B&W 683 S2 - Floor standing speakers

Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
6,144
Location
EGBB
Just wanted some advice guys. I’m thinking of getting myself (treating myself really) to a pair of 683 S2 speakers to complement my Sony 1040 amp and Boston acoustics 5.1 surround speakers. Their main use will be TV/Cinema and music.

I am sort of torn between spending £499 on the 684s or £799 on the 683s (they are apparently very bulky). Both have been reviewed highly a few years ago. Anyone with the speakers with advice?
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Sep 2016
Posts
7,714
There's a pair of celestion A3 on gumtree.buy he's asking too much for them. Check email out. But you'll need a better amp.
 
Last edited:
Associate
Joined
28 Jan 2005
Posts
1,804
Location
Lymington
I've just upgraded to 685 S2 and HTM61 S2. I came from B&W 601 S2 and CC6 S2, it's a massive upgrade. Make sure your centre speaker is decent as otherwise, the 683/4 will overpower it.
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Sep 2016
Posts
7,714
I've just upgraded to 685 S2 and HTM61 S2. I came from B&W 601 S2 and CC6 S2, it's a massive upgrade. Make sure your centre speaker is decent as otherwise, the 683/4 will overpower it.


Yeah tiny little center with big mains sounds off. I like the larger 4 way centers like kef reference model 200, celestion A4C etc
 
Soldato
Joined
29 May 2010
Posts
5,972
Location
Cheshire
I'd echo what @Nick1881 said about room size and what @hornetstinger said about the difference between the existing centre speaker and the much larger 683 S2's.

The current deal on the S2 suggests there might be some newer models waiting in the wings. This makes the 683 S2 speakers a particularly appealing proposition. 30-35% off the original RRPs, and possibly a bit more as well if you haggle, is a really juicy carrot to dangle in front of anyone. Let me ask you a question though; if there wasn't such a big saving on these speakers, would you still be considering partnering £1150/pr or £799/pr front speakers with £500 AV receiver?

Buying really good speakers is rarely a bad move, just so long as the rest of the system can support them. It can be a bit of a double-edged sword though. Along with the better performance, those new speakers might just put the magnifying glass on the performance of the amp. If that happens, are you ready to spend on an amp in the next price category up from your current Sony?
 
Soldato
Joined
28 Jul 2004
Posts
5,010
Location
llanelli , south wales
I'd echo what @Nick1881 said about room size and what @hornetstinger said about the difference between the existing centre speaker and the much larger 683 S2's.

The current deal on the S2 suggests there might be some newer models waiting in the wings. This makes the 683 S2 speakers a particularly appealing proposition. 30-35% off the original RRPs, and possibly a bit more as well if you haggle, is a really juicy carrot to dangle in front of anyone. Let me ask you a question though; if there wasn't such a big saving on these speakers, would you still be considering partnering £1150/pr or £799/pr front speakers with £500 AV receiver?

They are being replaced this August. I was Audio-t Swansea last month. They have an invite to the launch of the new range. I picked up a pair of 685 for £350.
 
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
6,144
Location
EGBB
Thanks for the replies.

Yeah I think this will be the first of several upgrades to get the home cinema up to date. The Sony is several years old now and I appreciate I need a £1k amp to really get the best from the speakers. And add a latest 4K tv too...!

The guy in one of the speaker shops said the 684 and 683 are being replaced by the?S3 as they came out in 2014. I heard the 684 s2 and they sounded pretty epic. Going to test out both on a Wednesday where they are setting up a demo room for me with a 1080 amp so I can get some idea of the quality of sound.

I intend on bi-amping the 683s and using the BA for surround sound. Then the new amp and some surround speakers. That is the plan :)
 
Soldato
Joined
29 May 2010
Posts
5,972
Location
Cheshire
Bi-amping from what, the AV receiver? Why?

AFAIK, there's only one transformer in the Sony receiver. All bi-amping will do in this instance is pull power from that single transformer via some extra cable. You're not gaining anything; just spending more on wire and potentially making the Sony amp's job even harder.

Proper bi-amping is worthwhile, but it involves taking the pre-out signal in to an active crossover which then splits the signal in to the various frequency bands. Those separated signals then go off to separate power amps. If you were to do basic HF and LF, then the LF amp would be more powerful to deal with the mid/bass drivers. Once you have the power signals then they go to the speakers but you have to remove the speaker crossovers.

Doing bi-amping in a way that's actually going to produce a benefit is complex and requires speakers with removable crossovers so that the drive units themselves are directly connected to the power amps.

Personally I'd avoid the con of buying lots of extra speaker cable for either bi-amping or bi-wiring and just stick to driving the speakers directly with the bridging links in place.
 
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
6,144
Location
EGBB
Yeah but surely each channel is limited to a certain number of watts...by bi-amping even from the same receiver you are providing the speakers with more power...or am I missing something?
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Sep 2016
Posts
7,714
Yeah but surely each channel is limited to a certain number of watts...by bi-amping even from the same receiver you are providing the speakers with more power...or am I missing something?

No because it's going through cover and the same PSU.

Biamping is worth it I'd you have two stereo amps but not with a avr.


Better to go with more power I'm using 7x200w
 
Soldato
Joined
29 May 2010
Posts
5,972
Location
Cheshire
Yeah but surely each channel is limited to a certain number of watts...by bi-amping even from the same receiver you are providing the speakers with more power...or am I missing something?

What you're missing is the games that manufacturers and retailers play when quoting power figures.

Look on the back of your amp or check the manual for the power consumption figure. Your Sony eats about 240 Watts from the AC mains in full power mode. In electrical power terms, a Watt is a Watt whether it's on the AC input side of the amp's transformer or on the power output to the speakers. IOW, we can't magic up a whole bunch of extra Watts from nothing. What we get from the transformer, minus some loss due to inefficiency, is all we have to drive the speakers and run all the amplifier features. So let's take our 240 W consumption, and say we lose about 4-5% in heat and vibration within the transformer. That gives us roughly 230 Watts rounded up.

It looks like from review measurements that the 1040 can provide 2x100W in to 8 Ohms, 20Hz-20kHz @ 0.01% THD. That looks about right. it means from the 30 Watts remaining, there's some reserve of power for the speakers and to run the amp's features. Let's say there's a 10% margin per channel, so 220 Watt in total for any speaker combination, and that leaves about 10 Watts to cover running the amp and any heat losses.

The 1040 is a 7ch amp, so if we take 220W and divide by 7 we get 30W per channel. At this point you're saying "What?!? That can't be right, can it?"

What you need to remember is that it doesn't take many Watts to make a lot of noise. Your Boston speakers might be 85dB er Watt per metre. That means all they need is 2-3 Watts a piece to get close to the reference volume level of 85dB that many amps use for speaker level set up.

How come then the 1040 is quoted at 1155 Watts?

The answer is smoke and mirrors.

The AV performance is measured with only one channel driven, and with a 1kHz test tone which draws very little power from the amp compared to 20Hz-20kHz, and at a relatively high distortion figure.
The Wattage figure they get is 165W. In effect, this is the saturation point of the output transistor pair for that channel.

It used to be that manufacturers would multiply the measured power by the number of channels on the amp. Some may even still do this. Most now though leave customers or retailers to jump to that conclusion. Let's face it, 7x 165W sounds a lot more exciting on a spec sheet than 7x 30W.

The bottom line then is there's a 230W cake. It can be divided any way you like, but it'll never be bigger than 230 Watts.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
6,144
Location
EGBB
Thank you for that explanation that makes perfect sense.

So I guess to power bigger speakers one needs another amp...what would you recommend?
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Sep 2016
Posts
7,714
Depends on budget but not may have true output figures that's why I've gone pre-power
Expensive but worth it in long run if you're looking at higher end in the future. Or 4 ohm speakers because AVr may struggle with them

Also buy amps once and that is it. I won't be needinf another set of power amps for another 20 years.

The amps I use are 200w per channel, all channels driven, with 0.05% the, full range 20-20khz. None of this one channel @ 99% this with 1khz tone crap lol

I believe acts pioneer and Denon have decent power figures.
 
Soldato
Joined
18 Oct 2002
Posts
11,514
Location
Birmingham
Careful, you’ll get sucked into a larger and larger collection of boxes!!

Having a dedicated power amp for your fronts is no bad thing, but it can turn into a giant black hole for money! Does your current amp have a full set of pre outs?
 
Top