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Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

At the moment I'm using B&W 603 s3 speakers. They sound fine, but I think there are more 'balanced' options out there. Recently there has been an accident when my 800 liter aquarium was put into place. It was knocked over and fell face down. It's still working fine, but there is visible damage to the front of the enclosure.

At this moment I'm planning on moving these speakers to the 2nd floor and use them in my 'computer room', replacing the 602 s3 I have there.

Now there is a little dilemma I have. I can buy 2nd hand B&W 703 speakers for about the same price as new 683 s2 speakers (really close in price). Buying 2nd hand gives me no warranty, according to the seller they are about 10 years old. On the other hand the technology advances and maybe the 683 s2's are the better choice nowadays, but I cannot test them under the same conditions because there are no shops that have the 703 speakers because they are not sold anymore. so that is hard to compare. and I have to drive 2x 125KM for them...

Spec wise I'm a little worried about the 683 s2 speakers. I like to have speakers that can go low when needed. I'm not a fan of subwoofers, I want a fullrange speaker that is balanced well and can play the bass notes in acoustic music.

The 683 s2 speakers have a minimum frequency of 52 Hz. Which seems quite high compared to the 703 (38Hz) and the 603 s3 according to the specs go as low as 34Hz.... I hate speakers beeing boomy, but I want a good controlled bass that can get low when needed.

These are 'just' specs, I know...

Is there anything sensible to say what I should do, or where I have to pay attention to?
I know the fact that listening is the best, but the environment differs every time. Auditioning speakers at my home is not an option. I find that way too risky and is even impossible when buying 2nd hand. Audio shops are also quite a long drive and I don't have a huge car available every time.

I have been reading lots of reviews and tests, but that makes things only harder because these reviews are done by different people under different conditions.

PS. I know there are other speaker brands, but I grew up with B&W's and I like them the most

Thank you very much for your input!

Re: Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

Reply #1
I'm not a fan of subwoofers, I want a fullrange speaker that is balanced well and can play the bass notes in acoustic music.

I hate speakers beeing boomy, but I want a good controlled bass that can get low when needed.

I know the fact that listening is the best, but the environment differs every time.

grew up with B&W's and I like them the most

So your dilemma is of your own creation.
Get whatever B&W you like and a pair of small powered subs to flank them. Run the B&Ws full range and low pass the subs to fill in the very bottom, with some adjustability for boom (you can use the volume, phase and frequency controls for very rudimentary EQ).
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

Reply #2
Quote
I'm not a fan of subwoofers...

...I hate speakers beeing boomy
A good  subwoofer shouldn't be boomy (although it can depend on room acoustics and placement).     I assume B&W makes some good subs.

Re: Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

Reply #3
Quote
On the other hand the technology advances and maybe the 683 s2's are the better choice nowadays,
I don't know about those particular speakers but speaker technology hasn't changed that much in the last...  I dunno...  40 or 50 years...    Most speakers are  still 2-way or 3-way systems with dynamic drivers (a magnet, coil, and cone).     There are some great sounding "classic" speakers. 

The biggest advance (since the availability/popularity of small computers) is the ability to model/predict speaker performance, so it's easier to design a good speaker with less trial-and-error.

And as the cost & size of electronics has gone down, it's more economical to make a bi-amplified/tri-amplified active monitor with amplifiers "matched" to the drivers and frequency response compensation built-into the electronics.

There are some "new" materials, but that doesn't necessarily mean better sound compared to an older well-designed speaker.

And with home theater, there is a "trend" toward smaller satellite speakers (since you have 5 or 7 of them) with a separate subwoofer to make up for the small-speaker lack of bass (and for "booms" and explosions in movies).






Re: Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

Reply #4
Quote
On the other hand the technology advances and maybe the 683 s2's are the better choice nowadays,
I don't know about those particular speakers but speaker technology hasn't changed that much in the last...  I dunno...  40 or 50 years...    Most speakers are  still 2-way or 3-way systems with dynamic drivers (a magnet, coil, and cone).    There are some great sounding "classic" speakers. 

The biggest advance (since the availability/popularity of small computers) is the ability to model/predict speaker performance, so it's easier to design a good speaker with less trial-and-error.

And as the cost & size of electronics has gone down, it's more economical to make a bi-amplified/tri-amplified active monitor with amplifiers "matched" to the drivers and frequency response compensation built-into the electronics.

There are some "new" materials, but that doesn't necessarily mean better sound compared to an older well-designed speaker.

And with home theater, there is a "trend" toward smaller satellite speakers (since you have 5 or 7 of them) with a separate subwoofer to make up for the small-speaker lack of bass (and for "booms" and explosions in movies).


You've missed a number of important advances.

(1) Speakers with far longer, more linear strokes. This applies to not only woofers, but speakers operating in all ranges.  Remember the ca. 1960s EV 30W, which was actually 30 inches in diameter? A dirty little secret is that its linear stroke was only about 3 mm.  Swept volume is of the essence, so the 30W  could be replaced with a 15 inch driver that had 12 mm Xmax. But SOTA 15" driver Xmax can run up to 30 mm. IOW a modern 15 incher could replace about 3 of the old time monsters.

(2) Crossover design, whether passive or active. It's all about the target transfer functions, not the specific way to implement them, though as noted above, the ability to economically stack up amplifiers as needed is a benefit as well.

(3) Understanding the importance of, and how to more closely control speaker directivity.

(4) Use of DSPs to economically deliver crossovers that far more closely approach the theoretical ideal.

Re: Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

Reply #5
Thanks for the answers. Still it's even more information to take into account when making a decision :)

When using headphones I know there is quite a lot of difference between them, but they are all good in their own way.

For example my headphone setup when Im using my laptop and listening to music, like Im doing right now I use the FiiO E17K amp as a USB Headphone DAC in combination with 2 different headphones, IEM's en Sennheiser CX500's.

1. Sennheiser HD580. Warm and pleasant sound (open, so not ideal in every situation).
2. AKG K550 (more neutral, sealed and the one I use the most at the moment)
3. Shure SE425 IEMs, Using them right now, needs some "getting used to", but perfect representation en detail, great for vocals but mids are very present, you need to be in the right mood for them).
4. Sennheiser CX500s, the portable ones I can just put in and go, unlike the SE425 that I handle with much care (you cannot take them in and out that easy).

I think the same goes with speakers. Some people like speakers that have very pronounced bass or mids, but I think I like a slight warm sound, but with clear mids and highs. Not easy to explain, but I think that is the B&W sound in my case.

Just have to make the right decision. I've cancelled the 703 appointment because I had some doubts and also not all accessories were there, like the foam plugs and the spikes. In my room I need them to control the bass. With an open back port I get boominess because my left speaker has an 800 liter aquarium on its left side, a TV cabinet on the right. That makes the bass prone to reflecting back to me giving that sloppy booming bass I don't like. I love bass, but it must sound decent. Hard to explain :)

Thanks, and all comment is welcome off course!

Re: Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

Reply #6
Thanks for the answers. Still it's even more information to take into account when making a decision :)

I was hoping for something meaningful and perhaps even factual, but instead I see the following:

Quote
When using headphones I know there is quite a lot of difference between them, but they are all good in their own way.

As the saying goes, that and $2 can still get you a cup of coffee in one of the chain coffee shops that seem to afflict my part of the modern word. It is absolutely meaningless to everybody, presuming that even its author has the insight and objectivity to understand how and why it is meaningless

Actually, it is a false claim because not all of them are good, some of them not even in any way.  Or maybe they are. What does good mean?  I'll bet it means something different to every different person who reads this thread.

Quote
I think the same goes with speakers. Some people like speakers that have very pronounced bass or mids, but I think I like a slight warm sound, but with clear mids and highs. Not easy to explain, but I think that is the B&W sound in my case.

The value of meaningless blather and the price of coffee is unchanged by that momentous statement.

Quote
Thanks, and all comment is welcome off course!

There you go!

Re: Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

Reply #7
IOW a modern 15 incher could replace about 3 of the old time monsters.

Transducer active surface related room air, compare the impedance of a 30' cone to a 15' one seems exactly the same as compare a large horn and a small one and say that the small one can replace the large one by increasing the compression driver excurtion IMHO.

Re: Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

Reply #8
IOW a modern 15 incher could replace about 3 of the old time monsters.

Transducer active surface related room air, compare the impedance of a 30' cone to a 15' one seems exactly the same as compare a large horn and a small one and say that the small one can replace the large one by increasing the compression driver excurtion IMHO.

It goes without saying among knowlegable audiophiles  that replacing short stroke 30 incher with a long stroke 15 incher would require a different (smaller) cabinet, the efficiency might be different, etc.  Details, details.

The point is that for subwoofers, cleanly and linearly moving air is of the essence.  If you look about you, high quality 15 inch subwoofers are mainstream audio products, while 30 inch drivers are a lot  more like hens teeth.  The reason why is pretty obvious if you understand the practical aspects of the problem.

 

Re: Buy used 703 vs new 683 s2

Reply #9
Thanks for the answers. Still it's even more information to take into account when making a decision :)

I was hoping for something meaningful and perhaps even factual, but instead I see the following:

Quote
When using headphones I know there is quite a lot of difference between them, but they are all good in their own way.

As the saying goes, that and $2 can still get you a cup of coffee in one of the chain coffee shops that seem to afflict my part of the modern word. It is absolutely meaningless to everybody, presuming that even its author has the insight and objectivity to understand how and why it is meaningless

Actually, it is a false claim because not all of them are good, some of them not even in any way.  Or maybe they are. What does good mean?  I'll bet it means something different to every different person who reads this thread.

Quote
I think the same goes with speakers. Some people like speakers that have very pronounced bass or mids, but I think I like a slight warm sound, but with clear mids and highs. Not easy to explain, but I think that is the B&W sound in my case.

The value of meaningless blather and the price of coffee is unchanged by that momentous statement.

Quote
Thanks, and all comment is welcome off course!

There you go!


Hello Arnold,

I'm sorry English is not my native language and I have some difficulty interpreting things the right way at the moment.

I was saying different headphones and earbuds, IEM's I own all sound different. This is a fact. The way I'm reading your comment I get the idea you're saying that everything is the same (like the coffee). I like coffee (and I have a machine for it) and I know there are a lot of different tastes of coffee available, so I totally do not understand your comment of interpret it wrong. No offense, just a language barrier.

As for the speaker choice. I have decided to go for a new pair of B&W CM9 s2 speakers. If they are in stock I can pick them up today. They are a bit above the budget I set for it, but this is a investment for many years so I want it to be just right so I don't regret afterwards. I got a very nice deal on them by the way. €650 under standard retail price.

 
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