Wilson W/P 5.1 vs B&W N802

I'm considering one of these two (used) Speakers. My budget is $6K (max). The room is 20'x26'x10'(H) with good acoustics.

I have 2 local Dealers that carry both Wilson and B&W, both insist that the W/P 5.1 is a much better Speaker then the N802 with no comparison between the two. In 1999 B&W launched the N802 and Wilson replaced the W/P 5.1 (6).

I've heard and liked both in the past, (not at the same time, no A vs B).

Are the Dealers right? should I forget abount the N802 and focus my search on the W/P 5.1? Is this a no-brainer (at this price range-between these 2-models)?

Both models appear often enough here on A-gon, so the purchase won't be a problem.


You can do better. I had a pair of WP 5.1 with a James subwoofer and my Usher CP 6381's were more engaging with a huge soundstage and a great top end and they cost only $3,400.00! For a little more money you can buy an Usher Dancer 8571 MK II which has a pure beryillium tweeter and offers amazing performance that will smoke both of the speakers you've mentioned.

I am a New York Usher dealer, try to find a pair of these to listen to they are really something great!
The WP 5.1 isn't as emotionally involving as their later models.

I didn't find the 802s emotionally involving either.

Maybe the Aerial 10T? Or would you be okay with Magnepans?

Revel Ultima Salons? or Studios?

Keep looking and listening.
I find Wilson more harmonic sounding in the bass than B&W. I would call the B&W more accurate but many prefer the warmer sound of Wilson (as many prefer a tube amp)......so it depends what you like...both are, of course, very good speakers.
IMO one of the most overpriced speakers on the market is
the WP 5.1 and earlier models. I can't speak to the later
models because I haven't heard them. The I heard with
Krell electronics in a store in the DC area. It was brittle
on the high end and had a pronounced mid-bass hump. Other
listeners have reported the same. A pair of Magnepan 3.6's
with good electronics is a much better value.
jmvs@aol.com - 1 A/B comparison is more valuable than 10,000 other peoples' opinions. Disregard them all, and decide for yourself.
For less than $6,000-you could buy a brand-new (discounted) pair of the new Focal/JM Lab 1027 Be Speakers which I have auditioned twice and found to sound amazing, IMO, close to the B&W 802D in detail, imaging & clarity, which I auditioned on the same day. Stereophile magazine recently gave the 1027 Be an "A Rating". A great deal for the money, probably 90+% of the sound of a pair of cost-no- object-Speakers, plus they look nice too.
Have owned B&W N802's and since replaced with Revel Studios. Wish I had replaced them earlier. Well worth the additional $ and not too much outside of your price range.
I second the recommendation regarding the Studios. If you were spending up to $10K, I would recommend the 802D. However, at your price point, the Studio is tough to beat. Of course, it is getting a little long in the tooth and a replacement is rumored to be available later this year. Nonetheless, I would buy the Studios over the 802N every day of the week. Just make sure you have a powerful amp to drive them. I use a BAT VK-6200 and have been very happy with the results.
I wasn't impressed with either - they both sounded pretty sterile in my system. In that price range, Legacy Focus 20/20 worked much better for me. I agree that you can do better. Haven't heard Usher but have heard lots of good things about them.

For a few dollars more, Legacy Whisper speakers (used) could amaze you. Sweet, open, airy and resolving sound - also very true to the music. They come up on Agon from time to time and are wonderful speakers.
Does anyone know why the Absolute Sound review, including the comment by Harley, says these speakers were less than 7K, and all of a sudden, they cost closer to 10K? What's the deal here?