auditioned the ML preface at Best Buy

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Well-known member
Feb 4, 2007
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Alexandria, VA
I actually had a nice little visit to Magnolia/Best Buy today. My roommate would like to add some speakers and a receiver to his parents' living room. Last year he bought his father a flat screen TV.

The budget is $600-$800 for everything - be it all-in-one speaker + amp package, or an A/V receiver + 2 speakers, etc.

Basically I wanted my roommate to compare larger floor standing speakers vs smaller bookshelf speakers. His mom thinks that only smaller speakers are appropriate (as do most people because larger speakers are viewed as too imposing and it 'all sounds the same' no matter what you choose).

We started off with a comparison between the Definitive Mythos Two Duo ($550) vs Vienna Acoustics Grand ($1300) vs Klipsch Icon ($550).

All were decent. I liked the Vienna model the best, but they are more than twice the cost of the other two candidates and way more than he wants to spend for the whole enchilada. Having said that, the Klipsch were a very soild performer. The Mythos, I thought, had muddled upper bass and this was very noticeable between the Grand and Icon.

I also compared those three speakers to the Vienna Acoustics Bach ($2100). Right away he noticed that the floorstanding model (the Bach) sounded a bit different. I asked him what he noticed and he said there was more bass - more punch. Overall we thought, from top to bottom, the Bachs did a better job vs any of the bookshelf speakers.

The next step was to add in a sub. For some unknown reason, the Best Buy techs like to stack the subs on a rack. So, I selected the sub on the bottom shelf and that happened to be the ML dynamo. Interestingly enough the dynamo matched up really nice with all of the bookshelf speakers. That little sub did a decent job of filling in the bottom end and we really couldn't hear a dramatic difference between the bookshelf speakers + sub vs the floor standing speakers (without a sub).

We then compared a few other floor standing models: Klipsch Icon Cabernet ($1000), ML Preface ($1000), and the a few definitive technology models (the $1100 and $1700 models, I think). All were OK - I actually thought the Icons filled the room with sound but they were placed against a different (longer) wall vs the Preface. Also the Icons were noticeably further apart. We both agreed that the Preface had more oomph at the bottom end compared to the Def Tech and Icons.

We were listening to the Hell Freezes Over (Eagles) DVD for every comparison and in all cases a Yamaha A/V receiver (maybe 130 W/channel) was used to power the speakers.

The sales staff left us alone while I ran the show. We basically had the room to ourselves as I switched back and forth among the speakers. All in all it was a nice experience at Best Buy despite our misgivings about this store - I think they do carry some decent equipment. I realize it's far from perfect and no, I didn't move the speakers to a certain location for each comparison. But we were there, primarily, to see if there was any noticeable difference between the smaller bookshelf speakers and similarly priced (this wasn't all that doable today - more on that in a moment) bookshelf speakers. My roommate did learn a thing or two about speakers. He was able to hear the larger/wider soundstage of some speakers and also noted the differences in the various positions - some units were farther apart, or placed higher on a shelf and this can make an impact.

Regarding a better comparison between the Mythos Duo and Klipsch vs some other floorstanding speakers at a comparable price point - Best Buy does carry Polk and some other Klipsch stuff outside of the Magnolia area. But the conditions are very poor. The speakers are actually in an aisle all clustered together. It's tough to make a comparison between the better treated magnolia rooms and some gear in the aisle. Still, the Klipsch Icon Two way triple ($~800) and some Polk Audio Triple ($600) were OK. But the source material wasn't the same, nor the amp, or 'room' for that matter. It would have been interesting to compare these speakers vs their more expensive counterparts in the same room with the same music.

He might need to spend more money to bridge the gap (in bass) between the smaller bookshelf units vs the larger floor standing models. He also pointed out that even with the bookshelf speakers, they would require stands which adds some cost and consumes some space (or volume). If you compare the footprint between the Bachs, say, and the Klipsch speakers on stands, the total space you need is roughly equal. I think he eventually wants to have a nice little HT setup in the living room for his parents and if nothing else I may have convinced him to avoid buying some speaker 'system' and go with buying better stuff in an incremental fashion (smaller klipsch speakers for christmas, maybe a sub later on, and so on).

good story, thanks for sharing.

i spent 4 hrs in a BB when i made the decision to go with the Prefaces. i took in a bunch of my stuff to listen to as well, and i moved the speakers around also. i was "that guy". but i did feel that the Preface was the best speaker in the room hands down, and the guy working was cool and i think respected me for what i did that day. im not sure if he ever had anyone go to the lengths i did before, but it seemed like he was sold on the Logans too when it was all said and done. funny thing was when i started he and i both liked other speakers in the room better, but the ML sold themselves to not just he and i, but even my wife who wasnt into any of it when we started the adventure.

best part was after i was done the salesman wrote down all the music had brought in with me....:rocker:
I thought the Prefaces were a solid performer today. It was the first time I heard them and overall they did just fine even against a few speakers priced a little higher. It was by no means a thorough audition, but I liked what I heard and would recommend them for people just breaking into the hobby and maybe don't want to buy used gear right off the bat.

I think the Vienna stuff does not get enough credit. Back in 2008 we heard the higher end Vienna Acoustics gear at the RMAF and boy, those speakers were just awesome. I think these were the models:

Also see:

I think we spent over 2 hours in BB today, so yeah, I know what you mean to be "that guy."
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Was the double negative intentional?

Did you mean that the Vienna stuff does not get enough credit?
I had Vienna Haydns-awesome speakers.
I too auditioned all the speakers at the Magnolia store... I basically just narrowed the ones I sampled to speakers at $1,500/pair and below and sure enough, the Preface towers were the ones that sounded best to my ears. I'd be curious though how they compare to similar priced Polks RTi-A9s, Monitor Audio RX-series, Paradigms, Mission, etc. I wish BB/Magnolia would carry a wider variety of speaker lines.
i have a paradigm monitor 9v3 system in my theater and for just stereo the preface smokes the paradigms, not that the paradigms are bad but the logans are clearly a step up.