Review: B & W Loudspeakers Matrix 802 s2 Speaker

Category: Speakers

These speakers are a wonderful buy on todays used market. Many B&W innovations went into the design of the 802"S.
They are an excelent full-range speaker, and never received the praise they deserved.

The Matrix series II are a three way front ported system,
they have an aluminum tweeter, a Kevlar midrange in a separate movable "fibercrete" housing, and dual woofers. All the drivers are time aligned. They weigh ~70 lbs each.

These are basically the same as the series III which did away with the power protect cicuit, added ferro fluid to the tweeter, and attached the midrange housing to the cabinet so it's not movable.

There is a power protect circuit which makes them able to handle lots of power. Some enthusists recommend by passing the protect circuit, however I recommend only bypassing the high frequency portion.

They are a very reveling speaker and will reveal any weak components in your system. When used with good equipment these speakers really shine! The bass performance does not go ultra low, although it's very powerful and tight. They really don't need the bass alignment filters that are avlailable for them. Good spikes or stands however are a necessity!

The highs are smooth, but I prefer the sound of a silk dome tweeter myself. The midrange is detailed and natural, and is as good as it gets in any price range. I noticed an improvement in the imaging when I bi-wired them, and they do need space around them to image properly. These speakers play all varieties of music exteremely well.

The crossover components are not of the highest quality.
Their size is ~42" H, 11"W, 13" D, and they weigh ~70 lbs each.

So if size and weight are not an issue I highly recommend the 802 M-II's.

Associated gear
Audible Illusions MOD 3A - Preamp
Odyssey Audio - Staratos - Amp
Audio Analog - Maestro - CD Player
Audio Quest - Colbalt- Spk cable bi wired
Groneberg - Interconnects

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B&W 802F Specials
I have the MATRIX 803 S 3 speakers,use with AUDIO RESEARCH D-130 power amp,LS-9 preamp,CAL GENESIS CD player,MR-80 by Mcintosh FM tuner,Audioquest Diamond Interconnects XLR between pre-power and CD,RCA to the tuner.I truly like this speaker a lot as it can handle any type of music and can reveal idf the recording wasnt too good either.Also is recommended to put them on SOUND ANCHORS stands too.Cheers.
Just purchased B&W 802s3 thru Audiogon, With dedicated Sound Anchor stands. Upgraded from 10 y.o. Polk Monitor 10-B. Using B&K EX-442 200wpc Dual mono amp and ARC LS7 and EAD T-7000 Transport and DAC. Although I thought the Polks were great, I find the B&W's image real well, bass is tight and tuneful highs pristine and airy. These are the best speakers I've Heard although With ARC tube amps and LS-5 pre at a dealer. Although it wasnt the music tone that make the speaker so special, But the holographic image they throw into your lap. The disappearing act they do. Its a whole new listening experience. I mean , cymbals on the ceiling drums on the floor , vocals in the middle. a WALL OF SOUND floating in mid air across the space. Also the slight veil of grain that I did'nt know I heard with the Polks did not exist with the 802's. Tried Bi-wiring with Tara labs RSC prime 1000 but found no immediate difference. >Maybe it was the cheap long run of Monster interconnect from the pre to the amp that defeated the purpose of the biwire. Otherwise it's Audioquest Ruby interconnect and AQ Indigo cable. The bottom line... Wanted these speakers for years. finally got them. Maybe in another 10 years I'll switch again.
P.S. In the 802 series 3 the mid/treble head assembly is movable, so toe in is not a problem. essentialy, the speaker is a mini monitor sitting on top of a sub woofer. If you use one of those laser pointers for 5 bucks ( the ones that are flat, not the bullet shaped ones)and hold it on the side of the midrange you can aim the mid/tweeter assembly on either speaker, with pinpoint accuracy at your sweet spot.The sub unit aim more or less straight ahead.