B&W Nautilus 800.....where's the bass?

Is it a well known fact that these speakers lack bass? I just bought them used...two years old....and am very dissappointed in the low end. My CDM 9 NT rears have more bass than these. No kidding. Is this a known problem with this speaker, or could there be something wrong? Since the 9's and the 800's are playing at the same time on the same system I do not think there is any need to list the equipment, but I will just in case it matters.
Sunfire Theatre Grand 2 processor ( all speakers are set to large)
Denon 3910 CDP
Adcom 300 by 7 ( 800's are bi amped with four of the channels.....phase is correct)
speaker wire is 14 guage in a very thick outside jacket
Thanks for your help.
This is the reason that 800, 801,802, etc. are not used in true reference systems. In addition these speakers are all dry, lean, and without musicality. I for one, cannot understand the fascination and following of B&W; there is so much more performance available at every price point it's amazing to me that people buy these speakers.
You need to lose the Adcom. B&W like watts AND current.
Try a Levinson 336 or 432, Classe 401, Krell FPB600.

The new "D" series B&W are better, however what you have is no where near as bad as others have said here. You just need real power.


Paul :-)
Judy426, B&W is not used in any true reference system? Apparently Skywalker Sound doesn't count as reference since they have (5) 801's around the room. Most classical recording studios have used B&W for their reference for many, many years. Those must not count either.

Dry, lean, and without musicality is simply your opinion, and your front end. I've owned many B&W speakers, as well, as many other brands, and simply do not find that the case. Quite the opposite in fact.
Put the 800s in the rear!!

Seriously, room positioning is probably at fault.

sounds like room position, pre-amp, amp, cables...using a sound processor really screws up the sound..

they are very, very, very revealing speakers.

how do you have them set-up ?

would suggest borrowing high current reference quality (krell, classe, levinson) amp/preamp and some decent ic/speaker cables..

get a stereophile test cd and run some test tones to confirm all drivers are working (test each speaker seperately then together - a driver might hae been replaced incorrectly).

good luck !!!!
btw, lose the rear speakers for the time.... you can introduce them later...they might be causing cancellation...
Hello. Intresting thread here. Wondering if Judy426 will please list her true reference speaker picks at say the 4-5K level then the 20K level please im just curious
Yea they are amp picky adcom don't have the best bass power also the right cables are important it's not thickness but the cable itself. I learned they the hard way also copper is not just copper. Maybe see if you can borrow some different cables and innerconnects. They are a tuff speaker to drive. Overall B$W have skued bass and treble some, bass light some and some punchy, but in there defence once set up right they are not to bad and sound better than alot of speakers. Also make sure they have enought breething room if you have them tl close or to far frm a wall you will loose the bass image.

When you stand at the back of the room do you hear more bass?
I agree with all the above suggestions to look elsewhere for the fault if bass is lacking. I own the N800 Sigs and I drive them with a Levinson 336 amp. My room is fairly large and open on two sides with 16' ceilings. The bass is not lacking. I agree with Mikesinger: these are revealing speakers.

Room positioning is most likely the problem. I use Nautilus 801' s and they are very picky to how far they are away from the wall. You could have them in a position where the bass is being cancelled. How far is their cabinet back away from the wall? As far as Judy's response,either she hasn't not heard them properly positioned or driven properly as they are not anything like she described when positioned properly and driven properly. The Classical recording studios aren't using them as monitors for no reason. You have a great pair of speakers look elsewhere.
It is a crime to run those speakers with Adcom amplication. Two things as mentioned above, Room Placement and Amplification.

I have N802's which has 2X8 inch woofers. Trust me plenty of bass. Don't get me wrong it's not like bass that you would get out of speakers built for Discos ie, read boomy. More of a natural sound. I agree with above post that B&W Nautilis speakers need plenty of power 300 to 400 watts, high grade cables I use kimber Bi-Focal XLs. which made mine sing. Correct placement and a good source. I think these suggestions would apply to almost any speaker except for the power requirements. BTW 14 gauge depending on the distance from your amp may not be sufficient. You may want to go 12 or 10 would be even better. In my home theater I use a B&W sub with the 15" woofer same as the N801. It shakes my house so I know they have capable bass. If your speakers are two years old than they are still under warranty. You may want to really check them out to make sure that they are working properly. Get a test CD as recommended and do one speaker at a time. If you feel that they don't sound right call Chris Mcbride at B&W he'll be glad to help you.
As an ex 800N owner I have to agree about them sounding lean. I auditioned nearly a half dozen amps from MBL to Mcintosh with always the same results. In fact I purchased my 800N's from my neighbour who was bi amping them with a pair of Levinson 336's in a beautifully dampened room with wood walls and carpet. He prefered his 800 Matrix and let me have his 800N's with a warning, wished I had listened. I guess it comes down to a matter of personal taste, had no problem selling them and received over 5000 veiws on my listing. Just my 2 cents, dont mean to dump on any happy 800 owners.
Thank you for all of the responses. I should have been more clear....we are not talking a small difference in bass between the 800's and the 9's. The difference is at least 50 percent in the bass between the two in a two channel direct A/B comparison. The 9's have two 6.5" woofers, and the 800's have two 10". When you hit two 10" woofers with 300 watts, even if it is Adcom, something should happen! If the difference was more subtle, I would put more faith in the I/C, cables, amp,and positioning theories. If it is a defect,I also have a hard time believing that both speakers could have the same defect at the same time. The processor is new and I am still figuring out some of the features. I keep having this nagging feeling that a crossover is engaged, but that would not explain the difference in the two speakers when running in two channel side by side. I even tried switching sides. The results were exactly the same using the old Adcom processor. My guess is the 800's are putting out about 30 to 40 percent of the bass they should be capable of. It really is as if they are not getting the full signal. Is it reasonable to conclude that either these speakers are defective, or they just need gobs of power to produce descent bass?
I'd say it's the amp. Also, echoing what others have said, I find the B&W sound to be very neutral - you may have to "listen" for the bass moreso than with other speakers.
To answer a few questions....the back of the cabinet is three feet from the wall. One is near a corner and one is not. The room is 26 by 28 all closed. The 9's sounded fine like this, but I do realize position is proprietary to each speaker.
Judy, if I had to base my opinion of B&W on the 800's alone I would totally agree with you ( assuming mine are not defective). I also own the CDM 9 NT, CDM 7NT, and HTM1. These are fine sounding speakers at the price point. I have to admire that you put your opinion out there knowing you were going to get spanked! At the very least I would appreciate knowing what speakers you think I should audition in the used 6k to 8k range just in case these 800's go up on the block.
Is it reasonable to conclude that either these speakers are defective, or they just need gobs of power to produce descent bass?
Well, you're feeding them with 300W capability per channel, so normally that shouldn't be a problem (unless the impedance below 80Hz or so is very high which is unlikely). UNLESS, indeed, the adcom has trouble driving those 10" woofs: i.e. the sound intensity of the top part of the spkr is much higher relative to the low part, which means that you can't "hear" the bass. A solution would be to borrow another two channel amp fm s/one and try it on the woofs. This is probably the problem.

You may, if you wish, play the spkrs connecting ONLY the woofs and listen to what's happening.

You may also be experiencing a null at some upper bass frequency due to yr room. For that, there's little to be done (other than room treatment), but experiment pulling the speakers ~1/3 into the room to gauge differences, if any. Also keep them far from each other & slowly move them closer until you hear the L&R low midrange sound coupling.
And good luck!
Tighten all the screws on your woofers. When I got my
Matrix 800's the screws were loose when I thightened them it helped very much.
Krellm7, thanks for the suggestion. They are all tight. I will be trying some different equipment this weekend. So far, I still do not have a clue.
Judy is either deaf, an idiot or both to say that about B&W, unless she has some deep rooted personal issue with this line of speakers, if that is the case get happy pills and sit ona couch and talk it out lol
You must either have a room issue or an equipment malfunction. I have N802s that have tons of bass. The 800s should have more bass. However the bass really opened up when I went from the 200W Marsh amp to the 350W TriVista.
I was told a story one time about a wilson audio service guy came out to my buddys friends house & replaced a woofer & wired it out of phase. You may want to check it with a battery.
It sounds as if either you or your speakers are sitting in the null. If I were you, I would measure the room before doing anything else- it's a cheapest and fastest way to get a fairly clear idea about your room acoustics. And speakers positioning is probably the most important issue that should be addressed before anything else. You should really prioritize all possible variables, where cables, for example, should be rather down on the list, and room acoustics high.
My guess is your amp. 300 adcom watts may not be enought B&W suck power! You could try bi amping one speaker off your amp or the other just run the bass like sugested above. Also make sure all your innerconnects are tight.

One thing to remember is 2 10" woofers may not make as much bass as 2 8" woofers. Nore should it, it should have the same bass, whatever the original recording has. Also if you are not biwireing do you have the posts jumpered?
Programmergeek....yep, bi wired....no jumpers.
IMO, a speaker of this sophistication should be carefully positioned using an SPL meter and 1/3 octave tones.
Do this before jumping to the conclusion that your $20,000 loudspeaker is not reproducing bass as accurately as a $3000 speaker.
"Accurate" may mean less, not more bass.

In my experience, bass "slam" is often more substantial from systems that sound somewhat less full-bodied in the low end.
ie: less apparent bass will often sound tighter and more realistic.
Speakers that suffer from doubling effects will have a strong bass response, but will lack low frequency definition.

It's not surprising that the 9NT with it's tiny, wildly flopping woofers tends to sound "bassier" than the more controlled woofers in the 800N. (I own the 9NT and have them rolled-off at 50hz, and paired with a good sub.)
I'm fairly certain that the 800N does not double significantly, and probably has very transparent and highly accurate low frequency reproduction. To my ears, the 9NT does not have particularly clean bass, although it's pretty good for a smallish $2600 speaker.

Powered subwoofers actually make a great deal of sense when paired with well-endowed systems like yours. Rolling off those big 10" drivers below 50hz will only tend make them sound cleaner at high SPLs.
It'll also mitigate whatever low frequency anemia, real or imagined(LOL), that your Adcom amplifier may be imposing. (IMO, Adcom makes excellent amplifiers)
Please let me know if you find a solution to your problem. I am currently biamping Nautilus 800s with VK6200 amps and I am also very dissappointed with the low end.
Avent91....I just purchased two Classe 700 WPC mono blocks. Hopefully this can rule out amplification as the potential problem. The amps will be here in about two weeks or so. I also have new cables and I/C on the way.I will post the results here. I am not familiar with your amps. How powerful are they?
The amps are BAT VK6200 and are rated at 200wpc.
Ok, I am already at 300 (questionable) WPC and it does not seem to be enough. I did move the speakers to 6 ft apart (from 10 ft) and that made a noticeable improvement. I am paying close attention to the advise from snickelfritz (something I never thought I would say out loud) and it makes sense. However, those floppy little woofers sound pretty good to me. If I could get the 800's to work half as hard as the 9's do it would be nirvana. Curious to see what the new amps and cables will do.
Nothing personal snickelfritz....it's the name, not the advise!
Avent91.. Transparent Cables had a fairly significant positive effect on the sound reproduction with my 800N's. Important though to use Transparent for all cables, I/C and speaker to realise the full effect. The 800N's have the ability to produce accurate and tight base in an effortless manor with the right amps.
Arcoleo, Thanks for the suggestion. I will try repositioning the speakers first. If that doesn't work, then maybe I'll try different cables.
Arcoleo, what amps are you using with your 800N's ?
Everybody can have a say. From Judy to ahcjmh1@. So here's mine

Reality does bite and when all is said and done, the B&Ws need power and current. So the combination of amp + speaker cables is rather critical. I power my 802N with a pair of Mark Levinson 33 amps via 2 separate pairs of Transparent Reference speaker cables for biwiring setup. The ML33 are supplied with individual 35A power lines from my AC mains box. So plenty of current on demand the music is just seamless.

The N800 have an internally built downfiring subwoofer. Well designed and sounds very tight. Again it needs current to run it. No point if the amp is rated 300W but unable to provide high current output continuously on demand. I have heard a thumping drum track like never before on the 800 but each were powered by ML 33H (which ran hot).

Power amps that share a common transformer beware, the 800 and 802 will soak up current like never before......IMHO better to go with monoblocks each powering the 800 or 802s.

Avent91, The amps are Chord Electronics SPM6000 monoblocks. 750wats/speaker. Cables are Transparent reference XL, the current version.
Just received my Classe 700 W mono block amps. Sincere thanks to those who suggested I lose the Adcom amp. You were all right on the money. These 800's have so much bass now I cannot believe an amp change could make such a difference. Mids and highs dramatically improved as well. As a new guy I just learned a valuable lesson about watts AND current. I even dragged out my 25 yr old Cerwin Vegas from the garage system and tried them on the new amps. Seemed like a harmless experiment at the time. Now I am shopping for a new amp for the garage! Thanks to all who responded.
ahcjmh1@......now sit back, put yr feet up and close yr eyes and just listen to the N800 subwoofer and wide wide soundstage......
I am well known in the audio world for many years. I used 802 Nautilus speakers for more than 6 years and now I use 800 Nautilus speakers. I modified some parts of the 802's and used rubber absorbers. Because by using these absorbers the middle and high freq. will be less harsh and the low will be more tight. What equipment you put to you speakers will come out of your speakers. When you listen to your system you hear to every part of your system and of course your room. Every part has his own property. That means when you use more different brands you can use more properties. The sound you like is 100% personal. So you have to look for the sound you like most. When you use power amplifiers of less power, you will get less bass and a less realistic sound of low freq. When you have a big room you need more power to get a full sound in your room. Oh yes the 800 needs power to get a good and realistic sound in the low freq. But when you use the right equipment it can do things only a few speakers can do. The focus of this speaker is of a level I never heard before. When you play accoustic music with a few instruments it is very intimate. You can give every player a hand when you are listening. When you do would play this music by a Wilson or the Vocal speakers you will miss this feeling. It is less intimate and it does not reach you soul inside. It is a 100% fact that Nautilus speakers dominate the market. I don't like the way the way th advertise. But the sell over 50& of the whole highendmarket. That means the rest all together sell less. It is also a fact that this speaker is used in many studio's. When a person says that the don't he has to come with facts before he makes this anouncements. Some people call this speaker lean, but I call it neutral. It is less lean than Avalon speakers are, because the bass is muce more warm and sounds rounder. With my system it sounds very musical, detailed, fast, a lot of depth, a focus to die for, a wide stage and very intimidate

My system: 800 Nautilus, Meridian 800 V4 ( model 2005), Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 300 power, Nordost Valhalla speaker cable, 2 Valhalla powercables, 1 MIT AC-1 Oracle powercable, Acapella rca with WBT Nextgen, feet of silence, KE Powersource ( conditioner )

I have listen many times to the 800's with Mark Levenson and Classe, but I never liked the sound of it. It never touched my soul, and that is where music is all about. My hobby first is music and after that my hobby and my work is audio and also vison. A system is just something to play music with, that is the essential part of it all.

Someday the B&W will officially join the ranks of Bose. Overpriced and hyped speakers that are easily bested by cheaper speakers by lesser known brands.
>>I am well known in the audio world for many years<<

Are you as well known for your humility?
I remember being at a B&W dealer and listening to the N803, and after a couple of minutes I'm getting into the groove and liking the sound well enough. I look over and see this big B&W subwoofer sitting on the side. I ask the dealer if the sub is on? "No." I listen some more, it doesn't sound right. I go over and put my hand on the sub, it is on after all. "Woops!" The dealer sets it up right, and then it is clear why he was trying to sneak the sub in. Flat lifeless bass - not musical at all.
>>Flat lifeless bass - not musical at all.<<

Ah yes, the B&W sonic signature. Glorious huh?
When you have tried and compared many loudspeakers, amps, cables of many brands, sources, conditioners etc you understand what they can do in a system. When you talk to a person about his system and what he ( and sometimes a she ) wants to change you use the properties of all the brands there are to find that sound that person is looking for. Because with the right combination of equipment that person will be satisfied and will listen to Music for many hours. Instead of listenig to equipment and looking for the sound you are looking for. ( all those years ) Music will touch your hart when you understand the art of making the right combination.....
I think a system is musical when It can touch your soul. And that will always be a personal taste. You have to think about the sound you are looking for. I advise and sell different cables to people who hve many times very expensive systems. The problem you find all those times is that they do not have the knowledge to make the right combination, and in our country ( The Netherlands )the people who work in this business have that knowledge either. Many people are looing al thos years for the sound the are looking for. They spend a lot of money and they never will be satisfied. So the people who work in this business have to learn to listen to there clients instead of that customers have to listen to them.

I wouldn't lend any credence to anything Judy426 says about B&W, he/she has a history of bashing B&W on these fora which can be seen by viewing his/her previous posts and posting habits. This person goes out of his/her way to actively insult speakers that B&W makes, which leads some of us to believe that hs/her business may be threatened by B&W's popularity, or that he/she probably sells speakers that are in direct competition but not as sellable.

Most people don't post at all on threads for speakers they don't like. Why? Because speaker enjoyment has a level of subjectivity involved in it, which Judy ignorantly denies by making such generalizations about B&W as she did at the beginning of this thread. He/she makes an effort to attack those companies whose speakers he/she doesn't like while the vast majority of Audiogon users act with more maturity. His/her actions are what most of us would call unethical and cowardly.

Welcome to Audiogon, thought you could use a heads up on the type of closed minded people to ignore on this website so you can get more benefit from using it. :)
Anybody think that Jkalman might be a b&w owner? Something smells here.
Oh, Charlie101 is another B&W basher, go figure. Look a few posts up... Boy the insecure really come out of the woodwork to bash B&W when they see their paychecks fading.

I'm actually getting rid of the B&W speakers I owned because I preferred a pair of Wilson Watt Puppy 7s with the Ayre gear I have been purchasing. You don't see me going around bashing speakers because I have nothing better to do with my time, or because I prefer one over the other. I don't go around bashing speakers I've owned or speakers I have not owned. It is a subjective hobby, no one made Charlie101 the authority on the best speaker, there is no such authority, and your comments make you seem like an ignoramus. People like you and Judy ruin home audio. The only things worth bashing on this forum are weasels like you who hide behind anonymity.

I used to own 700 series HT B&W speakers awhile ago as well, and I absolutely loved them. I decided to switch over to pure audio for better sound over surround systems where I could not invest as much into the stereo speakers for better music playback. I did not prefer the sound of the B&W 800D to the Wilson I had demo-ed, or I would have done a trade-in on my last pair of B&Ws with the B&W dealer.
Ignoramus? Weasels? Name calling? That is not very becoming however one must consider the source I suppose.

"It is a subjective hobby, no one made Charlie101 the authority on the best speaker, there is no such authority, and your comments make you seem like an ignoramus."

Notice I said, "make you seem like an ignoramus"...

"The only things worth bashing on this forum are weasels like you who hide behind anonymity."

Weasles like you do ruin audio for the rest of us. Actions speak louder than words, I'm just putting some adjectives to your actions. I still don't see any name calling, "weasel" is the perfect characterization of your behavior. As you said, and I think you said it best, "one must consider the source I suppose". Indeed, "weasel" does fit you (the source) very well according to your actions.
Ouch!! Coming from you that means absolutely nothing. I've read your other posts and it is clear you have nothing meaningful to offer. So now it's my turn, you sir are an ignoramus.