Buying speakers blind, so to speak on someone else’s recommendation is never a good idea. People interpret what they hear differently so what sounds great to Joe Bloggs can sound awful to John Smith. If there is any way you can listen beforehand, that will take out the possibility of buying something you later decide you can’t live with and the associated costs that comes with that.
Both brands have their fans on here, as do many other manufacturers.
Try and get a listen somewhere
Welcome to the forum…!
I’d agree on the points from @Speedtrip, no idea where you are in the world but retailers in the UK are opening up and doing booked demos. I did a recent session with a friend looking for a new system.
Ideally and if buying new look at a retailer that is ok with you loaning demo speakers and then returning them if not entirely happy. I know that this was the case for some retailers here in the UK where they asked for a deposit and then shipped out demo kit for a 2 week trial.
Certainly listen with your own ears where ever possible!
I can’t answer directly as I havent compared those models, let alone with that amp. However I have directly compared higher models, PMC MB2SE and B&W 802D2, driven by Bryston 4Bsst2, and preferred the PMC.
Based on past listening experience I have found that transmission line bass generally sounds better to me than reflex. However, everyone’s taste in soeakers differs, and some speakers I have strongly disliked others say they love, so it really is a matter of personal taste. I would most strongly suggest auditioning of speakers, more so than any other component - even if it means waiting until COVID-19 travel restrictions are over, or otherwise accept that you may end up moving them on if they don’t suit.
I have owned both PMC and B&W but older models and listened to the large PMC models IB1i and EB1i about 10 years ago if not more. Both good but for bass solidity and punch for rock music I would go with PMC. Also, the photos below may or may not be an important factor for you but thought I might post them here.
Thanks for the replies, also the kind welcome Speedtrip.
I am thinking with the PMC twenty5 models that they don’t use either PMC tweeters or drivers so without their ‘fabled’ midrange driver (only available on the big big floor stander) I would be better going with B&W…
I would like to buy British (particularly now), I live in Vietnam so it’s hard work getting kit in good condition if I put it that way. Neither of the local hifi shops for either brand are ok. Terrible in fact.
Trouble is that PMC are just making the boxes for the twenty5 range I saw, they are using drivers and tweeters from other companies not in the UK. That’s fine of course, I can’t complain but if that’s the case they might as well be B&W. So maybe I should look at their more expensive speakers like you listened to. But I bet both were made in the UK back when you listened!
I’d share everyone’s thoughts that buying blind is high risk as speakers are very different and personal taste matters so much. As does room interaction. I have some experience with both brands as follows in case this helps.
I run ND555/52/SC/135s into B&W804S. Extremely good match for me, lovely clear top end, mid range (violins/vocals), and deep and powerful quick bass.
I run a Nova into PMC 25.23s. Again I find it a good match, top end and mid-range not as natural as the bigger rig, but very good. Bass not as powerful, but possibly a bit more responsive to fast changes. The 1st system is definitely better, but then it should be given the electronics.
I did a long demo of Nd555/252/SC/300 into 702S2, I was much more impressed with the 702s than I expected. Strong enjoyable top end end mids, bass was probably the least well controlled of the three speakers I describe, not responding as well to changes, but still very good.
I can’t give very useful input as I’ve heard the three speakers in different electronics only. My gut feel would be that I slightly prefer the top/mid of the B&W700 series, and te bass of the PMC25. The new PMC range I believe has improved tweeter, so may rebalance that. My personal taste would be for the PMCs, but I could certainly live with and really enjoy music through the 700s (if they worked in my room).
There is a perception that B&W and Naim don’t match, a recent forum poll suggested that at the high end at least they’re more common partners than thought, for matching with 500 series amps B&W800 series were one of the most common pairings, I think only behind Naim speakers.
I have owned PMC 20/23 for some years now and in my opinion they are not forgiving of poor recordings and can sound lean on classic rock. my previous speakers Ruark Talisman 2 were much better in this respect, and the speaker before them mission 710 were even better.
It maybe the modern trend to tall slim tower speaker design which limits the diameter of the speaker cone that limits the performance?
However given well recorded material they can sound great to my old ears.
Noting your location, there is a PMC agent in Hong Kong, which if regular cheap flights are back post COVID might not be ridiculous to go to audition if they do such things (I know it can be a bit of a rarity in your part of the world). But they might only do the pro models, rather than the consumer products, and the smaller ones I think may all be active.
Hi, I listen to the same taste in music as you so I would recommend stand mounts & a decent sub to really dig out them lows! Maybe neat momentum’s 3sxi and a rel t7/9 sub. Or other stand mounts to your taste? A well integrated sub can add loads to your taste in music if set up well & would so many upgrades if you changed speakers.
Ok I get it, you mean that the ruark and mission are hiding the detail more or less.
I found the Ruark Talisman to be very revealing but a little bright and possibly more suited to classical music.
Does that fit with you?
I mean that the ruark and mission speakers I owned had bigger woofer cones and moved more air, so for example you can feel the kick drum in the chest which the volume turned up! the pmc 20 23 goes lower but it’s (ATL) is more subtle (accurate?) more jazz than ac/dc. I’ve not listened to the bigger PMCs (except the fact 8) as they’re way too big for my listening room. I have listened to a smaller Neat floor-standing speaker (Sx something ?)and with a downward firing port they have good bass but too much for my suspended wooden floors, they might be worth a listen.
I tried out the PMC twenty24 and lived the sound, a full sound( we have similar music tastes) and was ready to purchase but the dealer was out of stock at that precise time. Being impulsive I went next door and tried proac d20r, they sounded great too so went home with them.
I’m in Singapore, here we have a place called Adelphi ( a mall) which you can get any piece of kit and make all under one roof. Hi-Fi nuts paradise.
Perhaps then off for a Singapore Sling at raffles after A long day Heaving fun?
I too like to support British industry when one can.
PMC make the bass driver and the tweeters are made to PMC spec.
I’d not get hung up on in-house drivers. There are loads of high end manufacturers that use off the shelf drivers of excellent quality. Similarly, do you care that Naim do not make the transformer, capacitors, or anything in the 250? Even the transistors with their name on them are made to their spec by another company.
Back on topic, B&W and PMC have totally different sonic signatures. If you like one you are, in my experience, unlikely to be too fond of the other. Even if you cannot hear them with your gear, are you at least able to hear them in a compromised format? Even with totally unfamiliar gear in a shop floor you might at least get to understand the different flavour. I really don’t get on with B&W at all but I have a friend that feels the same about my PMCs and wen the B&W route.
I totally share your pain though. I have a pair of speakers on order for a second system that I have never heard. Often in the far east, demonstration options are limited and youhave to pray you are not chucking money down the bin. OTOH, what I have ordered cost tiny fraction of my PMCs.
Although this is the general perception and is generally true , it’s not always the case. I currently have 3 pairs of speakers and although they sound quite different from each other, I find the sound quality of all speakers to be great.
Personally I find it useful to have different pairs of speakers that possess different sound signature so that I can swap them around whenever I feel like listening to a different sound presentation, to have a refreshing experience once in a while. It’s actually akin to upgrading the speakers but I just keep both and swap them around. I don’t do that too often though. People who are more fortunate may have multiple systems in different rooms so there’s no need of swapping the speakers.
It’s very useful information. I’ve been thinking a lot of better/worse comparisons with hifi could really just be more akin to what I’m used to vs. something new. I observe that people get used to things/adapt, so as you say a different speaker will sound different but also good and you’ll get used to it as well over time. So I don’t believe in ‘burn in’ or things like directional cables really. I hear what they say but just don’t think it’s based in any science or testing…!