Need Detail/ Resolution with Impact and Weak Bass

Sounds weird right? Need some speakers for the bedroom. Having tried Electrostatic (Martin Logan) I liked the detail and spaciousness but hated that you got no impact from a rimshot, no "glistening" from high-hats and dynamic range seemed compressed. Plus, there was too much bass! The room is configured somehow to totally reinforce the bass so bass-shy speakers are actually preferred, as the bass is naturally augmented. I have a lot of amplifiers, so the options are Counterpoint SA-220 (220 watts, hybrid), Adcom GFA-555 II (200 watts solid state), or a BAT VK-200 (100 watts solid state). I don't really need it to play LOUD, meaning the music goes right through you, its the bedroom after all, but need to play with good dynamic contrasts knowing that the bass will be reinforced. The speakers will face the awesome leather chair, for relaxed listening and then need to be turned 90 degrees to face the bed because my timer will kick in at 7:30 am and activate the power conditioner which turns on the amps to wake me up, so we can't have anything to unmanageably large and unweildy. Am thinking Merlin VSM's or B&W Nautilus bookshelf, but have not heard either. Don't like a bookshelf with stands less than 28" because they need to shoot over the bedframe. Sorry to gross everyone out with the bedroom stories (hey I'm not badlooking), but I know you all have great recommendations so lets hear them.
Based on your requirments, I think that the B&W 805's would be an excellent choice. I have had a pair for approximately thirty days and they sound better and better each day. I would not describe the bass as "weak" but it is not overpowering.
I agree with Djg. I have used Nautilus 805s in my HT setup for the past two years. I cannot say enough good things about the speaker. They seem to have all of the qualities that you are looking for in spades. The one caveat that I would offer is that to get the best out of this speaker, you have to give it ample power. Read the review in Stereophile where the reviewer (I forget which one) compared the 805s using a Bryston amp and a Levinson amp. I am by no means a big fan of Levinson amps. In fact, I use my 805s with a Bryston 9B-ST. Nonetheless, I do think the Levinson 334 is good two channel match for these speakers. Thus, I think your BAT may be a little under powered and the Adcom may not be quite at the level of the speakers. I have never heard the Counterpoint amp, so I will not comment on that amp with the 805s. If you use a good amp, these speakers will blow your socks off. They are my favorite Nautilus speakers. (I know I will get criticized for that last comment, but the 805s are my favorite Nautilus speakers.)
Westlake Lc4.75 monitors powered by Boulder L3 preamplifier and Boulder 102 power amplifier. The resolution will be state-of-the-art, with all the impact you can shake your tonearm at. Since the smallest Westlakes use a 4" woofer, your rolled-off bass requirement will easily be satisfied.
The merlin is a super speaker, though may have too much bass if you are looking for a weak bass speaker it may not be for you. Though you could try NOT using the BAM(Bass Augmentation Module) and it may give you exactly what you are looking for, B&W are nice but never did much for me. Sweet dreams.
Save yourself a ton-o-money and get the Triangle Titus xs(old version) or 202 (new tweeter). They list for $495, sometimes are discounted to $450 and you can resale them quickly for nearly $400 on this site! They are very fast (electrostatic like) and are very revealing. They weigh 11 lbs. each and would work well on 28 inch stands (optimal stand would be 24-28").

You know, it would cost nearly nothing to try them and you may find that they work perfectly. BTW, bass is solid down to 55-60hz, then drops off quickly.


Try the Spendor S3/5s. Descendent of the legendary LS3/5a, its fast, accurate and most of all, musical. Around $900 depending on finish, plus cost of stands. Nice size for your setup and should work well with any of your amps. I'm using mine with a Rogue Tempest Magnum integrated in my study and in many ways prefer it to my main system.

Check Herb Reichert's review on

Good luck!
Greetings South Park,

First, let me tell you what I think might be happening with the Martin Logans in your room.

Sound propagates differently from a line source than from a point source, and with the hybrid Martins the panels act as a line source, and the woofers as a point source. Sound pressure level literally falls off more slowly with distance from a line source than from a point source. Theoretically, sound pressure level falls off linearly with distance from a line source, and with the square of distance from a point source. Under anechoic conditions, if a line source and a point source are both putting out 90 dB at one meter, then back at 10 meters the line source will be doing 80 dB but the point source will only be doing 70 dB!

What this means is, when a designer seeks to combine a line source panel with a point source woofer, he has to voice the speaker for the general room size he expects the speaker to be used in (or else provide the customer with level controls). If your Martin Logans were in too small a room, the bass level would not have fallen off as much as the designer intended, and the speakers would be bass-heavy.

Now, possibly your room does over-emphasize the bass. If so, it is doing this through bass standing wave modes. You might consider the Gradient Revolution, which uses a rather unique dipole bass loading configuration. For a given on-axis sound pressure level, a dipole bass system will put 5 dB less energy into the room's resonant modes. That means the bass notes will decay more quickly and sound more natural. The Revolution excels at producing very natural-sounding bass in less than ideal rooms.

E-mail me if you'd like a more in-depth discussion. I'll be on the road a lot this week, but will try to check my e-mail a few times. Or you can call me at (504) 866-1730 - that should forward you to my cell phone.

Best wishes,

Look for a used pair of B&W P5 if you can use a small floorstander. They sound great at low volume levels; just as your describe. There are ports that can be plugged with foam to adjust the bass (when bought new the foam plugs were included). Very efficient at 90dB. I seen them sell used for +/- $650 which is an absolute steal and a half.
Soliloquy 5.0s, or even 5.3s, would be a good alternative for about half the price of the B&Ws. I love the N805s, but the Soliloquys are a much better value, in my opinion.