b w / martin logan / definitive

Just purchased a used parasound 2 channel amp(hca-1000a-125 wpc), preamp(php850), and tuner. I have been going around and around, deciding on what speakers to buy. Have a budget of $1000 or so for a used pair. My friends and associates all have different opinions(b&w-cdm7nt / martinlogan-aerius / definitive-bp2004tl or 2002tl). The intended purpose of my system will be about 50% theater and 50% music. I really dont care for high volume anything or low frequency booming bass, just, moderate volume with a punchy bass, clear midrange and crisp highs. I know the best way to determine for myself is to listen for myself but, I live in a rural area with about a 5 hour drive one-way to the nearest audio dealer and wouldn't be able to demo these three particular ones. Can you help with any insight about my decision, or have some other brands/models I should consider? or givin your expertise, which one would perform best considering my equipment and listening preferences.

Thanks Steve R.

I own a pair of Def Tech BP 2000 towers since 1997 and share my experience to give you a starting point in evaluating the Def Techs in general.

First, these are outstanding home theater speakers. I have a Def Tech center and surrounds and for movies they are great. The 2002s flank my Sony 56" tv and stand about 12 inches from the backwall so the rear firing speakers can bounce sound. I have a Denon AVR 5600 and a Sony 7000 DVD player. The combination makes for a bright sound, which isn't a problem for HT but got annoying for music. I play my CDs from the Sony on analog cables (but kept the digital output for HT) and shifted the speakers to be parallel to the back wall and not "toed" in for a "sweet spot" on the coach. This helped bring down the bright sound considerably.

Musically, the bipoar design uses reflected sound and differs from traditional direct radiating speakers. It's an "airy" with slight "reverb" sound which is great for live recordings because you feel "there". However, it could be annoying if you don't like that type of sound. My living room has a lot of harsh surfaces so if I treated the room, it could "soften" the sound more. Nonetheless, with my 40% movie and 60% music applications, I can live with this system. The two controls on the back of the towers control the roll over point and bass which helps give defination to the lower mid and bottom base.

For your 50/50 application, the Def Techs are the way for home theater with its small footprint, built-in sub, variable controls and resonable price. Unless the martin logans come with a sub woofer, the Def Techs might be a better fit for your needs.

Good luck and let me know how things work out for you.

Jim Wong, San Francisco, CA
I was looking at the DefTech 2002tl, B&W Nautilus 804, and Paradigm Studio 80s & 100s. I almost instantly ruled out the Paradigms due to the fact that the DTs with their built-in sub sounded much richer. When it came down to B&W and DT, I chose the B&W for music and the DTs for HT. In the end I took home DefTech BP3000TL because I was offerred a deal I couldn't refuse, I couldn't be happier. You should consider the future though, which means you will eventually need three more amplified channels, at least, a center channel speaker,and surround speakers. At least with the center channel you will want the same drivers as in your mains. I'm sure DT and B&W make a matching CC, don't know about the Martins. Read reviews at audioreview.com, that might help. Good luck
I had the Definive Technology BP20's and the Powerfield 1800 sub in my home theater for a long time and I was very happy with the sound for home theater. Definitive has a variety of good matching center channel speakers and surrounds. I had the CLR 1000 for a center and was very pleased with its performance because it uses the same 5.25" drivers as the BP20's, (and 2000, 3000 etc) so the bass from the center made for natural sounding male voice. My friend has the B&W setup but I found many of the B&W center channel speakers are smaller and sound very thin in comparison. The HTM1 center is very nice, but expensive at $2000. Although I was happy with my Definitive setup for home theater, I had grown to hate listening to music on that system. I recently switched to B&W Nautilus line which was many steps up from my previous setup so now I am happy with music and home theater.

I guess it would depend on your priorities. The Definitive stuff with the built in sub saves space and does a good job for home theater stuff and there are a number of very good and more affordable center channel speakers to go with it. The B&W stuff is better for music. The CDM-NT series is really an excellent value and perhaps the center channel for that series would be good - I haven't had a chance to hear that. If mixing music and home theater is important then I'd lean toward the B&W stuff. If its going to be primarily home theater, you could probably get more bang for the buck from the Definitive Technology stuff.
If in doubt go for B&W.
Unless you can afford the Cello Palatte, we are at the mercy of the mixer of the music we listen to. Since 80% of all classical music is mastered on B&W speakers, you will automatically come closer to the original sound than you will on any other brand of speaker, all elso being equal.
I cant thank you guys enough, your feedback has helped me to make a decision.

I truly believe the definitive bipolars would be a better performer for home theater listening for most people. However, you may think i'm weird in saying this, but I prefer watching movies with direct frontal sound rather than being somewhat encompassed within it. In my personal experience the array of sound and effect in theater is more impressive, but overall I tend to lose concentration on the movie and can never seem to find a satisfactory volume level. (I wonder what kind of feedback I'll get from that statement!!)

I also dont want to compromise the ability for my speakers to perform musically which you pointed out and, is important to me. So therfore based on your feedback and my personal preferences, I have decided to go for the B&W's.

Again, my thanks to you all! Steve R

I'm going to check back to see if anyone responds to my theater listening statement. I'm curious to see if theres any others like me out there.
Steve--I think you are well on your way to a good system. I agree with most of the posts, and would say the DT is best for HT, the Martin Logan perhaps for music (I'm biased--I own ML speakers and love them), but for both the B&W fits the bill. As to your comment about the theater--well I do disagree, unless the rears are turned up too much--then I would have to agree with you--it's distracting--but when a plane flys in from behind I really like the effect and anticipation the rear speakers add. Also, in situtations like a rainy day--I like the rain all around, but the people clearly talking up front.
Hello well here it goes I used to own a pair of b&w 802 series 3 matrix. They where awesome much better than the cdm series retail on the 802 was 4,000. Now as far the aerius I had heard them at a freinds house and could not understand how they can sound so REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sold my $4,000 b&w and replaced them with the $2,300 Martin Logan aerius i.. Martin Logans are great for surround also they have a curved front I beleive its a 30 degree radius. So the sound will disperse better than a box speaker. They are also dipolar which means the sound comes from the front and the back. A truly amazing speaker. The were in class b in stereophile since they came out. Get the biwired version there is a diffrence. I know have a larger room so I just sold my aerius 2 weeks ago and bought a used pair of sl3s same sound just more of it and better bass. I have not only heard alot of speakers but I have owned quite a few and no speaker I have ever heard has givin me so much sound for a great price.I love b&ws they are awesome I had 804 803 802 they are great. Not as real sounding as a martin logan. The only thing I will say is that the aerius arent the most bass heavy speaker in the world. But vocals will make you cry they sound so life like. My advice to you is to buy a used pair of aerius and you will be amazed with what you get.... they will all sound good but not as good as a logan. Also only take advice from a person who has owned equipment like the ones you are inquireing about how can somone give you advice if they heard them for 15 minutes at their local dealer? I saw a pair on audiogon for 1,100 good luck and enjoy. Regards Daniel
Mark Levinson 335
Mark Levinson38
Martin Logan sl3s
Theta Miles cd player
Harmonic Technologies through out
Daniel, I read your post this morning. Your personal experience with both B&W and ML's has sure put me in a state of seriously rethinking my decision. Because of your statements, I am now reconsidering buying the ML's instead of the B&W's. A friend at work who originally told me to go with ML's said I would never regret it. Thanks Steve R
Ps - Theres a thread going on - (is there an alternative to ML's) I say Yeah, sell em to me cheap and buy something else!!
Take your time: Listen, listen again, spend a few hours in a room with ML's. If there set up right, have the correct power - either in music or movie, they will impress you. I own the ReQuest's, purchased them a year ago and only want to replace the balance of my surrond system with ML's. They are quick, broad and life like.

Take the time to audition so you won't have to buy / sell / then make the right choice.
Hi there,
I have a pair of B&W Matrix 802 Sereis III's and am now (like yesterday after 2 listening sessions) seriously considering selling them in order to buy the ML Ascents. The 802's are an AMAZING speaker but I agree with many of the above comments in that the ML's do something to vocals and the complex higher frequencies found in violins and other strings that wants to make you cry. The sound is so real, so lifelike that you feel as if you are in the middle of it. It has been a long time since I have been that involved IN the music. I do not know how they will do in home theater but I can tell you that for music, there is no comparison. The 2 speakers are very different. In the end, it all comes down to personal taste, and what you listen to. For me the choice was simple, ML's. Good luck.