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Waiting for my new room: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers in 1985

Barry

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Chapter 1: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers:
 
I will be getting an almost new, but certainly redone, Media Room in just a few weeks (I hope….things have been on order for months). So I thought it would be fun to discuss how and why I got into higher end and why I didn’t by B & W speakers.
 
Before surround sound and just when CDs were taking over the market I moved into a bigger apartment in 1985 or so. My Dynaco PAT-5 and 100 amp were not meeting the needs of the extra power needed by digital sound. I had ADS speakers at the time.
 
In those “olden” days, stores would let you take home a floor model (after charging you) for a couple of days to test it out.  I was impressed in the store with the Mark Levenson stereo amp, more money than I wanted to spend, but the dealer convinced me to take it home and try it out. I did and gosh was I impressed again! It sounded incredible.
 
Sometime later he convinced me to try the Levenson Pre-amp and , once again, I was blown out of the park.  Really great, but then I realized I needed better speakers.
 
Spermophile used to have shows at that time and I went to one just to hear the speakers.  I waited on line for a bit at the B and W booth and when I got to front the spokesman asked, “What stereo components do you have?
I said, “Mark Levenson.”
“Which Levensons?”
“The preamp and stereo amp”
“What numbers” (The Levenson equipment were all given numbers)
“I don’t remember. But its their only preamp and stereo amps.”
“You don’t remember?  Levenson people remember.”
“I don’t, sorry.”
“Then you can’t go in.”
“Why not?”
“You don’t have any Levenson. Levenson people all know what they have.”
He wouldn’t let me listen.  I listen to many others at that time. I liked the Thiels very much and bought them. So that is why I didn’t buy the B and Ws!
 
 
 


McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS3000; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

Re: Waiting for my new room: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers in 1985
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2021, 01:27:16 PM »
Back in the early 2000's, I was stunned how great sounding B&W diamond speakers were. Unfortunately, the dealer where I listened to the B&W speakers  went out of business by the time I was ready to upgrade my speakers in 2006. So, I drove 1.5 hours to the nearest B&W dealer. I found the B&W dealer to be extremely arrogant and exuded a "don't waste my time attitude".  I was so annoyed that even though I really liked the sound (from my recollection of hearing the speakers a couple of years earlier), I wasn't willing to give this dealer a commission for his poor attitude.

Re: Waiting for my new room: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers in 1985
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2021, 07:17:41 PM »
Chapter 1: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers:
 
I will be getting an almost new, but certainly redone, Media Room in just a few weeks (I hope….things have been on order for months). So I thought it would be fun to discuss how and why I got into higher end and why I didn’t by B & W speakers.
 
Before surround sound and just when CDs were taking over the market I moved into a bigger apartment in 1985 or so. My Dynaco PAT-5 and 100 amp were not meeting the needs of the extra power needed by digital sound. I had ADS speakers at the time.
 
In those “olden” days, stores would let you take home a floor model (after charging you) for a couple of days to test it out.  I was impressed in the store with the Mark Levenson stereo amp, more money than I wanted to spend, but the dealer convinced me to take it home and try it out. I did and gosh was I impressed again! It sounded incredible.
 
Sometime later he convinced me to try the Levenson Pre-amp and , once again, I was blown out of the park.  Really great, but then I realized I needed better speakers.
 
Spermophile used to have shows at that time and I went to one just to hear the speakers.  I waited on line for a bit at the B and W booth and when I got to front the spokesman asked, “What stereo components do you have?
I said, “Mark Levenson.”
“Which Levensons?”
“The preamp and stereo amp”
“What numbers” (The Levenson equipment were all given numbers)
“I don’t remember. But its their only preamp and stereo amps.”
“You don’t remember?  Levenson people remember.”
“I don’t, sorry.”
“Then you can’t go in.”
“Why not?”
“You don’t have any Levenson. Levenson people all know what they have.”
He wouldn’t let me listen.  I listen to many others at that time. I liked the Thiels very much and bought them. So that is why I didn’t buy the B and Ws!
 
 
 
Barry....you're cursed when it comes to A/V dealers :)
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Barry

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Re: Waiting for my new room: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers in 1985
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2021, 07:35:25 PM »
Actually my dealer was fine. this guy was not a dealer, but a rep from the company.
McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS3000; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

TRainH2O

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  • Analog guy living in a Digital world
Re: Waiting for my new room: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers in 1985
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2021, 07:04:11 AM »
Many years ago, Barry accidentally broke a large number of mirrors leading to his lifelong battle with bad AV dealers and reps.

Depending on the models you owned at the time, your ADS speakers might have been a better speaker than the B&W. I'd love to find and rebuild a pair of their 910 monitors or the 12xx or 15xx series floor standing speakers.

Barry

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  • 436
Re: Waiting for my new room: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers in 1985
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2021, 11:25:40 AM »
 David and Tracy, in buying hi fi for the last 35 years I have a few bad experiences and even a few funny ones. As in this case I had a good dealer who was very helpful. Sadly, at least in New York, many of the dealers are now gone. And today many of the salesman I have spoken are not experienced or knowledgeable about the products in their stores. I think its because their jobs are temporary.
 
Chapter 2: How I learned to listen for music.
After the family’s Dumont Cabinet of the 1950s died (bought way before I was born) we were without a record player.  For my birthday I got a $40 Emerson turntable.  One song I liked was by the Tijuana Brass.  I think it was called “Five Minute More.” The beginning had burst of music, followed by silence.  I wondered how they could be synchronized.
 
That answer came when my brother got a Pioneer receiver and a Gerrard Turntable.  We played that recording and for the first time, I heard the bass player in the background! Wow!  He was keeping time for them.
 
I started working at the evening Adult center at Forest Hills High School.  Queens, at that time, did not have a concert hall (It does now: Colden Center). So the Queens Symphony Orchestra, with conductor David Katz, practiced in our auditorium.
 
I would sit and listen to them.  I discovered that they sounded different depending where I was sitting, front, side, middle, back, etc..  And they sound hugely different if I sat in the balcony.
 
More than that, I worked with and watched the actually players. For example, the bass players knew EXACTLY on what wood plank to rest his instrument on. The violinists knew exactly where to sit and so on.
 
Conductor Katz would isolate the violists or flutists and have them play the same piece a dozen times. Each time he would correct them. I never heard a difference but he did. But I learned what a full orchestra should sound like and what each instrument sounded like.
 
And then I would go speaker shopping!
 
 
 


McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS3000; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

TRainH2O

  • *****
  • 516
  • Analog guy living in a Digital world
Re: Waiting for my new room: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers in 1985
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2021, 03:07:21 PM »
Barry, I bet the ADS and Proceed combo made a great-sounding system. 

From most everything that I have read, the larger ADS floor standing speakers and their monitors are some of the flattest and properly time-aligned speakers of the day and are still great today. Add to that, Proceed was ML's baby and I have never heard a bad comment about any Proceed gear.

Today, that would easily be a "poor man's" audiophile system.

TRainH2O

  • *****
  • 516
  • Analog guy living in a Digital world
Re: Waiting for my new room: Why I didn’t buy B and W Speakers in 1985
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2021, 03:10:49 PM »
Also, pretty cool story about Katz. If he's the conductor I am thinking about, his resume is pretty long and prestigious. 

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