B&W Signature 800 vs 802 D3

TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Oh yeah, now that you mention it or friendly great southern trend killer has mentioned them...

Yeah it would be nice if there were more places like that. The problem is too many people only care about whatever’s cheaper.
That is true, but those 802 D3 are a huge hunk of change. I built my front three for 30% less than the cost of those 802 D3 and the 800 D3 cost over twice as much as my front three.

Talking of front three that is something the OP needs to consider. The center speaker if you are going to have one, is the most problematic of all. As I have said before that gave me the most trouble, and actually that is the design I'm most proud of. For the ultimate home theater the center is crucial. I think I have finally got the new center for my in wall tweaked, but I need to give it a few months to see if it irritates me. I'm pleased with it at the moment. It has low coloration and excellent voice clarity without shout. However even though mid and tweeter are vertically aligned the woofers are not. Crossover is 400 Hz and 4 KHz. However there is still a lobing problem as the bass balance does change slightly with the horizontal listening axis. There is nothing you can do about that. So now my hunch that my AV room center needed coaxial drivers. So I'm firm in my view that a center speaker needs to be built round a full ranger or a coaxial driver, unless all drivers can be vertically aligned. I'm convinced that the center speaker is an extremely weak link in almost all home AV systems. Getting that speaker right is vital to a really satisfying AV experience.

Since the OP is so movie dominant in his use, he should save his pennies for this center.

 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
This thread is a fun read, even if I can't comment on the B&W 80s D3s. They're well beyond my price range.
If the story is correct, the Phil tower line, of which the Phil 3 was the last iteration of, was his way of creating an affordable version of the Salk SS 8: a $9000/pr speaker. ;) Several here have said that at the time, the SS 8 was the best speaker they had ever heard.
In 2011, Dennis launched Philharmonic Audio by showing his Phil 1, 2, and 3 designs at the 2011 Capitol Audio Fest in July. He shared a large room with Jim Salk. In my photo below, you can see the Phil 3 (blond maple) in front, with the Phil 1 (black) next to the different looking Salk Sound Scape 10. All were Dennis's design, and they shared overall sound qualities. The Salk Sound Scape 8 did not exist yet.

All the speakers there that day were driven by the same electronics supplied by Frank Van Alstine. I cannot remember the model of the pre-amp, but the amp was his 225 wpc solid state design (similar to the Vision SET 400), that sold for ~$2000. It easily drove any pair of those speakers in that large ~25×25 foot hotel room, meant for small conferences.

All three Phil models had the same BG planar midrange driver in similar looking cabinets. If I remember correctly, the Phil 1 had a SB Acoustics 8" woofer, the BG planar midrange, and a Fountek ribbon tweeter. It was the low-priced version. The Phil 2 (mid-priced) replaced the tweeter with the RAAL ribbon, and the Phil 3 (the statement version) replaced the SB Acoustics woofer with the 8" ScanSpeak Revelator. The Phil 1 & 2's bass module was somewhat smaller, and the Phil 3's bass module was larger as required by its ScanSpeak woofer. All three bass modules were folded MLTL design cabinets.

Dennis worked quite hard at designing them, especially the two less expensive versions, which came only in black painted cabinets. The Phil 3 allowed purchasers to specify different veneer finishes. After their introduction in 2011, Dennis found that the Phil 3 out-sold the Phil 1 & 2. As a result, when all those black Phil 1 & 2 cabinets from his initial order were sold, he dropped those models.
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Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
I got to listen to some 802 D3s and they did blow me away. The room was treated and these guys had everything set up just right, with a nice comfy low back chair right in the sweet spot. I was certainly visually dazzled by them and the stack of mac gear, so that played a part in my experience I'm sure, but this whole system might just be the best I've ever heard, hands down.

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Shout out to Bjorn's in San Antonio, Tx! The salesperson knew I wasn't buying and was still more than happy to show off their flagship system for a speaker nerd like me. He played a super clean live recording from The Eagles' "Hell Freezes Over" tour. When that super deep drum kicks in during Hotel California I couldn't believe there wasn't a subwoofer playing. Super nice guys over there.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I have heard many of the 800 series on many occasions, and despite all the flak that B&W gets around here, I thought they sounded nice. They wouldn't be my first choice at their price point, but I wouldn't mind having a set.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
I have heard many of the 800 series on many occasions, and despite all the flak that B&W gets around here, I thought they sounded nice. They wouldn't be my first choice at their price point, but I wouldn't mind having a set.
The price is ridiculous for those, but they really did knock my socks off.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
I have heard many of the 800 series on many occasions, and despite all the flak that B&W gets around here, I thought they sounded nice. They wouldn't be my first choice at their price point, but I wouldn't mind having a set.
Who around here harshes on Bow-Wow & Woofins?
Image result for shifty eye gif

;)

I haven't heard any of the 800s, but I accept they sound good by everything I've heard and the people I've heard it from.

But the 700s and the 600s?
Image result for no way hand gesturegif


#abject-derision
:p
:p
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
I have heard many of the 800 series on many occasions, and despite all the flak that B&W gets around here, I thought they sounded nice. They wouldn't be my first choice at their price point, but I wouldn't mind having a set.
I haven’t heard the D3 series yet, but two people I know who bought them, one the 800D3, the other the 802D3, claim they are awesome. Both panned the D1 and D2 series, as did I. I haven’t been able to hear their systems due to the pandemic, but I’d like to hear at least one later this year.

My primary beef with the D1 and D2 series was they were colored, so they sounded awesome with some material and annoying with other material. 802D2s were enchanting with female vocals, but massed violins sometimes sounded harsh in an artificial way. My advice to anyone considering the D1 or D2 generations is to take familiar source material with you (or have it ready for streaming), because if a smart dealer or owner chooses the material you might get a rosy view of colored speakers.
 
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S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I haven’t heard the D3 series yet, but two people I know who bought them, one the 800D3, the other the 802D3, claim they are awesome. Both panned the D1 and D2 series, as did I. I haven’t been able to hear their systems due to the pandemic, but I’d like to hear at least one later this year.

My primary beef with the D1 and D2 series was they were colored, so they sounded awesome with some material and annoying with other material. 802D2s were enchanting with female vocals, but massed violins sometimes sounded harsh in an artificial way. My advice to anyone considering the D1 or D2 generations is to take familiar source material with you (or have it ready for streaming), because if a smart dealer or owner chooses the material you might get a rosy view of colored speakers.
I agree. I think you could find their shortcomings by simply A/B comparing them to tonally neutral speakers. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that they sound bad but rather than there are speakers that I think would sound better or at least more accurate. Even the D2s (I never heard the D1s). Those are not bad speakers, just flawed ones. I think anyone would have to be incredibly picky to think that 800s sound truly bad.

If you want legitimately bad-sounding "high-end" speakers, give a listen to these sometime. Those are truly terrible and obnoxious at the first moment you encounter them.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
I agree. I think you could find their shortcomings by simply A/B comparing them to tonally neutral speakers. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that they sound bad but rather than there are speakers that I think would sound better or at least more accurate. Even the D2s (I never heard the D1s). Those are not bad speakers, just flawed ones. I think anyone would have to be incredibly picky to think that 800s sound truly bad.

If you want legitimately bad-sounding "high-end" speakers, give a listen to these sometime. Those are truly terrible and obnoxious at the first moment you encounter them.
Good Gawd, man. What are those?! Steel plates bolted to the sides to protect the speakers from thrown items and blunt force trauma? :)
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
I agree. I think you could find their shortcomings by simply A/B comparing them to tonally neutral speakers. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say that they sound bad but rather than there are speakers that I think would sound better or at least more accurate. Even the D2s (I never heard the D1s). Those are not bad speakers, just flawed ones. I think anyone would have to be incredibly picky to think that 800s sound truly bad.

If you want legitimately bad-sounding "high-end" speakers, give a listen to these sometime. Those are truly terrible and obnoxious at the first moment you encounter them.
I didn’t say the D1 or D2s were bad, but once you figure out that some actually good recordings don’t sound right, and you paid well into five figures for a pair, it gets frustrating. Some owners don’t seem to notice, but I have noticed that owners of colored speakers often wisely choose their source material. I know I did with other speakers I owned a couple of decades ago.
 
Kingnoob

Kingnoob

Audioholic General
[/QUOTE To me, in a smaller room even the BMR will sound as good while being more neutral, but if you like the 800 diamond series style and build quality, you would be tempted to buy them regardless.
[/QUOTE]
Do the b & w sound more refined ? Clearer then there competition? The speakers are artwork
For what they cost you can probably get some massive speakers ... like power sound or jtr .

I wonder if certain speaker just attract brand loyalty,
For that I’d start looking for brands that offer better performance, yes bmr are much cheaper right ? And amazing speakers


I’ll probably never even have the money for a pair of diamonds 30k retail ... are they really superior to speakers 10k and under ? Just because they cost more ?
How do tekdons compare? Jbls , focals
Illl Admit b & w are super stylish but I’ve only heard a few of there speakers around 2k and under at Best Buy . Sounded good but my mind wasn’t blown , d3 are light years more expensive then anything I’ve heard .
If you enjoy them I guess and have the money go for it !!!]
 
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Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
If you want legitimately bad-sounding "high-end" speakers, give a listen to these sometime. Those are truly terrible and obnoxious at the first moment you encounter them.
Those speakers look like the evil spawn of a Cerwin Vega speaker and a Dalek!
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