Be careful with the diamonds. If your system and ROOM are not up to snuff, you can be rewarded with some sound you might want to escape. The N line is more forgiving.
I also have to ask the question, you want looks or sound? If it is looks then I need to shut up. The Paradigm's are not bad speakers with the electronics you have. What processor or preamp you using and what source (player.) It's a system! Everything has to interface correctly or you're wasting a bunch of money unless you're just into looks.
Recently sold my N802's to move to the Diamond line. Ended up with the big ones, but listened to the 803D's quite a bit. IMO, a much better speaker then my N802's, but, Big is right, you will need to be careful with system matching. Classe amps are wonderful with the B&W's though, if that's in the cards. Email me if you're interested in more detail.
both are worldclass. a toss of a coin
Well, if you consider resale value, I suggest you go for 803D. Newer model able to keep higher resale value. Since B&W just update the whole 800 series, therefore, there are at least 4 years before they change their line again.
The German magazine Stereo, who had the 802N as a reference speaker, tested the new 803D and found it to outperform the 802 in the middles and highs, if not the bass. So the advice of your dealer seems true.
This is a tough decision that I also have been considering. The 803D definately has a better top-end and may also image better due to its narrower front baffle and slimmer cabinet. The midrange seems like a tie, though Dealers claim that it's clearer/more detailed and not as coarse as in the Nautilus series. The bass goes plenty deep but probably not as deep as the N802 but it is tighter, Dealers claim better overall bass response from 803D. The smaller foot-print of the 803D will make it an easy fit in most rooms, plus I believe that it's easier to drive due to a more amplifier friendly impedence curve vs the N802 which has a well known reputaion for being somewhat difficult to drive. I've come across 803D Demos for close to $6K which is a very good deal considering that a pair of well used N802s with shipping will run you $5K. As far as looks, the 803D in Black looks very impressive as does the N802, though the look of a one-piece, all-wood cabinet might be a better asthetic fit in more rooms than the Nautilus head design. I'm sure that you will have no regrets either way since both of these models are capable of performing well beyond the capacity of most rooms and electronics.
Thanks for your input everyone. Great ideas from both sides of the camp. Currently using Denon 3801 as a preamp, Parasound 2205 as amp, Marantz 9500 as DVD player and cd, Monster Cable Signature AVS2000 power conditioner and a Signature HTS 5100. Dedicated 20 amp line. I agree Paradigm's are a good bang for the buck however they seem to lack over all especially in midrange and upper frequency. The 802's do have a special look compared to 803's. My wife says they look like little people from outer space(robots). You've got to love it. Ha! Ha! Thanks in advance for your input.
I used the 802N for 6 years and 3 months. When I heard the 802D, I knew the diamant tweeter is a big step compared to the older one and also the rest of the speaker. At the end I bought the 800N's because the tweeter was also a lot better than the one in the 802N. And 10 inch bassunits have a much more authority and a better sound than the 8 inches of both the 802n's ans 802d's. With all respect, your equipment is of a very much lower quality compared to a pair 802N's or 803D's. What you put in, will come out. People still make this fault to often. The 803D is in your situation a better choice. But for both you need better input. And that counts for every part in your system. I understand you have to start somewhere, but never forget it.
Putty, I agree. Classe Amps are great match with B&W Nautilus speakers. You need at least 250W, 300W and above to be optimal, with B&W Nautilus.
I am using a pair of Classe CAM-350 with my N802.
I'm Lovin it! Found a deal on a great pair of 802N demos for $4800.00 at a B&W store with the five year warranty ! Got them home, hooked them up and wow, man are they heavy, even with my low end equipment I'm lov'in the enchanced soundstage, detailed bass, midrange with clarity and awesome upper frequency, total improvement across the board. Buying these should save me enough to upgade another peice or two. Any suggestions as to what to upgrade next? I'm thinking Classe amp or preamp or both. I'll probably go with used equipment. Thanks everyone, for your help!!!
When you are lookig for a great combi for a bargain. Look for a Musical fidelity Nu-vista M3 ( not a tri-vista, it can give you problems with the tweeter of the 802n). It will take some time, but in a few months you'll find one. Why? For the control in the low's, musical mid and sweet high freq. The M3 gives more speed and control in the low's and a better threedemensional view of the recording compared to the older classe. I done many test with Classe and B&W. And when you have more money to spend. The new Classe is also an option.
Still loving those 802N's. Well have'nt seen that Musical Fidelity Nu-vista unit yet but Im certainly looking out for it. One lemon drop martini and my current system sounded very good today after a long hard day. Leonx, would ther be much difference in doubling the amp output from about 200 watts to approx. 350/400 watts? What about using two amps rated at 200 watts and biamping? Which would be better? Why? Thanks!
It will give you more controle but also more resolution. So it will improve the total balance of your system. But watts is not the main thing. You also need a poweramp who can give you a good focus and resolution.