I agree with your decision to upgrade. Getting rid of B&W speakers is always a good thing. But you have to have at least some idea where you need to go. Can you give more info as to what type of sound you like?
18 responses Add your response
Agree with the others that it's hard to make good recommendations without knowing what you'd like to improve, but I don't blame you for having the itch. IME B&Ws are good sounding speakers, but when compared directly with some other good brands they sound kinda flat and lifeless -- just my opinion and my ears. Also, if I owned B&Ws I just wouldn't power them with tubes (unless you can afford high-powered tube amps), not that they can't sound good with tubes but I've found they appreciate and wake up more with some good solid state power driving them. Again, just my experience.
Two makes I've heard that sounded much better to me and that are more tube friendly are Joseph Audio and Silverline. Their imaging and soundstaging are far superior to what I've heard out of any B&Ws, and if those aspects of sound are important to you they could be well worth checking out. I've read one of the strengths of your amp is its soundstaging ability, so there may be more to be had there. If you're looking to stay with monitors there's a nice pair of JA RM7XLs for sale here, and if you're open to floorstanders there's a pair of Silverline Sonatinas (latest model, albeit one speaker has some scratches) that are both in your price range. Personally I'd take either of those in a heartbeat over the 805Ds, but again that's me.
Hope this helps, and best of luck in getting rid of the bug.
I replaced my 803 with 802Diamond and added another MC275V. My system now make me dance and smile, never find myself sleeping again. With efficiency rating of 88dB on your speaker, you need to get another MC275 to drive them. The more power the better. Your speaker alternatives - look for speaker with efficiency rating of 94dB or higher.
I owned the B&W 802N and later the 800S. When I listend to the 800D I knew I would not buy it.
When you want to go further in the world of highend a deep and wide stage is a very important part what sets it to a new dimension.
B&W weakest point compared to competitors are their crossovers. Their stage is a lot less wide and deep. A deep and wide stage makes music so much more involving and instruments and voices become more apparent.
In 2007 I started to sell 3 dimensional sound. These days I only sell 3 dimensional sound. I use shops with 2 dimensional sound to let my clients hear how big the difference is. And it is huge!!
I compared the 805D with the Monitor Audio PL-100 a few years ago. The Platinum speakers give a much wider and deeper stage. Also there is more dacay and instruments and voices are more physical touchable.
I've auditioned Sonus Faber in a shop that used a MC275 for the power plant and it sounded REAL NICE. I auditioned the Cremona Auditor, but think the SF Olympica I would be a nice step up from the 805Ds.
FWIW I just sold my 805Ds, which had been in a Linn System. I upgraded from the B&Ws to Harbeths. I then sold the 805Ds because the Ayre Ax-7e in my media room second system didn't provide enough power. Essentially, decided to keep the Ayre & sell the 805Ds. I'm currently running the Ayre with some profoundly inexpensive Pioneer SP-BS41LRs as I plan my next move.
I don't recommend Harbeths with your Mcintosh MC275, but the Sonus Fabers might be a good way to go.
I've never heard the 805D (only the 805 and 805 Sig), but I can tell you you're under-powering them, so not surprised you're itching to do something else. My Proacs would probably pair great with your McIntosh, but I think the 805D needs lots more power.
@Zd542, congrats, you win idiot statement of the week.
I drive my 804S with a 275, a Lamm LL2, and a heavily optimized computer front end, plus two Rythmik subwoofers. I'm pretty happy with the setup, especially after I implemented an active crossover to avoid the 275 and 804S from going down deep.
Even though I'm happy, I sometimes think about upgrading speakers. Some I would look at would be Reference 3a Grand Veenas, Daedalus Audio Athena (might be too large for your room). And I would be intrigued by the Emminent Technology LFT-8b that was recently discussed on an Absolute Sound mailing/issue.
Let us know what you end up doing and how it works for you.
I agree with James633 for the Vivid v1.5 I have them...have had many dynamic and planar speakers....combine best of both with natural, unboxy, detailed but coherent sound...best speakers I have had...have had them for 3 years ...I would only upgrade in Vivid line if I had a larger space...also the v1.5s are so good you really can play them up and pair with very high end electronics, sources, cables....
About two years ago my main speakers were a pair of B&W CM5's, the third pair of B&W's in a row (I have a Velodyne sub woofer as well). I had the hots to upgrade, listened to the PM1 (which was a step up from the CM5's), but had my heart set on the 805D's...until I was invited to an event opening my eyes to the Totem Element Fire monitors.
I returned to the showroom, stack of CDs in hand on a slow day and spent nearly three hours doing some careful comparisons and ended up ordering a set of Totem Element Fire's.
The Fire's are in a 13.5' x 22' living room, close to the back wall, driven by a 200wpc McIntosh solid state amp (and they sound fantastic). I don't listen to music at ear-splitting levels, but when I'm listening to them loud, the needles on the McIntosh hover around 2 watts. I suspect your MC275 would drive them beautifully!