Does anyone have any input as to what I am hearing on points 4 and 5? Perhaps this is an impedance drop that is causing the amplifier to distort?
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It's me PDN, who you purchased the 601s from. Excellent observations and great insight. Glad you're enjoying them. Some of the reasons you're hearing more detail and things you haven't heard in the 10 years with the other speakers has something to do with the B&W speaker technology that's new to you.
In a simple explanation, the use of treated Kevlar for the mid/bass driver (very stiff material with increased damping) and the Nautilus tapered tube tweeter technology with absorbent material both work to greatly minimize standing waves, wave smearing, resonances, and coloration. By doing so, the original signal from the source is preserved and is far more true in its final production. This is a very simple description and you can find a far more in-depth technical explanation at the B&W main website. Welcome to the sound of B&W.