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I've been fortunate enough to acquire 3 very fine sets of speakers that were some of the best available the year after I left college and still could not afford: a pair of KEF 105's, Yamaha NS-1000's, and original B&W 801's. I finally managed to get them all in one room for a fun but admittedly less than fully objective comparison.
Each set has its own ampliifier of approximately 125 WRMS/Channel so I could accurately match levels. The KEF's driven by a Carver MX130, the NS-1000s by NAD1130/2200 combo, and the 801's by a Yamaha A-1020. The sources are a TD-124 with Sonus Arm and AT13Ea Cartridge with new ATN14s shibata stylus and a Denon DCM-380 CD player. A Yamaha C-45 pre-amp provides the phono stage and outputs to the three amps. I have not spent any time trying to match speakers to amp. I listened to a variety of music including female vocals (Rikki Lee Jones, Edie Brickell), instrumental (Horowitz plays Chopin), jazz(various) and Classic Rock (Steely Dan etc.).
Observant inmates may have noticed the Yamaha's are at a slight disadvantage. One of the beryllium tweeters was shot and I have replaced both with very decent but not extremely high end Audax's. I first voiced one Audax against the good Beryllium and found that with a slight boost (1.5 db) it was beyond my capability to differentiate between the two both on mono source material as well as a frequency sweep but I'm sure there are effects. Very observant inmates may have recognized the Wharfedale W70-D's hiding in the background.
After much AB-ing between the three there is no one set that stands out, they are each excellent with differences slight and difficult to articulate but I'll try. On instrumental muusic it was easy to lose track of which set was selected. The low end on the B&W's was slightly more extended but also seemed slightly less clean. Female vocals were more open on the KEF'( perhaps the famous BBC dip?) but the low end was not as strong. The NS-1000's were the most forward and sounded richer on most rock but did not have as big a sounstage as the other two, increasing the tweeter levels another dB opened them up a bit more. Again, the differences were subtle although my neighbor had no trouble deciding the NS-1000's were best. Very slight changes in relative volume always made one speaker sound much fuller than another and I imagine playing around with amp matching would also change the results. Unfortunately I do not have sound measuring equipment like Bold Eagle to better calibrate the set-up. None-the-less it has been a lot of fun.
It worked the first time for me, and this time too.
...I am curious as to why didn't you couple the NS-1000s to the Yamaha receiver?
I did connect the Yamaha to the Yamaha's at first but the Carver connected to the 801's was doing some funky things at power down (huge thump) so I pulled it out and connected the Yamaha to the 801's. After checking the Carver out independently with no issues I decided it must have been a weird ground loop due to daisy chaining the power cords using rear outlets on the electronics. I put the Carver back in with everything connected directly to a power strip and just hooked the Carver up to the Yamaha's because it was easiest. I do intend to swap things around to see if I get different results.
Crank up your talking machine, grab a jar of your favorite "kick-back", sit down, relax, and let the good times roll.
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