Listening to B&W 601s3s

I have only owned one pair of high end speakers. My Sonus Faber Concerto's that I purchased about 10 years ago have been my soul source of audio output that entire time. The warm midbass and mids and gentle highs have always kept me happy.

I have always been curious about the B&W house sound so I received a pair of 601s3's last week from another audiogon member. I was expecting these speakers to sound sad compared to the SF's.

I am surprised. Here are my thoughts

1- They don't image as well. I suspect this has something to do with the general design in combination with the reflections in the room. I had to toe them in quite a bit more than the SF's to get them to image at all.

2 - My other issue is the dynamics. They don't demonstrate the dramatic swells in volume as well as the SF's. This actually surprised me. What is also interesting is the speakers present a LOT of details that are hidden back in the mix. I have heard some things I have never heard before in CD's I have been listening to for 10 years. I can't help but think these are somehow related. It sounds as if the music is more compressed so that the presentation of the soft details and major components of the music are closer to gether. I noticed this on both of my power sources a NAD 3130 and NAD T743. Any ideas on this?

3 - The midbass is much flatter than the SF's. I do here more details in lower midbass and upper bass than I do with the SF's. While this may be better if not a smidgen dry it has a negative impact on some male vocals (think Johnny Cash).

4 - I occasionly notice some distortion on vocal passages performed with a falsetto. This does not happen on all such passages but it does happen on certain notes at most any volume. Could this be the rather live room?

5 - I do here some box resonances on occasion. I think this might be related to the above note.

All things said and done this has been a very pleasurable experience. It has given me the opportunity to consider qualities of loudspeakers that I had previously taken for granted. It has also helped me realize what things are probably more normal or accurate where I had not realized certain exaggerations before. These are really great little speakers. This is especially true given the price. I am very curious to here what everyone says about the various quirks I noted above.
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?
Hey Espressogeek:

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.