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Philharmonic Audio BMR Philharmonitor Bookshelf Speaker Review

by January 23, 2019
Philharmonic Audio BMR Philharmonitor Bookshelf Speaker

Philharmonic Audio BMR Philharmonitor Bookshelf Speaker

  • Product Name: BMR Philharmonitor Bookshelf Speaker
  • Manufacturer: Philharmonic Audio
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: January 23, 2019 00:00
  • MSRP: $ 1,350/pair - base price (black cabinet), $1,600 in Custom SalkSound finishes in maple, mahogany, cherry, or walnut, $1,800 in furniture grade finish.
  • Buy Now
  • Cabinet: Piano black or custom veneers by Jim Salk
  • Tweeter: RAAL 64-10 OEM
  • Midrange: Tectonic Balanced Mode Radiator 2.5"
  • Woofer: Scan Speak 8545-01 7"
  • Frequency Response: 34 Hz - 20kHz (+ / - 2db) Anechoic
  • Sensitivity: 85.0 dB (dB/2.83v/1M)
  • Box Alignment: Bass Reflex
  • Dimensions: Piano Black: 20" H x 8" W x 12-1/2" D, Cherry: 17" H x (10" Front, 4.5" Back) W x 14" D
  • Weight: 32 lbs eachImpedance: 6 Ohms

Pros

  • Exceptionally high fidelity
  • Extraordinarily deep bass extension
  • Very nice finish and appearance
  • Easy electrical load for amplifiers
  • Wide yet very well controlled dispersion
  • Engineering and build quality make it a bargain for the price

Cons

  • Um… gloss black finish makes fingerprints easily visible?

 

BMR Philharmonitor Bookshelf Speaker Introduction

Not many peopleBMR pair spaced outside of audio enthusiasts who pay attention to audio in social media will know about Philharmonic Audio. This is because Philharmonic Audio doesn’t spend a penny on advertising and their only means of promotion is by word of mouth. However, those audio enthusiasts who do pay attention to social media generally hold Philharmonic Audio in high regard, and Philharmonic looks to be thriving despite having a near zero dollar marketing budget. Dennis Murphy, the proprietor of Philharmonic Audio, lets his creations do all the talking for him. When your only means of promotion is end-users telling others how good their experience was with your product, and you gain success with that strategy, that definitely augurs well for the quality of the product. We at Audioholics have noticed all the buzz surrounding Philharmonic Audio in social media circles, and so we arranged for a review of a pair of their speakers to see if they lived up to all the hype. It should be said that we have known Dennis Murphy for some time and knew him to be a more than competent speaker engineer, so we weren’t surprised that his designs would be rock solid. Nonetheless, we were curious to experience a sample of something he has cooked up, so for today’s review, we look at Philharmonic’s top bookshelf speaker, the BMR Philharmonitors.

Unpacking and Appearance

BMR double boxing   BMR foam sandwich packing

...these are some of the best packaged speakers I've seen.

The BMP Philharmonitors arrived in two jumbo boxes that were unusually big for bookshelf speakers. This isn’t all that surprising, since I knew these speakers were on the larger side for bookshelf speakers, but they were still unexpectedly large. Each speaker was packed using double boxing and also two large stiff foam blocks that completely surrounded it. The speakers were covered in a soft foam bag to protect them from scuffing and moisture. It is apparent that Mr. Murphy did not want to waste his time with damage claims because these are some of the best-packed bookshelf speakers I have ever seen. Most speaker packing uses top and bottom foam blocks to fit the speaker in the box, but this set uses a very thick piece that guards against anything that could pierce the boxing anywhere around the speaker. It would take particularly abusive transit to cause any damage to these speakers.

BMR pair23   BMR grilles

Once unpacked, the BMR Philharmonitors are revealed to be attractive and handsome speakers. ‘Handsome’ is a more operative word here than BMR single2‘pretty,’ since the BMR Philharmonitors are a bit too serious to be called pretty in the conventional sense. I received the standard version of the BMR Philharmonitors, which have a tall, oblong enclosure in a gloss black finish and rounded edges. As bookshelf speakers go, these were almost stately-looking; they were simultaneously elegant yet business-like in their demeanor. The differently-sized circular frames of each of the drivers against the black backdrop of the finish give the BMR Philharmonitors a slightly cosmic aesthetic, as though the drivers were an alignment of planets against the monolithic cabinet (cue ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’). With the grille on, the speakers turn much more stylistically minimal, of course, as gloss black boxes with a muted black fabric front. They are shipped with some small ‘Philharmonic’ stickers that the user can choose to apply to the front grille. I like a cleaner appearance so I declined to do that. As usual, I prefer the appearance of the speakers with the grille off. Due to their simple, clean appearance, the BMR Philharmonitors could fit in almost any style of interior decoration, from modern to traditional. 

Design Analysis

To sum them up very simply, the BMR Philharmonitor is a three-way, ported bookshelf speaker, but these are not simple speakers. Bookshelf speakers do not normally come in three-way designs, although that kind of design isn’t all that rare. However, the three-way design chosen for the BMR Philharmonitor is quite unique. One of its unique traits is the driver selection, so let’s begin our discussion of the BMR Philharmonitor by talking about the drivers used in its design, and we will start at the top: the tweeter.

BMR tweeter    BMR tweeter back2

The BMR Philharmonitor uses a ribbon tweeter by the highly-regarded Serbian manufacturer RAAL. Ribbon tweeters are normally found on expensive speakers and are highly sought-after for their linearity, detail, and high-frequency extension. What makes a ribbon tweeter so special? The answer is the low mass of the diaphragm. Ribbon tweeters work by placing very thin, conductive ribbon that is usually either conductive tracings on a material like Kapton or simply a very thin aluminum strip in a tightly-controlled magnetic field between two permanent magnets. When alternating current is run through the ribbon, it vibrates as its magnetic charge rapidly oscillates between positive and negative. Proponents of ribbons claim they are better as high-frequency reproducers than domes because their moving mass is much lower than domes and therefore can accelerate and decelerate much more quickly, and this quicker movement makes for a more realistic sound. However, ribbons have historically had a few disadvantages. Among those disadvantages is they are more expensive to manufacture, and they were fragile, so they were not as capable in midrange frequencies as in treble. They also need a transformer to raise their electrical impedance to a usable level, which naturally raises their manufacturing cost and makes them a larger component. The BMR Philharmonitor addresses the low-frequency fragility by just using the ribbon where it is strongest, at mid-treble frequencies and above and not tasking it to play outside of its comfort region.

BMR midrange      BMR Driver

It is said that music lives in the mids, so the midrange driver in a three-way speaker is crucial in getting a good sound. Philharmonic has chosen a peculiar and perhaps revolutionary midrange driver to serve this range. It is the Tectonic BMR (more specifically the TEBM46C20N-4B) which, of course, is referred to in the name of the speaker. The ‘BMR’ stands for ‘Balanced Mode Radiator.’ It’s not an expensive component but it is a sophisticated piece of engineering nonetheless. It is an extremely wide-band, flat-diaphragm, 3” driver that uses weighted rings on the diaphragm to dramatically reduce cone break-up. Cone break-up occurs when the excursion of the driver happens so quickly that the cone can’t keep a uniform shape and begins to bend in various ways. This happens to all drivers at high enough frequencies, and the results are that the response starts to get heavily distorted past a certain frequency. The larger the cone, the lower in frequency that break-up will start to affect the response, and this is one of the reasons why midrange drivers are smaller than bass drivers, and dome tweeters are smaller than midrange drivers. Filtering out break-up artifacts has always been a challenge for loudspeaker designers, so any driver that doesn’t have as much of a problem in this respect makes designing a good speaker much easier. The exact method that Tectonic uses to reduce break-up with their weighted rings is rather complex but is explained in this white paper.

BMR woofer close2     BMR woofer exposed3 

The woofer used in the BMR Philharmonitor is the 18W/8545-01 which is the latest iteration of the acclaimed 8545 series from the highly-regarded Danish manufacturer Scan-Speak. This 7” diameter woofer uses a paper/carbon fiber cone in a cast aluminum frame with a beefy 4 ¾” diameter magnet and 1.5” voice coil. It uses Scan-speak’s ‘Symmetric Drive’ motor design which is a patented way to arrange shorting rings and a copper cap in order to reduce the deleterious effects of induction by providing a symmetric induction around the gap center point.

BMR internal 

The BMR Philharmonitor is a hefty bookshelf speaker, at 34 lbs., and most of that weight is composed of the cabinet. The cabinet uses MDF construction and has a 1” thick front baffle with ¾” thick side panels and bracing. The midrange driver is housed in its own isolated compartment so that backwave radiation from the woofer won’t affect its operation and also to give it a better enclosure space with more optimal backwave pressure for its own operation. There are two pieces of bracing that jut out from the top of the BMR rearmidrange compartment to strengthen the side panels. The BMR Philharmonitor uses three types of acoustic treatment on the inside of the cabinet: polyfill filling the inside of the cabinet, Sonic Barrier acoustic damping lining the walls, and Acoustimac’s Ecocore acoustic insulation lining the top of the cabinet and inside of the midrange compartment. I am told by the BMR Philharmonitor designer Dennis Murphy that Ecocore is essential as stuffing for the midrange chamber since nothing else will load the BMR driver properly. 

The BMR Philharmonitor is rear-ported with a 7” long, 2” diameter port that is heavily flared on both ends. That is a very long port for a bookshelf speaker that ought to make for a very low port resonant frequency. Port tuning was done by award-winning speaker designer Paul Kittinger who is known for his work on more complex transmission line cabinets. One aspect to note here is that these speakers dig ambitiously low in bass for bookshelf speakers- even large bookshelf speakers- with a listed spec of 34 Hz to 20 kHz in a +/- 2 dB window. That will inevitably have a cost in sensitivity, so while these speakers may be able to hit those very low notes, it will not do so as efficiently as a larger tower speaker could for the same wattage. Indeed, its sensitivity is listed as 85 dB for 2.83v at 1 meter, which would be below what one might expect for a bookshelf speaker of this size, although not so much when its low-frequency extension is factored. 

The BMR Philharmonitors do not come with feet installed. For those who want to use feet, Dennis Murphy recommends Sorbothane isolation feet. There is no terminal cup in the back but simply some five-way binding posts that stick out of the back of the speaker. The advantage of the omission of a terminal cup is that the ¾” MDF is a lot more rigid and will better contain the acoustic BMRXoverenergy inside the enclosure. The disadvantage is that the binding posts just kind of stick out there and are more vulnerable to catching something or hitting something, thereby incurring damage. The grille uses magnetic attachment so the front baffle keeps a clean look. The grille uses an acoustic fabric stretched over a thick MDF frame. That frame is bound to increase diffraction, so for the best sound, use the speakers with the grille off.

The crossover circuit looks like a very substantial design, with a handful of beefy polypropylene capacitors, air core inductors, two steel laminate inductors, and four resistors, all neatly organized to fit in a small space. The woofer crossover to the midrange driver is at 600 Hz, and the midrange driver crosses over to the tweeter at 3.5 kHz, using 4rth order Linkwitz-Riley filters in both sections. That explains why the crossover circuit is so heavy-duty; it must be to handle that degree of complexity. 

The overall design of the BMR Philharmonitors suggests a speaker that will have very wide dispersion, relatively deep bass, and somewhat lower sensitivity. Narrow tweeters such as the ribbon tweeter used on the BMR Philharmonitor tend to emit sound at a wide horizontal angle but a narrow vertical angle. The small size of the midrange driver would be expected to have a wide dispersion out to treble frequencies in all directions, since sound of frequency wavelengths larger than the diameter of the driver cone normally project out at a wide angle. With a 3” diameter, the BMR midrange drivers should be capable of wide dispersion out to well past its 3.5 kHz low-pass frequency, and the 7” woofer of the Scan-speak bass driver will certainly have a very wide dispersion out to its 600 Hz low-pass frequency. The long length of the port indicates that the BMR Philharmonitor will have a fairly low tuning frequency, so the low-frequency spec of 34 Hz is plausible. And, as was discussed before, that will inevitably have an impact on efficiency. We will see how these design decisions play out in the “Measurements and Analysis” section, but for now, let’s do some listening!

Listening Sessions

I am not sure how ‘Cafe Blue’ could sound better than how the BMR Philharmonitors rendered it.

In my 24’ by 13’ (approximately) listening room, I set up the speakers with stand-off distances between the back wall and sidewall, and equal distance between speakers and listening position, with speakers toed-in toward the listening position. Dennis Murphy recommends listening at a 15-degree off-axis angle for the best sound since that angle lessens diffraction effects more than the direct axis response. Listening distance from the speakers was about 9 feet. Amplification and processing were handled by a Pioneer Elite SC-55. No room correction equalization was used. At times, subwoofers were used to supplement the bass with an 80 Hz crossover frequency.

Music Listening 

Like always, I began listening to the BMR Philharmonitors with soCafe Bluemething that places emphasis on a solitary vocal, because that is where tonal errors would be the most perceptible. For this purpose, I used Patricia Barber’s ‘Cafe Blue.’ This might be a lazy choice since this classic album has long been an audiophile staple, but it is one of the few audiophile ‘go-to’ albums that I actually enjoy, so I thought, why not?! Even though this recording is somewhat old, released nearly 25 years ago, it isn’t as if recordings since then have substantially topped the sound quality of this impeccably produced album (the version I listened to was the Mobile Fidelity release). For those who don’t know, this is an eclectic jazz album that covers a wide range in styles and moods. It is so eclectic that it dips into the experimental at times. Barber’s voice mostly ranges from a low whisper (often described as ‘smokey’) to a creamy, low key singing, but at times she hits more ethereal and emotional heights. Instrumental accompaniment is performed and recorded beautifully as well, with keyboards, piano, guitar, bass, and percussion getting their moments to shine.

As for the BMR Philharmonitor’s rendering of ‘Cafe Blue,’ I have zero complaints. Barber’s voice and instrumental positions in the soundstage were very distinct, and again I find myself marveling at how a broad three-dimensional musical performance can come from just two points of sound emission in room. There was nothing tonally off either, with no undue weight given to any particular frequency range. I listened to this album using the speaker’s full range, without any subwoofers, and the bass reproduction was superb. There are moments of seemingly deep bass, and the speakers were more than sufficient in capturing the entire frequency range of this album. The BMR Philharmonitors were also not shy in catching the peaks of the more boisterous moments of ‘Cafe Blue,’ and while I listened to the album at a lively level, I didn’t crank it hard (that would have to wait until later), nonetheless these speakers had some ‘pop’ in the attacks of the piano and guitar that demonstrated that they could throw a sharp jab when the recording demanded. In the end, I am not sure how ‘Cafe Blue’ could sound better than how the BMR Philharmonitors rendered it. A high-fidelity recording deserves high-fidelity speakers, so this album and speaker pair were a great match for each other.

For something with a focus on the sound of a single instrument, I listened to a recording of Bach’s ‘EBach English Suitesnglish Suites’ played on piano by Murray Perahia from the Sony Classical label. This particular recording was made in 1998 and covers suites Nos. 1, 3, and 6. The name that these compositions are given, ‘English Suites,’ seems to have been a historical mistake since they have nothing to do with England and do not relate to England in any way, but this mistake has stuck, and the first six suites that Bach wrote are known as the ‘English Suites.’ The acclaimed pianist Perahia gives a spirited interpretation of these pieces and plays with a dazzling force and dexterity very much living up to his reputation as a world-class pianist. The BMR Philharmonitors reproduced Murray’s performance with aplomb. Through the superb imaging of the speakers, I could tell that this album did not use a near-field recording technique as so many piano recordings do nowadays. While near-field recordings can give fuller expression to each note, on a properly set up speaker system or headphones, it does sound as if the listener’s head is inside the piano itself. On this recording with these speakers, it sounded as if the mics were placed perhaps a couple meters away so some notes were heard to have directional proximity to the left or right without being so far back that all notes fell to the center. In other words, this put the listener in the best seat in the house: close enough for an intimate performance but not so close that the listener’s face is buried inside the instrument. My listening experience with ‘English Suites’ on the BMR Philharmonitors was the next best thing to hiring Mr. Perahia and having him play a grand piano in my family room. It was if the performance occurred in front of me but from an invisible grand piano and player. What more can one ask of a loudspeaker?

For something with a larger ensemble, I listened tCatholic Latin Classicso a collection of choral pieces with Latin lyrics entitled ‘Catholic Latin Classics,’ which is performed by the Cathedral Singers conducted and led by Richard Proulx. The singers are accompanied by an organ and a string ensemble. The music and production on this recording are both exquisite and gorgeous, and music lovers would do well to seek out this album regardless of their comprehension of Latin. If the BMR Philharmonitors didn’t already do so well with the other types of music I had listened to, I would say it was made for this album. I could hardly imagine a more beautiful reproduction than what these speakers presented. The BMR Philharmonitors imaged the performers very well, and the soundstage was particularly notable for the lifelike rendering of the acoustics of the performance location, the National Shrine of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, which is a dazzlingly beautiful church in Chicago. The BMR Philharmonitors was a teleportation device that placed the listener in the middle of the pews at this venerable location. I don’t think the latest in surround sound technology could have made the experience more immersive. Again, we see that two well-placed, well-designed speakers can capture so much of the dimensionality of soundscape that many times I question whether all the extra channels and excess processing of surround sound are a major addition to what can be done in a simple, good stereo system. Those who disagree ought to listen to the BMR Philharmonitors play ‘Catholic Latin Classics’ before cementing their opinion.  

CrystalaimaiTaking a radically different direction, I decided to listen to something on the extreme end of pop music with the album ‘Crystalaimai’ by SAYOHIMEBOU, a Japanese artist who is making electronic pop music that, outside of that broad genre label, is nearly undefinable. This music is a frenetic, kaleidoscopic, shattered reflection of pop culture. It is a journey into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder for adults that uses all the colors of the rainbow. Its use of aggressive stereo panning, very low and also very high-frequency sounds, sampled vocals that have been outrageously pitch-shifted, breakneck percussion rhythms, and bizarre atonal melodies make it really something else to hear on a high-fidelity sound system. This music certainly wouldn’t fit everyone’s tastes, but for my ears, it is sheer candy. I thought it would be a good album to use for evaluating the BMR Philharmonitors because it is such a purely artificial creation that uses every studio trick in the book to create audio strangeness; how would these speakers handle such a bizarre concoction? Right out of the gate I understood that playing this lunatic album on the BMR Philharmonitors was the right thing to do. Music doesn’t normally make me laugh, but when a sound this bonkers is given the kind of attention to detail that the BMR Philharmonitors are capable of, I had to laugh, because only then can its full crazed glory be revealed. With the BMR Philharmonitor’s wide and expensive soundstage, listening to ‘Cystalaimai’ was like being sucked into a psychedelic tornado of bubblegum and strobing neon lights. And before the reader asks, no, I wasn’t using lysergic acid, but with this album on these speakers, the effect was similar.

Movie Listening

One movie that I wAtomic Blondeatched using the BMR Philharmonitors was the 2017 cold war spy thriller ‘Atomic Blonde.’ This ultra-stylish (and ultra-violent) action movie is drenched in 80’s hits such as Nena’s ‘99 Luftballoons’ and ‘Cities in Dust’ by Siouxsie and the Banshees, as well as more modern remixes of 80’s hits along with an original electronic score by Tyler Bates. The action scenes mostly take the form of brutal hand-to-hand combat but throw in some gunplay and car chases as well. The interplay of music, action, and dialogue is layered and sometimes complex, which might be a challenge for lesser speakers, but I thought it would make a great test for the BMR Philharmonitors. I used subwoofers for this movie since I didn’t want to risk the speakers in case there was some high-level, deep bass that might overdrive the woofers at the volume levels that I wanted to listen at. With the woofers protected, I cranked the volume, because ‘Atomic Blonde’ is a great movie to play loud. The BMR Philharmonitors performed marvelously and blazed the sound of these 1980’s pop hits along with the gunshots, crashes, and punches without any audible complaints or limitations that I could detect. I set the AVR to use a ‘phantom center’ where the left and right front speakers carry the center channel content to give the BMR Philharmonitors the dialogue as well as music and effects sounds, and there were no problems with dialogue intelligibility, even amidst all the action and music. Watching ‘Atomic Blonde’ with the BMR Philharmonitors proved that they were just as capable at bombast and action as they were with musical subtlety. 

Another movie that I viewed using the BMR PhilharmonitorThin Red Lines is Terrence Malick’s 1998 WW2 epic ‘The Thin Red Line.’ The Criterion Edition of this movie states in the menu screen before the movie can be started: “Director Terrence Malick recommends that The Thin Red Line be played loud.” A similar admonition appears before Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’ and this is because Malick is one of the few directors whose movies’ sound mixes have a truly wide dynamic range. This isn’t done so that the movie will simply be louder; it is done so that when loudness is required, it will be delivered with more punch than a normal sound mix. This is contrary to many movie scores, especially movies with lots of action, where the entire movie is mixed loud all the way through so that moments that should have a sonic impact just get lost in the clamor. This makes ‘The Thin Red Line’ a terrific film for evaluating a sound system’s dynamic range. Outside of the extraordinary dynamic range, the sound mix contains a most convincing aural experience of war from an infantryman’s perspective, along with Hans Zimmer’s celebrated music score. It remains a divisive film on account of its contemplative and unconventional approach to war as a film subject matter, but there can be no argument that its sound mix was, and still is, ahead of its time.

I took Mr. Malick’s advice and watched ‘The Thin Red Line’ at a relatively high volume level, with the gain set significantly higher than I normally listen at, also with subwoofers employed. The BMR Philharmonitors had no discernable trouble keeping up with the elevated peaks in sound, so bullet ricochets, mortar strikes, and artillery bombardment resounded with an especially potent impact. Zimmer’s sweeping score also benefited from the sound mixes’ wide dynamics, and the speakers gave the music the grandiose presentation that it deserved. Dialogue was clear and distinct, even amidst the cacophony of war. While the BMR Philharmonitors would not be my first choice for a dedicated theater room aiming for THX Reference level loudness, I think they would satisfy the vast majority of users for loud movie watching in a medium or small sized room. The BMR Philharmonitors might not be high-sensitivity SPL monsters but they can still get loud when called to do so.

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About the author:

James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

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Recent Forum Posts:

everettT posts on January 21, 2020 12:08
PENG, post: 1364131, member: 6097
By the way, I only mentioned BMR vs Phil 3 in a small room because in a larger room, even just a medium large room, the BMR may not be loud enough for some people. No issue for me though as my average spl requirement is only 75 dB from 10-11 ft.

When I compared them with my R900, I noticed the difference in spl was about 5 to 6 dB from my listening position. The Phil 3's sensitivity is the same as the BMR's, but it probably can handle twice as much power input, and should be enough to make a noticeable difference in a medium sized room, all else being equal.
The revelator woofer can handle gobs of power ..
PENG posts on January 21, 2020 11:43
By the way, I only mentioned BMR vs Phil 3 in a small room because in a larger room, even just a medium large room, the BMR may not be loud enough for some people. No issue for me though as my average spl requirement is only 75 dB from 10-11 ft.

When I compared them with my R900, I noticed the difference in spl was about 5 to 6 dB from my listening position. The Phil 3's sensitivity is the same as the BMR's, but it probably can handle twice as much power input, and should be enough to make a noticeable difference in a medium sized room, all else being equal.
ryanosaur posts on January 20, 2020 12:30
D Murphy, post: 1363895, member: 88657
I would have to be there to come up with any explanation. Also, I've never used the 3's in home theater or the BMR's as surrounds, , so I don't know how they sound in that application. The effect of the 3's open back is pretty unpredictable. I don't claim there's any clear science to it. Maybe the mixing in cinema sound tracks brings out something from the 3's that doesn't occur with with a closed back.
I'm still probably less than 15% HT usage on my rig… Getting into Multi-Channel Music (5.1 SACD and DTS Discs) was one of my biggest goals with this system. They do not disappoint, though (across the board, regardless of programming!).
D Murphy posts on January 20, 2020 12:19
ryanosaur, post: 1363795, member: 86393
Hi Dennis! Always good to see you here.
Thank you for your thoughts and knowledge. I can't say I disagree.

Perhaps it is the smaller room bringing more of the Di-Pole sound out? More direct reflections from the front and sides due to proximity?
Of all people, you know I'm curious and eager to learn about what's going on here. I certainly am not going to claim to have the answer, but I do know I can hear something in the Mids of the 3s that I don't get from the BMRs.

Is one particularly better than the other? That's like asking if I prefer Cake or Ice Cream. To which I simply answer, “Yes!”

Both are remarkable, and I'm still grateful to have these wonderful boxes around me!

(But seriously, Dennis, I'd love to hear more from you about what might be happening in my room, please.)

Cheers!
I would have to be there to come up with any explanation. Also, I've never used the 3's in home theater or the BMR's as surrounds, , so I don't know how they sound in that application. The effect of the 3's open back is pretty unpredictable. I don't claim there's any clear science to it. Maybe the mixing in cinema sound tracks brings out something from the 3's that doesn't occur with with a closed back.
Swerd posts on January 20, 2020 10:26
PENG, post: 1363848, member: 6097
No kidding!!! I had been comparing my R900 with the BMRs with two pairs of speaker wires connected to the A21. One time (just yesterday), I picked the wrong wires on the right channel of the BMR, it took me a couple minutes to realize I was listening to just one speaker. I felt embarrassed that it took so long.

I was listening to Anne Akikko Meyers Seasons dream album, only a few instrument was playing. Her violin seemed to come from the middle, so that's the excuse.

Isn't the violin supposed to be on the left though? I know the BMR has very good off axis response, but I thought the violin should be quite directional? I might have been distracted at the time too.
This could be an example of expectation bias at work. You believed you connected both speakers and were listening in stereo. Your brain did its best to turn a single speaker's output into stereo .

In your defense, the short time I heard the BMR speakers in my home, back during the BMR Road Show, I thought these speakers were the best I've ever heard at creating a broad stereo image. I didn't try listening to a single speaker, but I'm not surprised at what you described.
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