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KEF R3 OR BOWER & WILKINS S706 s2 ???

TrevC

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It's amazing how many on here know the Bowers 706s are awful when they have neither heard them or tested them. :facepalm:
 
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K20voigt

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Quick update, yesterday bought the R3's , amazing quality coming from a set of take classic 5.1 im happy. Unfortunately i still dont have the receiver or room ready to appreciate their full potential so for now i have it connected to a old Yamaha RX-V479
 

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Vacceo

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You can expand on the R line for a 5.1 or further (there are R height speakers too), so should you want to push the amount of speakers, you´ll be covered.

And of course, I´m very glad you´re enjoying them. :)
 

Tonygeno

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It's amazing how many on here know the Bowers 706s are awful when they have neither heard them or tested them. :facepalm:
But I have seen B&W measurements. And they are awful. Have owned B&Ws in the past and that rising high end is head ache inducing. Most I believe prefer a more neutral sound.
 

TrevC

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But I have seen B&W measurements. And they are awful. Have owned B&Ws in the past and that rising high end is head ache inducing. Most I believe prefer a more neutral sound.
But the only modern B&W that has been tested here is the 607 anniversary, which is the cheapest one.

Also, Amir on the Kef R3: "Alas, once again subjective feeling was low. My standard routine is to cycle through my reference clips that I have selected during all my normal listening to sound superb on my Revel Salon 2 Speakers. Sadly hardly any of them sounded all that good here. Yes, the highs were there. The lows at times were there. But overall experience was unexciting and unengaging for lack of a better word."

Surely the way a speaker sounds on music is the most important thing. The 706 sounds excellent IMHO.
 

DMill

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I own a pair of B&W CM4's. I very much enjoyed them for nearly 20 years. I recently moved and replaced them with a pair of ELAC Carina bookshelves and a SVS PB1000 Pro which I think sound better. My guess is they measure better also. Nothing wrong with B&W though imo. Really have to listen in your own space and determine for yourself.
 
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Quick update, yesterday bought the R3's , amazing quality coming from a set of take classic 5.1 im happy. Unfortunately i still dont have the receiver or room ready to appreciate their full potential so for now i have it connected to a old Yamaha RX-V479
FYI, since the R3s have very good off-axis performance, you don't need to overly treat the room reflections.
With other speakers with poor directivity / off-axis performance, treating the reflections is very important since the reflections sound different from the on-axis sound. That's not the case here.
 

HarmonicTHD

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I own a pair of B&W CM4's. I very much enjoyed them for nearly 20 years. I recently moved and replaced them with a pair of ELAC Carina bookshelves and a SVS PB1000 Pro which I think sound better. My guess is they measure better also. Nothing wrong with B&W though imo. Really have to listen in your own space and determine for yourself.
It is your subjective personal opinion and valid only for you. As anyone else might prefer / like something else naturally. And arguing about tastes, preferences, likes etc is a bit boring at least to me (some like it though for the sake of an argument).

I try to avoid stating my personal preferences to someone who asks for buying advice as it is useless to that person … but that’s just me.
 

DMill

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It is your subjective personal opinion and valid only for you. As anyone else might prefer / like something else naturally. And arguing about tastes, preferences, likes etc is a bit boring at least to me (some like it though for the sake of an argument).

I try to avoid stating my personal preferences to someone who asks for buying advice as it is useless to that person … but that’s just me.
He asked for an opinion. I gave mine. Purely subjective. Many may love my old B&Ws more than my current setup. Send me an offer and I will gladly sell them to you.
 

Steve Dallas

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Quick update, yesterday bought the R3's , amazing quality coming from a set of take classic 5.1 im happy. Unfortunately i still dont have the receiver or room ready to appreciate their full potential so for now i have it connected to a old Yamaha RX-V479

Be sure to carefully press the shadow flare around the mid/tweet all the way in.

 

Putter

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He asked for an opinion. I gave mine. Purely subjective. Many may love my old B&Ws more than my current setup. Send me an offer and I will gladly sell them to you.
In this forum, opinions need to be backed with facts. Let's start with the fact that that the C4 is not the S706-s2 (2.5 way vs. 2way). 20 years separates the two designs during which at least according to what I've seen of frequency response data, B&W has gone for a 'showroom' with accented highs on many of its recent speakers. Positive opinions on speakers are a dime a dozen on most audio sites and therefore almost meaningless. Audio Science Review is one of few that gives both negative and positive reviews backed up primarily with objective data and to a lesser degree subjective data.
 

TrevC

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In this forum, opinions need to be backed with facts. Let's start with the fact that that the C4 is not the S706-s2 (2.5 way vs. 2way). 20 years separates the two designs during which at least according to what I've seen of frequency response data, B&W has gone for a 'showroom' with accented highs on many of its recent speakers. Positive opinions on speakers are a dime a dozen on most audio sites and therefore almost meaningless. Audio Science Review is one of few that gives both negative and positive reviews backed up primarily with objective data and to a lesser degree subjective data.
If that is the case I'm totally baffled by the Wilson Tune Tot recommendation.
 

Ageve

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But the only modern B&W that has been tested here is the 607 anniversary, which is the cheapest one.

All measurements show the same thing. The tweeter level is raised, to make them stand out, and they do. There are other problems as well, but the tweeter level is the most obvious one.

 

cavedriver

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I don't agree that "data is the only thing that matters". If that were the case we should all stop listening to speakers at all. There is a difference between "my opinion is subjective" and "you have no idea who I am or whether my opinion has any integrity". Take wine tasting as an example. The "Parker Palate" is a phenomenon that resulted from the industry following Robert Parker's wine reviews too closely. On the one hand, it's just one man's opinion, it could be utter trash. On the other hand, over time, I knew what things Parker liked and I could count on his reviews to reflect a certain "taste" in wine. I think when I read the reviews of someone like Amir I'm also learning what his tastes are so that I can get at least some benefit from his comments beyond what's covered in the data. I do firmly believe that we are not measuring all the aspects of speakers that play a role in humans judging what sounds "good". Maybe we're measuring 50%, maybe 75%, who knows. The data represent some significant portion of what it takes to communicate how well a given speaker performs, but it's not everything, and that missing data is still best gathered from people who, while they are human and still expressing an opinion, can at least over time potentially be trusted to achieve a certain level of consistency in expressing their judgement on speakers.
 

dfuller

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I don't agree that "data is the only thing that matters". If that were the case we should all stop listening to speakers at all. There is a difference between "my opinion is subjective" and "you have no idea who I am or whether my opinion has any integrity". Take wine tasting as an example. The "Parker Palate" is a phenomenon that resulted from the industry following Robert Parker's wine reviews too closely. On the one hand, it's just one man's opinion, it could be utter trash. On the other hand, over time, I knew what things Parker liked and I could count on his reviews to reflect a certain "taste" in wine. I think when I read the reviews of someone like Amir I'm also learning what his tastes are so that I can get at least some benefit from his comments beyond what's covered in the data. I do firmly believe that we are not measuring all the aspects of speakers that play a role in humans judging what sounds "good". Maybe we're measuring 50%, maybe 75%, who knows. The data represent some significant portion of what it takes to communicate how well a given speaker performs, but it's not everything, and that missing data is still best gathered from people who, while they are human and still expressing an opinion, can at least over time potentially be trusted to achieve a certain level of consistency in expressing their judgement on speakers.
Don't read too closely into speaker measurements. Use them to correlate with what you like.

If you like boosted top end and what a more traditional speaker does in-room: Cool! That's totally fine. No skin off my nose if that's what you like.

The best studies we have show that the most preferred speaker design is one that is flat on-axis and behaves itself evenly off axis. Conveniently, that is also the most "gets out of the way" speaker design. No comment on width of dispersion as that's a taste thing, but most good designs tend to average a beamwidth around ±60° from on axis horizontally.

FYI, since the R3s have very good off-axis performance, you don't need to overly treat the room reflections.
With other speakers with poor directivity / off-axis performance, treating the reflections is very important since the reflections sound different from the on-axis sound. That's not the case here.
The more channels you have, the more important killing early reflections is.
 

jae

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But the only modern B&W that has been tested here is the 607 anniversary, which is the cheapest one.

Also, Amir on the Kef R3: "Alas, once again subjective feeling was low. My standard routine is to cycle through my reference clips that I have selected during all my normal listening to sound superb on my Revel Salon 2 Speakers. Sadly hardly any of them sounded all that good here. Yes, the highs were there. The lows at times were there. But overall experience was unexciting and unengaging for lack of a better word."

Surely the way a speaker sounds on music is the most important thing. The 706 sounds excellent IMHO.

For me, absent or minimal data = no buy and no recommend. Since R3 is a well-measured speaker confirmed by multiple sources, and KEF also has a history of making high-quality well measuring speakers (which also resell very well), my advice to anyone, especially one I don't know personally would always be the KEF. While B&W has a lot of speakers that are considered subjectively good, there is minimal comprehensive data on their products and the data that does exist shows obvious flaws. The price of the 607 Anniversary is no absolutely no excuse when there are speakers that cost the same or even a fraction of the price that sound better- if a company is competent and can make good large and expensive speakers they should also be able to make small cheaper ones. If for whatever reason you have a subjective taste for some non-linearities in a frequency response, you're probably better off buying a better measuring speaker with more objectively favourable parameters and just EQing it to your own preference. If you and your room prefer speaker with wider dispersion, similarly there are plenty that perform better.

There are a large variety of speakers measured not only from ASR but a variety of sources and all compiled here: https://pierreaubert.github.io/spinorama/scores.html

Score is not the be-all and end-all, but you can also take into consideration things such as room size, max spl, distortion, dispersion, price etc. or even aesthetic qualities. I would not even waste my time looking at a speaker on that list much below 6.0 for a brand new purchase unless my budget was severely limited. It doesn't make any sense to buy a speaker without data if you care about fidelity. If you don't wholly care about fidelity and just want to it sound subjectively good to you, you should still be able to objectively understand to some degree what/why sounds better to you (maybe you prefer an upwards treble tilt, peaks in a certain band, or wide dispersion, maybe a hearing loss or sensitivity is present), so comprehensive data can still guide you to make more informed purchase decisions. Why trust your ears alone if you don't have to?
 

TheBatsEar

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Not sure if it has been said, but the KEF R3 are very DSP friendly.

They can be DSPed to sound like the B&Ws. :cool:
 
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