Monitor Audio GR60 vs B&W

I am looking to upgrade my speakers pretty soon. I have honed in on the Monitor Audio GR60 and B&W 804, 803, or 704. I have heard the GR60's which seem comparable to the B&W 704 but I have not heard 803's yet. Anyone have experience with the MA's or 803's? I will also likely get the matching center and surrounds at the same time. The application is 70% music/30% HT, Sunfire Ultimate Receiver. Any suggestions or input is greatly appreciated.
Monitor Audio GR 60's are nice speakers. I would not be happy with any
B & W speaker short of the N803, but -- that's just me. The B & W 803's
are a slightly better speaker than the Monitor Audio GR 60's, but they will cost you a LOT more money. Also, the B & W speakers are inefficient, so it will take a LOT of amplification to get them to sing. The
GR 60's, on the other hand, are very efficient speakers and will not take
as much amplification to get them sounding great. There is another speaker in that same category to which you should also give a
listen; Sonus Faber Grand Piano Homes. Another speaker that sounds
almost as good as the B & W N803's, but costs a LOT less and is a lot
more efficient. The N803's will cost a LOT more and it you will spend a
LOT more on amplification to get them to sound better than the GR 60's
or the Homes. Just my opinion. Monitor Audio GR 60's are a great bang for the buck and it is relatively easy to get them sounding good.

I agree with Rsbeck - the GR60s pucnch way above their weight class. The mids are fantastic (very fast and smooth), the base is surprisingly deep and tight (although careful placement is needed to get this right) and the highs are also quite nice (although I have heard some say it is a bit bright, I do not agree). The soundstaging is also excellent. I moved up to the Revel Ultima Salons - a big jump up, but not as big as you would think. I do not, however, agree that the 60s are efficient. If you want the best out of the speakers, you need at least 150 watts of quality power. Emphasis on "quality" - because it is really the reserve power that is going to make a difference in the sound of these speakers. Feed them right and you will be surprised at how good they are - I compared them even aginst the B&W 802s and thought is some respects they were better (certainly faster and tighter sounding). The service from Monitor is also very good (at least here in London). By the way, for the rear speakers, save your money and go for the Silvers. They are tonally very similar and for what they do, you won't notice the difference. Someone at Monitor Audio even admitted to me that although the Gold has higher quality drivers, the difference was not really significant
I agree with Cohn. My point is that it is relatively easy to get the GR 60's
sounding good. They *are* more efficient than B & W's and will take less
amplification to sound good, but if you feed them well, they will respond
to quality components upstream and will sound even better. They will
grow with you for quite awhile.
Thanks for the feedback so far, one other question. How big a difference would bi-wiring make. The dealer where I'm looking at the GR60's doesn't have them bi-wired and claims that since he is using a Sunfire 400W amp, it wouldn't matter. If I'm auditioning, should I want to go ahead and get bi-wires to be able to hear what these things are really all about? Another interesting thing, this dealer has sold two sets of 5 full size GR60s for HT, is this overkill? I was in the store when one guy was picking his set of 5 up.
Depends on your taste, but IMO, that is WAY overkill. Very little comes out of the rear speakers in most movies and the ones that have all the stuff coming out of the rear speakers, only have it coming out every once
in awhile -- and the ones that REALLY use the rear speakers -- Star Wars, etc -- are not the type I watch that often, but even then -- GR 60's
for the rear are more than is necessary, IMO. Get some GR 10's for the
rear -- that's plenty. Whether you subscribe to the notion that you should use a center channel speaker or a full range speaker for your center is up to you -- BUT -- here, I can see the benefit of the higher
quality speaker because almost everything comes out of the center channel during a movie. If you are getting surround for music -- then
that changes everything and then you MAY want to think about full range
speakers in the rear, but I still wouldn't do that. Use the money elsewhere. Like on a Sub-woofer. Bi-wiring doesn't really make that much difference, but make sure you make some nice jumpers -- don't use the cheap things that come with the speakers. Bi-amping is a different story, but I am going to bet you don't want to get into that -- and it is really not necessary in order to get those speakers sounding good.

5.1 SACD's are designed to have all (except the .1) the speakers to be the same.
I expect to be listening to a lot of 5.1 SACD, and I think that is the rationale for the 5 GR60's, but I don't have either the budget nor the space to really consider that as an option.
I use my 5.1 system for movies only. When I listen to SACD, I use two channels. Every 5.1 SACD also has a two channel layer. So, unless you are sold on 5.1 for music listening, there is no reason that you *have* to
have a 5.1 system for SACD. If you want to get your feet wet in 5.1 for
music and home theatre -- get the GR10's for your rear channel. You will be fine.

I thought I might have something to offer here. My HT setup speaker-wise, utilizes MA Silver s10's for the mains, S2's for the rears and Silver LCR for center. It's great for movies and multi-channel. Bruno at Kevro International (MA distributor) is a very friendly and helpful guy if you have any questions. I was considering GR 10's at one point, and although they possess better crossovers and slightly better drivers, he admitted in several blind tests that 98% of serious listeners could not discern differences btween the S2 and GR10. If it was me, and I wasn't concentraing on 2 channel but rather multi-channel music and movies, I'd go with (3) Silver S10's up front with Silver S8's for the rears.

Good luck!

There *is* a schoolof thought which holds that the GR10's are overkill for rear surrounds. If you go with that school of thought, then GR60's for
rear surrounds would be...well...even more overkill -- say....overkill times two.
"There *is* a schoolof thought which holds that the GR10's are overkill for rear surrounds"

Well, yes, perhaps if you plan on mostly / only listening to home theater or 2 channel stereo on your setup. If you plan on multi-channel SACD / DVD-Audio listening, that may not be true. It just depends on what you use them for.