Pros Buy if you want pure, near-audiophile sound whilst sitting behind your PC, and you find good sound worthy $499
Cons Don't buy if you want good sound filling bigger extents of your room (they only work optimal within a meter or so.) Don't buy if you play mp3's with a bitrate lower than 256, and don't buy if bass means the world to you.
Summary I love music and I want it to sound right. For me this is perfectly possible in a room starting at roughly 2000$ for a setup (I hope this doesn't make me a snob). However, a computer is never centrally located in a room and therefore a good listening experience has never been possible in the vicinity of my PC. I've been going through quite a lot of PC speaker sets and stuck with Bose for the past 4 years, them being an acceptable compromise for me. However, listened to B&W MM1 I knew it was time to move along. Obviously it is possible to have really good sounding PC speakers. Right now I am listening very happily to them as I type this. (Marillion's Marbles) Plenty of detail and individual instruments sound detached from each other instead of blurred in to one soup what is so often the case with PC speakers. Bass doesn't kick ass but is richer than I've ever heard from such small speakers and the whole range from low to high produces a balanced sound. Still, if I want to indulge in beautiful music I revert to the setup in my living room, hence not 5 but 4.5 stars.
Pros Wonderful frequency response. High-quality DAC accessible via USB sets these apart from all most other offerings.
Cons As noted by others, better near-field than far field imaging (but that is what they are designed for). Expensive (but you get what you pay for).
Summary If you want inexpensive bass-heavy speakers for gaming, look elsewhere. These speakers are balanced for music and are orders of magnitude better balanced than the 2.1 systems mentioned by others, which hid weak midrange responses with overbearing and effectively monotonic subwoofers and tweeters. My 20-year-old Cambridge Soundworks system is the only exception. If you want high-quality music from your computer, these are the just the ticket.
Pros 1. Excellent sound for classic rock and jazz
2. Beautiful design
3. Top rated brand
4. Excellent desktop bass response
5. Stereo separation and sound stage
6. Excellent sound at low volume.
Cons 1. Unable to reproduce "processed" surround sound.
2. Expensive (but worth it!)
3. Remote pales in comparison to the Bose control disc
Summary I bought the Bose Companion 5 system two weeks ago. While it may be high rated in the eyes of many, for me it was the typical BOSE brand name fiasco. Highs were harsh and strident at low and medium volume, and the clarity of individual instruments was lacking. The 5's surround sound is very good, but you cannot turn it off to revert to typical 2 channel reproduction, which was a deal killer for me. I like surround sound on some types of material (I use Winamp with DFX 9 for processing), but find surround to be somewhat fatiguing to listen to over long periods, so I must be able to turn it off.
The MM1 system produces great sound, period. Better than anything else I've heard for the PC. With a bit of tweaking for tone using DFX 9, I can listen to Tull, Stones, Al Dimeola, Roland Kirk, Jazz, Blues, etc. with a smile on my face...
For best results, I find that the sound is better with the Winamp EQ OFF. Mst EQ presets cause a decrease in clarity.
If you like surround sound, forget the MM1s. They cannot produce processed sound well...
So.... The Companion 5s go back to Best Buy today, and the MM1s have a permanent place on my desktop.
Pros An exceptional near field loud speaker. These speakers are designed singularly as computer loudspeakers. When used as intended (placed on either side of the display) with the listener centered 2-3 feet from each speaker, the sound is spectacular.
Cons Not very good for other than personal use. Limited power handling and dispersion. But since I'm listening from two feet, who cares?
Summary A plug and play system where set up and usage are extremely simple. Looks elegant on the desk top, sounds better to the ears. If FLAC or other hi rez sources are important to you, these are the speakers to use. If you are only playing MP3 sources, other less expensive options are probably better, as the sound produced by the MM-1s is extremely revealing. Before I started using the MM-1s, it was hard to tell that XM radio internet service was better than MP3. With the MM-1s, the difference is stunning.
Pros Sound is good
Cons This may sound obvious, but every picture I saw of these speakers, the speakers had zero wire(s) showing. I guess this was an unconscious thing, but I thought they were wireless or had some way the wires could be wound-up under the speakers. Wires!!!
Summary Think really carefully about the possibility of one day needing the manufacturer (Bowers & Wilkins) to help you with a problem, of any sort, with the speakers. I did not think of this, getting really expensive speakers that had great ratings on Apple.com. the last thing I thought was needing help from the manufacturers. I filled out the warranty card. when I got the speakers and listened to them I contacted the US division and spoke to some lady who seemed very nice. I asked her if there was a problem down the road, within the warranty period would I be able to get help. There was no reason for me to believe I would come against a brick all when the sound failed and I could not figure it out. I was unable to reach the kind lady but got a man in the technology area. This guy was so rude, was not willing to offer me any help. I asked if he could forward my email the their office in the UK. He would not forward it and again offered me no help of any kind in trying to figure out why the sound from the MM1's had drastically gone so downhill.After having these for the MacBook Pro, the quality of the sound has just gone down. Also when they are plugged in the laptop it is not possible to adjust balance or other sound adjustments you get from the Macs speakers. For the price you would think they would have it so the sound card could be updated (like Apple sends updates when they realize they left something out) by downloads. No way to adjust treble, bass, HQ, etc. If I had it all over to do again, I would have returned them to Apple within the time they give you to return speakers. My intuition about these speakers was right-on.
I was shocked that a major company that charges fairly high prices and seems to sell decent audio equipment would not help me at all. Had I known that I would run into this, I would have never purchased thee speakers from this manufacturer. I was even considering on getting the Zeppelin, but after this experience I would not be out of my mind and purchase anything else from this company..
Just something to think about.
Updated on Apr 7, 2012
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