Which track sounds best on your speakers?

P5 and 800 Diamond series reports from CES 2010

So, you’ve bought your brand new speakers – be it our award-laden Zeppelin ipod system, the equally heavily awarded 685s or a gleaming pair of 802 Diamond – and you’re lining up your favourite music to test them on.

We want to know what you’ve found sounds the best. Which stand-out  track would you play when your friends come round and you want to really show them off, or perhaps justify why you bought them to your partner.

It might be that you hear something new in an old favourite that you’d never heard before or that suddenly it sounds as if Keith Richards is playing in front of you.

The Daily Growl from Lambchop’s Is A Woman sounds brilliant on my 684′s – there is a beautiful depth and warmth and a really immediate live feel that always makes people ask who the artist is.

We’d love to hear from you on what makes your speakers sing.

258 Comments

  • Hubert says:

    B&W 804S + Rotel RCD1072 / RA 1070

    Selection of loudspeakers through (partly)listening of classical music:
    > Viviani: Sonata Prima / David Guerrier (trumpet)
    > Bach: BWV 1007, Sarabande / Ophélie Gaillard (violoncelle)
    > Hume: Loves Farewell / Jordi Savall (viole)
    > Vaet: In Tenebris / Dufay Ensemble, Jordi Savall + Motserrat Fiueras (Viole + sprano)
    > Vivaldi: Cantate Pianti sospiri / Philippe Jarousky (contre-ténor)
    > Ravel: Concerto for Left Hand in D-Major / K. Zimerman (piano) P. Boulez
    > Beethoven: Fantasia for piano, chorus and orchestra in c-minor, op 80 / Hélène Grimaud (piano)swedish radio choir & symphony orchestra, e. p. salonen
    > Handel: Dixit Dominus / Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra, J. E. Gardiner
    Haendel

    Finally, very happy with these B&W 804 (coming from old Cabasse Galion).
    What could be result with 803D or 802D ?

  • Can M. says:

    602 S3′s with Rotel RX-1052 Integrated + Rotel RCD-1072 CD Player.

    Tindersticks – Tiny Tears (2nd LP) (for dynamic range and detail)

    Brad Mehldau – Perugia (Places) (soundstage)

    Tool – The Pot (10,000 Days) (for low end and high volume)

  • JKJK says:

    DM685….
    The Nightwatchman – The lights are on in spidertown

  • Spoons says:

    Leftfields Leftism has for years been my showcase albumn of choice.My recently acquired B & W’s have surpassed expectations.

  • Ron says:

    The Rippingtons’s – Sahara.
    I have Nautilus 805′s Bi-Amped with a fully rebuilt Dynaco ST70 for the highs and a NAD C160 for the mid/lows. The planets aligned tonight and it was magical!

  • Koen says:

    My setup:

    7.1 system
    801D in the front powered by 2 Bryston 28sst monoblocks (1000watt)
    center HTM2D powered by a Bryston 4SST and 4 SCMS for surround wich are powered by a Denon AVC-A1HD amplifier.

    My favorite surround scene is the opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan”. Bullets fly past you with scary detail and explosions carry enough oomph to knock you out of your seat.
    As for music my favorite track to expose all the detail that the 801D is equiped to offer is “Jazz Variants” by the O-Zone Percussion Group. I also like Rossini’s Sonatae a quattro for two violins, cello and double bass. More contemporary i like to blast Underworld through my system, much to the disgust of my neigbours (joking). The Blu Ray of Chris Botti is also an amazing experience. Yo Yo Ma’s rendition of “Cinema Paradiso” accompanied by Botti’s trumpet is truly moving. I love this thread, it gave me a lot of pleasure reading other people’s choices and broadened my view. Cool !!!

  • Stacy says:

    Fantastic idea doing this list – I have the old LM-1 speakers (Nickel cabinet with 801 tweeter) and 608 sub) driven by Rotel; been listening to buy 802s (comparing with a few other brands, but can’t get away from my love for the 802s!).

    “Every time” listening is Jennifer Warrne’s “Famous Blue Raincoat,” Claudio Abbado/Chicago Symphony Orch., Romeo and Juliet (Sony Classical SK47179); Paul Simon “Surprise” and “You’re the One,” Simon and Garfunkel’s original (sans band) “Sounds of Silence” from Garfunkel’s “Up ‘Til Now” CD; Cat Stevens “Where do the Children Play;” Beatles “Here Comes the Sun”).

    Often included: Dusty Springfield “Look of Love,” Ella Fitzgerald “Over the Rainbow (from “Pure Ella”) “Summertime” (brilliant piercing trumpet intro) and “Night and Day”, Annie Lennox “1000 Beautiful Things” from Bare; Leo Kotke “My Father’s Face” (CD); Peter Gabriel “Up” and “Security (“Lay Your Hands on Me” and Rhythm of the Heat) and several other PG tracks from other CDs.”

    Depending on interest, a pick from… Handel’s Messiah, The Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood, June Christy’s “Something Cool,” and Aimee Mann “Save Me,” Alison Krause and Gillian Welch “I’ll Fly Away” from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” The Avengers “White Nigger” from “The American in Me,” Beck “Guero”, Brian Eno/David Byrne “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” Cars’ “Good Time Roll” and “Drive,” Cassandra Wilson “Blue Light ‘Til Dawn” CD, Grace Jones “Slave to the Rhythm,” Eagles “Hotel California” (track), Edgar Winter Group “Frankenstein”, Edo De Waart/SF Symphony performing John Adam’s “Shaker Loops” (Phillips CD), Elton John “Captain Fantastic,” “Someone Saved My Life Today,” Harry Christopher’s The Sixteen, Harry Nilsson “Cowboy,” “Love Story (You and Me),”"All I Think About is You,” “Perfect Day,” “Lazy Moon,” “Many Rivers to Cross” and “The Puppy Song,” Cher “All Because of You” (from “Heart of Stone”), Coldplay “Viva La Vida”, Quincy Jones “Q’s Juke Joint,” 10cc “Art for Art Sake,” Steely Dan “Josie” from Aja, Joan Armatrading (1st Album and “Into the Blues” – very different sounds!), Randy Newman “Bad Love” CD, Paul Simon (first LP), The Who “Who’s Next”, Led Zeppelin “Physical Graffiti”, David Bowie (several tracks, lately the CD “Earthling” and Black Tie White Noise (“I Feel Free”)) which takes me to… Cream “I Feel Free” and the Doors “The Very Best of the Doors.” Of course Queen (pick a track) and the first Police LP (really?!).

  • Pedro Brognara says:

    Just Own the 801D. Testing with Krell 400xi this beasts excells in every style of music, including and specially with Metal genre which is my favorite. Listening to Judas Priest, Halford and Fight, it´s like if i was at the front row of the show. Sweet, coherence sound, with a huge bass attack make me totally satisfied with them. Best B&W speaker for Rock and Metal \m/o.O\m/

  • Monty says:

    My system is now 3 yrs old and burned at an average of 5 hrs per day so its a tough decision to select songs as everything sounds phenomenal on it.

    Strictly 2 Ch:

    1. 603 S3 pair in Maple – 2.5 way is very tricky n satisfying
    2. Arcam A70 int amp – entry level to true high end sound.
    3. Marantz CD7300 (made in jap) – very robust & flexible with high speed pressings/formats
    4. Linn Gold RCA directional int connect
    5. Speakers bi-amped, screwed & criss crossed with a pair of Linn & Kimber 4PR.

    Tracks i would go on n on with:

    1. Miles Davis – Blue in Green (Kind of Blue 50th aniv addition recorded in correct tempo – Columbia records)
    2. Stan Getz/Astrud Gilberto – Insensatez, Girl from Ipanema (Verve records)
    3. Keith Jarret – Too young to go steady (Standard’s Live – ECM records)
    4. Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans – ELSA (Know what i mean – Riverside records)
    5. Something Else – Autumn Leaves (Blue Note records RVG edition)
    6. Johnny Hartman & John Coltrane – Lush Life (Impluse records)
    7. Barry White – Staying Power, Never Never gonna give you up & Love serenade
    8. Issac Hayes – Shaft, Rock me easy baby
    9. Stevie Wonder – Vision & Joy inside my tears, Knocks me off my feet
    10. Neil Diamond – Stones
    11. George McCrae – I need somebody like you
    12. Steely Dan – Aja & Glamour Profession
    13. David Sanborn – Man from Mars
    14. Maxwell – The Suite theme
    15. Pink Floyd – Money (24 bit remastered SACD hybrid)
    16. Eric Clapton – Going down slow
    17. JJ Cale & Eric Clapton – Hard to thrill
    18. David Gray – White Ladder
    19. Seal – Killer, Praying for time (acoustic ver)
    20. George Michael – Last request, Going down, cowboys & angels
    21. Paul Brown – Back to the city

    I guess I need to stop here… the lists seems never ending!

  • Alex says:

    It’s been said many times, but it is so true, female vocals shimmer on my 685s. If you have any pair of the 600 series I would highly recommend you give a listen to Kate Nash’s “Made of Bricks.” The 685s makes Kate’s unmasked British accent and wispy tone so present, that it is as if she is lying next to you in bed.

    I am currently driving with an old Arcam Alpha 8 Integrated and Power amp pair. WIthin two weeks these will be replaced with Roksan’s Caspian Integrated and Power amp pair–can’t wait.

  • PaulG says:

    If given a chance to listen to only 1 song it will be Spanish Harlem – Rebecca Pidgeon. Chesky Records.

  • PaulG says:

    Sound best??

    Spanish Harlem – Rebecca Pidgeon Chesky Records on my 685s on Rotel RA05 amp

  • Roland says:

    Acoustic sounds best on this speaker. Heavy bass music on loud levels will struggle.

  • Raul says:

    Champion Sound by Fatboy Slim

  • chris h says:

    My setup,
    801Fs series 80
    Musical fidelity A370 power amp
    Musical fidelity MVX pre amp
    Audioquest Emerald interconnects
    Musical fidelity A306cr cd player
    Thorens Td321 turntable
    MIT T2 speaker cable
    PureAv power conditioner
    What can I say about this setup with a combined age well over 50 years? It excells in everything I throw at it. From simple acoustic stuff like Doug McLeod, Keb Mo to Beatles,Stones, and of course Led Zep. From slick rock like Steely Dan, to all the amazing sounds of electronic like Massive Attack,T hievery Corp., Gary Numan, Crystal Method, I can go on to the wee hours, I love my B&Ws. I will probably upgrade one day, so I spose you can guess what speakers I’ll be seeking. Thanks.

  • stuart says:

    I’ve just bought a zepp,and have to say that joy division’s unknown pleasures has taken on a new dimension,an audio pleasure!!!

  • JofM says:

    The newly remastered Beatles CDs sound excellent on my 803S speakers (yes, the stereo ones, sorry mono purists). Also, anything by Porcupine Tree.

  • JofM says:

    I have been listening to my 803S speakers with single wire connections to my Rotel RB-1080 amp. When I bi-wired them they sounded a lot better with all of my CDs.

  • clives says:

    Speakers ;cm7s,cm1,cm centre.
    cable ; chord
    equip;denon 2930 dvd / denon 3806 amp.

    Just running the speakers in but cm7s for hifi just amazing,not sure
    how far to play away from back wall at moment.

    music highlight Brothers in arms 20th anni edit 5.1 / sacd disc

  • TomW says:

    I got a pair of 685′s since about 1,5 years now.
    Using a Denon 4308 as my receiver, and a 700AE CD player.

    There are a few songs I truly love on them.
    Pink Floyd – Wish you were here (digitally remastered): Have a sigar, Wish you were here.
    The acoustic guitar on the second sounds so fantastic, it’s like the player is in my room playing it live.

    Led Zepplin – Physical Graffiti (digital remastered): In my time of dying.
    Guitar and bass sounds great, but the drums… Especially the first drums that kick in sounds so fantastic.

    Speedy J – !ive: The Oil Zone.
    Just everything from low to high in this song makes it great.
    It’s the song I first listened on my previous speakers, and again on the 685′s.
    Whether you like House music or not (it’s actually Ambient House in this case) it just sounds fantastic.
    http://www.discogs.com/Speedy-J-ive/release/54781

  • Joris says:

    Speakers: 684′s

    Amplifier: Marantz PM5003

    Currently listening to: ‘Design Your Universe’ by a Dutch gothic metal band ‘Epica’. Excellent band that sounds even better on these excellent speakers.

    Like: warm sound. Excellent bass but not overwhelming. Very clear and crisp high tones. Excellent over the entire line actually.

  • Timo says:

    Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant EP (2008) .. complete

  • krakoviak says:

    Previously i’ve been using my AV receiver Onkyo 875 and as a source blu-ray player. Now i’m using Marantz PM-43 (which i’ve bought for £43 on eBay) amplifier and old Marantz CD-67 (recommendation) and sound is much more than perfect. Sounds much better than on even twenty times more expensive Onkyo ; ) What sounds good? Pretty much everything except heavy metal music (Onkyo’s better). The best sound realisation of course Pink Floyd : ) The albums i’ve been listening and i fall in love were albums of Kodo, Queen, Pearl Jam, Hans Zimmer, Grzech Piotrowski, Republique and B&W Very Audiophile New Recordings. Anyway speakers are great whatever they plays, tracks in TrueDolby HD and DTS-HD are stunning : ) Speakers very recommended : )

  • krakoviak says:

    i forgot to say, speakers are B&W 685 ; )

  • peter says:

    Billy Joel, A matter of trust (Music DVD version is the best!)
    Via sonos zp90 -> Marantz SR7001 -> On Linn Komponent 110, B&W LCR60 S3 , B&W 602 for surround and paradigm prd-8 sub.

  • Dave says:

    Ativin’s ‘Summing The Approach’ sounds wonderful on B&Ws. It was recorded by Steve Albini, who uses B&Ws in his studio:

    http://www.electrical.com

  • Prudz says:

    Using my 704, I really like to listen to some Pink Martini or something more orchestral like a certain symphony no 9 from the great composer Dvorak. I think those sound wonderful on my system… even though I am still waiting for this great set-up with 2 802s driven by something McIntosh! I can’t wait to hear the new Diamond Series (and have the cash to buy a pair!).

  • Jonziebal says:

    Well, before I sold my 802D’s to get the new 802 Diamond, I liked to listen to Trentemøller and Mike Sheridan. Electronic semi-ambient music with a huge soundstage.

    But… Now I don’t have any 802D’s, basically because B&W told my supplier (Hifi Klubben Denmark) that the new 800 Diamond range would be available from March.

    So why do they suddenly tell my supplier that the 802 Diamond will not arrive before the end of the summer??

    Thanks a lot B&W. You make me addicted and leave me without my sound for perhaps 4-5 months… I’m dying a slow and painful death here:)

    Anybody care to share thoughts on this?

  • Robert says:

    The Last Carnival By Bruce Springsteen. Who knew that an electric acoustic could fit so well inside my xt 4′s. You can hear the strings being fret and the treble portion of the track floats around the room like the smoke of a midway BBQ. …..

  • Jason says:

    I love hearing Phil Collins In The Air Tonight or The Eagles Witchy Woman, Angel by Sarah McLachlan is very nice also

  • Mo says:

    Play any Queen track with the 800D and Classe CA-M500 combination. The experience will take your breath away. You just can’t stop listening, time and time again.

  • Eddie Evans says:

    Okay folks this is the first time i have ever been to this site and before i even get started i must admit i,m amped up (no pun intended) to start researching what i hope to be my new set of B&w,s i have been a klipsh speaker dude for 30 yr.s and always will have a big place in my sound brain cells for that awesome piece of audio technology.Now with that said from the very first time that i was truly blessed to hear my first set of B&Ws i must admit that to say i was blown away would be the most understated desciption in history.like many of many of us who;s heard these sound boxes being demonstrated on Dire Straits money for nothing i then became addicted to that sound of pure melody. and i have lusted (in a good way of course) for these amazing speakers. my only problem is they normally need a welding rig to feed them enough food wattage wise that is.but one day my life will then be complete with my purchase of ( r2d2).

  • Tony Hampton says:

    I remember when I first got my 602 s2. The first thing I tested them with was
    Tool – Lateralus, followed by Crystal Method – Vegas. And I’m pretty sure I listened to DSOTM that day as well.
    That was 10 years ago, and they still sound great. Maybe someday I can upgrade to the 800s.

  • ali says:

    well the first time I heard 805S speakers was with a naim 202/200 combination. It was the best system I ever heard.

    Now I have a NAIM nait XS with 805S and it really, really sings.

    Any track and every track.

  • Ben says:

    It has to be Omgyjya-Switch7 by Aphex Twin.

    No other track can make use of the Zeppelin like this track. You haven’t heard what your Zeppelin can do until you have heard this track through it.

  • Paul Vernon says:

    Just been listening to Vegas by The Crystal Method with my eyes closed and it struck me that the surround effect that I get out of my B&W DM601s is nothing short of spectacular. Things whizzing around my head from only two speakers… Phenomenal really and of particular note on that album is Cherry Twist. I also regularly listen to and thoroughly enjoy DSOTM and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

  • gptan says:

    My set up
    S603 ,and Onyko AV Receiver it sounds fantastic with
    xrcd carpenter cd disc , dvd with saving private ryan

  • Barry McKee says:

    Santana – Abraxas. The perscussions are fantastic! The 685′s perform very, very well.

  • Ollie says:

    My favourites which I use as reference tracks when comparing different components.
    I know excactly how they sound on a bad and a good system…
    Keb Mo – That’s not love
    Beck – The golden age
    Radiohead – Karma police
    Stevie Wonder – Love’s in need of love today
    Roxy Music – More than this
    Peter Gabriel – Growing up
    Genesis – Firth of fifth
    David Bowie – Wild is the wind

  • Jaime says:

    Only one track I ALWAYS use to test speakers…..

    HEY NINETEEN by Steely Dan – Album: Gaucho

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