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Thread: First Watt B4 trial

  1. #1
    Senior Member Goldjazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    First Watt B4 trial

    A very nice bloke loaned me a First Watt B4 which I've been trialing in my biamp system: 4343b's, Sansui au10000 on the Midbass HF and UHF, Perreaux 6000b on the woofers.

    Crossovers I've previously tried: jbl m552, Behringer Super X pro, Ashly XR2001. The Jbl m552 was the worst I'd say, the Behringer slightly better, and the Ashly far better. So given how much of an improvement the Ashly made, I thought I should try something better again as I hadn't appreciated the effect the xover had.

    So I setup the B4 with a simple Sallen-Key, 12db/oct, 300Hz crossover point. First 10 minutes of listening with no EQ I sort of thought "yeah it's maybe a tiny bit better then the Ashly". I don't know if it needed to warm up but after a while I started to hear some small details in a few familiar old tracks that I hadn't noticed before. (e.g. As Morrison is singing the words "riders on the storm" at about 6min point in the track, someone else is whispering the same words over top, giving a creepy vibe)

    So then I EQ'd it with a Klark Teknik DN360 and REW and listened some more. The improvement over the Ashly was now a bit more obvious. The center of sound stage was really tightly focused, my setup seemed quieter (the Ashly must have been adding a bit of noise) The highs were a bit smoother and less fatiguing possibly too. The improvement was probably even a bit better when I then switched from Digital to Vinyl, as that's where the Ashly was noisiest, while the B4 was dead quite.

    So yeah it's a step up from the Ashly IMO. It's a much more expensive unit though of course, but my experience is you'll just be unhappy with cheaper units and end up trying several as I did. I definitely wouldn't bother with the jbl m552 or the behringer, the Ashly is probably the best quality/price compromise but if you can go to the next level I think the B4 is worth it.


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Mr. Pass has a certain touch, where it seems anything he is confident enough to put his name behind, is a sonic pleasure to experience.

    When I was first looking for a crossover for my Open Baffle speakers, the B5 (i guess like an open baffle variant of B4) was high on my list, but budgets wouldn't allow. I too have gone with the Ashly XO for the price and flexibility. It's left me wondering what the next step will be. I am glad to have read your report that the B4 is worthy of consideration. His L300 crossover mods are well regarded, and it's no surprise the B4 is enjoyed by a JBL enthusiast. I can only assume he uses his L300's when testing new products.

    The lack of op amps in the B4 would probably be enough reason for the lower noise floor on the B4 vs the Ashly. Did you use the function on the Ashly where you could pad up or down the response at XO point? That would be the only feature unique to the Ashly that I would miss.

    This thread and a few others have got the itch going again... I have an F5Turbo amp kit and a DCB1 Buffer kit on hand that need to get built.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Northern California

    Nelson Pass Loudspeakers

    Point in fact Nelson has a surfeit of speakers, at home and more at the factory.... ready to go home. The L300's simply one of many pairs; and those currently getting a bit of cosmetic TLC. Array 1400's another favorite that would be near and dear to members of this forum.

    The general thought being that goods ought to play well with others and a heavy reliance on one speaker, one source, one anything in the evaluation chain is not good.

    Nelson tells stories of the ESS days were they bought case after case of one Joan Baez LP's for one cut..... their reference test cut. He came away with two thoughts...... one being he never wanted to hear that one piece of music ever again.


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