I've had 2 of these since around 1994, and bought another pair and the matching center channel a couple years later. I really do believe that this may have been the best "bang for the buck" speaker the world has ever seen. They are truly spectacular for the price. 5 stars isn't nearly enough for the value rating.
I listened to the them back to back with a set of $1400 B&W CDM1s that the salesman intended to use as an example of what spending a bit more would get me, and both of us were flabbergasted that the little DM's actually sounded notably better. The salesman said he hadn't had a chance to really listen to the DMs prior to that, as they had just come out and the floor models had been breaking in for a few days. I believe his intent was to try to sell me on another set of bookshelf speakers from a brand I can't remember that were around $500 a pair, as I had told him that was my budget max, but once we heard the DM's it was all over.
I remember the salesman playing a one of my demo songs, Nick Cage's Red Right Hand, 3 times to hear the tympani. He couldn't believe that they tiny B&Ws could actually produce that sound accurately. In the end, he gladly sold me the DMs for less commission, and bought a pair for himself in the process. I've been listening to them ever since, and they never fail to please.
You do need a subwoofer if you intend to use them for home cinema or louder listening, but they are just spectacular for a $250 speaker in all other aspects. Really closest priced speakers I have ever heard that were a true step up are B&Ws 600 series and they cost numerous times the price.
It's my first review ever. I'm consindeer a audiophile entusiastic for good music. I have a Rotel rsx 972, but i'had a rotel bx for a long time and a audiolab 8000a,serie f.
My living room has 20x30ft,so is quite long. I try for a long time various type of speakers, that i'm going to mencionate next,like Infinity ref52 mkii, B&w dm 303, b&w dm 305, b&w 601 s1,s3, alesis one (the passive), monitor audio bronze b2, Wharfedale diamond 10.1 and mission 773.
Like you see, various type of brands, with good reviews on the net, everyone more costy than the "litle" 302.
I use to ear all type of music, jazz, pop, rock mostly.
So i can say to you which of these is the best speakers of all, and the winner is the b&w dm 302,for a great margin.
Dont be fool, you if can by these speakers in a good condition, dont hesitate, they are a great piece of "art" from b&w.
B&w make them, and i know, they dont make more and stop production because they are better than series above.
Prisma tecnology make the diference.
The b&w dm303 has good reviews also, but 302 are more musical, best integration, best natural highs, excelent with the use of a sub like mine, b&w asw300.
I going to by a pair of b&w 603 s3, to compare with dm302, to you gave an ideia of the quality of this great speakers.
They are floorstanders, of other championship in term of price, but to intend to beat the dm302, they have to be, but i'm just a bit ceptical that they can destronate the 302 from the first place.
Untill now and ever these speakers are going with me to where i'm going, they are not to sell ever. They are precious for me.
I've been a long-time B&W fan, and my large audio system consists of about $22K worth of B&W Nautilus speakers and Rotel separates. I mention this only to offer the reader with some perspective of my level of audio system involvement.
So a few months ago, I wondered into this well stocked pawn shop just to snoop around a bit with no particular wants or needs. As I made my way down the used audio gear isle, I happened upon 4 matching B&W Prism System bookshelf speakers. They appeared to be in good to excellent condition and the shop was asking $125.00 per pair. Having no knowledge about these particular model speakers, I was intrigued by the small size and the back face of the cabinet -- with the oodles of small, square open ports. Long story short, I offered the guy $85.00 per pair for both pairs and he agreed.
Not really knowing what to expect, I was banking that the B&W logo and the "Made in England" imprint would not disappoint. And I was so right!
When I got them home and after I cleaned them up (lots of dust from sitting in the shop), I connected a pair to an older JVC 30 watt Mini system (my bedroom system) which has always produced a solid, clean and robust sound from the included JVC cheapo speakers. Well once connected to the JVC, I popped in a Dianna Krall reference CD and the result was nothing short of a major league improvement over the JVC speakers. I mean it was the stuff that Wow is made from!
As these B&W's were used, they were already nicely run-in and the sound quality was smooth, warm and very detailed. After listening to several of my favorite CD's including some Chris Botti, Doc Severinsen, Dianna Krall and Nora Jones, I realized that I struck gold in that pawn shop. These are fantastic little speakers!. (Just remember these are bookshelf speakers -- not a floor-standers).
I intend to hook the other pair up to my vintage Yamaha DSP A1 with a subwoofer, for some serious 2 channel stereo listening.
If you ever have an opportunity to score a pair of these speakers for under $100.000, do it! You really can't go wrong.
I picked up a pair of these on ebay, just for fun, getting them for $145 including shipping. I had heard a pair sound good in a store many years ago. The pair I bought was supposed to be new in box, and they may have been, since the speakers seem to be improving as they 'break in.' Either that or the speakers are breaking me in.
When I first fired them up at lowish volume in my small bedroom, using a Rotel RX855 receiver, I thought they had some raspyness and roughness, slightly washed out vocals, some inaccurate timbres, no deep bass and some upper bass boom. I also noticed that when I cranked the volume a little they started to come alive. I don't know if they have been breaking in or what but I find myself really enjoying these speakers. Give them a little gas and they really surprise you with a wide and deep soundstage, excellent separation of instruments, a nice sense of shimmer on cymbals, quick, clean attack on bass. They really give you both the big picture and the micro picture. They're still a little lacking in refinement compared to my JR 149s, but so is almost everythng else. But they are very lively and sweet, a vivid, detailed sound with no irritating distortions save for a little boom in the upper bass and lack of extension in the low bass. I wish I could put them on heavy stands a few feet from the wall, which would eliminate the upper bass hump, but I don't have the space right now.
These speakers illustrate a couple important principles. First, cheap speakers can be pretty good when the manufacturer knows what they're doing and is going after major market share. Indeed, cheap speakers can even be better than the same manufacturer's more expensive models (shhhh...), if the designers put most of their effort into the cheap models. I used to own B&W CDM2s which are three times the price. On the whole the CDM2s are better, but these strike me as a more ingenious design and maybe even more fun to listen to.
Second point: B&W really knows what they're doing. When they put their mind to it they can do anything. These speakers are a good argument for sticking to the best brands. They're so good in some ways that I wonder if B&W's bigger and more expensive speakers are even as good in these respects. I only wish there was a deluxe version of these because I don't want to change their basic character, but I wouldn't mind a little more bass extension and a little more refinement here and there. But if you are looking for a good but inexpensive speaker on the used market, these are a safe buy. If you don't like them they should be easy to resell - another advantage of a positive brand name.
These are very accurate and very enjoyable speakers. I'm using them for nearfield monitoring. I can hear everything. That's not always a good thing. Here it is. Imaging is solid and midrange is very balanced. I can listen to these for hours without fatigue.
I've used these as a center channel speaker and was happy. I have not used them in a stereo setup in a larger space.
Bass response for small speakers is always an issue. First off, what bass these guys have is very musical and even. The bass response is very responsive to placement. Move them to where they sound good to you.