B&W 800 D or 801 D?

Which one should I choose for the big room of nearly 50 sq.m? I was almost ready to go for Vanderteen when I heard the 802D (no 800 or 801 at my local dealers) and was incredibly suprised by the lack of any harshness or brightness (which audiophiles usualy scare each other with when it comes to B&W). The speakers sounded crystal clear and neutral and equally impressive on any kind of music. The dynamics were superb even driven by 100 Wt Classe amp. My idea is to use McIntosh 501 monoblocks in my big room anyway. The 801 looks incredible with it's 15 inch woofer and the price is better but I'm told it needs way too much power and can be slow on fast music. Is it even more power hungry than 800? Anyway, it's discontinued alltogether and vanished in the next Diamond series to hit the stores this year. Must be some reason for that or is it just economy and B&W don't need 2 closely-priced top of the line models?So basically - should I choose between current 800D and 801D or wait for the new 800 Diamond which could hit my bank account even harder.
I wanted to buy the 801d's, just because I love the big arse speaker and love bass. After researching the 801d to death (not may customers have the 801d and post about them), not hearing the 801d and auditioning the 800d's, I bought the Wilson Sophia 2's.

The Sophia 2's at that time were 6-7K cheaper and sounded better. I did not choose based on value or price. If the 800d's sounded better I would have went with them.

But my sidetracked point is this, I was upgrading the B&W 803d's (used with MC501 amps) and those speakers were power hungry, no doubt about that.

Just going by the looks of those 801d's, I would not pair them up with the MC501's, but would get more amp like the latest McIntosh kilowatt monoblock amps.

The 803d's I upgraded from really needed juice before they came alive and I had to wait for my neighbor (shared 1 common wall) to leave before fully enjoying the music. Then I would play a dance where I would crank it as far as the amp would go without it clipping (light turns on from PowerGuard).

With the Wilsons, even though the speaker specifications says indicate they are less efficient than pretty much any speaker in the the B&W line, I use less amp to drive them and never (not yet anyway) dance with the PowerGuard light. The Sophias are rated 4 ohm (just noting that).

The other thing I want to share with you is a suggestion, listen to the Wilson line if you haven't already (Sophia2, Sasha), especially when plunking down as much money as your talking. I would litterally take a plane trip to a store that has them on demo if you can't listen locally (or long drive, fun weekend, whatever) to hear the wilsons before spening 800d kind of cash.
How do you know the 801D is to be discontinued in the next generation of the 800 series?
Budt, the new series is allready announced and the 801 is not there.
I was considering the 802d until I auditioned the Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation - the Parsifals simply took my breath away. They were so much more musically engaging than the 802d, which in turn seemed more cold and clinical - accurate and as opposed to musical. The Parsifals aslo have more defined bass detail than the 802d, and a wonderfully liquid midrange. I must say that I was surprised given the reputation of the 802d.

The VA Sarastro II is closer to the 801d, and though I have not heard them, they are supposed to be phenomenal and well suited to a larger space. They are also more efficient than the 800 series B&W.

Add Verity Audio to your week-end audition list!


The local dealer here says the 801d didn't sell well at all. This is why they stopped carrying them. Perhaps that reason is also why its not in the lineup for '10.