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?

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
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.