Hi, you're correct that 803S has aluminum tweeter and 803D has synthetic diamond (thin slice of film) tweeter. 803D is bigger in size than 803S and now 803 D3 is even bigger than 803D. The major difference between 803S and 803D is the upper high frequency. With the first generation of D series, B&W tried to aim for popular market and made the D series with very high frequency range but many audiophiles responded negatively to the much brighter sound. With D2 B&W started dialing back on the high frequency and now D3 almost back to S series high frequency range but much lower low frequency. In my opinion you should avoid the first generation D series. In you apt size, 803S is probably a poor investment. The big speakers and the numerous woofers need lots of current to push and you wont be able to produce a lot of current in low sound volume (running at lower watts). My recommendation is that you go for a B&W 805 and pair it with a subwoofer. This way you can turn on and off the subwoofer to avoid disturbing your neighbors at night time and the 805 is relatively easier to drive with your low power Class A amp without the extra bass woofers. I have 805S myself running with high current Marantz HD AMP1 with 35watts 8ohm, my room is 30% bigger than yours, with great results.
Thank you very much for your kind reply. I can see that you are quite familiar with B & W speaker series system. One of the audio dealer also has same opinion about the lip &mouth's friction (high frequency) produced by B & W's tweeter. Also, I can aware some abnormal high frequency response on the B & W D seriesspeakers on the Youtube. The obstruction of the high frequency sounds odd. That means they are not smooth.
As for the 805D3, I have seen HiFi + web review that the speaker need to be played with higher volume. I think it would not be normal for I have heared the speaker,but with high volume, it would bring stress either on the ears as well as psychology pressure.
Recently, I pay attention to the listneing surroundings in HongKong's audiophiles. As you might know that most of Hongkong's home are rather samll, but as I notice that many of the audiophile in there have owned more than one system or with complicated accomodations with various accessories to bring up their sound better. You can find they have small speakers more than one pair, but also they have various gears to serve them. Some small space also use big size speakers.
I'll consult with the experienced audio dealer in Taipei about your opinion and hope I can get the conclusion for my next step with better sound. Anyway, thank you very much for your generous sharing of precious knowledge about B &W speakers.
See you again.
Hi faust, best of luck to you. To avoid typing a lot more information, just sharing one more personal experience to help you on your quest with B&W,
1) Go find 蔡琴's 1bit /2.8224MHz 精選 in DSD/DSF and listen to the superbly remastered '恰似你的溫柔' and '被遺忘的時光' on the B&W 800 series. In particular '恰似你的溫柔' has very sharp guitar strings (too sharp in this recording in my opinion, Eagle's Hotel California from their Live concert (Japan version) has far better guitar recording) that really test your gear pairing. Keep in mind that, living up to reputation, B&W 800 series will quickly make your previously 'ok' music records sound 'bad'. Be sure you always find the best music recordings when you evaluate these speakers. If you like classical music, try demo with 大植英次 and Minnesota Orchestra that was awarded best recording by Reference Recording.
2) Make sure the B&W is powered by reputable gear like Mcintosh (avoid tube amp or other fancy homemade stuff used by self proclaimed audiophiles until you learn familiarity). The amp you use 'must' double down in power (ex:100watt @8ohm, 200watt @4ohm, 400watt@2ohm), your Accuphase Class A is actually perfect on paper for B&W 800series.
3) Use a good modern 32bit DAC/player that properly handles DSD CDs.
4) Use quality cable at least 12AWG.
5) ***Most important of all, make sure the speakers are broken in. B&Ws take at least 200-400hrs to start to break in. Even used speakers that hadn't been played for a while also require some break in period. B&W factory officially recommends this. My first pair of 805N (18yrs old speakers), took me nearly three weeks. So many hi-fi amateurs evaluate B&W 800 series out of the box and without proper gear pairing out there it's sad how these uninformed people tarnish B&W's quality reputation.
-sorry guess I did end up typing a lot anyway
Thank you again for your kind response.
According to your opinion, I have to re-arrange my system either in hardware such as DSD DA and software such as high resolution software which cost a lot.
I can't deny that splendid recording would be able to add sparkling in the music appreciation, but I do not want to drop up what I have now except some poor or sleeping stuffs ( I mean software). When I visit to the audio shops, some times I can discover something unknown before.
The key issue is that I can't afford to spend much to re-tool my current gears. What I can do best now is to find out the way or to squeeze the best C/P on my current system. Or with limit budget such as US$3~5000, make some improvement investment even though my ear are pretty not bad on music appreciation and audio comparison.
Do you live in Taiwan, if you would, we can change Line for easier communication. My Line is:faust061168 and my name is Mr. You.
Thanks a lot once more.
Unfortunately I'm not in Taiwan, I'm located in Seattle, USA area. But if you ever visit my city I welcome you to drop by for a demo of my budget setup. =) I don't use LINE but I use WeChat. You can private chat me for my WeChat name.
Back to music and speakers. First of, my apologies I forgot to ask if you're a computer, CD or vinyl person. If you can tell me more about your setup, I can give you more advices from my experience to help you spend the least amount of money (I personally am very frugal as well, haha).
My goal is to try to help you listen to the B&W speakers with a guarantee baseline. Based on my experience with B&W, I can help you demo these speakers with gears that guarantee to sound good with the 800series, then you can decide for yourself how the speakers perform under ideal circumstances, hopefully by using common consumer audio equipment available at good audio shops. You don't necessarily need to buy any of the gears I recommend. You just need to know how the speaker sound at their best while demoing at the shop, then you can slowly upgrade your own equipment over time at get to whatever level of C/P you deem acceptable.
Below are purely my personal opinions:
#1 reason contributing to people complain B&W speakers are bright sounding is because they listen with equipment and speakers that are not warmed up or not broken in. My 805N and 805S were both HORRIBLE to listen to until they're broken in. Once broken in, they're so transparent that they sound cold and brittle if an amp has not properly warmed up.
#2 reason contributing to people complain B&W speakers are bright sounding is because they pair the speakers with wrong amp. B&W 800 series require amp, like your Class A Accuphase, that can double down power. Most amps can only do x1.6 (ex: 100watt at 8ohm, 160watt at 4ohm). There's scientific math behind this, but in layman's term, in order to maintain quality sound across all frequencies an amp must provide stable 'quality' current across the entire ohm range that the speakers perform at. For the B&W800 series, it means using amps that at minimum double down in watt from 8ohm to 4ohm and preferably further double again to 2ohm (a Mcintosh with autoformer while expensive to many, is actually among the cheapest amps that can double down from 4ohm to 2ohm) because the 800series dip as low as 3.7ohm which is below 4ohm.
#3 reason contributing to people complain B&W speakers are bright sounding is because they use cheap speaker jumpers while directly plugging into the upper speaker terminals. B&W 800 series are built to be bi-amped at best (which most of us wont ever be able to afford), bi-wired at minimum (recommended by factor) and jumpers as last resort.
And the list goes on as we go up the equipment chain... =)
Thanks for you to take so much precious time in replying my inquiry.
Though, I have long time of music listening experience. But I am in short of technology knowledge about audio except the listening. I can tell the difference with the changing of the wire or toe in angles, but I don't know the change of ohms such kind of technical terms.
I have 1000 pcs. of LP before, but long time ago, I switch to CD. The player I am using now is Quad CD99 player which was made in China, but it sound is quite OK (thickness, details, sound stage, positioning of performer...). Also, I use an optical output for the D/A converter which brand is California Audio Lab, a bankrupcy old brand with one 12AX7 tube inside. 2 years ago, I went to consult with an audio shop, the boss told me that even I switched to use the one he sold, Naim, the sound improvement is quite limited. So, I just kept on using my old D/A. Generally, I don't have much time for music listening for I need to spare some time for watching satellite business news from Japan for I am still at work. It is kind of my hobby to learn new business management stuffs either in the library or in the video media. Also, some of the Japan's satellite programs have advantages: They spend money to produce good programs and you can enjoy them on free basis. Of course, they have paid channels either. But since I don't have much time, it won't bother.
As the Amplifier, I have an Accuphase C275V (15 years, I bought a 2nd hand one) which is a mid level pre, and the A-47 (2 years) which is also a middle A class power. The wire I am using is mainly Onix (an England brand but sold to Taiwan audio distirbutor boss who also acts as German's MBL's distributor in Taiwan.).
In fact, I do listen to the satellite news mostly on earphone, Grado open air for comfortable consideration and won't bother other family members. I spent lots on earphone system with good wire, powerline, headphone amp. (Sara Lee, England brand) and Senheiser HD 600 with the Mobius wire (1.5m) for clarity sound. The power line for earphone is Telos (local brand, but expensive). Once I try to change the power line for the earphone with a cheaper wire, but my ears won't accept the changing of sound.
Yesterday, I visited a audio shop who is concentrated on the expensive LP system. The boss is selling LP player around US$150,000 & the Swiss cartridge cost US$25,000. He told me that I might unable to accept the speaker sound other than Dynaudio such as England's PMC, Tannoy, ATC, except B & W which has Diamond tweeter. He regards that England speaker's high frequency response is a bit dark. That is why Tannoy sell super tweeter to cover it's shortage. He suggests me to consider Dynaudio Contour 30 which is the successor of Dynaudio's mid level speaker system with standing floor design which can reproduce better bass when compare with my current 1.3SE which is a bookshelf type. At current, I just try to listen more in comparison, I have not made any decision yet for it might be my last speaker in my life..............
Tks. for your reading my long expression........
I've just received my pair of B&W 805 D3 today and I'm so stoked! I can now give you more objective feedback on the S vs D series B&W 800 series speakers.
Thanks for taking the time introducing yourself above, now I have much better idea what sort of audiophile you are. In general, in the most complimenting way, I think you're very much like my father in speaker taste;
低音要厚實, 交響樂需要氣勢, 但不要胸部撞擊感覺 (British Rega tends to have this chest pounding bass feel)
高音要圓滑, 不能刺耳, 高音是不是很高反而不很重要
If above assumptions are correct, then B&W are definitely speakers that'll meet those expectations. Keeping below very simple, if you want more details on anything, just let me know.
Answer previous questions,
1) 803S vs 803D - save the money and go with 803S
2) Obstruction of frequency - I would call it stuttering or sudden change in sound quality/volume, I just experienced this with the 805D3 out of the box and this is normal too with my previous 805S and 805N. It's both because the woofers need break in and also because the amp is not supplying enough current reserve to push the dynamic range. Not speakers fault, solution here is to break in the speakers for a month at least and get better amp (aka. the big round cylinders you see on Mcintosh and other expensive amps).
3) Diamond tweeters very bright. So far D3 tweeters are less bright than the older S.
4) 805 D3 has to be played at high volume to sound good. This is not true in my listening environment and I feel confident that it is due to the reviewer's amp not good enough. The reviewer paired an amp that does x1.8 not x2 going from 8ohm to 4ohm, so he's attempted to compensate the drop in current by raising volume (more watt). I also previously demoed the 805 D3 at local hifi store using new high end Mcintosh listening in normal volume.
Purely minor suggestions on your equipment below, please don't be offended. You have very good equipment in general but from a simplicity and budget conscious perspective, you have a very complex setup. You have 9 links
1 cd player,
3 x power cords
1 optic cable from cd to preamp
1 RCA/XLR from preamp to amp
1 pair speaker cables
each above all influence final sound coming out of your speakers and your system will always sound as good as the weakest part. In comparison, my system only has 4 links and hope to reduce to 3 links in the future. I know you don't want to make big changes so I suggest here that your CD player and optic cable should be updated to take advantage of latest high definition quality CDs. Ideally something with XLR output that'll allow you to bypass your preamp. Let me know if you want detailed explanation.
Other speaker suggestions in your price range,
- B&W 805D3 & 804D3, the used prices are same as 803S and 803D, I think you really should try these out. Just insist that the shop demo with a proper good amp.
- The Dynaudio Confidence is on par with or some say better than B&W 800 series
- Usher, never heard these in person but online review compare the Usher MiniDancer favorably to Dynaudio's Confidence C1 and you can get them very inexpensively in Taiwan! The newer Usher line has DMD diamond tweeters.
Thanks for your detail expression of your idea. You have caught my taste in audio & music almost like a tighten rope. I haven't menioned the experience I had about 1 month ago when I paid visit to a Harbeth dealer and then went to the B & W dealer in Taipei with a hi-fi friend. We are astonished to find the new discovery on 2nd store, a pair of Maserati, made by B & W with the components of B & W 805 D3 together with the mark of the famous sports car. The price (with stand with Maserati on it ) is US$12,000. Generally, the 805D3's selling price is US$ 8,000 without stand. My friend ask the staff of the shop for a short listening with his CD disc, we were astonished to find how good the pair responsed. The intergrated amp. is Macinitosh M8900. I forget the CD player brand, but the importance was the reproduction of very musical sound with the short listening experience. You can easily find out the good stuffs with a short listening with so many years of being an audiophile. Many years ago, I also had shocked by a small pair of speaker name as Magico, a new Amercian brand when Hifi is still hot then. The book shelf speaker was shown on a rather small space, but the sound quality was the best I ever experienced. Of course, the price was pretty expensive either. I can't remember clearly, but it's priced beyond the imagination of the book shelf speaker.
I have heard 805D3 for a couple of times in the local dealer which the boss have almost 30 years experience in handling hi-fi gears and also he is a concert goers often. I have impressed by the sound it produced transparency, very good penetration, very fine instrument defination, and clear sound without muddy, very detailed, and the high frequency is beautiful and harmony in all the spectrum except the slight shortage of low frequency which is not solid or responsive. But that doesn't matter for the speaker protrayed very splendid sound reproduction with almost every kind of music (electric or heavy metal are exception for these are not my tastes).
The same shop also has 803D2 which I have listened for many times, but I have reservations for the coherence of the spectrum. I mean the intergration from low to high is not so well connected. 聲音的連結性不是很好, Maybe it is a good speaker, but I can't feel it's special features. Maybe I will call the shop next time if the speaker is still available. Last time, I take a short visit and find that the boss has changed to a pair 802D2 for demo. Generally, the boss uses Burmeister pre (expensive one) and the power plus the Burmeister CD player for audition demo.
Burmeister is a solid design, but it sounds like analogue, esp. in the hi-end. It is interesting that the boss himself went to his shop to listen to Berlin Phiharmonic digital hall (he subscribed at 160 EU. as annual fee) with the equip. in his shop for better A-V effect. (He uses Sony's 9400 75" Hi end LCD TV as monitor.).
After many years of experience, he is quick in finding out problem with quick solution always. His opinion about England speaker is the short of high frequency response. In another words, it is a bit dark in tweeter. That is why Tannoy is selling super tweeter which is capable of enhance high frequency response with more fresh air..
I think I will consult with the boss's idea because I bought Accuphase A47 from him but in the begging period of time, the sound is so so. After 2 years of run in , it sounds much better now. Generally, it still takes 2 hours of run before you can get better sound.
It is a long experience, though fun, but it is kind of money and time spending...
I have attened a music appreciation class at Taipei National University of Arts for almost 5 years at the suburb of Taipei city. There is around 10 students or so in class, most are ladies who are fond of classical music appreciation. On the last weekend, the teacher, a Julliard school graduate and a learned vocal music in Belgium for 2 years with the winning the 3rd award of Elizabeth vocal music contest, she told us that the boss of the radio, wanted her to terminate the program where she acted as a program hostess for more than 20 years. We can fell that she got hurt by the stopping of the program where she worked so long.
In now days, the people are changing fast, tastes, knowledge, preference, fashion, news, event............ I suppose she must be petty sad for the losing of the long time work which she devoted so much of her effort upon it. I know that some of the words she lecture on the class is unable to compare to the phrases or sentences she disclosed in the radio program for the audience are much difference at least in the sum. We are just a small group, but tho konws the No. of audiences in the radio program......
We feel it is such kind of shame that she was kicked out in the way like this........
In now days, the sustain of a media or platform is not easy while the economy and customer tastes varies from time to time....... How about the tastes of your music preference?
I sympathize with you and your teacher's experience. Things come and go thought I'd say what your teacher is experiencing isn't necessarily the death of music appreciation but rather the slow end to radio as an entertainment and information media. But that's a totally different topic of its own.
My taste in music is a bit peculiar I suppose. I like female vocal and large orchestral music as well as combination of the two which nowadays some call popera "pop + opera" (try Katherine Jenkins). Ideally I want combination of lush thick warm sound of tube/analog plus the detailed, analytical and hi-resolution of digital music. Sadly, it is very expensive to try to achieve the above and even then not easily achievable.
Hope you’re still enjoying your speaker search. Now that I’ve 120hrs+ with the B&W 805 D3 and more side by side comparison with the 805S, I thought I’d give you a few pieces of interesting updates. I’m going to give you lots of generic ’funny asian’ descriptions that I think you would appreciate to avoid long boring technical jargons.
S vs D3 - listening
805S is more like the nice low sweet but flavorful desert you get from the boutique bakery. It has signature flavor, some may like the taste some may not, but at least no arguing what it tastes it.
805 D3 is like plain organic salad without salad dressing or flavoring of any sort. The salad will taste exactly like the vegetable mix you throw in so you better wish the vegetables are full of flavor you like otherwise it’s going to be a very bland salad.
S vs D3 - living
805S is like a sweet teenage daughter. Messy at times and no matter how many A reviews she gets from school you still can’t help trying to compare her with others. You get frustrated with trying to keep pushing her work harder study harder (hint, that low 3.7ohm impedence)... But in the end you still love her.
805 D3 is like a beautiful trophy girlfriend. At first all you and your friends all go ’oh how a lucky bastard you are...’, but quickly you realize that bossy nature. She wants everything perfect - her way; use silver plated cable instead of solid material she bitches, use jumpers instead of bi-wire she bitches, use a colder sound Class D amp she bitches, older poor music recordings she bitches,...basically she bitches at everything you do. You pay for everything yet she keeps reminding you’re still good enough. You get the point.
3 rings in life - engagement ring, wedding ring and suffer-ring
Ok I’m exaggerating a bit but I’ve literally sold almost every gear I had in order to start fresh with the 805 D3. All the gear that were ’good enough’ with the S are now unacceptable with D3. Good things about D3 is that it is a lot easier to drive, a lot less high current hungry and super high resolution. Sound coming from the D3 is like watch a 4k UHD movie while the S would be like DVD (I’m guessing D1/D2 would be more like Bluray level). Now whether seeing in high resolution all the arm and leg hairs on the young blonde model in the Samsung 4k TV demo disc is a good thing, I guess it would be fair to say it’s a matter of taste.
Suffering leading to bottling
Never thought I would do this but after our recent chat and seeing how the D3 has super high resolution, I got curious about tube amp pairing against the D3 to see if I can get that ice-cream melting voice of 蔡琴 from the original 2002 HK movie Infernal Affairs (無間道). I got a good deal online for an open box EL34 tube amp. I’m experimenting right now with just a DAC (bare minimal chip to decode digital music) then RCA directly to tube preamp and tube amp. So I’m literally as tube as it gets while listening to digital music. So far I have to say I’m impressed with the performance of the $600 USD tube amp but I’m not impressed with the tube sound which I would say very solid state like. I’ve further taken another step to see if using a 300B SET tube amp would change my mind.
Thought I’d share some good stupid laughs with you that only another hifi guy could understand.
*all you 300 other peeps reading this post, feel free to share your funny stories too. =p
I think you should be able to read Chinese, here is my comment on the Dynaudio
Contour 30 which I listened last week.
評論說下放有名的confidence estar 高音 到 Contour new 30 ( in Confidence series grade),我聽感如下: source: CD + 數位流 +同品牌power (英國brand: Audiolab,但made in China), 一邊125W,音樂:蔡琴(有青蛙那條),人聲清析,呼吸氣腔可聞,但覺得部份樂段人聲有點粗,也就是dynaudio contour 舊款的人聲甜味沒有了..., At the pawn shop,低音也沉不下去,高音(木琴)也沒有B & W 804D3那麼滑溜.活潑,高.低音質感,雖說等級不一樣,但沒有C2好(音樂性差不少),也許是器材搭配的因素影響,郭金發台灣人:白牡丹,男聲人聲不厚,業者說說:現在speaker設計是走解析,因此,和舊型有差別....,和期待值有落差.....
I've been busy exploring the tube world, sorry just catching up now. I honestly think Contour is outclassed by D3, but I'm surprised how expense it is over in Taiwan. I think your Taiwan price tag comes out over $10,000 USD. Contour 30 is only about $7,500 here. Though to be fair, your poor demo experience is likely due to poor choice of the Audiolab mono-block amplifier. It's 8ohm (250W) to 4ohm (350W) power ratio is only x1.4 and doesn't even do 2ohm.
I agree with the store's opinion that new speakers are going the high resolution route. I'm feeling a bit stupid with the D3 as pairing the D3 with very good tube gives similar sonic quality to the old S with very good solid state. Here's my dilemma, these new high resolution speakers in theory would work well with SET tube amplifier but they are also current/power hungry so I find using low 8-10W SET amplifier the sound comes out thin. If I use tube push pull amplifier that produce 40-60W, the sound is very similar to good solid state that there's little incentive to go with tube (maybe tube rolling will change my mind). So in the end, I might just have to give in and buy a Mcintosh that has the solid state current/power with tube lush warm holographic sound. sigh, money money money...
My topic in Taiwan MyAv has raise up deep discussion between the different opinion group. That is beyond my expectation. It looks like word war. Opposite opinion persons corssed fire on each other on the subject of audio listening experience......
The 2nd hand audio shop where I found the 803S has sold out it's 800D and Sonus Faber Guarneri Momento (each pc. weighted about 75Kg with origin speaker stand consists of thick stone. The shop's selling price is NT$22.5 Wan. (around US$7,500). In the meantime, there is also one same speaker selling on MyAV 2nd hand column which priced at NT$ 190,000 by the original users (not the 3rd or 4th hands.). But the speaker color of the later is slight dark brown.
I don't know why the expensive one in the shop be able to sell faster than the much cheaper one direct sold by the user. The same model the different is the color. Generally, the sales through the owner always have better quality and slight cheaper price. Those sold in the shop usually selling with higher price for the boss need to mark up the profit and some need to send to the expert for fix first before the shop can display for sell.
I also know one 2nd hand shop in the not easy to find inner lane in Taipei. Though the shop's price is slightly cheaper than the above one. But once both shops are sellilng same model, the above one sold out faster even it is selling higher.
I heard some music for comparison in the youtube which there are many combination of audio system and music over there. The posts showing various tastes the owner have, some are awful, some sounds strange ( agaist your expectation). If you have time, you can have a try listening. With good pair of headphone you can tell the difference with easy.
Hope you're doing well. Wondering if you've had a chance to further sample Dynaudio's Confidence C1/C2 (I've always liked the C2 exotic look). I've finalized my new gear to include a cheapie Dared 300B SET tube amp and a ClassDAudio solid state that doubles power from 8ohm to 4ohm. I went all out on the DAC to buy the latest dual ESS9038pro from Asian. I guess I'm pretty much qualifying as a chi-fi guy now, shhhh.... don't tell anyone ok. Originally I had planned to sell the 805S to free up budget but now I think I'll keep both the 805S and 805D3 so I'm stuck with a very frugal budget but still I managed to way over spend, hahaha. For the same money, I could've just bought a used Mcintosh MAC-6700 but why do it easy if I can do it the hard way right, hahaha? It'll be another 4-5 days before my new equipment arrive, home is so quiet right now...
I haven't have the chance to listen to the C1 for the consideration of it's high price in Taiwan. It costs US$11,000 here. Many years ago, it costed only half price. It is not easy to find a pair of C1, but there is a 2nd hand imported by the trade house which is C1 Signature with the selling price of US$6,000. The problem of dynaduio C1 requires big power amp. and the turn up the volume to get the music out of the enclosures. Big amp. also means big spending....... It is said that the tweeter of C1 has been used in the new Contour 30 which I listen once, but not impressive. Maybe the Amp. is not quite matching.