To Hans Wetzel,
I read your review of the Bowers & Wilkins 704 S2 with interest. However, I am a neophyte and much of what you were writing about went over my head. I am curious what you think of the following speakers, as compared to the 704: SVS Prime Pinnacle, Klipsch RP-8000F, NHT C4 Tower, and the MartinLogan Motion 40i.
Other details: Onkyo TX-NR801 receiver, 75% music and 25% movies, I like my music loud (Rolling Stones, rock, blues), and the tower has to be piano black, high-gloss! If there is another speaker I should consider, please advise. Many thanks.
Loud, high-gloss piano-black finish -- got it. Well, the Klipsch is the only two-way design here, but that’s offset by being extremely efficient (98dB!) and boasting a pair of 8” woofers -- I'm confident they’ll hit pretty hard. That said, I think that if you’re willing to spend $1500-$2000/pair and want something that you can crank, a three-way tower is an absolute must.
I can’t speak to NHT, unfortunately. I know they had a great reputation 15 years ago, but speaker design has come a long way in the interim. In checking out their website, it looks like they might have a no-hassle, no-cost, 30-day refund policy, so I would check on the fine print before going that direction.
The MartinLogan Motion 40i looks pretty tasty for the money. I haven’t heard the Motion line in person, but my colleague Gordon Brockhouse recently attended the launch event for the refreshed Motion line and most certainly has -- check out his impressions on SoundStage! Global. On paper, the 40i’s three-way design, pair of 6.5” woofers, and Folded Motion tweeter look amenable to strong dynamics and nice midbass punch, though its 4-ohm nominal impedance might not be a great match for your Onkyo receiver. This neatly leads me to the SVS Prime Pinnacle tower: I think it’s a great choice. It’s a three-way with a nominal 8-ohm impedance, so an easy load on your receiver, plus it has a trio of 6.5” woofers for big bass. SVS also has a 45-day return policy with shipping covered both ways, which is generous and reduces risk tremendously.
The only speaker that I would throw into the mix would be Monitor Audio’s Silver 300, which I reviewed last year. At $2000/pair, it looks great and handles dynamics with ease. As I noted in my review of the pair, "These things can seriously rock out.”
If I were in your shoes, though, I’d start with SVS, since there is no risk involved, and only check out the Monitor Audio, MartinLogan, or Klipsch speakers if a pair of Pinnacle Primes aren’t to your liking. . . Hans Wetzel