Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 Worth The Purchase?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by stefan109, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. stefan109 macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Looking at picking up some MM-1s soon to improve on my standard MBP speakers. I've been looking at opinions of them over the last couple of days and there seems to be a nagging issue - lots of static/idle noise in quiet environments. Is this a common issue across the product or amongst a select few? Does anyone have a pair and has yet to experience this issue/any other significant problem?

    Appreciate any feedback before dropping money on these, Stefan.
  2. waynesun macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2006
    I bought them a month ago and think they're great. Owned Swans M-10s and Rokit RP5s prior to these and i'm super impressed with the MM-1s.

    At low volume they're seriously great. I don't have any fancy 'audiophile' terms to liken my experience on a more technical level, but I have spent a few years playing in orchestras and listening to classical music kind of brings me back to those exact times on stage again. Nuances in voices kind of jump out at you.. random shouting in the background of some songs might cause you to stop your work, turn down your volume, and wonder if anyone actually called your name. Guitar strums make you feel like tuning everything else out and just wanting to listen to your music. There's no listening fatigue (constantly working in front of a computer), and i'm pretty sure I skipped a few meals just to listen to music the first week I got them.

    A few gripes I had with previous speakers were that they were either too big, too cumbersome, or the cables would wear and it would be a hassle constantly toggling between two different volume knobs (one for the speakers, one for the computer).

    I thought they would be underpowered considering the size.. but the bass is actually very rich.. it doesn't get too muddy at all and actually adds a really wholesome 'depth' to the music that doesn't end up distorting the experience. It's the most balanced sound i've heard thus far from 'computer speakers' for sure (and when I say 'computer speakers', I mean those that fall strictly within the genre).

    If you have the cash, i'd definitely recommend them. The reviews are all true.. and I still read them all even after I bought the MM-1s. They're a pair of super-elegant speakers at a premium price, but the convenience and sound quality is hard to beat otherwise.
  3. JulesK macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2002
    Worth it, but keep some perspective...

    I have the MM-1s; my set up is a 24" ACD, Apple BT keyboard, and 2011 MBA. I originally had hoped that the ACD built-in speakers would be sufficient, but there is no comparison. My criteria was size/appearance (I didn't want speakers taking over my desk), sound, ease-of-use, in that order. After listening to a number of speakers, it came down to the MM-1s and Bose Companion 20s, and I went with the MM-1s because they were smaller. For their size, the MM-1s sound great (certainly backing up the reviews), including at low volume, which was really important to me. Very clear, nice depth, and very accurate (if not thumping) bass. They sound very good at louder volumes, too, but I suspect you can get the same quality sound (including at volumes higher than the MM-1s can generate) for much less with other speakers, but you are paying a premium for the name, size and design with the MM-1s. I knew that going in, but I really wanted a small set of speakers that set up as cleanly as possible.

    There are three things I would change if I could. First, there is a faint hiss when the speakers are on but are not playing anything. It's not objectionable or very noticeable, but it is certainly there and enough to want me to turn them off when my home office is very quiet and I'm not listening to anything. The second is that these speakers do not shut off automatically. (The Bose Companion 20s do, which almost convinced me to get them instead.) B&W told me that leaving the MM-1s on constantly would shorten their lifespan, so I do turn them off when I'm done with the computer at night. Finally, the right speaker does get quite warm. The remote isn't the best design, but it's serviceable, and a huge remote would have defeated one of my reasons for getting these speakers.

    The nice things I didn't appreciate with the MM-1s until I had them was that you can control the volume with the function keys on the Apple BT keyboard. There is no need to fiddle with the MM-1 remote, assuming that the speakers are on. Also, since I'm using a 24" ACD, when I turn the MM-1s off, the built-in speakers automatically come on (and vice-versa), which is nice for those times when I'm working in silence (and turn the MM-1s off) but still want to hear audio when needed. Switching is automatic.

    $500 for a pair of speakers that really only work as computer speakers is a heck of a lot. It's hard to justify their price unless the qualities you value are the ones that set the MM-1s apart from virtually every other computer speaker on the market. If all you want is great sound, and size is not really a consideration, you probably could do equally as well or better with other brands. For my needs, the MM-1s are an almost perfect combination.
  4. jazz1 macrumors 65816


    Aug 19, 2002
    Mid-West USA
    Update On Purchase of B&W MM-1

    I've had them for several months now and I can say that they are really great sounding speakers. I'm feeding them AIFF files as well as ACC files. I do find that placement is somewhat critical as they are near field speakers. I found that the soundstage gets better if the speakers are equally distant between each speaker and the listener. With that in mind I don't think they sound as good if your trying to blast them in order to listen to them across the room.

    The highs, mids, and low are very well balanced. Too bad it probably is impossible to get a decent demo in the noisy Apple Store. At the very least try to go when the store is quiet, and of course you can't sit in front of them which is how you would use them.
  5. starstern macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2012
    BW mn-1 my best choice even at light/shadow others ?

    bw mn-1 vs m-audio av-40 vs monsoonsvs aktimate mini anyone compared them ?
  6. Rizzm macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2012
    Whether it's worth it is completely up to you.

    Personally, I would never go for speakers without a subwoofer. There are plenty of 2.1 packages with small speakers. The point of the subwoofer is to be hidden under a desk so that you can have superior sound without large speakers.

    Save hundreds and try something like the Logitech Z623. They do laps around the MM-1.
  7. Pheo macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2011
    I first saw these speakers walking past an electronics store in an airport - pretty outstanding audio for the size.

    I'd also look at the Audioengine a2 as well.
  8. PeterSmith, Oct 27, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013

    PeterSmith macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Cambridge, UK
    Seriously good for classical chamber music, etc.

    It all depends, I suppose, what kind of music you listen to., and whether you want speakers specially designed for being listened to at close quarters.

    I tend to listen to e.g. classical chamber music, early piano music such as Bach or Haydn sonatas, early symphonies [as it happens, it's Sammartini symphonies playing as I type this] while working, and I listen at quite low volume.

    For this kind of listening, the MM-1s I bought a couple of years ago are just wonderfully good. My study is very small, and the desk is correspondingly small. The units therefore sit on the desk at not much farther than an arm's length from my ears, and the same distance from each other. The resulting "sound stage" seems very natural, and the life-likeness and detail of the sound is quite excellent. The speakers still sound very good when I move to a chair a few feet further away.

    [Note: I'm using CD inputs not mp3s: lower quality mp3s can certainly be revealed as inadequate. It isn't quite right to say that these are "a pair of speakers that really only work as computer speakers". Yes they are for up-close-and-personal listening when working at a computer, but they are not only for listening at sound from a computer source. I very often drive them from a small-footprint CD player parked to the side of my desk, rather than through the computer.]

    Expensive, yes: but I haven't regretted the expense for a day.
  9. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2011
    I have the MM-1 and enjoy them very much while connected to the Thunderbolt Display.

Share This Page