B&W 800D PDF
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Too far apart and the bass is thin and imaging is vague. Too close to each other and the bass is overwhelming. Too far from the listening seat and focus suffers. Too close and the midrange starts to sound too forward. Any loudspeaker is highly interactive with its environment, the room that it is placed 800. My room is far from perfect and even though I have heard a large amount of speakers in it, my experiences need not be typical of results obtained in other rooms.
At the very least though, the results as mentioned as part of comparisons with other speakers, should provide something of a starting point.
Ultimately though there is just no substitute for listening to speakers in your own setup. I bought these magnificent speakers in an attempt to find more manageable replacements for my Magnepan MG3. Still, it was my desire to have more aestetically pleasing speakers in the listening room, even if that meant having two kilo heavy behemoths in the middle of the room. The Magnepans are nice enough to look at from the listening position but from the sides and rear they are less pleasing.
This is because they are slightly curved and also leaning forward. This so called tilting is important for the imaging and other aspects of the sound.
They also have to stand way into the room. All in the name of good sound, right? So there you have it, my reasons for trying the D: But do I really need reasons to try new equipment?
Notice that they lean forward slightly? Their position as shown on the picture however was far from their ideal position. The final position was much closer to the listener, in fact very close to the carpet, a good 2 meters from the rear wall.
Before I start rambling about the sound, I want to put up a small disclaimer. Rooms and their acoustics make up half of the sound. My room is far from perfect and therefore frequently causes problems for dynamic speakers.
Enough babbling already, how do they sound?
The Magnepans have been moved close to the rear wall. With the Syntheses they now think that they are bw This tweeter is actually made from diamond.
It was my hope that the diamond tweeter at least would be a match for the stunning pure ribbon tweeter in the Magnepans.
They sounded a bit like the loudness button was always on. But, from memory, the diamond on the D sounds very different from the one on the D. It is much cleaner and dynamic, more articulate but also darker in balance. It is in fact, very dark, too dark for me. But even compared to the Nautiluswith its aluminium tweeters, the is decidedly dark in balance. Even behind the speaker there would be plenty treble energy and this was what makes them so easy to live with: This one seems to be very focused and strongly bundled.
It is on the dark side at the perfect listening spot already but the treble drops off alarmingly if you move out of the comfort zone. It is almost like listening to Martin Logans: Move to the side of the couch, listening only slightly off-axis and already the balance tips so much to the dark that it almost becomes unlistenable.
Back to the Diamond. It is, in a word, super honest. Never artificially, intentionally brittle as an add-on effect but also never forgiving of badly recorded music.
It has become their trademark. And I have always found much in favour of this driver. It has the ability to convey emotion in a way that not many midrange drivers can. It 80d0 sound very lively and direct-coupled while also posessing body and colour.
The sound of the FST varies, depending on the speaker that it is used in. For example, in the N it can be slightly forward and nasal while on the D it can be too smooth, too laidback and muffled. The midrange of this speaker is very open and very neutral.
But I 800s the FST unit getting a bit long in the tooth. But this is a mild complaint, something you only notice when you have lived with Nautili and their offspring for a long, long time. Other than that, the midrange is very well-executed, and may well be the best part of this speaker.
It is the Marlan enclosure and the FST unit in it, that makes for a super-wide soundstage that can really float around the speakers. These big beasts can really totally disappear, with the music being all around you and filling the room. Imaging is first rate, both focus and depth. In fact, they image deeper than the Magnepans do. The sound can bb&w be very 3D. Yes, because, like the treble, this is very much dependent on the quality of the recording that is being played.
I like it deep and I like it strong. Actually, it may well have the best bass of all models in the series, past and present. The bass is very well integrated, not like with the D where it was too thick and too slow.
The D can really give you the illusion of listening to a small two way monitor speaker. The bass is that well integrated. It is fast, articulate, dynamic, punchy and, not to forget, DEEP! It really is incredible how deep these speakers reach. The bass is always solid and feels very physical. This aspect of the D makes me want them most.
If you want good bass, there is simply no substitute for a big cabinet and big drivers. The Magnepans simply fail on this aspect. That is why I have 80d Rel Strata subwoofers. And this is with Jeff Rowland model 6 amplification.
The Rowlands are indeed very good amps that have plenty of current in reserve, but they are hardly bass champs. I suspect that if you connect a big McIntosh or Bryston, the bass will really rock! What is my overall opinion, you might ask. Thing is, this is difficult to decide. Sometimes these speakers amaze me and sound totally convincing. Other times they sound thin, flat and plain uninspiring.
They perform at their best with real music, acoustical instruments and voices. Blues and jazz can be stunning. Electronic music fares less well: Of course you could argue that the source is to blame.
Garbage in, garbage out, right? I guess that this is the price you pay for having state of the art monitors. They have been developed for making music mixes whil listening loudly. The most important factor was for them to be able to play really loud while having vanishingly low distortion. That goal has been achieved.
B&W Diamond loudspeaker |
My initial listening was with Transparent cabling allround. But even with these cables the speakers sounded analytical. I swapped to Cardas Golden Reference but that was too much and it resulted in sloppy, slow bass and less articulation in the lower midrange. As a whole, these are certainly among the best speakers I have heard. But they are a bit too fussy for me. I suspect that these speakers need an even larger room. Immediately after connecting them up it was evident that the D indeed has a dark balance.
They may have heard new speakers, bad equipment or there may have been a mismatch going on. But the Nautilus tweeters are certainly never harsh or brittle. This was again evidenced when comparing them to the Diamond tweeters.
The N was at once more open and airy but also a lot more fluid and gentle. The Diamond could be said to be more accurate and more dynamic but it was also ruthless. Have they traded musicality for accuracy? They simply made music and never made themselves known.