WOW Aerial 10T vs. B&W 801II/III

Not sure if there is anyone out there that has had the luxury of comparing these two speakers, but WOW!

I have been a HUGE B&W fan for years, owned 801F, 801-80's, 801II, 801II with NorthCreeks, 801III and even the 802Nautilus! I happen to prefer the 801II (with or without the NorthCreeks) over all the other B&Ws mentioned above.

UNTIL TODAY, when I purchased a set of 10T's! They are awesome! The bass is very tight and extremely deep! Mids are detailed and the soundstage is far better than that of the 801's!

Has anyone else listened to these differences?

Am I nuts?

Michael Kelly from Aerial wanted to make a statement when he introduced the 10T's and all of the reviewers agreed. They were voted Stereophile joint speaker of the year in 1996 sharing the honor with the $ 20,000.00 plus Dunlavy's I am very happy with my used pair. They have great bass, astonishing detailed midrange and smooth as silk highs . I think its called the "New England Sound" Smooth but not too bright. I have heard the 801's and have to say they are also great ... but in the USA they cost considerable more than the 10T's . Probably because they are imported. I think the 801's are less forgiving for all but the best associated components. My Aerial's head up my all tube system powered by the VTL ST-150 which is a great match ! One attempt to lift the Aerials and you can see that they are the real thing . Enjoy There is lots of value in high end audio if you know where to look and the Aerial 10T's lead the way !
I've owned my 10t's for almost 3 years now.
Using a BAT 50SE tube pre, Sony SCD777ES with a Sonic frontiers SFD2MKII tube DAC for redbook. 33H Levinson monos, and the 10t's. Transparent and Nordost cabling. I sold a reel deck to a guy from NYC a while back, and he and his friend who worked for a large hi-end store in NYC that shall remain nameless picked it up. By popular demand I gave them a listen to my system, and the HI-end salesman told me that their store had done 200K installs that didn't sound as good.

Let me say, sure I may be biased, but the 10t is a much better speaker than most folks credit it to be, especially if you put the right stuff in front of it. It was a struggle for me of 2 years of trying components to get the synergy I have now, and I'm loving it.

Good luck with your 10t's, you just made a move you will not regret!

I have patiently been waiting for my Aerial 10T's to arrive. I bought a one year old pair 7 days ago along with a CC3B center. I have heard these speakers many times with Krell gear, Theta, but no tube set up as of yet. These are fine speakers for a variety of musical tastes. I plan on running them with a 5 channel EAD amp for now. I should expect the speakers on Tuesday and when this subject came up I had to put in my 2 cents.

I do like the B&W speakers in question, but they are certainly more pricey new and used. I really never got into them nor has any of my fellow audiophile friends. They just feel there are other avenues to take for the $$.

Happy listening.
Thanks for the responses! I actually think the bottom end of the 10T is greater, more defined, deeper than that of the 801II. Is this possible? I just purchased the CC3B and will now be set for Music/Theater. One thing I left off, the 10T's look so much better than the 801s!


Very interesting and encouraging that Weiserb is using the VTL S-150 to drive his 10T's. I have a pair of ARC VT-150's, (160 watt tube monos) which have massive power-supply capacitance. I love the 10T's, but I have heard that the 10T's require large SS amps for best results. Any advice or experiences in hearing the 10T's with both tube and SS amps? Thanks!
Dem -

I am currently using a pair of SS Citation Audio 7.1, a Madrigal production amplifier. A very high current amp, 70 ampers, this amp is rated at 150x4 into 8 or 240x4 into 4, or the way I have it set, 2x450 into 8. I am running TWO of these amps, biamping each Aerial 10T so basically, running 450x2 into 8 to each speaker! PLENTY of power, actually much warmer than one would expect from SS. This week I am going to attempt to run them with a very powerful tube amp. The amp has both, 8 ohms and a 4 ohm option. I had used it before with the 801II into 8 ohms, so I will change it to 4 and see if it can push the 10Ts.

I will check in later...................

To see Weiserb using A VTL 150 shocked me. THe Aerial folks told me not to consider anything less than a pair of VTL 185 or 250 monos. I called them because one of the shows where the 10-Ts did so well was based on VTL amps. The fact that the manufacturer uses tube gear kind of kills the need for SS myth i would say. High current, however is a must for the best performance regardless of the amp type. I have to admit, after a long arduous struggle a pair of Dunlavys won out over the 10-Ts due to the Dunlavy being a much more open speaker. But between the 10-T and the 801 there was never a contest, the Aerials slaughtered them.
Thanks Dan,
I look forward to learning of your results. Your Citations must really control the 10T's. I have never tried a less efficient speaker with the VT-150's. Each VT-150 mono amp has 420 joules of power supply energy storage for a total of 840 joules ( compared to a "stereo" total of 325 joules in the widely-used VT130SE or 674 total joules in a VT200). According to ARC, this massive power supply provides extreme dynamic stability during large musical transients, thus sounding more powerful than it is rated. I am hoping these amps will handle a speaker like the 10T or Magnepan 3.6.
I own a pair of Aerial 10T's in Santos Rosewood and am powering them with a ss McCormack DNA-2 LAE (Limited Anniversary Edition) amp.

The amp is powerful (300wpc@8ohm, 600wpc@4ohm) and extremely fast. And hooked up to the 10T's, just makes them sing.

I've powered the 10T's with lesser amps. They still sounded quite good, but they love the juice and then really open up. The bass reproduction is nothing short of excellent.
Thanks for the input. I just tried running a Marantz MA-24 (30W Class A) which is a VERY rare amp, a European release only, $1,500 EACH. Controlled the speaker wonderfully, as did my 18W tube, the Allegro. The Marantz blew the Allegro away in detail and bottom end, but when compared to the Citation, FAR MORE POWER is obviously needed and used with the Aerial 10Ts.

The odd thing is though, the Citation cuts out at high volumes, and I have NO IDEA why?

I love the 10T's, great speakers.
Porschecab, I received your email and will reply here. I certainly am no expert but will give it my best shot.

One question is: Why are you playing anything at such an 'excruciatingly' loud levels? I can't imagine that volume level (you used the word excruciatingly) bringing anybody any enjoyment. In the end, it will do is bring you hefty repair bills for driver replacements.

I'll play mine once in a great while at just less then half of full volume in my 13 x 18 x8 room and even then it's only for a short period of time.

Even the very best components and speakers have a volume threshhold. The trick is to play as loud as you enjoy it and no louder. If you own a porche and it can go 180mph, it doesn't mean you should for many reasons. You might enjoy 180mph for a few minutes but after that you begin to realize it's very fatiguing to keep up that pace.

I'm not trying to chastise here, but I am trying to determine what your goal is.

If the loudest music is your goal, I believe the Aerial 10T's can be up to the task (if they haven't already been damaged by the amp), but it requires serious amplification and that doesn't just mean power.

It means lots of CLEAN power and a whole lot more. Some to many amps, powerful or not, actually begin to strain or get congested when playing loud and/or complex music. Perhaps that is what you are hearing now.

The amp could be clean as a whistle at 1/3 volume but then start sounding really crappy above that threshold. Not just inexpensive amps but very expensive ones as well.

There are probably only a handful of amps that could even begin to take on the task that I think you are requiring.

For your possible budget, I would highly recommend you locating a used McCormack DNA-2 or DNA-2 Deluxe for about $1800 and then sending the unit to Steve McCormack at For $2500 more, he'll give you a no-holds-barred Rev A where every significant component is swapped out with a serious aftermarket upgrade. Then you'll finally have one of the few amps available to accomplish what you want.

But even that amp will have it's limits. Again, check to make sure you have not already damaged the 10T's.

Everybody talks about certain spec's of an amp. The wpc, joules, amperage, etc.. Although these spec's can mean alot, they alone are not the answer. It is in the execution of the whole. Transistor types and speed, biasing, feedback loops, the amp's chassis, the transformer, gain stages, etc. also have just as much to do with the quality of sound from the amp.

Just like a 369hp engine alone is not what makes a Porsche 911 a 911.

IMO, and thanks for asking.
Thanks Stehno and others.

I do not necessarily listen to music at those volumes but, like a Porsche being able to hit 180, I like to know that I
can. I am setting up my system with the Theta (new to me) and the Aerial's and I wanted to be sure everything is working, no hiss, no humm, etc. While I check for these issues, I like to check volume thresholds which is when this thread began. With the 801's, I never had these issues.

Maybe I should revisit the volume levels and take a step back. I use this setup for Home Theater as well, and the volumes are fine, not an issue at all, but those are for obvious reasons.

I am borrowing a friends 801's to see if this particular set up will have the same issues on the 801's.

Thanks all for your help,


p.s. I hit 130+ this weekend one a very short stretch of highway 101 in Marin County, CA. No reason, but can.........
I wanted to thank each of you for your help. After several attempts with different amps, Citation 7.1, McIntosh MC-352, Marantz MA-24's, California Audio Labs CL-2500, and the Bryston 4B, (which all clipped) I have found the solution! No clipping, incredible clean mids and a top end that does just sing with a bottom end that DOES NOT STOP, the 4 channel Citation Audio 7.1 in a BIAMP configuration!
I had been bridging this amp which was probably a large part of the issue here. The amp is 210 x 4 into 4 ohms, and plays ever bit of it! The imaging is far superior, but not sure if it from NOT running it bridged or if it from the benefit of BIAMPING, but I FOUND IT!

Thanks so much for all of your help. I also have a call into the Aerial, Mike Kelly, to verify my hearing/sanity.
(really to be sure I won't blow the midrange and/or tweeter with this power.

Again, thanks for all your help and insight, it is threads like this that allow suggestions to be sought, issues recognized, and problems solved!


I have heard good things about these speakers but have not actually listened to them.

How much power do they really need? Can they be bi-amped?

I am thinking that my McIntosh SS 100wpc would not be enough and I would need to add a bass amplifier.

What do you think?

I live in Indianapolis,

10T's need power to really show what they are capable of. Think on the order of at least 300 wpc into 8 ohms. They can be bi-wired or bi-amped. Another consideration is room placement. They need to be at least 3 to 4 feet from the rear wall and at least 2 to 3 feet from side walls. If you can do all of this, you are in for one hell of a sonic feast!