Subjecting 20 putatively that isвЂњhigh-end speakers to your exact exact exact same performance requirements utilized to evaluate old-fashioned in-room speakers turned out to be one thing of a novel idea right right right back into the February and March ’96 problems. The reactions those double installments provoked were fascinating, however, in retrospect, probably predictable.
Manufacturers whose flagships fared poorly tended to opine it was folly to use the in-wall type so darned seriously. A few, in reality, openly dismissed in-walls as doomed to never add up to anything significantly more than background music reproducers. Almost all of those whose speakers wound up in the center of the pack acknowledged they had strive to do: вЂњGive us 12 to 18 months so we’ll guideline the roost,вЂќ predicted one eager advertising other. (we do not understand the status that is current of business’s efforts; he had been sacked a couple of months later on.)
Additionally the handful whose in-walls proved competitive with likewise priced in-room models just smiled, presumably content to look at the acquisition instructions roll in while quietly parceling out more resourcesвЂ”engineering talent, R&D funds, toolingвЂ”to shut the rest of the space involving the lifestyle-friendly in-wall and its own bookshelf- and freestanding-type cousins.
All but died out, I was itching to find out how far the state-of-the-art in in-wall speakers may have come in the 2-year interim with the hubbub. We polled a few fellow listening-room and home-theater acoustics developers, some dealer/installer friends and some separate loudspeaker engineers to ferretвЂњthe contenders outвЂќ through the вЂњwannabes,вЂќ ordered up the review examples, and place them through exactly the same grueling review process. [See вЂњTesting In-WallsвЂќ for details.]
B&W AWM70 The AWM70 is the very best model in a committed brand brand brand new show from B&W made to provide quality-oriented customers a concise, elegant, house-wide way of creating music that is high-quality. Referred to as CASA (Personalized Active Sound Assistant) system , the core elements come with a main system controller, several wall-mounted keypads, remote devices and active (that is, internally-amplified) in-wall speakers.
The device’s plug-and-play design allows some of as much as 16 noise sources become routed to as much as 64 areas. The keypads enable the individual to find the supply (CD, radio, tape, etc.), get a handle on its functions that are basicCD songs, radio presets etc.), make amount modifications, look at the time, and system turn-on and turn-off times. A little infrared вЂњeyeвЂќ in each keypad and presenter can relay commands through the remote device returning to the main control device. The speakers by by themselves connect with the control product via a regular Category 5 cable terminated with RJ-45 connectors.
Given that audience has most likely gathered, their particular design makes the AWM70s useless outside the context of a whole CASA system, reliant, because they are, regarding the central controller to work. In line with the presenter focus of my test, we ordered the skeletal setup (1 pr. of speakers, 1 central controller and 1 keypad) and limited my assessment to your quality of sound that came out from the AWM70s; without doubt some visitors are going to be keenly enthusiastic about wider applications of this system’s multiroom/multizone features also.
The flagship presenter within the CASA collection, the English-made AWM70 seems to be a вЂњturbochargedвЂќ version of this B&W Signature Seven, the in-wall that, combined with more costly Triad InWall Gold system, wound up near the top of the stack in my own past round of tests [see вЂњIn-Wall Speaker Test, Part 2,вЂќ March 1996].
Outwardly resembling the Signature Seven, behind its nondescript grille and distinctive grooved front baffle the AWM70 has a purpose-built active crossover with integrated spectral shaping (equalization), a passionate 100-watt amplifier for the 7-inch woven Kevlar woofer, and another 100-watt amp for the 1-inch steel dome tweeter. All of that circuitry attracts both its energy and signal that is audio the main control device through the Cat-5 cable.
The audio feed itself is delivered in balanced structure, which suppresses sound and distortion from contaminating the sign on its means through the controller. The whole arrangement is very sensibly conceived and executed, offering near-ideal electrical intimacy between the amplifier’s output stage and the speaker’s voice coil, which is barely an inch away from an engineering standpoint. Considering that the hot-`n-heavy, high-voltage an element of the amplifier is saved within the main controller, the crossover/amplifier/speaker package is just a low-voltage, cool-running event and, in reality, is authorized by different regulatory agencies for in-wall usage.
B&W prices the response that is AWM70’s 38Hz-20kHz, plus or minus 3 decibels. Just like the Signature Seven, installation had been simple and glitch-free. Fit and finish seem to be excellent.
On audition, the AWM70 made an impression that is overwhelmingly positive through the 500-year old вЂњDanza AltaвЂќ into the Wallflowers’ вЂњOne HeadlightвЂќ and Keb’ Mo’s bluesy вЂњEvery Morning.вЂќ Vocal options that tortured lesser speakerseliciting nasal honks, chesty noises, therefore the periodic metallic raspdidn’t appear to tax the AWM70 at all. On a few songs, my records bore possibly the compliment that is ultimate вЂњDoesn’t sound like an in-wall!вЂќ
The AWM70’s general sonic success ended up beingn’t due in order to its refusal to commit the customary sins of this in-wall type: It did actually simply simply take вЂњactiveвЂќ actions to have things appropriate, in the manner that the greater floor-standing speakers buy them right, many significantly the way in which it managed powerful contrasts. Big, driving stone numbers by Led Zeppelin and John Hiatt pounded and swelled into convincing roars, and Marc-Andre Hamelin’s big Steinway positively erupted in the demonic and magnificently recorded вЂњGrande SonateвЂќ by Alkan. A bravura composer significantly such as Liszt, Alkan calls for pretty much humanly unplayable torrents of records: in many passages it really appears as though several pianists are playing exactly the same piano in the time that is same. The sheer thickness, rapidity and powerful rise regarding the passage (subtitled вЂњVingt ansвЂќ) is almost since difficult on loudspeakers I don’t know of any other pianist who can keep up with Hamelin, and I don’t know of any other in-wall speaker that can keep up with the AWM70 keeping up with Hamelin as it is on pianists.
On just two associated with the dozen test tracks did the presenter falter extremely somewhat: the Scarlatti piano sonata, where in fact the peaceful, вЂњblackвЂќ spaces between records were not since deep as because of the guide Genelec studio monitors, resulting in the impression that the patient records by themselves had been significantly less vividly articulated than they are able to have now been; as well as on the Jennifer Warnes pop vocal track, where simply the barest trace of sibilant focus included a hi-fi-ish coloration.