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B&W 800D

Discussion in 'audio' started by Space is the Place, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. Space is the Place

    Space is the Place pfm Member

    I've been on the look out for some "other" speakers but the search is proving rather illusive at the moment just wondering what people opinions are on the 800Ds as they are supposed to be more or less on the same level performance wise as the JBLs ive been hunting for (with little success) and the B&Ws are much more common!
    I also like the fact that B&W still have drivers from stock for 30 year old 801s, as i don't think i'll be buying another set of speakers for a while if i'm happy with these.

    If they don't match the room i can sell the B&Ws on without to much loss. Other speakers which appeal are the Avantgarde Zero 1s, but ive yet to hear a demo yet.

    Anyway opinions from owners on these, good, bad, indifferent, anywhere i can addition a pair in the NW England?
  2. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    I'm telling you: ATCs. Sorry, you were asking what? ;)
  3. Space is the Place

    Space is the Place pfm Member

    I know, I know. Its funny my friend has the 100s, and they do in many respects make a lot of sense (when has sense ever come into anything!) Which is the better sounding speaker?
    It's almost an itch i've got to scratch, if that makes any sense. At least i've got a good chance of hearing the 800s before purchase, the JBLs i'd be possibly buying without a demo.
  4. delange

    delange pfm Member

    A friend of mine has the 802d's. They do sound great but they are quite demanding on the amplifier. Before buying them I would suggest to audition them with your own amplifier.
    Speakers are very subjective to personal taste. What one person likes is not necessary what you like but I guess you already knew that :)
  5. merlin

    merlin Avatar changed - Town names deemed offensive.

    I own JBL's

    I wouldn't touch B&W 800's with a bargepole.
  6. Colin L

    Colin L High-tech low-life

    I own B&W 800D's and wouldn't touch JBL's with a barge pole :)
  7. Julf

    Julf Facts are our friends

    What's up with this obsession with poles and touching?
  8. merlin

    merlin Avatar changed - Town names deemed offensive.

    I'm not sure touching Poles is legal within the EU Julf.

    Paul Messenger lived with B&W 802's then 802D's whilst reviewing the 801 and the 800.

    In his recent review of the JBL Everest he stated

    Now I'm not saying you would feel the same. But I do. And if you have heard and liked the large JBL's the likelihood is that you would always be wondering why you settled for second best if you ran out of patience and bought some B&W's.

    On a personal note, I can admire the British speaker from a technical point of view, but cannot love it like I can it's American competitor. There's a certain matter of factness that comes across in recent Abbey Road masterings that contrasts with a certain joi de vivre I hear from recordings made in some other venues. Indeed it seems to me that a certain character of the monitors used can get transferred to the end product.

    B&W to me sound just a little uninteresting and constrained. To others they may be the best thing since sliced bread but I would take a pair of ATC150's over the Worthing speaker any day of the week. I would take a few others (but not many!) before I chose the ATC.

    Only you can decide. Part of this will be your room. If you have a room similar to mine and PM's (18'x14' ish), then the JBL will undoubtedly suit it better than the 800.
  9. Julf

    Julf Facts are our friends

    It is a touchy subject.
  10. Colin L

    Colin L High-tech low-life

    I've seen a few polish ladies in my travels that were well touchable
  11. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Hearing both in your own place would be ideal,I used to own the first iteration of the 800's they were difficult to drive,JBL's have underwhelmed at shows,Harmon had both the 9800 and the new Everest and Munich this year, but then speakers frequently aren't at their best in show environments.
  12. Gromit

    Gromit Plasticine Dog

    The only time I've ever really heard 800's was a few years ago when I was playing on a recording at Abbey Road. They were being driven to within an inch of their lives, and sounded great, but in a more domestic situation I've no idea how they'd be.
  13. Space is the Place

    Space is the Place pfm Member

    Well that is the problem trying to get to hear a pair of JBLs! I know a dealer a considerable drive away has ordered a pair of 4365 and i might have a weekend away to go and listen to them.

    I did have the early 801s and i could never get enough power into them to make them come alive, they were fairly enjoyable with classical though, but perhaps my memory of them is slightly rose tinted.
    Interesting about your thoughts on them being constrained (not what i want, i want a more live, open, dynamic speaker) and that you'd take a pair of ATC over the B&Ws, gives me food for thought. I did enquire about a pair of crossover-less M2's too, but they never got back to me about them.
  14. wainwj

    wainwj pfm Member

    If you want a live, open speaker then I can tell you from first hand experience that the Focal Utopia floorstanders are very impressive.
    Playing massive attack on mine for the first time as I type this and they are blowing me away. Very worthwhile use of a spare Sunday afternoon :)
  15. Disbeliever

    Disbeliever pfm Member

    Take absolutely no notice of ANY reviewer you have to listen for yourself.
  16. merlin

    merlin Avatar changed - Town names deemed offensive.

    You are always welcome to have a listen here if you are ever near Bucks/Berks.

    The difference shows up in the 30 deg averaged FR plots - although these are less than ideal as they are taken by different testers in different conditions. They are both however claimed to be anechoic.

    The BW 800


    The K2 9800


    The JBL measurement to take note of is the green line.

    Basically the JBL is more tonally neutral with a more lively midrange that opens the speaker up IMHO - particularly at lower listening levels where I felt the B&W's sounded constrained. The English speaker has a more recessed mid typical of many British loudspeakers.

    Look at the plot from around 800hz to 20khz. There is a smoother transition particularly in the presence area and it's that which makes one more laid back than the other. Neither is right of course and neither is wrong - it's just that they give character that help to predict which product is likely to appeal more (all other things being equal of course).

    Having heard both at length, I can hear the impact of the anechoic responses in what I hear when listening.

    I previously had 4338's and also a TAD/JBL hybrid active system (along of course with ATC's, Focals, Proacs, Harbeths, Dynaudios, Revels and too many others to mention :) ). The 4365 might well not give you much of an idea as to the K2 IMHO.

    Edited to add a typical ATC - in this case the old 70 which was effectively a 50 on steroids. It's a lot closer to the JBL in character with a more neutral presentation in the presence area.

  17. PhilCTTE

    PhilCTTE Senior mumbler

    I've questioned my reason in this process. Like others I've been to many shows over the years and visited a few systems in people's houses and frequented quite a few retailers.
    To find a dealer who is willing to allow you to home dem is one difficulty and the other is finding dealers of the right speaker. Especially if they,re not the latest model.
    Paying for transport / couriers can run anything upto £100 a time.
    The guess work on whether it will work in your room and system. You just sometimes have to take a punt. Albeit a multi thousand pound gamble.

    Which is exactly what I've done.

    I've researched and heard similar but not this particular model and make. After many recommendations and reviews I've opted to go for a pair of Martin Logan SummitX's. Second hand through a dealer. I guess it's watch this space to see if I've made a huge boob. Hopefully not , but worst comes to worst if you buy second hand you can normally get your money back minus a couple of 100.

    Best of luck with your decision
  18. Space is the Place

    Space is the Place pfm Member

    Im not so fussed about the home demo bit i imagine its a logistical nightmare with such hefty speakers, i would rather buy a used/exdemo set and try to sell them on if it doesn't work out. Just like youve done Phil.

    Thanks for the detailed response Merlin, yes there are certainly a big difference in the FR of the above, and the 800 seems to deviate from neutrality by quite a bit!
    If i'm down your way i will try and come and have a listen thank you. I did contact a few French sellers but unfortunately they never got back to me.
  19. Covkxw

    Covkxw pfm Member

    Regarding JBL K2 9800 speakers, similar to valve amplifiers, they definitely need to be auditioned by the potential owner. Some 4 year ago I lived with a pair for 6 months and found they had a 'bloom' and a very restricted low bass, which meant they ultimately had to go. I replaced them with ATC 150 Anniversaries, which I still own.
  20. merlin

    merlin Avatar changed - Town names deemed offensive.

    This shows how important it is to hear speakers in your own living room. This is not a characteristic of the speaker but it's interaction with the listening room.

    The good thing about the Gerbils is that they will interact with most rooms less in the midrange. It sounds like you have a big living room Covkxw? What size are the rooms of Space and of Covkxw?

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