Well, today we have something a little different. I have always planned on expanding the focus of this blog out onto speakers and related gear, and today is the first post going in that direction. The “N Stuff” of “Headphones N Stuff” was always intended to be speakers! I’ve been doing some listening to my two pairs of speakers today, A/B’ing out of sheer curiosity. Neither of these speakers are current models, so this was just a bit fun, not a formal review or anything.
Have no fear, the headphone content isn’t going anywhere! I’ll be back in a few days with a review of the iFi Neo iDSD 🙂
Today I’ve been doing something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Proper back to back listening with my BMR Philharmonitors and my Wilson Sophia 2’s. Now I realize that these are two entirely different types of speakers, using different driver types, but I was curious about their sound compared to each other. I suppose in some ways its a battle of David vs. Goliath.
The BMR’s were originally something like $1350USD and the Sophia 2’s were originally something like $16,000USD. The BMRs have a reputation of playing above their price point, and some feel the Wilsons measure like garbage and thus are worthless. I suppose like everything, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
As I have been mostly using the Wilsons since I purchased them, today was a great time to go back and revisit the BMRs. They really are excellent sounding speakers, regardless of what they originally cost.
Bass: Well, I’ll be honest, that whilst the bass the BMR’s are capable of is impressive especially given their size, the Wilsons won this round. Some of this will have to do with the 10” bass driver, larger cabinet etc…The bass from the Wilsons was harder hitting, punchier, and capable or going lower at louder volumes. The BMRs are capable of a very tight precise sounding bass, but they don’t convey the same sense of ease and scale that the Wilsons do.
Mids: I’d say the mids are actually kind of similar, but to me, seem more somewhat more detailed on the BMRs. Perhaps I need to spend more time A/B’ing to be sure, but thats what I’ve been picking up so far. In terms of tonal balance in the mids, in my room at least, they do seem similar.
Treble: This is an interesting one, as it seems to be dependent on the volume you are listening at. At higher volumes, the RAAL Tweeters seem to fall apart in terms of coherency and are super grating and bright. At lower to medium volumes that isn’t apparent at all. The Wilsons are more at ease playing at higher volumes, they just don’t lose composure no matter how loud you listen. I honestly thought the Wilsons might lose out on detail retrieval in terms of the RAAL vs the Focal Inverted dome, but the focal seems to keep up really well.
I think the thing I took away from this comparison most, was how excellent a value the Philharmonic BMRs are. They are super pleasing to listen to, and I don’t think I will be selling them any time soon. They are
Excellent speakers, regardless of their cost. The Wilsons, whilst being much more expensive, definitely do some things better than the BMRs. Are they worth the premium, even at used prices currently? I think it depends on your listening space, and what you are looking for from your speakers. I would be curious to try out a pair of funk audio (local company) subwoofer with the BMRs and compare again, but then you would be getting close to the Wilsons used pricing. Interesting stuff no doubt.
So, my final verdict after this afternoon of listening? Both are staying put for now, but I do think I will bring the BMRs back into more usual rotation with the Wilsons.