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  • MHWilliford
    MHWilliford

    Moving To The B&W 802 D4

    At few days more than a month into my Bowers & Wilkins 802D4 speakers taking the place of their 804D2 predecessors, the initial unboxing and connection euphoria has subsided and I’ve both consumed enough music purposely and walked-in on enough tracks served randomly by Roon to evaluate these speaker’s sound signature – and more specifically, to comment on how they compare to their 804D2 predecessors in case other readers might be considering an upgrade both in 800-series size and generation.

     

    To quickly summarize, if you can afford the upgrade, there is an immediate palpable difference delivered by the 802D4’s.  Without question the bass is more solid and coherent (even though I had long ago augmented the 804D2 predecessors with a 2x7inch PV1D subwoofer, it leaves that combination well-behind), and the midrange is more open and revealing – though this may also come from improved tweeter contributions as well - the fact that I cannot tell which driver is making the magic speaks to the overall coherence, and I suspect it is some of both.

     

    I believe the tech that Bowers & Wilkins has employed to improve this generation of Diamonds is not marketing hype – the increased cabinet stiffness, refined cross-over, improved turbine damping, new midrange driver suspension, and improved tweeter housing design among others - it all works.  Already I’ve experienced many “I’ve never heard that before” moments while listening to the 802 D4s, and I was plenty-happy with the older 804 D2s.  The considerable extra expense, extra mass, and extra imposition on my listening room affected by the Schwarzeneggeran 802D4’s has been worth it to me – I’ve had no buyer’s remorse.  Yes, being recently retired and not of unlimited means, I did have a couple of “I did what?” moments associated with spending half-a-nice-car on a pair of speakers, but never remorse.  Already, many moments of deeper music appreciation have been delivered, and if you are like me - also enjoying movies or binging the latest series with your wife or partner of choice, these experiences too have been elevated.

     

    bw_802d4_one.jpgTo detractors who comprehensively dismiss Bowers & Wilkins speakers as overly-bright, I would first and foremost state the obvious and say that this, like the great majority of choices we make in the “audiophile space” is a matter of taste.  Second, I would be sure to understand their reference point when you consider it.  Are they referencing 800 series or some other Bowers & Wilkins series that does not benefit from the precise and yet refined diamond tweeter? If 800 series, which generation, because each generation also has its own subtly-evolved sound signature. The point is to be careful of un-specified opinions.  What I would objectively report to potential buyers of the 802D4 is that these speakers are truly reference-class, with their larger sibling 801D4 (featuring the exact same turbine head/midrange driver and nautilus tube/diamond tweeter as the 802D4) being employed in some of the top recording studios around the world – thus, they are depended upon to replay the music fed to them as accurately as possible. 

     

    As you would then expect, when properly fed with well-recorded source material through quality amplification, these loudspeakers will bring you closer to an in-studio sound than you have likely experienced before.  Likewise, they will just as faithfully expose poor recordings that are not properly miked, too loud, too compressed, overly brassy or otherwise deficient.  This can be readily demonstrated if you listen to close-miked tracks where peak levels are clearly pushing well into the red, or if already distorted guitar amplification (the good, textured kind) is pushed-up another level to become etched and irritating, to say nothing if you navigate the waters of many 80’s and 90’s recordings (yes – of course there is plenty of quality music from this era, but it seems that recording engineers at the time were mostly sent to the pedal-to-the-metal-school of mastering subtlety).

     

    Audio scholars succinctly characterized the sound of the 802D4’s as monitor-like – and in my listening opinion that is, like the 802D4’s themselves, entirely accurate.  This is not to say that you cannot enjoy a whiskey while you listen to the 802D4’s – of course you can.  Select your source material appropriately, relax and surround yourself with aural goodness if that is what you are feeling.  As an example, Brian Bromberg’s The Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers from the album Wood – (44/16 via Qobuz) will have you sipping that whiskey at the edge of the stage in an intimate jazz club, Brain’s stand-up right in front of you, drums behind, and piano off to the right.  As I drifted into a musical trance enveloped by bass realism, I was honestly tricked for a flashing moment into thinking “this is a night I will never forget”.  No worries, the 802D4’s allow me to recreate it anytime I want.  Isn’t that the repeatable high most of us are striving for in our audio journey?    

     

    bw_802d4_absolute_mobil.jpgLikewise, don’t expect the 802D4’s to make excuses for recordings or sources in your collection or system that are lacking (mine exposed a bad PC audio driver in my first listening days, and I also learned that the 802D4’s do not require the same degree of toe-in as the 804D2’s – the upshot being several instances of significantly-wider sound-staging noted in my listening thus far).  I think accuracy vs. “warmth” or “listenability” is a tradeoff most of us understand.  If you are looking for a speaker to smooth-over everything in your collection and sound “good” no matter what it plays, you should probably consider other options.  If on the other hand you crave an in-home reference experience, and like me are addicted to the visceral reaction that music can trigger when we suddenly hear something evocative or strikingly more realistic from even familiar recordings, then this speaker may well be for you.  The effortless and yet often startlingly-good bass presence alone would be enough for the serious audiophile to justify their purchase.  What I wasn’t expecting was the amazingly open and layer-revealing nature of the midrange and tweeter that goes above and beyond my previous reference, bringing additional life to vocals and revealing new sounds that we all crave in our deep listening sessions.  Placing the 802D4’s into service marks the 5th landmark improvement in sound quality I have experienced in my audio journey of 40+ years.  They are precise, visceral, and highly recommended.

     

     

     

     




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    Hi @MHWilliford, thanks so much for the guest write-up of your new B&W 802 D4! I'll always have a soft spot for these speakers, as they were my second pair of real high end speakers. I had the Nautilus 802 and loved them. When I moved into a smaller place a couple years after college I had to sell them, in favor of a headphone system. That was a sad day. 

     

    I'm happy to read the 802s are an even better speaker today than when I had them. 

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    Interesting. I have heard the D3 and D4, side by side, at a local dealer and came away with the D3 was better. I felt the D4, was just too treble forward and piercing, for my ears. The D3 seemed more balanced. This was all done on the same equipment, all McIntosh.

     

    That said, everyone has different likes. I am happy the OP likes them.

     

    Nice, insightful read.

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    29 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Hi @MHWilliford, thanks so much for the guest write-up of your new B&W 802 D4! I'll always have a soft spot for these speakers, as they were my second pair of real high end speakers. I had the Nautilus 802 and loved them. When I moved into a smaller place a couple years after college I had to sell them, in favor of a headphone system. That was a sad day. 

     

    I'm happy to read the 802s are an even better speaker today than when I had them. 

    It was my pleasure Chris.  Thank you for having me.  I am hoping to acquire the new Arender A15 sometime in the next few months and maybe we can do a guest column on that addition to my system.  It might be particularly interesting to readers in that I will be simultaneously exploring the sonic benefits of transferring streamer/server duties from my PC to the Aurender (are those benefits real to my ears?) as well as pitting the Aurender's internal DAC (which will reportedly allow filter adjustments on both the digital processing and analog output stages) against the DA2 that is built into my McIntosh C2700.  Thank you again for the opportunity, and for building and maintaining this site.

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    I have a soft spot for stand mount speakers, I am looking forward to hearing the 805 D4's, which I haven't yet.

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    1 minute ago, MHWilliford said:

    This is one of the most relevant and objective comments I have ever read in post reactions or discussion forums.  Part of my migration to the 802D4's is that I initially auditioned 802D3's late last summer, just as the D3's were no longer in production or in stock (the pair I listened to were special editions with the high-gloss wood finish, and were not what I wanted from a furniture perspective, otherwise I'd have brought them home with me).  I agree that they combined the silky highs of my previous 804D2's and the very cohesive and present bass of the 802D4's.  Unfortunately for me, buying D3's was not an option.  I also think Bowers & Wilkins did all of us who's spouses weigh-in on speaker aesthetics a big favor by ditching the D3's clunky combined oval-shaped bass grill for the D4's individual grills.  It is a big improvement to my eyes.  But back to the essence of your comment - if I could do a test and potentially opt for the older tweeter tuning, would I?  I might.  I would have to listen to a spectrum of the various genres and listening levels I normally consume, but it is possible.  The fact that I now feel my DAC needs to be optimization may be proof, but then again it may be proof that my amplification and speakers have now significantly exceeded the level of my source (streaming through home PC) and DAC (the C2700's built-in DAC).  This is where I intend to upgrade next.  To that end, do you recall the source and DAC that was used in your listening session?  Thanks so much for the comment - very provocative.

     

    The B&W's are a bargain, on the high end (for me meaning Wilson, Magico, etc.) I put them in the same category.

     

    Thanks for the reply, I cannot comment on what I do not know about. I look forward to what you discover along the way.

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    5 minutes ago, botrytis said:

    I have a soft spot for stand mount speakers, I am looking forward to hearing the 805 D4's, which I haven't yet.

    I did have an opportunity to listen to a pair of 805D4's the day I went in to order my 802's.  They were extremely impressive.  I still can't believe the bass they were able to produce.  I honestly had to ask my dealer if a sub was in play.  Not to say this would make your RELs irrelevant, but for someone who needed to or wanted to go without a sub in even a medium-sized room, I would say go for it.  That said, the tweeters I believe to be identical, though they may be voiced differently.  I understand you caution around edginess, and of course would not make a purchase of this magnitude without an audition.

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    I don't need subs, in my room (my office) with the Revels. They do go plenty deep, but bought the subs, when the Revels were in our front room listening area, which is like 20 ft by 25 ft.  I decided to be selfish and keep them in my office, the subs were moved up with them.

     

    The Revels were my most expensive purchase I have done for audio. 

     

     

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    1 hour ago, botrytis said:

    I don't need subs, in my room (my office) with the Revels. They do go plenty deep, but bought the subs, when the Revels were in our front room listening area, which is like 20 ft by 25 ft.  I decided to be selfish and keep them in my office, the subs were moved up with them.

     

    The Revels were my most expensive purchase I have done for audio. 

     

     

    Just a bit more follow-up on the sound signature of the D4's vs. D2's/D3's.  I was trying to pay particular attention to the high-end and what kind of reaction I was having to the music this morning, and predictably it really varies with music selection and recording quality.  This is why I believe these speakers to be telling monitors.  Examples for consideration:  The Doobie Brothers Toulouse Street album includes tracks that can come forward with some electric guitar brightness in places - not cringe-worthy mind you, but feeling perhaps a little over-emphasized.  Some of the vocals on the other hand came alive as never before.  I found that dialing-in -2dB treble through the C2700 produced a good balance.  Conversely, Ed Harlow's Two Views is just stunning and as near-perfect a recording as I can ever remember listening to with the treble flat.  Likewise Supertramp's Crime of the Century (Qobuz 2014 remaster - 192/24) is stunning, with a great tonal balance achieved at -1dB treble.  Again, the level of overall detail revealed compared with their 804D2 predecessors is exactly what you'd expect jumping two frame sizes and two generations of technology advancement - good and immediately perceivable.  I say all of this to reinforce the conclusions of my review and also recognize your observation regarding D3 vs. D4.  It depends on what you are listening to! :)

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    It could have been the room also. I do recognize that. It was just interesting how strident one was from the other (D4 vs D3). I also realize we all hear things differently, based on experience.  I have had issues with, for example, older horn-based systems, which seem to give me headaches. So, I think I am more sensitive than most.

     

    I think that is why I do appreciate the Be Revel Tweeters as they do not seem to be that way. The new Yamaha ones, yes, Focal no.

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    I agree. They are not snake oil. Treatments, now DSP, are both used to deal with room problems. Both are viable but I think DSP is still on a learning curve. 

     

    I have always said, a good audio system in a bad room will sound bad. A mediocre system in a good room will sound better. It is all physics.

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    Would be interested to hear comparison against other brands of speakers you’ve owned… did you consider Wilson’s for example?

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    Thanks for the great review.  I had 805D3's for years, and your words ring true--100% accurate, monitor like, with a bit of a sacrifice on warmth

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    3 hours ago, Gavin1977 said:

    Would be interested to hear comparison against other brands of speakers you’ve owned… did you consider Wilson’s for example?

    Hi Gavin - this is a great question, and I went into this upgrade process open-minded and with several contenders - some that I will go so far to say I'd sold myself on in advance before listening, and yet the Bowers & Wilkins 802 D4's came out on top for my taste.  First were the Wilson Audio Sabrina X.  I was ready to make the switch based on reputation, build quality, and so many references to Wilson in other's reference systems. I found that they had a very nice, balanced sound, but were not a big jump in bass performance over the 804D2's and were quite a bit brighter.  Bear in mind, I have hyper-acousis in my left ear, so I am very sensitive to sibilance, even at lower listening levels.  It should also be noted that I am a critical low-level listener.  Rarely do my listening levels exceed 75 dB.  When I listened to the Sabrina X, I also listened to Wilson-Benesch, which I liked quite a bit though I found the value proposition steep for my wallet, and the sound maybe a little lean, but very much a speaker that impressed me and would suit certain ears well.

     

    Then there was a brief lay-off in the process due to life's other priorities, but the next demo session was even better in several ways.  Number one, I was pitting 802D3's (the D4's had not yet been announced) against Magico A3's and also Sonus-Faber Olympica-Nova III's.  Again, I was fully-prepared to be won-over and walk out of the store that day with a pair of any of these contenders.  Number two, my son, who is a musician (guitar and viola) and possessing much better hearing than me came along for the trip (we visited some guitar shops as well :) ).  This gave me a neutral reference (he has not yet fallen victim to any serious brand loyalties) to check myself against, and we'd prepared a pretty comprehensive track list of things we'd been listening to on a regular basis that were intended to test upper registers, lower registers, and different genres.  Oh - the third and fourth things about this audition that made it very relevant was the amplification that was used (McIntosh C2700 and MC462) is identical to what I have, and even the listening room was very similar in size and finish - smallish at about 12ft x 12ft, and furnished like a TV room, which is the same as our home listening space.

     

    The short story is the 802D3's bested the A3's and the Olympica-Nova III's in bass performance with ease.  My son and I looked at each other with reality-check expressions a couple of times as if to ask each other how there could be such a gap at similar price points, but there clearly was.  The A3 bass was a bit more rounded and would occasionally seem boomy by comparison, which makes no sense given that it is a sealed cabinet design, but this was clearly heard by both my son and me.  The Nova III bass performance was closer to the 802's but ultimately I felt less agile but still a worthy contender.   With regard to highs the Magicos were very nice, maybe just a touch less resolving, but certain to sound better to some sets of ears. The Nova III highs were quite a bit more subtle and just too far back in the sound for me, but again, might be just right to some.  

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    17 minutes ago, MHWilliford said:

    Hi Gavin - this is a great question, and I went into this upgrade process open-minded and with several contenders - some that I will go so far to say I'd sold myself on in advance before listening, and yet the Bowers & Wilkins 802 D4's came out on top for my taste.  First were the Wilson Audio Sabrina X.  I was ready to make the switch based on reputation, build quality, and so many references to Wilson in other's reference systems. I found that they had a very nice, balanced sound, but were not a big jump in bass performance over the 804D2's and were quite a bit brighter.  Bear in mind, I have hyper-acousis in my left ear, so I am very sensitive to sibilance, even at lower listening levels.  It should also be noted that I am a critical low-level listener.  Rarely do my listening levels exceed 75 dB.  When I listened to the Sabrina X, I also listened to Wilson-Benesch, which I liked quite a bit though I found the value proposition steep for my wallet, and the sound maybe a little lean, but very much a speaker that impressed me and would suit certain ears well.

     

    Then there was a brief lay-off in the process due to life's other priorities, but the next demo session was even better in several ways.  Number one, I was pitting 802D3's (the D4's had not yet been announced) against Magico A3's and also Sonus-Faber Olympica-Nova III's.  Again, I was fully-prepared to be won-over and walk out of the store that day with a pair of any of these contenders.  Number two, my son, who is a musician (guitar and viola) and possessing much better hearing than me came along for the trip (we visited some guitar shops as well :) ).  This gave me a neutral reference (he has not yet fallen victim to any serious brand loyalties) to check myself against, and we'd prepared a pretty comprehensive track list of things we'd been listening to on a regular basis that were intended to test upper registers, lower registers, and different genres.  Oh - the third and fourth things about this audition that made it very relevant was the amplification that was used (McIntosh C2700 and MC462) is identical to what I have, and even the listening room was very similar in size and finish - smallish at about 12ft x 12ft, and furnished like a TV room, which is the same as our home listening space.

     

    The short story is the 802D3's bested the A3's and the Olympica-Nova III's in bass performance with ease.  My son and I looked at each other with reality-check expressions a couple of times as if to ask each other how there could be such a gap at similar price points, but there clearly was.  The A3 bass was a bit more rounded and would occasionally seem boomy by comparison, which makes no sense given that it is a sealed cabinet design, but this was clearly heard by both my son and me.  The Nova III bass performance was closer to the 802's but ultimately I felt less agile but still a worthy contender.   With regard to highs the Magicos were very nice, maybe just a touch less resolving, but certain to sound better to some sets of ears. The Nova III highs were quite a bit more subtle and just too far back in the sound for me, but again, might be just right to some.  

    What a fun process. Making the selection of new speakers enjoyable and sharing it with your son, is fantastic. 

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    4 hours ago, Gavin1977 said:

    Would be interested to hear comparison against other brands of speakers you’ve owned… did you consider Wilson’s for example?

    Like MHW, I've logged extended time with both B&Ws and Wilsons.  His review nails the difference--B&Ws are more monitor-like, Wilsons are prettier.  It's reasonable for a person to choose either, but each person really needs to listen for themselves before choosing--they have different personalities.  I also agree that the lower end Wilsons (Sabrinas and TuneTots) need a subwoofer.

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    1 hour ago, MHWilliford said:

    Hi Gavin - this is a great question, and I went into this upgrade process open-minded and with several contenders - some that I will go so far to say I'd sold myself on in advance before listening, and yet the Bowers & Wilkins 802 D4's came out on top for my taste.  First were the Wilson Audio Sabrina X.  I was ready to make the switch based on reputation, build quality, and so many references to Wilson in other's reference systems. I found that they had a very nice, balanced sound, but were not a big jump in bass performance over the 804D2's and were quite a bit brighter.  Bear in mind, I have hyper-acousis in my left ear, so I am very sensitive to sibilance, even at lower listening levels.  It should also be noted that I am a critical low-level listener.  Rarely do my listening levels exceed 75 dB.  When I listened to the Sabrina X, I also listened to Wilson-Benesch, which I liked quite a bit though I found the value proposition steep for my wallet, and the sound maybe a little lean, but very much a speaker that impressed me and would suit certain ears well.

     

    Then there was a brief lay-off in the process due to life's other priorities, but the next demo session was even better in several ways.  Number one, I was pitting 802D3's (the D4's had not yet been announced) against Magico A3's and also Sonus-Faber Olympica-Nova III's.  Again, I was fully-prepared to be won-over and walk out of the store that day with a pair of any of these contenders.  Number two, my son, who is a musician (guitar and viola) and possessing much better hearing than me came along for the trip (we visited some guitar shops as well :) ).  This gave me a neutral reference (he has not yet fallen victim to any serious brand loyalties) to check myself against, and we'd prepared a pretty comprehensive track list of things we'd been listening to on a regular basis that were intended to test upper registers, lower registers, and different genres.  Oh - the third and fourth things about this audition that made it very relevant was the amplification that was used (McIntosh C2700 and MC462) is identical to what I have, and even the listening room was very similar in size and finish - smallish at about 12ft x 12ft, and furnished like a TV room, which is the same as our home listening space.

     

    The short story is the 802D3's bested the A3's and the Olympica-Nova III's in bass performance with ease.  My son and I looked at each other with reality-check expressions a couple of times as if to ask each other how there could be such a gap at similar price points, but there clearly was.  The A3 bass was a bit more rounded and would occasionally seem boomy by comparison, which makes no sense given that it is a sealed cabinet design, but this was clearly heard by both my son and me.  The Nova III bass performance was closer to the 802's but ultimately I felt less agile but still a worthy contender.   With regard to highs the Magicos were very nice, maybe just a touch less resolving, but certain to sound better to some sets of ears. The Nova III highs were quite a bit more subtle and just too far back in the sound for me, but again, might be just right to some.  

    Thanks for this writeup.  Comparisons like this are the reason I read audio reviews .... I keep reading to find this level of detail.  You almost have me interested in the brand again!

     

    The best pair of speakers I ever heard were a pair of B&W stand mounts from 30+ years ago .... smallish little boxes that just sounded phenomenal.  Precise, clear, etc...  I can still hear and picture them.  I have no idea of the model but they cost $1100 or so at the time.  My brother has D5s from 10 years ago and the way he has them setup, they are no comparison. But he likes them and that is all that matters.  The only ones that came close were a giant pair of Magnepans that were up in the shop when I purchased my Linns.  They were great but even my brick ears could tell the listening window was narrow.

     

    Look forward to further writeups from you.  Take care.

     

     

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    Nice write up.

     

    It would be interesting to hear the 802D3 next to the new 802D4's. I'm a B&W fan myself. I owned and very much enjoyed a pair of 803D2's for several years using several different forms of amplification.

     

    Before purchasing my current pair of speakers I compared them directly with the 802D3's. I walked into the dealer pretty much convinced that I was going to buy the 802D3's having just owned the 803D2 for several years.

     

    It was an interesting experience to ultimately end up being seduced by the Magico S3's instead. For my musical/listening preferences I found the Magico to be a bit more laid back and less forward sounding than the 802D3 was. At first I listen of the D3 this forwardness (to my ears) was very exciting and impressive to hear but ultimately I chickened out getting them in fear of that more forward and exciting sound being too much of a good thing over the long haul and during longer listening sessions (4-6hrs).

     

    One of my favorite speakers has always been the 802 from D1 & D2 era so I always enjoying reading others thoughts on the newer generation D3 & D4 models to get an idea on a larger audiences opinion compared to my experiences hearing them.

     

    I was going to ask what the Amp was being used but I think you mention MC462 in your reply elsewhere. Seems a popular choice for the B&W's.

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    1 hour ago, cjf said:

    Nice write up.

     

    It would be interesting to hear the 802D3 next to the new 802D4's. I'm a B&W fan myself. I owned and very much enjoyed a pair of 803D2's for several years using several different forms of amplification.

     

    Before purchasing my current pair of speakers I compared them directly with the 802D3's. I walked into the dealer pretty much convinced that I was going to buy the 802D3's having just owned the 803D2 for several years.

     

    It was an interesting experience to ultimately end up being seduced by the Magico S3's instead. For my musical/listening preferences I found the Magico to be a bit more laid back and less forward sounding than the 802D3 was. At first I listen of the D3 this forwardness (to my ears) was very exciting and impressive to hear but ultimately I chickened out getting them in fear of that more forward and exciting sound being too much of a good thing over the long haul and during longer listening sessions (4-6hrs).

     

    One of my favorite speakers has always been the 802 from D1 & D2 era so I always enjoying reading others thoughts on the newer generation D3 & D4 models to get an idea on a larger audiences opinion compared to my experiences hearing them.

     

    I was going to ask what the Amp was being used but I think you mention MC462 in your reply elsewhere. Seems a popular choice for the B&W's.

    Great thoughts - I would love to hear those Magicos of yours.  I love their approach to designing and manufacturing loudspeakers. Yes, in a perfect world I wish I could have listened to the D3 and D4 side by side and picked the one I liked the best.  It may well have been the D3 - BUT - due the timing, the D3 was not really an option (only one set on the floor in the "wrong" finish) and the D4s were not shipping yet. I took the leap of faith that the sound would not be too much different, and mostly, I think that is right.  The D4s do strike me as a bit more forward and bright, but that really is only a problem on certain recordings or genres.  In these cases, about -3dB of treble adjustment puts me in a good place.  I am really excited to try using different combinations of digital and analogue filters once I get my hands on an Aurender A15.

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    Although my brother is a dealer, he hasn't been able to put any of the "D4s" out yet. 

     

    Congrats on the speakers!!

     

    I am very eager to hear the 805s as I am thinking about a change - I've done and enjoyed my time w/ Maggies but my wife loves more traditional room-loading kind of bass. Fortunately I get to hear Sonus Faber, Revel and soon-to-be B&W standmounts.  Those Olympica Nova 1s are puuurrrrty.

     

    I spend 0% of my listening time with my face 1 meter directly in front of the tweeter so I don't care how that measures. I'm sure I've lost more HF hearing response than any amount that B&W may have tailored in.

     

    Time to have fun and not fuss

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    42 minutes ago, mfsoa said:

    Although my brother is a dealer, he hasn't been able to put any of the "D4s" out yet. 

     

    Congrats on the speakers!!

     

    I am very eager to hear the 805s as I am thinking about a change - I've done and enjoyed my time w/ Maggies but my wife loves more traditional room-loading kind of bass. Fortunately I get to hear Sonus Faber, Revel and soon-to-be B&W standmounts.  Those Olympica Nova 1s are puuurrrrty.

     

    I spend 0% of my listening time with my face 1 meter directly in front of the tweeter so I don't care how that measures. I'm sure I've lost more HF hearing response than any amount that B&W may have tailored in.

     

    Time to have fun and not fuss

    Thank you and trust me, after waiting 5 months from order placement, I have been happy to have these beauties in hand!  The 805D4 standmounts lasted one day in my local hifi store (small town of 100k), and they were just extremely impressive.  You wife will love how they look as well!

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    Enjoyed your review and subsequent comments.  Thank you.  

     

    As a lover of my 803D3s and the previous 803 iteration before that, I can imagine the excitement and pleasure of the 802D4 landing in your listening room.  

     

    To those who are interested in hearing them, it might be relevant to know that I've heard them sound rather bad in several showrooms, especially when they were not broken in sufficiently (if the showroom just got the speakers, it cannot be assumed they have played them for a month as MHW has).  And of course, the room, room treatments and positioning, all need to be optimized, just as with any speaker.   And sometimes the showroom utilize amps that don't have enough power or sources that are not neutral in the HF.  

     

    Personally,  I don't like bright sound and I've never found the B&W to sound bright in my own room.   Of course, this is all personal and comparative.   Given the warm bass and (to my ears) perfect midrange, I hear the overall balance as a little warm and definitely full.  Perhaps that is due in part to my choice of cables (?).  Also, diffusers between the speakers opened up the high end, without which (in my room) I believe would be perceived as brightness (my wife liked the resulting sound so much that she was hesitant about my plan to paint them, lest that ruin the sound).  

     

    Lastly, one of the advantages of the B&W brand is consistency from speaker to speaker and batch to batch.   It was interesting to read a confirmation of that in an interview with recording engineers at Abbey Road Studios.  They record in multiple studios and a valued quality is consistency in the "monitors." 

     

    Hope you have fun trying new gear to hear the best from those beauties.   Looking forward to reading about your findings.  

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