B&W 801 s 3 or????

I am currently running B&W 801series3 /Lexicon MC8 Pre pro /Krell FPB 400 cx Amp/ McCormack UDP 1 front end. I like the way things are sounding right now. But I would like more effeciency from the speakers. At 87 db the 801's seem to lack prescence when listening to "large group" recordings. ie: Symphony Orchestra or Concert Band/ Wind Ensemble. The 801's sound spectauclar when listening to well recorded "studio" recordings.

My Question: Is there another FULL range speaker which posses the same type of sound characteristics, (Great bass, neutral mids and highs and very non fatigueing on the ears,) as the 801's, but is more efficient? I would probably get a good used speaker b/c the break in thing drives me crazy. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.
I guess your talking about the Matrix 801 series 3's? I had a white pair for 3-4 years, which almost drove me insane! Now I spent well over 10 years as the B&W posterchild, so I always thought it was something else in the cable trail other than the speakers? Afterall 90% of all classical music is recorded with them. Abby Road, & George Lucas at the Skywalker THX ranch, so it must be me? Tweaking with different crossovers, stands, cables, scraping the entire system a few times to build around the speakers. They weren't bad speakers, yet I am totally suprized that the new LSC Sacd's where mastered with 3 series 2's! I doubt that I would even enjoy Hi-Rez on them today? All I can say is I went with Talon Khorus's and never looked back at Bowers, & Wilkins! I did run a pair of N802's prior to totally shunning the B&W family! We still get together for a yearly picnic to see what's new ;0)~

I like your comment "I like the way things are sounding right now"! The Krell must be the magic, I never tried? The funny part about this hobby is can you truely find ever-lasting happiness? I'm overly satisfied with my system today also, however tomorrow is another day! And IMHO Numismatist if starting to have a better ring to my ear than Audiophile? But then whom am I kidding this hobby is like a drug Soundlab! It was a nice Pipedream, for a moment......

Enjoy The Music!
I've had B&W M802 S3's for about 6 years. They too drove me crazy for a long time. I finally learned that they like lots of power; but it sounds like you might have that with your Krell amp(?). How good is your pre-amp, & front end (I don't know those components you listed)? That could be one place to look. Most speakers that I know of that would be good for orchestral music at full volume would also need lots of power (like Theil 3.6's). "Maybe"--& this is just a guess, different power amp(s) would do it. Seems a shame to give up on 801's.........
once upon a time l.lipnick of stereophile concluded that in so far as the b&w 801's, the limitations are set by what electronics you feed them. the ab.sound raved over the 802's. there are better speakers out there, but 20-20, unlimited dynamic range, one of the best midranges ever made, all for $5k? in your dreams...
As an 801 S2 owner for about 6 months now, I am having a hard time replacing mine. Ive been all over the map in 24 years from Planers, E-stats, boxes big and small. But the 801's do many things well and are not too offensive to my ears. Ive slowly built my system the last few months around the speakers for sure. Going to a Plinius SA250 amp the biggest difference from the SA100. Upgraded pre amps to LS25 and Bi-wired the woofs with Analysis Plus Oval 9's.Ridge Street Poiema!'s on top. Sand filled and spiked stands are a must. Ive even used a small amount of Dacron Fiberfill lined in the port. All with notable improvements along the way. They are sounding the best Ive' heard them and better than any dealer show room when I first heard them back in 1991. Yet, There is a self effacing quality and the I feel I have attained the best I can reasonably expect in my room with my equipment thus far with them. Now, they do sound very good, but the limitations of the 801's become more apparent as you show them better quality front end equip. I think the limitations of the design are fairly well documented over the years. Easy to listen to, but lacking in state of the art resolution and low level detail. A cross over that is far and away nowhere near what is out there some 13 years later in quality parts, and a port that needs a better box design and cross over points to work so that the bass doesn't "bloom" to excess. Attack could be better and they are not the most dynamic and require tons of current to get going, but dont have the breaks to stop cleanly. Yet, I do like them ! Lovely mids and smooth highs in the TS26 tweeter. The Nautilus Tweet is cleaner and detailed, but the Matrix TS26 non fatiguing and smooth .I had a fellow member over this evening who thought they were smooth also and had excellent imaging and a great big soundstage( a lot to do with assoc. equip and cables to be sure) and a room big enough to support the B&W's. We both agreed though it's time to move on, and so I will be looking this week to replace them. Ill say this...It's hard to get a speaker that does so much right if properly driven and set up in room for what you pay for them used. For about 1.5-1.9K someone is going to get a pretty good speaker!
Oldpet- In my case I am looking at the Usher line. The price/performance seems very good. A buddy has heard the 8871's are were excellent although not fully broken in when he heard them, his feeling was they sounded much better than their price(which is not cheap) and competed with speakers costing alot more. I am thinking of trying the 6381's as I think they'd be better suited for my moderate size 19x23 room. Ill let you know if I get them and what I think._Ken
Thanks for some of the ideas.
Audiobugged...Where did you hear your Talons?
Steveaudio...I'm not giving up yet, but I don't think the amp is the problem. The 400cx has plenty of juice.
French_fries....Huh?...Are you saying the upstream electronics are bad?
Any one know how the Tyler Acoustics line up compares?
Kehut, sounds like you've been pondering this for a while. Thanks for the info. I've never heard of the Usher line of speakers. I'd love to know what you think of them.
Yes, I actually came across my pair of 801's as they were my Dads. It was quite unexpected actually. They replaced a pair of VonSchweikert VR2's which were good sounding after breaking in..but just too forward for my tastes and not quite dynamic enough as I felt they compressed the highs more than I liked when pushed. So, Iv'e made the most of the 801's since Iv'e aquired them. Usher Audio has quite a line up of some interesting speakers and they were very well regarded at the CES show this year. Everyone I spoke with who has them just loves them. Ill keep you updated.
Boy, I hear you. We could be looking all different stuff 6 mos from now. the way things change! I hope not..but Im sure there is something Ill want to try down the road! Cheers!
If you're looking for presence get a tubed preamp. I'm serious, you'll frankly be astonished at the difference, music seems to really project from the speakers when using one.
I agree with Jond in trying a tube pre-amp--I'm using a Cary SLP-98 with my M802's--love it. However, I forgot to mention that I first heard M801's about 8-10 years ago at a dealer, using all Krell electronics (I don't remember the exact Krell gear, but the most expensive stuff they made at the time). Awesome system!

One thing no one has asked is: How much are you willing to spend on new (used) speakers?
re- upstream electronics, i heard a pair of m-801-s-3's w/s.anchors driven by pass aleph 1.2 amps, pass aleph p, levinson #39 cdp, maughan box filter, & straightwire cables.
the "hashy" tweeter sound was gone, & very little digititis if any. in other words, they sounded superb. and this is w/o north creek crossovers. if anything can bang out the firebird suite (for anywhere near the money), the 801's are it.
I owned 802 Series 3 B&W's for years and I am very familiar with the 801's. At 400 Watts with your Krell, I think you are just barely powered up for the 801's. You might look for a used Krell FPB 600. Your room could have problems as well leaving you with mid-range suck-out and that too laid back I'm not here sound you refer to. Speaker cables could be a problem as well. B&W loves AudioQuest. Just some ideas to be frustrated with.
well ive owned both the 801#2 801 #3 With krell ksa 250 and Ksa 300s. The ksa 300s and #3 were best.
I now own Von Schweikert's that are more effecinet and more natural. also go lower then the 801 not perfect though.
Its time for you to get out of solid state hash and go tubes. I just purchsed a pair of MDA300's and sold them after I listened to them twice after living with good tube amps. Borrow a tube amp.
Any suggestions on tube preamps, to use with a big SS (fpb400cx) amp?

Steveaudio - trying to keep it under 5K.


I would suggest a Supratek Chenin, formerly called the Syrah. There is a thread on this site called "Preamp Deal of the Century" that will tell you all about it. I just picked up the Syrah and I now feel I'm set in the preamp department for a long time. Best of all it costs $2900 new and you can sometimes find them on here used, I picked mine up for $2500. Good luck hunting, it's a very fun process!
In my experience I own mostly Krell amps with two systems. One with MBL 111 speakers that with the Krell FPB amps is an incredible sound unequaled by any system Ive ever heard at any price to be honest and a home theater set-up centered around B&W 802/3 speakers and again krell amps. I have to say here in California the power is my biggest problem with the Krells from the wall socket it's about 125 to 129 volts TO HIGH, the Krells become magical at about 118 volts, more voltage they will sound dry and analytical. I use several PS 1200s w/220 input 118V output to drive the mono Krell FPB350s and 450s and the sound is amazing I know they are regulated but it is a dramtic differance. NO hash, incredible dynamics, silent background and resolution that has to be heard to be beleaved. Once you get this far then tune the room not the amps to meet your needs. Just my thoughts. Rob
OK, one of the FPB750MCX amps has failed and was drawing in excess of 15 amps from the wall at idle so I boxed them up for repair. I sold all my extra amps so now for this system the only extra amp I have lying around was a S300i. I set the little amp up in theater pass through mode for the mean time, and set up the 801N's again, it dosn't sound too bad when you bypass the preamp, the preamp is the real weakness of the S300i. Well ok, listened to a little led Zeppelin then some Michael Jackson from the this is it blue ray, turned my trusty Krell preamp up to about 50%, after about 4-5 minutes the amp went into thermal overload which it stated nicely on the display. Once it cooled off it shut itself off I turned it back on and it played fine. I could see from the P-1200 it's hooked to it was drawing a lot of power for a little amp. Can't wait to get my babies back.

On another note I spoke with Dan Daugustino a fare amount when he was here at the show in SF recently, he said the Krell amps should be running at 220 volts and they will sound a lot better. Come to find out they are all designed originally for that voltage, the MRA amps were designed to only run at 220. So looks like I have to save some pennies and do some more work on the house here...

Have fun guys,