BD Designs Horn Speakers

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,315
692
113
UK
#1
Dear All,

As some of you might have seen from other recent threads, I recently acquired a pair of Bert’s incredible BD Swing MKIIs.

I had followed the Swings from many years back in their very first iteration using the Oris horn up top coupled with a full ranger (modded Lowther in those days). The MKII evolved by eschewing the Oris / full ranger for the Orphean and compression driver up top. The bass in both iterations was supplied by an actively driven, front loaded, high sensitivity 15” woofer (or 2 in early version in isobaric config).

The system works by taking a high level amplifier input and supplying that signal to the active bass amp whilst in parallel driving the upper horn passively. This topology resonated with me as the upper horn is enormously sensitive at 118dB (moddded BMS coaxial compression driver in I believe a tractrix flare) and can be driven extremely loud with milliwatts never mind a watt. Bert reminded me last night in email exchanges that I would generate 115dB using 0.5 watts. Therefore 112dB at 250 milliwatts and so forth.

Anyway back to the story. The Swing had largely fallen off my radar until I met the General and began my education on horns. General had owned the first version of the Swing and found them to be exceptional - I sensed a real soft spot that he had for these. So I kept a look out for them since they are no longer produced. Bert has newer horns in his range including the Orelio - all custom designs.

By chance a pair came up for sale recently in the UK from a private seller and of course I jumped on them on day 1.

They were delivered earlier this week. The cabinets are a work of art - see YouTube for an introduction to the complex internal cabinet design all CNC’d with an enormous number of parts. My understanding is that the cabinet function was to maximise rigidity / minimise cabinet colouration. The name Swing was selected as it has this mad flexibility to adjust the angle of the upper horn in relation to the lower on on its axis. You can go from vertical all the way through to 45 degrees. The advantage of this is tailoring the sound to the room. I think many folks have the upper horn swung to the exterior but I like the focus using the opposite way around. The horns weigh in over 100kg so take a bit of shifting about. Cleverly there are 2 weighted cylinders that insert into the bottom of the cabinet for stability - these can be removed for transport.

Obviously early days and I will know more about the Swings sonics over the coming weeks but as a first stab:

>> They sound like the fastest and most dynamic stat you will have heard with incredible drive.

>> They are very revealing of any change in the system and / or recording.

>> They produce very realistic timbral fidelity and manage to avoid cupped colouration.

>> They produce a very focussed central image and good depth.

>> If you turn them up loud they can scare you a bit lol.

EB48F1F0-2CC1-40E3-8788-1970D1C1ADC4.jpeg
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,315
692
113
UK
#3
Bert talked to me last night over email about a modification that can be done to the Swing MKII to incorporate a revised crossover to the coaxial compression driver AND mini DSP only on the bass.
 
Likes: christoph

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,459
860
113
E. England
#4
Bill, am I having a nightmare, or did you just type the letters "DSP"?
Tell me it ain't so.
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,315
692
113
UK
#5
Bill, am I having a nightmare, or did you just type the letters "DSP"?
Tell me it ain't so.
Lol. Marc - if one wishes to apply DSP, I can see that making sense if (and only if) it is adjusting bass response to enable better room interaction AND the rest of the signal is native. That said, I am not sure whether I would find a need for it tbh.
 

DaveC

Industry Expert
Nov 16, 2014
2,519
373
83
#6
Nice! I was thinking you'd have AER drivers in there but the BMS coax CDs are really excellent as well. I believe JBL was "inspired" by them to make the coax CDs for the M2s. Enjoy! :)
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,315
692
113
UK
#7
Nice! I was thinking you'd have AER drivers in there but the BMS coax CDs are really excellent as well. I believe JBL was "inspired" by them to make the coax CDs for the M2s. Enjoy! :)
Thanks Dave. I believe it would be possible to take out the Orphean (comes as one “module” with the modded BMS compression coaxial bolted to it) and replace with an Oris 250 + 8” of your choice. I would dearly love to hear the Oris 250 + AER BD5 in the Swing as that would be mental - alas my wallet says no for now lol.
 

shakti

Active Member
May 9, 2015
475
231
43
Cologne, Germany
#8
I had the AER BD3 in the Oris Horn , even that was great :)
 

manisandher

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
146
105
43
www.the2ndtier.com
#9
Haha... the actual pair of Swing MkIIs the General had were mine beforehand:

BD Design Swing MkII.jpg

I liked them a lot. I then 'upgraded' to Bert's Orelo MkIIs:

BD-Design Orelo pic1.jpg

Great speakers, though I think the Swings actually suited my listening room better aesthetically and acoustically.

Edit: small world!

Mani.
 
Last edited:

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,399
1,352
113
London
#10

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,315
692
113
UK
#11
Haha... the actual pair of Swing MkIIs the General had were mine beforehand:

View attachment 48261

I liked them a lot. I then 'upgraded' to Bert's Orelo MkIIs:

View attachment 48262

Great speakers, though I think the Swings actually suited my listening room better aesthetically and acoustically.

Edit: small world!

Mani.
Mani - are you UK based? I didn’t realise.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,399
1,352
113
London
#13

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,315
692
113
UK
#14
That's where I heard the Tune Audio Anima with the first watt clone I liked very much last year
Oh I wondered that. I remember Mani saying he much preferred his Anima to his BD, which surprised me as I didn’t get on so well with the Anima but then that was show conditions.

Do you have a link to the gainclone amp?
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,399
1,352
113
London
#16
Oh I wondered that. I remember Mani saying he much preferred his Anima to his BD, which surprised me as I didn’t get on so well with the Anima but then that was show conditions.

Do you have a link to the gainclone amp?
I heard these before at Bert's when I wanted to hear the swings. These are voiced on 30w SS gainclone amps, and imo lack decay and midbass thump (and oomph) but have big planar like soundstage. I am not surprised Mani says he preferred his swings acoustically as well, another guy in EU owns the swings and he mentioned the wings were voiced with valves and had much more bass thump. I would have loved to hear the below with low watt sets and analog. He is very flexible though, these are active, can be made passive, for external amps, etc


BD Horns.jpg
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,399
1,352
113
London
#17
I think most people who had the swings apart from G would not have tried it with very low watt 1w amps like you are trying, so they will come to different conclusions
 

manisandher

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
146
105
43
www.the2ndtier.com
#18
Yep, in Leamington Spa Bill.

My preference for the Animas over both the Swings and Orelos is mainly down to how well they seem to suit and work with my room. I had a couple of guys over last week - one owns my previous pair of Orelos (which I bough new from Bert) and the other a pair of slightly smaller Orelinos (which he also bought directly from Bert). Both agree that the Animas are very special speakers. But the speaker/room interaction still seems to be the most important factor at play.

I've tried the Animas with a pair of very nice gainclone monos that Bert made up for me, and they sound pretty good. But the Animas really start to sing driven by my First Watt F5-cloned monos - a truly superb pair of amps.

Mani.
 

manisandher

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
146
105
43
www.the2ndtier.com
#19
That's where I heard the Tune Audio Anima with the first watt clone I liked very much last year
A couple of major changes since then - the sound has improved quite a bit. Of course, you're welcome to re-visit whenever... but my TTs will still remain in the little 'studio' in my cellar ;).
 
Likes: bonzo75

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,315
692
113
UK
#20
Damn, you don't even need an amplifier, just a good preamp.
You known I actually thought that same thing this morning. My Mayer 10Y preamp might be be enough to power them. I will need to ask Thomas whether he thinks could be viable. Basically I would create some cables that are rca at one end and spades the other lol.
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing