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post #19021 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by advanced101101 View Post
My Review of the 800 Diamond versus the 802 Diamond

My new speaker search started a couple months ago. I originally had a set of Salk HT2-TL, not a shabby speaker by any means. But, it would take something special to be clearly better. I had listened to a bunch of different brands and speakers but I kept coming back to B&W. There is something about the house sound that I find enjoyable for classic rock. Once you get into the 800 series you get all the music detail but little of the harshness involved with hyper accurate speakers. So I picked up a pair of 802 Diamonds. I had them for a week and loved them, but I knew there was more, and I wanted it. It has been 5+ years since I heard a set of 800s and from I remembered they were fantastic. So I created more money in the budget and exchanged the 802s for the 800s. I moved up to the 800s without hearing them, on a leap of faith that they would be everything that the 802s are and more.

I was more than glad I did.

The 800 Diamond is in a completely different league than the 802 Diamond.

The first thing I noticed is that this speaker seems much more efficient than the 802. This is strange considering both speakers are rated at 90db. I found myself not needing to turn the volume up nearly as much to excite the speaker. I imagine that some people would be happy running this speaker off of a 75 WPC tube amp, although I doubt it would be able to control the woofers like a quality solid-stage amp. The dynamics of the 800s are much closer to a much larger high efficiency speaker like a JTR than the 802/803.

Bass: The bass is much more impactful. Once broken in (4 Hours of Electronic Music) the 800s dig much deeper. The bass still retains the speed of the 802s two 8” drivers but now I can feel it. “Fast Bass” is a term many dismiss but I refer to it as the speaker’s ability to reproduce a high frequency of kick drums independently. When listening to Rush’s Tom Sawyer Drum Solo each kick was fierce but separate, no muddiness here. The rise and fall of each bass note was reproduced with amazing speed and clarity. The speed is faster than my JL F113, although the F113 is much more visceral. I preferred the 802s with my F113 for music. I prefer the 800s without the F113. Maybe I would need two F113s to compliment the 800s, one F113 just gets lost. The bass is so good that I am thinking about selling the F113, but for right now I only have it turned on to shore up the lowest of lows on movies.

Mid-Range: Same mid-range driver as the 802 I should expect the same result with the 800? Wrong. The lower mid-range is much more natural. Male vocals have an inviting sound that might make you want to put away your Norah Jones albums and put on some Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. After listening to the 800s I realized that many of the speakers that I have listened to have been a tad boxy and bloated in this region. Don’t get me wrong the 802s are great I would never have noticed this unless I compared it to the 800. The mid-range also seems slightly more detailed, diving deeper into each recording. As a measure of detail I use Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut. This recording a ton of detail deep into the soundstage that is only re-produced by quality speakers. Each time I upgrade my speakers I hear more and more out of the recording, it is kind of amazing considering I have been listening to that recording for 15 years.

Highs: The 800 and the 802 are comparable in the HF region. Although I would classify the highs as being neutral I would have to say with my associated equipment it is one small notch on the bright side. This is something that I find enjoyable. My sound is comparable to an all Rotel setup as opposed to an all Mcintosh setup. My preferred toe-in with the 800s was similar to my preference of all the 800 series with the tweeters crossing 8’ beyond my listening position.

Other Notes: This is a large speaker. Pictures on the internet make it seem like the 802s are similar in size but this isn’t the case. My girlfriend and I unpacked the 802s, for the 800s I requested my dealer give me hand. Once upright and unpacked the speaker move freely on the stock wheels. The 800s create a physical presence in the room whereas the 802s would blend in with a nice stand. WAF might be a factor for some due to its size. I’m not sure how I feel about the look on the Aluminum base plate but I would probably prefer it being matte black. The 800 is also 1" taller than the 802. For most people this will put the tweeter above the listener's ears in the seated position. I currently have the speakers tilted a bit with the included spikes but I am going to fine tune the tilt this weekend. You have to be careful though, the drivers are physically time aligned and that isn't something you want to mess with much.

If I was a reviewer I would give the 802s a 4/5 and the 800s 5/5. I didn’t understand what a “reference” speaker is until now. My speaker search is over and I will probably hold on to them for 8-10 years.

Original Speaker Considerations: Revel Salon/Studio, Sonus Faber Olympica, Focal Utopia, Salk SS10, Martin Logan

Potential Questions:
Is the 800 $10,000 better than the 802? I would say definitely, if you can afford it. Let’s say you have a $30,000 budget for equipment and speakers. I would rather have the 800s running with $5000 in equipment than have the 802s running with $15,000 in equipment. Although you would have to be smart how you spend the $5000.
Would the 802s be better than the 800s running $10,000 in subs? Depends on what is more important to you. Obviously $10,000 in subs (Two F113s) would create a fierce front of sub 80Hz sound, which would benefit movies. But for music the 800s mid-range and upper bass would still be far superior. And hey, you could always add subs later.

Associated Equipment: Wyred 4 Sound DAC2, Wyred 4 Sound mAmps, Mac Mini running Pure Music and hi-res music, quality cabling. The new mAmps are something to consider. At $2300 for a pair they provide more than enough detail and current to give the 800s what they need. Their small form factor doesn’t hurt either. As I continue to upgrade my system I am exciting knowing that the 800s will reward me with even better sound. I’m not even close to achieving the speaker’s full potential.

Below is pic of the 800s in my setup. Not ideal, but temporary. I have a new stand coming in a few weeks that will afford me floor space to get the F113 in there. Next year I plan on moving into a new house with a dedicated room.



Awesome speakers but that looks like awful placement. You basically have them in a hallway in between two rooms?
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post #19022 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 11:25 AM
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The 800 Diamond is in a completely different league than the 802 Diamond.
First, congrats on your new toy.

Regarding that statement, I think you duly expressed a little bit too much zealous there.

I'm glad you love the 800D2. But diminishing returns apply here like everywhere.

Regarding measurements, the 802D actually measures better than the 800D with frequency response. So technically, the 802D is probably a little bit more "accurate". Probably insignificant difference.

It is completely understandable to see how a $25K speaker would subjectively sound "better" than a $15K speaker. It is in another league - the league that costs $10K more. There are other leagues of speakers that cost $20K, $40K, $80K, $160K more too.

But I have compared the 802D vs 800D several times in dealer rooms and they are not in another league in terms of sound quality.
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post #19023 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post
First, congrats on your new toy.

Regarding that statement, I think you duly expressed a little bit too much zealous there.

I'm glad you love the 800D2. But diminishing returns apply here like everywhere.

Regarding measurements, the 802D actually measures better than the 800D with frequency response. So technically, the 802D is probably a little bit more "accurate". Probably insignificant difference.

It is completely understandable to see how a $25K speaker would subjectively sound "better" than a $15K speaker. It is in another league - the league that costs $10K more. There are other leagues of speakers that cost $20K, $40K, $80K, $160K more too.

But I have compared the 802D vs 800D several times in dealer rooms and they are not in another league in terms of sound quality.
Thanks for your thoughts, I assume you have the 802?
If measurements meant anything I wouldn't have gone with B&W as they don't measure well compared to others, as I'm sure you are aware.

Zealous is an accurate adjective describing my experience. I believe this experience has been shared by many others who have the means of choosing between the 802s and 800s. Regardless both are fantastic speakers.

I agree on diminishing returns. But for anyone searching for last nth of perfection I believe the 800 is worth it.

Last edited by advanced101101; 08-14-2014 at 11:45 AM.
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post #19024 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 11:46 AM
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Thanks for your thoughts, I assume you have the 802?
And if measurements meant anything I wouldn't have gone with B&W as they don't measure well compared to others.
Actually, I don't have either one now. I used to own the 802D2. And I have compared the 2 at different dealers.

My point was the diminishing returns.

But I also agree about the dynamic worth, which differs exponentially from person to person .

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post #19025 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 11:47 AM
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Actually, I don't have either one now. I used to own the 802D2. And I have compared the 2 at different dealers.

Point taken on the measurement.

My point was the diminishing returns.
Why are you moving on from the 802s?
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post #19026 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 11:55 AM
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And for anyone reading my review just take it for what it is, an opinion from one person. You will need to go and demo them for yourself to decide if it is worth it.
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post #19027 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 11:57 AM
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Why are you moving on from the 802s?
I just wanted to downsize. Their dynamic worth just diminished for me personally after the overzealous "honeymoon" period (like with all components).

But I think they sound great.
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post #19028 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 12:00 PM
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Awesome speakers but that looks like awful placement. You basically have them in a hallway in between two rooms?
Yea, its awful

But in this house this is all I have to work with. I told my GF that in the next house I need a room at least 16 x 22. She was like what, thats really big, the size of the master bedroom. I told her "Ohhh Yea". But its really the only thing I want in the new house, as a compromise I told her she can pick everything else
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post #19029 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by advanced101101 View Post
Yea, its awful

But in this house this is all I have to work with. I told my GF that in the next house I need a room at least 16 x 22. She was like what, thats really big, the size of the master bedroom. I told her "Ohhh Yea". But its really the only thing I want in the new house, as a compromise I told her she can pick everything else
I hear ya. I am hoping to one day also have a dedicated room with proper room treatments, etc.
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post #19030 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by advanced101101 View Post
Yea, its awful

But in this house this is all I have to work with. I told my GF that in the next house I need a room at least 16 x 22. She was like what, thats really big, the size of the master bedroom. I told her "Ohhh Yea". But its really the only thing I want in the new house, as a compromise I told her she can pick everything else
For what you have 25x30 more the space the better the soundfield.
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post #19031 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 12:30 PM
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For what you have 25x30 more the space the better the soundfield.
Yeah, the odds of most people getting a 25'x30' (750SF) HT room is slim.

Realistically, I think a 325-350SF room is plenty big for the 800D.
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post #19032 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 12:36 PM
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For what you have 25x30 more the space the better the soundfield.
Haha, you have the right idea, I will let her know.

I will try and get the biggest room I can. I am trying to convince her to build a house but there are some decent deals in a really nice neighborhood we have been looking at. If we get a pre-existing house I will have to do with something smaller. 16x22 is the minimum I gave her and with 10 foot Ceilings it will follow Cardas recommendations.

The 800s play well at low volumes. And with proper room treatments I'm sure it would be fine in a fairly small room. Although it would be a bit of a waste.
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post #19033 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 12:59 PM
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Yeah, the odds of most people getting a 25'x30' (750SF) HT room is slim.

Realistically, I think a 325-350SF room is plenty big for the 800D.
Where i live they are a lot homes with big basements big master bedroom for real big everything.
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post #19034 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 01:13 PM
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Where i live they are a lot homes with big basements big master bedroom for real big everything.
We don't have basements in Houston.

But a lot of the newer houses have media/ game/ bonus rooms. The biggest problem I have seen with those is most are weird shapes with connecting rooms, bay windows, stairs, etc. It is difficult to get a simple rectangular room. Don't these people know that isn't good for a 2-channel setup?
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post #19035 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 01:20 PM
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Where i live they are a lot homes with big basements big master bedroom for real big everything.
Bad thing about basements is that they are usually 7.5' - 8' ceiling, which isn't that great for sound either IMO.

Unless the house is 6,000SF, I don't think I've seen many 25' x 30' master bedrooms. Nice to be that big, though.
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post #19036 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 01:30 PM
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We don't have basements in Houston.

But a lot of the newer houses have media/ game/ bonus rooms. The biggest problem I have seen with those is most are weird shapes with connecting rooms, bay windows, stairs, etc. It is difficult to get a simple rectangular room. Don't these people know that isn't good for a 2-channel setup?
Yeah, I am not too thrilled with those "bonus" rooms or "lofts" on the 2nd floor.
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post #19037 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by advanced101101 View Post
My Review of the 800 Diamond versus the 802 Diamond

My new speaker search started a couple months ago. I originally had a set of Salk HT2-TL, not a shabby speaker by any means. But, it would take something special to be clearly better. I had listened to a bunch of different brands and speakers but I kept coming back to B&W. There is something about the house sound that I find enjoyable for classic rock. Once you get into the 800 series you get all the music detail but little of the harshness involved with hyper accurate speakers. So I picked up a pair of 802 Diamonds. I had them for a week and loved them, but I knew there was more, and I wanted it. It has been 5+ years since I heard a set of 800s and from I remembered they were fantastic. So I created more money in the budget and exchanged the 802s for the 800s. I moved up to the 800s without hearing them, on a leap of faith that they would be everything that the 802s are and more.

I was more than glad I did.

The 800 Diamond is in a completely different league than the 802 Diamond.

The first thing I noticed is that this speaker seems much more efficient than the 802. This is strange considering both speakers are rated at 90db. I found myself not needing to turn the volume up nearly as much to excite the speaker. I imagine that some people would be happy running this speaker off of a 75 WPC tube amp, although I doubt it would be able to control the woofers like a quality solid-stage amp. The dynamics of the 800s are much closer to a much larger high efficiency speaker like a JTR than the 802/803.

Bass: The bass is much more impactful. Once broken in (4 Hours of Electronic Music) the 800s dig much deeper. The bass still retains the speed of the 802s two 8” drivers but now I can feel it. “Fast Bass” is a term many dismiss but I refer to it as the speaker’s ability to reproduce a high frequency of kick drums independently. When listening to Rush’s Tom Sawyer Drum Solo each kick was fierce but separate, no muddiness here. The rise and fall of each bass note was reproduced with amazing speed and clarity. The speed is faster than my JL F113, although the F113 is much more visceral. I preferred the 802s with my F113 for music. I prefer the 800s without the F113. Maybe I would need two F113s to compliment the 800s, one F113 just gets lost. The bass is so good that I am thinking about selling the F113, but for right now I only have it turned on to shore up the lowest of lows on movies.

Mid-Range: Same mid-range driver as the 802 I should expect the same result with the 800? Wrong. The lower mid-range is much more natural. Male vocals have an inviting sound that might make you want to put away your Norah Jones albums and put on some Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. After listening to the 800s I realized that many of the speakers that I have listened to have been a tad boxy and bloated in this region. Don’t get me wrong the 802s are great I would never have noticed this unless I compared it to the 800. The mid-range also seems slightly more detailed, diving deeper into each recording. As a measure of detail I use Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut. This recording a ton of detail deep into the soundstage that is only re-produced by quality speakers. Each time I upgrade my speakers I hear more and more out of the recording, it is kind of amazing considering I have been listening to that recording for 15 years.

Highs: The 800 and the 802 are comparable in the HF region. Although I would classify the highs as being neutral I would have to say with my associated equipment it is one small notch on the bright side. This is something that I find enjoyable. My sound is comparable to an all Rotel setup as opposed to an all Mcintosh setup. My preferred toe-in with the 800s was similar to my preference of all the 800 series with the tweeters crossing 8’ beyond my listening position.

Other Notes: This is a large speaker. Pictures on the internet make it seem like the 802s are similar in size but this isn’t the case. My girlfriend and I unpacked the 802s, for the 800s I requested my dealer give me hand. Once upright and unpacked the speaker move freely on the stock wheels. The 800s create a physical presence in the room whereas the 802s would blend in with a nice stand. WAF might be a factor for some due to its size. I’m not sure how I feel about the look on the Aluminum base plate but I would probably prefer it being matte black. The 800 is also 1" taller than the 802. For most people this will put the tweeter above the listener's ears in the seated position. I currently have the speakers tilted a bit with the included spikes but I am going to fine tune the tilt this weekend. You have to be careful though, the drivers are physically time aligned and that isn't something you want to mess with much.

If I was a reviewer I would give the 802s a 4/5 and the 800s 5/5. I didn’t understand what a “reference” speaker is until now. My speaker search is over and I will probably hold on to them for 8-10 years.

Original Speaker Considerations: Revel Salon/Studio, Sonus Faber Olympica, Focal Utopia, Salk SS10, Martin Logan

Potential Questions:
Is the 800 $10,000 better than the 802? I would say definitely, if you can afford it. Let’s say you have a $30,000 budget for equipment and speakers. I would rather have the 800s running with $5000 in equipment than have the 802s running with $15,000 in equipment. Although you would have to be smart how you spend the $5000.
Would the 802s be better than the 800s running $10,000 in subs? Depends on what is more important to you. Obviously $10,000 in subs (Two F113s) would create a fierce front of sub 80Hz sound, which would benefit movies. But for music the 800s mid-range and upper bass would still be far superior. And hey, you could always add subs later.

Associated Equipment: Wyred 4 Sound DAC2, Wyred 4 Sound mAmps, Mac Mini running Pure Music and hi-res music, quality cabling. The new mAmps are something to consider. At $2300 for a pair they provide more than enough detail and current to give the 800s what they need. Their small form factor doesn’t hurt either. As I continue to upgrade my system I am exciting knowing that the 800s will reward me with even better sound. I’m not even close to achieving the speaker’s full potential.

Below is pic of the 800s in my setup. Not ideal, but temporary. I have a new stand coming in a few weeks that will afford me floor space to get the F113 in there. Next year I plan on moving into a new house with a dedicated room.


Very detailed review. Thanks for taking the time to write it. Sucks you had lost it on the first attempt. I'm glad to are happy making the move. Like you I did the 800 purchase blind as I also had to do when I purchased my 802's and like you no regrets whatsoever. I kept my 802's so for me doing this was a ridiculous amount of money being shelled out. I obviously knew I would like the sound as I really enjoyed my 802's (no regrets there either) so the worst it could be would be as good as the 802's but it was a nerve raking wait once I gave the dealer the ok to place the order until they arrived.

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post #19038 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by advanced101101 View Post
We don't have basements in Houston.

But a lot of the newer houses have media/ game/ bonus rooms. The biggest problem I have seen with those is most are weird shapes with connecting rooms, bay windows, stairs, etc. It is difficult to get a simple rectangular room. Don't these people know that isn't good for a 2-channel setup?
That kinda sucks.
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post #19039 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 01:48 PM
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Yea, its awful

But in this house this is all I have to work with. I told my GF that in the next house I need a room at least 16 x 22. She was like what, thats really big, the size of the master bedroom. I told her "Ohhh Yea". But its really the only thing I want in the new house, as a compromise I told her she can pick everything else
That's what I just did. I built a 5600 sq ft house ... of which I got a 19' x 23' x 8'9" (~ 440 sq ft - 3700 cu ft) sealed off room in the corner of the basement (we re-oriented the whole basement to provide for the dedicated theater). She got the remainder of the 5160 sq ft to do with as she wanted.

The house looks great, and everyone that visits loves it ... but all the guests agree that the highlight (and WOW! room) is the dedicated theater. I think I read somewhere that dedicated theater rooms are right up there in the top five additions/improvements that add value to high-end homes (the others being custom kitchens, master baths, walk in closets, etc.).

I agree though -- that placement looks awful (no offense). You should loan me those 800Ds (and I can lend you my N803s) and I will keep them warm until you can get a dedicated theater space.

_____________________________________________

My Bargain Basement Theater

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post #19040 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post
Bad thing about basements is that they are usually 7.5' - 8' ceiling, which isn't that great for sound either IMO.

Unless the house is 6,000SF, I don't think I've seen many 25' x 30' master bedrooms. Nice to be that big, though.
Sorry my friend you don't know about the homes in my area.
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post #19041 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:02 PM
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Sorry my friend you don't know about the homes in my area.
25x30 Master Bedroom? When I think of a room that size I think the scene in "Step Brothers" where they make the bunk beds and are excited about all the extra space for activities
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post #19042 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:23 PM
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That's what I just did. I built a 5600 sq ft house ... of which I got a 19' x 23' x 8.5' (~ 440 sq ft - 3700 cu ft) sealed off room in the corner of the basement (we re-oriented the whole basement to provide for the dedicated theater). She got the remainder of the 5160 sq ft to do with as she wanted.

The house looks great, and everyone that visits loves it ... but all the guests agree that the highlight (and WOW! room) is the dedicated theater. I think I read somewhere that dedicated theater rooms are not up there in the top five additions/improvements that add value to high-end homes (the others being custom kitchens, master baths, walk in closets, etc.).

I agree though -- that placement looks awful (no offense). You should loan me those 800Ds (and I can lend you my N803s) and I will keep them warm until you can get a dedicated theater space.
But you got to realize you have nice house, we are same area and I still have 600series speakers which I'm happy with.
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post #19043 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:25 PM
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But you got to realize you have nice house, we are same area and I still have 600series speakers which I'm happy with.
I am not sure what you mean -- but I was just commenting on Advanced's deal with his GF. Which worked out pretty well for me.

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post #19044 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:28 PM
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25x30 Master Bedroom? When I think of a room that size I think the scene in "Step Brothers" where they make the bunk beds and are excited about all the extra space for activities
I was talking about the basement I got friends and relatives have master suite close to that size not me 14x17
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post #19045 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:30 PM
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I am not sure what you mean -- but I was just commenting on Advanced's deal with his GF. Which worked out pretty well for me.
To me you are doing well, I'm happy for you.
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post #19046 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:34 PM
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To me you are doing well, I'm happy for you.
Thank you ... took awhile ... but it came together for me.

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post #19047 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:35 PM
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I just spent a few minutes looking at the homes in the neighborhood we want within our budget. For a 4000 sq.ft. home the average master bedroom size is approx. 22x18. Most of the bonus/game rooms are in the ballpark of 25x20, but most of the time the configuration of the room isn't ideal.

This is an example of an awful configuration.

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post #19048 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:41 PM
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I just spent a few minutes looking at the homes in the neighborhood we want within our budget. For a 4000 sq.ft. home the average master bedroom size is approx. 22x18. Most of the bonus/game rooms are in the ballpark of 25x20, but most of the time the configuration of the room isn't ideal.
That's big bedroom, I hope it has his her walk- in closets.
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post #19049 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:41 PM
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I just spent a few minutes looking at the homes in the neighborhood we want within our budget. For a 4000 sq.ft. home the average master bedroom size is approx. 22x18. Most of the bonus/game rooms are in the ballpark of 25x20, but most of the time the configuration of the room isn't ideal.

This is an example of an awful configuration.
Where do you live?

My prior home had space and configuration challenges as well.

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post #19050 of 19924 Old 08-14-2014, 02:44 PM
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Where do you live?

My prior home had space and configuration challenges as well.
North Houston Suburbs.
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