B&W Compact Domestic Monitor 1 loudspeaker Review Context
My relatively small room measures around 19' by 16.5' with a 9' ceiling. Each of the loudspeakers was positioned for the best sound (with only one pair of loudspeakers in the listening room at a time), generally some 3' from the rear wall (which is faced with books and LPs) and approximately 5' from the side walls (which also have bookshelves covering some of their surfaces). Each pair of speakers sat on 24" Celestion Si stands, these filled with lead shot and spiked to the concrete floor beneath the rug/pad. Although none of the speakers had major cabinet resonance problems, loading each with a bag filled with lead shot did minimize any sense of midrange congestion.
Amplifiers used were a solid-state Mark Levinson No.333 dual-mono (review under way), a tubed Cary Audio Design CAD-300SEI integrated, and a tubed Mesa Boogie Baron (review also under way). The preamplifier was the remote-controlled Mark Levinson No.38S, with either a Mod Squad Phono Drive EPS or an Audio Alchemy VAC-in-the-Box used to amplify LP signals from a Linn Sondek/Cirkus/Trampolin/Lingo/Ekos/Arkiv setup on an ArchiDee table. Digital sources were Mark Levinson No.30.5 and Parts Connection Assemblage D/A processors driven by a Mark Levinson No.31 transport, via Madrigal and Illuminati AES/EBU cables via a Meridian 518 jitter-reduction unit (No.31) or Sonic Frontiers UltraJitterbug (Assemblage).
Interconnects used were AudioQuest's AudioTruth Lapis x3 alternating with XLO 1.1 Signature; speaker cable was a bi-wired set of Cardas Cross. All source components and preamps used in my listening room were plugged-in to a Power Wedge 116 Mk.II, itself plugged-in to a dedicated AC circuit and fitted with the Power Enhancer option. The amplifiers were plugged-in to a Power Wedge 110, again fitted with the Power Enhancer.
Each pair of speakers was broken-in before audition by being placed face-to-face and driven with out-of-phase, high-level pink noise for 36 hours, followed by the Burn-in Noise track on Stereophile's Test CD 3 for another 12 hours. [For details on how I perform my suite of loudspeaker measurements, see Stereophile, November '98, Vol.21 No.11.—JA]—John Atkinson