From the comments I have read, I would take the 802D's over the N800's, without hesitation.
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There is no comparison. The N800's are tremendous in all aspects. The 802D's are in essence N802's with a mod diamond tweeter which in fact is harsher and not as natural sounding.
The Nautilus 800 was the flagship of B&W. The new series with the diamond tweeter is partly to have something different sounding and newer model = pick up sales.
The 802D is like a 2006 Porsche Boxter. The N800 is the Real Porsche like a 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo.
Hey, 802D is an excellent speaker, but lacks bass and midbass definition.
The N800 , with the right setup smokes the 802D.
There is a reason why the $16K-$20K N800 /Signature 800 exact speaker except for a more exotic cabinet finish. The N802 retailed for $8K and now bumped to $12K.
B&W wants more business at that price point. And now the 800D goes over $24K.
Now a N800 vs 800D is more of a closer comparison. And it's a matter of taste. In essence if you want more natural highs go for the N800. If you want a sharper intrical high go for the 800D.
Don't compare N800 verse 802D; very different leagues and price points.
Anyone that thinks the signature 800 is the same as the nautilus 800 with a fancy finish doesn't know about B&W. That's simply not true. First, listen to them, you will notice they don't sound the same. Second, B&W will tell you, the tweeter is different, the woofers are different, there is more bracing in the cabinet, and the crossover is different. Other than that, they are pretty much the same.
Further more, the difference between the N802 and the 802D are extensive. They went from a high order cross over to a first order crossover. That in itself is a huge difference, without even mentioning the diamond tweeter.
I usually avoid these subjective discussions but after reading Mrchips statements about B&W speakers I feel somewhat compelled. The new diamond tweeter technology is a real marvel. The tweeters are absolutely not harsh, rather they are very articulate, accurate and, my favorite descriptor, quietly delicate. Essentially, the only thing that the 802N has in commom with the 802D is exterior appearance. Otherwise they are totally different. The 802D's crossover has been simplified achieving, IMHO, breathtaking results. As far as the bass, I totally disagree with Mrchips. I use a Bryston 14bsst ss amp along with a tube preamp to push the 802D's and achieve a bass that I can literally feel in the middle of my chest. The bass is not only deep and palpable, but startlingly defined...never boomy. The bass, coupled with the new midrange crossover and the new tweeter produces a gorgeous result with no real sound relation to the 802N. For the record, are there better speakers than the 802D's? Of course there are! But when we begin comparing speakers to different models of Porshe's all objectivity is thrown out the window.
First of all I currently own both the N800 and Signature 800, they are the same exact speaker other than cabinetry.
I have one pair at my Jersey shore house and the other at my main estate.
*Here is the little passage quoted from Stereophile's June 2002 review of the Signature 800.
"Under the skin, the Signature 800 and its plain vanilla (!) Nautilus version ($16,000/pair) are identical, so the foregoing descriptionand, indeed, all the following comments about performanceshould apply equally to the less expensive, non-Signature version".
And here is the link:
Now believe what you want I really could give too sh__ what you think. Hey it's your opinion. I speak the facts.
The N800 was the only speaker in the (Nautilus line) to have exact same specs as a Signature series in this case Signature 800. The N801, N802,... were different than the Signature series. The N800 was released much later out of the Nautilus series. My Nautilus 800 was made in 2004 and while rest of the Nautilus line was discontinued. The Signature 800 and N800 are the only two identical ; other than cabinetry.
The N801, N802... are Not in the same class as an N800.
How many N800's do you see for sale. The rare time I've seen one N800 it sold for $9500 first day it was advertised.
The 802D is a fine speaker but not in the league of a N800.
Diamond series other than a "Different" tweeter did do some mod with the X-over to give a faster response. But again it's a matter of taste when you are listening to a 800D verse N800 /and or Signature 800.
I personally would not buy a 802D over a N800. It's a step down if you do so. And again N800 vs 800D is a fair comparison. A matter of taste between these exceptional speakers.
Say no more.
MrChips, a couple things..1) I had never heard before that the N800 and the Signature 800 are the same, except the finish, contrary to the other Signature Series vs. Nautilus, please forgive me if this is the case. 2) I find your recent comments much easier to receive than your first. You had stated, "The 802D's are in essence N802's with a mod diamond tweeter which in fact is harsher and not as natural sounding." This could not be farther from the truth, the changes from the N802 to the 802D are very extensive and I certainly don't agree with your assessment of the tweeters, but as you say, to each their own.
Thanks for the responses. It's interesting that when people talk about the new Diamond series for the 802D's, most are in awe with the tweeter's performance. Having owned the original 802N's, I didn't think the tweeter was lacking imaging or detail and was happy with the performance. The bass, I thought was the major issue with these speakers. I first heard the 802D's at a dealer in Philipsburg. He had them hooked up to Krell equipment. Within the first few seconds of the demo, right away I could tell the new B&WD's was fuller but I also noted right away at how much better the bass was. I am wondering (considering my cheif complaint is bass with B&W) what has better/fuller bass the 802D's or the 800N's? I suspect the 800's because they have 2 10" woofers as opposed to 2 8" but I also know it depends on crossovers. And Finally to answer Mr.Chips question, it is true the 800's are rare on Audiogon but I have seen them posted for $8900obo. There is also a dealer in Boston that has one for under $10K. As for the 802D, I belive there is one posted now on this site for under 9K. Thanks!!!!
I played with the 802N for over 6 years. I heard the 802D, and I really liked the sound of it in the middle and high's. But I noticed that it gives the same hum in the low freq as the 802N did. This was the reason why I wanted something else. I bought the 800's in Januari this year. You cannot compare it with the 802N. There is no hum in the low freq. The high's are a lot better than the 802N with the tweeter that goed to 50.000 hz. The middle freq are more open. And the low en midd bass is awesome. With the right equipment it can go a step further than the 802D can. But you need a very powerfull amp and a source of a high level. When you have a room smaller than 40mm2 and not a poweramp at least of 300 watts per channel I would buy the 802D, but when you have the room and the right equipment I would go for the 800
The 800 has so much more authority in the whole freq. spectrum. I never expected the difference between the 802N and 800 would be that big. The 10 inch units gives you the advantage of a much better midd bass and control in the low freq. I also found the sound of the low freq. of the 802D sounded a little like a subwoofer. But it is so much better than the 802N. The 802N lacked control. And yes the 800 looks so much nicer than the 802D does. When I see the old photo's at my laptop of the 802N, the difference is getting bigger every time.
I have not heard the 802d but I cannot understand where all these glowing reviews are coming from for the 800N. They honk and bark like a wounded goose and have acheived better bass from monitors. Check other threads on the 800's, its always about wheres the bass and what amps to use. I tried Mcintosh, levinson, MBL and both previous owner and myself couldnt get this speaker to go anywhere close to full range. Wonder if the 10 cone that has an 80% mass of a dustcap has anything to do with it, these speakers did nothing for me. JMO, calling it as I hear it.
All I can say is ... I heard the 800's and I started a savings account. The smaller B&W series just didnt fit my style so I had given up on B&W to go with something else. Then I heard the 800's. It was all I could do to not sell my truck ... It might take a couple of years BUT I have no doubts - that speaker is in a league of its own. I have NOT heard the 802D series BUT I have read the reviews and details on B&W's site. I'm going with what I know ... I could go on and on but for me the bottom line; for 10-12 grand it has the exact sound I'm looking for.
PS - The combo that sounded so good:
Levinson Power (334)
Levinson Pre (380)
Sony SACD (777 ES)
Audioquest "mid-range" cables
I have seen the B&W/Mac combo praised many times so I think it would make sweet sounds as well.
When I bought the 802N I had the change to buy for a very small price the 335 ML poweramp of the distributer. I just had the Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 300 power. But the Nu-Vista was much more musical, had more depth information ans also more resolution. The new Levinson is better than the older Levinson. But I never heard the involvement I like. I changed the transformers of the Nu-Vista with E-tansfomers. The sound is really improved, and the control in the bass is awesome.
My system: Nautilus 800N, Meridian 800 DAX v4 ( latest model), modified NU-Vista 300, Nordost Valhalla Bi-amp cable, Acapella cinch with WBT nextgen, 2 Valhalla powercabels and Valhalla between PSU and Power of the Nu-vista, Newest Purist Audio Aqueous powercable, KE Powersource ( conditioner )
Result; a very musical system which plays extremely three-demensional and has a lot of power in the low freq. and a resolution to die for.
ITS NOT THE SAME
Another advance is the redesign of the crossover network, made possible by moving it into the S800's large cast aluminum base. While the other Nautilus speakers use film as well as film-bypassed electrolytic capacitors, and air-cored as well as iron-dust-cored inductors, the S800 uses film capacitors and air-core coils exclusively, even for the low-frequency bass filter. As someone who has spent time designing and tweaking crossovers, I can vouch for this seeming extravagance as a major contributor to excellent performance. In addition, S800's heavy base electrically isolates the crossover from the drivers, acts as a heatsink for the crossover, and, in concert with the downward-firing bass port, serves to precisely load the low-frequency enclosure.
Read more at http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/600/index.html#jfsJGmfWWCZ7HAIF.99
If you like the 802s.....
Listen to Golden Ear, Triangle and Thiels.
Also check out the new Sony speakers, They will be along, but not exactly, like what you seem to like.
You may also like to listen to modern Monitor Audio, which are definitely going to be more mellow in the treble, but I suggest it to get out of your comfort zone a little.