Dissapointed with my new speakers

So a couple of weeks ago I replaced my 2 year old Klipsch RB25 bookshelves with a pair of B&W DM603 S2 floorstanders. When I first auditioned them I fell in love with their resolution and clarity however having lived with them for two weeks now, I am very dissapointed in the low-end and to a much lesser extent, the midrange.

On most songs, the bottom end seems very lacking compared to the Klipsch bookshelves and simply pales in comparison to the Klipsch RF82s we have in the living room. In addition the mid-range seems a little over emphasized. I can probably get used to the mid-range however, the lack of low end impact I probably couldn't get used to. I was thinking about adding a subwoofer but a half-decent one would start around $250 and go up from there and the speakers themselves are worth around $450-500. This got me thinking, maybe I should just switch to a different pair of speakers instead of trying to make the current system sound better. What do you guys suggest?

P.S.-I'm in Hawai'i so while I'm open to used speakers, shipping here will usually run about $250+ for floorstanders so I'd only have about $500 for the speakers.
When you fell in "love" with the speaker,do you use the same gear as during the audition? Your gear may compliment the Klipsch,but not be synergistic with the B&Ws.
They haven't even broken in yet. Play them all day long and crank them up while you're at work.
What you describe are all the symptoms of brand new speakers. Put 800 hours of music on them. . . then let us know if you still have probs with them. What speakers do before they are broken in is usually hideous. G.
Krell man is correct. The woofers' break-in can be accelerated by facing the cabinets toward one another(closely) and reversing the wires on one's input. This will put them out of phase with each other and cancel some of the sound. Pick some music with a lot of bass, and play it on, "repeat". The ones you heard at the store were broken in already, besides being on a different system. The drivers' suspensions need to limber up on yours, as well as the crossover components needing to burn-in. Hopefully, when all that's over with; your love will have returned.
Not sure how long B&W's take to break in but my Dynaudio C1's did sound great out of the box but after 100 hrs they were just horrible. That being said after 200 hrs they were acceptable and at 400 hrs they were great. I did burn mine in 24/7 until I hit 450 hrs.
Thanks for the advice guys. I actually purchased them locally and they were used for a year by the owner I bought them from, and were demos before that, so they must be broken in by now right? He had them running off of an old Rotel CD player and an older Rotel integrated. I'm running them off of my Denon PMA-2000IVR integrated. It's a warmer high current SS amp so I was surprised at how little mid-low bass there was.
You'd certainly think so, wouldn't you? Are they in the same room as the Klipsch system(living room)? Perhaps they are sensitive to their placement in the room? Have you tried moving them, with relation to the room boundaries? If they are in a different room; that one may have a null(or more than one) at the freq(s) you are missing.
Make sure you have them wired correctly. If they are out-of-phase, the bass response will be weak.
07-10-09: Skyline889
I'm running them off of my Denon PMA-2000IVR integrated. It's a warmer high current SS amp so I was surprised at how little mid-low bass there was.
That should be a good amp/speaker match. That Denon is a big, heavy class A integrated with huge current reserves and the B&w has a pretty friendly impedance curve and its sensitivity is around 89 dB.

Also, the DM603 S2 was discontinued years ago, Stereophile reviewed the S3 in 2005, and the reviews of the S2 on Audioreview go back ten years. So it's definitely not a break-in problem.

So I suspect it's a room placement, spiking, or cabling problem, or a bit of all three. First thing to do is check to see if your speaker cables are wired out of phase to the speakers. That would easily account for why a floorstander known for dipping into the 30's has less bass than some Klipsch bookshelves.

Second, perhaps the cable itself is a mismatch and you need a very low gauge feed to the woofer terminals.

Third, maybe one or both of the woofers are blown. This is a 2-1/2 way system, which means it's a 2-way that gets augmented by the second woofer from about 450 Hz on down. If the woofers are blown, the mid/woofers still work but would have much weaker bass than when the lower woofers are helping out. This could also account for the bad tonal balance you're hearing.

Fourth, make sure the speakers are making contact through all the spikes or cones to the floor below. If you have hardwood floors, use cones (or spikes) plus floorsavers.

If all those things are OK, then you need to experiment with in-room placement. There may be some cancellations going on with the speakers in their current positions. How does their position compare with what you had for the Klipsch's?
Agree with all Johnnyb53 says. I would also suggest lugging them out to the room where your larger Klipsch reside and trying them in that system to see how they do there. - could be the current room size is too small for the 603s to open up, or the Denon is not as good a match as it seems on paper. Agree there could be a problem with on of the woofers - I always thought these speakers had a little too much bass!?!
My experience is what impresses on an audition doesn't always satisfy long term. But since you bought used you can swap out without too much pain$.

But before you swap 'em try changing associated equipment.
Interconnects, speaker wire, borrow sources, amps... Maybe they are pickier than your previous speakers.

I recently got some Spendor BC-1s that sounded pretty bad in my system. I swapped amps - some improvement. Then I swapped speaker wire - BIG improvement.
FWIW, your criticism of the B&Ws mirrors my own experience with their little brothers, the DM602 S2. I played around with various tweaks like bi-wiring, placement, and tubes, but nothing did it for me until I eventually cut my losses and moved on to different speakers.

Good luck.
I'd have your dealer come over, since he sold you the speakers and they sounded ok in his audition room and have him touble shoot what is 'not quite right' now that they are in your house.

That's how brick and mortar dealers stay in buiness...by helping their customers after the sale also.
My experience with several models of B&W floor standers in this range is similar -- I found the bass just didn't sound right.
usually it's all about the room and then work on the gear. amp is up to it... imo 'lesser' bw's never did have a great lowend kick. comping them to a klipsch may be unfair in that sense but it could point to the room or placement in that the smaller klipsch were reacting with space 'better'. just dont be afraid to try all sorts of placements and room treatments. maybe you are getting a cancellation effect on that frequency range? that said, subs are a great addition and can add a new level to any spkrs if done right. plus you can hold onto them thru many spkr changes so value is greater.
It all the room and placement my friend. Please take the time to move them closer to the back wall, corners, into the room et... until you like what you hear.

I bet you will be amazed at what placement can do!
Thanks for all the help guys. I moved them to my living room and they performed much better than they did in my small room. Part of my problem I found is that in my room I need to put them on stands as they're too short for my listening chair. The main part of the problem however is that I really can't listen loud enough to enjoy these at their potential. I think what I was running into was that I tend to listen at lower volumes and unlike the Klipsches we have, these really don't perform well at those volumes. The "impact" of the mid-low frequencies comes at a much higher volume. With my Denon turned up half way, they performed much like the reviews I have read about them however, they are also quite fatigueing at these volumes. Catch 22 I guess. :(

Also while pushing these speakers harder I found that they aren't very cohesive. I can hear the cross-over points for the woofer, the tweeter, and the mid-bass driver and they just don't come together smoothly, they sound like they're coming out of individual drivers (Which they are, I guess I just expect them to meld together better). Do you guys have any suggestions for better speakers? I auditioned a pair of Kef IQ90s and they sounded pretty good however I'd have to pay close to retail and was quoted $1100 which seems a bit much for these speakers.
Part of the problem is the Klipsch speakers are super efficient, so comparing their performance to the B&W straight across is like tying two arms and a leg behind your amplifier's back. Not trying to defend the B&W 600's, but this is not an apples to apples comparison.

Question: do you really want floor standing speakers? If so, quality floor standers for around $1000+- I would look at these:

Infinity Beta 50
Monitor Audio Silver RS6
Monitor Audio Bronze BR5
Axiom Audio M60 v2
Focal Chorus 716V
Paradigm Monitor 7 (Great Deal)
B&W 684 (yes, really)
Klipsch Reference Series RF52 (why not?)
Aperion Audio Intimus 5T
Polk Audio RTI A5
07-14-09: Knownothing
Part of the problem is the Klipsch speakers are super efficient, so comparing their performance to the B&W straight across is like tying two arms and a leg behind your amplifier's back. ...

Question: do you really want floor standing speakers? If so, quality floor standers for around $1000+- I would look at these:...
Good list, to which I'd add the PSB Image T55 and T65. Both have an in-room sensitivity rating of 93-94 dB, which is a good match for a high current 100wpc amp. Should give a similar result as the Paradigm you mentioned.
Another speaker that might be a stretch new but is gorgeous looking and sounding is the Quad 21L2. These little two ways look like they came out of the Steinway piano production facility and have a marvelously balanced sound to go with the stunning looks. Not bass monsters, but clean bass and midrange and treble to die for. Look for used - worth the shipping to HI if you can find.
>Also while pushing these speakers harder I found that they aren't very cohesive. I can hear the cross-over points for the woofer, the tweeter, and the mid-bass driver and they just don't come together smoothly, they sound like they're coming out of individual drivers (Which they are, I guess I just expect them to meld together better). Do you guys have any suggestions for better speakers? I auditioned a pair of Kef IQ90s and they sounded pretty good however I'd have to pay close to retail and was quoted $1100 which seems a bit much for these speakers.

With conventional speakers you need at least a three-way to get reasonable bass extension and output levels without distortion or polar response issues that make the speaker's performance very room+placement sensitive.

Parts cost on an unoffensive 2-way translates into ~$1K/pair MSRP through brick and mortar dealers, with a 3-way doubling the cost. You just can't sell a decent three way through conventional channels for less than $2K a pair.

The two-way one high and one low pass filter. The 3-way essentially has two high-pass filters and two low pass filters. The bass low pass and mid-range high pass occur at lower frequencies than in the 2-way so they use much larger and consequently expensive reactive components. IOW, cross-over costs more than double. Since little of the driver cost is in the tweeter (you see $25 tweeters on $8K speakers with $80 midrange drivers) and the bass driver requires a larger motor than the midrange driver those costs tend to at least double too, especially where multiple bass drivers are used to maintain sensitivity or provide higher output while fitting into an aesthetic narrow cabinet.
I would save up and find a used pair of Von Schweikert 4JR, they do what you want.
A word to the wise, you might stay away from Monitor Audio and be super careful of tweeter arrangement/design in any speaker you buy. MA speakers are incredibly bright (I owned two pair before). Great for home theater, brutal for music.

Textile dome tweeters may be more forgiving than metal dome in my experience, but regardless it's best to do an in home demo of at least a week to see if you can live with them. In store auditions are usually only good for an initial impression.
You might look at 2-way speakers with multiple woofers (2 or more).First order crossovers usually function the best at performing the task at hand.Seating distance can also be important in steeper sloped crossovers.
My experience with B&Ws has led me to favor the "Diamond" series,as they have changed to a 6db/oct crossover.
There are PSB dealers on Oahu (Elite Electronics, Honolulu) and Maui (Art & Automation, Wailuku and Maui Sound Systems, Kihei).

There is a Totem Acoustic dealer, Audio Lab, in Honolulu. If you want cohesive, Totem is a good candidate.
I second Knownothing's suggestion of Quads 21L. Amazing speakers. For me, the bass is more than enough. And like Knownothing mentioned - the midrange and treble are top class. You will not be disappointed - for sure.
"I think what I was running into was that I tend to listen at lower volumes and unlike the Klipsches we have, these really don't perform well at those volumes."

I suspect those are two very different sounding speakers.

My experience with B&Ws in general is that they are not great low volume speakers. Klipschs I have heard in general are better, probably due largely to their high efficiency.

Your ears may still be used to the Klipsch sound resulting in disappointment with the B&Ws

If you think that is not the case, then you have two choices

1) try to tweak the system to the speaks and speaks to the room better to suit your tastes. Go back and listen to the same speaks again in the dealers setup if that is where you heard and liked them. if you still like what you hear there, then figure out where the differences may be between that system including listening room and yours and tweak yours accordingly.

2) If you no longer like the B&Ws as much as originally, punt on the B&Ws and try something else, perhaps more Klipsch like in overall efficiency and sound, maybe even another pair of Klipschs as an upgrade.

By the way I've owned B&W floorstanders and also heard and liked very much the RB 25s. They sound very different. YOu have to determine what kind of sound it is exactly you are going after. Chances are one will fit the bill much better than the other.
I really think you have experience with two quite different speakers. If you were happy with the Klipschs and think you should have stayed in the companies line. I cannot imagine my ever being happy with B&Ws and everytime I hear the Klipschs, especially corner horns, I think I errored badly 40 years ago with selling them.

Just curious, what were you using to drive the Monitor Audios? The Silver RS6 is a pretty balanced speaker - I auditioned several times with large Denon receivers which are not the last word in amplification. Sounded pretty good overall even with that driving them - don't recall them being overly bright... but definitely not dark either.
To a large degree, the real culprit may be being ignored. These speakers have neither a good lower extension nor are very tight in the bass. Personally, (having owned the 602 S3) speakers (and other B&Ws), this is somewhat the sound you will get with the speakers (until you get much, much higher in their line-up). You are comparing them to your Klipsch speakers which have a typically deeper/lower bottom end extension - though not very tight and somewhat loose.

It sounds like you have become accustomed to the Klipsch bottom end (while not very accurate, it is more noticeable) and are comparing too very different sounding speakers. I would work on room placement if you are trying to get a bass sound more in-line with the Klipsch (more than anything else). For $250 for a sub you are pretty restricted and may be better off saving a bit. I would avoid the B&W subs (not very good, had one), but think that with these speakers you would be well served by one of the REL Quake subs (starting with the Q106? and going up from there based on available budget).

The REL's are much better subs than most others in this price category (at least in terms of real bass control vs. just boom, they have good speed and decent extension). If you want the sub to boom (more like the Klipsch), this will be controlled based on locating the sub and the general set-up.
I wouldn't exactly say I love the Klipsch house sound. I haven't heard any of their real horn speakers like the Heresys etc, but the newer line using the cerametallic woofers and Tractix horns have real problems with properly voicing the mid-range.

The mid-range on both the Klipschs we own are hollow, recessed, and just overall pretty lifeless. It didn't bother me much with the RB25s as they are pretty well balanced for the price however, it is quite noticeable on the RF82s so thats why I avoided moving up the Klipsch product line.

The B&Ws on the other hand, are the complete opposite of the Klipschs, however they take it too far. To me, the mids on the B&W seem overemphasized, pushed forward, and at times vocals don't sound realistic. What I'm looking for is that same mid-range emphasis but a more full, lush sound.

What I did like about the Klipschs was the clarity from the Tractix horns. They didn't resolve as much detail as the B&Ws but they didn't make me cringe from the brightness either. To me they seemed like a good half way point. One thing I noted though was that the B&Ws are amazing for movies. I queued up the Quantom of Solace Blu-ray and the detail and impact with the cheap sub I have now is amazing at high volumes. This is the only area in which I really love these speakers however.

As far as new speakers go, I think I might go audition those Totems however I was also looking at a used pair of Von Schweikert VR-2s. The reviews seem to point to what I'm looking for but they sure are expensive for my budget! Do you think these speakers would match what I'm looking for?
I think you will like Totems. They are a good value for good sound. I'd probably take them over either B&W or modern Klipsch floorstanders in the same general price ranges. Models I've heard like the Arros require considerable power and current to come alive at low volumes the way they are capable though. Don't let the small size fool you there!

I'm not familiar with the sound of the Von Schweikerts so can't comment there.
Interesting. Because there seemed be some concern about bass weight, I completely skimmed over the Totem Arros, but Mapman knows I am a huge fan of those. Agree on the power requirements for that speaker, but the imaging is fantastic and the attractively finished skinny boxes have huge WAF. The slightly larger Sttaf has a bigger sound, but for a lot more money (would be surprised to see these for under $1000).

For the asking price of the VR2s, you could almost buy a new pair of Totem Forests which are a SERIOUS speaker. I do recommend you go listen to the Totem line of products if you can - you may find that you would be quite happy with one of their compact speakers like the Rainmaker or Model One instead of a pair of floorstanders.
I've always been interested in the Rainmakers and the other Totems, but they seem like such small speakers. That was one thing I disliked about my RB25s, they sounded relatively good but you could tell that they were small speakers as they lacked the soundstaging, imaging, and impact you get from larger floorstanders. Also would they be a good match for both home theater and music use? Since amplification has been brought up several times, will my Denon be enough to power them? I paid an arm and a leg for it and because of it's weight (55lbs) it would be relatively difficult to sell unless I find a local buyer.

BTW-Sorry for all the questions and thanks for the help!
MB9061, FINALLY someone else who will admit the Monitor's are BRIGHT for music....guess it's the metal drivers that make them that way...I had a great deal on a pair of the top of the line (can't remember which one) a few years ago and really wanted to like them, but finally the wife told me they sucked and she was tired of listening to them, thank goodness!
I think the Denon should be adequate for use with most of the Totem models except maybe the Hawks and the Mani II.

All Totems I have listened to have terrific imaging relative to other speakers of similar size and cost.

I think what large floor standers can provide has more to do with the "weight" and "Scale" of the presentation than imaging. Difficult for me to enjoy large orchestras or Rock at near concert volumes on anything other than several hundred watts of amplification pushing large or multiple bass drivers - which usually means a system with a great subwoofer or larger floor standing speakers.

For most other kinds of music, particularly in smaller rooms, quality monitors that are well placed on stands with good amplification can be very enjoyable. In fact, because of their usually smaller face area and the closer physical proximity of their smaller drivers, monitors typically "disappear" in the sound field better than floor standers.

One exception is the Totem Arro which is a super slim floorstander that images more like a great monitor.

In larger rooms, bass and overall "scale" and "weight" of the presentation can be lacking in monitor-based systems without the addition of a well integrated sub.

If you are talking about the MA Gold series - they have a reputation for being overly bright - while the Silver and Bronze series (less expensive!) sound pretty darn good.
If you have the ability to drive and place these speakers in your listening room;what about magnepan speakers;any interest in trying a planar? I believe they offer a 30 day in home trial on their entry level pair and there are several used for sale now that fall within your pricing.
A little long but a "fast read" - I have mains that play flat to 50 Hz, and drop off from 40 to 20 Hz. Although they sound good full range, something was wrong.

I fully read through my processors and subwoofers set-up recommendations. Then, I sat down with a test CD and analog sound level meter in my listening position. Using graph paper, I graphed out my Mains frequency responses in dB's. I used 75 dB as a reference level for my Mains and looked for the obvious spot that the bass rolls off.

At the frequency roll off point, or very near to it, I identified the best place to cross over my subwoofer. When tested at 40, 50 and 60 Hz, 50 was almost the perfect crossover ticket.

How about automatically crossing over at the THX recommended 80? I tried it. They sound much better playing as low as they can play with a flat response. The lower the crossover point, generally the better from my research.

My fronts have 15 inch woofers. After I crossed over a SVS Ultra 13 at 50 Hz, I adjusted the "Q" - to flatten out the subwoofer peak at 80 Hz in that exact room position.

This final "Q" adjustment resulted in shocking clarity, balance and involvement improvements throughout the volume range. This simple set-up helped identify the exact spot to engage your mains with a musical subwoofer, and allow the mains to play their best notes with consistant balance and clarity.

If I left my fronts alone, they'd sound good, but the music below 50 Hz would be begging for volume adjustments and mess up the overall system balance when turned up. Like yours, the mids and highs would be too dominant.

Once everything is set-up, I rechecked it with the sub crossed over and turned on. I saw a very flat dB response all across the Hz range right at my listening position.

My processor allows me to turn off the sub and send full range to all speakers except when in analog Multi-Channel. It definately sounds better with the sub properly set-up and tuned with the fronts and my listening room.

It's sorta like tuning a musical instrument and easy once you get the hang of a SLM, test CD, graph paper, your processors crossover controls, and any further fine tuning allowable for the subwoofer. I follow speaker placement guidelines for my listening room as closely as possible.

A SVS Ultra 13 is very musical. Mine sounds best positioned up at ear level on a strong table, just behind the listening position about 8 feet back, slightly closer than my mains. It sounds much better than between the mains in a nearby corner where it sounded too muddy and too slow, even after adjusting the variable Phase dial. I can hear exactly where I have the sub located even perfectly tuned. Others have to look for it.

I'd consider playing your fronts full range with some good bass tracks while you're away if they require more burn-in time. Special CD's are available. I think Reference Recordings has a very good one.

Adjusting down the Ultra's "Q" peak of 80 Hz really synergized the over all sound. I'd consider a "Q" adjustment if you're shopping for a "musical" subwoofer. The final "Q" adjustment made in the Ultra produced a major musical improvement in the entire listening room at all volumes.

Probably most important - Any nagging desires I ALWAYS USE TO HAVE to make further adjustments have completely vanished. I quit listening for any reproduction errors. I never had a system so satisfying. Now, I just enjoy all the sounds and search for exceptionally well recorded and very musical performances.

Good luck and keep reading!
Thanks guys, I've done some additional listening and found that another contributing problem is my source. Though adequate for the Klipsch's, the Sony SCD-CE595 isn't refined enough for the B&Ws. A lot of the brightness and glare is from the Sony. I think I'm going to purchase either a Denon universal or an old Theta DAC and maybe add a subwoofer around $350.
I had two pair of the silver series. One pair was the 5's (gold cap in the middle of the two 5 1/4" drivers). The later pair was silver 8's I believe (2 x 6 1/2" drivers plus the same gold metallic tweeter). They were my first ventures into better speakers, but they were brutal for digital music in my setup. I'm not trying to make them out to be crap, they were nice for what they were in a home theater setup for someone that only occasionally listens to music.

I guess a lot of people get spooked due to it being easier to sell amps, source gear, etc. than speakers, plus the limited ability to demo stuff that's not in your town. Bottom line though, I'd say just as much or more attention should be payed to getting the speakers right than anything else from what I've learned.
As for what I was driving the MAs with - it wasn't super great gear, but not bad either. Originally it was a Denon receiver. Then an Outlaw amp and pre/pro. Then I believe I had them paired with a Musical Fidelity A308 integrated for a time at which point I traded them in.

I moved up to Quad 22L2's which were a big improvement. I can say that now having just sold them so I don't look like I'm pitching a product for my benefit.

Moved onto Living Voice IBX-R2s now after just selling my Quads.

At the $2k and below price point, it's hard to beat the Quad L2 series. Vandersteen I hear brought up often, but you have to be a fan of their appearance to go for them.

Gibbon 8's are supposedly fantastic for what they are and can be found used in the $2k range. I tried the Super 8's for a week, but they're a bit neutral and out of the price point.

Great answers! Sounds like you gave the MA's a chance to shine and they couldn't for you.

I like the Gibbon 8's. Better than the Quads - but not by that much. The Quads are a REAL STEAL.