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Showing posts with label speakers. Show all posts

Backes & Müller BMLine12 Review


Backes & Müller BMLine12 Review

Backes & Müller BMLine12 Review

Introducing the sonic marvels that have redefined audio excellence - the Backes & Müller BMLine12 speakers. In the realm of premium audio, where precision and innovation converge, the BMLine12 stands tall as a testament to Backes & Müller's uncompromising commitment to delivering an unparalleled auditory experience. Boasting a lineage of craftsmanship and technological mastery, these speakers embody the fusion of timeless design with cutting-edge acoustic engineering. In this review, we embark on a journey into the world of sound sculpting, delving into the features, performance, and sonic artistry that make the Backes & Müller BMLine12 an emblem of audio prowess

There are things that you dream about for an eternity and when you get them you might be disappointed. That's what happened to me with the Peugeot 504 Cabriolet. Visually a dream, but unfortunately a bit underpowered in everyday life. Or with the Backes & Müller BM 12 from 1980. The test magazines (especially the Audio) literally fell over themselves because of the extreme midrange precision. And a certain Norbert Schäfer, head of Phonogen, even built a wooden U around the massive floorstanding speaker, in which the BM 12 was suspended on springs - a dream. In the mid-1990s I would have had the opportunity to buy a pair cheaply. But after just a short listen, this heart's desire was shattered: This BM 12 from the 1980s sounded so strict and angry, especially in the mids, that I didn't want to listen to it.

The special features of the Backes & Müller BMLine 12

The 12 continues to give. Differently natural and lovingly matured over all the decades. It is now called BMLine 12 and everything about it is still made by hand in Saarbrücken. This applies to technology, but also to housing production. And especially for the midrange driver of the BMLine 12, which the Saarbrücken company is particularly proud of. So proud that they don't want to release any pictures and only vague information about the good piece - for fear that the competitors would get too deep an insight.

Backes & Müller BMLine12 Review

The characteristic dome midrange driver of the BMLine 12 is much more complex than one might imagine at first glance. It runs in the range between 400 – 1,200 Hertz (Photo: H. Biermann)

Nevertheless, after repeated inquiries, it became clear: This midrange driver is actually a cone driver, but has a dome glued on it - for a wider radiation. And something else could be heard: the good piece only runs at around 400 - 1,200 Hertz, i.e. 1.5 octaves. That's very little. You could almost have made a 2-way construction out of it.

You wouldn't. B&M boss (and chief developer) Johannes Siegler wanted to implement a fairly wide radiation pattern with the BMLine 12. And because the three basses of this size, which sit one above the other, concentrate strongly above 600 Hertz, this special midrange driver comes into play here, which broadens the radiation in the lower midrange.

If you look at all the other Backes models, this is extraordinary. Because with all loudspeakers from order number 15 and upwards, Siegler tries to create a deliberately narrowed cylindrical wave radiation - in order to limit the (often annoying) floor and ceiling reflections and to be able to carry the sound further in larger rooms.

Backes & Müller BMLine12 Review

The tweeter ring radiator does not require a pressure chamber. The spherical wave horn in front increases the efficiency and limits the radiation. The tweeter plays from 1,200 – 24,000 Hz (Photo: H. Biermann)

If I reinterpret that now, then the BMLine 12 should also appeal to those music lovers who definitely want to sit a little closer to their speakers. We're talking about 3 meters or more, maybe just under.

Backes & Müller BMLine12 Review

One of the three basses with a tear-resistant carbon membrane. The cutout gives an idea of ​​the strength of the slightly curved MDF baffle.

Let's briefly look at the things that are mandatory at Backes & Müller. First of all, there is the active control of all five drivers, which is consequently carried out with five power stages. This is all the best transistor AB technology according to the old tradition: 4 x 150 watts for woofers and mid-range drivers and still a whopping 100 watts for the tweeter. All cone drivers of the BMLine 12 are feedback coupled with a dynamic deflection control (DMC™). As soon as the sensor signals that the membranes may be deflecting too far, countermeasures are taken at lightning speed. This ensures high precision in bass impulses.

Backes & Müller BMLine12 Review

A look at the BMLine 12 shows a thoroughly clean design and electronics, which take up a large part of the back of the speaker

B&M negative feedback works best in closed enclosures. Ergo, the housing of the BMLine 12 is also closed and particularly stable, because inside a bass housing, in which the woofer is possibly forced to large deflections by regulation, it can become extremely high: nothing can rattle...

Backes & Müller BMLine 12 review

Most speakers with an additional base have a bass reflex output above them. On the BMLine 12 it is just an ornament and makes the box appear a little “lighter”

What Backes is particularly proud of is the tried and tested combination of precise membrane control and processor-controlled phase accuracy. The Saarbrücken-based company calls this form of digital filtering “FIRTEC™ technology”, which aims to linearize the frequency response as well as perfect the time accuracy of the playback. With passive speakers, a delay between low-midrange and high-frequency reproduction can hardly be avoided. The BMline 12, on the other hand, should play absolutely in time over the entire frequency range from 30 hertz to over 20 kilohertz. Such a rare promise naturally makes the hi-fi gourmet's mouth water...

The BMIce 515 preamplifier

As with many active speakers with a built-in processor, all incoming signals are digitized with the BMLine 12 - unless they (ideally) arrive digitally. And this is where the BMIce 515 comes into play. Although it also offers analogue inputs and outputs, from my point of view it is more of a digital preamplifier. All incoming analog signals are also converted digitally. The best way to do this is via an AES/EBU cable to the active back speakers, where the signal is only analogized again directly before the power amplifiers.

Of course, the Backes preamplifier also has an excellent DA converter: The Burr-Brown sigma-delta converter is available here in two versions - one per channel. The BMIce 515 can also output analog signals, so it also works perfectly with classic power amplifiers. I had tested the 500 series preamplifiers several times before and was always amazed at their unusual neutrality - even in the analog signal path.

However, if you are already digital (be it via streaming or CD), the BMIce 515 works like a “neutral wire”. That's pretty close to perfection. And what makes the BMIce 515 even more sexy: you can equalize the frequency response of every input. This becomes particularly interesting in connection with radio and phono. Here is an overview of the relevant framework data from the preliminary stage:

Technical data

Backes & Müller BMIce 515
Concept:DAC preamplifier
Equipment:2 x 24 Bit / 192 KHz Sigma-Delta converter (Burr-Brown), mono mode
Digital inputs:2 x optical, 2 x coax, 1 x AES/EBU, 1 x USB, aptX-HD Bluetooth
Analog inputs1xRCA, 1xXLR
Outputs:Analogue: 1 x RCA, 1 x XLR, digital 2 x XLR-AES3
Dimensions (W x H x D):44.0 x 8.0 x 26.0 cm
8.9 kilograms
All technical data


The issue of equalization/adjustment is of course also an elementary one with the BMLine 12. Nothing can be adjusted on the box itself, for this you need the Backes controller, which is also used in exactly the same way for the models from KSDigital ( such as the KSD C100 ). For anyone who is wondering: The hi-fi veteran Backes & Müller and the studio professional KSDigital sit under the same roof. The HiFi box benefits from insights from the studio sector and vice versa.

Backes & Müller BMLine 12 Review

The BMLine 12 can be sensitively adjusted to the surroundings and listening taste using the Backes controller. Contact with the speakers is via an Ethernet cable 

The controller sits in a pretty artificial stone housing and allows the use of six equalizers: the frequency and quality can be freely selected, amplification or reduction of up to 12 decibels are feasible. Nothing more makes sense.

After we found a sensible position for the BMLine 12, we started fine-tuning it. In the "factory state" the basses were very strong and the mid-range - the current 12 reminded a bit of the old one from 1980 - comparatively robust and edgy. We also measured them in this state:

We ascertained 99 decibels as the (continuous) maximum level. That's quite a lot. However, as already indicated above, the BMLine 12 had a lot of bass in the basic setting and was also equalized to below 30 Hertz. That didn't have to be the case, even in our 70 square meter listening room. We linearized the bass around 60 Hertz using the controller and let it taper off gently at 6 dB below 40 Hertz. This not only made the bass sound much drier and more precise (just the way I like it), but the maximum level also increased significantly. With this intervention, we spared the three 18-inch basses the sweaty low-frequency work that - with the appropriate setting - is also relentlessly demanded because of the membrane feedback.

Backes & Müller BMLine 12 REVIEW

Setting the filter is simple: the controller is used to determine the frequency, the quality, i.e. how narrow-band or how wide the filter should appear, as well as the strength

But I liked it much better with less bass. We then tamed the mids, which were a bit too robust, with another filter. Not much had to be done: an EQ with a low quality at around 2 KHz, which lowers the level in this range by up to 1.5 dB, made the "angry" BMLine 12 finer overall and much more forgiving. So forgiving that listening to music became a pleasurable experience.

Sound Test

One thing first: We are here at Backes & Müller. The loudspeakers from this house have always played extremely lively and precisely to the point. If you want cuddly boxes for cuddly rock, this isn't the right place for you - even if you could certainly set some kind of sound with the controller. But then you would completely change the character of the speaker - which would be nonsense.

No: This loudspeaker lives from its liveliness, from its high fine and coarse dynamics, from this incredible precision that, with every hit on the snare, makes you wonder when you were last at a live concert - simply because the backes sounds so authentic. This is where phase-linear filter technology certainly comes into its own. With many passive speakers, much of what is clearly drawn with the finest pen and has sharp contours has soft gray areas. But blurring isn't Backes' world.

Backes & Müller BMLine12 Review

The BMLine 12 in the listening room. In terms of installation, it is problem-free because of the extensive adjustment options

MiG-Music recently released a concert recorded by Radio Bremen 40 years ago: As a tribute to Gil Scott-Heron, who died in 2011 , they had a concert from the Bremen Schauburg remastered. And when I got my hands on the review CD, I realized that I was there myself at this concert on April 18, 1983. Life still has surprises in store...

From an audiophile perspective, the recording certainly has weaknesses; For example, a monitor drags for a long time. No problem. This concert is simply magnificent: so lively, so thrilling. And the Backes is the perfect playback instrument for such moments. She placed the singer and his piano on the stage in an absolutely believable, three-dimensional way, the dimensions of which you can quite accurately guess. And Scott-Heron's voice celebrated the Backes as wonderfully strong in character as it was: creaky and still somehow accusatory even when joking.

At some point the horns kick in and you're literally shocked at the pressure and dynamics with which the band (name: Amnesia Express) went about their work. Even with our reference system with Canor electronics and FinkTeam Borg, the recordings didn't have the same drive as with the Backes.

Backes & Müller BMLine12 Review

The concert in the Schauburg is a real treasure. Good that MiG-Music has now rediscovered him (Cover: JPC)

After just a few bars I was interested in the BMLine 12, after an hour of the concert I was captivated by the impulsive precision. But I was really excited when the applause rang out. I hadn't heard anything like that at all. The recording is very direct and involves the audience so strongly that you would almost think there was at least one microphone in the audience. What the BMLine 12 did with it was simply spectacular: it placed me directly in the audience with all the multi-faceted clapping noises around me: lively, absolutely authentic. Goose flesh. Like back then.

Conclusion Backes & Müller BMLine 12

As the B&M catalog says: "The BMLine 12 continues the glorious history of the classic of the eighties and nineties of the last millennium." That's right. Both in character (very straight) and in its design (classic 3-way speaker), this floor-standing speaker is much more reminiscent of the large models of the 1970s and 1980s than its larger model siblings with line emitter characteristics. It is therefore actually something like the last of its kind - but this does not detract from its fascination: such wonderfully precise high-speed dynamic machines are rare.

The BMLine 12 builds a bridge to the earlier days, but also incorporates the latest technical B&M achievements. It is currently (and probably will continue to be for a long time) by far the cheapest way to get this form of negative feedback and phase linearity. The fact that Backes is now also offering the convincing BMIce preamplifier in a limited edition at a very fair bundle price is also sexy, at least for those music lovers who do not yet have a preamplifier or who have one when purchasing a high-quality box like the BMLine 12 anyway had thought about a new precursor.

Harman Kardon release three Bluetooth speakers

Harman Kardon  release three Bluetooth speakers

Harman Kardon  Release Three Bluetooth Speakers 

Aura Studio 4, Go + Play 3 and Luna for 70th anniversary

During the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Harman Kardon presented three Bluetooth speakers at once, which will be released on the occasion of the company's 75th anniversary. The first is Aura Studio 4, which can please not only with sound, but also with light. The Aura Studio 4 is powered by a downward-facing 5.2-inch woofer, complemented by a circular array of six drivers. The color show is created by 324 LEDs with crystals at the base of the transparent top of the case.

All together, according to Christian Schluender, Harman's senior vice president of global design, "lets the speaker's charming ambient light dance to the beat of Harman Kardon's beautiful sound." Moreover, the backlight works according to several algorithms, or rather, the topics that their names speak of: “Polar light”, “Galaxy”, “Rainy night”, “Cloud” and “Fireplace”.

Already known in previous iterations, the Harman Kardon Go + Play 3 Bluetooth speaker is now improved externally and internally. Its tempered glass top features built-in touch controls. The fabric grill, plastic speaker frames, and even the aluminum handle are all recycled. It is essentially a three-way stereo system with a common downward facing woofer.

Go + Play 3 is able to adjust the sound to the acoustics of the room, work as a hands free and powerbank, and it is completely autonomous for approximately eight hours.

Another novelty, Harman Kardon Luna, received a soft-touch case under a fabric lining. The top panel is made of anodized aluminium. Inside, these are two-way acoustics, and a pair of Luna will be able to work in full stereo mode. The body is IP67 dust and waterproof, and has a battery life of up to 12 hours. All three new Harman Kardon products will be on sale by mid-September.

In Europe, the price of the Harman Kardon Aura Studio 4 speaker is 330 euros, the Go + Play 3 is 350 euros and the Luna is 180 euros.

Goldmund Tethys - double-shell aluminum Speakers


Goldmund Tethys - double-shell aluminum Speakers

Goldmund Tethys - double-shell aluminum Speakers

Swiss company Goldmund said its new floorstanding speaker, Tethys, "represents the culmination of craftsmanship, innovation and an unwavering commitment to delivering the most realistic and immersive sound imaginable." If Tethys is compared with the well-known Goldmund floorstanders, then these speakers can be considered quite compact: their height is less than 110 cm and weighs 67 kg, and these are two gray aluminum cases with a proprietary “mechanical grounding” system.

The Tethys bottom cabinet is essentially a passive subwoofer with a 9-inch ventilated woofer. The top cabinet houses a 7-inch midrange driver and a soft dome tweeter. All this is united by an improved (according to the manufacturer) crossover. The result is a frequency response of 43 Hz to 25 kHz with -6 dB flatness.

Goldmund Tethys - double-shell aluminum Speakers

To connect a branded speaker cable, LEMO connectors are used, which can be considered the company's corporate standard (the same connectors are present on most Goldmund monoblocks). The company claims that each piece of Tethys is "carefully handcrafted by experienced craftsmen to ensure the utmost precision and attention to detail."

In the UK, a Goldmund Tethys order will cost £62,500.

$172,000 pair Magico m6 Speakers Overview

$172,000 pair Magico m6 Speakers Overview

$172,000 pair Magico m6 Speakers Overview

Magico M6

The well-known manufacturer of uncompromising loudspeakers, Magico, of its “M” range with the Magico M6 floor-standing loudspeakers. According to the manufacturer, the speakers raise the bar of sound to a whole new level.

The Magico M6 floor standing speakers are the culmination of the development of the "M" series of speakers, first introduced to the public in 2014. One of the features of the speakers is a monolithic carbon fiber cabinet combined with aerospace materials and technologies. This hull design achieves a strength-to-weight ratio of 60 while reducing overall weight by 50% and reducing external dimensions by 30% without compromising internal volume. The curved outer and inner walls of the housing help to minimize internal standing waves and eliminate external diffraction.

The four solid aluminum blanks used to make the exterior surfaces are specially machined to produce curved surfaces without corners. A thick internal aluminum baffle holds the drivers securely, while 10 special rods tighten the front and rear panels, further increasing the rigidity of the structure.

$172,000 pair Magico m6 Speakers Overview
image credit: Magico Auido

Zero diffraction allows sound waves to travel more naturally and eventually "dissolve" into the listening room. The shape of the front panel provides not only the aesthetic appeal of the model but also facilitates the seamless integration of all drivers. The specially designed three-point MPOD base plate ensures maximum stability of the loudspeakers.

The back of the midrange driver is equipped with a special horn-shaped chamber made of hard carbon fiber. The shape of the chamber provides efficient dissipation and attenuation of standing waves without the need for a large number of damping materials.

The Magico M6 uses an improved version of the revolutionary tweeter traditionally used in the "M" line. The 28mm beryllium diaphragm has a diamond coating and an optimized geometry calculated using the most advanced modeling tools. The physical properties of beryllium made it possible to increase the diameter of the diaphragm to 28 mm, which, together with the new acoustic chamber located behind the dome, brings the tweeter sound as close as possible to the theoretical ideal.

The new 6" midrange driver used in the M6 ​​features a graphene cone that is 30% lighter and 300% stiffer than its predecessors. At the heart of the magnetic system is a massive neodymium magnet and stabilizing magnets, allowing a stable magnetic field of 1.7 Tesla to be obtained in a 15 mm air gap. The voice coil is made of titanium. Unprecedented assembly accuracy is ensured by the use of the latest 3D laser scanning techniques. This allows you to optimize the performance of each speaker in its assigned frequency range and minimize deviations from the precise piston movement. The suspension of the midrange driver provides stable cone travel within +/- 6mm, which allows you to reproduce mid-range frequencies up to 120 dB with virtually no distortion.

$172,000 pair Magico m6 Speakers Overview
image credit: Magico Auido

Three new 10.5-inch speakers with cellular carbon and graphene drivers are responsible for reproducing full and deep bass. Just as with the Q7 loudspeakers, special attention has been paid to the elimination of eddy currents that occur in the metal elements of the speaker magnet system. By creating chaotic magnetic fields, eddy currents provoke the movement of the voice coil and, as a result, distortion. A powerful magnet system effortlessly drives a 5" titanium voice coil with a total journey of one inch. The branded crossover (Elliptical Symmetry Crossover) uses Mundorf components from Germany.

Magico M6 Price.

For questions about the model range, availability, listening, and purchase of Magico Speakers.

Magico m6 Specifications.

Type of
floor acoustics
carbon fiber
Acoustic design
closed case
M Series
Country (main office)
Guarantee period
1 year
Height, mm
Width, mm
Depth, mm
Weight, kg
Tweeter size, in inches
Midrange speaker size, in inches
Woofer size, in inches
Type of tweeter
Type of midrange speaker
Woofer type
Tweeter Material #1
Midrange material
carbon fiber
Woofer material
carbon fiber
Screw, standard
Number of tweeters
Minimum frequency, Hz
Number of speakers
Maximum frequency, Hz
Resistance, Ohm
Sensitivity, dB/W/m
Number of lanes

Minimum recommended power, W
30 Watts

Driver Complement:
1 x 1.10" (2.794cm) Diamond-Coated Beryllium Dome Tweeter
1 x 6” (15.24cm) XG Nanographene Cone Midrange
3 x 10.5” (26.67cm) XG Nanographene Cone Bass

Sensitivity: 91dB

Impedance: 4 Ohms

Minimum Recommended Power:
30 watts
57"H x 26"D x 20W
(143cm x 66cm x 51/38cm)

Weight: 390 lbs. (177kg)