B&W Signature 800 Vs. the new 800D Diamond


Does anyone here has a chance to listen to the new B&W 800D (Diamond)? How do you like it and how does it compare to the 800 Signature?

The 800 Signature Red Bird Eye goes for about $13K and the new 800D goes for $16K. Which one would you rather take?

Thanks in advance for your advice

Huy
htong
I have the Signature 800's in gray tiger's eye, and love them. My son has heard the 800D's, and has told me that they're much better. I'd like to know where you can get 800D's for $16k, because my dealer has told me that my cost to trade in my Signature 800's for 800D's would be $6k, so those economics don't tie out to what you're quoting. For $6k, I don't want to give up the far better appearance of the Signature 800's.
Dollysowner, You can email me HTONG76137@YAHOO.COM to discuss it off Audiogon because I am buying a pair next week
I heard both at an audio show last december. I didn't like the new 800D's much at all. Very colored. Went into the next room to listen to the Signature 800s with high end Esoteric gear and was completely blown away. I'd take the Signatures in a heartbeat over the new diamonds.
Washline, while I don't doubt your experience, it doesn't correlate to the majority of the experince I have heard from others, including mine (not with the 800's). While I wouldn't turn down a great deal on Signatures because they are a very nice speaker and I like the finish too, but given the choice I'd take the new D versions every time.
i've heard (2nd hand) from someone who heard the new 803d's
that they are "special", meaning a must-audition.
b&w should institute an upgrade program if possible.
i had 801s3 matrix years back and that was my formal introduction into high end audio...awesome speakers.
i still wonder what they would have sounded like with north-creek crossovers...
Washline: You heard the two speakers in different rooms. And it sounds like they were driven by different sources/electronics. Is this a reasonable way to conclude one way or the other for a preference?
Tell you what, cover the 800D and Sig 800 and I will charge $100 for everyone to run the test sight unseen.
For every person that can accurately identify either given speaker (over about 20 tests consistently) I will pass out $500. I can assure you of one thing. At the end of the test with 1,000 AGONers, I will have enough money to buy 4 pair of Krell Master Ref Subs ($35,000 each) and put the other $20,000 into a new twin turbo for my HOTTUB!!

In other words, I think 2% of the everyday folks buying gear (that would be us from AGON) would be able to distinguish a difference. 98% would never. We have enough issues in our rooms, electronics, and sources, that these minor differences (IMO) are not to be identified.

Now - if showing the two, I would bet 90-95% would take the appearance of the Sigs.

So, this should give away my answer to the question!

Dan
Twin Turbo in a hot tub? Wow, that's a lot of bubbles.
I'd like to take that challenge Dan, I think I could detect the Diamond tweeter everytime.
Brianmgrarcom -

Nice. $500 for you, and I will collect $100 from the other 980 participants! My numbers may not be exact as they were more to indicate the point a vast majority would not consistently distinguish the differences. If that was not possible the appearance would probably outweigh the sonic advantages!

ok, so maybe I only make $70K, no twin-turbo for the tub!

Dan
Dan, while I know you are having some fun with this, what experience are you basing your claims / opinions? Do you own Sigs?
Well lets see. I have / have owned (during the two years):

B&W Sig 800s (TigersEye - 4 pair)
B&W Sig 800s (Red BirdsEye - 3 pair)
B&W Sig 805s (TigersEye)
B&W Sig SCM-1 (TigersEye)
B&W Nautlus (801/802/803/805) - several of each
Wilson 6 (3 pair)
Wilson 7 (1 pair)
Aerial 20T (Maple, Rosewood, and Gloss)
Aerial 10T (2 pair)
Duntech Sovereign
Conrad Johnson Premier 8A (3 pair for a complete SACD/DVDA set)
Conrad Johnson ART
Conrad Johnson ART 2
Krell Master Ref Amps
Krell FPB 650M
Krell FPB 650MCx (3 pair, same reason above)
Krell FPB 750MCx
Krell FPB 350MC and MCx
Lexicon MC-12B (2 units - one with v.4)
Lexicon LX-7
Wadia 861SE
All McIntosh gear
Meridian 861 (w/Room Correction)
Meridian 800 (v.3 - the latest)
Lamm amplification
Levinson 331, 332, 333, 334, 335
Levinson 336 (5 of these)
Levinson 33's (4 of these) with a single 33H.
Cello Grand Masters
Cello Masters (2 sets)
Cello Audio Palette (3 units)
Cello Audio Suite (3 units)
Cello Performance II Monoblocks (6 units)
Cello Performance I Monoblocks (8 units)
Cello Duet 350
Proceed PAV/PDSD/AVP/AVP-S/AVP2/AVP-2+6
Proceed PMDT (4 times)
Proceed AMP5 (3 times)
Energy Veritas 2.8 (3 pair)
Velodyne HGS-18
Velodyne DD-18
Aerial SW-12
PMC BB5
Triad Platinum LCRs (2 times)
Triad Platinum Subs (2 times)

(This list was just those WORTHY of listing)

Currently:

Mark Levinson 40
Mark Levinson 436 (5)
JBL K2S9800 (2 pair)
JBL Center

I have fairly lengthy experience with each and all of these items. This is a fantastic hobby of mine, which I am not a dealer nor afiliated with any.

My words/expressions are solely those of my own and feel I can speak to my experience without hesitation. I am not biased to anything I sell, not being a dealer.

I am sure there are many others with more experience in each of these listed, as I would expect, but also feel my history with a HUGE variety makes, TO ME, my experiences invaluable.

I am having fun with this, but at the same time, I am dead serious.

Dan
Hi,

I have to agree with Dan, I've not seen one review where the speakers or any other equipment was listened to and evaluated in a double blind situation ( reviewer and tester do not know what is being evaluated ). Much of what we read is subject to a ton of personal bias.

Larry
Sorry if the prior response appears as though I had been 'called to the table', not the case. Just wanted anyone reading this to know that wasnt the intent.

Sorry!
No problem Dan and I will expose my 'intent' of the questions. 1) I wanted to know if you had actual experience between the two and 2) there was a small part wondering if maybe you are not wanting the new versions to be better than what you own. :)

Anyway, I have owned the Signature 805's, a long way from the S800's, and I own the 802D's and I believe there is a difference in the tweeter. Either way, both are great speakers IMO, so if someone purchases either of the 800's they should be happy.

As with you, I have my opinion(s), I also like the Sig finish, but the aethetics of the 802D's are beautiful in my eyes and given the opportunity to purchase Sig 800's or 800D's at or about the same price, I'd take the D's with all their improvements without a hesitation.
Jafox, I heard the D's with Classe electronics and the Signatures with the Esoteric gear. I wanted very much to like the D's. They were in the larger display room and they were getting a very detailed sales pitch by the distributor. I was very, very disappointed in them.

Brianmgrarcom, I know I may stand alone for the most part in the evaluation of these speakers, but my colleague who joined me felt the same way about them. I heard very little sonic difference in the tweeters, and the bass and midrange drivers on the Signatures were uncolored compared to the D's. I will concede the possibility that the D's might not have been completely broken in. But in that case, why the hell not? One of the biggest audio shows in all of NE Asia and you run speakers that aren't broken in?

Otherwise, YMMV. Mine certainly does.
As I said the first time Washline, I do not doubt your experience, I believe you heard what you heard, I am simply saying apples-to-apples I do not think that will be the results.
Washline: What you were disappointed with was the sound of entire system that included the D's. And the same is true for your colleague. Even 10000 people who thought this about the sound of this setup would not fairly be able to make a final assessment on these speakers. To blame this on the D's without hearing them in the context of a system you are familiar with just seems to be an unfair assessment.

When we hear a system that is so incredibly musical, we know that every product in that system is indeed first rate....or we have a synergistic miracle in progress. When we hear something that is just not "right", a lot of time and effort must take place to determine the cause. There could be multiple reasons for this....including our personal preferences.

As for broken in speakers at a show, I can see this very much a possibility. Companies have a ton of things to stay up with, not just burning in a product for months before a show. And maybe, just maybe, the pair you heard was fresh off the production line and the only one available for the show.

I am not pushing the B&W line. I have never owned a pair. But I have heard several different models two dealers and one weekend home audition to know these speakers have the potential to make great music. And I just feel that under the circumstances you heard these, a simple comment, "I was disappointed" would be justifiable. But you certainly can not conclude much else from such an event.

John
Porschecab, Question for you I have seen many items being sold by you on audiogon and elsewhere. Question 1 why so many equipment changes ? And secondly I am considering the purchase of Aerial 20t's how do they compare with the B&W 800 series and how do they sound with Krell amplification ?I was planning on going Boulder 1050 mono's or 2060 stereo amps with my setup.

P.S. I assume by your screen name you have a Porsche also what type, I own a 2004 Cab C4 unfortunatly i dont drive it much.

Regards, Definitive
John,

I'm well aware that speakers are system dependent and that a change in the electronics, cables, etc. could have a noticeable effect on their output. But I'm not writing a full-scale review here; I'm stating an opinion based on first hand experience at an audio show. And I was very upfront about that. Anyone reading my comment would know that it was based on a one-time experience at a show and naturally a change in the electronics "might" change the perception. But I don't have the luxury of doing that kind of thing nor the time. Sometimes we have to make decisions based on the experiences we have and that's all we can do.

You said: "When we hear something that is just not "right", a lot of time and effort must take place to determine the cause. There could be multiple reasons for this....including our personal preferences."

That's pretty obvious John. I'm not interested though in checking out the bad link in a causal chain. I'm interested in assessing a pair of speakers in a limited amount of time and then maybe making a purchase. And just as obviously this will have everything to do with personal preferences. Our ears are not the same. You don't have objectivity here; you have a set of very subjective experiences and people use those to make decisions about audiophile investments.

That said, I find B & W's top of the line signature and nautilus range to be right up with JM Labs as my favorite speakers for the music I like to listen to. The Signature 800 is probably my favorite speaker of all. And the Dynaudio line, which I tried very much to like as well, I don't care for at all--too rolled off in the top end. So yes, this is all a very personal, very private set of reactions, but ones that I wanted to share with the person who set up this thread. He asked. I responded. That's it.
Hi Washline,

I hope you don’t mind me interjecting here. I believe that John understands what you are saying as I do and I expect we are all closer than we are farther apart. If this post would have been different, such as, “Classe vs. Esoteric”, would you have replied that you feel Classe seemed colored?

Out of two full and separate systems you heard you are giving the entire credit of their sonic difference(s) to the speakers.

Once again I will state that we are not arguing what you heard.
.
Nice last post Briangarcom.
.
I have listened to the 803D's and I can say with all confidence that the tweeters in these are better.

Base to me seems a bit tighter as well, but that could just be a new speaker.

Just my 2 cents.
"If this post would have been different, such as, “Classe vs. Esoteric”, would you have replied that you feel Classe seemed colored?"

The original question, Brian, was the following: "The 800 Signature Red Bird Eye goes for about $13K and the new 800D goes for $16K. Which one would you rather take?"

I reported that I would take the Signature 800's in a heartbeat. The reason was because of what I heard at an audio show here in Seoul last December. I feel pretty confident that the sound I didn't like from the D's was from the speakers not the electronics, but I don't absolutely for sure. I was just reporting that I heard both sets of speakers from top of the line electronics, and given that, I much preferred the Signatures. i wasn't making a review. I was stating an opinion. I know it might be counterintuitive for someone to take an older tweeter over a newer state-of-the-art one, but as I suggested in my previous comment, I didn't notice a significant difference.

"Out of two full and separate systems you heard you are giving the entire credit of their sonic difference(s) to the speakers."

No. In two full and separate rooms, I preferred one set of speakers over an other and reported that fact to a person trying to make up his mind about both of them. YMMV, and mine does too. I'll remind you. this is not a review. I'm not borrowing the speakers for several weeks to hook up into my own electronics, which of course would provide a different sound from other electronics. I'm not sitting at home with a pair of Signatures to compare with a set of D's sent to me from B & W for an analysis for Stereophile. A person asked for an opinion as to which of the two sets of speakers I would buy, and I told him, based on a listening experience I had.

Perhaps the question that should be asked here isn't why certain high-end, state-of-the-art electronics might cause the new B&Ws to sound bad, but why the new B&W's cause certain high-end, state-of-the-art electronics to sound bad. I'll bet it isn't just the electronics or the cables in the causal chain.

And sorry to hurt any feelings about stating a contrary opinion to the prevailing common sense.
What does YMMV mean?
YMMV = Your mileage may vary.

All I can say to your post Washine is that I simply don’t agree with your logic and quite frankly found it contradictory or at least confusing. Also, I never accused you of giving a review, I have understood your experience from your first post. Nonetheless I am not trying to convince you to like the D’s nor do I have hurt feelings.
thanks, brian
"All I can say to your post Washine is that I simply don’t agree with your logic and quite frankly found it contradictory or at least confusing."

What's contradictory or confusing about my logic? I haven't done anything different than what anyone else does when giving an opinion about a piece of audio equipment. The only difference from what most people say on the forums about gear is that they don't usually bother to mention the rest of the gear while evaluating. In contrast, I stated the electronics in which I heard the gear. Not so with magazine reviews, where a condition on review is always a mentioning of cables, electronics etc. and usually a comparison with the speakers that left the chain before the insertion of the review ones. Your argument is that there might have been something amiss besides the speakers since I wasn't hearing the Signatures in direct comparison with the diamonds. Possibly, but I doubt it. Something was wrong in the synergy with the drivers that colored the sound. I gave it a good amount of time. Walked around the speakers several times. Sat through many changes of recordings. I was really hoping that the diamond tweeter would have the kind of clarity I've found with the beryllium tweeters of JM Labs. Not so. I much preferred the JM Labs. And the previous tweeter used in the Signature 800s was already pretty unbelievable. I'm sorry to say I really didn't notice a significance difference. You did. That's what different ears are made of.

Back to the original question: "The 800 Signature Red Bird Eye goes for about $13K and the new 800D goes for $16K. Which one would you rather take?Thanks in advance for your advice"

My original answer: "I heard both at an audio show last december. I didn't like the new 800D's much at all. Very colored. Went into the next room to listen to the Signature 800s with high end Esoteric gear and was completely blown away. I'd take the Signatures in a heartbeat over the new diamonds."

Does anyone really have a problem with my preferring the Signature 800s over the diamond 800s? This is my preference, after all, which was what the person querying was asking about.
Geez Washline, I just don't know how many times I have to repeat myself! Once again, I have no problem if you like the Signatures better. Is that clear enough?

As for how you determined that I disagree with that 100%.

Here is where I find your post contradictory or confusing.

Your posted a quote from me,

"Out of two full and separate systems you heard you are giving the entire credit of their sonic difference(s) to the speakers."

And then you replied,

No. In two full and separate rooms, I preferred one set of speakers over an other and reported that fact to a person trying to make up his mind about both of them.

So you replid no to what I stated then followed it up by saying exactly that.

This whole discussion is longer than need be, I understand you prefer the Signatures, that is fine, I disagree, so be it.
Oh come on Brian what's the problem here?

I just did a test drive of a Porsche 911 Carerra 4. Man oh man it was so impressive with the stock tires. But when I tried it with my grandfather's Buick Regal's tires, it was such a joke. You'd think those german engineers could get it right with their cars! I'm staying with my Volvo Wagon for high performance.
I've seen Dan's setups and can verify he's telling the truth about his speaker evolution. Every time I've visited he's had a new high end system consisting of some pretty exotic and ultra high end equipment.

Michael
Well... I've got to say that washline is not the only and the first one who did not find the new D line special (or better)

check out club b&w in the htguide forums
several dudes there argue the oldies are indeed goodies

OTOH, To my ears, those new Ds are really speical

peace :)
Already been there Jungsan, I've read 1 post that questioned this, I also read another that says 100% the opposite. If you read this thread carefully, while I do say I believe there is a difference, my arguement has to do with how Washline came to his conclusion.
Brian,
I know I know :-) my post was not to back up anyone here
Washline believes the difference he hears lies in the speakers and If there's a flaw in his logic, who cares? it's not a test anyway..
plus, I was not telling you to go check out the site, cuz I'd seen your beautiful set up there already :-P

Htong
my post was rather in response to your origianl post, since you're the one seeking the opinions;
the club B&W is a great site, there are many threads comparing the new and old lines.

some pple like to take advantage of getting an outgoing model on good price or some pple have to have a new (which is IMO always better at least little bit)..

peace and good luck :)
btw this dude did like the new line

http://enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/0305/joeaudiophile7.htm
"'Out of two full and separate systems you heard you are giving the entire credit of their sonic difference(s) to the speakers.'

And then you replied,

'No. In two full and separate rooms, I preferred one set of speakers over an other and reported that fact to a person trying to make up his mind about both of them.'

So you replid no to what I stated then followed it up by saying exactly that."

Brian, try to be a little bit more attentive to language. You said, "you are giving the entire credit of their sonic difference(s) to the speakers" I never did give the "entire credit" to the speakers. I made a judgment based on my listening that 800D's were coloring the sound rather more than the Sig 800s. I have already acknowledged to you the possibility that the electronics might have had something to do with the differences. That's a bit different than "entire credit." But no, my sense was that it was more the speakers than the electronics because of the resonances, etc. that I was hearing. But I also acknowledged the possibility that the speakers might not have been entirely broken in.

I'd appreciate it if we could try to be less shrill during this discussion. We're all friends who disagree. That's it.

Jafox, let's try to be a little less insulting toward people who might disagree with you. There were high quality components all the way down used at the audio show I went to, including the speakers that didn't impress me as much as I had expected.
Washline: What many people would disagree with you on has to to with how you came to your conclusion - and not the ultimate result. Insulting? Well, my analogy is no less ridiculous than someone who hears a system in a room that they are totally unfamiliar and the proceeds to blame the speakers for the lack of musicality. Garbage in, garbage out.

And yes, you ultimately could hear the 880D vs. the 800S in the same system and come to your initial conclusion. I would respect that. But at least you gave the speakers a fair shake.

So please dismiss that people here are attacking you because they "disagree" with your preference to the 800S; this is simply not the case. If you continue to focus your mind on this aspect, you will never get the issue that a few of us here have tried to convey to you for the last couple of days.
Jafox, I'm going to give you a little lesson on internet etiquette. When someone submits a postion contrary to your own about audio gear, you can politely ask them a question or make a comment, as you seemed to do at first. Or for example, you could say, "that's an interesting response. Not many others have had it but perhaps you have different ears," as Brian suggested at first. Indeed, I do have different ears. I listen primarily to electroacoustic music. Something I doubt that most of you have ever heard of. Since you weren't in the room yourself and know nothing of the specifics of my background in the listening of these or any other speakers, you would be wise not to make too many quick assumptions about what occurred with my ears and why. Nor do we need pompous and asinine comments about car tires. I don't need class superiority from you.

While you accuse me of making a hasty assessment about speakers, I can just as readily level the same charge at you about my listening experience. You don't know. You weren't there. You didn't hear what I heard. You weren't next to the speaker to see what it was producing. you don't have my ears. and if you've had no firsthand aural contact with the sonic challenges of electroacoustic music, then I'm not sure if you really, truly know how to listen to speakers in the first place.

Since you've made your point about the issue you've tried to convey for the past few days, I'm going to make my point more explicit too. I see from your system list that you have Sound Lab A-1 speakers. I want you to explain to me and the rest of the board how you came to choose those speakers and under what conditions of comparison. I also want to know how many times you've questioned the decisions and assessments of other members of this board, particularly when they haven't been upfront about the different electronics in which they tested equipment. In short, I too, want a chance to be just as condescending as you have been over the last few days. So I want you to pony up some information. And I'll say the same for Brian, who now has added 802Ds to his system, so I can see a bit of what has motivated his replies to me. He misreads my "logic" after already assuming that I gave "full credit" of sonic differences to speakers only. My initial post was not in any way that elaborate.
You found me out Washline, my whole motive is because I have the new D speakers, whatever. As for me being shrill, I suppose I could say the same, but I apologize it came of that way. I have made it abundantly clear how I feel on this issue, the thread is simply hijacked and the same things being repeated.

Enjoy.