Well, they sure enough are ugly. It is to be hoped that they sound better than they look....
I heard these speakers recently too--at Top Audio in Milan, driven by the CAT JL-2 amp, CAT SL-1 Ultimate pre, and AQ wires. Source was the top Esoteric two-box.
I also heard the Magico Minis with Spectral electronics and MIT wires.
I completely agree with your assessment regarding the quality of the new Signature Diamonds. And I have NOT been a fan of B&W speakers. These SDs are a good departure for B&W. Your description of them is spot-on--"very natural timbres" and "great dynamics and bass extension."
But the Magico Minis aren't any lessers, to my hearing. Their sound is quite different--neutral, linear, transparent, and extremely sensitive to whatever electronics or signal is matched with them. I was impressed at how different they sounded with Spectral electronics as opposed to the BAT equipment I'd heard them with at the last CES.
Still, you're quite right to mention the price difference--about $9K less for the SDs. And, in the dark finish, I think they'd be better looking than in the white.
You're generous to share this news with the A'goN community. Thanks.
I am sure that these new BMW will go very well with the new MF 1008 series amp which is better and cheaper than the 750 which is better and cheaper than the 500 which is better and cheaper than the 250, etc, etc, repeat ad nauseam...I cannot wait to see an active BMW powered by MF, packaging courtesy of Louis Vuitton.
As usual, it is a question of system and musical taste. I have no experience with the new Signatures, but I still own a pair of the old Silver Signatures SS25 - wonderful speakers when paired with Atma-sphere otl amplifiers and choral or chamber music. I was reading your points 1 to 3 and would add a forth - pinpoint 3D imaging.
Also , you can not imagine how loud and clear they could sound in rock with the old Classe M1000.
However, in the wrong system and room they would sound horrible and lifeless.
I listen them hook up on Classe electronic. They are better balanced than rest of Diamond series, probably because tweeter in N800/1/2 doesnt have enough sensitivity to be balanced flat till 20kH. Here situation is different and small speaker is really something! Sound wonderful with great bas. But, again..., you need to forget high SPL and room more than 25m2. Really expensive and it's not look so bad like on the pictures. The one I listen was white.
I have had a pair for about a month (white). They are driven by AR REF 3, Ref CD7 and AR Ref 110 stereo amp. I thought I would buy a pair just for fun and probably sell them quickly. After hearing them, it will be a long time before I make another change. They are the most accurate and natural sounding speaker I have ever heard. I am in the business, so I have heard a lot. There is almost no coloration from the lower mids on up. The blend between the tweeter and mid is seamless. They have a lot of detail, but sound buttery smooth at the same time (the AR gear helps I am sure). There are more powerful and dynamic speakers out there, but for listening at moderate levels in a medium size room they are among, if not the best in the world.
I also got to listen to the Signature Diamonds fronted by the top end Classe gear and what I heard was quite impressive. The midrange was fantastic (although still not quite as transparent as the Focal Alto Utopia Be) and, as stated earlier, blended seamlessly with the tweeter. The bass also went surprisingly low for their size and a two-way speaker. Other than the fact that they are unattractive aesthetically imo, even with room reinforcement, the bass just doesn't go low enough to justify the price imo. But for those looking for a superior two way, they might be the best deal in the business atm.