Well, the short answer is that I am very impressed with the 801s. When I first hooked them up in place of the Khorns for the few minutes I thought these speakers are going back. They were so different from the Klips it took me a while to get used to them. At first they seemed slow, almost lethargic compared to the Klips but after listening back and forth to the speakers I started warming up to them. The Khorns have this live, open airy, dynamic sound that I love and am used to hearing. They are also a good match for my MC275 tube MAC which really is not the best choice for the B&Ws. However, going back and forth between the speakers really showed me their differences.
The Khorns--- Very live sounding, open, airy with a tendency toward harshness at times. They make some studio recordings sound almost live. There is an excitement and clarity. You almost tense up sometimes because it feels live and you expect a passage to possibly get louder. They also sound exceptionally good at low volume and on acoustic music. Negatives are the tinge of harshness or rattiness of the very upper end which makes this speaker a bit fatiguing to listen to for longer periods. In my experience, this speaker still rates at the top of my list.
The B&Ws--- They seem like a true studio monitor as has been mentioned. They don't color the sound like the Klips do. They are smooth and not fatiguing to listen to. That is a great plus. Great low end and a B3 organ sounds incredible through them. Drums are really lifelike. Like ZEN, I thought the very upper end seemed not quite as good as the rest of the tonal spectrum. Voices sound really good. The MC275 just doesn't have enough horsepower for these speakers. With the right amp and preamp my guess is that these speakers are really going to get where I want to go.
I recently acquired a Parasound Halo A31 (250 watts per channel) for a system in a bedroom and hadn't heard it yet. The difference between this amp and the MAC with the B&Ws was really huge. Of course, the Parasound added a bunch of really good tight bass slam as you would expect but the little MAC was no slouch in the bass department either. What really surprised me was playing Patti Griffin in a very laid back acoustic track was how much more definition and clarity the MAC had over the Parasound through the B&Ws. The Parasound was also a little muddy. It is a $3k amp and really not up to what I would want to run through these speakers. I was surprised comparing these amps through the 801s. You could go out and have a cup of coffee and come back and you would have no trouble telling which amp was playing. They sounded that different from each other. The Parasound did sound good enough through my KEF LS50s which is what I bought it for.
ZEN, what is a MBL? I will take your advice and acquire some stands but why does getting these speakers in the air help so much?. Also, I gave $1500 for them. How'd I do?
CT0517, I set them up as you said but I didn't run the lows with the Parasound and the higher end with the Mac yet. I forgot about trying it until I reread your post tonight. What is bi-wire? I suspect it is the same as bi-amp? I am familiar with biamping. Remember , I am a musician not an audiophile. :-)
I am ready for some amp/preamp suggestions. What am I going to have to spend to do these speakers justice? I think I would probably prefer a used amp so I can get more bang for the buck. Would the $5000 range for each piece get me where I need to go? There are a pair of Krell 350mcx mono blocks down where i bought these speakers. They would be the only higher end amps I would have access to in my area.
Frogman, i have never heard a CJ but I have wanted to. They are on my short list.
I need to reread the posts on upgrading the crossovers. That is something i would think would make an appreciable difference on these old speakers. i want to get the most out of them i can.
So, what do you guys think?