Surround Sound Speaker Systems

B&W VM6 Floor-standing Speakers, M-1 Surround Speakers and PV1 Subwoofer

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup

Well packaged (yes, I have a thing about good design extending even to the packaging of consumer products) with helpful "open this side labels" on each box. The sub was double boxed and well padded enough to survive a drop from the UPS man that had my wife wondering if the garage door had somehow slammed shut on its own.

Wiring the VM6 and M-1 speakers up was an "interesting" experience. For the VM6 the speaker wires terminate on the stand or wall mount itself and will accommodate only bare wire connections (up to about 12awg) and are secured by – you guessed it – a small screw with an Allen key head. The mount friction fits with the aid of a rubber sleeve into one of two slots on the back of the speaker itself depending on your desire for vertical or horizontal orientation.

The VM6 kits also include a set of plastic 5-way speakers wire terminators that you could use to terminate your connection of choice and then run another set of wire through the mounting mechanism. Shown below includes the mount, a 16ga pigtail provided by B&W, the 5 way connector and the female end of the connection to the speakers. To keep things relatively consistent I discarded the pigtails and re-terminated with my usual test wires after removing the banana plugs.

The M1 also requires bare wire termination to the speaker stand or wall mount and this time 16awg seems to be about the largest the mounting terminals will accommodate.

Interestingly while the positive wire connects from the base terminal up the mounting stem via a physical wire within the stem (red in the picture below), the negative wire is grounded via the stem itself and then a second wire runs from the top of the stem to a Molex style clip connector in side the speaker (black).

The speaker wire connection process overall was more awkward than expected for a design focused speaker – the inclusion of the 5 way binding posts as an accessory to the VM6 and M-1 ends up feeling like a bit of a compromise. Hiding the speaker wires is well and good but in this case a design that has placed a premium on looks vs. convenience and ease of use.

For the PV1 setup was fairly easy. Plug in power, plug in RCA cable and adjust. However, the depth of the recessed connection panel underneath the PV1 is only 1.75" which meant that the length of the RCA jack in my case had the cable bent at a sharp 90 angle. On a hard floor I would need a shorter strain relief (or none) on my RCA connector.