Vienna Acoustics vs. B&W speakers. Any experience or thoughts ?

tobr24uJune 13, 2006

I have been looking at Vienna Acoustics speakers at a local Best Buy in their upscale new Magnolia Room. The quality of the workmanship is the best that I have ever seen in the price range (1 to 14K) for the wooden enclosures and they sounded superb, but store demos are hard to evaluate. So any advice would be appreciated...

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jdbillp

I wouldn't buy any $14000 speakers at Best Buy. I don't care what they call their hifi department.

B&W speakers rock.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 6:10AM
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steve_o

In fairness, BB bought Magnolia, which was a free-standing chain before the purchase, and Magnolia was purchased to get BB into the high-end business (would've been an image stretch to go high-end after their current business model).

As for the original question, I have no experience with Vienna Acoustics. I have a smaller pair of B&Ws that I really enjoy, though I've heard other B&Ws which sounded -- well -- bloodless. If you're considering spending several grand on speakers, though, I would urge you to shop carefully. At that price, there are options (and different approaches to sound) galore.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 8:54AM
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tobr24u

Thanks, but the speakers would cost about 3 grand for the pair, and I have until fall to amke a choice, so would appreciate any other comments.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:09AM
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KTKelly

You said it yourself.

"Store demos are hard to evaluate".

I'm sure that there is someone that carries high end speakers, amps, etc, that would allow an in depth evaluation with your source material. And possibly in your home listening environment.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 8:50PM
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jdbillp

BB may have bought the Magnolia franchise but they have had a hard time keeping the Magnolia employees. Many of them have left.

So many BB locations have ended up staffing their Magnolia areas with regular BB employees who aren't wearing the normal blue shirts.

Also, it has been reported that the only Magnolia areas doing any good sales numbers are only in Minneapolis. Most of the rest are struggling to do business.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 6:37PM
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steve_o

Also, it has been reported that the only Magnolia areas doing any good sales numbers are only in Minneapolis.

Interesting. It's not like this area is hurting for high-end shops -- unless the problem is that the suburbanites don't want to drive into Minneapolis proper to go to them.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2006 at 10:21AM
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hey_starfish

In consideration of the purchase of the VA's or the B&W's which are really fine quality speakers, have you auditioned any other speakers such as the Monitor Audio Gold Reference or Paradigm Studio's?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 10:38PM
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tobr24u

I recommended and purchased Paradigm speakers for a sister some years ago and they still sound good. The big thing that is impressing me with Vienna Acoustics is the fabulous wood enclosures in this price range. It is true as has been said in a popular magazine that they are worth having just to look at. But is that enough?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 10:13AM
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steve_o

My Monitor Audio speakers have cabinet-matched wood-veneer enclosures and they look terrific. But if I didn't like the sound, I'd go for my vinyl-covered plain-jane B&W 302s in a heartbeat. Nice cabinets might induce me to spend more on the speakers, but they certainly wouldn't compensate for lower sound quality.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 1:34PM
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hallsound

B&W for sure, But if you really want to go out there go to this web page http://www.audiogon.com/
Now we can see how deep your pockets are! (SMILE)

I have Klipsch and JBL but I use professional amps
I would buy Tv's and dvd at best buy not serious sound equipment.
Hope this helps!

Peace

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 11:39PM
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tobr24u

You guys may be giving Best Buy a bad rap. Their Magnolia Room carries quality stuff for people who can afford above average stuff but not the real top expensive items. The guys that work there are quite knowledgeable about everything as I question them about things and recommendations that are made in the popular A/V magazines. But I like your input and any other thoughts would be appreciated. I will be travelling to my old stereo store where I got my B&Ws twenty years ago to see what they are carrying these days...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 10:07AM
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noahz76_cs_com

I would go with Vienna by far the best speakers I have heard their reproduction simply cannot be beat

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:33PM
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foxmike

HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO AUDITION A PAIR VIENNA ACOUSTIC CREMONAS.THEY WERE BEING OFFERED AT A FABULOUS PRICE-$8,000 DOWN FROM $20,000 THE PAIR.THE STORE WAS CLOSING BECAUSE IT WAS BANKRUPT. I PLAYED THEM AT CONCERT HALL VOLUME FOR AN HOUR.THEY WERE WONDERFUL TO LISTEN TO WITH AN OPULENT WARM TONE,BUT CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DYNAMIC ORGAN MUSIC AS IN BACH PASSACAGLIAS AND FUGUES.THEY ALSO WERE GORGEOUS TO LOOK AT HAVING BEEN LOVINGLY MADE BY CRAFTSMEN. A VERY IMPRESSIVE MANUFACTURER WHO PRODUCES SUCH RICH-SOUNDING AND RICH-LOOKING SPEAKERS. LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY THEN MAKE YOUR DECISION.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 11:21PM
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tigerbangs

Before considering any high-quality speaker purchase, remember that speakers only reproduce what is put into them. If you have a cheap CD player, a lousy turntable, bad FM reception, or just a moderately-priced mainstream Japanese receiver, you are unlikely to get the benefit of a pair of quality speakers.

Yes, the Vienna Acoustics speakers are fine-sounding speakers, as are the B&W and Paradigms. The biggest mistake that you can make is to buy high-quality speakers with mediocre equipment and expect miracles. You need to choose your source components and amplification with the same care that you choose your speakers, or face disappointment down the road.

People rarely auditions CD players, but, in my experience, they will have as much or even more effect on the quality of sound that you hear than your choice of speakers. The issue is not how much bass or treble you hear, but in how the instruments are delineated, whether you can clearly hear the lyrics and harmonies.

Cheap CD players will fall down miserably on these kinds of tests. Likewise, an amplifier can only pass what it is fed and cannot enhance the sound. A good rule of thumb: use the toe-tap test. Listen to some of your favorite music on the equipment that you are auditioning. Does it make you want to tap your toe? Does it make you smile when you listen to it? If it does, then the equipment is doing it's job: if not, try other equipment, bu don't expect to get that from cheap amplifiers or cheap sources. Oddly enough, using good equipment with relatively inexpensive equipment can often be more satisfying that listening to expensive speakers with mediocre equipment.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 3:14PM
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Greg__R

My brother owns some Vienna loudspeakers (bought them when Magnolia was closing their doors) and he's been very pleased. He drives them with a higher end Denon receiver and uses a subwoofer from SVS to supplement the low end.

I would suggest that you try the following listening experiments. There are no right or wrong answers but it will help steer you toward a system that you'll enjoy. Do these tests using your media (your CDs, Bluray, etc.). If you're only looking at a 2ch system for music listening then audition using music only. Listening to the latest blockbuster movie doesn't help that evaluation process.

1) Compare a set of tower (full height) loudspeakers to a set of bookshelf speakers + a quality subwoofer. For example, a $5k set of mains versus a $3k sub (or pair of subs) + $2k monitors. Do this with the same brand/line and in the same room. For example, Paradigm S8 versus the S2+Sub25 (that's more than $5k but you get the idea). A good dealer should be setup for this kind of experimentation (or is willing to get it setup).
2) Compare an amp + pre/pro to a similarly priced receiver. Consider the tradeoff in options (room correction, audio formats, etc.).
3) Compare a consumer audio amplifier to a good commercial amp (Crown, QSC, etc.). This one is hard to do because stores don't carry both. You might try local audio clubs and/or rent the commercial amp & borrow the consumer amp.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 7:06PM
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ex007

Speakers are so subjective because each person's preferences for bass, midrange, treble are unique. So, like others who have posted already, I encourage you to demo the speakers with material with which you are familiar. That said, I have had B&W speakers in my HT for 14+ years and have zero complaints. Love their sound and wouldn't consider replacing them with any other brand.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 5:52PM
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