The BMR Roadshow
We thought the best way to demonstrate the unique qualities of the BMR monitors was to let as many people as possible try them out in their own homes for free. Volunteers were obtained through a dedicated thread on the Audio Video Sciences Speaker Forum. A pair of cherry BMR's departed Washington in June of 2018, and headed South to North Carolina and Florida, across the South to Texas, and then on to Nevada, California, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, New York State, New Jersey, and New York City. We paid for the shipping, and participants were under no obligation to purchase speakers or even to post their impressions. Most did post a review, and we're happy to report that the reactions where universally enthusiastic. Here are excerpts from several of the reviews, followed by the complete unedited posts from all participants.
"In the end only a poet can best describe how good these speakers sound. Going back to my speakers they almost sound like toys."
"The soundstaging was really, really impressive. Images in the center were clearly defined, and sounds seemed to come from well outside the actual location of the speakers. The soundstaging was wide, and deep, and probably the best I've heard in this room. They just sound really spacious yet still detailed. The speakers just disappear when music is playing. With most speakers I could close my eyes and still be able to point to exactly where the speakers are located. I could get up and walk toward them with a blindfold on. With these BMRs, they disappear so convincingly that I think I'd have a hard time pointing at them with my eyes closed."
"The BMRs are easily the best speakers i've ever heard."
"When I went in to pack them up the first time I sat down to listen to 'just one more thing' and ended up spending another couple of hours with them."
"Just watched my favorite demo scenes from Tron: exceptionally clear sound and dialogue throughout. The bass is ridiculous. If anyone out there asks me to recommend a setup, they don't have room/money for a sub, and their budget was $1,500 or less, these would easily be at the top of my list.
"They have fantastic bass, great imaging, and amazing bass. Oh, did I mention the quality of the bass? 😁"
"There was nothing I could find fault in with the BMRs. The build quality is top notch. I’m amazed how well they’ve held after this long trek. The soundstage. The clarity. The bass. There’s a seamless finesse to the BMRs that I absolutely love."
"Let me just say, no need for sub with these and music. Bass is always there and it is very smooth. It has been said before but I must reiterate the detail is incredible. I heard a chime in Hanz Zimmer Live in Prauge that i thought was only there for a few seconds here and there, well it plays through the whole song. I could only hear that in the BMR's."
"In conclusion. These things are great. They handled everything i threw at them and impressed me with everything they did. They are perfect for anything you would want a quality speaker for: music(2.0), home theater, video games. The BMRs are honestly the best sounding speaker I have ever heard, and their bass is as good as speakers that have powered subs in them."
Here are the full reviews ...
I submitted my name to Dennis a few weeks ago and was selected to have the BMR Road Show stop by my place for a visit. I felt like I had won the lottery when I found out I was included on the list!
I received them last week and had them for several days. They went off to the next lucky person a few days ago. I apologize for the delay in posting my impressions of them.
My room is about 13 feet wide, and with an 8 foot ceiling, and it's about 17 feet long. But it opens a little more than halfway into a kitchen area, for a total space of about 23' x 13' x 8'.
I often recommend subwoofers to people who ask, but I don't have a subwoofer myself.
I have a speaker switchbox, an old Adcom GFS-3, that allows me to quick switch between three pairs of speakers at a time..
My first impressions were that these are big, heavy, and very well built. I was concerned that the cabinets might be a relative weakness of these speakers, but I had nothing to worry about there. The cherry finish is very attractive and the cabinets are solid. They are deeper than I expected, though, at about 14". The curved sidewalls keep them from appearing too bulky.
I started off by doing level-matched, quick switch comparisons between the BMRs and some speakers I had on hand. Below you will find my comparisons.
First up, I compared a single BMR with a single NHT Classic Three. The NHTs are mellow, a bit warm balanced, with a little extra emphasis in the upper bass. Measurements of them show wide and even dispersion. Sensitivity was about the same for the two, so I didn't have to program any offsets into my AVR for this comparison to get them level-matched.
The BMRs trounce the NHTs - deeper bass, tighter bass, none of the upper bass emphasis that makes the NHTs a little muddy sounding and bloated. Clearer, more detailed mids and highs on the BMRs. And the NHTs have a little 'boxiness' that seems like it's from their cabinet (but I think is actually from their woofer, because the cabinet is small and very solidly built). The NHTs sound 'small' in comparison and definitely make the listener aware that it's a speaker being listened to.
This one was an easy victory for the BMRs, but not too surprising considering they cost double and are about twice the size. Next up, I compared a single BMR with a single Ascend Sierra One. I've owned the Sierra Ones for several years now. They've beaten out a number of other speakers I've owned in their price range, including several bookshelf speakers that list from about $500 to $1000, and they've even beaten four towers I've compared with with that list at $1000-$1200. I like the Sierra Ones quite a lot - they have impressive clarity, a fairly neutral balance, really good bass for their size, a rock solid cabinet..
The Sierras are about 1.0 or 1.5 dB louder, so I adjusted for that with my AVR so that the two speakers were about equally loud. The Sierras have impressive bass for their size, as mentioned. But the BMRs go deeper and are tighter with more detail and texture to the midbass. The Sierra 1s sound a little one-note in comparison..
The BMRs are a little more laid back in the midrange. They sound more spacious and relaxed, but at the same time more detailed. The Sierra 1s are a little forward/bright in the upper mids to low treble.
The BMRs totally 'disappear' whereas I can close my eyes and point to where the Sierras are located. The Sierras seem a little 'small' in comparison, like I can tell the sound is coming from a speaker, whereas the BMRs disappear so well that it's like they aren't there in front of me - but the music is.
The highs on both are nice and I didn't notice a huge difference with the BMR's RAAL ribbon over the Sierra's Seas soft dome. But on a few tracks I did get a feeling with the Sierra's highs that I was hearing a tweeter. With the BMRs I just didn't notice anything that made me feel like I was hearing a tweeter.
So I preferred the BMRs here too. It wasn't the knockout that they had over the Classic Threes, but it was clear decision. And again, I think the Sierra Ones are quite nice.
Next up, I compared a single BMR with a Jamo C103, a large-ish bookshelf speaker with a 7" woofer mated to a 1" soft dome tweeter in a shallow waveguide. Jamo has made some nice speakers over the years. I've read that they're popular in Europe and perhaps Asia, but I don't think they've ever been a well-known brand in the US & Canada. This model was made after Klipsch bought Jamo, and I think they've been "Klipschified" just a little, in that the high highs are a bit exaggerated and forward (but not annoyingly so, it's pretty subtle).
With their 7" woofer, the Jamos have pretty nice bass, comparable to the Ascends described above.
Compared to the BMR, the Jamos are about 2.5 dB louder, so I adjusted for that with my AVR settings. The Jamos are pretty darn good, but a little forward with mid treble and occasionally a little hot in the treble, sometimes a little forward and too much sizzle. Not harsh, not really bright, no resonances that I detect that make them sound piercing, just a little exaggerated detail.
The BMRs are more spacious, more depth and width to the sound, and all the detail is there without it being forward.
The BMR's bass is slightly better, a touch deeper and with a little more texture and finesse.
The main difference is the spaciousness in the mids and highs on the BMR versus a more constrained but more forward treble on the Jamos.
Next up, I compared the BMRs to my Ascend Sierra towers (not RAAL but rather the NRT soft dome tweeter).
The Sierra towers are about 5dB louder - that's one strength of them, that they can play loud without much power, an easy load.
Bass is comparable between the two. The BMRs might go a little lower, but the difference is small. Occasionally it seemed the BMRs were just slightly tighter and cleaner in the bass. Most of the time it would be hard to tell them apart, but here and there I detected just a touch of overhang or muddiness on the Sierras that I didn't hear on the BMRs. This could be inherent in the two speakers, but given how much a room affects bass response, it could be a room issue. I had the speakers right next to each other, but a perfect comparison would have them placed in exactly the same spot.
Both are fairly neutral, with some variations here and there. The biggest difference is that the Ascend towers seem more forward in the midrange, like instruments seem to come from in front of the speakers sometimes. The BMRs are more laid back in their presentation there, with sounds coming from the speakers and behind. The BMRs sound a bit more 'spacious' too. Both are very clean and detailed in the mids and highs but with a different presentation.
With most recordings I don't hear much different in the highs but occasionally I detect slightly greater detail with the BMR's ribbon. Also, the Sierras might be slightly laid back in the crossover region just above the range where they are forward.
I can't declare a clear winner here. The Sierra towers are far more efficient. They can play louder with less power from an amp. They can also probably play louder without compression or damage to drivers, but I never got close to those levels so it wasn't an issue for me.
The decision would come down to a more laidback presentation in the mids (the BMR) or a more forward presentation (the Sierra towers). Note that while the Sierra towers are more forward than the BMRs, they're not as forward as some other speakers I've owned (examples being Monitor Audio RS6 and RX6). They're only forward in comparison to the BMRs.
I used to own PSB Synchrony Ones but sold them a couple of years ago. The PSBs had the best bass I've heard in my room - deeep, powerful, meaty, weighty, but clean and tight and smooth. The Sierra towers didn't go quite as low or hit with as much weight. But I have neighbors above, so I can't be a basshead. The Sierras were similarly neutral but a little more forward than the Synchrony Ones in the upper mids.
I say this because the BMRs remind me of the Synchrony Ones in some ways. The BMRs are smaller, with lower sensitivity, and not quite the bass that the Synchrony Ones had, but fairly close to what I remember from the PSBs. And I remember really nice relaxed but clear mids and highs. The BMR mids and highs might actually beat the PSBs, but I can't do any comparison there because it's way too long ago.
After all those mono comparisons, I finally got around to moving some furniture to make room so I could connect the stereo pair of BRM Philharmonitors.
I set them facing the long way of the room, about 4 feet from the wall behind them, and each about 3 feet from its sidewall. I had just a little toe-in, just a few degrees.
I did so, then put a CD in, and before I got seated the music started. I literally got confused for a second, wondering to myself if I had connected everything right, because my brain heard music but I couldn't tell exactly where it was coming from. I thought I might have had a center channel on but didn't.
The soundstaging was really, really impressive. Images in the center were clearly defined, and sounds seemed to come from well outside the actual location of the speakers. The soundstaging was wide, and deep, and probably the best I've heard in this room. They just sound really spacious yet still detailed.
The speakers just disappear when music is playing. With most speakers I could close my eyes and still be able to point to exactly where the speakers are located. I could get up and walk toward them with a blindfold on. With these BMRs, they disappear so convincingly that I think I'd have a hard time pointing at them with my eyes closed.
What's more, I could move several feet to each side and still get a good image. The 'sweet spot' with these speakers is impressively wide, probably due to their wide and even dispersion.
ive owned energy take classic 5.1 set, original andrew jones pioneer fs51, center and bs21s. andrew jones pioneer 2nd generation. jbl 230s. emptek towers and huge center. klipsch rp280s, rp450c and rp160s. all in different configurations, living room, bedroom and desktop. BMRs are easily the best speakers ive ever heard.
these speakers woke me up. my next major speaker purchase will include raal tweeters (for music) or at least something with similar ribbon tweeters since i do roughly 70/30 movies/music.
i could have had these and center by now if i hadnt started with budget speakers and working my way up. no more incremental upgrades and regrets. buy once.
everything people say about raals is true. airy, detailed, clean and clear. difficult to describe but its a higher quality sound. best tweeter ive heard. no distortion at high volumes. 85 volume on the avr put a smile on my face. no fatigue after 2 hour listening sessions. i compared the bass to my best speakers, klipsch rp280s. bass on the 280s is punchy, loud and deep. these bmr woofers make them sound boomy, if that makes sense. this reminded me of my upgrade from the bic f12 subwoofer to hsu vtf2 mk5. the rp280s rock, but bmr's are in another league.
the 25 watt tube amp powers them (using bluetooth), but underpowered. barely get room filling sound (though underwhelming), lacking bass. good sound though. gotta say since ive owned budget "warm" speakers before (hated them) i assumed i wouldnt like the tube amp sound. by all accounts tube amp sound is warm, and i like it. the sound reminds me of b&w speakers i heard at magnolia room at best buy months ago.
p.s. *i found out later using bluetooth cuts the power in half pretty much*. i should have tried direct connection via 3.5mm headphone jack instead of bluetooth. connected directly via 3.5mm headphone, the amp powers my AAM's which are 84.5 sensitivity like the BMR's, plenty loud at half way volume. just thought id add this if anyone is thinking about tube amps. they make the speakers sound like vinyl records. i can compare because my sister owns vinyl record collection using vintage musical equipment.
in the end only a poet can best describe how good these speakers sound
going back to my speakers they almost sound like toys. thanks dennis
I listened to the BMRs this past Thursday evening, thanks to dr_skoobie (Vince) for setting up the demo at a friends house. We listened to some of the music that was included with the BMRs and some music choices that Vince and our host had.
Two and half hours of listening and everything sounded very good, especially with well recorded stuff. Really good dynamic range and large front stage. The RAAL tweeter really opened up the top end. I am a noob to higher end audio, but I knew what I was hearing was good stuff. I don't know the technical details of the equipment used, but our host had quality audio equipment.
The consensus was that these were great speakers to own. And at this price point there is almost no competition. I see a pair of these in the near future for me.
The BMRs are all packed up ready to ship out tomorrow. I'm sad to see them go. While they were impressive right out of the box, the more I listened to them the more they grew on me, and I think I finally got them dialed in perfectly today.
These speakers are kind of addictive - I found myself wanting to listen to old favorites and explore new stuff to show these off all at the same time. When I went in to pack them up the first time I sat down to listen to 'just one more thing' and ended up spending another couple of hours with them. Another recommendation that sounds amazing on these - check out Bernstein's Mass (the Sony Classical recording conducted by Bernstein with Alan Titus as celebrant is the best, and it's on Tidal).
Thank you again Dennis, and whoever gets these next is in for a treat!
So, the BMRs arrived at my place today, and I've just spent several hours listening to them. Here are some initial impressions:
Physical: They're huge! That's not a bad thing, they have presence, and even the pre-fab cabinet looks very nice. Even being B-stocks they're finished very well. Only one of them had a grill when they arrived, I'm not sure if that's how they left Dennis's place or if one didn't make it back into the box on one of the previous stops.
Bass: Impressive for the size to be sure. Listening to Bela Fleck's Flight of the Cosmic Hippo the bass had real texture as well as solid impact and bite, with no lack of extension of the electric bass. It's lacking the ultimate rumble for organ music, and bass percussion doesn't have the same impact as a system with subs would have, but these are about as close to full-range stand-mounts as you can get without going to an active DSP'd system. My normal mains each have an integrated 12" 850watt subwoofer, so I didn't expect these to stack up against those in that department. I am impressed at how close they come, however.
Midrange: It really draws no attention to itself, which I'm thinking is a good thing, it's there where it should be, not scooped out, not overly pushed, just right.
Treble: These have considerably more HF energy than my Intermezzos. That's not to say they're bright, they sound pretty neutral tonally to me, there's just more going on up there than I'm used to. It's great for some female vocals as has been previously mentioned - Radka Toneff's version of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress sounded pretty dang nice. On some material is a bit fatiguing, but I have a feeling that has a lot more to do with my room than anything else. My room is a bit too live (I need to break down and buy some acoustic panels) and I'm used to using a custom Dirac curve that boosts the bass a bit and rolls off the treble. I did my listening tonight with the Dirac processor bypassed, tomorrow I'm going to break out the laptop and UMIK and do a Dirac calibration on them to see how that changes things.
Soundstage: Very impressive, better than my current speakers I believe. Despite being closer together (I pushed the Intermezzos to the corner and put these in between) they throw a wider sound stage, wider than the speakers are themselves, I dig it.
Imaging: Again, very impressive, easily localizable instruments and vocalists within the soundstage, I could close my eyes and image the performers in front of me in the right places.
Dynamics: These can get dang loud without a sweat. My listening room is on the smallish side, 10'x11' with my head about 6' from the horizontal plane that would be formed by the fronts of the speaker baffles. My Crown XLS1502 didn't even hit the -20db clip light before the volume became uncomfortable.
The CD Dennis provides (or rather, in my case a download of a digital version I stuck on a USB stick) has some great material on it.
I'd certainly want subs with these, but I enjoy pipe organ music and large orchestral works where subs can add a sense of scale with the deep rumbles. For most pop, rock, and jazz I'd say these could happily handle things on their own. Tomorrow I'll run the Dirac calibration and see if I can't boost the bass a bit and see what that does, plus see if I can tame my room reflections to remove the HF fatigue.
Overall these are very impressive speakers, doubly so for the price.
BTW: Dennis packs these incredibly well, lots of form-fitting styrofoam to hold them in place plus other pieces along the sides to protect against errant pokes and shocks. Thank you @Dennis Murphy for doing this tour.
Just watched my favorite demo scenes from Tron: exceptionally clear sound and dialogue throughout. The bass is ridiculous. If anyone out there asks me to recommend a setup, they don't have room/money for a sub, and their budget was $1,500 or less, these would easily be at the top of my list.
Well done, Dennis
What a fun time I just had at the home of @amatuerholic for the Charlotte BMR listening party. 3 guys , 3 distinctively different tastes in music. I’ve had these speakers on my radar for a while so I was glad to be invited to the Charlotte listening session. We certainly ran the whole gamut of music styles. Even Neil’s favorite Justin Bieber song.
Amazing is a good way to describe them. Perfect? Of course not. But for the money I can’t see how you’d do any better. As Neil said in an earlier post the bass is surprisingly good. If you are listening to music, a sub will only get in the way.
While these will never replace my 1099s in my home theater, they would be at the very top of my list for a dedicated music setup. I’m all about bang for the buck and these speakers deliver that in spades.
As soon as I can convince the better half that I need a second rig for music, Dennis will be getting a call.
These are substantial speakers!
They have fantastic bass, great imaging, and amazing bass. Oh, did I mention the quality of the bass? 😁
I know people typically focus on the other things these speakers do well, but I just wanted to highlight that these speakers produce such nice, tight, and punchy bass. A more serious review to come when I get used to them and listen some more.
For reference, speakers produce usable bass down to ~36hz in my room
I had the chance to host the BMRs for a few days last week. It was my first time getting to listen to a true ribbon tweeter and the RAAL did not disappoint. The detail and clarity is above and beyond any speaker I’ve previously owned. One of the problems I’ve had with other speakers is that certain instruments just don’t always sound like they should. The BMRs make everything sound realistic and the soundstage they put out really places everything beautifully. Voices also shine, seemingly jumping out of the speakers and never feeling subdued.
The demo disc was great for showing off the range these speakers offer. From the deep tight bass to crisp, but never fatiguing, highs. That was one of my favorite things about them. Despite my completely not ideal layout (floor to ceiling windows surrounded by metal and hardwood floors) I could listen endlessly without any ear fatigue. This sentiment was confirmed by my wife never asking me to turn the volume down.
The bass was quite ample for bookshelf speakers. They’re cabinet size is certainly larger than your average bookshelf, but the bass output is simply impressive. Very punchy and tight. I did prefer adding my dual SB-1000s, which helped reinforce the low end, but that might have more to do with my space than the speakers.
All genres of music sounded fantastic. Jazz, classical and bluegrass really stood out, bringing the intricacies of each instrument to life. I also loved what they brought to live concert recordings. I listen to a lot of Grateful Dead and Phish. The BMRs image so well, bringing the concerts to life, an experience I’ve often had difficulties getting with bookshelf speakers in the past. But with the BMRs it’s like listening to a great pair of headphones. And that soundstage didn’t disappear much when leaving the sweet spot. I could walk around the room, and although the soundstage shifted I never felt like I was missing out. Can’t say the same for how other speakers perform in my room.
There was noTthing I could find fault in with the BMRs. The build quality is top notch. I’m amazed how well they’ve held after this long trek. The soundstage. The clarity. The bass. There’s a seamless finesse to the BMRs that I absolutely love. I’m thinking it’s in the crossover design. When I first started looking into speaker upgrades, the BMRs seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, but more than I was willing to spend. However, if I had the space for these in my current apartment, this chance to audition them made me certain it’s worth upping my budget.
Delivering them to Overthinker was a sad day, but all I can say is that a priority for my next home is a proper room for a pair of BMRs to work their magic.
Dennis, thank you once again for the opportunity. It was a wonderfully eye opening experience.
Just bumping this thread because I was lucky enough to get on the BMR road trip. These are fantastic speakers. I had my doubts about what they were capable of considering their size but these are the little speakers that can deliver. The Raal ribbon tweeter and woofer are what makes this speaker stand out. For a speaker this size, the bass was exceptional. The Raal tweeter adds a level of detail in the upper frequencies that I have not heard before. I've heard different soft dome/ metal tweeters and compression drivers that all have different strengths and weakness. The Raal has none. I don't know if it's the crossover or design but all drivers are seamless in their response.
I have a large open concept untreated room and the speakers were able to fill the room at high volume from 14 feet away on makeshift stands with a 150 watt amp. I crossed them a 60 hz to a sub but preferred 40 hz in my room. My experience with the BMR's is only music and not home theater and they exceeded my expectations with all genres of music.
I have 2 pair of larger speakers that make the sound stage fuller and can play reference level but they just don't have the finesse of the BMR. My only lament is that I was in a time crunch when I had them so was not really able to optimize their capabilities. I have a 18 x 20 sealed room that I did not have the time to move them into and think these would be stellar with a sub. Job well done Dennis and thank you for the opportunity to hear the BMR's
The Raal tweeter adds a level of detail in the upper frequencies that I have not heard before. I've heard different soft dome/ metal tweeters and compression drivers that all have different strengths and weakness. The Raal has none.
I'm the current BMR recipient and had a chance to listen to them for a long time yesterday. I also bought the Mini Phils earlier this year and thought they sounded good but I did notice a slight narrowing of the midrange dispersion due to having to cross the woofer over above 3k. The BMR midrange cures that problem completely and it is a much more solid speaker from top to bottom. I normally use dual subwoofers since I usually use smaller sized bookshelves with 5 inch drivers and cross around 100Hz but as others have said, these really could get away with not using subs. I did notice just a bit of the bottom octave missing without subs but it's not a big difference.
But these are very neutral speakers that really do nothing wrong, the only complaint I can really see anyone having is due to their size, you really aren't expecting them to be as big as they are, definitely the biggest bookshelves I've ever listened to. Comparing these to the Mini Phils, the bass difference can be made up with a sub but the biggest difference to me is midrange dispersion, the BMR driver is impressive and really allows the bigger bass driver and RAAL do their thing without any compromise in the midrange.
Recently received the BMR Roadshow speakers for a few days, had a chance to compare them to my Maggies 1.7 speakers. One of the reasons I signed up for the BMR Roadshow is because we expect to downsize in the next year or two, and the Maggies will be replaced by a traditional box speaker, the BMR’s are high on my list of potential replacements for the 1.7’s.
The 1.7’s, being dipole planar speakers, put out an entirely different soundfield than the BMR’s, so there is quite a difference in the overall sound between the two speakers. The 1.7’s also need a subwoofer to augment the low end, I ran the BMR’s without a sub, and never felt they were lacking in the low end.
The BMR’s were set up in an equilateral triangle, approximately 8.5’, about 2’ away from the rear wall, placed on 24” stands, no toe in.
First thing I noticed was how well defined the BMR’s were, almost like listening through headphones with the amount of clear details I was hearing. The sound stage was wide, extended well beyond the physical location of the speakers, I think the BMR soundstage width exceeded that of the Maggies. Another thing I noticed, when I moved from the sweet spot to other areas of the room, the stereo image never collapsed, it shifted, but always retained a sense of three dimensions.
Some of the music I’m very familiar with and used to evaluate the BMR’s included:
Return to Forever, The Romantic Warrior (song & album): Bass was amazing, clean, deep, never boomy, very detailed, did not miss having a sub. Grand piano filled the room, you could just feel the interplay between the musicians.
Phish, Billy Breathes, into Swept Away: From what I’ve read, Billy Breathes was written to be a lullabye they sang to their kids while on tour, there is a sincerity/tenderness to Trey’s voice which is very touching, like a father singing to his children. Swept Away uses phasing effects (I assume), to spread the harmonies from between the speakers, then out to the outer corners of the room, absolutely eerie the way the disembodied voices spread to the area beyond the speakers, with no vocals placed in the center.
Cyndi Lauper / Sarah McLachlan Duet, Time After Time: Sounds like two angels singing (one from the other side of the tracks ), the BMR’s did a great job with female voices, just a beautiful presentation.
Jorma Kaukonen, Blue Country Heart, various tracks: Believe that Jorma went to Nashville to record this, includes Jerry Douglas on dobro, Bela Fleck on banjo, excellent recording qualities of acoustic instruments and Jorma’s rich voice.Instruments are spread across the stage, the BMR’s capture all of the harmonics, felt like I was sitting in a live performance.
One similarity between the Maggies and the BMR’s was driver integration in that they both sounded perfectly integrated from highs to lows, never had the feeling that you were listening to tweeter/mid/woofer combination on the BMR’s.
Before passing the BMR’s on to the next in line, I also did a comparison of the BMR’s to a pair of Onix Reference 1’s I had available. The Ref 1’s are a traditional sized bookshelf speaker, 1” Vifa ring radiator, 5.25” Atohm mid-woofer, priced around $1,000, popular in the 2008 timeframe. I consider the Ref 1’s to be a “nice” speaker, worth the $$ back in the day, certainly enjoyable, doesn’t do anything wrong. In short, there was no comparison between the BMR’s and the Ref 1’s, BMR’s have a wider, deeper soundstage, do not need a subwoofer, and can be the focal point of an excellent music system, in my mind they are a fantastic deal for the price/performance ratio.
Will close this out by thanking Dennis for launching the BMR Road Show, and glad I was able to participate. My purpose was to evaluate if I would be satisfied/happy to replace my Maggie 1.7’s with the BMR, and the answer is that I could easily/gladly make the BMR’s my main music system (they would also be just fine in a HT system), and I would not feel like I compromised, I consider the BMR’s to be an upgrade to the 1.7’s. I’m probably going to start the update process sooner than later!
Hi all, I'm the one in PA that is sending them out today. I had a wonderful 5 days with the BMRs. Note that I have a far-from-optimal environment for listening. It's my living room, the rear walls are 2 different distances from the speakers, and it's not an equilateral triangle between the speakers and my listening position. Compromises all over the place. In many ways, though, this was a nice test of how they would perform in such spaces when people can't set up dedicated listening locations or optimize a room for audio first, living space second (I'm generalizing here - I don't think everyone on this thread or forum has a music or HT room...).
There isn't a whole lot I can say about them sonically that others have not already. They are incredibly neutral speakers. I have a pair of Martin Logan Source units as my LR right now, and I found the BMRs distinctly more neutral and balanced (which maybe isn't a surprise compared to electrostats. But the MLs do quite well). The MLs have an 8" cone for the midrange so to be honest I didn't notice a huge difference in the bottom end (and I did make all kinds of adjustments on my pre/pro to make sure I was sending the right signal to the BMRs) but that isn't saying they didn't do well. Just that they weren't a massive difference for me. But not surprising I think compared to 8" in a quasi-tower format, right?
What really impressed me was how it handled the live music I like to listen to. These are not just live recordings, commercially released. These are recorded from seats in the audience, using high end mics, run into pro preamps, converters, and eventually recorded to digital formats. While the equipment is pro-level, the location is decidedly sub-optimal, with lots of crowd noise. But also lots of ambiance. The BMRs did a tremendous job recreating that sensation of just being there. The best recordings sounded fantastic.
So that's my review. Nothing rocket sciency. But these are great speakers that perform like ones that cost a lot more.
I had the pleasure of hosting a listening session with these speakers at my house in KC with some of the other local enthusiasts. I set these up in a 10' Golden Triangle in front of the heavily treated front wall of my theater with about 36" behind them and 20" from the side walls. I ran these Direct 2ch through my NAD 758 v3 AVR, powered by a Crown 4002 xti, Oppo 203 for discs and other music files through my htpc.
We listened mostly between -10 to -5 from reference except for a few tracks that were turned down. The woofer was straining on one track and another track was quite a bit hotter than the others. We listened through the disc Dennis sent along with the speakers and each track sounded lovely on them. I think we all agreed that Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here track was the best. The acoustic guitar on this was jaw dropping - the guitar rested in the room as if the player was in there with us. Such an amazing reproduction of this instrument. The small single woofer was pretty impressive for it's size.
We then shifted gears and listened to a bunch of music from my HTPC. I just lost my entire library of FLAC music recently, so we had to use Spotify 256bit. It's not ideal, but it's something most of us listening are used to. We all had 10 tracks or so that we have heard on all of our setups, and that I have heard on many other different very nice systems over the last couple of years. (search "Demo tracks - HiFi" on "d_chappelow" playlists on Spotify and you can follow my list, the first songs on there are what we used). Most of the songs on this list are like the ones on the disc Dennis provided in that I picked them because they sound great on my speakers. Most of the songs on my list sound great on the BMR as well. I'm a complete basshead, so we intentionally avoided that type of music. I was not surprised that these tracks sounded just as good on the BMR, and some better. Stevie Ray Vaughan's Tin Pan Alley was one. The guitar once again was awesome on the BMR, but I prefer his voice reproduction on my JTR. We tried to not do a comparison, but that song is crazy good on both speakers, so we had to do it! The giant sound stage is similar on both speakers, but one can't compare a tower speaker to a small monitor so I won't bother comparing them here. Apples to oranges... Anyways, we had a lot of fun going through these tracks of mine also. They all sounded great. They are just fun speakers to listen to and my ears never felt fatigue after 3 hours of music.
I could own a pair of these for sure, but I would give them a single 15" sealed sub to reinforce the low end a little bit. They can get pretty loud, but to get the type of bass that I like, there needs to be a sub to help out for normal listening, or about -15 ref for me. My ideal use for these would be in a 15 x 20' room in a cabin we have. I can see myself sitting in front of them for hours in the winter months while going through my music library of acoustic pieces, just looking for a track that they can't make beautiful. I'll bet it would be tough to find one. Nice work on these Dennis, you can store these at my house after the Road Show until they need to make the rounds again. I'll take good care of them and make sure they get plenty of attention.
I had the privilege of hosting Dennis' traveling BMRs. I put them to serious use in just about any place i could fit them into my system. My system is: Denon AVR-X3400, AAM and AAC for LCR, JBL studio 130's for surrounds and height with a pair of SVS PB 1000s subs and a sony ubp-x800 disk player. I am definitely no expert when listening to speakers but i have heard in the past: Lots of JBL and Def Tech, Kef, SVS, Vandersteen 2(original and pristine), B & W, all floor standers. I spent a lot of time with these speakers. From Friday night to Sunday night they ran nearly nonstop. Probably 50 Cds and what i will mention below when through them and i even listened to them when i slept.
I started with music in 2.0. I wont even try to go into serious detail because many have done such a great job before me reviewing these for music. Let me just say, no need for sub with these and music. Base is always there and it is very smooth. It has been said before but I must reiterate the detail is incredible. I heard a chime in Hanz Zimmer Live in Prauge that i thought was only there for a few seconds here and there, well it plays through the whole song. I could only hear that in the BMR's. I listened to the demo CD several times i happen to love track 15 Magnificent 7 Theme. It also handled EDM and Amon Amarth (god i hate that singer) just beautifully. For the record EDM people i checked the temp of the woofer before and after 10 min of EDM and there was no change. So they can handle the work.
My main concern was how these babies worked for surround sound. So i put my system into ATMOS mode with subs crossed at 50 Hz and the AAMs as surrounds, watched the new Independence day. Awesome! Half way through the movie I switch to phantom center and didnt notice a bit of change. With the BMRs up front and the AAM's as surrounds the room was thick with deep rich sound. Off in the distance sounds and wind was way more noticeable. It was great. Next on the test list - Video games. Call of Duty WW2 in 5.1 was intense. Running through brush or camping and hearing the wind is so much more realistic. Rocket league with its fast pace and abundant background noise was made better with the BMRs. I know the BMRs improved the video game experience but im sure having the great AAMs as surrounds was a factor. Finally on the last night with the BMRs i packed one up and used the other for a center. They are tall and big but if you can fit them under your TV you will be impressed. I switched the BMR with a speaker that was 3 db more sensitive and yet with all the clarity i didnt notice it being quieter. I have heard the sound of speakers with RAALs described as "airy", what i noticed with video games is these speakers gave the wind so much more detail.
These speakers look great they are big and solid. The knock test yields the same sound you would hear from a block of wood. The front baffle with its drivers in it is an impressive sight, mean and beefy looking.
In conclusion. These things are great. They handled everything i threw at them and impressed me with everything they did. They are perfect for anything you would want a quality speaker for: music(2.0), home theater, video games. The BMRs are honestly the best sounding speaker I have ever heard, and their bass is as good as speakers that have powered subs in them. I would like to thank Dennis for the opportunity to hear these beauties and for being one of the nicest guys and I have never even met him(I sure hope to someday).