Regular readers will know I often am critical of a few well known speaker brands. This doesn’t sit well with owners of those brands and for that I apologize. I single out a few brands because, to me, they represent great examples of perceptual confusion—conflating two ideas together that don’t necessarily match.
Take Sonus Fabers for example. These are excellent speakers and ones I heartily recommended to my son Lon when he wanted new speakers for his house. They are beautifully built, great looking, wonderful value, and good sound too. So, what’s the beef? Why do I not recommend these to most audiophiles? They aren’t what I consider highly resolving speakers on sonic par with (say) a Von Schweikert, Magneplanar, Wilson, or Infinity. They are not. Which is not say they aren’t great speakers, ones I would not hesitate to recommend again and again.
The difference is I would not recommend them to someone interested in achieving audio nirvana. That’s not what they do.
Nor do B&W (for that matter). Their persona is one of technical accuracy, designed and engineered by teams of white coat scientists with million dollar spectral analyzers. They are, indeed, that. And, if that’s what you want, then there are none better than B&W. But, if recreating the illusion of an orchestra in your home through the disappearing act of musically perfect speakers and electronics is your goal, then I would not be recommending them.
This rant is not about downgrading two fine speaker brands. Not at all.
I have the ultimate respect for both brands and the customers of those brands.
My purpose is to help align expectations and reduce perceptual confusion.
It’s always tough to sort through the perceptions and positioning of products to suss out the essence of what you really are after.
But, when you do, life gets a lot easier.