I did. Trouble was that the speakers were almost new. Nautilus speakers need to 'run in'. I heard deeper, fuller base on the 803s. Anyway I figured that you get what you pay for with B&W so I ante'd up for the 803s. I would have gone for the 802s - they're way better sounding than the 803s but more difficult to live with (the 'better half' said she'd end up speaking to them if she wasn't paying attention). By the way I've got the 803's hooked up via bi-wire cables to Pass Labs X5 power amp and that to the Bryston SP-1 Pre-amp/processor using balanced connections. I use the 'pass through' feature on the pre and so don't use the sub on two channel material and don't miss it with the 803s. I might have with the 804s.
Hope this helps.
I have owned the 803's and I listened to both the 803 and 804 extensively before making my decision. The 803 is not only fuller in the bass, it presents a better midrange as well. The 804 seemed brighter because of the comparative fullness that the 803 has in the midrange. The 803's are worth the extra $1500 or so depending on your dealer.
My sugestion to you is to listen to the ProAc 2.5 before committing to either B&W. A much easier speaker to listen to long term.
I respectfully disagree with the prior posts. I auditioned the 804s and 803s side by side. The N803 bass response was marginally better but certainly not worth an extra $1,500. Face it - the 803 has two 7" woofers while the 804 has two 6.5" woofers. So, you're talking an extra 1" of woofer for $1,500 bucks. Not worth it from a money OR sound perspective. I found the mids and highs to be virtually identical.
The 804s benefit from a good amp (over 200 wpc) and silver ICs. Mine have incredible bass response (amp is a 225 wpc Musical Fidelity A300cr) and amazing mids/top end due to the use of silver ICs (Musical Fidelity Nu-Vistas).
I have owned both speakers for over a year before I moved on to a pair of WATT/puppy 5.1's. The 803's offer a significant improvement over the 804's in terms of bass response, depth, and soundstage. My listening room is fairly large -- 18'x22' -- and warrants the bigger sound of the 803's. Aside from cost, the only reason to consider the 804's is if they are being placed in a relatively small listening area where a small footprint is desired. Nonetheless, it was the 803's, NOT the 804's, that ultimately drew me back to the excitement of high-end audio.
Rlb61, one of the main differences between the N804 and N803 is not only driver size but speaker cabinet volume and that plays a significant role in their sonic differences. The N804s can sound great in smaller rooms but can get lost in larger spaces. A very important determining factor between the two speakers is what size room they are going to be placed in. I am partly biased because I opted to go for the N803 because I felt they offered a $1500 improvement in terms of scale and realism over the N804, which I still feel are fantastic speakers.
I agree with R1b61, but it's important to point out that there is more of a difference between the two than just drivers. The 803 has quite a bit larger cabinet. So in all fairness to B&W the woofer change is not the only reason for an increase in price.
Your point is well-taken. My room is a typical condo livingroom/dining room deal 22x17x8 which, IMHO, is a big room. The 804s, with proper amplification, fill up the room and sound great. Don't get me wrong, the 803s are a fine speaker, I just didn't think there was a whole lot of value for the dollar or that much of a difference in sound quality. Had I not gone for the 804s, I would've gone foro the 802s ($$$ permitting) because I think they represent a significant upgrade.
There is nothing to add to the comparison between the current N803 vs. the N804. My question is since we are at audiogon, and have access to classifieds, and other resources. Does either of these speakers sound better than a used Matrix 801, or 802 which have been broken in by someone who invested heavily in a speaker, and usually took care of that investment. IMHO B&W has priced the speakers at a point where loyal listeners are forced to search for alternate answers. Thus bringing other manufacturers into play and questions like I have asked previously. I love the N803, and N804. But the prices have doused my loyalty, and enthusiasm.
My cousin has a pair of Matrix 801s with the North Creek cross-overs. The imaging is great, but I find the bass to be bloated and the highs to be sharp and grainy. The mids are great. I much prefer the sound of the N804s and 803s to the Matrix series.
Just bought a pair of 803 moving from 804, 803 is not breaking in yet so I cannot comment from what I heard so far is the base is deeper also sound is warmer only had the speaker for little over a week. Any suggestion on what is the best way to break-in these speaker and how long does it take to make it sing. Thanks, I heard it is take longer to break in the 803 and 804.
Goone, I can't answer your question, but reply back again once they are broke in and give further thoughts.
My N803s took a couple of months of regular playing to finally open up. The bass will go deeper with better definiton, the highs will be smoother and the soundstage depth will also increase. One way to speed up the process (and not disturb the housemates) is to put the speakers face to face, as close together without touching, and wire ONE speaker out of phase (red to black and vice versa on amp OR speaker side). If you let the radio play in mono you will barely hear any sound but the speakers will still be getting quite a workout.
Once I heard the 803's I couldn't listen to the 804's. Since I couldn't afford the 803's I bought Audio Physic Tempos and am very happy. I think they are far superior to B&w.