Revel Ultima Salon 2's vs B&W 802d's

Alrighty, I've seen some discussion here on these speakers. I'm currently doing a demo in my home on the Revels vs the B&W 802d's (I own both). In the near future I'm selling one or the other pair here.

Suggestions for the demo (i.e. CD's)?
Things to look for?

They both sound good and have different characteristics. I'll post some thoughts later - I've got some opinions now, but I want a longer test with these speakers.

Now guys I don't need to hear how this or that speaker is better than these two - I'll do another comparison later (IOW's no hobby horse discussions).

PS. I'm an old fart so some of my high end hearing is gone. I'm trying to listen a bunch before I go deaf and to ingrain good sound into my synapses.
As you've figured out, both these speakers sound quite different from one another. I have listened to the Salon2 couple of times driven by W4S amps in a less than ideal listening environment. I have not listened to the 802D but have the privilege to listen to an older pair of N802s driven by a pair of Sonic Frontier tube monoblocks, also in a mediocre listening room. It is a matter of taste which speakers sound better. Both speakers do dynamics pretty well with the Revels having an edge at the frequency extremes, though I thought they were little analytical for my taste. Both speakers are substantially built and the looks of the 802Ds are an acquired taste.

I feel the Revels do all the hifi traits very well ie. detail, imaging, soundstaging etc. There is a fine line between hifi and musicality. Not to sure what amps you are using to drive both speakers but matching them with the right amps is crucial in getting them to perform to their capabilities. With the wrong amps in the wrong room they can sound pretty mediocre. The owner of the N802 preferred the Sonic Frontier tube monoblocks to the Mcintosh MC402, citing a more open, lively and transparent sound of the former. You may want to try your favorite collection of music on both speakers to see what kind of genres they excel in. I believe both are good all-rounders that can play most material with aplomb.

The Revels and B&Ws are quality speakers. Do let us know how you get along with them.
I happen to own the Revel Ultima Salon2 speakers. I have listened to them quite a bit for a year or so. Probably about 1000 hours.

One thing I absolutely agree with Ryder about - with a W4S amp, they will not reach their potential. I did an A/B test with a similar class D amp and compared it with a class A amp.

There was no comparison. The class D amp sounded analytical. The class A amp sounded musical.

However, I don't feel that this had anything to with the speakers and everything to do with the amp.

I have a pair of Mark Levinson 532H amps bi-amped with Wireworld Silver Eclipse 6 power cords, balanced interconnects and speaker cables and the Revels sound mellifluous! I also have the Mark Levinson 326s preamp as well as the 512 sacd/cd player. I'm sure that the synergy among all of these components has something to do with the overall sound as well.

I have heard B&Ws at a local high end store in the past and I'm sure that they also sound fine. However, the Revel Ultima Salon2 speakers are extremely engaging. They grab me and don't let go. They never sound fatiguing, even after many hours of listening.

Try Beethoven's 9th Symphony as a demo cd. Happy listening.
I'd love to have other folks weigh in.

Ryder, thanks for the comments. As for amps I can run either a Bryston 4b sst2 or a Conrad Johnson mf2500a. Running a CJ tube pre-amp Premier 17LS (got a CJ 18LS solid state too). Getting ready to sell some stuff in the near future. I'm considering matching one or the other and bi-amping. Suggestions on tweaking this system will be appreciated.

Other suggestions on amps?

Aaron - I like the system you've put together.

I haven't been able to give suffcient listen to give definitive results. I have a wife that "tolerates" my hobby and I have to listen when she's out of the house (I need to get her a job!). I've run some different selections and find that both of your comments are pretty spot on. I think I need more time to see if this is true, but I think I might like some less extended musical selections on the B&W's (focus on vocals and not on range or mix) while I like other selections on the Revels.

I wanted to hear both in my room and with my equipment - not relying on memory. Later I'll do the same thing with another set.
I have a pair of B&W 802d's and I am quite pleased with their sound. The diamond tweeter is quite an improvement over the older aluminum domes. They have excellent dynamics and a very detailed midrange. You mentioned about vocals. The 802d's do them (male of female) quite nicely without any edge or excessive siblilance. This characteristc drives me nuts in alot of other speakers I have listened to. I have not heard the current Revels but had listened to the older original Salons some years back but a comparison by memory would not be any help to you. Happy listening and good luck in your choice.
One thing I absolutely agree with Ryder about - with a W4S amp, they will not reach their potential. I did an A/B test with a similar class D amp and compared it with a class A amp.

So, it really wasn't a W4S amp. Similar doesn't count in my estimation. The last thing in the world I would call the W4S amp is analytical. IME it errs on the soft side driving N802's.

I've not heard the Revels so I can't comment on them.
Rhljazz - I apologize. I was lumping the W4S together with all class D amps. Perhaps the W4S is the exception to the rule. It was only my opinion that my Krell KSA 300S was better than the D-Sonic that I compared it to.
I think the W4S amps were an average match with the Revel Salon 2, or the setup in the room was below par. Either way I believe the W4S amps and Salon 2 are great products that will truly shine in the appropriate set up.

One point to note is my friend who owns the Salon 2 moved from the Mark Levinsons to the W4S amps which is kind of weird. Similarly I thought the MLs will be a much better match to the highly revealing nature of the Revels due to their warmer/darker character. I'm really puzzled with this. Nonetheless I have to admit the listening environment where the system was located is not ideal -the listening room is small and the speakers were set up at near-field with the listener less than 8' from the speakers.

There have been many instances the B&Ws are slammed for their lacklustre and uninspiring presentation. I do not find that the case with the N802s that I have experienced in my friend's system. I can just imagine how much better the 802Ds will be. I guess it all boils down to expectations and personal preference.
You already have the best advice you need...your ears! You have the perfect situation with both speakers in your home (and I'm assuming) in the same room and with the same associated gear.

Just put on your favorite music and see which one you prefer. If you find yourself evaluating the speaker versus just enjoying the music then that speaker isn't the right one for you.

I would like to hear your comparison/opinion of these two speakers. Did you decide which pair you are keeping?
I recently went to a local dealer who had both speakers set up in same room; the new B and W 802 diamond; not the 'd' models; and the Revel Ultima Salon 2's...the B and w were powered by recommended Classe power amp; revel's I think by Parasound...
The revel's sounded to me just magical; great shimmer and prat on the high's and very impressive low end; great detail on drum kick's and plucked double base strings on female jazz. Sound was coherent; warm; detailed; spacious and everything I would want in a speaker; I also heard the Wilson Sasha's the next day; and I think the Revel's held their own against the Shasha's..and even in the set up I heard; had a better low end then the Sasha's; Sasha's had minimal improved top end, but not by much to my ears..and Sasha's were playing with a hugely more expensive digital front end and VTL tubed mono's..
On the other hand; the B and W's sounded 'veiled',closed off and chocked; no prat; nothing special...this was by comparing same cd's in same room; same time to Revels...if I was buying; based upon my auditon; I would go with the Revel's...I had an open mind; and let the music tell me which one was better; I do know that many people love the b and w's with Classe; and these speakers cost around $15k vs the $22k of the Revels; so everyone's ears and budgets are the Revel worth $7k more retail? To me it does..but that is why its important to do your own listening test with similiar set ups and conditions; and listen to your ears, WAF, and budget; and dealer the end its all good; you just want to avoid buyer's remorse at this price point; or have 'listening' fatique from speakers that don't cut it when you get them home. just my two cents....good luck
oops; to correct my last post; the Revels were in fact powered by the Mark Levinson amps...not Parasound...
Did you listen at Definitive Audio in Seattle? Your experience sounds similar to mine, auditioning-wise.

Last year I listened to the "new" 802Ds, at Definitive (they just came in) and they certainly didn't sound veiled at all. Interesting that you had that impression.

Personally, I don't care for the sound of Wilson speakers. They seem "voiced" for a particular spectral balance, and I prefer a much more neutral speaker. Dave Wilson must like "Technicolor" frequency response curves. I do like Wilson's fit and finish over the Revel's. Harman clearly spent the bucks on R&D, drivers, and cabinet construction, and the Salon2 looks cool to my eyes (especially in black), but it doesn't look like $22K.

Where the Revel cleans house, IMO, is in imaging. I've had my pair for a about a year now, and I'm still amazed by the soundstage they throw. Just amazed. A couple of nights ago I was letting someone else sit in the sweet spot in my room, and I sat in front of the right speaker. Even in that skewed position I still heard the image coming from between the speakers and not from the speaker in front of me.(!) I've only heard two other speakers that can pull off that trick, the OHM Walsh (I heard the 4000 in a private home) and the Linkwitz Labs Orion, and neither one of those seems to do the pinpoint imaging trick in the sweet spot.

Nonetheless, I can understand where different people, with different preferences and priorities, would prefer the 802s or the Wilsons. I suppose that has always been one of my complaints with high-end audio, in that many of us want to search for the "one best" solution. As with musical instruments, I'm not sure there is such a thing wrt speakers in real rooms.
I think a more truthful comparison should have been made with the same amps; "and the Revel Ultima Salon 2's...the B and w were powered by recommended Classe power amp; revel's I think by Parasound", or ML as you later described. These are vastly different amps and therefore, will reveal the differences in these speakers based on the power derived from the amplifier and the amplifier design itself. That does not make it a close A/B comparison, unless you hook up each speaker to the same amp.

I for one, do not think that Classe amplifiers are an automtatic match to all of the B&W's, as any amplifier for that matter, and the same could be said for matching amplifiers with Wilson's or Revels.
I have the Salon 2s with ARC electronics. I can tell you I'm extremely happy with this system. Did not listen to the B&W 802Ds but they appear to be a very nice upgrade to the previous version of this speaker.

I've had B&W before (804s) as well as Revel (F32s). My personal preference has been with the Revel.

Again, both are very nice. Down to personal preference.

I'll update you guys in a bit.

My problem is that I haven't had time for extended listening to both in an A/B test (I had one night and need a couple of others now that I know what types of music I want to compare). The only way I can make this happen is to have my wife out of the house for an extended period of time, but that's hard to make happen (unless I offer her a trip to New York).

The way I'm doing it is hooking the same equipment up to the speakers and changing out the leads to the speakers - so I'm not biased by upstream equipment. An initial impression: I was really surprised by the Revels. The only place where I thought I might prefer the B&W's was on vocals (pretty sweet here). The soundstage and imaging on the Revels is really something. There is detail in the Revel's that I didn't hear in the 802d's. Now I want to confirm that initial impression before making a decision.

Variation in the placement of the speakers is limited though and I think this would have an effect on the sound (i.e. putting the BW's in a different room setup from the Revels will change the impression of the sound). I'm still wondering if my Bryston 4bSST is better suited to one or the other speaker (and/or the same question with my CR 2500a). I'm thinking about biamping, but these amps do not really match well (impedance of 29 on one and 27 on the other).

The wife likes the less "alien" look of the Revels, but not the size.

Thanks for the input guys. I quit checking 'cause I thought no one was really interested in this topic.
Revel is a no brainer.

The 802d is one of the most unnatural sounding speakers I've heard.

No finanicial interest in either line.
To Audiofeil. 802D unnatural sounding??? You obviously have a hearing impairment.
I think Audoifeil has a point, I liked the 802diamond but I could not bring myself to buy them. I have a love/hate relationship with them. On one hand I think they are very engaging (bass punch and the vocals grab you) but on the other they always sound unnatural to me. The mids are peaky and the highs while VERY good stand out to me.

As a side note I think Revels (in general) throw vocals much like my Thiels. They spread the vocals very wide across the whole front stage. Where the 802diamonds are much more focused. The focus of the vocals maybe what is drawing you into the B&Ws (or it could be the 4k peak). For a point of reference the Sopha 3 runs a center line between the 802diamond and Revels having good spread and focus at the same time.

I did compare the Sophia 3 and 802diamond in the same room and system... I am sure someones head will explode when I say this but I liked the B&Ws better. They were more detailed in the mids, and highs. The bass of B&Ws also had a more defined initial whack of the bass drum. But I could not get over the oddness of the sound stage of the 802diamonds. The mids were nice but as Audiofeil points out they just sounded unnatural and produced.

This is an odd hobby though, and everyone likes what they like. Just because one speaker is better it does NOT mean you will like it better. With that said there is no doubt that the Revels are the better (better=accurate) speaker and IMO is one of the best buys in audio right now.


How much toe in are you using with the Revels? You may get more focus in the vocal range if you toe them in pretty far, of course the soundstage will get smaller.
First of all I must apologize to Audiofeil for my remark. I was caught alittle by surprise that he referred the 802D as sounding (overall) unnatural. Afterall, this is a forum for civil discussion,not verbal attack. You said the mids sounded alittle peaky. The 4K peak you mentioned is only about 3db from a graph I have seen. Yes vocals are important to me, but what I noticed about the 802D is its lack of edge and sibilance in this regard. The vocals sound very natural to me. I'm a bit confused about the oddness of the soundstage you mentioned. The soundstage is upfront but still having width and depth. The placement of instruments and vocals on the soundstage seem very stable and natural to me. Many speakers have a deep soundstage at the expense of sounding distant and lacking dynamics. The lower priced Vandersteens come to mind in this regard. I also like many other aspects of the B&W's. They have a very natural lower midrange timbre that I think does justice to percussion. Piano comes to mind.

I do agree everyone likes what they like, that's why there are so many different brands and types of speakers out there to choose from. Although people can get the wrong impression of a product if proper matching of components is ignored or an otherwise great sounding system is put into a poor acoustically treated room. I believe these are the most common reasons for a person either liking or dis-liking a given product. And sometimes a person will dismiss
a product simply because it sounds merely "different" to what they're use to.

As I said before, I have listened to The older Revel Salons,but I prefer the B&W's. Just my personal preference.
Don't sweat it Mr_m.

Different strokes for different folks.

Speakers are the most "personal" component in any system. If it makes you feel better I'm not a big fan of Usher and Eggleston either.

Flame away boys and girls.
Audiofeil, it's nice to see there are others that feel the same way.
Mr m wrote "I'm a bit confused about the oddness of the soundstage you mentioned"

It seemed odd to me and I am not sure why, I will try and describe what I heard but it was just one demo of the 802Diamond. I demoed the older 802D about 5 times a few years ago before I passed on them. I have also owed the 803s and still have a pair of 703s in the second bedroom system.

Anyway the soundstage (just my opinion) sounded a little off. It was like the mids, highs, and bass were on different planes. The mids projected forward while the highs were back a little farther and the bass bloomed through out the room as bass does. The sound stage seemed very small in stage when directly compared to the Sophia 3. Now the 802diamond did throw a very DEEP soundstage but it's width seem narrow. The stability was like a soap bubble to me. When I really focused it was beautiful but if I got distracted I lost it. On the other hand the Sophia's sound stage was not near as fragile.

I noticed it most on female vocals and much less on male vocals. Female vocals seemed to stage more narrow than male vocals. It made me think that the 6" driver was crossed over a little to high and it was starting to beam (just a guess, i really have no idea). Room/side reflection will play a big part here.
OK I've still got to get "extended" time, but the other day I got a spare hour to listen. Got to say that IMO the Revels really kill the 802's. The 802's are great speakers but in an A/B test the 802's sound like the Revels just with a couple of sheets draped over the speaker. IOW's if you took a blanket and spread it over the Revels you would get the 802's. BTW I still like the 802's - always have always will. I still remember the first time I heard them.
please read this new current month issue of 'Stereophile'. Kal Rubinson does his usual great job of reviewing both the new B and W 800 diamond; and the Meridian 861 v6; he really liked the 802 diamonds he reviewed earlier; and feels that the 800's are even better. He only briefly at the end tries to compare them to other quality speakers he has reviewed; including the Salon 2's; from back in 2008, but doesn't really get into comparing the differences or which flavor of these he prefered. Granted the 800 diamonds are not the 802's, but are closer in price to the Ultima 2's. It seems that with each version; B and W is getting improved reviews; and better sound, and more coherent. All I can say; is that during my listening session at a dealer's audio room; I prefered the Revel's over the new 802 diamonds; I have not heard the 800 diamonds which were just reviewed by Kal. Not sure you need to audition each speaker with identical amps; as Audioquest wrote; some amps do make better magic and synergy with different speakers; and again; this is all personal taste and preference...what I think posters are really getting at is to help them prevent buyers remorse at these price points; and may not truly trust their own ability to audition properly, and want some keepback. It can be daunting to go in to a dealer; with your own cd's and be critical, and take time, etc. Best of course is in home demo in my opinion, but that may take a leap of faith from dealer; and a sense you are not kicking tires; to then buy used on the 'Gon.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to make acute comparisons to a speaker that one has not heard in 2 years and it would be misleading if I attempted it.

I do appreciate your interest in such a comparison and my comparisons are as site-specific as any you would do in a showroom although I have a greater familiarity with my room/system.

In response to Nab2's last post. Why do you need all of these other comments on the two speakers in question if you have already determined that the Revel is ultimately the winner in your listening evaluations? You yourself said that the "Revels really kill the 802's". Would you have decided to keep the 802's had all the comments been pro 802 even if the Revels still sounded better to you?

It is very true that loudspeakers are a very personal preference. Since this thread started I have talked to other audiophiles and dealers alike that thought the B&Ws kill the Revels. It also appears Mr Kal Rubinson Of Stereophile seems to favour the B&W's also.

I guess it boils down to what YOU like regardless of other opinions. I've been an audiophile for 38 years now and it still amazes me of what people think is good and what is not. Please note that even though I own a pair of 802D's, I'm not trying to convince anyone here that this is the speaker to choose. I have found this thread extremely interesting and insightful. All of you seem very knowledgeable.
Sorry about my delay in response, I’ve been without internet access (in the wilderness) and haven’t been able to respond.

To Mribob:
Point taken on the amps – that’s why I was asking for opinion on amplification. Part of my question was, given the two amps that I have whether one might sound better He and also looking for reasonably priced suggestions for amplification in the future (and whether to biamp).

I’m aware of the price differential, but in the used market the differential partially evaporates (the B&W’s hold their resale better) so that the 802d’s sell for around 9000 and the Revels for around 12,000. Instead of an 8000 difference in list you have a closer price point with the 800d’s falling in between.

To Mr_M
First, regarding my “need” of comments if I’ve already determined a winner: Read the posts, I haven’t already determined a winner, what I have done is reached PRELIMINARY conclusions (I figured I’d shout too). You might also note that I started the thread on April 4, on April 16 I made some observations, asked about placement and amplifiers again, and on April 19th I said that my initial impression was that the Revel’s “killed” the 802s. I’m still open for suggestions as to placement of speakers (thanks to James63 for your comments with which I agree BTW), CD’s to listen to that might show off the 802’s or the Revels and amplification suggestions. Let me refine my comments: I shouldn’t have said a “blanket”, it’s more like a sheet.

Second, you ask if I would have kept the 802’s if I thought the Revels were better but folks said the 802’s were better: No, but that’s not the point is it? Read the thread, I asked for things to look for etc in the demo and I asked for amplification advice. I didn’t ask for YOU to tell me which one to keep. Though I am curious what other folks think about the strengths/weaknesses of the speakers.

I’ve got to say that I’m amazed at audiophiles like YOU who seem to want to shut off discussion because “it’s all in the ear of the behearer” and it’s all personal preference anyway. Good grief. Haven’t you ever been to a restaurant and tried someone else’s dish? Or talked about a meal that you enjoyed someplace and found that you had a different opinion from others who ate there, but you enjoyed the conversation just the same? Well, I generally do too until one of the folks says something like “You know I’ve talked to some really well known restaurateurs around here and they think you’re wrong about that dish. Hey I’ve been eating food for 38 years and it still amazes me of what people think is good and what is not. Heck, it’s all about individual taste buds anyway, but you all seem pretty knowledgeable here and I’ve enjoyed the conversation.” Pretty well shuts down the discussion at that point, don’t it?

Friend, I'm not hitting on your speakers - I like the 802's, this isn't a contest about who is right. It is a discussion about subjective impressions. An exercise that partially defines us as humans. I doubt if many animals are out there comparing their experiences("Hey Bert, did you hear that coyote? Keep your head down, but did you notice how sibilant he was on the last yelp there. - - Hey Bessie, how's that cud taste?").

To all
I’ll still posts some more impressions later one. In the meantime I’m still interested in what you guys/gals think and any suggestions you have. I’ve been in this hobby for longer than Mr_M and still find that I can learn things – besides my hearing ain’t what it was and I’m not willing to subject myself to the kinds of things I did when I was younger.
PS Sorry for all the typos in the previous post. I just got back and was typing for all I was worth - apparently I'm not worth much. I have no idea why the word "He" appears in my third sentence or why I wrote "posts" instead of "post" in the last paragraph. Ah well, such is life.


I never did answer your question about CDs, figured you would not like my stuff. Music is very personal and it is why I do not recommend music for demos very often. Most often what ever you are listing to most frequently at the time makes for the best demos.

With that being said I alway demo the same CDs for speakers demos and add what even I am listening to at the time. Below is a list of CDs I take, be it some are very unconventional but I have chose them for a reason. I am not really into audiophile music (jazz, classical) and the CDs I take may not be the best but they work for me.

Eric Clapton's Unplugged
- "Layla" This is an all acoustic track and will let you tell tone and timbre. The crowd clapping also gives a since of sound stage. Imaging is a little right of center on this recording though.

Michael Jackson's Bad Remastered.
- any song really, but "just good friends" comes to mind. This CD has good bass drums and bass guitar. On good speakers you can hear every pluck and strum of the bass guitar. "Bad" also has good pace and drum line

Metallica's Black album.
- This CD was a staple of my youth and if the speakers can't get rock right they have to go....

Tori Amos' Under the Pink.
- It is mostly Piano and Vocals. It is recorded pretty well. I am just listening to the upper mids hear and the scale of the piano. The CD has a bit of sibilance though and if the mids are peaky it will stand out on this CD.

Apocalytica' Inquisition Symphony.
- This is my midrange stress test, if there is a hiccup in the bass-mid-tweeter handoff you will hear it. This is a cello quartet but they cover heavy metal tracks. This CD has gotten a few raised eye brows during demos. It is very well recorded... but not for everyone. Give it a demo on itunes or amazon before you buy the CD.

Evanescence " The open door" not the best recording (its ok still) but I just like it....

Thats about it, I will add in what ever I am into at the time. I have taken everything from Devo's "Some thing for everyone" (electronic base lines) to Dream Theater to demos...

I value scale and dynamics above all things and like a high energy speaker that has a softer side too. I also need the small details to get into the music. I am VERY picky on spoken word (can't stand boxy-ness during a movie). But I am not a stickler for highs and find most "highend" speakers' highs are good enough for me.

For what it is worth B&W always show well with rock music. Turn them up and they just have a sense of power. Maybe it is the forward mids with the strong bass but it works.
Good suggestions - thanks. I've listened to several of these since you made 'em. While not all are my cup 'o tea I like several of them and appreciate the listening suggestions (the only one I have on CD is Clapton). For me it's helpful to be listening for a particular phrase in a piece of music when demoing speakers etc.

I like all kinds of music (though metal and hard rock are not really my style), but gravitate to stuff that's really engineered well (Brian Culbertson, Craig Chaquico, Keb 'Mo, Aaron Neville's "Warm Your Hear") and I tend toward smooth jazz (Grusin, Benoit, Lorber, Peter White).

I'm not really good at expressing sound with words but, when it comes to speakers I really like "dimension"/depth in the music and delicacy (i.e. being able to hear a guys fingernails or pick on the strings of a guitar).

I own some Keb 'Mo but all the other you listed are new to me. I did demo all the music you listed in itunes.

I think with your taste in music both of the speakers you have chosen will sound very nice. I think the balance of the revels will allow you to pick apart the music better and find the details in the music you like (with better timbre too). I have always thought B&Ws are a bit of a rocker brand (strong bass, strong highs, forward mids) where the revels seem to run a center line and seem to get out of their own way better.

Enjoy the music
OK, I also own the B&W 802d's and the three most important points to getting the best from them are: 1. The amp, 2. The amp, and 3. The amp.
So which amps have you tried and which do you suggest? I currently have a couple on hand: CJ 2500A and Bryston 4bSST2 - which would be better?

Either one bad for the 802ds?

What's the central issue(s) for good vs bad amp for the 802's?
The 802 impedance is all over the place and needs an amp that can handle the swings even though they are 90db efficient. Lots of speakers are like this though. Basically they need lots of current and with lots of current comes lots of power. It goes back to Ohm's Law (I=V/R) as the resistance drops the current goes up (voltage is constant in the home). Of course this is a very simple explanation and the capacitors in the crossovers will complicate things. There are lots of designers on audiogon that could explain it better... electrical was never my strong suit in school.

"I estimated the B&W 802D's voltage sensitivity as 89dB(B)/2.83V/m, within experimental error of the specified 90dB figure and usefully higher than the average of the more than 500 speakers I have measured in the past 16 years. The B&W's impedance plot (fig.1) reveals the speaker to be moderately difficult to drive, with a magnitude that drops to 3 ohms throughout the upper bass and an awkward combination of 4 ohms and –50° electrical phase angle at 60Hz. In addition, the very high peak between 2 and 3kHz, resulting from the tweeter/midrange crossover, will give a somewhat forward tonal balance with amplifiers having a significant source impedance; say, tube models."

look at the first graph.
Thanks for the feedback, but I still have a question(s) unanswered. I may have to start a new thread, perhaps in the amp section. The question is whether the CJ or Bryston is better with one or the other of the sets of speakers.
Related to that is whether I need to upgrade amps (without spending a minor fortune (Mark L. monoblock 53's).

I'm also trying to figure out how to match amps to speakers without having to listen to them all! You say amplification is crucial (I'd agree) and you say one needs an amp that can handle the swings in impedance, but you don't say how one determines whether an amp can handle it or whether the CJ 2500A or Bryston 4B SST2 are adquate (though I think they are). I'm also open to suggested readings guys.

PS Specs only tell so much.

Thanks again.
PS I would think the power is fine. Curious as to what other factors to consider
I own B&W N803s, and have lusted after the 802s in it's various incarnations for a long time. I have listened to MANY great speakers from 10k-27k over the past few years (Maggie 3.6 and 20.1, Sonus Faber Elipsa, Vienna Klimt Musik, Rockport Mira and Ankaa, Wilson Sophia 1/2, Genesis 5.3, Dynaudio, Coincident, Revel Salon2, etc etc etc), and I've come to the not atypical conclusion that no spkr is perfect and they all have a sound, they all emphasize/deemphasize various aspects of the frequency spectrum. I know thats a "DUH" statement, but it is what it is. Your ears will tell you what you like, but your heart will tell you which spkr moves you. Buy that one.

As for this comparison, I would actually hope that the Salon2 clearly beats the 802D as the cost difference is significant. I think you would have a tougher fight on your hands with the more evenly matched 800D. Having just listened to the Salon2 a week ago, I can tell you that from my experience, as much as I love the 802D, the Salon2 did a lot of things just a little better. Sounstage and imaging was superb, among the best I've heard. Palpability of performers and voice in front of me was also among best ever heard. Low end extension was excellent in both definition and force (felt it). However, it did miss a frequency or two, ie, one cut with a piano recessed and lower in volume than anytime I've heard it before, which struck me as really odd. I missed that piano's sound cuz I knew it should be there more prominantly. Also, it didn't quite sing with rock as some other fine spkrs have. So is it perfect, no. Would I buy compared to most everything else I've heard, possibly, maybe even probably, but I'd certainly find the 800D if I could to compare (as well as a few others I'd still like to hear like SoundLab and MBL). Could I buy the 802D and be happy for a long time, definitely. Not sure this helped, but if you have any questions, happy to respond. Good luck, its a fun problem to have, this decision.