Trying to understand B&W’s trickle down strategy


Hi everybody,

I'm trying to understand what B&W's trickle down tech strategy actually means. I've searched the internet, but not much comes up. So I figured I'd try here instead.

Does the B&W approach e.g. mean that a modern entry level speaker such as the 606 S2 AE sounds as good as (or better) than the older high end Matrix 805?

I know there is a difference in the bracing of the cabinet (in which, as I understand it, the Matrix 805 is far superior). 

To my knowledge it would seem that a 606 S2 AE uses the same midrange as the 805 D3 - which is insane. I don't know about the tweeter though, but since the Matrix 805-design is 31 years old my guess is that the 606 S2-tweeter would also be trickled down several generations ago and that this newer one is as good as (or better) than the Matrix 805.

Is it only the drivers they are trickling down or is it also the crossovers and the whole technology here which tell the drivers how to interact?

I'm debating this because I'd like to know if my money is better spent on a used Matrix 805 than a new 606 S2 AE. The used price of the Matrix 805 is very similar to the new price of 606 S2 Anniversary Edition (at least where I live).

I hope someone can shed some light upon this issue - thanks!

rukiteriaq
I don't know the answers your questions but I have a pair of the 606's and I love them. 
Ruki,This is a very good question.For me it would relate to your electronics. Since the 600 series is more forgiving to average electronics.
When you purchase new you have advantages of the latest material science crossovers and 5 year warranty etc.The 805 matrix was always solid 30 years ago and still a decent purchase. But you will still have to check driver tweeter availability / support if ever needed. The latest 600 series is fantastic when paired with the right gear. JohnnyR
 
Just off the top of my head, I'd say the trickle down is mostly the concepts not the actual hardware. Expensive materials don't get trickled down, they get replaced with cheaper materials. Probably more of a marketing tool than anything else. 
@russ69  is correct

similar tech but cheaper materials

bracing and internals will not be similar to higher end products.  For example, while the cone material is similar on the 606 as on the 805d3, if you run your fingers across the grey continuum driver, you will notice the weave of the 805d3 to be smoother and tighter than on the 606.  Also, the rear support and magnet of the driver is different.
The way I understand it is the sound does trickle down. So if you can stand what comes out of the expensive ones this trickles down to where you can probably stand the cheap ones too. 

That's the trickle theory. Climb out of that valley, search the skyline. It might be a ways but if you can make it to Utah there the rivers run wild and free with great sound. Why settle for a trickle when you can drink from a river?
So if you can stand what comes out of the expensive ones this trickles down to where you can probably stand the cheap ones too.
Ha!  Too damn funny.  Obviously with the used 805s you have no idea if you’ll like them or not whereas at least you can hear the new models, which is not a small consideration at all especially with those older B&W metal tweets.  Rather than spending time weeding through B&W’s trickle tactics I’d strongly suggest you go listen to some other options as there’s a ton of strong competitors in this segment from the likes of Wharfedale, Elac, etc.  I’d mention the LSA-10 Signatures sold here new for $1399/pr that are in an entirely different league IMO, and they offer a trial period.  If you want to save some $ and willing to buy used there’s a nice pair of Silverline Minuet Supreme Pluses available on US AudioMart for $450 that also offer a high level of sound quality for their size/price.  Just some  thoughts FWIW, and best of luck in your search. 
Old is old. You may like it, but things, including speakers, have their expected lifespan.
Millercarbon,
    I don't think you understand how a river forms. Actually it's a trickle in the mountains and doesn't become a river until the lowlands.
Simply use your ears and stick to it. Always remember when it comes to manufacturers products of any sort.; - - - "MORE IS MORE, - -  and LESS IS LESS". Rarely does a product being promoted at a lower price level, perform better than one designed and marketed at a higher price level.

Of course, occasionally, there are exceptions. and this may be one (to your ears) This may not be any help, but it is almost always true. 
Be careful though, and consider the acoustical environment and source equipment that the speakers will be operating in concert with.  Demos rarely tell the whole story. Hopefully you are doing comparisons on your own turf with your own electronics and room environment.
" Millercarbon,
    I don't think you understand how a river forms. Actually it's a trickle in the mountains and doesn't become a river until the lowlands."

Ha ha... nice. The dude has been known to author some real gems, of the weird variety.
Derivative from a concept or model but not up to that standard.

G

The cone on a 606 is made of the same material as the MR on an 802, but the driver is different b/c the rubber surround on the 606 has to allow for long excursions where the FST midrange does not. Also, the 800 series uses much higher grade crossover parts and is close tolerance throughout, where the 606 is mass produced. The Matrix series was a higher end item, but known for its low sensitivity even then. That said, the latest 606 is a darn good 2-way box. Compare to Focal Chora, which has more coloration but sounds more dynamic too.
I had a pair of 705s and also had a pair of 805s.

Both were brand new with a free return for refund. Only way to truly test a product is in your home. 

They both had the same mid driver but different tweeter.  Also the bass port was in the front vs the back. 

They both sounded fantastic and for the money I would choose the 705s.

However the 805s do add more definition and detail.  Probably not $3000 worth but after having both,  i did settle on the 805s.

If I didn't have both i would have settled on the 705.

It just shows that speaker technology is still advancing and newer is probably better. 


The 804D2’s were one of the best speakers they ever made...I should have kept them.  If you could get a pair of those, you would be set for life.  I have the 802D3’s currently, which are wonderful sounding...but if your budget is under $1000 the 606S2 is amazing for $899!  Music Direct 30day trial available...give them a spin.  I would get them over the Matrix 805’s any day.
60 day trial...sorry!  Also, they have Wharfedale Linton 85th Anniversary speakers w/o stands $1198...wt $1498!  They are full range and could be a forever speaker for you...stands recommended.  Ask for 15% off
800 series floor: solid milled decoupled aluminum 
tube loaded diamond tweeter all models.
Solid milled decoupled aluminum turbine head on 800,802, 803 D3's
Decoupled Continum mid range driver: Matrix cabinet construction for bass speakers: Aerofoil designed bass design with a woven fabric proprietary material: 
804 do not have the turbine head and the 805 have single continuum driver.
700 series trickle down from 800's: 702 & 705 Have the solid milled aluminum tweeter tube. 702,703, 704 Floor standers have the decoupled continum midrange but no turbine head models & they use aerofoil designed bass drivers but cheaper material than what is used in the 800 series & no matrix construction: The 700 series tweeter is a decoupled design with an aluminum tweeter that is treated with fine layer of carbon: hence: the carbon tweeter to extend the breakup frequency & to smooth out the performance over the standard aluminum tweeter. 
The 600 series shares the continuum driver material & the B&W design team so there is continuity to the house sound when you travel up the line. It uses a decoupled aluminum tweeter minus the carbon tweeter & traditional bass drivers: The 700 series has a more solid cabinet construction & higher end furniture grade finishes with superior magnets in the drivers.
Hope this helps; I have been selling B&W for 10 years & have attended a number of their training events over the years.