Listen to both and choose the speaker that rocks you.
Your ears and your money.
Your ears and your money.
I have compared the Paradigm S8 and B&W 802D (last model not the diamond, but I have also demoed the diamond) with in a few days of each other. I heard the S8 on a $30 Krell front end and a cheapy Arcam set up. I also demoed the Focal 1037Be on the same/same room as the S8 (Krell). I demoed the 802D on an all Classe' front-end and cheapy Rotel set up.
The short answer is the 802D would be a lateral move in general and it will come down to what you are trying to improve. The 802Ds have a more open and detailed midrange but at the cost of an unnatural tone (IMO) because of some peaky-ness. The bass is very strong on the 802D and was a good bit stronger than the S8 but it does not really have anymore definition than the S8. I would call it a tie, both sound a little boomy to me. Now the 802D has much better highs, but they are bright tonally compared to the S8.
All in all the 802D will be a little more fun (punch/slam, forward vocals, bright highs) but the S8 is probably more accurate while being a little boring dynamically speaking.
Now the 1037Be sounded a lot more like the S8. I has good tonal balance but the mids are MUCH more open than the S8. Highs are about the same but the driver integration was lacking as a whole. I was trying to talk myself into the 1037be at one point because the price was right but I wised up and passed on the deal.
I've yet to hear a B&W sound better than a Vandersteen but that is my taste. Why these two? If I were you I would list all of your preferences and priorities in a speaker and have the this vast vault of vernacular but sometimes venomous victims of audio addiction make a few valued and often times victorious recommendations. Do you have a veneer preference?
You will be much better off than deciding between two, unless you've heard them both but can't make up your mind.
Bob, I am going to regret this post because I may touch off another speaker war. We lost a lot of A'gon members at the last "Clash of the Titans" (pun intended). RIP guys. :( Btw, as an aside, there's a post currently running asking members to list their favorite speaker. There's more than 1300 posts!!
Ok, I am taking a deep breath and am ready to take cover. You mention that you currently own the Paradign S8, presumably version 1 (Go-Pal tweeter). Since that time, Paradigm has made numerous changes and improvements to the Signature line, probably the most significant being the beryllium tweeter. The new S8 (now version 3) has received rave reviews, e.g., Marc Mickelson, May 28, 2010, TAB.
Another point is that the S8s (v3) are considerably less money than the Vandy 5As, if purchased new. (I guess that means the Vandys and B&W speakers you list MUST be better than the S8s because they cost more.)
All I'm saying is that you may want to treat yourself to a listen. Having said what I did, perhaps another "speaker skirmish" can be avoided by saying that the other speakers you mention in the OP have great reputations and should be seriously considered.
B&W is more like what you have. Go listen to both. The vandersteen it is a more accurate speaker and nicer to listen to for long hours. Also for your room the vandersteen base gets tuned which will help. The b&w is a little more of a gamble. On the down side the Vandersteen has a more involved set up and may have a slightly tigher sweet spot. Hope this helps a bit. I was in the same boat a couple of years ago and got the Vandersteen and have been happy since they grew with me, not to say the B&W would not of. In fact I just bought some new Vandersteens and Richard Vandersteen called me today to see how they where doing and if I liked them. Great customer service.
I owned Nautilus 800's for over four years and thought they sounded good, although they never sounded like they were cut from the same cloth. The easiest way to describe it was that from a nearby room they just sounded like average speakers. The midrange definition was good but it sounded but it sounded like the bass and treble were attached to it. About a year ago I picked up a pair of Vandersteen 5's. They have been a dramatic improvement across the board. There's a coherence that is almost hard to describe. Set up can be a little time consuming, it took me several months to get them dialed in, but it's definitely worth the effort. My vote is for the Vandersteens.
I have listened to the 802D several times and thought the bass and lower midrange was thick and colored, also they are known to be difficult to drive.
I am sure the Rogue 180 is beefy but I wonder if it would be enough to really light up the 802D.
Also I agree with above, the Vandy and it's bass correction feature, would be really nice.
my two cents...
I'm driving my 5As with 60-into-8 Atma-Sphere M-60Mk.3.1s, and FINALLY I've found an amp(s) I probably will keep forever. There's no lack of power--the system plays louder than I'd ever want to listen in my largish 3200CF room, and it never sounds dynamically compressed. Of course, one reason for this is the reduction of bass energy the amp(s) has to reproduce, since you'll be using some version of V-steen's hi-pass filter required by the 5As (and Quatros and 7s). Also, damping factor is simply not a factor with the 5As, since most of the bass is reproduced by that magnificent-sounding powered-bass system.
Go for the Mac, Tubes.