Saturday, April 18, 2009

B&W DM-640



There are some speakers that grow on you - take weeks, maybe months to rise in rank among your collection, then there are those that immediately impress, surprise, astonish. . . you get the picture. These B&W DM640 speakers fall into that second, rare category. They are some of the smoothest, full-bodied speakers I've listened to. If it sounds like I'm describing a cup of coffee, I apologize - just poured myself a cup - ahhh. That "ahh" was for the speakers - the coffee isn't all that great this morning for some reason, but I digress.

Let's talk about quality construction for a moment. Something often overlooked while gushing about the quality of speaker sound. These were on a flatbed cart being moved from a warehouse to my storage facility and I hit a crack in the pavement. I didn't stack them horizontally like my intuition told me, rather vertically. They toppled off the cart and slid down the ramp about six feet. I thought for sure the drivers would have come dislodged or the crossover would have snapped from its mount (this was a hard hit on cement). I was shocked and very relieved when I brought them home and found them to sound perfect. No rattling of any kind inside the cabinet and the drivers didn't budge a bit. Nice.

Nice artcle (.pdf) written about altering the crossovers on these to less the bass. Not sure why you'd want to do this, but the article also sites how similar these are to the higher-end B&W speakers.

If you have any photos or stories about your B&W DM640 speakers, please leave a comment or email me.

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28 comments:

  1. hi Mr. Collector
    i just happened to read your article and thought oh this must be for me. i owned a pair of dm 640 i a day ago and am trying to convince my self i did the right thing. your was a consolation. it sounds fantastic. just one tweeter burnt same day and i gave for rewinding. probably out of exitment i gave it a bit of power using my antique vincent dm 150 hybride. can the quality of the cd affect the speakers? i mean if track lines are not proper can it bur a speaker. i play things a bit louder. prefer if you could mail me on sanjeeew@gmail.com

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  2. hi Mr. Collector
    i just happened to read your article and thought oh this must be for me. i owned a pair of dm 640.
    This is what I need to know to sale or to keep???
    I know the sound is all in the person that is listining but, Am hungery for more so I was thinking of the jamo the s608 or the c 809s so Waht to do ??? Please tell me what you think the amp am runing is the Marantz pm 7200.. Thank you Dean dean_james33@yahoo.com

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  3. Hi, I also own a pair of DM640 since years and I fully agree with the description you make.
    I have now a problem that raised since a couple of month and you might have an idea how to solve it. Despite the fact I never listened loud, both bass are now showing noticeable distorsion on both side, all 4 speakers...can it be the crossover? I already changed both the amp and CD and the problem stays the same...any hint?
    Laurent - France

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  4. Check the wires on the Bass drivers.
    Mine were touching and caused distortion.
    Simply move them apart

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  5. I got my 640 about 15 years ago and altered the crossovers. It did take away some base but with the other equipment I have, it sounds like a live concert. Friends and family listened to them before and after the alteration and are very impressed even today. The amp is a Threshhold and a Sony CD player that came out of a recording studio.

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  6. Hi all,
    I got a pair of DM640 and I really like them. Although I replaced like 6 tweeters already! I guess I have to try to keep the volume down a bit more. The HiFi shop I keep buying the tweeters from say it could be something to do with listening to MP3's: some sort of high frequency that overloads the tweeters. (I do use the audio-out jack from the laptop on one of the inputs of the amplifier DENON PMA-1315R). Anyone similar experience or do you know if there are filters available for blocking those high end frequency ranges?

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    1. You are more than likely blowing the tweeters because you are not pushing enough power to the speakers. I had a 70W/channel receiver and I blew 3 of them. I upgraded to 125W/ channel and never blew another one. I have had the speakers for 22 years. Love them still.

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  7. Hi - Check to make sure your treble isn't cranked all the way up on whatever equalizer setting the Denon uses. Clean sound CAN blow your tweeters, but drivers are much more likely to be blown due to distortion from amplifier output or from the content being played. MP3s, especially those encoded at low bit-rates - 128 or less, can produce ringing or metallic sounds in the high frequencies. At high volumes, this could damage tweeters. Try switching amplifiers, listening to MP3s recorded at higher bit rates, or finding an amplifier with a high frequency filter that rolls off frequencies above 15 KHz. Hope this helps - let us know.

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  8. Hi, I need new tweeters to my Dm-640i speakers, anyone who know where I can get them?

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  9. We recently got a pair of these from a family member, plugged them in and noticed the tweeter not working. Seems to be a common problem! Currently at the shop being repaired. The one we have now though certainly sounds nice.

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  10. Hi,
    I have a pair which I had from new, however I have always noticed some noise, it is apparently coming from one of the woofers, has anyone got an idea how to open/ replace or fix.

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  11. I too am an original owner and I had the same problem. Took them to the dealer and they used what appeared to be shoe goo to seal an edge between the center of the woofer and the outer ring, that dried out. It happened a second time, I saved $50 and redid their work, with a very think skin of very new shoe goo and it has not reoccurred. Of course, they are flexible so you could really mess them up with a heavy hand.

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  12. Hi regarding blowing up tweeters ...

    A more common cause of this is driving you amp into clipping. (In other words playing it so loud that the tops of the output signal is reaching the maximum output signal it can handle without distortion. While clipping, many amps tend to generate some DC current in the output signal, which is deadly for many tweeters.

    Not all amplifiers are clipping in the same way. Some do it in a more gentle way.

    Due to this DC component in the output of a clipping amp, more tweeters have died by a using a lower power amp than high power amps. Is is easier to blow up your tweeters in a DM640 with a 20W amp than with a high end 200W amp. Your speakers can handle clean 200W peaks during a few seconds, But they can't handle the dc current in any signal (even if would be only a few watts).

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  13. Hi...I bought a pair of DM640's and the 2 bass drivers sound muttled and buzzy...I took the driver's out and the crossover network out...it seems to be the crossover but the capacitors seem ok and nothing wrong but it seems like it's the crossover...any suggestions?????

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  14. Hate to pass the buck, but there's not much I can do to diagnose this from here. I suggest taking the speakers to a qualified repair shop. Could be crossover, drivers... cabinet may have something loose inside.

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  15. I have had my Dm640's for over 15 years and just love them. The variable port option is amazing for tweaking any room. I also bought the matching plinths. Very "accurate" speakers and never want to get rid of them. Cudos B&W :)

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  16. Hello everybody,
    my DM640s celebrated their 20th birthday in 2012 - by extra-extensive playing diverse music styles from tape, record, CD and computer. Being powered by a Yamaha AX750 which got 20 years at the same time, and after dozens of removals, incl. overseas, they sound as great as on their very first day. I, too, never want to get rid of them because they are, in terms of sound, very flexibly fitting into all kind of interiors. Congrats to B&W for the great product (for an affordable price) and the outstanding quality!
    Marko

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  17. Ciao a tutti , mi sono iscritto ora. Ho ereditato una coppia di B&W DM640 , non le ho ancora provate perchè ho 2 woofer ed 1 tweeter rotti . Non ci capisco niente di queste cose ma mi piace ascoltare musica , chiedo quanto mi possono costare i componenti rotti ? Specie il tweeter -
    Grazie ciao

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    Replies
    1. Rough translation: Hello everyone, I am writing now. I inherited a pair of B & W DM640, I did not even try because I have 2 woofers and 1 tweeter broken. I do not understand anything about these things but I like to listen to music, I wonder how much can cost components that are broken? Especially the tweeter -
      Hello thanks

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  18. hi there.....i own a pair from 1994,and work grate,until now!! only problem the tweeters if you overdose.
    building quality and sound is grate. and they count 19 years on the back!!
    change tweets with bigger one,with a patent to fit to look original.
    amplifier TECHNICS SU A 800 with external cooling.

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  19. This thread may be dead but . . .

    I invested in a brand new pair of B&W DM 640s, with the recommended plinths, back in 1992 or so. At that time I listened to a myriad of other speakers but these were clear winners. So many speakers are over bright which sounds great for a few minutes until your ears are hammered flat, but these are very realistic. To this day these speakers sound as amazing as they did when I first bought them. Guests still comment about hearing things in music they know well that they have never heard before. I have yet to hear speakers that tempted me into changing.

    I am still driving these speakers with the B&K CS 117 pre-amp and ST 202+ amp I bought at the same time I bought the speakers (after much research and sampling). The only thing that has changed over the years is the source equipment. Not because I haven't had the itch for something new and better, but because whenever I've gotten that itch I have yet to find better sounding equipment in a price range that is reasonable to me.

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  20. Hi Mr Collector,

    I bought B&W640i speakers in 1993 and they still sound perfect. Due to lack of space I can't use them anymore. Could you please tell me what price I can ask for these speakers?

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  21. Hi Mr Collector,

    I bought B&W640i speakers in 1993 and they still sound perfect. Due to lack of space I can't use them anymore. Could you please tell me what price I can ask for these speakers?

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  22. Dennis, if the speakers are in excellent condition, then I'd say $500 is a fair price. Value drops sharply with minor cabinet or driver blemishes. Post photos, description and a price on our HiFiCollector.com Facebook page when ready. www.facebook.com/hificollector

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  23. I have had set of dm630, ehich I liked, but when I saw a second hand dm640i, I went out and bought them. Played with them on Teac, Musical Fidelity, BOW and Copland. I use TaraLabs Air1 connectors, and I am still blown away, even today, some 9 years later. They seem to grow on the equipment they are connected to. So, I treated them to 4 layers of high gloss Black paint, stuck some straws into the bass port, made some small holes in the back of the bass spiders, glued some thick round Wood Sticks inside the cabinet, and dampened all of the internals with asphalt mats (from car World). Sound is now lifted a class more. Totally satisfied. Some frinds say:: hey, it's just a pair of old school b&w's, but when they play their preferred music, they get silent, and then they begin to tap the feet and smile from ear to ear.
    That's like it B&W.
    Thanks.
    Jacques.

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  24. I have a set of dm640's a set of dm620's a jamo 200 centre speaker a jamo a3 active sub woofer and a pair of b&w solids dor sale if anyone is interested all in original working order and very good condition. Craig 07766396477

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  25. Almost 2017 and still using my DM640i. Unmodified, sounding great. Exchange them in 2010 for a 2-bay NAS.... Feeding the with a Dynavox VR-307 Hybrid.

    Ando

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  26. I would love to hear how they compare to the CDM 9NT that you have.

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