I've had Thiel 2.2s, Dunlavy IIIs, and now Alethas. I've heard B&W 802s and 804s. B&Ws have excellent midrange and high-end, but seem to me to be a bit bloated on the bottom. Thiels and Dunlavys are much the same on the bottom, very tight and resonably extended. Midrange in the Alethas is the most natural and open of all three. Top end is similiar to the Thiels but not as bright sounding. Of the three speakers mentioned here, the Dunlavys are the best to my ears. Unless you have a huge room, the Alethas are the best Dunlavys for the money.
I have a set of Thiel CS 7.2s and B&W 801 series IIIs. The B&Ws sound better to me, but they are biamped with a Krell KBX active crossover and Krell bass alignment filter. The B&Ws have better low end and deeper sound stage.
This is my question also. As you alone, thus far, have listened to all 3, I have listened to B&W's and Thiel's, you are the resident expert. :-)
You say that the B&W's have excellent midrange and high-end, but seem to me to be a bit bloated on the bottom. Are their mids and highs on par with the Dunlavy's so that only the bass is a real issue?
I haven't listened to hte Thiel but to me there was no comarison between the B&W 801n and the athenas. the highs on the athenas were much smoother and the mids more open. The athenas sounded mushc more realistic. Maybe the set-up sucked for the 801s in the room i heard them in but they never even made it into the game for me.
The midrange in the Alethas is probably the best I've heard. It is very natural and the truth of timbre is outstanding. High-end, I would give the nod to B&W, Dunlavy's tweeters sometimes exhibit a little too much energy. Could be the recording, but to me the 802s was a bit sweeter sounding. The bass is where it isn't even close. Dunlavy's clean, tight, and accurate sounding. I have never heard a B&W speaker that had good bass. Thiel and Dunlavy bass are similar sounding to me. For me the Aletha is the best sounding speaker at it's price, I've been very happy with them. My system is ARC Ref2, VT100 mkII, and CD2. Synergistic Research Designer Ref I-Cs and Acoustic Zen's best bi-wire speaker cables.
Thanks, I have never heard a Dunlavy speaker, yet am attempting to decide wether to buy them, or forget about them. The more I hear, the more it sounds like I may end up with a pair.
please try before you buy. i've hear many speakers in the dunlavy line and none has impressed me to a great degree, but to each his own. fwiw, i ultimately chose avalon arcus speakers, which list for $7300 but can be had for less and may be in your price range. the avalon avatars, which list for ~$5600, are also excellent. please demo the avalons if you can. NEVER buy anything based on the opinions of others.
Hi S2K Dude,
While I certainly hate to buy based upon others opinions, I have found that personal experiance can mislead also. I have heard B&Ws at one dealer, and I was completely unimpressed with them. I later heard them at a second dealers and was amazed, they were nothing like I heard before... I'm not sure you know anything till you live with them in your system for a time...
B&W Nautilus 802's can sound awesome with a good, well-run-in setup, particularly with digital speaker correction. I don't perceive any of the shortcomings pointed out in the other posts in my setup. I should point out that none of the dealer demos I've heard really showcased what the N802 is capable of so I understand where many of the negative comments are coming from.
I hear you, that is a MAJOR problem. I have heard B&W's that I know I like, but due to their setup they were COMPLETELY unimpressive. Digital speaker correction? Is that where you re-record CD's to make the B&W's time coherent?
Digital correction is used to take out the room anomalies. Every room has reflection and dead spots in them that make the speakers sound the way the do based on the room and set-up. Do you have any sound treatments in your room? They can make a big difference without the large cost of digital correction. All of the speakers talk about sound great...I've never heard Avalons, but those reviewed have had very positive press. Enjoy the quest of finding the right speaker or system that YOU truly enjoy. That's why we are all here.