Here you go! B&W : 800D vs 801D
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Here is another thread with Review of 801D
After reading all comments I would recommend to listen first and then make a decision. For me, as someone else already pointed out, the design of 801D doesn't make sense. But since I didnt audition them I cant judge.
I always thought the value speaker in the line up was the 803.Now the new D is $3K more but goes as low as the original 802N.That and the inclusion of two high end subs like maybe the Velodyne DD18's (though many would find one would do the trick.The 804N's sound was to closed in and no stage depth stage the old price diferrence of $1500 was well worth it.Now if they put that fine twetter on the 805N than and subs would be a great combo especially for HT for those on a budget constraint.Still the extra 7" drfiver in the new 803D makes it still the value speaker in the line and if you don't hear enopugh difference than th 803S at $5500 is still the value speaker in the line.But in the used market the 802N's would be worth the difference.This is for those of us who can't imagine even DRIVING something that costs as much as the 800.Wish I could and choose the best Meridian CD and maybe the new EAR turntable.My whole rig including a decent turntable wouldn't add up to the 800 price.
Budt, I don't know how new you are to audio but from your profile you've just begun posting.
That being said, if you are considering either of these speakers it might not be a bad idea to audition other brands. You are talking serious money here and there are other manufacturers' models that you might enjoy more at a lower cost.
IMO both the 800D and 801D are power hungy under achievers.
I think if you are going to spend this kind of coin you should compare both models in your own listening room. If a dealer won't let you do that find another one. IMO a good dealer should arrange this for you as we're not talking about pocket change. Both speakers really need a large room to perform at their best (especially the 801d). At the risk of offending some people statements about the 801d design not making sense is rubbish. B&W is a very well respected company in the development of loudspeaker technology and as such there is a reason why the woofer is 15" in the 801d system. When they are set up in a proper room with an appropriate system they are fantastic! Most of us are not speaker designers and there is no concrete rule that a woofer must be a certain size in relation to the midrange. Trust your ears over any preconceptions about design. Good luck!
you probably have your speakers by now but any way here stays my experience with both speakers;
I audictioned both speakers in my listning room and chose the 801's, the top end and medle range was exactly the same on both, but the bass ohhh man the bass, is much more deep on the 801's then in the 800's, and another thing that can be noticed is that you can abuse of the bass on the 801's and the same is not true to the 800's.
Try a techno track with deel and powerfull bass on the 800's and you'll see what I am talking about.
One other thing is true, these babyes are powe ungry, and I dont mean Watts I mean Amps :-). I use to power them with classe CA-M400's and I only saw what I was wasting after I tryed the Krell 700cx or the Accustic Arts Amp III
If you can find it, read Martin Collom's review of the original 801s in the Sep 98 (?) edition of Hifi News magazine. He covers the design process that B&W followed to upgrade the design from the old Matrix 801 mk3s to the N801s. One of the key factors was power-handling and lack of distortion in the bass driver at high levels. I've heard the original 801s when they were launched at the hifi show in London. They were set up very well with Chord amps and Wadia cd player in a big room and I've never heard such superlative sound! I would love to hear the 800s some day.
Someone called the N80x range 'power hungry' - yes they are. But, so what? So are ATC's monitors and a bunch of other designs. What's important are what they sound like, obviously. The N801s and N800s were designed to go loud whilst still sounding clean, uncoloured and undistorted - this they do. IMO that sets them apart from a lot of other speakers.