My new B Stock speakers


I finally got off the fence and a pair of B Stock Revel M126Be speakers arrived Friday, and there was no electrical activity in the atmosphere for the first half of the day, so I put 4.5 hours on them today (Sunday).

I want them to replace a pair of nearly 30 year old B&W 805 Matrixes. I say nearly 30 years old because I only remember that I bought them some time after ’94 and sometime prior to ’98.

Walnut cabinets and their appearance and finish is truly gorgeous, but that was not a priority, and the listing at MD did not do appearance justice. I listen in the dark with my eyes closed, and my listening room is closed off (I have three sometimes rambunctious dogs) whether I am in the room or not in the room. Appearance meant/means nothing to me. Just like my vehicles.

The serial numbers are not anywhere close to each other. I assume this is why they are B Stock? Not matched? The MD sales rep on the phone just gave me some generic possibilities why they could be B Stock.

This next is on me. Whenever I see speakers at MD that interest me (and the Revels did quite some time ago) I usually send MD a question asking where they are made. It is not due to xenophobia, but I would prefer to buy a speaker manufactured in America. I am not crazy about the idea of a company outsourcing for cheaper labor. But I am not trying to start a discussion on that. For the Revels, for some reason I did not send MD a message asking them where they were made, I did a google instead, and I got the impression that they were manufactured in Ct. And, without me asking, the sales rep from MD volunteered (when he was comparing Revel sound to B&W sound) that I would be impressed by the difference between British speaker sound versus American speaker sound. But the placard on the back says they were "made in Indonesia." Okay, enough on that . . . but I was looking for an excuse to send them back within 60 days.

They are rated at a sensitivity of 86 (the reviews say "easy to drive") and nominal impedance of 8 ohms. My Cary V12 did not sound (to me) strained using 50wpc triode vs 100 wpc ultralinear. These are in a small room at nearfield..

Out of the box:

I guess I had been in denial and my old B&Ws are actually worn out &/or obsolete.

Here is something that is NOT subjective that I do not understand, and perhaps someone who is knowledgeable can explain it to me. I have several test CDs. An older one has an in phase/out of phase that is a series of three test tones and the middle tone is supposed to be quieter as it is out of phase. With my B&Ws all three tones sound the same, BUT, on Rodger and Doug’s CD, where Rodger says says verbally "in phase, sound should be centered between your two speakers/out of phase, the sound should be all over the place. . ." (that was a paraphrase) the B&Ws did exactly that. So in the 4.5 hours I put on them today (before dark clouds appeared on the horizon) , I had both of those CDs out. On the first one that all three tones sounded the same with the B&Ws, with the Revels, the out of phase tone is CLEARLY quieter! What gives? I asked either here or on AA years ago why I was hearing no difference with the B&Ws, and the consensus was don’t worry about it as long as you hear what you are supposed to on Rodger & Doug’s CD.

Okay, I am going to wrap this up because I don’t have the ear that most of you guys have (no sarcasm intended) or the vocabulary. So I don’t always know what it is that I am hearing that makes me like and dislike or thevocabulary to describe. I do know that the test tone (in pase/out of phase) is tangible. I did unhook my sub (hmmm, is it possible that this affected my test tone experiment? I just now thought of that) because I wanted to hear them standing a lone. They could definitely benefit from more bass, and I do plan on listening with the sub, but to my ears they were not absolutely pathetic. They could just use more. They are rear ported versus front ported like the B&Ws are.

What I heard, and with my ears (abused by 28 years of jet engines and shooting rivets and other loud noises) anyone would be entitled to say "confirmation bias," but:

I did say I was looking for an excuse to send them back. However, I also said that relatively shortly after feeding them musical signals, I QUICKLY came to the conclusion that they sounded better than the B&Ws.

So at the risk of using subjective cliches, the clarity (especially on percussion and the high keys of a piano) was much sharper and defined. Voices immediately sounded as if they had more "texture" (if that’s the right cliche) and inflections were more noticeable. I put on the DCC red book L. Ronstadt’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 (because the same tracks sound better than on the MFSL red book Simple Dreams, I like the DCC sound better) and I wanted to hear the opening bass track on Poor Poor Pitiful Me (I definitely like the sub turned UP for that better than no sub), but despite that, her voice is a lot more "interesting" with the Revels than with the old B&Ws. By "interesting", I mean real.

I’ll leave it at that because I am no reviewer. I don’t even pretend to be. If anyone has borne with me this long, however, I am interested in why the in phase/out of phase test tone works with the Revels but not with the B&Ws.

Oh, and associated equipment was a Maranzt SA10 (but I did not use any SACDs for those 4.5 hours) a Cary SLP05, a Cary V12 in 50 wpc triode, I cannot biwire these Revels so I only used one half of my shotgun biwire set up which was the thicker of the two Kimber blue speaker wires, but I don’t remember the numbers, and Kimber balanced (XLR vs RCA is what I mean to say) Silver Streak interconnects. On an edit I will add that the power cord for the SACDp is a newly purchased from Amazon $50 Preffair (if I spelled that correctly) and the amp and preamp still have stock cords, but Amazon tells me that two more Preffair cords will arrive on Tuesday.

I’ll now apologize for any and all typos that I don’t get edited out . . . I was a bad typist when I had two functional eyes, and now I am a REALLY BAD typist. Plus, since it was too early for me to be drinking alcohol when I was listening, I went with coffee, and that also has an effect on my typing.

 

 

immatthewj

 I didn't read through the whole thread, so if this has been mentioned I apologize for the redundancy. To be fair to the B&W speakers, they would probably benefit from new capacitors, at their age. I think the Revels will still win out, but a freshened up pair of Matrix 805s would make it a little closer.

  The above being dependent on your willingness/ability to do so or have it done, obviously. Otherwise, congratulations on your very nice new speakers!

@alaric62  , I do not think that the speaker caps were mentioned on this thread.  The sales rep from MD did mention them when I asked if speakers ever "just wore out."  I think I remember once seeing a cap when I had removed the back panel with the binding posts on one of them.  I cannot remember how accseeible it looked for a soldering iron back there, but I suppose that this would be within the scope of my abilities.  I may have given replacing the caps some thought, and I still may (as I have no immediate plans for those speakers) but I had been on the "speaker fence" for quite a while, and when these b-stocks came up at a b-stock price, I just decided what the hell, and pulled the trigger.  Anyway, thank you for the reply.

FYI, A pair of the 126be showed up for sale on USAM from a seller in Michigan. Asking 3K with the matching stands.

Thanks, @mrdecibel  , the pair I got from MD was marked down to 2900 and change (so much change they were almost 3k) but without stands.  The (I think they are) Target stands I was using with my B&Ws seem to be about the right size for them. . . .

Matt, I have not responded to this thread, as I thought the power cable thing was going to be a thing. The change of speakers was a complete surprise to me, and maybe it was to you too. I will hold back my opinions on the speaker change, as I feel you gave up on the 805s a bit too soon. I have heard them sound much better than you describe them. If you want to discuss with me further, we can do it via email, or here on this thread. I wish you my best. Always, MrD.