Innovative audio in NYC has them in same demo room; the answer to your question is Sonus.
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I Agree with Justy. I had always owned B&W's, but was torn recently when between B&W, Acoustic Energy and Sonus Faber when looking to upgrade. I was very close to buying the 805's and got the Concertos instead. In my opinion, The Sonus Faber Concertos can go head to head with the 805's so I think the Grand Pianos will blow them out of the water. Only caveat, they like/need some power.
I listened to both (12/2000) at innovative also and the 805's were simply better. The Sonus speakers were much more reserved, witheld high and low detail and sound stage. The only Sonus that I have been impressed with are the Gunneri Homage but they are considerably more expensive and space comsumming. When you listen to each make sure that the speaker cables are equally matched.
I'm wondering if you're referring to the GP's new version (just out recently) or the previous model (with the stones). I'm a Sonus fan, though to be fair, I haven't had a real chance to demo 805's. The new GP's supposedly offer a richer depth, and better fullnes to the mids & highs, as well as much better power handlin, utilizing a slightly larger tweeter & 2 mid/bass drivers (equal size, diff. Xover points), compared to last year's 2-way design--additionally, they're supposed to substantially improve over the modest bass response of earlier model, which in my opinion was it's only real deficiency . I STILL love the older models, though...phenomenal clarity, superb imaging, and MAN they look cool...especially with the stones. New ones are bigger, and still look beautiful, but I miss the unique look of the stones under them. I'm actually on the fence whether to grab a pair of new ones (potentially better sound) or look for a killer deal on the earlier models. Let us know what you decide.
The Concerto is much better then the 805. It has much better bass, with the Concerto I don't feel the need for sub. The Concerto's are much more life like and smoother and more detailed. The silk dome tweeter of the concerto lets it capture more of the air in recording. I thought that the 805's tweeter was much too bright and did not match smoothly with the rest of the speaker. You always seemed to be able to hear the seperation of the sound between the drive units. The 805 is a good speaker don't get me wrong, but the Concerto is a great speaker. Both seem very easy to drive. I happened to have a 400 watt Classe Ca-401 at the time, so power was definetly not a factor when I reviewed either of them. BTW I've owned both, I sold the 805s to go for the concerto's and to this day think that Sonus gives you more bang for the buck then B&W. Plus B&W have huge mark up on their prices. I was able to buy my pair for 75% off retail BRAND NEW the first time I walked into a store. The store also happened to be the biggest B&W dealer in North America, so prehaps they get special discounts.
Tbonephile, I, too would be interested in clarification of the statement highlighted above by Lee. I've never listened to the concerto, just the concerto GP, so I can't comment. However, the N805, to me, has NEVER sounded "separated" between the tweeter and woofer. In fact, I think that the incredible coherence between drivers is perhaps their greatest strength. As far as more bass from the SF, that is quite likely.
Yo,Yo Tbonphile Sonus gives you more bang for a buck ...you must be jokeing they are most overpriced speakers in USA, All Sonus Faber cost 40~50% less in Europe and B&W has same prices Europe versa USA, sure there is Paolo but his price are full retail in Europe not much deal here anyway.....Do you know that Sound factory GP go used (like new) for $ 1000~1200 in Europe. Retail there is like $ 2200.....and B&W 805N are better than GP (better value) when you buy new in USA any time of a day... I just wonder which biggest dealer gave you 75% off when the line (B&W) is only 40% off to the dealers. Happy listening
I bought the new GP "Home" (terrible name isn't it!)and had them shipped from Italy to my office. They are drop dead gorgeous (i bought walnut). They are slightly larger than the old ones (only slightly). I was in love with the old ones, however, bass response was lacking. The new ones do make up for that a bit. I originally drove them with a Conrad Johnson integrated tube amp (cav-50) which was a marvelous little amp. I would hardly call the GP "power hungry" as someone suggested. The cav-50 slipped only while driving the most demanding of music. I did upgrade to the CJ premier 11A which creates a mind numbing clarity, richness, depth, and soundstaging. Combined with my No.39 Levinson CD (I am digital only)I am in ecstasy. I have stopped shopping the high end stores altogether now because I need nothing. I found the Fabers to be more realistic than the B&W's with regard to tonality (but...for what it is worth....i am a tube only guy). Demo the GP's if you can to be certain that they work for you. My friends now say that "if we want to listen to CD's....I'm going over to mfgrep's place" (vinyl snobs...all of 'em! :) lol
Gthirteen, I bounced back and forth a lot, before making the decision. I was also auditioning against Pro-Ac and Acoustic Energy in different stores. I listen to An Amazing mix of music from Jazz to Electronica, Classical to HipHop, and for me, the Concertos made my favorite music sound TOTALLY different than I had ever heard it before. Might have just been a different voicing from the b and w's but it was nice for a change. Sax and vocals and pianos are incredible on them. Let us know what you decided. BTW, if you like floorstanders (I had to by monitors due to kids), try the PROACS they are definitely up there too!