To pricey


Hello was looking at a pair of B&W 804d or 803d but so expensive are they worth it.  ????

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I love my 803D3s.

I think they are worth it.

Your opinion is all that matters.

People who have purchased it are inclined to say "yes" for various reasons.

Perhaps you're curious what other options might be viable of this type, price, kind of speaker.

 No not to me. B&W are well made (800 series) and detailed but they get the fundamentals of frequency response wrong which is far more important than fancy materials.
 

I had a private demo of the of the 802D4 on McIntosh MC611 mono amps and 2700 preamp ($70k worth of gear) came home and listened to my “budget” $25,000 stereo (picture in my profile) and mine was simply better. Perceived details were just as good and the frequency response was much smoother. I had bass slam with duel subs the 802D4 simply could not touch. Don’t get me wrong the 802D4 have good enough bass but near the same league as well integrated subs.
 

the 802D4 and every other B&W for that matter (I have owned a few) have peaky mids with peaky highs. The 802D4 specifically makes male singers sound thin and seems to collapse to the mid driver. The highs are good/fun but play it loud for 45 minutes, it will be less fun. For me this speaker is only for someone older who has some hearing loss in. That is not meant to be negative. We are all at different stages in age/hearing. 
 

Anyway B&W are not terrible speakers. They look nice and are super detailed. Just comes down to if you can put up with the peaks in the upper mids and highs. The smaller models have crap bass. 
 

I have not heard the 804D4 but the measurements give me a moment of pause. They make that nice quality box then tune in a giant port noise peak?!?, crazy. 

You may want to take a listen to the new 700 series TAS reports that they sound terrific almost reaching the 800 series in sound at a fraction of the price.

To further my question its the newest models the 804d4 or 803d4 using NAD M25 amp have been running 804 Nautilus for almost 20 yrs paid 3500 USD considering inflation today Listen Up wants 14000 for 804 d4s and 23000 for 803d4s  the speaker will only be 10ft from me just dont want to spend that kind of money for a latteral move any other brands to consider?

+1 @johnto...The Nautilus are also awesome.  Many geezers are selling theirs now (think Florida).  I would put the extra $ into the electronics.  The NAD is not up to the abilities of any of the B and W 800 series speakers IMHO.

 

 

In terms of resale value, sure.  Deciding whether or not you want to sit with them in a long term commitment however, that's something only you can decide.

In this current climate is better to go with pro speakers and looks for speakers made from wood and not break the bank. Also to build your own speaker is quite easy today and the material is a little expensive but you can make it so much better for a few thousand on a custom speaker is nearly better than a 20000 speaker just saying also diminishing returns is a real thing 

definitely would not pick B&W, I find them a little bright and edgy.

the monitor audio platinum 200 and 300 Gen 2 and gen 3 are much better than anything B&W makes, much more natural sounding and way more three-dimensional.

I auditioned the new D4 (803/804) powered by Classe Audio and I didn’t like either of them but it could be the amplifications and the speakers were merely broken-in  (I used to own N802 and love it!)

IMHO you may want to consider upgrading the NAD amp which should give you much better sounding than going from N804 to 804D4 

James633 - I agree. The only way to make any B&W that I have heard listenable for any length of time is when you pair them up with a warmer sounding Classe or McIntosh amp. I’m pretty sure that why B&W bought Classe.

@801d 

"any other brands to consider"

B&W would not be in the top 10 of my list.

Dynaudio, Totem, Revel, Monitor Audio are all great in smaller spaces which is what I have and I tested these and were very happy with them. BBC ones - I have never heard must work well too. ​​​​​​

For $9K I saw a pair of Devore Gibbons for sale here on Agon. Much better value than those new B&W's!

So, I got to hear the Joseph Audio Pulsars (original version) in the same system with the 804D3.  IMHO the Pulsars did everything better than the 804s.  I could respect what the 804s did, but they sounded sterile versus the musicality, imaging, and 3D soundstage of the Pulsars.  My advice, you could get a very nice pair of used Pulsars for about $3500 or, even better, get a pair of Perspectives.  IME they’re not even in the same league.  FWIW. 

https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649911512-joseph-audio-pulsar/

This has become so typical of posters here, most detractors never even heard the speakers or brands they often criticize in their home. Those complaining about B&W being bright and so on, please tell me which speaker doesn’t require careful matching with upstream electronics to sound its very best……

@lalitk i had heard them, in my home. I didn't like them. Other people love them. That's exactly how it works, we find that there is no ultimate list, we all have different favorites. 

1. Buy used.  2. I like the 803 D3. You may not. Others here express their love and dislike of b&w. They’re all correct. Now it’s your turn to decide.

This has become so typical of posters here, most detractors never even heard the speakers or brands they often criticize in their home

Most here, in this thread, have.

Those complaining about B&W being bright and so on, please tell me which speaker doesn’t require careful matching with upstream electronics to sound its very best……

Good point, but-

It`s either you move on to a more satisfying speaker, or you spend more money on the components, upstream, to match them. I did this. I have a SS amp paired with a tubed preamp. My B&W`s don`t sound bright, as they once had, but wonderful.

I own the 804 D4 and power them with a Gryphon Diablo 300 using Transparent cabling, my source is a Lumin P1 and sometimes I go USB out via a Lampizator Baltic 3 DAC. I bought the speakers/amp/source and cabling from the same dealer where I auditioned multiple system combinations from the likes of McIntosh Classe Sonus Faber Totem Aurender etc. I agree with those above who said your amp won’t produce the sonic goods with ANY of the 800 D4 series speakers. I would stick with your Nautilus speakers and upgrade your amp OR if you really have specifically speaker upgraditis you might want to try the Spendor D series for a more neutral/warmer sonic character or stick with a more high resolution brand like Focal Kanta series that are easier to drive than B&W.

I heard the B&W speakers with McIntosh amps at Axpona and they sounded excellent. But if you are considering another brand listen to some Rockport speakers. Superb in every way. Good luck!

 

Ron 

Listen to a pair of Focal Kanta 3s if you can…warmer balance, plenty of slam, and less $$$.

NO! The build/design and parts quality are superior to many British made hi-end speakers. Since B&W is such an aspirational brand they are often driven by subpar electronics with mediocre results. 

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How many takeovers, buyouts, etc. etc. has B&W been subject to since they were actually Bowers & Wilkins down in deepest Sussex?  Who owns them now?

Whatever you think of them nowadays, for the list price of any of their models it would be easy to find many superior-performing speakers made by different brands.

I was where you are.   Old Classe electronics, B/W 802N's.  

I bought Audionet Max Amps and Pre G2 Preamp (I had already gotten the  Vega DAC).  Wow.  It Sounded like new speakers!!!!   Really.  So when i actually got new speakers, wow again!!!  Everyone comes over and points to my speakers and says 'wow' those are amazing speakers.  It is easily 50% electronics, and people don't think that way..

I have 803 Nautilus for quite some time now, upgrading to the D verions with the Diamond Tweeter should be better for sure, but it will come at a cost.  I've found the B&W sound to be warm and netrual and not bright sounding.  They are very detail with alot of music seperation with enough bass that I dont need a subwoofer.  Given these were made in 1996, the speakers still sound so great and could be had for less than $3K, the D versions will cost double, and the newer D3 or D4 will cost as much to do a paver driveway.  Demo and let your ears be the judge.

B@W speakers are very amp dependent-not a strong amp will sound bad-the stronger the amp the better they will sound

@lalitk 

I agree completely that speakers have to be matched to gear, but why do so many dealers  not do that? I listened to the 804 d4’s powered by all Mac gear and the first song they played was Lorde’s big hit from a few years ago and I knew immediately I didn’t like the high end. After about 15 minutes, I asked them how long they had this setup expecting them to say it was new and needed some break in, but no, that was not the case.

I've owned a pair of 802 Nautilus speakers for 20+ years.  The problem with the speakers is they require a lot of electrical current, which many amplifiers cannot supply.  For the 800 series speakers, it has nothing to do with the Watt rating and everything to do with the amount of current that can be delivered.  If they are driven from amplifiers without an adequate power supply, the output section of the amplifier soon runs out of enough electrical current and the sound stage collapses, the bass is reduced, the mids become honkey, and you soon wonder why you paid all that money.   They need a high-current amplifier with at least a 200 Watt per channel rating.  I drive mine from individual 200 Watt amplifiers and they sound really good.  Are there other speakers that sound just as good?  Of course, there is always competing equipment that sounds equally as good - and today the speakers probably cost a lot less than B&W 800 series speakers.  Shop around, or be prepared to put a sizable chunk of money into an amplifier (or amplifiers) that can drive the speakers.

Audia Flight could be an interesting match with the current B&W 800 series?

To be honest, if I didnt use my own money and ears to listen to speakers and simply asked strangers online for their opinion I’d be lost all day and forever.  I currently own a pair of 802D4’s… theyre absolutely incredible speakers, both build wise and sonically.  They did a fantastic job with them.  Nothing harsh or off about them… give them a try.

Do you mean "too pricey"? Sorry it's hard for me to think that if one can't pick or articulate the right words, how can one afford and appreciate a really good expensive speaker?

@2psyop half of our planet now believes science is an evil liberal plot and the US attacked Russia in Ukraine, if you ever want to lower your expectations, this is the time..... 

WTH?

I get so confused these days. 

half of our planet now believes science is an evil liberal plot

@2psyop -- Some of the planet correctly believes that the kind of pseudoscience that liberals apply is what's evil--most people have no idea what science or the scientific method is and the term is slung around like a frisbee.

Maybe he meant to say "To pricey or not to pricey-that is the question" ?