802d for a 10x13 room, 8ft ceiling - am I nuts?


After years of patience and savings, I an afford some decent speakers. I have auditioned many (Revel, Sonus Faber Cremona, Dynaudio, B&W, Dali) and have discovered I love the B&W sound.

I am considering either the 803d, 803s or 802d. I love the way the 802d looks, but am concerned that my room is way too small for them. It is 10ft wide, 13ft long and the ceiling is 8ft tall. One side of it has a 4ftwide opening into a much larger room. It is carpeted and has many nooks and crannies, mostly filled with records and books.

I have an MC252 amp that I will be using to power the speakers and I like my bass. My preamp is an old Bozak CMA10-2DL mixer (all discrete circuitry) from the 70's and I play mostly vinyl - lots of esoteric electronic music at loud volume :)

Is the room too small for the 802d's? Should I consider the smaller 803s or 803d even though I love the look of the 802d's?

Just took delivery of B&W 802D's this morning, and am in
heaven!! Just stunning sound & looks! I also love the
B&W sound as I have a pair of 804N,(Now for sale)and
the chance to get a new pair of 802D's came up and I jumped.

Mine are in a 20x20x12 room, and have no problems. I think
they would work in your room no problem, as I have a buddy
who has put even bigger speakers in a smaller room than
yours with excellent results.
If all else, maybe the 803 would be a safer choice??
What about the new series? Aren't they worth checking out?
Visually the 802d are too much for your room...sonically you want the sound but not the footprint. Why not go for the 805 with DB1 or better yet two DB1s.

Then focus on a better preamp.
Hi Lapierre,

Thanks for your suggestion, but I am shooting strictly for 2 channel stereo...as for the preamp, I LOVE the sound I get from the Bozak mixer...it is dead quiet and sounds better than any preamp I have ever had.
Thanks for the info, Telescope_trade...makes me feel better about the possibility hearing it worked ok for your buddy.
Hi Shipervarg,

As Lapierre pointed out, they are a pretty massive
speaker, and may or may not make somewhat of an "Over" statement
in your room. Hard to call! You want to make sure before
dropping that much $$, unless you can buy from a local
dealer, and can exchange them if they are to big.

Let us know what you decide.
Yes they are way to big sound wise. The down firing ports really needs some room to breath. I would demo the 803d. Much of the same sound and a lot less money. Better speakers in the wrong room does not = better sound than "lesser" speakers in the right room.

If you must have the 802D better buy good bass traps right out the gate.
My room is roughly the same size as yours. It is 0.5'
shorter and 0.5' wider. I agree with James63.

In small rooms 40 cps is the lower limit. Any thing below that will over-power the room. Bass will likely be boomy at some frequencies.

I would not be too concerned about the width - provided
that the first reflection points are treated - sides and ceiling.

The limiting diminsion in your room is the 13' measurement. The rear 1.5' is not useable; the bass back there clobbers the sound. Dependign upon the speaker design, up to 9' may be required between the speaker and the listening position for the sound to integrate. If the speakers need to be out from the wall behind - and some need 3 or 4 feet - we are out of space.

The most important component of any audio system is the room. The smaller the room the more pronounced the impact of the room becomes and the more important acoustic treatments become and the more problematic the speaker
selection becomes.

Shoot me an email with your phone number if you have any questions.

I would try it first and not worry bout the Naysayers.
if you do find your bass is up too much at the room resonance you can always insert a high pass between the amp that will roll you back to where its enough or where you want.
Cheers Johnnyr
Skip which Dali models did you audition?

Good luck with your decision.
B&W just introduced for 2010 is an 804D that has the diamond tweeter, more refined mid-range, and it looks like it would be a better speaker for the space you have. The diamond tweeter is a big improvement over the normal metal dome. I have heard that this speaker is a giant killer. A friend who I has given me great audio advice over the years just bought a pair and he was floored by their performance. I wish I could go listen to them but because I live 1200 miles away and it will be awhile before I get hear his new speakers. I have heard 802Ds sound good in small rooms but I think a smaller speaker with similar technologies would better suit your system.
I believe one of the major problems with large speakers in small rooms is not so much the volume of the room but the fact that you can't get the speakers away from the wall.

I am very familiar with the 802D and have heard it many times in different sized rooms. I have also owned the 703s in the past and looked to upgrading to the 802D a few years ago.

I found that in large rooms where the speakers were 5 or more feet from all the wall they sounded very good and filled the room with nice balanced bass.

But I heard them in a room about the size of mine (12X20ish) and things changed. I tried three set ups in the 12X20 room.... I have a very good dealer... The first set up was pretty typical with the speakers about 3 feet off the back wall and 2 feet of the side walls. The sound was ok with this setup but bass had a few lumps and sound stage was average. Then we move the speakers to a semi near-field set up. We put the speakers in the middle of the room (10 feet off the front wall) and made an equilateral triangle about 8 feet. I sat about two feet off the back wall. WOW did they sound good, clean bass and the largest sound stage I have ever heard.

Next in the same room we moved the speakers back into the front corners of the front wall and the uneven bass was back and the sound stage compressed. The bass honked and farted at hight volumes with the speakers in the corners.

I bought these in college when I had no money.... yeah you need to eat a lot of ramen noodles in college to afford audio... Anyway the speakers were in a 15X17 foot room (rotel gear). They sounded pretty good at the time but the bass was always lacking and it needed more punch IMO. About two years later I moved into my new wife's house. We were in the process of finishing the basement so I need to put my gear somewhere... They went in a 12X10 foot room. Oh man did the sound change. They had WAY too much bass and it was one note with no texture. Luckily this set up did not last long...

I have now moved on to other brands of speakers. But my point is the room matters. But you can work around it some times. But I think with the 802D you are setting yourself up for a lot more work than going for the 803D. Try calling B&W direct and see what they say. You may be supprized how helpful the manufactures can be.
After a full day of tweaking the 802's, I will also
have to agree with James63 on distance from
walls. I am starting to pull out further into the room
and the bass is smoothing out and getting tighter.
I'm at 3' now (front of speaker to back wall)and may
end up at 3.5-5'. I wonder how far forward
I can come out. I am at sitting about 9-10' back and the speakers
are about 8.5-9' apart.

802D in that small a room is crazy! I wouldn't even consider it. I get bass boom with small monitors (B&W cm1) and small sub in a 13.5x14x8 ft room. I must dial back the sub to get a nice even musical flow.

I would strongly consider, at the most, the 804D's suggested earlier or the 805D's.

10 x 13?

....that's a closet....


My room dimensions are similar to yours (10x12). I'm
currently running a pair of B&W Sig 805's and they
provided enough of a challenge to sort out. I really
think you'll be much happier with either the new 804D
or even the 805D with a sub.

Good luck
I have a 10.5' x 18' with Revel F52's. It took a lot of work. But I have the best sound I have ever had before. It took 6 panels and a home made Bass trap. An investment of about $400 made the room listenable. So if those are the speakers you want, you can make them work.
My room is 10x15x8 and I had a pair of Von Schwiekert VR4MK2 speakers in there and they sounded great. The catch to using large speakers in a small room is room treatment. Bass traps are your friend.
>My room is 10x15x8 and I had a pair of Von Schwiekert VR4MK2 speakers in there and they sounded great.<

Ok, to all you people who have shoehorned large speakers into tiny rooms, please give us a break! Thank you...

You might think they sound "great", but trust me, you are only getting about 50% of what the designer intended his speaker to do. So don't fool yourself, you certainly aren't fooling us......

I agree about not getting all I can out of my speakers in my small room, but I cant reproduce with monitors and sub, what I'm getting from my revel F52's. I tried. The monititos/sub gave ame a little better midrange, but no where near the soundstage, impact or cohesivness of my medium size speakers..

I have one advantage, I do have a opening into another room behind me seating position. Speakers are on the short wall about 53" out and 27" from the side wall and I sit 8 feet away with the a 10 foot opening behind me...
Monitor and subs are so overrated. I have not heard a setup where the sub blends in seamlessly with the monitor.

I would go with a speaker that can stand alone without a sub. I think the 804's are perfect for a room that size.
If you like large sound stage and accurate imaging, consider a pair of good monitors in a room that size, or a different model floorstander with drivers physically located closer together at listening level.

I had B&W P6s and large Magnepans in my room that size and moved to monitors or more monitor like floor standers. By monitor like, I mean the drivers are physically located closer together at listening level to simulate a point source. That kind of configuration produces the best imaging and SS results in a small room, I have found.
You're nuts. What's plan B if you follow your dream and buy the 802's and it sounds as bad as I and most respondents think? Do you knock out walls or move? Maybe it is best to start out with plan C, that is to match the speaker to the room and your musical tastes, not to the speaker you are absolutely in love with. You will be far and away happier with the result. I would go with the 805's and a small sub that will offer some flexibility in placement.
Get speakers that fit the room as recommended up front and get teh best possible sound and save money on speakers and perhaps room treatments as well rather than attempt to reel things back in after the fact appropriately by trying (probably unsuccessfully) to adapt the room back to fit the speakers.
i would just get 804 or 803. why fuss with it?
Oh man I just realized they got rid of the two bass driver 803s... That was a good speaker for the money and the sweat spot in the B&W line.

What is the list price on the new 804Diamond?
if you cannot add bass traps, add a Rives PARC

if you are not willing to buy a PARC, dont bother w/ the 802.

my WP6s overloaded my room (15*11*8) until i trapped it. now, it sounds magnificent. specs +/- 5db to 35hz. do the work, and they will work. drop & play will give you results to match.
802d in that room will be a complete disaster and a nightmare. If you like the b&w sound, 805d is the only one that MIGHT work. Even these are too much speaker for that room size. Honestly, 10 x 13 is too small for serious audio, unfortunatly.
I had Gallo 3.1 in that size and they were very good...
Get either 804D or 805D. Both will work wonderfully with your room. Forget about the 802D - not a chance of sounding right in your room - I feel you would be wasting money on the 802Ds. I have a small room as well , bigger than yours, but not by much. Goatwuss, is so wrong it is laughable. 10x 13 is not too small for serious audio. It has limitations no doubt but amazing sound is easily obtainable with proper matching of speakers to room and treatments. For me, Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors with a pair of REL B2s and ASC tube traps/ panels in a small room sounds superb - of course a lot of experimentation with speaker placement is mandatory in any room. Good luck to you, I auditioned the 805D and 804D yesterday. They are both very very good speakers.