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Bowers & Wilkins 603 Tower Speaker Review

by June 14, 2019
Bowers & Wilkins 603 Tower Speaker

Bowers & Wilkins 603 Tower Speaker

  • Product Name: 603 Tower Speaker
  • Manufacturer: Bowers & Wilkins
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: June 14, 2019 11:00
  • MSRP: $ 1,800/pr
  • Buy Now
  • Description: 3-way vented-box system
  • SENSITIVITY: 88.5dB spl (2.83V, 1m)
  • Recommended amplifier power: 30W - 200W into 8Ω on unclipped program
  • NOMINAL IMPEDANCE: 8Ω (minimum 3.0Ω)
  • CROSSOVER FREQUENCIES: 400Hz, 4kHz
  • HIGH-FREQUENCY DRIVER: 1” Decoupled Double Dome aluminum tweeter
  • MIDRANGE DRIVER: 6” Continuum cone FST midrange
  • LOW-FREQUENCY DRIVERS: 2x 6.5” Paper bass cones
  • INPUTS Dual binding posts / bi-wire / bi-amp
  • DIMENSIONS (HxWxD): 41.5” x 12.6 in” x 14.6 in”
  • WEIGHT 69.9 lb (31.7 kg)
  • FINISHES: Black, White

Pros

  • Detailed, involving sound, once set up correctly
  • Unusually deep bass extension
  • Wide yet meticulous soundstage
  • Slick modern styling
  • Solid build quality

Cons

  • On-axis treble is very hot
  • Best listening is done at a relatively particular angle

 

The 600 series from Bowers & Wilkins has a relatively lon603 pair 16g history for a speaker product line. First introduced as an entry-level speaker line in 1991, it has gone through many versions for almost 30 years now. In 2018, B&W unveiled their sixth iteration of the 600 series which consists of three subwoofers, a center speaker, two bookshelf speakers, and a tower speaker as you can see in our Bowers & Wilkins Revamps 600 Series Speakers preview article. This latest iteration takes advantage of a slew of technologies developed for their flagship 800 D3 series. In for review today we have the 603, the tower speaker of the new 600 series. Even though this is an ostensibly entry-level speaker, it is still an somewhat expensive proposition for a speaker set at $1,800 a pair, although that is still probably less than tax cost alone on the $30k B&W 800 D3 speakers, so in the world of Bowers & Wilkins, $1.8k is entry-level for tower speakers.

For Bowers & Wilkins, ‘entry-level’ is not some pre-determined price point but the answer to the question of what kind of speaker can they design that meets certain minimum requirements as cost-effectively as possible. In other words, what is the least expensive speaker that can be made that sounds and looks great? When one is accustomed to the extraordinarily high-fidelity that B&W is known for, that significantly raises the bar of what is considered ‘minimum requirements,’ so the 603 should deliver that B&W listening experience for a relatively accessible cost. In this review, we will ask whether the 603s deliver on the promise of a high-end B&W listening experience without the high-end price tag.

Appearance

The 603s arrived well-packed for their transit, and they were easy to unpack and assemble. Assembly consisted of attaching the base plinth to the cabinet and some feet to the plinth which only took a few minutes to complete. The 603s come in a matte black or white finish, and I received the black finish. They have a very clean and simple modern look. One aspect that helps in this respect is the magnetically-attaching grilles that do away with the need for grille guides on the front baffle. They do nothing to eschew a boxy look, in fact, they emphasize the fact. There are no curves save for the circular shape of the drivers. The 603s are clean oblong boxes, and the only detailed features on them lay in the driver cones and tweeter cover. With the grille on, the drivers are hidden, and the speakers turn into nearly abstract geometric shapes. The simplicity is the point here, and these aren’t going to stand out much in a wide range of room decors. They are designed not to clash with interior styling, and they will not draw much attention to themselves.

603 pair10   603 pair grilles3

B&W 603 Grilles Off (left pic); Grilles On (right pic)

The standout visual feature is the silver midrange driver which uses a shiny woven cone that B&W calls the Continuum cone. The tweeter also has a metallic texture, and it is placed behind a protective metal mesh. The bass drivers use matte black cones that do not visually distinguish themselves from the rest of the speaker. The cabinet rests on a plinth base that does lend it a classy touch, however, the boxy nature of the plinth gives it some pretty hard corners that would be painful to stub a toe on; do not place these speakers in high foot-traveled areas! Overall, the 603s are nice looking in a ‘smart’ and tasteful way, but not in a graceful and dazzling way. They are more like a well-groomed gentleman in a nice suit rather than a curvaceous woman in a flowing dress, and their aesthetic is more formal and business-like rather than genial or delicate.

Design Analysis

603 tweeter closeThe B&W 603 is a three-way floor-standing speaker that uses a 1” dome tweeter, a 6” midrange driver, and two 6.5” bass drivers. It is rear-ported and claims a low-end -6dB point of 29 Hz. On paper, that makes it a fairly capably if not an unusual design for a tower speaker, so what is it doing to set itself apart from the crowd? Let’s go over the components that make up the 603, starting at the top and going down. 

The 603 uses what B&W call a ‘Decoupled Double Dome tweeter’ that pushes break-up effects well outside of audible frequency ranges. ‘Break-up’ in loudspeaker driver terms is when the cone or diaphragm of the transducer oscillates so fast that it bends and fails to maintain its shape. This can cause a very ragged frequency response which leads to a whole host of audible problems. All drivers will hit break-up at some point as the frequency goes up, so the thing to do is push break-up behavior as far up in frequency as possible so that it is easy to filter out. In the case of the ‘Decoupled Double Dome’ tweeter, the upper limits of human hearing act as the filter.

600_Series_tweeter_v3_zoom_high_rez

 
The mechanism of the way it accomplishes pushing break-up to such high frequencies, according to Eric McBride, an acoustical engineer at B&W is this:

"The decoupled double dome uses a two-part construction, allowing for first break-up performance of 38kHz. The primary dome is a 30-micron aluminum dome: light, sensitive, easily driven. We then stiffen its periphery using a second, stiffer dome (50-micron) that has its center portion cut away, leaving just the outer ring portion intact. This second bracing ‘ring’ is bonded to the rear face of the 30-micron dome, creating a diaphragm that has an outstanding combination of lightness and stiffness."

The tweeter is tucked in near the top edge of the speaker which should help alleviate baffle diffraction.

Moving on to the midrange driver, the 603 uses B&W’s proprietary ‘Continuum’ cone material which replaced the Kevlar midrange cones that they had used for so long. Like Kevlar, the Continuum is a coated woven material, but Continuum is something that B&W developed in-house, so they have full control over its production. B&W first used Continuum in their 80X D3 series, and now it this technology has finally trickled down to their entry-level models. B&W claims that the 603 midrange closeContinuum material makes break-up artifacts less severe so that should make the speaker smoother at higher frequencies.

The 603 also uses B&W’s ‘Fixed Suspension Transducer’ (FST) technology in the midrange, which B&W claims reduce the problems of conventional surrounds where the surround material is less controlled and can interfere with the linear motion of the woofer. FST is more controlled because it is smaller and therefore has less room to undulate. Undulations in the surround can have resonances that can fight against the direction of travel of the cone itself. FST also uses surrounds that have mechanical properties that are similar to the edges of the cone itself so that, according to B&W’s literature, “bending wave energy traveling up the cone passes through to the surround. And if those properties are resistive or lossy, the energy can be converted harmlessly into heat. The result is that far less energy is reflected back into the cone than with a similar driver with a normal surround.” As for the bass drivers, the two 6.5” woofers use paper cones, but I don’t see anything particularly unusual about them.

The crossover circuit uses a 3rd order low-pass filter on the bass drivers at 350 Hz, and a 2nd order low-pass filter on the midrange driver at 4 kHz. That is an extraordinarily high frequency to cross a 6” cone over to a 1” dome tweeter. While the Continuum cone might not have substantial break-up artifacts at higher frequencies which could mangle the response, there is still the question of directivity matching of a cone of that size at such a high frequency. On the plus side, it allows603 rear the tweeter to use a gentle 1rst-order high-pass filter that it might not be able to were the crossover set at a lower frequency. Polyester film capacitors are used for high-frequencies, and a new electrolytic capacitor is used for low frequencies. The 603 is bi-ampable with a nickel jumper between the input terminals.

The 603 cabinet is a relatively solid build that brings the speakers up to 53 lbs. each, which is a bit hefty considering these aren’t large towers. The front baffle is 1” thick MDF and the side panels and interior bracing is ¾” thick MDF. Taking a peek inside the cabinet, I can see a network of vertical and horizontal window braces and a generous amount of stuffing. A quick knock test elicits a dull thud which indicates a dense and inert enclosure. The port is 6” long and 2” wide and is significantly flared at both ends. The port is covered in small dimples which supposedly generate tiny eddy currents as air flows over it, and this is intended to help the air flow through the port smoothly and more quietly. The principle is the same used in the dimples found in golf ball construction in that the tiny eddy currents helps to stabilize wind flow. As was mentioned before, the cabinet is mounted on a plinth that gives the speaker a stylish touch and also helps to give it a sturdy platform, so these speakers are not easy to knock over. 603 port plugs

The 603s come with an unusual port plug for those who want to reduce the low-frequency response of the speaker. This can come in handy if the user is forced to place the speaker’s rear end near the wall, because this type of placement can load the port and dramatically increase bass output (although not extension). The core of the port plug can be removed which will add extra damping on the port response instead of merely sealing the port which totally eliminates all port output. The ‘additional damping’ port plug configuration will reduce bass but not to the extent that totally sealing the port would. The disadvantage of using the plug with its core open is that will significantly increase chances of port turbulence (“chuffing”) at drive levels much lower than if the port was open. However, in my experience, I find that port turbulence is difficult to hear if the port is not facing the listener. 603 pair close7

So what does the design add up to? The key to the design of the 603 is the midrange driver. There are some advantages to its approach but also a disadvantage. The midrange driver is used over nearly three and a half octaves. The advantage to that is that there should be no crossover irregularities in that range, and that is especially beneficial because most music and voice content lives in this range. B&W is trying to keep this all-important frequency range sequestered to one driver, so the sound should be very unified and free of any phase or time-domain problems. The Continuum cone must really be high-performing for B&W to have such confidence in it to use such a large diameter cone up to 4 kHz. Another advantage to using such a large diameter cone to such high frequencies is that it will have a lot of displacement ability for the higher frequencies of its range, and that will be beneficial for the dynamic range. The disadvantage, as mentioned before, is that a 6” cone will start to constrict its dispersion around 3 kHz. The tweeter may make up for that by having a 1rst order slope, so it may start to come in wide where the midrange begins to beam. We will examine the speaker’s acoustic behavior more in the measurement section, but for now, let’s hear what it sounds like.

Listening Sessions

I can heartily recommend the B&W 603s to lovers of classical music.

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. I used various toe-in angles during listening and settled with the speakers facing forward in a parallel direction since having the speakers directly face the listening position seemed to take the edge off of an elevated treble level. 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. For movies, subwoofers were used to supplement the bass with an 80 Hz crossover frequency.

Music Listening

As always, I like to begin listening with content thaBlue Birdt emphasizes the human voice, because that is the most important instrument that a sound system should reproduce correctly. Toward this end, I selected the 1994 album ‘Blue Bird’ by legendary blues artist Jimmy Rogers. Mr. Rogers was one of the instrumental figures in creating the ‘Chicago Blues’ style, and this award-winning album was one of the last recorded by Mr. Rogers before his passing. It mostly consists of original compositions by Jimmy that includes well-known pieces and also hitherto unperformed pieces. While Jimmy’s vocals take center stage, he is backed with a very talented ensemble playing bass, piano, harmonica, and drums. The first thing that struck me about the 603’s reproduction of ‘Blue Bird’ was their precise soundstage. Imaging was very well-defined with Roger’s voice occupying a very clear center position, and accompanying instruments surrounding him in various locations depending on the track. The spatial illusion created by the 603s was quite vivid and almost tangible from my listening position. Jimmy’s slightly raspy voice was rendered with detail and crispness as was the instruments.

One thing that I noticed while listening to ‘Blue Bird’ was that the bass wasn’t quite as present as I was used to in other tower speakers of a similar class. One of the reasons may have been I was coming fresh off of reviewing the Klipsch RP-8000F which had unusually elevated bass for a tower speaker. Manufacturers of these ostensi603 pair15bly full-range speakers have to decide how to shape the bass response. If they make the bass response absolutely flat down to port-tuning, that risks bloating the bass in medium-sized or smaller rooms, so few manufacturers use that kind of response. Most of them taper off the bass at various slopes that they think will combine with the room acoustics to provide a full but not overwhelming bass sound for end use, and even the Klipsch RP-8000Fs do this, although not very aggressively. It was immediately apparent that B&W had a steeper slope of this nature since I could clearly hear deep bass, but it is not very potent. I had the speakers pulled out pretty far in the room, so to bring some more presence to the bass, I pushed them back much closer to the walls. This placement allowed the boundaries to reinforce the low frequencies, and that really did the trick in bringing out the bass. The album sounded full and tonally balanced after repositioning the speakers.

There is an advantage and disadvantage to this kind of bass response, and it is a trade-off that all loudspeaker manufacturers have to decide upon. The advantage to having a more aggressive low-frequency roll-off is that the end user can decide how much bass they want their speakers to produce by simply positioning them accordingly. If the user prefers bass with a lighter touch, simply place the speakers away from walls or use the provided port plugs. For heavier bass, place them close to walls. For speakers like the Klipsch RP-8000Fs, this is not an option, at least in a medium or small room; they are expected to be used in conditions that do not boost the bass by a lot. The disadvantage to B&W’s approach is that if the user wants strong bass, they must place the speakers near a surface, but sometimes that placement can have acoustically adverse effects in other respects. One odd choice is the inclusion of port plugs with what is already a somewhat curtailed bass response. Personally, I would have preferred a more intrinsically powerful deep bass response that port plugs could have tamed per the user’s tastes; this would have given the user more freedom to place the speaker where ever they want while still maintaining a potent bass sound. Of course, this is all a moot point when subwoofers are used.

One of the reasons I always try to listen to some full orchestra recordings with wVivaldihatever speaker is under review is that the spectral composition of full orchestra recordings tends to cover so many frequencies that it’s easier to gauge a timbral signature of a speaker than using simpler recordings that are more limited in their use of frequency bands. Or, to put that another way, orchestral recordings can have a fuller sound so it’s easier to detect an imbalance when so many different frequencies are playing at the same time. One of the orchestral albums I used for this was ‘Vivaldi: Greatest Hits,’ which, as the title states, is a collection of performances of some of the more popular pieces composed by Antonio Vivaldi. This album, released on the Sony Classical label, is a part of a series of albums that collect the hits from twenty famous composers; yes, this is one of those low-priced CDs that you find in the classical music budget bin, but the quality of the recordings is excellent as one would expect from Sony Classical. The tracks are pulled from a variety of sources and so they have different performers, but there is no shortage of musical talent here with performances by Wynton Marsalis, Yo-yo Ma, John Williams, Leonard Bernstein, among other highly-regarded performers.

The B&W 603s replayed this album with a level of definition and clarity that made the individual orchestra sections shine and in some cases even individual instruments. The strings, in particular, were given a great deal of texture, and violins, violas, and harpsichords had a veracity that could be quite striking at times. Imaging was also very good with orchestral sections having distinct positions within the soundstage. The soundstage itself was quite wide, extending beyond the speakers themselves to form a broad and enveloping but still well-defined musical space. Even though ‘Vivaldi: Greatest Hits’ is a collection of different performances recorded under different conditions and different techniques, the 603s gave the whole album an immersiveness and realism that made it a joy to listen to from beginning to end. I can heartily recommend the B&W 603s to lovers of classical music. 

For something simpler that demonstrates how well the 603’s can reGlass Effectalistically reproduce a single instrument, I selected Lavinia Meijer’s harp renditions of Philip Glass compositions in a double-disc album entitled ‘The Glass Effect.’ This is a recent Sony Classical release, and Lavinia Meijer is one of the leading harp performers of our time, so naturally, the production quality of the recording is top notch. The musicianship exhibited here is outstanding, and despite the complexity of Philip Glass’s compositions, Lavinia Meijer still plays them as deftly as though they were ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’ If, as it is often said, music is the language of emotion, then Lavinia is doubtlessly one of the most well-spoken individuals alive today. Her dexterity as a harpist is astonishing. The 603s gave a beautiful presentation of this recording. The harp was meticulously rendered, and the overtones of each note were richly detailed. The attack of each pluck and its decay were sharp, and I could detect no timing issues or smearing between the various drivers. These two speakers and collectively four bass drivers, two midranges, and two tweeters managed to create the illusion of sound from a single instrument. The imaging abilities of the 603s made it easy to discern the close mic recording technique used to capture the initial performance. The reproduction was so vivid that one could almost see the performer in action even though the presentation was purely aural. It’s difficult to imagine a finer reproduction than what the 603s were able to give for ‘The Glass Effect,’ and I think enthusiasts for recordings of plucked string music would be extremely happy with the sound of these speakers.

MoLSGving on from totally acoustic recordings to something totally electronically generated, I wanted to see how the 603s could reproduce bombastic and artificial, so a musical opposite of say, a harp solo. For this task, I turned to LSG’s ‘Rendezvous in Outer Space,’ an electronic music album released in 1995. But saying this music is artificial isn’t saying it isn’t every bit as sincere and legitimate as music performed on acoustic instruments; it is merely saying that the acoustic space conjured by the recording artist is an electronic fabrication and doesn’t exist in reality. Microphones were not used to record this music. Stylistically, the music itself falls under the ‘Trance’ subgenre of Techno music, however, it is a disservice to simply group away compositions of the level of thoughtfulness and craftsmanship as appearing in this album into some kind of compartmentalized genre. ‘Rendezvous in Outer Space’ uses the conventions of Trance in the track compositions, but its ambition is far beyond traditional techno albums. While ‘Rendezvous in Outer Space’ is a collection of individual tracks, the album was conceived and created to be listened to as a whole, and so the effect is of an hour-long journey. The B&W 603s played this album beautifully, and their imaging ability recreated the unearthly pans and instrument positioning with exquisite precision. With the speakers placed near the front wall, the bassline and kick drums had a real thump, and a subwoofer was not needed at all. The myriad layers of synthesizer textures were all individually distinct even as they added up to a single kaleidoscopic ride through a melody of electronic bleeps, chirps, and chimes. When I cranked the volume, the 603s could play loudly with no discernable distortion or compressed frequency ranges. The 603s could hit hard when tasked to. Overall, I found the 603s to be a fine choice for pop music such as this brand of electronic music, and they do as well here as they do with acoustic recordings.

Movie Listening

One movie I used to evaluate the B&W 603s wgood dinosauras Pixar’s 2015 release ‘The Good Dinosaur,’ which was recommended to me for having a good sound mix. Naturally, being a Pixar production, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is computer animated and has second-to-none sound engineering courtesy of Skywalker Sound. The story concerns a young dinosaur (a Brontosaurus, I believe) that gets lost from home, and his return journey is full of sonically-engaging mishaps. There are fierce thunderstorms, scuffles with Pterodactyls, avalanches, and a buffalo stampede (A buffalo stampede in a movie about dinosaurs may sound confusing, but I am not going to explain it here; you’ll just have to watch it). Mycheal Danna and Jeff Danna provide an emotive score that adeptly shifts from playful to melancholy to tense and scary. The 603s did a great job of bringing the world of ‘The Good Dinosaur’ to life. The effects sounds were vivid and occasionally startling, so much so that I questioned whether this movie might be a bit too intense for younger children. The score was also recreated with clarity and liveliness. The soundmix was executed so realistically that it helped to underscore an odd property of this movie: the aural and visual environments were rendered with such detail and realism that the cartoonish characters who inhabited this setting seemed out of place. The world of ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is almost photorealistic, and the sound is similarly convincing, but the childish style of the characters contradicts the otherwise astounding animation.

Another movie that I watched with the 603s was ‘Alien: Covenant,’ Ridley Scott’Aliens 2017 follow up to Alien prequel ‘Prometheus.’ Whatever one’s opinion of ‘Alien: Covenant,’ it can’t be denied that it has a superb sound mix that nicely balances the many elements of the film. The action has a wider variety of locales then most monster movies, from the clamor of a variety of spaceships to the near-silence of a dead world. Some of the more frenetic action scenes are held together by the consistency of the sound mix, which uses over-lapping dialogue, music, and effects sounds to give continuity to chaotic situations. The 603s were able to track all of these ingredients without smearing or confusion. I set the volume to a high level and they didn’t break a sweat with the wide dynamic range. I didn’t get a sense of any compression or distortion. The speakers were able to give this sound mix a ‘big-screen’, cinematic scale that was intended. One aspect, in particular, was Jed Kurzel’s music score which touched on themes from the first ‘Alien’ movie as well as ‘Prometheus’ while contributing his own new haunting theme to the series. The music was a combination of orchestral themes and electronic tones that are a major component to the film’s eerie atmosphere (and it is also a major component helping the viewer to glaze over the major plot holes). All in all, the B&W 603s proved to a great speaker to render the sound of this tense and sometimes inventively grotesque movie.

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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:

GuitarPicker posts on July 03, 2019 07:29
I always take my advise from forums on the internet. I would never try to do this research at home.
baronvonellis posts on June 18, 2019 20:06
I never liked B&Ws they always sounded really harsh in the treble. Thanks for the measurements that show why now! They are really great at selling expensive speakers that sound lousy, you have to give their marketing dept credit, they are the real geniuses there. I'm guessing that hot treble sounds exciting when listening at a local noisy big box store. Cuts through the din. And ironically it probably sounds great when listening to them from another room while doing household chores. That hot treble would sound natural from a longways off haha! It's probably marketed for casual listening people and not audiophiles, so it's funny they use so much technobabble to sell their speakers.
PENG posts on June 17, 2019 07:55
gene, post: 1321914, member: 4348
It's not that I don't believe in doing 4-ohm ACD tests but it's impractical, especially for AV receivers. Most high power amps will reach the wall outlet limit with 7CH driven into 8 ohms. So if you redo that test into 4 ohms, you're now limited by wall current and the power #s will drop even if the amp is capable (most receivers aren't). 4-ohm 2CH testing will show you if the amp has intentional and excessive nanny control like you will see in my Integra review.

The 4-ohm test these did is likely instantaneous sweep. No way the Denon can sustain 140wpc x 7 for very long. Wonder what the distortion was.

I like doing steady state 4-ohm tests for 2CH to make sure the receiver doesn't shut down or break driving a stereo pair of 4-ohm speakers.

Still useful info though what they did but distortion should always be stated.

Agreed 100%, any longer than a couple hundred ms, or less, the unit should shut down anyway.
gene posts on June 16, 2019 20:40
PENG, post: 1321883, member: 6097
I know you don't believe in doing 7 channel driven into 4 ohm test and you don't use regulated PS for your tests. It looks like Audiovision does, and below are their SR8012 vs AVR-X8500H in output power on the bench.

http://audiovision.de/marantz-sr8012-test/
http://audiovision.de/denon-avc-8500h-test/

Tests were done using 1 kHz sine wave, no distortions level mentioned, hopefully not more than 1%. Not too useful information, but I guess for comparison purposes it is better than nothing. Regardless, their results seem to agree with your “add 10%…” prediction, except the 7 channel into 4 ohm test, Denon output almost 24% more.

Stereo, 4 Ohms:
Denon……………………. 260 W
Marantz…………………..235 W

Stereo, 6 Ohms:
Denon……………………..213 W
Marantz…………………..184 W

5 Channel, 4 Ohms:
Denon……………………..161 W
Marantz…………………..140 W (or 149, it was too blurry to read)

5 Channel, 6 Ohms:
Denon……………………..131 W (this one makes no sense, may be a typo)
Marantz…………………..134 W

7 Channel, 6 Ohms:
Denon……………………..122 W
Marantz…………………..105 W

7 Channel, 4 Ohms
Denon……………………..140 W
Marantz…………………..113 W

Obviously this is the wrong thread for this, so may be a mod can move it to the right place.

PENG, post: 1321883, member: 6097
I know you don't believe in doing 7 channel driven into 4 ohm test and you don't use regulated PS for your tests. It looks like Audiovision does, and below are their SR8012 vs AVR-X8500H in output power on the bench.

http://audiovision.de/marantz-sr8012-test/
http://audiovision.de/denon-avc-8500h-test/

Tests were done using 1 kHz sine wave, no distortions level mentioned, hopefully not more than 1%. Not too useful information, but I guess for comparison purposes it is better than nothing. Regardless, their results seem to agree with your “add 10%…” prediction, except the 7 channel into 4 ohm test, Denon output almost 24% more.

Stereo, 4 Ohms:
Denon……………………. 260 W
Marantz…………………..235 W

Stereo, 6 Ohms:
Denon……………………..213 W
Marantz…………………..184 W

5 Channel, 4 Ohms:
Denon……………………..161 W
Marantz…………………..140 W (or 149, it was too blurry to read)

5 Channel, 6 Ohms:
Denon……………………..131 W (this one makes no sense, may be a typo)
Marantz…………………..134 W

7 Channel, 6 Ohms:
Denon……………………..122 W
Marantz…………………..105 W

7 Channel, 4 Ohms
Denon……………………..140 W
Marantz…………………..113 W

Obviously this is the wrong thread for this, so may be a mod can move it to the right place.

It's not that I don't believe in doing 4-ohm ACD tests but it's impractical, especially for AV receivers. Most high power amps will reach the wall outlet limit with 7CH driven into 8 ohms. So if you redo that test into 4 ohms, you're now limited by wall current and the power #s will drop even if the amp is capable (most receivers aren't). 4-ohm 2CH testing will show you if the amp has intentional and excessive nanny control like you will see in my Integra review.

The 4-ohm test these did is likely instantaneous sweep. No way the Denon can sustain 140wpc x 7 for very long. Wonder what the distortion was.

I like doing steady state 4-ohm tests for 2CH to make sure the receiver doesn't shut down or break driving a stereo pair of 4-ohm speakers.

Still useful info though what they did but distortion should always be stated.
PENG posts on June 16, 2019 14:52
gene, post: 1321860, member: 4348
Thx, appreciate that. Just take my SR8012 measurements and add 10% or so more power.

I know you don't believe in doing 7 channel driven into 4 ohm test and you don't use regulated PS for your tests. It looks like Audiovision does, and below are their SR8012 vs AVR-X8500H in output power on the bench.

http://audiovision.de/marantz-sr8012-test/
http://audiovision.de/denon-avc-8500h-test/

Tests were done using 1 kHz sine wave, no distortions level mentioned, hopefully not more than 1%. Not too useful information, but I guess for comparison purposes it is better than nothing. Regardless, their results seem to agree with your “add 10%…” prediction, except the 7 channel into 4 ohm test, Denon output almost 24% more.

Stereo, 4 Ohms:
Denon……………………. 260 W
Marantz…………………..235 W

Stereo, 6 Ohms:
Denon……………………..213 W
Marantz…………………..184 W

5 Channel, 4 Ohms:
Denon……………………..161 W
Marantz…………………..140 W (or 149, it was too blurry to read)

5 Channel, 6 Ohms:
Denon……………………..131 W (this one makes no sense, may be a typo)
Marantz…………………..134 W

7 Channel, 6 Ohms:
Denon……………………..122 W
Marantz…………………..105 W

7 Channel, 4 Ohms
Denon……………………..140 W
Marantz…………………..113 W

Obviously this is the wrong thread for this, so may be a mod can move it to the right place.
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