I think the problem may lie with your rega brio-r amp "being simply too bright" and not with the 685s, as you yourself said in a "Your Opinion" of the Brio-R amplifier.
"It sounds too bright to my ears. I do find my ears becoming fatigued, and longing for a more neutral sound".
You should change your amplifier, why not try an upgrade to a more neutral sounding Naim Nait 5si, 5 star winner, you should find the nait a better match for the 685s.
Completely agree with WHF's decision to knock these down to a four-star rating. These should never have had five stars in the first place; they are simply too bright. WHF's phrase "treble could be better integrated" translated from BS to English is "they are too harsh and trebley."
I have been saying this for years, but was convinced in forums that these speakers are neutral, and therefore the problem must lie with my room (most thought that my Rega Brio-R amp should be a perfect partner, especially fellow Brio-R owners).
Well, I've moved house and am set up in a totally different room. Same thing - too damn bright. It's not something that glaringly hits you from the first note; it's just a subtle harshness that soon catches up with you and leaves you feeling fatigued after moderate listening.
Shame, as the mids and bass are really great. Although I use a sub, I have also tried the 685s without it, and they barely miss it, the bass is that solid. If it wasn't for that in-your-face treble...
Well, the new 685s have just been launched and we'll be testing them in the April issue of the magazine, on sale March 12th.
I use these since five years as surrounds and center channel paired with 2x 683s as fronts. I run them with a Denon 2309 (soon to be upgraded to an X4000 probably). This speaker is nothing short of amazing. It does an excellent job as a center channel. Dialogue is crystal clear, and it provides good clear bass for effects (80hz + of course). I have a Projector so room in the center is not an issue. If you use a TV, it would be awkward to set it up underneath, but I also used ith with a TV and it worked well.
They are so good, I feel using them as surrounds is almost an insult. They would be worthy of making a 5.1 system (5x 685s would really be smokin!) though.
They look great, are pretty darn big for bookshelf speakers (though I keep them on shelves) and again, even after five years of use, still just freaking amazed by them.
Bought these b&ws after auditioning many other similar price speakers.
Fantastically clear and very musical speakers, bass is clean and tight with tremendous punch.
And the treble is sweet and and clear (i dont think its overly bright at all, it all depends on the amplification you use)
vocals are natural sounding and very refined
The whole representation of these speakers is fast clean uncolored dynamic sound
I also demoed the 2012 award winning tannoy revolution DC6s before i purchased the 685s
The 685s won hands down
I cant understand how these speakers lost a star against speakers like the tannoys??
Anyway dont just believe me, go and demo these fantastic speakers youself and see
(Using these b&w 685s with naim nait 5i (italic) intergrated amplifier)
I have audition the 685 with roksan kandy K2 cdp and int amp at our local HiFi shop in Malaysia. I am not impressed, the sound is veiled like a thin towel covering the speakers. I think it is over exagerated. I later audition Epos M12i with creek cdp and int amp. What a world of difference and this i'll consider high end sound, transparent and clear!
The 685 retails higher than epos m12i in Malaysia. The 685 is at GBP477 and m12i at GBP 426. I believe our local importer marks up very high!
The clear winner four us is Epos m12i! period
I never write reviews, but I'm sat at home playing some tunes and felt I had to give some praise for these fantastic speakers.
I recently moved to Australia and left my slowly evolved, mismatched but much beloved Hi-Fi behind in the UK, but was soon fed up listening to music on rubbish mini systems and TV through TV speakers.
For music I rip everything losslessly to iTunes and run it over a wireless network to a Sony STR DG820 receiver through an airport express and optical digital lead, the receiver does the DAC bit and then via chord carnival cable to the 685's. I went for this set-up primarily for how few boxes it would mean shipping home and how flexible it is for really quite a modest outlay.
I never expected an entry level receiver to be up to much musically and only went for the 685's because I got a deal at a local hifi shop. To further hamper musical performance I've stood the speakers on top of a boxy entertainment unit either side of the tv with only four half squash balls to isolate them.
Initially the speakers were very muddled, weak midrange, patchy bass and poorly integrated treble, but now three months in (with very heavy use) they're a revelation. I listen to everything from Daft Punk and The Bloody Beetroots, through Steve Miller and Blur to Brahms and Prokofiev. They can err on the safe side with bass heavy and very fast music but to my ear still excel, but for nearly everything else they're faultless, brilliant separation when you consider the limitations of the receiver and the positioning in the room and their recreation of simple acoustic and lyrically driven music is astounding.
I can't wait to put them on some quality stands and pair them with some decent hifi separates. Just as a nod to some of the other reviews, I haven't used them with any source other than digital direct from blu-ray or the apple airport - but if anything given the limitations of the receiver that should indicate that you don't need quality separates to get great results.
Just got these beauties a week ago. Totally blew me away. Got no idea why people are saying they sound dull and muddled. Best get your hearing checked guys. These speakers are more than deserving of 5 stars. WHAT HIFI are spot on!!!
I bought these a couple of months ago to go with my Arcam alpa 9 integrated and 8SE player. These are good speakers, great detail, nicely balanced, but they're not the most exciting. This may ofcourse be due to what they're partnered with - the Arcams are hardly 'rocking'. But I still get the sense that they need to be partnered with a powerful amp, and generally fast, bright sounding equipment. They also need plenty of space. My 13.5 x 13.5 foot room is probably just a touch too small for them.
There is upside of the laidback character - you don't need to worry too much about 'balance' in the rest of your system - you can also use Nordost interconnects and cables, which are great (but slightly bright) and add a huge dollop of speed and detail. I changed my Straitwire Encore 2's to some Nordost Blue Heavens and the difference was amazing.
Bad: Need zuped up electronics to sound their best.
Good: Just about everything else about the sound is good.
Following my previous comments I've had the chance to spend a few days listening to a pair of 685s driven by my own NAD amplifier at home and I can see now why they are so liked. Properly run-in and driven by good amplification these are detailed and well balanced speakers that fail to put a foot wrong across a wide range of musical styles. The bass is particularly well judged and provides a firm, tuneful foundation to the music without ever becoming bloated. The 685s benefit from good support on strong stands and from being toed-in towards the listener. Set-up in this manner they'll give good soundstaging. Ultimately they are still not the speakers for me as I found them slightly too safe sounding, but for many they will be very hard to beat without spending significantly more.
I bought these speakers in december 2008.
I am dissapointed when I compare to my old KEF K20 which are even smaller than DM685. DM685 is missing too much in the middle range tone, only the highest and the lowest frequency really good. I have even heard even smaller speakers with better sound and they were also cheaper. I cannot understand how they have become a winner in test. Not that they are bad speakers, not at all. But as someone else wrote here, I wish to be able to hear and point out where the instruments are. Unfortunately I played to high on my KEF speakers and then you know what happens I think I migth sell the DM685 and go look for some new KEF og BOSE speakers.
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A great amp with some notable musical skills, but it loses a star compared with its better-performing, better-specified rivals
Another admirable and attractive soundbar from LG, pipped to that fifth star by fierce competition
The large screen and punchy picture are highly attractive for this price, but you’ll have to forego the smart features and Full HD resolution
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