Old school shootout: Snell A/III vs. Original B&W 801

I miss Snell so much, especially the A/III.  Amazing imaging on and off axis and bass that made you think they could pop your room apart like a balloon.

Along this time the original B&W 801s also were making the rounds, and ... I'd still take Snell every time.

One of the weird combos that was popular was Audio Research + B&W and man, I hated that combination.  It was so gutless and lean.


Space was never a problem for me with the Snells, as they went against the back wall



Wasn't there a version of these with a rear tweeter??

Unfortunately, they lacked dynamics,

Well I don't like extra jump factor, but I will say these speakers taught me the value of good amps.  The Tandbergs were pretty famous at the time, and while not the last word in sweetness they absolutely transformed the Snells in the bass.

Eric, I had the A111s, and I remember them having the rear tweeter, which were on / off switchable. Never did care one way or the other about the rear tweeter. Away from the wall, the bass would suffer....ime.  I knew the Tandberg rep, and had some of their gear. Yes I agree with you, amazing sounding gear for the time. I actually have a Tandberg integrated amp somewhere in a closet. Last time I used it, which was ages ago, was in my bedroom as a headphone amp. Anyway, great thread ! My best, Always, MrD.

I believe the original Type A used a Becker 10" bass driver and possibly in the Type A ll as well but the Type A lll used a 12 inch bass driver in a taller cabinet. I know Peter Snell used room boundary principles gaining a 3-db. boost from the rear wall   also some gain from a down firing woofer to get the speaker to a flat response. I know when i sold them they did sound better against a back wall. Very cohesive sounding speaker but not a forward sounding. The stage seemed to be more behind the speaker than in front of them. Depends on your choice of music but i do think a lack dynamics is from sound pressure. 


Absolutely true that they were at least "close to the wall" speakers.

At some point Snell starts adding significant amounts of mass to the drivers as well. I'm not sure which model this came into being, but an early pre-cursor to the small Carver subs with high mass, high amp power drivers.

May have been a design change after Peter Snell passed away, i forget his name I want to say Kevin, but he is the gentleman that went to head up Revel was designing the later iterations of the Snell line of speakers. I remember a Snell model that had like a rubber flap that sat on the floor and I believe the tweeter was mounted right above where the flap attached to the loudspeaker. Strange look but they did sound pretty good. I never carried that model. Type ?  Does anyone recall that model?, it would have been a pre 80's floor standing speaker. Interesting design