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FST Centre Chanel to go with 703s?

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  • FST Centre Chanel to go with 703s?


    I'm new to this forum, and I'm a B&W fan.

    I have owned the 703s for a couple of years used strictly in stereo. I'm thinking of expanding into surround sound (mainly for movies) but do not have the space for the 700 series surround (too tall with the tweeter on top).

    I notice that a new 600 series has been released. Has anyone heard them yet? Specifically, I'm wondering if the centre with the FST driver would be a good match for the 703s. As rears, I'm thinking of using the smallest from the 600 series, either from the new or the old models.

    Any comments and advice would be hugely appreciated.



  • #2
    Perhaps its too early

    to expect any one to have heard the new series. So here's another question.

    What have been the experiences of people who have mixed speakers from different models in the B&W range? I am also considering using one of the centres from the 600 series 3 range. Would this be a successful combination?


    • #3
      I'd actually like to listen to a full compliment of 700 series speakers in a HT configuration, with the 703's as the mains. I realize the HTM7 doesn't have the FST midrange, but would using it with 703's be THAT unthinkable?

      There must be loads of people out there that are enjoying such a system. I can't help but think that any difference in the character of the sound in such an environment would be a pretty minor thing for what would likely be a very impressive system otherwise.

      Am I out to lunch on this one?


      • #4
        The reason I am looking for an alternative

        to the HTM7 is that its vertical size is too unwieldy for my application. The tweeter on top would not allow it to fit on the shelf under my TV, and I don't have the room to put it on a stand in front of the TV like some people do. There is also the WAF angle to consider. I'm mad enough to sacrifice space and looks for sound quality, but when I even suggested the possibility of stand mounting it in front, the suggestion was stamped on very vehemently. Can't sacrifice marital peace for one's hobby.

        I agree, an all 700 series surround system must sound awesome, but again, space is a problem - I need small speakers for the rears as well. In addition, due to other commitments, funds are not as plentiful as I would wish, so if its possible to build a surround system more economically and not compromise on sound too much, that would be a definite advantage.

        In terms of amplification, my fronts are powered by a Muiscal Fidelity amp with a Rotel pre, so I'm thinking of receiver with pre-outs so that the MF would continue to power the fronts, and the receiver would only have to power the centre and surrounds.


        • #5
          Why not the XTC. I use it with N804 and it matches quite well imho.


          • #6
            I would be tempted to wait until the 600 series FST center comes out and have a listen for yourself - I am sure that could be arranged at your dealer.

            This has been said a gazillian times (but I like repetition), but the HTM7 is for 705/704. 703 is a bit of an orphan when it comes to HT unless you get another 703 or try a more expensive HTM3. The new FST 600 is the logical solution until B&W get reasonable and produce a HTM-703. Maybe they found the HTM3 too similar to bother - who knows.

            All I know is that the HTM7 was perfect when I had 705 but does not blend with my 804s very well, but as long as there is not too much audion panning across the front it sounds just fine for most movies.
            Mac 8gb SSD Audirvana ->Weiss INT202 firewire interface ->Naim DAC & XPS2 DR->Conrad Johnson CT5 & LP70S-> Vivid B1s. Nordost Valhalla cables & resonance management. (Still waiting for Paul Hynes PS:M)
            Siamese :evil: :twisted:


            • #7
              Yes, I read on another forum somewhere

              that the HTM7 does not match the 703 tonally very well. I think I'll wait until the 600 FST centre comes out before making any decisions.

              Thanks for all your suggestions - gives me things to consider, including the XTC suggested below.


              • #8
                I read a review last night about a system that had the 703's as the mains with the HTM7 and they commented that while it was noticeable while setting up the system with test tones and pink noise, it wasn't likely to present itself as an issue with most "real world" material. Take that for what it's worth.

                If the new 600 series center or something else would work better than the HTM7 (and still fit in look wise with the 703's) I think that's a great option.


                • #9
                  "If the new 600 series center or something else would work better than the HTM7 (and still fit in look wise with the 703's) I think that's a great option".

                  I'm not so concerned with the look, because if its mounted under the TV in the cabinet, the only thing visible would be the grill. I'm more concerned with the tonal match.


                  • #10
                    Agreed StanleyS, that would be my main concern as well :T


                    • #11
                      I have just compared the specs of

                      the HTM61 and the 703 on the B&W site, and they are very close. Here's hoping that listening tests will be favourable.


                      • #12
                        I am an owner of the 703 and htm7. And I can say that if you listen to 5.1 or multichannel music in DVD audio or SACD, you'll definitely notice the mismatch and vocal difference of the htm7 and 703. That's with music and if you listen to a lot of multichannel music, I would not recommend it.

                        But if all you do is watch movies (ie mostly dialogue from the center), it's not as bad as everyone says it is and to me it sounds acceptable and fine.

                        Even if the new 600 center has a fst or even if a 700 fst center came out in the future, it will never be a perfect match and will always sound somewhat different due to the different enclosure and size.

                        The only way to get a perfect match is to buy another 703 for the center.


                        • #13
                          Y'know what guys, I've been tinkering with this very idea myself. I got me a new 40" TV recenty and the HTM7 is just too big and bulky for where it's to be located. I immediatly though that the XTC would be the perfect solution. So of to my local B&W dealer and went through the mill of demo-ing. I too have the 703s and the XTC was a decent fit. Nowhere near as good as the HTM7 though and was probably going to be too big a compromise. The my dealer rolled out the FPM6. Much, much better and would even fit in better with my setup. I was amazed I didn't think of it myself. They were tight and crisp, bass was deep, mids were sweet - also great vocals on a Diana Krall DVD - and possibly a better fit with the 703s that the HTM7. The sweetner was that the gloss black matched the gloss black of my TV. It's ordered now and due in another week or so. Give it a try if you can.

                          I don't want the world. I just want your half.


                          • #14
                            I'm glad I asked.

                            You guys have certainly opened my eyes to a number of possibilities which I would not have even considered. Seems my options are bigger than I thought.

                            I realize that no centre will match the 703s exactly, but I would like to find as close a match as possible. Another 703 as the centre, although probably the most desirable option as far as tonal accuracy goes, is just not possible for space or money reasons. I will compare the other suggestions made when the HTM61 becomes available. I guess I will be trying my dealer's patience.

                            In the meantime Alloroc, could you let us know how you go with the FPM6 once you have it? Sounds like an interesting solution.


                            • #15

                              What are you going to use for surrounds? Are you considering 705's or another option?

                              I'm just wondering if it's critical to match the surrounds as well, given my possibly ignorant assumption that they are mainly for effects and stuff that might not have to balance with the front channels as much.


                              • #16
                                As with the centre, for my situation the 705s would be too big. I need speakers which can fit on top of a cabinet (a tall glass enclosed cabinet in which my wife displays various odds and ends) on one side of the seating position and a glass fronted bookshelf on the other - that is, on top of the bookshelf, not one of its shelves. I would love the 705s, but its just not feasible. Alternatively, I suppose I could consider the DS7 and mount them on the walls, but I would prefer monopoles. Use would be for films, with perhaps some music. I don't have many DVD-As and no SACDs at all, but I do like music videos.

                                Again, I was thinking of using the smallest speakers from the 600 range.


                                • #17

                                  When I bought the 703 and htm7, I wanted to buy the 705 as surrounds but had problems with the physical size issue as well.

                                  After lots of listening and comparing between surrounds in the old 600 series and in the 700, I bought the DS7. Although the 705 sounded better overall in multichannel music, the DS7 was a very good compromise and the difference was barely noticeable in movies in monopole.

                                  The DS7 has a switch and can be used as either Monopole or Dipole. I use it as monopole speakers in the back. And when I ever do have room for the 705s at the back, you can use the DS7 as dipoles and place them on the side of the room for a 7.1 system.

                                  Again like the htm7, the ds7 has limitations when listening to multichannel music, but in use as surrounds in movies, it performs very very well. So they are worth an audition along with the 600s you have in mind.


                                  • #18
                                    As a happy owner of the 70x serie, I've some comments to add:

                                    1) yes the HTM7 is too high and really unpractical to place, but, it use the same cabinet design than the other speakers of the range, that way he is sounding the same than the 705 and 704.

                                    2) yes it's sad not to have and HTM7 with FST, but the sound difference is not so noticeable. Use same cables, same foot and place it well, and listen to the music not the minor sounding differences and it will be ok. Most of the time the center channel is not well located, and thus give a different result that the fronts.

                                    3) I'm afraid that using a 6xx serie speaker even with FST won't provide a better result than with the HTM7. The cabinet is not the same, and worse, the tweeter is totally different. But, must be listened, we never know...

                                    4) I've fully modded my speakers, and I've started with the HTM7 what was the easiest to mod. After the mods the HTM7 was sounding better than the 703 (except the low bass that are missing), it took me lot of time to rise the 703 quality to match the HTM7. Now I didn't notice any sound difference between the speakers, nor in movies neither on SACDs.

                                    Perhaps the better solution would be to change your 703, and go for speakers of the same series.
                                    Did you consider the CM serie? they are really good, really small, perfect for movies and rather good for music.


                                    • #19
                                      Do not hesitate to take the htm3. I did one month ago.
                                      After weeks and weeks of research I finally decided to buy the htm3 for my 703.
                                      Pure happiness!


                                      • #20
                                        I was in the same boat
                                        had the 703's as mains HTM7 centre and 4 x 705's as rears

                                        I did not like the HTM7 as centre as it didn't even come close to the 703's.

                                        Like dr.pat, i seriously considered the htm3 fromt he 800 series but the price of a single 703 was cheaper here in Aus, and i had the room to accomidate it.

                                        So that was my final system 3 703's up front and 4 x 705's as rears.

                                        Unfortunately the upgrade bug hit for even better 2 channel requirements, so they are now up for sale.


                                        • #21
                                          Originally posted by dr.pat
                                          Do not hesitate to take the htm3. I did one month ago.
                                          After weeks and weeks of research I finally decided to buy the htm3 for my 703.
                                          Pure happiness!

                                          I don't doubt its quality, but does it not have the same problem of the tweeter on top? That is the deal killer for me - no space to accomodate it.

                                          This has turned into an excellent discussion. I'm very grateful to you all. I will have a lot of listening to do following your recommendations.


                                          • #22
                                            Saddly the HTM3 is even bigger than the HTM7.

                                            Height: 320mm (12.6 in)
                                            Width: 783mm (30.8 in)
                                            Depth: 316mm (12.4 in)

                                            Height: 306mm (12.1 in)
                                            Width: 450mm (17.7 in)
                                            Depth: 289mm (11.4 in)


                                            • #23
                                              HTM7 mods ?

                                              [QUOTE=Iggurk]4) I've fully modded my speakers, and I've started with the HTM7 what was the easiest to mod. After the mods the HTM7 was sounding better than the 703 (except the low bass that are missing),

                                              I'd be very interested to hear of your mods to the HTM7, pics and costings would also be usefull, and most of all was it an easy thing to do.
                                              Please tell


                                              • #24
                                                Hi Ian,

                                                The mod result is just amazing, the bass are much better, the medium is more open and much more detailed and no speaking about the musicality.

                                                I've modified all my speakers with always a very good result, the most impressive is perhaps the HTM7 & 705, that now sound amazing. After the mods they sound better than the 703, took me lot of time and mods to have the 703 at the same level of quality.

                                                It's not too expensive mods, but require lot of time and effort, around 8h of work on one 703, and 2-3h on a 705, HTM7.

                                                You can find pictures, schema of the filters and more here (french):



                                                • #25
                                                  Hi Yves,
                                                  Thanks or the info and links. Unfortunately my command of French is none existant so I've copied various bits and will take it to a friend for translation.

                                                  Maybe you could advise........ is this ( initially the HTM7 ) a suitable project for a complete DIY novice? And I really do mean a novice I do not even own a soldering iron, or am I being far too adventerous for a first effort.

                                                  Regards Ian


                                                  • #26
                                                    Hi Ian, as it's not the topic of this thread I sent you a private msg.



                                                    • #27
                                                      Hi Yves

                                                      This mod idea intrigues me as well. Didn't know you could mod B&Ws. Is there any danger of damaging the speaker in the process? And can an older 601 be modded? My son has a pair in his bedroom which I think he's used for about 6 years.


                                                      • #28
                                                        Hi Stanley,

                                                        Yes the 601 can be modded, and yes there is a risk to damage the speaker.

                                                        First step is to open the speaker and locate the filter.

                                                        Then we can draw the filter schema and decide which parts must be changed.

                                                        The mods have a price, you must also decide on a budget, the highest the budget is better the replacement components will be.
                                                        But, don't expect your 601 to sound like 80x. They will be better for sure, more detailed, scene more open, more musical,....

                                                        Always take pictures, that will help you a lot to remember how it was before when you will put in place the new filter. I'ts very easy to forget where a cable was solder, where a capacitor was, ....

                                                        Open a new thread and I'll help you as much as I can.



                                                        • #29
                                                          Modding 600 S3 series

                                                          Hi Ian,
                                                          Please advise where these mods can be seen or discussed.
                                                          Thanx, Ron526


                                                          • #30
                                                            Thanks for the offer Yves.

                                                            At the moment its just an intellectual curiousity. I'm taking off on an overseas holiday in a few weeks, so won't be doing any upgrading for a while. When I get back I may take you up on your offer.



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