Has anyone had experience with the B&W 800 MATRIX Speakers and what is your opinion on them . I will be buying a very nice used pair and mostly listen to classic rock. With that being said i will be in the market for a new or used solid state amp and pre amp. Possibly Krell KSA 250. Any thoughts would be welcome . 
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Treble can be pretty harsh with too bright an amp. The best I ever heard them was with Pass Labs; ss power with a smooth top end. Cheers,
Holy Moly. How in the world did you find them ?
Their (B&W) last full out assault speaker from a time when two channel music was what mattered.

You have many options open to you as far as what goes in front. Take your time.
I would start by telling us
1) dimensions of the room,
2) where they will be placed***
3) sitting position from the speakers and db levels

They are very, very room friendly with the high and low subs (sorry i mean woofers - :^)),   cancelling out waves and leaving pure notes.
To understand this run them both ways - with the top woofer box connected and not.

To really understand just how room friendly, see this pic that I posted some time ago on the web. I did not know it was still out there !

Lewis Lipnick and his 800's.


I would not follow the Stereophile recommendations for their build. Follow the B&W manual instructions meaning....

Assemble/build them flat on a carpeted floor. Once ready have your friend (wife?) yeah right... help you lift them up.
Their heavy bases allow for this to happen quite easily.
They are easily moved around by angling them on their bases and shifting them left and right. - without the spiking.

Anyone want to take a guess at what they would cost B&W to build today - in England ?
6 separate isolated speaker sections. Stuffed with silver wiring,
WBF connectors and 4 crossovers per speaker easily accessible from the rear of each box.
Can be quad wired and/or quad amp'ed.

To see how I run mine click on the picture next to my Audiogon moniker.
Do keep us updated .

Krell is definitely not bright . Krell should negate "brightness" if heard from BW . I do not hear B&W as bright myself .
I found them on ebay a few days ago for $7000 and are in mint condition. My room size in 30 ft x 18 ft. And the speakers have to be about 6 ft. apart because of my sloped ceiling . Hard wood floors also. I saw your pics and the wiring looks so complicated i might need a professional .lol.. Also I am reading alot of good things from the Krell ksa 250 .Could that amp run these speakers ? Do i need mono blocks? I do want to go with a solid sate amp and pre amp as i do not want to deal with tubes.  What do u think ? I will be taking my time though i do not want to rush into anything . The main thing was to acquire these speakers. 
Also the speakers will be back a few inches from wall and we will be sitting at the far end of the room approx 25 ft away . 
I bought them but have to pick them up this week . Good thing they are only about 15 miles away from me in NJ . So i do not have to get them shipped. 
Also the owner said to get a moving company and have them moved in one piece instead of taking them apart. 
The main thing was to acquire these speakers.

You got that right. You may have just bought your last speaker.
They only come available by divorce or the owner moving to retirement/small condo and being forced to sell.
I wish you were close. lol. I would come over and give you a hand.

Also the owner said to get a moving company and have them moved in one piece instead of taking them apart.

Does the owner no longer own the 6 factory wood crates ?
They are 240 lbs. This is not happening - moving them in one piece. The speakers are about 77 inches high. A regular door is about 75. Not sure what kind of door entrances you would be dealing with but any angling down would be putting stress on the steel plates/bolts that join the cabinets together. Plus two guys carrying all that weight in a tall awkward shape ? I can not imagine shipping them in one piece.

So you will have a sloped ceiling sort of like this ?


and u want to set them up like this when you say close to the wall ?


This being mostly audiophiles here - saying they will be a few inches from the (front?) wall is not really a good thing. But you can get away with it with these 800 matrix due to the front ports and the double woofers. Still recognize that the depth and other aspects of the music image will suffer. Then again I am just a crazy audio fool and like to "see" a 8-10 foot depth by habit because in listening to bands - this is what the stage resembled.

Krell is a very good choice to start and easy to resell later. just make sure the amp checks out with a tech. As you may know Dan D’Agostino when with Krell used at one time Matrix 800 as his personal reference speakers.
He was also responsible for having the KRELL BAF developed.


some more pics



serious matrix 800 porn

Hi . Yes my walls are sloped just like that . I have the whole upstairs to make into my listening room. Also this is the second owner of these. I will be the third. I asked him if he had the jumper cables and the owners manual and spikes . He said he has a copy of the owners manual and jumper cables but does not have the spikes which i am alittle disapointed. , maybe i can search on line .He was the one that suggested that a moving company move them whole for me, as he said disassemble and reassembling them is possible though. Those were his words. He also said in his texts that " If im not mistaken factory setting mono wire, bi wire, and tri wire. I have never seen anybody do tri wire. As mentioned in the ad ,these speakers are ready for mono and bi wire. For bi wire i will show you how to do it tomorrow. You dont need a special amp, like mono blocks . Matrix 800 is a very efficient speakers . Very easy to push. He said he just came back from the speakers and its gonna be sad to depart . You will be very happy. these are in great shape. I think these are probably in better condition than any other 800s. His exact words. I am so glad i joined this site and met you. You really know alot about these and equipment to go with these. I too wish u lived closer to me ..Im in NJ. I will be seeing them for the first time tomorrow and giving him a deposit until i can get them moved. I saw them on ebay a few days ago with 24 people watching them. I emailed him and said i would buy them and for him to take them right off ebay. I guess he also did that because im on about 15/20 min away from him. I really would like to talk to you on the phone sometime and discuss these babys and some equip. And take some pics of my new listening room and see what u think and give me your ideas. I have to get ready for work now as i work nights in NYC. Cant wait to see tand hear them tomorrow!!!!!!! By the way his asking price is 7700.00 or b/o what do u think and suggest . I was thinking about 7. Ttu soon..Mike 

You can contact me in the morning before you go there to see them.

bcpguy (@) bell (dot) net

Cheers Chris
Will do Chris. Thanks. I will be seeing and hearing them tomorrow bet 3/4 pm. 
The 800s are 93 db efficient and drop only to 3 ohms minimum. They’re made partner with big iron, but I’m getting amazing results from driving them with a 38 watt push-pull tube amp. Point is, you can succeed with a very wide range of amps here.
Hi Mike
was thinking about this so I made some quick notes with my morning coffee. What to look for - bring flashlight. I realize this will be really hard but leave emotions at home.

Before you actually listen to them.
Note general condition of the wood veneer. Any marks/scratches. The sharp edges can be bumped when moving. Look for damage. Serial numbers match.
Make sure speaker grills are in good shape no tears and not missing any plugs.
Move woofers in and out by hand. Ensure they all move freely all the way in and out. No scratchiness is heard. If you hear or feel any rubbing the woofer's voice coil has been damaged mostly likely from a clipping amp. The voice coils are not very efficient and generate heat quickly. Their protective film may have melted or be deformed. This would not prevent buying them, but the costs need to be factored in. Pulling each woofer and having a pro speaker repair shop, replace the spider and voice coil will cost about $250 for each woofer. But everything is open, accessible and easily fixed. Just so you know.
Here is a pic of a good and burned voice coil.


fun video


Make sure the tweeters cones are not dented. Note the condition of the bolts for all drivers. Have they been removed before.  
On the back ensure serial numbers match. Look very carefully at the plates joining the sections. Are all hex bolts the same and are they all tight. Not stripped. Any missing?
Look at the WBT speaker wire connectors. Do they all tighten and loosen feely.
As far as pricing goes due to the speakers rarity, it usually comes down to the owner needs them moved as he is moving out of there, or there is a situation. Very much like if somebody needs a piano sold and gone. When you go there you will get a better feel for this.
Any price negotiating would based on Condition of the above items plus.  
They lose points if the 6 wood crates are missing. $500 value to me.
They lose points if the feet are missing. This also means the owner was listening without the speakers properly grounded. The bass was not as focused. There are many good replacement feet out there.
These are good.


Note the pricing for the feet - use to negotiate as the speakers are missing their feet.

The speaker drivers - 4  crossovers each (2 midrange combined) are all separate and isolated physically. This means you can run 4 direct wires from your amp/s to each one.  This also means when testing them out you can play just that tweeter, both midranges and/or woofers separately. If the factory jumper cables are missing even though I would not use them myself, you could negotiate some more.

Mint condition to me means all the above checks out.

If I was selling these and there was someone interested that could come and pick them up and me not have to pack them up. This would be worth quite a bit to me and I would come down some in price. Time is money, and my back means a lot to me too.    If you like email me any pics you may have from the original ebay ad.

Hi cymbop - are you still babysitting those 800m's ?  :^)
Hello I also have the B@W Matrix 800 speakers. I drive them with a Mark Levinson 335 amp and use Transparent cables for the feed into them. Use the original jumpers with the exception of the mid to the tweeter i use a Transparent jumper. They sound great feel the room with great sound.
Enjoy Pete  

Yeah, Ct!  Still enjoying them on a nightly basis, and feeling thankful every time!

I had B&W Matrix 801s3 speakers and the older Pass Aleph amplifiers (SE Class-A) really made them sound particularly incredible- any hashiness from the tweeters disappeared.  If you can afford any of the newer Pass XA amps i would think they would sound somewhat similar.  I did get to hear the Matrix-800's and i was VERY impressed by them, although they should optimally be quad-wired- woofer-mids-tweeter-woofer.
    Not to get off the subject but WHY does B&W not want to update this design using more modern drivers and materials beats me, as so many manufacturers today are offering top models with a similar configuration (Wilson, Evolution Acoustics, Kharma, Rockport, etc,).  
Plus a good modular design is easier for the lower back to set up- Just build it up like a series of "Lego" blocks...
Been liaising with Mike (OP) in possibly acquiring the 800 matrix..

A question for owners. This specific pair have a serial number range in the 500’s and have something I have not seen before. The Midrange and Tweeter crossovers are joined; there is only one speaker connection for both the midrange and tweeter drivers on the back.

Do any other 800 matrix owners have this kind of connection ?

Did they come from B&W like this in later runs ?


French Fries
Not to get off the subject but WHY does B&W not want to update this design using more modern drivers and materials beats me, as so many manufacturers today are offering top models with a similar configuration (Wilson, Evolution Acoustics, Kharma, Rockport, etc,).

FF - I do have an opinion on this - will post later.
This specific pair have a serial number range in the 500’s and have something I have not seen before. The Midrange and Tweeter crossovers are joined; there is only one speaker connection for both the midrange and tweeter drivers on the back.

Do any other 800 matrix owners have this kind of connection ?

As an update
It was confirmed through B&W that this is a private owner modification after purchase. All 800 matrix have separate binding posts for the tweeter and midrange drivers.

Found this on a Portuguese website. How cool is this picture ?  


Matrix 800 in Abbey Road (801 Matrix can be seen behind cubicle wall) 

Description of this picture from the Website.

The Matrix 800 parecia ter sido desenhado por Picasso, depois da noite boêmia , e foram that tão feio sua imagem aparentemente foi banido da história da marca


The Matrix 800 Appeared to have been designed by Picasso, after the bohemian night , and were so ugly his image was apparently banned from the history of the brand.

8^0  - hah hah

@ French Fries

I said earlier (FF - I do have an opinion of this - will post later) 

My opinion is that during this John Bowers era it was more about F over F -

Function over Form.

Great pic, ct!
My opinion is that during this John Bowers era it was more about F over F -

Function over Form.
hmmmm.....more often than not form follows function. I bet that these Matrix 800 speakers are shaped this way for best performance per John Bowers' team


yes Function over Form - meaning function takes priority over form.
Said another way - Making it work, before Making it look good. The Points for example are used for strength. To me, they give the speaker a kind of split personality. Almost a Beauty and the Beast kind of thing ... I mean for an inanimate object. :^) Let me explain.

From the front and bearded (grills on) not as obtrusive, especially with the thinner midrange/tweeter cabinet. A sort of feminine silhouette kind of thing. But from any angle that shows the Points Side - Zombie Monsters on Steroids.

Personal experiences have been, about 1/2, 50% of people seem to dig their looks. Women prefer them bearded (grills on)

Stark contrast in the music delivery - clean shaven versus bearded :^)

Something else that is in stark contrast with today’s speakers is branding. Someone entering a room with these would have no clue who made them unless they went around to the back and had a good look. There is no logo on the front. As someone who has spent his career doing the delivery side of consulting, and working with XXX companies, this "lack of branding, logo" in front stands out like a sore thumb. But then so do these speakers in any room. They don't need a logo.

I have used this B&W 800 Matrix during 1 year. My model included external crossover made by Krell.I have used for bass Krell KSA 250 and for mid/treble Mark Levinson ML#333. The Pre Amp was tube. I sold this speaker because I moved to my current home and was top big for my new listerning room.
My previous listerning room was very big, 12m x 10m and the roof was around 10ms of high. Like a a small theater.  I enjoyed a lot for digital sourcing. These speaker has tremendous soundstage and sound pressure.  Still I remember Mahler #2!  Congratulations!

Still I remember Mahler #2 !

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection" (Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado)


For those that click on the link; brace yourself for the 48.45 time mark.........else risk possibly spilling your lemonade.  
thanx for the heads-up ct0517 :-) was lulled into a sleep & then -B-A-M-M-M- !!@&%$!*!*!!