BW Nautilus 802, blow away Nautilus 803


I got to tell you, I heard the BW Nautilus 802 speakers and the BW Nautilus 803 speakers last week. The Nautilus 802 speakers are light years better then the Nautilus 803 speakers. On the 803 speakers, the bass is terrible. It did not blend in at all, with the Yellow Kelvar midrange driver. Also, I felt the 803 speakers were to laid back. Then at the Stereophile show, I heard the Nautilus 802 speakers. The Nautilus 802 speakerssounded incredible. The midrange was amazing. It sounded so sweet and articulate. The bass was fast and tight. I also notice, the Nautilus 802 and Nautilus 803 speakers use a different crossover. On the 802 speakers, the 2 8 inch woofers basically act as subs and send the bass to the yellow midrange driver. You will notice, if you put your ears to the 802 speakers, all the sound basically comes out of the Yellow midrange driver. No sound comes out of the 2 8 inch woofers on the Nautilus 802 speakers. On the 803 speakers, the 2 6 1/2 woofers do not act as subs. They crossed it over, where you hear the midrange come out of the yellow midrange driver and you will hear bass come out of one of the 6 1/2 drivers. So it sounded like bass coming out of one of the 6 1/2 drivers and all the mids coming out of the Yellow midrange driver. I didn't like this type of crossover. The speaker sounded awkward. I like it on the the 802 speakers, where the bass and midrange come out of the Yellow midrange driver. It sounded much better like that. See i dont like it, where speakers use a woofer, where you just hear bass out of it. When i say, you hear just bass out of it. Lets say you play a song with singing and you put your ears to the woofers, you will just hear bass. You wont hear any singing or the midrange. Only bass comes out of the woofer. I like it, when the woofer acts as a sub, or sometimes, where you willhear bass and midrange come out of the woofer. I used to have these Canton Ergo 81 speakers. They used 2 8 inch woofers in a MTM design. You would basically hear bass and the mids coming out of each 8 inch woofer.This speaker sounded nice. Now if the woofer was bigger then 8 inches, like a 10 or 12 inch woofer. I wouldn't want the mids to come out of it. Another speaker that uses the same type of crossover as the BW Nautilus 803 speakers is the Legacy Focus. The Focus speakers uses 3 12 inch woofers at the bottom of the speakers, with 2 midranges and 2 tweeters at the top of the speakers. They basically had it, where the 12 inch woofers just have bass come out of them. No mids or singing come out of it, while all the midrange comes out of the midrange drivers at the top. As I was listening to the Focus, it was so obvious, the bass didn't blend it at all, with the midrange drivers at the top. I just think, when you have the woofers, just have bass come out of it, while all the mids come out of the midrange drivers, the speakers don't sound coherent. The bass doesn't blend in with the midrange drivers at the top. Legacy should have had it, where the 12 inch woofers act as subs, and send the bass to the midrange drivers at the top. That way, the bass would have blended in so much better, then the way the Legacy did it. Another speaker who does this type of crossover, like the BW Nautilus 803 and the Legacy Focus, is the Energy Veritas 2.8. I just don't like this type of crossover, where they have the woofers, just act as bass.
doug99
I own the N802s; for my money and their price, they are the best speaker available.
When I heard the 802's, the rest of the system was not well chosen, so at that listening they were bright. I have N805's and have gotten excellent results, but they can be described as slightly "polite". Have you found the 802's to have any more slam and "fowardness"? I hope one day to add the 802's and use the 805's for rear channeIs, but would be curious to hear the 802's vs. the Avalon Opus' first. My friend has the Avalon's, and they are nearly perfect. If I critiqued them at all I might say they have a touch of dryness, but I think that is due to his cabling (mostly the top of the line Syn Research). Thanks for the info Doug.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but Doug99, you have no idea what you are talking about. This is not a matter of opinion because there is so much incorrect with your post I would not know where to begin if I was to reply to every point. Let me just say your technical understanding of these two speakers is confused at best.
Bmpnyc, Hi i disagree with you on the Nautilus 802s sounding bright. I heard them on the Tact Amp and Preamp. Let me tell you, these speakers sound so smooth and sweet. There is no way in history, these speakers sound bright. Now Blackie, I know exactly what i'm talking about. I listened to the Nautilus 803s side by side to the Nautilus 802 speakers, using the same Amp, preamp, CD Player and cables. I described perfectly in my post, how the crossover is not good on the Nautilus 803 speakers.

BW Nautilus 802, blow away Nautilus 803
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but Doug99, you have no idea what you are talking about. This is not a matter of opinion because there is so much incorrect with your post I would not know where to begin if I was to reply to every point. Let me just say your technical understanding of these two speakers is confused at best..
Blackie 07-26-01 rate this post (edit this post)
Doug, with all due respect I think the only way to judge two different models of speaker would be to compare them on the same system in the same room. With all of the varialbles, it just isn't fair to blame one thing or the other.
6" woofers performing as subs??? Is this a desktop audio system or are we talking about genuine B&W loudspeakers here? I have a friend who's son thinks anything other than a tweeter is a subwoofer. Of course, he's only 16. Which could explain this post as well. Maybe if they switched to a different colored (other than yellow)kevlar, the crossover might think they're "subwoofers", and perform as such.... Jeez! I'm done with this post. I only made it about halfway thru. Sorry.
Doug, Doug, Doug...the two 8" drivers on the N802 are NOT "subs"; they actually cover a large portion of the midrange. These drivers are crossed over at 350Hz so if you think anything below this is sub bass maybe you need to redefine what you think sub bass actually is. If you noticed, the kevlar mid driver is VERY unique and it has virtually no excursion so how could this driver handle any significant bass frequencies? All the mids DO come out of the kevlar midrange driver because it IS a midrange driver, that's what is supposed to do. And finally both the N802 and N803 are crossed over at the SAME FREQUENCIES - 350Hz and 4kHz! You claim you don't like the "crossover" of the N803s when the most significant difference between the N802 and N803 is the cabinet. Yes, it is obvious you are an expert in crossover design, maybe next time we can discuss the benefits and hazards of 1st order designs or the sonic characteristics of air core inductors.
Blackie you must be real stupid, or just deaf. Absolutely no sound comes out of the 2 8 inch woofers on the Nautilus 802. All the midrange and bass comes out of the 6 inch kelvar midbase driver.
I guess the way to tell is to disconnect the wires going to the woofers on one speaker and compare the two.
Hi Doug, I said the reason for the 802's sounding bright was that the equipment that was being used was not well matched ("chosen"). I was not disputing anything in your observations. I would love to hear them again under better playback conditions. What about my question regarding slam and forwardness when compared to the 803's, or for that matter the 805's and the Avalon Opus?
Doug, you're kidding right??? I can just walk into my living room and put my ear up to the eight inch drivers to prove that sound does indeed come out of them. The midrange, not midbass as you refer to it, driver does not put out any bass. One explanation is that on the speaker you put your ear against didn't have jumpers to the bass units. There is no other explanation for your weird post.
Simple, just check the cross over points on the speaker's specifications. I am too lazy to do it myself, but I surmise the cross over points are not dissimilar from most other 3-way speakers, 150hz and 3000 hz.

I never listened to the n802, but I have some experience with the 802s3. I find the bass coming out of the woofers to be dryer, precise, more analytical sounding, than speakers from any other woofer. The sound is coming from the woofers is almost similar to velodyne or m&k subs. I think it can be questionable to a 802 listener whether what they are hearing out of the dual 8inchers are mid bass or bass.

I might want to interject that most good large speakers do have a tendancy of having their large drivers to act as if it was a subwoofer. I don't mean they are designed to cut off all frequency ranges above 80-120hz, but the bass is more enveloping to the listener, like a good musical sub, rather than projected as the mid and highs are.
For Viggen - The crossover points are 350Hz and 4kHz on the N802/N803.
Blackie, I'm afraid you are wasting your time trying to have an intellegent discussion with Doug99. My guess is that Doug99 is a rather young, enthusiastic, but ignorant audiophile with much to learn.

Here's another example of his illogical argument:
"On the 802 speakers, the 2 8 inch woofers basically act as subs and send the bass to the yellow midrange driver. You will notice, if you put your ears to the 802 speakers, all the sound basically comes out of the Yellow midrange driver. No sound comes out of the 2 8 inch woofers on the Nautilus 802 speakers."
he prefers the sound of the 802 because nothing comes out of the 2 8" drivers? What on earth are they there for if "nothing" comes out of them?

Doug99, why don't you tell us a little about yourself and your background in audio (comedy)?
Doug99, I accept your opinion but have to strongly DISAGREE with your funny theory generalising speaker and crossover designs designs.

I'm sure engineers at B&W know what's best for their speakers.

Cheers!
Hifiho, I agree with you, What BW should have done on the Nautilus 803 speakers. Instead of using 2 6 1/2 woofers, which to me, are part of the reason the Nautilus 803s lack bass. BW should have just used a 10 inch or 12 inch woofer, instead of using 2 6 1/2 woofers, then the 6 inch Yellow kelvar midbase and the tweeter at the top. I think using a 10 inch or 12 inch woofer, then the Kelvar midbase and the tweeter, is much better design, then using 2 6 1/2 woofers, then the yellow kelvar midbase and the tweeter. I just think, using 2 6 1/2 woofers is not going to give you the bass response, that a 10 inch or 12 inch woofer will give you.
Come over to my place and I'll let you listen to what a pair of 6 1/2 inch woofers can do. I have Matrix 802 S3's and they put out PLENTY of great deep bass. When I first pulled the grills off I was surprised as hell that they were not 8 inchers. The problem with a bigger woofer is that you have to increase the width of the enclosure. This can wreck havoc with imaging by having a wide baffle. I think my crossover points are very similar to the Nautilus series and believe me there is alot of sound coming from those woofers.
The smaller drivers are quicker to respond. Two 6 1/2 drivers give you more surface area than one 10 inh. There are a lot of real good designs around this concept. Bigger is definately not allways better ( in this case ) unless you are still in high school crankin out the loud stuff with no regard for fidelity. Maybe you should write to B&W and tell them where they whent wrong with the design.
Maybe off topic a little, but I have owned N804's and 802S3's and would like to add the following. I have never really like the depth of bass on any B&W I have owned. I do however like their bass punchiness and taughtness. That is what you gain with the additional smaller bass drivers. The N802 and N801, at least to me, are huge physically, financially, and just plain overwhelming in every aspect.

Probably the best B&W sound attainable is by getting N805 or Matrix 805 and a decent subwoofer. This way placement is not hindered by them being in the same cabinet (Bass I mean) and the bass is fully countourable to the listeners taste by the volume switch. There are inherent advantages and disadvantages in every design but B&W does very well.

Then other negative about N802 and N803 is their need for serious power in the amplifier. This gets costly, and does seem to make a big difference.
I owned the N804 for a year the N803 for another year and just got my N802 two days ago I never felt that any of them were lacking in bass I powered them all with a aragon 8008bb. I would say that each time that I spent the cash I hoped it would be worth the upgrade and it has the 803 just improved on the 804s but the 802's they arent even broken in yet and they are so far ahead of the 803's I cant believe it they are just so much more!! more depth, clarity ,bass, detail , warmth . It really amazes me how they can be so much better.
Good luck with the 802's Devan. I hope to have a pair of my own, but need to find a bigger place to live first. My 805's will have to do for now. Have you ever heard the 802's as fronts, with the 805's in the rear? I have been wondering what that sounds like. Should be impressive considering how good my 805's with a REL Strata III sound.
Doug I own a pair of nautilus 802s and yes at first they are bright (until break in). Another thing to consider is the fact the 802s are finicky about cables.However when properly set up they are an outstanding speaker.

Asfar as the crossovers go between the 802s & 803s they are identacle in terms of crosover points. However the 802s have the advantage of having internal heat sinks. Thus,enabeling them to produce smoother dynamics.

Good Luck, Damon
Doug...
I was jerkin' your chain. Your descriptions of the drivers, the functions of the drivers, and the crossovers is so off-base that I couldn't even finish reading your comments/ observations. So if you agree with me, then you admit you don't know what you're talking about?