hifinutt

boenicke Owners Club

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OK, so maybe I would need to succumb to the stands. 

Source-wise I have the following: flac files on a laptop or CDs in a Cyrus CDXt Signature transport -> Aqua La Voce S3 DAC (-> Horn Shoppe The Truth preamp). 

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, peachathome said:

However, I came here for real-life experiences and views, and a few things have struck me.  Firstly, the W5s are very insensitive speakers and seem to require an amp with something north of 300 wpc (although some users have had good results with much lower powered amps). 

Yes and no. It's not as simple as that. W5s can sound superb with a Lavardin IS Reference (2x50w), although nobody's going to mistake it for a PA system in terms of maximum volume.

The amp I'd be really curious about personally if funds permitted would be the Bakoon 13R. All 25w of it. ;-)

Quote

SThirdly, my own very non technical thoughts about their design.  Tweeter pointing to the rear?  One driver on the front and another on the side?  Does this produce sound which is cohesive and well integrated?  You would have thought so, otherwise they wouldn't have been designed that way.
 

The Boenickes sound enormous (in terms of soundstage). Yes it's cohesive, well integrated and accurately scaled (no 8 foot wide fretboards).

They respond well to more space, but some people use them successfully on a desktop for near-field listening. (Boenicke offer sprung feet for this purpose).

Edited by notevenclose

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6 minutes ago, notevenclose said:

Yes and no. It's not as simple as that. W5s can sound superb with a Lavardin IS Reference (2x50w), although nobody's going to mistake it for a PA system in terms of maximum volume.

The amp I'd be really curious about personally if funds permitted would be the Bakoon 13R. All 25w of it. ;-)

The Boenickes sound enormous. Yes it's cohesive, well integrated and accurately scaled (no 8 foot wide fretboards).

They respond well to more space, but some people use them successfully on a desktop for near-field listening. (Boenicke offer sprung feet for this purpose).

That would be fine.  I don't listen at PA levels: my listening position is only around 3.5 to 4 metres from the speakers and I don't want a music-induced migraine.  

This is all good feedback. I'm getting more comfortable with the W5SE+s as a concept. 

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Super Wammer
29 minutes ago, peachathome said:

I'm new to HFW and have read through this thread with interest.  I'm hoping to pick the brains of Boenicke owners if anyone has any spare time to reply.

My current speakers are Tannoy Eaton Legacy.  Their sound profile is pretty much perfect to my ears.  If I had any very very mild criticisms it's that the sound stage can sometimes seem a bit lacking in height and width.  Also, they seem to lack a touch of precision.  However, generally they are right up my street.  

One issue is that my wife isn't overly keen on the way they look.  Big and boxy, etc.  They aren't very popular, certainly compared to the Triangle Signature Thetas which I had before.  

This has led to looking around for alternatives, and I started reading up on the W5SE+s.  I've spoken to a couple of dealers about them, and their view is that they are exceptional.  This view seems to be backed up by the reviews I've seen.  Sound profile is warmer than neutral (as are the Eatons), with excellent bass (very important to me), balanced treble (also important as I don't like bright speakers, and that was my issue with the Thetas), and very impressive soundstage.  

If the W5SE+s basically sound 95% identical to my Tannoys but in much smaller boxes then basically I'm sold.  For the record, I need standmounters (floorstanders do not have any WAF at all).  In fact one reservation I have is that the W5SE+s are so small they might look a bit stupid on my Atacama HMS 2.1 stands (which for various reasons I want to retain). 

However, I came here for real-life experiences and views, and a few things have struck me.  Firstly, the W5s are very insensitive speakers and seem to require an amp with something north of 300 wpc (although some users have had good results with much lower powered amps).  I'm a vintage amp collector, and the 11 I have so far range from a 40 wpc channel Sansui AU-111 and a Radford STA 25 series 3, to a Pioneer M90a with 200 wpc.  And all points in between.  But none of them seem to have power in the required range. 

Second, the W5s possibly benefit from having quite some distance away from walls.  In my living room they would be a decent distance away from both side walls.  However, at most the rear of the speakers will be only about 35-40 cms from the back wall.  We don't have space for them to come any further into the room than that.  

Thirdly, my own very non technical thoughts about their design.  Tweeter pointing to the rear?  One driver on the front and another on the side?  Does this produce sound which is cohesive and well integrated?  You would have thought so, otherwise they wouldn't have been designed that way.  But one user appears to have commented negatively on this aspect.  

So I'm very much on the fence about this, and wondered if anyone had any thoughts on the above.

Yes, auditioning them would be great but AFAIK no-one stocks them near where I live (Colchester). 

I suppose the easiest (and cheapest) solution might be to persuade my wife that the Eatons aren't so bad after all........

I owned Boenicke W8's for a few weeks. The looks were to die for, a love at first sight thing, but they weren't for me sonically.  Bearing in mind that exceptionally brief ownership, these are my views on some of your needs/questions:

  • Looks: if these don't tick the domestic acceptability box, nothing will. Just gorgeous
  • Sound vs Tannoys: they won't sound 95% similar; they're a completely different design in a smaller box which is solid wood not veneered MDF and they have drivers which face in different directions
  • The driver directions suggest they will be particularly sensitive to positioning in relation to side and rear walls, to each other and to the listener. Your 35-40cm from rear wall is much closer than many have settled upon and that rear-facing tweeter might not like that. On this alone I'd counsel extreme caution
  • My experience suggests a relatively small sweetspot where all these things align for the listener; it's a good place to be but others in the room will not hear what is hitting that sweetspot. The importance of this depends on how you listen of course
  • You ask whether they're "cohesive and integrated": I've tried to think of a nice way of saying this but IMHO the answer is No.
  • People speak of the wide soundstage: I found it unnaturally wide ie. much wider than the artist or producer would have heard it. Some people really really like this; I didn't. But that's, as all this is, just a personal experience.

I had heard mine twice at shows. They sounded impressive there, I loved the looks, and I broke all my own rules by buying them on that basis :roll: . With the compassionate assistance of the vendor, I have ended up in a good place but the process aged me a tad.

Don't do what I did. You haven't even heard them at a show. You've done your reseach and are asking all the right questions but you absolutely must must must hear them at home.

Finally, there is a lot of talk by owners, dealers and the manufacturer about burn-in. In practical terms, this means if you demo a new pair you should NOT be listening to them at all for the first 200-300 hours: that's 8-12 days of 24 hour running with no proper listening at all... So if you demo at home, ideally you need a used/ex-demo pair not a new pair so you can dive straight in, but failing that you must have them at home for a month = two weeks of burn-in, two weeks of proper evaluation. Use the highest current (heaviest is a good clue!) amplifier you have... they're a tough load.

Hope this helps.

Nigel

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Super Wammer

You need to listen to them at home.
You might be able to buy a second hand pair from Elite already run in if you decide to get them?

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Super Wammer
7 hours ago, Electric Cafe said:

You need to listen to them at home.
You might be able to buy a second hand pair from Elite already run in if you decide to get them?

Yes. I believe they might have a pair of cherry W8 :) with matching cherry swingbases (making them a sort of SE-) for £4000ish. Even the harshest critic of floorstanders couldn’t fail to admire the sleek lines of these. Their photo doesn’t do them justice, with the pale ash pair in the background making the cherrywood look dark where it’s actually a warm colour (check out stock photos). 

Even if the target speaker is a W5, you’d learn a huge amount from trying W8 at home (positioning, multi-directional drivers etc) while of course not being able to assess the bass. In fact I’d go as far as to say you’d learn a lot more from two weeks at home with some burned-in W8 than with some brand new W5.

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Super Wammer

@peachathome
Have you thought about W8s? Their footprint is small.

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This is all excellent advice, many thanks.  I had forgotten to mention the burn in aspect in my original post. In my experience speakers don't change much (if at all) after the first few hours of being used at decent volumes, but the Boenickes genuinely do seem to need much longer than that.

Unless I'm going barking mad I can't find the 2nd hand pair of W8s on Elite's website, so maybe they have sold.  I can always email Mark about them tomorrow.  

Views about speakers are always going to vary widely depending on the usual factors (placement, partnering equipment, etc), but it does seem with the Boenickes that a good home demo is critical.  It would be unrealistic to expect them to sound 95% like my Eatons, however there is the possibility that I would find them to sound even better if all the stars align.  One concern is certainly the rear firing tweeter being close to the back wall: I'm very treble sensitive when it comes to both speakers (Triangles) and headphones (HD800).  It's the part of the frequency spectrum that my brain really seems to home in on.  

Given however that the Tannoys really do hit 98% of what I'm after then it may be wise for me to stick with them.  I know that in hi-fi it's always tempting to chase down the last couple of percent, but it may not work out well.  Instead I could spend the cash on a weekend away with my wife.  During which I ply her with wine and broach the subject of keeping the Tannoys.  To me that they have a lot of old school charm about the design.......

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Super Wammer

Search eBay for Boenicke and you’ll see the W8’s. Home demo vs Tannoys? That would be interesting. I suspect one would win on looks, the other on sound, but only you can decide! 

Your treble sensitivity noted... and IMHO makes home dem even more important.

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Super Wammer
Search eBay for Boenicke and you’ll see the W8’s. Home demo vs Tannoys? That would be interesting. I suspect one would win on looks, the other on sound, but only you can decide! 
Your treble sensitivity noted... and IMHO makes home dem even more important.
I agree with your last part.
Home demo is essential due to the way high frequencies are dealt with.
Some think it sounds great, others find it too much.
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Super Wammer

IMHO and a few thoughts having had them nearly 2 years;

  1. if W8s don't get high WAF then nothing will, they are tiny - I was TOLD to buy them
  2. W5 need their dedicated stands which perform like a swing base to some extent
  3. swing base is more important than SE etc. for the W8s, but not the OEM ones which are expensive
  4. in my experience, the rear tweeter really benefits from a hard wall, is that what you have?
  5. if you can get >=2m apart then bass unit inwards, otherwise outwards but rooms vary, costs nothing to try :) 
  6. I prefer minuscule toe in, other's MMV here
  7. the run in is REAL, I have run in 2x pairs of W8s (to quote a pro audio engineer of this parish wideband drivers take AGES to burn in due to very stiff suspension)
  8. if moved to a different room/house they need a good hour at least to settle down, at first, I didn't believe it but it's true

all in all, talk to Mark and see what demo pairs they have (I can see a used Boenicke W8 pair in Cherry on Elite's eBay site :D ) 

if you keep we can point you to some lovely swing bases ;) 

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Super Wammer

Agh! beaten to it!

Do talk to Mark / Elite, they are decent to deal with and I have bought more gear from them since - I was lucky that I could call in easily when working.

Do mention that we sent you Flash, Electric Cafe. Also if he's around and sober :D @Richard A may have some thoughts.

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D'oh.  It didn't occur to me to check Elite's eBay store.  Found them.  Very nice looking speakers.  

In answer to Maverick's question, yes the rear wall is hard (brick covered in plaster).  Does this mean it's more reflective hence those high frequencies bounce off more?  Physics isn't my strong suit.  

Anyway, speaking with Mark about a home demo of the 2nd hand pair of the W8s may well be the path to take.  If I like them then I can always revert back to the W5s as I assume they'll share a very similar sound, with even more WAF than the W8s. Though I see from the dimensions on Boenicke's website that the W8s are tiny for floorstanders.  

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Super Wammer

The W8s are tiny for floor speakers, but they can fill a large room with music.
I wanted a slightly fuller sound so upgraded from the W8s to the W11s.

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