feet tall, 13 feet wide and 25 feet long. All dimensions are 1.618x the previous.

Please go to the CARDAS website for room setup tips 'By The Numbers' which is a reasonable place to start. CARDAS makes good use of PHI in the design and modeling of rooms along with all-important
speaker placement.
A few easily remembers DOs and DON'Ts will get you well on your way to a much better space.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18500
Registered: May-04
.

A test? For who, leo?


I find no problems with the Cardas site IF the system is only two channels and only music oriented. Go back and read the op.

A "pre-wired" room typically means the only speaker position that is open to experimentation will be the two main front speakers. At best, it is tied to the pre-wired center channel location. Even the orientation of the system has been determined by the builder without questioning the needs or desires of the owner.

IMO the best thing - after contacting ASC - the op can do is to ignore the inexpensive pre-wired speakers and maybe spend a bit less on the gear to buy better center and surround speakers. Putting over $10k worth of electronics into the generic in-ceiling speakers provided by the builder is not the best use of funds IMO. Ignore the built ins and have a decent retailer consult on an installation that actually results in the best sound principles.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3476
Registered: Oct-07
Agreed in the sense that LESS is frequenty MORE.

For the same budget, buying better and not more really works for me.

My 'test' comment was aimed at the OP, not you. I know you were around to help Fibonacci with his math and remember when the Egyptians made use of it when designing the Great Pyramid. I'm certain Le Corbusier appreciated your help when it came to the design of the UN building, too.
Cheers:
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18501
Registered: May-04
.

You forgot to mention I was the one who finally convinced Speer to say, "I'm sorry". He was forever grateful for my recommendations to get the he11 out of Dodge before Berlin fell.

My sole regret in my work on the Titanic. no one lixtened when I warned of "brittle" steel. And, those rivets?! Oh, well live and learn, I'll never work for those guys again.



The op has in mind buying a 200 water per channel, seven channel Mac amp. I don't believe he's thinking about "less".



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3477
Registered: Oct-07
Very Funny Jan! Good work on the Titanic right up until it hit a 'HiddenBerg'.
Don't forget the Coal Bunker Fire theory, which was mentioned at the US and UK hearings but the evidence was basically disallowed. The large amount of heat and elevated temp REALLY eats into the strength of the metals used. Also? No putting one of those OUT. That's one theory of WHY the Titanic never reduced speed, so they could basically shovel themselves to the bottom of the coal bunker. And as it turns out, one of the witnesses, a survivor of the black gang, told of THAT VERY bulkhead giving way. Seeing the weakness, the 'bulge' had been shored up, an ultimately futile gesture.
Reports indicate the Titanic had enough coal to reach NYC but not much 'extra', since I'm thinking coal mine strike or other obstacle prevented, including the FIRE, of which at least ONE photograph bears witness to in the form of a large discoloration on the side of the hull right AT the bunker.

Yeah, a big Mac Amp is not for the poor, cheap OR faint of heart. But by Less can be More? For a given budget in the 'modest' end of the spectrum, buying a good pair of stereo speakers and good stereo amp / preamp is much more cost effective and long lasting than going full-tilt and spending the same $$$ on HT stuff, which will either tire you or last only so long. I read a lot of 'upgrade' stories which don't really strike me as 'upgrade', being more of a side-move. This espcially considers the space as Spouse Driven and 'where it fits' is where it goes. Threads on sound treatments tend to center on absorption, and ignore diffusion while treating reflection as evil.
 

New member
Username: Givenst

Post Number: 4
Registered: Feb-18
I appreciate all the inputs.

So far my biggest take away is, I should spend more focus on room treatment. Yes, I can consult ASC & CARDAS.

Fast-forward...assuming the room is treated optimally, it brings me back to my original question...Paradigm's Persona 5F (17k) or B & W's counterpart 803 D3. Any suggestions and why?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18502
Registered: May-04
.

You mentioned a "pre-wire". Is the room in a fixed location with speakers provided by the builder? Or, do you have the ability to use other speakers in the system?
 

New member
Username: Givenst

Post Number: 5
Registered: Feb-18
The media room is pre-wired, but I have NO speakers installed. The 7.1.4 wire configuration are at fixed locations (i.e ceiling, side surround, and rear surround.
The builders did NOT do the wiring, I had an audio / video specialist do the work during the home's construction.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18505
Registered: May-04
.

Then, IMO, there's very little real world difference between your two options. I tend to think the price of either is a bit absurd for HT use but that's just my opinion.

I come at speakers as the final link to a realistic musical presentation. There is nothing - repeat: nothing - realistic about HT use. HT isn't about creating a realistic space and certainly not a realistic timbre to a thermo-nuclear explosion. Besides, most of the thermo-nuclear explosion will be handled by your subwoofer(s). Your processor will rather rapidly roll out (-24dB per octave) any frequencies beneath 80Hz so the bass extension isn't an important issue with your main speakers. You won't be hearing anything from the mains at 60Hz and beneath.

If your main use for this system is HT, then choose a fairly dynamic demo piece to pick between the two. If you are intending to use the system for actually sitting down and doing nothing but concentrating on music, then that's a different discussion. But, if music is always just background music or you are doing something other than actually listening to the performance, then it doesn't matter.

One consideration would be the "electrical sensitivity" of each set. A speaker that measures +3dB higher in this spec will play as if you had twice the amount of wattage available before going into clipping distortion. If you want one spec that would nudge you towards on speaker over the other, that would be my one spec to look at. Check with your retailer to make sure the manufacturer is giving true and honest numbers.


.
 

New member
Username: Givenst

Post Number: 6
Registered: Feb-18
Thanks Jan. On a different note, should I go with one sub or two: I've heard various opinions. Your thoughts...
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18506
Registered: May-04
.

The main argument for more than one subwoofer has always seemed to be tied to the reduction of room nodes which cause cancellations in specific locations within the room. It's sort of the argument that says, if you haven't killed it with the first shot, get a bigger and more powerful gun. If you've used room treatments, you shouldn't have significant issues with room nodes.

Any room will have nulls and peaks even with the use of bass traps. These nulls are a function of the room dimensions, which can't be altered. The very long wave length of the bass singal is reflected by a room barrier and rolls back through the room where it will, at some point, come back into the room to meet the next wave from the subwoofer. At the point where one wave is "positive going" and the other wave is "negative going" the two waves will cancel each other and there will be no sound created at that frequency at that specific location in the room.

Contrary to what many consider common sense, a corner bass trap does just what its name implies. The material inside the trap uses friction with the movement of the air pressure passing through the trap to dampen the strength of the pressure wave. When placed in a corner, it works in the area of the room where bass collects and is reflected by the tri-corner of the walls and floor/ceiling. Then the reflected wave also passes through the trap after being reflected from the walls and is further diminished.

Thus the reflected wave is lowered in its volume/strength and becomes less of a cancelling factor when it meets the next wave. If you've done a good job at treating the room, then reflections become less and less of a problem. There will still be reflections, some amount of reflections are desirable to give the sound some space. That means there will be nulls in certain loactions even with room treatments. Knocking down the worst offenders means they will be less problematic when placing your sub and your listening chair.

Don't over do your room treatments. Too much absorption can make a room sound dull and lifeless. Add a few treatments and then assess the results in your room.

The same goes for subwoofers, more is not always better. Buy one sub, treat your room and pay attention to system set up. Listen for a few weeks before you decide to consult anyone on further actions.



.
 

New member
Username: Givenst

Post Number: 7
Registered: Feb-18
Thanks Jan. There will be more questions to follow.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3481
Registered: Oct-07
Room nodes is specifically where a 'phi' shaped room shines.

http://www.mcsquared.com/modecalc.htm

do a cut / paste and check this out. Several other such calculators are online, I picked one at random.
they all do the same thing.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18508
Registered: May-04
.

Yes, do use the calculator to see that you really need to stop building this room and start all over again. Or just go with what you've got and use other science to adjust for good sound.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3482
Registered: Oct-07
Never hurts to know, Jan. And the room dimensions as listed in the first post are pretty good. No even multiples of dimensions. Though the width and height are close to 2x or 3x the height, respectively.
And a room mode calculator coupled with maybe the Harman Kardon White Paper on multiple subs, placement will yield a good 'starting' basis.

http://www.harman.com/innovation-category/whitepapers

These are are well regarded papers in the field.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18509
Registered: May-04
.

"Never hurts to know, Jan."



Sure it can. If you've planted the idea the room is doomed to have poor sound qualities, then you've created an audio hypochondriac.

At this point, a new home should be in the finish out stages. No one is going to stop and start over.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3483
Registered: Oct-07
I planted NO such idea. The room has 'sound' dimensions and should be fine.

Pursuing the idea of 'doomed' you might start with square rooms. Something like 12 X 12 with an 8 foot ceiling might be awful without a LOT of extra work and expense.
Or even multiples, maybe an 8 foot ceiling with 16 foot width and 24foot length. Plenty large room of 3000+ cubic feet, but bad ratio of dimensions.

And as YOU have said several times before, a room is most of what you are hearing, anyway. I'd add that attention to the 'detail' of setup and execution will yield good dividends. Even a merely 'ok' system will sound much better in a proper room. The OP? With 60% movie requirement, I dont' see any problems with expecting a pretty good result.

You ARE, however, right about 'starting over'. Doing a proper construction job from the beginning saves lots of money over the 'redo' crowd. But in most normal construction? For most people? You wouldn't want to go thru living in a 'construction zone' for the time it would take to redo. Not to mention the huge pile of $$$ it would entail. That's why the market for add-on room treatments exists.
For most, going forward is the best option.

Years ago when I was just thinking about a better audio room, construction costs would have been nearly 200$ per square foot. And some of the special stuff for audio would have really run the price up. Even asking about an EXTERIOR door between the new room and the existing structure drew a strange look. Some more advanced features? I didn't get that far. I never got as far as dealing with the building department of my town. A general hint? Even if possible, you do NOT want to act as your
own general contractor! I realized I didn't know enough to make that work and some of the 'services' were outrageous $$$$.

I think the OP will end up fine.
 

New member
Username: Givenst

Post Number: 8
Registered: Feb-18
Thank you for your input. I will take it all in. And add more if you like...I'm always reading
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