How long before "WOW"

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  • georgev
    Senior Member
    • Jul 2004
    • 365

    How long before "WOW"

    I just replaced my HTM 1 with a HTM2D in my setup. I was expecting a huge difference, but I did not pick that up yet. Is it still forthcoming? ?Break in.
    What can I expect(look out for), clearer dialogue?
  • beden1
    Super Senior Member
    • Oct 2006
    • 1676

    #2
    I guess I'm wondering why you bought the diamond tweeter center along with your N802 front speakers? It would have been a better match if you had the diamond 800 series fronts to match.

    That being said, I recently added 803D fronts to my mix, along with an HTM1 center, 703 surrounds, and twin Velodyne 15" subs. After several weeks of listening, I found myself preferring the brighter/more lively tweeter sound of the HTM1 and the ballance of the 703s. I kept isolating the speakers for running just the 803Ds for example, and found them to be on the dull side as compared to when all speakers were playing.

    I went back to discuss this with the dealer. He said that most of his customers have said the same thing to him, but, that I needed to listen for several months to learn to appreciate the diamond tweeter. He said that the brighter/lively sound that I am hearing from the HTM1 and 703s is actually distortion in the tweeters as compared to the diamond tweeters, as the diamond tweeters have more dynamic range. He said it takes a while to get used to them?

    The 803Ds are excellent full range speakers with a strong mid range and tight base. I do hear more subtle sounds during certain music passages coming from the diamond tweeter. But, at this point at least, I like them best when matched with my other speakers.

    Comment

    • LikeCoiledSteel
      Senior Member
      • May 2004
      • 210

      #3
      beden1, you have more patience than I do, for $8000 I would expect the 803D's to blow me away over the 703's. ymmv.
      Steel

      Comment

      • georgev
        Senior Member
        • Jul 2004
        • 365

        #4
        I have bought the 803d's but have not installed them yet(Bit of a challenge for a few months). It will be done so once we move to our new home. 802's will be used purley for two channel in another room.
        Easy to replace the center though.
        Are we hearing what the dealer wants us to hear?
        Do you still find them dull?

        Comment

        • beden1
          Super Senior Member
          • Oct 2006
          • 1676

          #5
          Originally posted by LikeCoiledSteel
          beden1, you have more patience than I do, for $8000 I would expect the 803D's to blow me away over the 703's. ymmv.
          Steel
          LOL. I think this is a good thread as, like you, I was expecting a sound that blew me away. I'm not saying the 803D is anything but a great speaker, but, the diamond tweeter does have a different sound - like more subdued or refined? While I'm sure the testing equipment proves these are better technology . . . audibly, it is an acquired taste?

          It could also be that my 54 year old ears just don't hear/appreciate the refinement. It's interesting though that my dealer said that most people have said the same thing about their initial impressions. He also said that most have "upgraded" their center channel speakers to the D Series (afterwards), and that's what I should do in the near future? (he definitely has the heart of a salesman)

          Right now at least, the combination of my speakers taken as the whole listening experience sound truly excellent . . . and I don't think I'll be rushing out any time soon for another upgrade. The setup right now is what I was looking for . . . great sound for Rock N' Roll, and also great sound playing jazz or symphony.
          Last edited by beden1; 28 April 2007, 22:21 Saturday.

          Comment

          • beden1
            Super Senior Member
            • Oct 2006
            • 1676

            #6
            I forgot to mention that my 803Ds (although they look factory fresh) were dealer demos. So, I'm thinking they already had some break in period that dealers/people say is neccessary in order to fully "appreciate" the B&W sound.

            Comment

            • Hoffi
              Junior Member
              • Nov 2005
              • 23

              #7
              2 years ago I was interested in buying a pair of 803D´s
              So I listened to system of
              803D´s and 804 surround at a dealer. I was absolutely not impressed from the 803 D´s and my decision was not to buy them. Then I listened in the same room and with same electronics to a pair of 802 D´s and - wow, what a difference!!
              So I ended up with the 802D´s ( although they were totally out of budget)
              and I´m very very happy with them :T So, if you´re not pleased with your speakers, the breakin- period will not really change a lot. You have to be wowed by the sound of a speaker from the very first note..
              Hoffi
              :sn

              Comment

              • dknightd
                Senior Member
                • Mar 2006
                • 621

                #8
                Originally posted by beden1
                I found myself preferring the brighter/more lively tweeter sound of the HTM1 and the ballance of the 703s. I kept isolating the speakers for running just the 803Ds for example, and found them to be on the dull side as compared to when all speakers were playing.
                maybe you should try the 703 as fronts and use the 803d as rears :rofl: :roll: :evil:
                I've got a set of 703 I'll trade for your 803d if you are interested. . .

                to the OP it could be there will be no WOW. There must have been a reason you decided to "upgrade". If the upgrade did not do it for you take them back.

                Comment

                • beden1
                  Super Senior Member
                  • Oct 2006
                  • 1676

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Hoffi
                  2 years ago I was interested in buying a pair of 803D´s
                  So I listened to system of
                  803D´s and 804 surround at a dealer. I was absolutely not impressed from the 803 D´s and my decision was not to buy them. Then I listened in the same room and with same electronics to a pair of 802 D´s and - wow, what a difference!!
                  So I ended up with the 802D´s ( although they were totally out of budget)
                  and I´m very very happy with them :T So, if you´re not pleased with your speakers, the breakin- period will not really change a lot. You have to be wowed by the sound of a speaker from the very first note..
                  Hoffi
                  I have listened to both the 802D and the N802, along with my 803Ds before buying them. I think what I'm learning through critical listening, is that the "D" tweeter is a refinement technically, but, may not be a better audible instrument.

                  I really felt/feel that my 803Ds are a better Rock N' Roll instrument as compared to the 802Ds (better bang for the buck along with a more responsive bass range), but . . . the tweeters are the issue, and not the mid or base drivers.

                  I am not trying to justify my purchase in my own mind, but initially answered a post addressing "when does the "WOW" factor kick in?"
                  Last edited by beden1; 06 June 2007, 15:34 Wednesday.

                  Comment

                  • KEF
                    Senior Member
                    • Aug 2004
                    • 134

                    #10
                    Originally posted by beden1
                    I am not trying to justify my purchase in my own mind, but initially answered a post addressing "when does the "WOW" factor kick in?"
                    Truthfully my friend, I think the only improvements from this point forward will be between your ears.

                    IMO, and we can discuss this 'till we're blue in the face, but these speakers change little, if at all, with a prescribed "break in", IMHO.

                    I have plenty of time on my 802Ds, and I don't think they're any better now than they were at when I first set them up. I've done 3 sets of new B&W speakers in the past 3 or so years, and never once did I feel as though after X amount of time (or hours) they got better. And yes, I know this opinion is contrary to many, but it is my opinion none the less.

                    The D tweeter is a not nearly as bright as the old Al tweeter – and this is what you may be interpreting as less dynamic, or requiring an “acquired taste”.

                    Cheers,
                    Keith

                    Comment

                    • PhotoRobot
                      Member
                      • Feb 2005
                      • 31

                      #11
                      I agree that if the intitial sound that you hear is not pleasing that break in period is not a factor. It's not going to evolve into a fundamentally different sounding speaker.

                      However, I find that as break in occurs there is a small amount of warmness and fluidity over the "new" speaker as this sets in. Everything does move easier which means slightly smoother.

                      WOW factor is a purchase item. If the speaker/setup doesn't wow you at purchase point it's not going to change.

                      Timbre matching is so important, and previously I was not a believer. However, there is nothing like a well matched set of speakers all in phase.

                      Regards,
                      Peter

                      Comment

                      • klinnsmann
                        Junior Member
                        • Apr 2007
                        • 3

                        #12
                        Be very carefull when it comes to the wow factor. A "wow" will at the end of the day many times turn out to be pretty annoying.

                        Comment

                        • KEF
                          Senior Member
                          • Aug 2004
                          • 134

                          #13
                          Originally posted by PhotoRobot
                          However, I find that as break in occurs there is a small amount of warmness and fluidity over the "new" speaker as this sets in. Everything does move easier which means slightly smoother.
                          With respect to the tweeter, or the highs that we are talking about for this example, there is little if anything that is going to "wear in" or "loosen up" over time.

                          IMO, any perceived change at this point will be beden1 (the listener) adjusting to the speaker, not vice versa.

                          Cheers,
                          KEF

                          Comment

                          • beden1
                            Super Senior Member
                            • Oct 2006
                            • 1676

                            #14
                            Originally posted by georgev
                            I have bought the 803d's but have not installed them yet(Bit of a challenge for a few months). It will be done so once we move to our new home. 802's will be used purley for two channel in another room.
                            Easy to replace the center though.
                            Are we hearing what the dealer wants us to hear?
                            Do you still find them dull?
                            I will be very interested in learning of Georgev's impressions when he is able to hook up his 803D fronts along with his HTM2D center channel speaker, and providing him with a matched set of front end speakers.

                            When I play just the 803D fronts by themselves, the highs just seem to be (for the lack of a better term) dull. When I add the HTM1 center channel speaker, it's like a light bulb is turned on and the combination sounds very good.

                            When I then add the 703 rears to the mix, it's like flood lights come on and the combined sound just comes alive and sounds bone chilling great.

                            Comment

                            • PhotoRobot
                              Member
                              • Feb 2005
                              • 31

                              #15
                              Originally posted by KEF
                              With respect to the tweeter, or the highs that we are talking about for this example, there is little if anything that is going to "wear in" or "loosen up" over time.

                              IMO, any perceived change at this point will be beden1 (the listener) adjusting to the speaker, not vice versa.

                              Cheers,
                              KEF
                              I understand that a tweeter is going to have no "wear in" but if you refer to your original post:

                              IMO, and we can discuss this 'till we're blue in the face, but these speakers change little, if at all, with a prescribed "break in", IMHO.

                              I understood, and am respectfully talking about the entire sound of the unit. When wear in occurs there is a real physical change to the midrange and the speaker as a whole.

                              I agree if someone doesn't like the sound of the speaker there isn't going to be a substantial physical change to the speaker itself that will cause the end user waves of joy.

                              PR

                              Comment

                              • KEF
                                Senior Member
                                • Aug 2004
                                • 134

                                #16
                                Originally posted by PhotoRobot
                                I understood, and am respectfully talking about the entire sound of the unit. When wear in occurs there is a real physical change to the midrange and the speaker as a whole.
                                Again, I am of the opinion that once these speakers are run in at B&W and tested (measured) that very little, if any, audible (measurable) change will occur once they end up in our listening rooms.

                                This is, IMO, especially true of the tweeter system.

                                Regards,
                                Keith

                                Comment

                                • gostan
                                  Senior Member
                                  • May 2003
                                  • 445

                                  #17
                                  This is definitely an interesting thread and I hope that more B&Wer's with 803D experience can offer opinions.

                                  I have been considering upgrading my N803's for 803D's and moving them to a separate two channel setup. The speakers would run off of a BAT VK300Xse tube integrated, which I just obtained and is currently being utilized via its' unity volume gain to run the N803's in my HT setup.

                                  I have demoed the 803D's and my ears did prefer them to the 802D's. But, I have not undertaken any direct comparisons to my N803's. My memory told me that the 803D's had a smoother top end and better mid-bass response than my N803's and with my dealers' trade up policy about to run out in August, that this was a worthwhile upgrade.

                                  But, with the BAT tube pre/ss amp in place, my N803's are sounding pretty darn good and I am thinking that I may simply save the $$ and pass on the 803D's, although when I listened to them I thought that they were definitely more dynamic than my N803's. We always desire the newest equipment that is available, but when is what we have in place simply good enough?
                                  Stan

                                  Comment

                                  • beden1
                                    Super Senior Member
                                    • Oct 2006
                                    • 1676

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by KEF
                                    Again, I am of the opinion that once these speakers are run in at B&W and tested (measured) that very little, if any, audible (measurable) change will occur once they end up in our listening rooms.

                                    This is, IMO, especially true of the tweeter system.

                                    Regards,
                                    Keith
                                    I agree. I think the "break-in period" is really our ears/brains becoming acclimated to the sound. Any true audible changes occur by tweaking the position of the speakers, calibration, and acoustical room improvements one may endeavor to undertake.

                                    Comment

                                    • beden1
                                      Super Senior Member
                                      • Oct 2006
                                      • 1676

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by gostan
                                      This is definitely an interesting thread and I hope that more B&Wer's with 803D experience can offer opinions.

                                      I have been considering upgrading my N803's for 803D's and moving them to a separate two channel setup. But, with the BAT tube pre/ss amp in place, my N803's are sounding pretty darn good and I am thinking that I may simply save the $$ and pass on the 803D's, although when I listened to them I thought that they were definitely more dynamic than my N803's. We always desire the newest equipment that is available, but when is what we have in place simply good enough?
                                      I still feel the 803Ds are a great speaker, and I also prefer them to the 802Ds for my primary Rock N' Roll listening - and they sound terrific for jazz as well.

                                      But, you really need to listen to the diamond tweeters to see if they provide enough brilliance for your ears. The 803Ds have excellent tight responsive bass along with a very good mid range, IMO. But, if you are happy with the N803 highs, you may want to concentrate on incorporating a good sub woofer match to fill in and expand the lows for your N803 speakers. I have become a huge believer that twin subs positioned next to each of your front speakers is an excellent set-up.
                                      Last edited by beden1; 06 June 2007, 15:35 Wednesday.

                                      Comment

                                      • hifiguymi
                                        Super Senior Member
                                        • Mar 2007
                                        • 1532

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by georgev
                                        I just replaced my HTM 1 with a HTM2D in my setup. I was expecting a huge difference, but I did not pick that up yet. Is it still forthcoming? ?Break in.
                                        What can I expect(look out for), clearer dialogue?
                                        Since the HTM1 is a great center channel I wouldn't expect a big "wow" when you put the HTM2D in its place. If you are using N802's now, the HTM1 is a better tonal match for them so the HTM2D may not blend as well. I would bet when you get your 803D's that the HTM1 will not sound nearly as good as the HTM2D will. The diamond tweeter is very smooth and does not have the sparkle that a lot of tweeters have. It has great resolving capabilities and it just becomes part of the speaker as a whole. Sometimes that can make some of the 8xxD's come across as underwhelming, but they are just so easy to listen to IMO. Although all of these speakers are B&W 800 Series, the current ones do have a different tonal balance than the Nautilus Series did.

                                        Break in does need to happen for a speaker to sound its best, but it doesn't change the tonal balance that much. The biggest changes I've heard after break in with B&W speakers is better deep bass and a less harshness in the treble. Most speakers sound brighter, and have leaner bass, out of the box than they do after 100 hours or so of playing.

                                        Eric

                                        Comment

                                        • gostan
                                          Senior Member
                                          • May 2003
                                          • 445

                                          #21
                                          Originally posted by beden1
                                          But, you really need to listen to the diamond tweeters to see if they provide enough brilliance for your ears. The 803Ds have excellent tight responsive base along with a very good mid range, IMO. But, if you are happy with the N803 highs, you may want to concentrate on incorporating a good sub woofer match to fill in and expand the lows for your N803 speakers. I have become a huge believer that twin subs positioned next to each of your front speakers is an excellent set-up.
                                          I thought that the diamond tweeters were a great improvement over the N803 tweeters, but the Nautilius high end is not bad sounding at all, the diamonds are just better sounding.

                                          And I am a believer that simplification is the best direction to head for superior two channel listening. Simplification for me would be Left & Right Main Speaker with no subwoofers at all. Twin subs for a HT setup are definitely the way to go.
                                          Stan

                                          Comment

                                          • RebelMan
                                            Ultra Senior Member
                                            • Mar 2005
                                            • 3139

                                            #22
                                            Originally posted by georgev
                                            I just replaced my HTM 1 with a HTM2D in my setup. I was expecting a huge difference, but I did not pick that up yet. Is it still forthcoming? ?Break in.
                                            What can I expect(look out for), clearer dialogue?
                                            There will be modest improvements in time coherence between the HF/MF and LF drivers and treble will be more refined. Much will depend on your bass management configuration for the center as well. You shouldn't expect a huge difference at this point either because the timbre mismatch of the 802N that you are currently using with the HTM2D will smear the frontal sound field and partially mask the full potential of the HTM2D. I suggest you wait until you are able to pair up your new center with your 803D before you jump to any conclusions.

                                            I concur with other posters that break-in will have negligible effect on perceived sound. Any benefits of break-in will mostly come in the form of smoother bass response. This is to say that you may notice a lessoning of driver induced resonance; the acoustical noise that the driver itself superimposes on the sound that it is reproducing. It can be subtle to observe as the degree of impact will vary from speaker to speaker in the 800 Series but it is noticeable with a trained ear.

                                            Driver acoustics was clearly evident with my 803S when I initially installed them. Though as time went on it became increasingly more difficult to detect. However, I found it nearly impossible to hear the 800D drivers when I first set them up and after nine months of use I detect virtually no break-in patterns with them either.
                                            "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."

                                            Comment

                                            • RebelMan
                                              Ultra Senior Member
                                              • Mar 2005
                                              • 3139

                                              #23
                                              Originally posted by gostan
                                              This is definitely an interesting thread and I hope that more B&Wer's with 803D experience can offer opinions.

                                              I have demoed the 803D's and my ears did prefer them to the 802D's.
                                              My input might be a bit off topic but since you are asking I will oblige.

                                              I have to concur with beden1, that the 803D delivers more accurate bass response then the 802D does. While the 802D is more voluminous the 803D is smoother and blends together better as a more cohesive whole with the upper midrange frequencies. The 802D is in comparison a tad flabby. This is not to say that the 802D does bass poorly only that it brings too much attention to itself. It’s more pronounced like a soloist singer performing in front of the band when one shouldn’t be.

                                              However, the 802D is far and away a better HF/MF transducer than the 803D is. If your choice of musical genre favor’s vocal presentation or you are a “big-bass” junky then only the 802D will do.

                                              As far as the diamond tweeter goes, it is virtually without peer. It is not aggressive, harsh or sharp. It is detailed, smooth and very well extended. Subdued perceptions tell me the electronic front-end and amplification is ill suited or the listener is insensitive to distortion-free high frequencies. Got audiogram?

                                              Originally posted by gostan
                                              We always desire the newest equipment that is available, but when is what we have in place simply good enough?
                                              Only if your current system still "WOW’s" you. But if you have doubts, well then... it may be time to trade up.
                                              "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."

                                              Comment

                                              • beden1
                                                Super Senior Member
                                                • Oct 2006
                                                • 1676

                                                #24
                                                [QUOTE=RebelMan]As far as the diamond tweeter goes, it is virtually without peer. It is not aggressive, harsh or sharp. It is detailed, smooth and very well extended. Subdued perceptions tell me the front-end and electronic amplification is ill suited or the listener is less sensitive to high frequencies. Got audiogram?[QUOTE=RebelMan]

                                                I agree that the tweeter is very detailed, smooth and very well extended. I also agree that front end and electronic amplification is important, and, that the listener is less sensitive to high frequencies.

                                                As I said, my 54 year old ears may be strained/aging a bit. But, I fortunately still have a very good ear for music. My stereo fanatic friends still have me over to adjust their systems when they get out of whack from them playing with too many adjustments and not writing down what they did LOL.

                                                As far as the electronics go . . . I asked my audio salesman (he is also the manager of a high end store in the Palm Beach, FL area) about what upgrade path I should plan for the future. We discussed electronics and speakers etc. in depth. It was an interesting conversation and very informative as he is now opening up with me and is being supportive.

                                                In his opinion, my next upgrade path should be a matching diamond center channel speaker, and then possibly a Classe pre-amp down the road. He felt my Classe CAV-150 amp is one of the best they have made, and was designed by their current head design engineer. In discussing my Pioneer Elite receiver as compared to what true benefits a new Classe pre-amp would provide . . . he said that the audible differences would be very subtle, and not to expect any "WOW" of a difference. He said to wait at least 6 months before considering this upgrade in order to give me time to really learn my current system's sound. Matched with the Classe amp, he did not feel that my Pioneer Elite receiver is currently limiting the 803Ds in any measureable audible difference, and that it would take some real trained critical listening to be able to pinpoint the true differences.

                                                Comment

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