Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 computer USB speakers

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3 May 2010, 21:03

I just got the chance today to take a set of brand spankling new Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 computer USB speakers home for a little review.





First play on the new BW MM1 revels superb stereo perspective and surprisingly boomy bass line from such small speakers, never heard anything like it on speakers in this size!
Started out with U2, Discotèque, because it has a little of everything, but is not a premium test track.
Next on the list is Miles Davis, Someday My Prince Will Come, to test out how high pitched the tweeters might be, and again I'm, surprised, they reach just up to the edge were you tend to get annoyed but before you know it, your ears relax, and you get used to it - they are very easy to listen to.
Third track were Hugh Masekela, The Coal Train, and here is it I realize something - this track is a super live recording so to sense the room around the band is simply amazing, if the equipment can revile it, the MM1's can not. Their depth, the 3D sound stage, could be better - and I seem to notice here when your recordings go beyond usual bass they stand out a little too punchy
Lets test out another track that shows off the 3D sound stage well, Chris Minh Doky's edition of In A New York Minute from his anniversary recording A Jazz Life, sad to say but it sound a little flat...
Went on listening to Sia, Breathe Me, and it makes me happy, the stereo perspective is absolutely astonishing - you though have to sit almost perfectly in the sweet spot to get the full benefit of it, if you move just a little to one side you start to notice were the sound comes from, they don't blend that much.
Back to the stereo perspective, Pink Floyd's Money, a joy to sit in the sweet spot and get every little detail out of boxes this size, just wow.
Must be enough with the slower tracks now, let's pump the beats up a notch.

Dirty Vegas, Days Go By, makes me sad - way too much bass and a huge loss in the middle of midrange area, the bongo drums disappear almost completely in this sea of extended bass.
A track like Yello's Junior B tells about whats wrong, the midrange is squeezed but the bass is extended, a pretty strange choice to take but leaves behind a super detailed tweeter with superb stereo image, so if that's what makes these stand out enough to buy there must be something seriously wrong with every other computer speakers out there.
Perfect track to show off just how well playing they are is Prodigy Breathe, if you can stand still when listening to it there must be something wrong with you and not these speakers, perfect mix of boomy bass, super detailed high notes and cutting trough all this a sharp and distinct voice that sounds just right.
Same could be said about Justin Timberlake, SexyBack, just the way it should sound. After listening to a lot of pop tracks, more than I have written down, I discover what could be the reason to why BW choose to make the speakers sound like this, I have a very old edition of Michael Jackson Black or White, it sounds compressed and flat - except in the bass area and top details.
Could it be, that BW choose to extend bass and details so tracks that are compressed in the way they sound, sound better than usually on speakers like this. It makes hugely sense if you think about what people might buy them, younger people or people who have been used to listen to music on a even more compressed computer speaker set maybe even with MP3 files.
So far I have listened to my collection of FLAC files and discovered the flaws of these speaker, but when I realized they might have these flaws for a reason I switched to my iTunes library of 256kbit AAC and it all fits now - they sound just as good as I hoped for, the faults get hidden in the details that are cut off when you compress the music to lets say, hmm 256kbit AAC maybe? ;)
The BW MM1 is a heads-up to every company that makes computer speakers, these are not the reference, but they are pretty damn good!

A small tip is if you still think the bass is too boomy, as I do, then choose Bass reducer in iTunes EQ and you have a pair of speakers all your friends in the office or dorm will envy you for!




Read more about BW MM-1 here:
http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/display.aspx?infid=4503

*note that these are actually the best computer speakers I have ever heard, it's just that I would personally never use such thing and my reference for how music should sound goes far far beyond this level.
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Comentarios

  • AT0MAC

    Forgot to say that the remote is much better than the one they use for Zeppelins, the buttons are slightly harder and give a confirming click when pressed. There were actually a bit annoying his in the background of the music, I think it's due to the fact I live in a building that's arround 60 years old and not a fault in the speakers.

    3 May 2010, 21:32
  • abcdefghijason

    Great Review Atomac, althou it's dated back 2 years ago. I am indeed considering to get one of the MM-1s however, contemplating a little bit on the whole price vs SQ part. Subsequently, while i was doing a full assessment of my needs, i found out that i do intend to pursue a full ranged hi-fi(-ish) system whilst considering the space i'm constrained to; as i am away from my home country to study, i'm currently living in a rather small room, hence i need the speakers to be as near field as possible, and has extreme details at low volumes (which i hear why the MM-1s are so well regarded of). However, i would love to hear your opinion, as you seem to have a rather large collection of music which ranges from a wide spectrum of music, and i've went through your flickr page and believe you are indeed exposed to amazing gears, and would have a very knowledgable and mature sense of listening. Would the MM-1s to be perfect for my condition? or would a separate small speaker (audioengine A2 with external DAC) to be better? or would you have any other combination you would recommend within that price range? I'm really looking forward for your reply. Cheers!

    30 Oct 2012, 13:30
  • AT0MAC

    Hi, yes I would say that the MM1s have good detailing also at low volume and they are build specifically for near field. Not ideal as a primary room filling sound system, they lack a little focus in that area. If you should do it right you need to find a reseller that have return policy, so you can try it with your own music in the right room - specially because the room mean a lot of what a speaker sound like. /Cheers

    30 Oct 2012, 19:54
  • abcdefghijason

    Have you had any experience with other bookshelf speakers as well? Knowing the internal DAC of the MM-1 can only handle 14/48 really turned me off a little. I was thinking of getting a small sized bookshelf "something similiar to the Audioengine A2, with an external DAC". I have a list of speakers and DAC combo that i would love to audition. Would you recommend otherwise? or do you have any suggestions on near field speakers that could potentially outclass the MM-1. Thanks again for the reply!

    31 Oct 2012, 6:21
  • AT0MAC

    There are many near field speakers that can outclass a pair of MM1s - but it's really hard to find any that are as easy to use, cheap and take up as little space as they do. If the size, price and ease of use is important there are close to none competitors. If you want recommendations I would recommend that you hop over to ComputerAudiophile.com as they are more into tech than people on this site in general - you can get other peoples opinions over there other than just mine.

    3 Nov 2012, 17:22
  • abcdefghijason

    Cheers mate! i'll do a small research and hopefully audition some of them. Thanks heaps!

    5 Nov 2012, 9:04
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