Customer Reviews

Reviews -Series 2 TMM

Where do I begin? My journey began with a growing dissatisfaction for my current loudspeakers (Linkwitz Orion's) there was something missing which I couldn't put my finger on or should I say Ear. This slowly led to being dissatisfied with my entire system all the way down to the cables. So, I set out on a mission combing every internet site, review article, manufacturers' websites and of course showrooms. I started with the high-end brands in the showrooms and quickly became disappointed and discouraged with the whole showroom experience and still unable to find the sound I was looking for.

While reading one of the many user groups someone had mentioned how much they loved the sound of a Bamberg loudspeaker (can't recall which one). This led me down the path looking for anything I could find on Bamberg which ultimately guided me to Bamberg Audio. So, after many phone calls and emails with Phil we managed to arrange our schedules for a weekend of loudspeaker listening. How often does this happen, that you are able to audition loudspeakers with the designer in his home? NEVER!

The first thing we do is look over the Series 2-TMM and let me tell you there is not one aspect of this loudspeaker that will disappoint. The design, finish, hardware and drivers are all A+. The finish alone draws positive comments from everyone that sees them.

Finally, we get to the sound. After many months of anticipation we sit down on the sofa about 7' or so from the speakers which at the time seemed very close but I was soon to discover it was perfect.

WOW! I was engulfed in a sound that I had been looking for most of my adult life. It's a sound that you just can't put your “finger” on; none of the traditional descriptors that are used to identify loudspeakers seem to fit: words like “warm, bright, forward, boxy” and the list goes on. So, here is my attempt at describing the Series 2-TMM. It feels like music should sound. They are not artificial. They have a soul. They make you forget about all the engineering behind them, and finally ... they do not sound like a “loudspeaker”. They make music.

I could not be happier or more satisfied with the decisions I made with the Bamberg Series 2 loudspeaker. It has been one of the most memorable and satisfying buying experiences I have ever had.

Blake Brocato, Jan 2012

[Jan 2014] Time for my annual update of the series 2. It has now been two years since setting up in my room and I continue to be impressed with the emotion that these loudspeakers evoke. We were in DC last week visiting my family and I decided to take some time and visit a few audio shops and listen to the latest systems. To sum up my experience: they each had at least one quality that was pleasant but none had the overall listening experience that the series 2 is still able to deliver. The same quality that I heard in your living room, and that is "emotional involvement" that your loudspeakers deliver.


Reviews -Series 5 [PEB's report at bottom of page.]

WOW!! I put on 'Pictures at an Exhibition'. It was like being at my own private concert. I closed my eyes and saw the orchestra... each instrument... I heard the musicians picking up their bows for the crescendos! And the crescendo's were entirely clear. Then I listened to Handel's Messiah. The full chorus was thrilling. Thanks a million for these marvelous speakers!

P.S. I've cancelled my cable subscription... I mainly listen to music since your speakers arrived.

Tom O.
Berlin, CT



I still can't believe the detail that the Series 5's expose. The truth has finally been revealed. These speakers are indeed superb. I can hear details in the music that were never there before. It was as if I have a whole new CD collection. I played old CDs that I was totally sick of, and enjoyed them as if they were new. The speakers are ultra precise and fast. Bass is clear and forceful yet there is no slop to it. I turned the lights out so that I could not see the speakers, and the whole band seemed to come to life in front of me. I could place almost all the instruments. The smallest of details are now clear. I can now understand lyrics that previously were difficult to determine. I have never before heard a speaker as capable of reproducing the full spectrum of music as these speakers can.

Keep up the good work; your wonderful speakers are worth every penny! Thank you Mr. Bamberg for renewing my interest in home audio.

Eric D.
Michigan



The speakers arrived this evening. They are absolutely gorgeous! I don't know if I could ever hope to replicate the smooth finish in a speaker. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to listen it was late and my wife and kids were asleep, so I had to listen at low volume. I don't know how much my first impressions mean at such reduced levels but I was struck by their clarity; music seems to jump at me from a black background. I'm generally not given to hyperbole, but that is my distinct first impression. It's analogous to looking through a window that's just been thoroughly cleaned. I'm impressed and that's just from a fairly short low volume listening session. I'll listen at normal (loud) levels tomorrow and report my impressions to you.

I did get to give the speakers a good workout the day after I received them. They are about as good as I've ever heard in my opinion. The sound seems as if it emanates from somewhere other than the speakers. The overall balance seemed just about right for my tastes and they will play plenty loud. They have that elusive enhanced "black level" people have been discussing on the board-something I had not experienced before and had been skeptical about.

Robert C.
Decatur, GA



They are certainly a cut or two above any commercial speakers that I have heard. They have a sound signature similar to my Proac 1sc's in that they have superb imaging and presence, but noticeably smoother, greater bass extension, and much more power handling capacity.

They also have almost scary, explosive, dynamics. In an orchestral passage with solo violin, they have a delicate, intimate sound on pianissimo passages, yet fill the room with a broad soundstage on full orchestra with no sense of strain.

They are almost too responsive with my Mark Levinson 332 amp. I feel that I have to reign them in so that they don't fill my whole building and neighborhood with sound! Something like driving a Buggati after being used to a Toyota!

They also seem a good match for my pair of Sunfire mkII subwoofers, which I am rolling off at about 50 Hz with a 24 db slope. In regard to build quality, they make me angry at the flimsy cabinets that most commercial speakers come with. These are so incredibly massive and solid! And I've never had binding posts that fit banana plugs so snug.

I've been listening to mine for the last week with your Series 5's without any subwoofer, full-range, and am just amazed at how incredibly good they sound! I have one CD in particular where the sound of snare drums, tympani, various percussion is so tight and orchestral instruments so well delineated that it finally sounds like live music, not the smeared, congested sound I normally associate with recorded performances. I think amplifier technology is finally catching up to what really good speakers can do!

Tom A.
Chicago



Why didn’t you tell me that the Series 5 was going to blow me away? I wasn’t ready for this. They performed far beyond my expectations. All I can say is WOW, WOW, WOW! The human voices were as if they were in the room with me, and the guitar that was being played sounded live and I’m sure I could hear the wood in the piano. Thank you so much for all you did and the things you know that went into designing these speakers.

I played the Craig Chaquico CD, "From the Red Woods to the Rockies" and felt as if I were listening to it for the first time. Every detail was crisp and I actually heard his fingers streak across the strings in the very subtle parts of the recording where I’ve never noticed it before. I had to go back and hook up my old speakers and play that track to see if I was just paying more attention to it than usual. But it wasn’t there on the old speakers.

Janet and I then put on the James Taylor Live DVD and all the ambience of a stage concert came pouring out of them. The music had width to it. I don’t mean just left and right speaker channels; I mean you could close your eyes and point to the various places in the room where the performers were standing when the recording was made. (I hope that made sense.) Maybe I could state it better by saying it was almost 3-D at times. Can you believe it? And the room was filled with sound! Well look who I’m talking to; you already know; you designed them.

I haven’t played a movie track through them yet because I have been busy going through my CD collection.

Bill S.
Memphis



Well Phil, the new sub says ‘He has done it again’, i.e. being able to produce a product of quality, design, and value. Congratulations! Now I must say that the result of listening grows on me the more I try new music. It is important to recognize the role that a sub has in a complete speaker system. When successful, voicing is clearer, and the bass is .. well .. not just bass, but musical.

I mean to say that, whether or not one might have realized it before, bass is part of the music, not a simple one-note thump. It has pitch and definition. That is what I have known for years, and why I would not consider a sub without those virtues. To sum up then is to say that this new sub of yours does those things very well. I haven’t even mentioned power. Not to worry, this sub is also very capable of that, too! Thanks for helping me with my continued quest for better sound.

Greg P.
Tucson



The sound is great. -- crisp, clear, treble and mid-range. The bass module sounds more complex with your ‘BESL-ized’ [Quadrature Phase Bass Alignment via DCX] settings. The bass has such low distortion that it can be played at movie theatre volumes while still being tight, well defined. However, as we both know, garbage in -- garbage out. There are several CDs that are difficult to listen to because of their inherent noise.

Paul S.
Toronto



[Takashi's review highlights his impressions after migrating from passive monitor crossovers to full active. - PEB]

First of all, I would like to thank for so fantastic speakers. They sound very transparent and take me to the best position at live recording studio. My wife is also deeply impressed the quality of the sound. I was asked by her to tell you her thanks.

I am spending happy time with your nice products. Thank you so much!

I have [since] done the digital crossover system with the parameters provided by you and I have listened to several kinds of music. The results were more than I expected.

  • As you suggested, I started with the same gains of both power amps and then I tried to vary their gains up to +-2dB. The changes of impressions were quite obvious as you said. I finally set the gain for the tweeter –0.7dB lower. It seems to be best for me so far.
  • I did not expect so much of difference between passive and active crossover method before I tried. Actually I could not find so big improvement on the transparency. However, I found the difference of the depth (I don’t know the proper word of English) of the sound stage. The sound stage provided by the digital crossover system is more deep and more stereoscopic (I mean 3 dimensional) compared to the passive one. This is superb!
  • The sound in low frequency became tight a little. (I am not sure but I felt it)

If I did not hear this new system, I was satisfied with the passive crossover because it was still nice for me. But once I heard this new system, I no longer go back to passive system.

Thanks Phil, for your excellent speakers and perfect information on the digital crossover system.

Takashi
Japan



[John runs a fully active tri-amp system via DCX DSP crossover and 6-channel modular amplifier, all pre-programmed and purchased from BESL. - PEB]

I caught the flu on Sunday, which kept me on my back until Tuesday. In any normal circumstance a person would look upon illness with trepidation. Come Tuesday I was too tired to work but not so sick I couldn’t sit up and do a few things. The entire family was gone. I had the house to myself. It was time to listen to some music! I had two days of adjusting speaker positions and “tone controls”. I ended up with speakers set up in the least compromising Golden Section position for a square room, i.e. a little closer to the walls than I would like, but in the correct distance ratio of side/front wall. The speakers are now adjusted fully back to the factory settings (Hmm… maybe Phil knows what he is doing?). I listened to albums I hadn’t listened to in a long time. I listened to albums I intimately know and listen to often. I found that a surprising number of albums had more, no, much more, information on them than I originally thought. I felt like the master paintings had been moved to a properly ventilated and lit gallery for viewing. Great musicians’ performances conveyed so much more emotional impact. Average performances were never more disappointing. This was also true with respect to the sound engineers as well.

The Bamberg Series 5 system has the widest frequency range I can recall, yet it remains musical from the lowest lows to the highest highs. At this point I must state it is the most seamless, detailed, dynamic, spacious, timber correct, and yet neutral speaker I have ever heard. The sound stage is the best I have ever heard out of an mtm design. Now that I know how much I have been missing, I want to audition my friends’ ultra high-end speakers. I suspect that the depth, speed and richness of the '5 bass, that is, its overall “rightness” will challenge these other designs. It will be interesting to see if they can compare with the midbass-to-midrange seamlessness and detail, or with how revealing the upper midrange and high frequencies are without ever getting harsh or fatiguing. If there are sonic holes in these speakers or weaknesses in veiling the sound, I cannot find them.

The Bamberg Series 5 plays rock as equally well as it plays jazz or classical. Five O’clock People, Diana Krall, and Al DiMeola were stunning, but when I listened to Over The Rhine’s album “Drunkard’s Prayer”, I stopped dead in my tracks. I have now come to learn just how much control Karin Bergquist has over her voice. There were several tracks in which she bent, slid, and centered notes and words so well that I could only get lost in the music. I loved the way she took a new approach to the classic song “Funny Valentine”. When the song ended I just sat there for about ten minutes. I couldn’t get over how close I was to the musicians and how good their performances were.

Prior to the Bamberg 5’s, I have never heard an audiophile loudspeaker that could draw more attention to the music than it could to itself so consistently with different genres of material. The search for equipment has just taken a very far back seat to the search for more music.

[Later] The speakers continue to impress! I have new music on order and am anxious to experience the various artists. On an aside note, friends have made themselves available, hinting for further listening sessions. My brother-in-law just comes over and helps himself!

John S.
Portland

PS - I keep tinkering with the output gains. You may find this amusing. As I listen to more albums and more types of music, I find that I am moving the gain settings back to factory spec. Treble and midrange are spot on. Bass down -0.5db from factory setting. Absolutely as detailed and transparent as possible without sounding harsh. The only circumstance that has been a little harsh is Clark Terry's Portraits album when he plays the tin straight muted trumpet (yes I can tell it is a tin mute instead of cardboard). This sounds very realistic, but can become slightly fatiguing at high listening levels. I must counter this by saying that the entire album has never been more enjoyable than through the Bambergs. They catch the all-important subtleties other speakers miss, and reveal Terry's musical genius. Also, most well recorded albums show no harshness and some well recorded albums are a little distant. This tells me the 5 system is voiced right; i.e. the right compromises were made. I need some more listening, but I am beginning to conclude that you have made a very special loudspeaker.

I am now back to factory settings on my speakers. Overall, they perform with the right balance. Any more adjustments will likely be made with small placement adjustments within the room. Dynamics and detail continue to amaze. It has become enjoyably difficult to get things done around the house with a pair of Bambergs around.



[PEB’s report of others’ observations during listening evaluations:]

  • Hearing a large cymbal in the drum kit being excited by the saxophone’s sound. After the saxophone stopped playing. And from precisely there in the sound stage.
  • The sound of people in the control room laughing at a joke from behind the glass.
  • Having a group of people hear the difference in Absolute Polarity at a BESL get-together.
  • A customer turning his head towards me to make a comment during an audition, and opening his mouth to speak, then turning back to the music again. Twice.
  • Hearing the sound of all the piano strings being excited just because the foot pedal was pressed.