On the good side, looks like the 804s will sell pretty good and that will help buy any others. so there is that.
20 responses Add your response
One of my friends has N802's in the front and N804's for rear. He has the B&W center channel, not sure of the model plus a REL Stentor sub. All of the electronics are the top of the line Linn components. The system sounds great as you should expect.
There is a huge difference in performance between the N804 and the N802. I can't imagine being disappointed with upgrading the fronts to N802's. Simply put, the N802 will go louder with more clarity and with more bottom end weight.
When I purchased my N802's, I walked into the store with the intent of buying N804's. I listened to them and next up the N803. The N802 was so superior to those models it was no contest. I spent way more at the time than I wanted to. But, on the bright side I still have them and enjoy them so it was money well spent.
When you went to buy your 804s and ended up with the 802s.. were you listening to both sets on the same equipment and with a sub for both or were they both just two channel without a sub?
i ask this because i use a sub for my home theater... if i used 802s or 804s they would both be crossed over at 80 or 50 and the sub would take the lower ranges... so it would be harder to distinguish between the two sets of speakers because i am using the sub.
My audition was in a two channel system without subwoofer. The electronics were Mark Levinson and were kept the same for all three speaker model auditions.
In my friends system, the speakers are run full range and augmented by the REL. It would be difficult to estimate the differences when using an external crossover. I think it is important to consider the midrange driver and enclosure from the N802 is completely different and more sophisticated than that found in the 804/803.
If one were to have that much confidence in the subwoofers, would you not be able to get by with four 805's and not worry about floor standers? But since you already have the 804's, you should either stand pat or upgrade the fronts to the N802's if you can justify it financially. I do believe it would be a sonic upgrade.
I own both 803ds and 804s. I only use them in a stereo system, not HT.
I first had the 804s set up and optimized and they sounded very good. Excellent sound staging and imaging. I upgraded to 803d because of the diamond tweeter and I have to say the 804s were stiil very good by comparison. The 803d can produce a larger sound stage (generally because they are placed further apart) and better bass, higher SPLs, more dynamic transients.
The potential downside is they can be brighter in the upper midrange (high pitched flutes, female vocals with a lot of microphonics/syllabence), esp if placed too close together.
If you are happy with the 804 I would tend to stay with them unless they are not filling the room like you want.
If you can borrow a pair of 803s to try, then that is your best bet. If you have to buy a pair and hope their better, its a larger gamble.
If you buy a pair used at a good price, you can flip them and get your money back. But be aware the 803s are very heavy and they need expenseve B&W packaging to ship. In my experience, you can ship a pair once maybe twice before the packaging falls apart and needs replacement.
The 803s are heavy, but the 802s are tanks. I did not consider them because I just cannot move them around my house without the help of a couple extra people (and I live by myself). The 804s are paperweights by comparison.
Strange consideration when considering speakers, but you need your eyes open to the somewhat inconvenient but practical side of things.
I feel that spikes are essential for good sound, so moving over carpet is not easy. I also have my 803s up on plinths with spiked heavy brass footers (between the 803 and the plinth, and the plinth to carpet), so moving this combo around is especially difficult. I was actually looking for a lift truck with a movable lifting platform but these are very pricey.