In general, B&Ws do require a bit of break in to sound their best. I would suspect that after the first 25 hours or so, the midrange should open up and harshness should subside. After 100 hours, the speakers become more coherent in terms of driver integration with deeper bass and more extended highs. Give them some time, and if the problems still persist experiment with speaker cables and interconnects to change the sound. Also, make sure the speakers are wired in phase and play around with placement. For best results, place the speakers on sturdy 20" stands filled with leadshot or sand. Hope this helps...........
According to the manual for my 800's, the break in is about 60 hours.....and the change in sound when fully broken in is subtle.
You can't critique them right out of the box, they will require break-in to get the crossover burnt in, the internal cable harness, and the drivers to flex. Everything will open up, read the manual for expected time. Keep the system running for 100-200 hours and just walk away. When your return for some quality listening, the speakers will show their signature. Patience is the Key!
My experience (not with 602's) is that they change a lot after 4 days of running, basically 24 hours everyday, and can can continue to break in for many months, like 7 to 8.
Let them play for the maual's suggested break-in time, and if they still sound bad, get rid of them! Trying to "fix" the rest of your system will only lead to stress and expenditure. I'm interested in whether you auditioned these before you purchased them?
I completely agree with Bojack. Run in the speakers for a few weeks. If you don't like their sound after that, replace the speakers with something else instead of trying to fix the problem by changing the rest of your system. There are a lot of options to the B&W.
I had a pair of 703 that I "broke in" for 4 months, still harsh, even with tube gear. I ended up selling them.
i go with 1st impressions,if i hate a peice of gear as soon as i get it its outta here,i had the same experience with b&w speakers,i dont think your sound will change enough if your unhappy right from the start.
Thanks Bojack, Gretsch6120 and Tvad. I'll give them a chance to surprise me...If the sound continues to be harsh after 1o days, I'll do an upgrade to audience 52 or something else. In the $1000-1200 range, which loudspeaker do you think really stands out?
Yes, give them time. If B&W is still using Kevlar drivers, it is pretty stiff out of the box. They also use a rubber material for the surrounds instead of foam, which needs to loosen up.
I own 5 pairs of B&W speakers (out of many more pairs). None of them sound bright and harsh...
B&W speakers also tend to be pretty neutral. So while some say change the speakers again and don't mess with the system (maybe); you could be spending the rest of your life looking for the right speakers to fit what may be a harsh sounding system to start with. What prompted the change in the first place?
It could even be many things in combination, including the sources, cables, even crappy electric power. Your favorite CD for demos may even be poorly recorded, and the old speakers masked it.
Do make sure they are wired correctly; I had this problem with a pair of tannoys. Very harsh treble and brittle sound that made them sound like crap. The midrange was very strange and basically I hated the speaker. Found out my amp was sending out a reversed polarity signal.... Reversed all the speaker wires and wow, my speakers were alive for the first time.
I don't have the amp anymore, but it was a NAD.
I agree with Sugarbrie. I have had 3 sets of B&W speakers and none sounded bright or harsh.
A friend brought over his Signature 805's one time and I liked them so much I sold my speakers and purchased a set. For the first 4 days they weren't even close to his and if I would not have heard his first I would of thought I made a mistake. I let them play 24 hours a day and if nobody was home, I'd play them loud.
I was just going to post that you should check the polarity or phase of your system as Rtilbury writes. If the speakers are out of phase, the sound will be harsher than normal.
Check every component. Many preamps are out of phase.
I own several pairs of B&W speakers, and all of them required quite a bit of break in time. The 602 S3 is a nice speaker for the money. Give it some time, and I think you'll really like it.
What did you have before that wasn't harsh though was lacking in some way?I never thought that B&W was garsh or strident (the wayu I an many others foun much Thile stuff is too brite).You may need break in but if the impression is this strong it's more I thin that it's system matching (you liked them in the store you bought them)But maybe it's your gear,your room ,or simply you were wrong about fisrt impression you had at store.Ask store about problem fi you ca reurn with re-stock fee or a trade fro soemthing else you think ,again,sounds good in the store.But you get it home and more bnad sound occurs you 1)have a problem with your electronics 2)have problem with room 30 are anal (overly) about what you should be getting for your investment 3) You are simplay psychotic.Nut the dealer should be there to solve problems and make you happy so talk
remember also that b&w speakers are very sensitive to speaker placement. try playing around with that. also, what kind of cables are you using? i used to run nordost blue heavens to my 804s which made them sound a bit harsh. after I switched purist audio cables the sound smoothed out and sounded very nice. finally, it could be your electronics are not a good match with b&w.
i have the 601 s3 in my bedroom and to me they sound very full and rich.
I bought the entire system recently, so I am just supposing that the harshness is not caused by the A80 or the CD120...do you think it is possible that the problem is in the amp? I am sure that I am not psychotic about the bad sound. I had a good system in Brazil, before I came to the US, and the sound was more open, warm, and pleasant to my ears. I had a rotel 965 CD, a Pioneer A400 amp and B&W 804 speakers.
I'm using Kimber kable 8VS for the loudspeakers, bicabled in this economic way: 2 strands for the tweeter and 6 strands for the mid--bass...these cables are not cheap and were well rated by Hi-Fi choice. I use Van Den Hul The Source Interconnect.