B&W 800D or 802D Cosmetic Issues


Hello folks,

I am seeking feedback from 800D or 802D owners only. I have recently order a pair of 800D2 from my dealer. The pair arrived 2 weeks later and delivered to my home. Upon close inspection, I notice finish imperfections on one of the speaker's Marlan head and tweeter tube. There are several deep scratches embedded in the finish that are visible in day light or with the flash light. If you stand couple of feet away, you cannot spot these imperfections. The other speaker is perfect with no sign of scratches...the finish is smooth and inky glossy black.

The dealer sent over the field inspector to address the issue. The inspector notice the imperfections and gave the following explanation -

"800D are hand made, no two speaker will have the same finish and you may find these minor imperfections on another pair as well". He went on to say, that I am being 'picky' and no one really inspect these speakers with a flash light.

I feel bit disappointed with the craftsmanship and still in disbelief that these speaker passed the Q.C. test at B&W facility and no one noticed these imperfections.

I do realize that over time piano black finish tend to generate surface scratches....sort of nature of the beast. I can understand the disparity in wood grain finishes but these Marlan heads and tweeter are being painted and applied several coates of lacquer, shouldnt they be identical and spotless?

I wonder if anyone out there experienced these issues with the finish. For what I have seen at dealer showroom and another pair at local shop, a brand new pair shouldn't have these cosmetic issues. After all you're buying a flagship pair at a 24K price point.
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If only 1 of the new speakers are blemished, swap the good one from the 2nd pair to the orig that was scratched. That way, you can just be done with the whole thing. Just swap the actual housing and keep the original drivers with the speakers they came with. That's exactly what your dealer/B&W are going to do anyway. They'll either pull the part out and fix, or replace it.

I forgot to mention this in my earlier posts. Its common practice to classify audio equipment as refurbished. They usually do this on returned or damaged items. I'm willing to bet that your dealer bought refurbished speakers for a lower price and just sold them to you as new. Its the only thing that makes sense. I'm not a big B&W fan myself, but the fit and finish on their products is usually immaculate. At first, I thought the damage was from shipping or setup. After reading some of the others comments, it looks like whatever happened to it was done at the factory. And if that's the case, there's no way B&W would let a speaker like that leave the factory. They go over those things with a fine tooth comb.

I have no idea if B&W would lie and side with the dealer, or take the complaint seriously, but you should at least contact them and ask to check the serial numbers. Refurb items are labeled as such, and that info would be linked to the SN's. Hopefully, they would give you an honest answer.
Zd542....unfortunately, both pairs have cosmetic issues not just one speaker. Let's see what happens, dealer is trying to swap out the parts with blemishes.

What do you think about the new series? I have not warmed up to the looks quite yet. I did not care for bass cones sticking out of the cabinet, like alien eyes..LOL!! Marlan head is bit sleeker and the new tweeter tube is shorter in length. The only striking part for me is the aluminium back panel that now house crossover and binding posts. I think most people would love the fact that the newer series (803 and above) will have a smaller foot print.

Funny, I just had this happen to me on a pair of speakers costing $29,000. When I received them I noticed a few scratches when going over them with a flashlight at night to remove dust. I noticed a few imperfections and started asking questions. The dealer stated they were NOS and when I received them they were in fact sealed as if they were new, staples and all.

I contacted the importer, not the manufacturer and they ended up finding out they were sold as demo pair because they were used in shows as displays.

I contacted the dealer and they said there was a mistake and they were told they were NOS and had no idea. Well, if they did or didn't they did end up making is right by sending the new model at $34,000 a pair.

After receiving the new pair it was a world of difference in the paint finish. I can tell you there was no swirl marks or any scratches. Happy days.
I feel for you Lalitk, how frustrating. Getting speakers like that should be so enjoyable, quite a momentous occasion, as material acquisitions go. Getting one bad pair is frustrating enough, but two bad pairs? You are a very patient man.

I wonder if Zd542 isn't onto something, about the possibility of them being demos. I've also purchased multiple pairs of B&W speakers new, and I've never seen so much as a fingerprint on them. Quality control has always been beyond reproach, in my own personal experience. Two blemished pairs of 800-level speakers in a row seems too odd to be random coincidence.
Unfortunately, stuff like that happens all the time. The best thing to do is work with a good dealer.