Gear / Technical Help => Playback Forum => Topic started by: carlbeck on May 01, 2003, 02:21:34 PM

Title: Matrix 804?
Post by: carlbeck on May 01, 2003, 02:21:34 PM
What do you B&W guys think of the Matrix 804's? I have a chance to purchase a pair at a decent price to replace my Vandersteens. I'm having a bitch of a time trying to get my 2Ce Sig's to image well in my room & have decided to try another speaker. I don't know anything about the Matrix & haven't heard any higher end B&W so I have no clue what to expect.
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 01, 2003, 03:36:41 PM
First, let me preface this by saying I have never heard the 2ce's.  That being said, there are LOTS of people who love those vandys...  So my first thought would be: have you exhausted all opportunities?

Speaker positioning makes a MONSTROUS difference in the sound quality; so much that without proper speaker positioning, sometimes gear upgrades can't be heard much, if at all.  What size room do you have them in?  How far away from the walls are they (both the back and the side measurements)?  What kind of "wiggle room" do you have in placement?

I have heard the Matrix 805, Matrix 801, Nautilus 805 (which I own now), N804, N803, N802, and N801's...  I do not like what I have heard from the N804's.  There is something just not right about that speaker...  Something about the driver integration isn't great.  I didn't hear the M804 version, so maybe it's better; but IMO the Nautilus tweeter is WELL worth springing for, as the N805 and N801 sound vastly better than their matrix counterpart (in many areas).

To be honest, I haven't liked anything lower than the 801's, other than the 805's.  I am still fiddling with 802's, tho, as anecdotal evidence suggests they are truly excellent speakers; and that I just haven't heard them in a well-integrated system.  But since I don't have the room for them right now, I'm either sticking with my N805's or buying the Siggy 805's for the time being.

That being said, B&W's are pinpoint imagers, by nature.  So maybe they would work where the Vandy's won't?

Speaker placement and room matching is HUGE!!  My bud has a pair of Martin Logan SL3's...  And they sound decent in his room, but not great...  he just can't pull them out far enough into the room (wife issues)...  
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: carlbeck on May 01, 2003, 03:44:19 PM
The room is very tough & I know all my issues are from placement. The room is 14X17X7 & I have the speakers kiti-corner in the room, they are 3 ft from the rear walls but there is only 2 ft from the sides & one is a glass door! Ouch to say the least. I have been dragging these puppies around the living room for a few months without any sucess. I know everyone raves about the Vandy's but for me it's been nothing but heartache :'(
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 01, 2003, 03:53:30 PM
I feel your pain, man.  I was stuck in a 10x12 listening room for awhile.  Nearfield only, obviously...  And when I had my apartment I had the sliding glass door to contend with :(

Are you married?  If not (most wives won't go for this, maybe yours is an exception tho?) you should consider some adsorbtive material to put on the first surface of reflection; I believe the company that makes tube traps maks some standing panels.  That might help...  You can get them in matching fabrics and such, you'd just have to move that panel every time you needed to get in and out of the slider.

Seriously, you should try a pair of N805's.  I really REALLY like these speakers...  Like I said, the only other B&W I have liked so far is the N801's...  The 805's are really something special.  I put them up against a slew of ProAc's, Thiel's, and B&Ws and the N805's came out on top, and they were at the low end of my price range!  And I can absolutely attest that the love DNA power  ;)

Do you have a Thiel dealer around?  The new CS1.6's might work well, too...  I *love* the CS2.4's, but you'd need more room for those, I think.  The CS1.5's and 2.3's were readily outclassed by the N805's, IMO, tho...  

Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: carlbeck on May 01, 2003, 06:21:55 PM
The problem I see with the 805 or any monitor is that I really need a sub with them, pushing the cost up a bit. I have never heard a good mini-monitor set up in all reality but I really like to FEEL the bass when I turn it up :o I'm not married yet (sept 13) but she lives here & really likes the room set up right now so my options are really rather limited. The other concern I have with speakers on stands are that I have 2 crazy huskies who could easily knock over a speaker if they are wrestling in the living room. Tough choice but keep them coming :D
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 01, 2003, 10:38:03 PM
LOL I have a lab and a shep and they don't knock them over :)  Filled with sand, the N805 stands weigh a boatload.  They're not going anywhere.

You would need a sub if you're into slamming bass.  I like bass, but rarely use my sub.  The N805's are unbelieveable for live music, you really need to hear them.

HMMN.  You should take a look at the Thiel CS2.4's.  Really.  A bit more laid back than the B&W sound, but I still like it (it's no lazy ProAc).  Quite a bit!  And PLENTY of bass.  When auditioning them I didn't feel the need for the new $6k Thiel sub at all.  They are WONDERFUL speakers.

Don't know about their space requirements, bring them home on a home audition and give them a whirl!
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: sideshowbob on May 02, 2003, 04:18:39 AM
Yeah, fill them with sand if you can. I agree completely, although with two huskies, good luck my friend ;) Look into floor speakers...hahaha :) You should be able to mount the speakers to the stands via small screws without much damage. If you are keeping them, to hell with it!!!! Secure the speakers to the stands and watch the dogs ;D Enjoy, you'll have some real nice speakers. Thanks.....Jason
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 02, 2003, 08:55:51 AM
I forgot to mention that.  The N805's have dedicated stands that you really want; they attach rigidly to the stands via two large metric bolts.

That, and the sand, make them heavy enough that even my rambunctious lab hasn't knocked them over; even though he's been coined "little bruiser", "tooth cracker", and he has "tucker's tremendously terrible tail of terror."  There's a story behind each ;)

Have a listen...  But make sure you hear those CS2.4's, I think you'd LOVE them if you like taut bass impact.
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: scervin on May 02, 2003, 09:55:39 AM
   Check out these Onix Ref 1's.  From what folks are saying these are the real deal.  Here is a link to a site to putz around on.  The forum there is full of reviews and a/b comps.


Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: carlbeck on May 02, 2003, 10:56:47 AM
I've seen those before but they are a little hard to take seriously. I know they have a trial period but shipping speakers blows. I hate reviews like those b/c you never know where the reviewer is coming from. Speakers are so subjective & that only makes matters worse, kind of like our little taping hobby. I don't need to remind anyone which is better do I ?, AKG or MG's  ;)
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 02, 2003, 11:01:15 AM
IMO, never buy loudspeakers based upon a review, a reccomendation, etc. without listening to them in your rig, in your home.  Loudspeakers are SUCH a personal choice, and SO rig dependent.

I have had bad luck in the past buying things without a home audition.  The "internet buzz product of the day" often turns out to be a bust, IMO.  ART D/IO is a perfect example.  From the reviews and internet lore, this thing is a giant killer.  IMO it wasn't anything special.\

That said, I've never heard those speaks, and the P1/P3/powerbase combo gets extremely good reviews...  Just short of the best...
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: scervin on May 02, 2003, 11:30:29 AM
They do give you a 30 day in home trial. Granted you must pay shipping though.  BTW do you know the back ground of this company??  I've had the pleasure to meet Mark and he is a great guy.  Actually the grandson Of Irving Marantz. Have you heard of Genesis Audio and Audio Alchemy?? Yeah Mark was behind all that. Anyhow was just tossing tossing up an idea.  I've found great value in buying direct and not so much help supporting the local guys.  Whenever I walk in I get passed up by the folks working there and it has now ticked me off to the point where I won't go anymore and none would give an in home audition.  I find the same crap in buying cars. I guess it's because I'm on the young side (25), but you should never judge a book by its cover. Just because it looks like I don't have the loot, doesn' mean I'm not serious.  If you want, there are others that might be in your area that would let you take a listen.  Good luck with your search.  I guess VMPS are out as well??  They actually might be in showrooms now.....  
   I took the chance on the Rockets and eneded up getting them after comparing them to the CDM series (not the 9's though), Paradigms, Thiel's, Monitor Audio, KEF, PSB Silveri's, Dynaudio Audience (wish I could afford the Contours) all side by side I may add.  I would never buy anything w/o a listen btw. So for my $2500 they sound pretty good to me.  Could I pay for the more expensive stuff and best sounding gear, maybe but could I afford it, nope.  I'll be saving that system for the next house.  Other things I must take care of first. Just label me the sucker for the "internet buzz product of the day"...... ::)
P.S MG's are better  ;D especially w/ a mme!
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 02, 2003, 11:38:23 AM
Please don't take what I said as a personal attack.  I was making a general statement, and note that I finished with: "That said, I've never heard those speaks, and the P1/P3/powerbase combo gets extremely good reviews...  Just short of the best... "

I have never heard those speakers personally, and do not pretend to pass judgement on them.

Hifi is a weird industry; it seems to take years to establish a relationship with the local dealer.  And sometimes they just suck, which sounds like yours is in the "suck" category.  

I just want to emphasize that loudspeakers are the most colored part of ANY rig; audition, audition, audition!!

Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: scervin on May 02, 2003, 11:57:08 AM
I didn't take it as a personal attack on me but rather on a company I've had much good fortune w/ and are class act.  I realize it takes years as I've had that experience in the golf industry. I've bought every club (been a lot) from this one guy.  He took the time to help me at the age of 12 when I wanted all the newest and best stuff that I'd seen while being a caddy and showed me that stuff wasn't for me.  It was great to see him finally become manager of the place and then open another store. He still takes the time to chat when I go in there, only now I smoke him so he doesn't have much to add in club selection.
   The hi-fi stores are a different story around here.  They suck! I had a guy flat out tell me I couldn't buy anything in his store. I asked if I could try and finance a system on 90 days same as cash and he said he will try to run the credit, but thought no way would I get it. Again this is what he said to me directly in a very negative tone.  I got approved for the entire system (B&W CDMNT 5 speaker system) and told him flat out he should treat his customers w/ a little more respect and walked out!  I was being a jerk by doing this I know, but you should treat people how you want to be treated.  I may try and head over to Canada to see what they have from now on.  
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: carlbeck on May 02, 2003, 11:58:22 AM
I totally understand what you mean but what I meant about the "serious" comment is that I have not heard them or know anyone (besides you) who has. I allways shop on the internet & look for deals but would prefer to buy used over new. The direct thing is enticing to save some bucks but I'm so nervous to sell my Vandies that I want to be totally sold on the new speaker before I let them go. Audio is too subjective to form an opinion over until you spend serious time with the gear.
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 02, 2003, 12:06:20 PM
It sucks you've been treated like that in the past...  No one deserves that kind of treatment  >:(  You are right to go elsewhere for hifi  :(

I am not in any way, shape, or form attacking Mark/Perpetual Technologies/Audio Alchemy, etc.  Please don't take it as such.  His products have always been good value for the dollar, if not able to beat the best, always a solid choice.  I have no reason to think they have changed.  I would love to hear their DAC/upsampler combo, to be honest.

Get out there and enjoy some speaker auditions, carlbeck!!  I find auditioning speakers to be the most enjoyable part of buying a hifi.  There are SO many flavors and good choices out there, all at excellent price points!
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: carlbeck on May 02, 2003, 12:18:34 PM
Problem with auditioning is the lack of quality stores up here in New England. I'm an hour from Boston or Portland but there still aren't many choices. I'm looking around & hoping to find something that will work for me in my system in that horrible room.
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 02, 2003, 12:21:07 PM
Wow, I'm surprised Boston doesn't have more hifi shops.  I would have assumed they were full of them.

Ahhhh that makes it tough!!

If you're after imaging, I still say go with a standmounter...

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress!
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: carlbeck on May 02, 2003, 12:30:42 PM
Boston has a few shops but they all sell similar brands or stuff I can't afford new. It's tough, I guess Nick has had luck with his local Tweeter in Portland (they have a nice range) but what I'm really looking for is a great shop with a bunch of used stuff besides B&W's. Spearit Sound is kick ass but they never have any speakers I'm interested in.
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 02, 2003, 12:38:43 PM
Don't forget dealers often sell demo stock.  I get LOTS of stuff demo from my dealer.  I can oftentimes pick up a "demo" piece (sometimes used only once or twice) for 50% of retail cost!  That makes stuff from the high dollar companies quite attainable...

I found my local shop doesn't do much used stuff anymore, audiogon and other places have pretty much killed our local used market.  

I'd prefer demo units anyway, they come with full warranties, too!!

In fact, I'm bringing home a demo dCS Purcell upsampler this weekend...  Can't wait to hear how it sounds with my Delius, upsampling my recordings to 24/192!!
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: sideshowbob on May 02, 2003, 10:42:02 PM
I agree completely. Look for a demo deal. Shit, walk into your local hifi store and ask them what it will take for them to let you walk out with the demo right now. You'll be surprised.....you think we're gear whores!!!!! They can get the newest stuff, if they have the room, so they are always looking to get rid of demo gear. I would not recommend buying used gear online, as most of it is reconditioned merchandise that has no warranties, or guarantees. Check with the manufacturer to see what their stated policy is on used gear and warranties. Just my $.02 and good luck. Thanks.......Jason

ducati...How is that upsampler working out???? Interested as always ;)
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: carlbeck on May 04, 2003, 09:24:30 AM
WOW, I heard a set of Montana DPS's yesterday & holy cow were they nice. Imaging was spot on, tonal balance perfect & bass surprisingly good fom twin 5.25 woofers.  I still have to listen to the Matrix but I was pretty much sold yesterday. I still think I'll need a sub with them but they are a front firing port making it easier on placement for me. I guess I could look at them like a set of monitors with built in stands that my dogs can't knock over ;D Overall a very nice speaker, too bad you don't hear much about them.
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 04, 2003, 01:02:57 PM
I've never heard those.  They are certainly nice-looking!  Can you descibe their sonic signature?  The only thing I don't like about the specs of that Montana is it's -3db down at 22khz.  If you're planning on using wide-bandwidth sources such as 24/96 recordings, LPs, DVD-A or SACD, that is not ideal...

Of course, specs aren't everything, sound is  ;)

You really need to check out the Thiel CS2.4's..!  Thiel makes all his own drivers, which is a huge draw for me, and his coherent source technology of time-aligning just plain works.  Not to mention the 2.4's are very nice looking.  And they sound fantastic...  Do you have any Thiel dealers in your area?  If I were you, I'd at least give 'em a quick listen, if so.

Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: carlbeck on May 04, 2003, 01:24:15 PM
The best way I could describe them is that they were very nuetral on the recordings I auditioned them with. I used a few of my own recordings as well as some live recordings. I did not bother with studio recordings b/c time was tight & I rarely listen to them anyway. The imaging is what really got me instantly, the soundstage was in  perfect proportion, deep with the proper perspective. I used mostly WSP recordings b/c I know their live sound best. The distance between the front of the stage to the back was spot on as well as width with the instruments in proper location.
    Overall it was a very pleasing demo for me but I still have some concerns on the driver size in these speakers. If I could find another set to audition in my price range with larger drivers I would jump on the chance. Overall the speakers seemed a bit revealing of source flaws but very musical. The store used Rotel gear, while I do not have experience with any Rotel gear I imediately detected some slight SS harshness that I imagine will not be present in my system.
    The speakers seem to be a little more forward than my Vandies which is also a good thing b/c the Vandies are lacking some detail & tend to smooth everything a little too much at times (this was not so present to me until I heard the same recordings over the Montana :o ) So in a nutshell, I will audition the B&W's but  they will have to be DAMN good to beat what I heard yesterday. I am also coming to the conclusion that I will need to purchase a sub with any speaker I get to keep that thump I have grown to love with my present rig. It will add to the overall cost & I haven't really determined whether I am better off adding that money to a larger speaker now or spending it a little at a time for a sub or subs later.
Title: Re:Matrix 804?
Post by: ducati on May 04, 2003, 01:40:03 PM
I have found the same thing with Rotel gear in the past.  I always detect a bit too much grain and harshness...  I hear it's better with the newest series, but perhaps not enough.

Anyway, they sound quite nice!  A sub will add incredibly to the cost, as it's very costly to get a great sub for music.  REL makes some great ones, but even a great sub isn't guaranteed to integrate with every set of speaks.  It's fairly hard to do well...

Soundstage depth is incredibly addictive to me!!  I have really setup my rig to do well with that.  Very important for us live music fans  ;D

Seriously, check out the Thiel's.  No sub needed.  Thiel's new sub does add a bit on the bottom, but not nearly enough to justify the, what, $5k pricetag of the sub?  Those Thiel's pack seriously taut extended bass..  IMO they would erase your worries about needing a sub, and turn out cheaper for it.

If my wife would let me buy the Thiel's, I would.  I think they're a STEAL in the black finish ($3400, IIRC).  They are more laid back than my N805's, a different presentation, but thoroughly enjoyable.  The first pair of speaks (other than the N801's and Wilson Watt/Puppy 7's) that have made me want to switch from my N805's..  My wife is a committed B&W fan, though, the only other speakers coming through the door would be another pair of Nautilii...