I'll see if I can run down the data on how many pairs were produced of 801S3. The 800D2 used a Rohacell bass driver, but it was different than Rohacell bass driver used in the 800D. Different dust cap, motor, suspension and I think the chassis was also different.
One of the biggest mysteries in audio for me is personal preference. All things being equal (two systems working equally well in the same room) some just prefer a different presentation of music. I liken it to the preference that some show to older cars, which tend to be preferred for their personality.
One person's personality is another's deficiency. Our modern products do a better job of getting out of the way than older ones like the 801S3. As an engineering company, that's the way it should be. Whether or not a listener will prefer to hear their music less colored by the loudspeaker is another matter altogether.
Per our white paper on the development of the diamond tweeter:
"It should be remembered that deviation from piston-like behaviour does not suddenly happen when the break-up resonance frequency is reached. It builds up from a much lower frequency. It is similar to the effect of anti-aliassing filters used in digital recording. Those have cut-off frequencies above the accepted limit of human hearing, but deviations in the phase and associated group delay begin well below 20kHz. It is the shifting of these build up effects well above the limit of hearing that is most important." The appendix of the paper
is particularly interesting regarding the more technical aspects of aluminum versus diamond tweeters.
B&W Group North America
Originally Posted by Jon Middleton
Do you think B&W has that information? I'm curious. The MSRP when we bought ours was ~$5500/pair, so I wonder how many pair were sold.
Thanks for the rundown, Patrick. I thought the 800D2s used Rohacell for the base drivers, too?
I fried my tweeters once, using test tones. I think I was at 4000Hz. Turns out it was a very bad idea, and it sure was audible. Even more remarkable was the silence that ensued. I've heard the above argument before, as well as what Berland posted regarding the impact of frequencies well above the audible spectrum interfering with lower frequencies. I'm a bit skeptical about the audibility of those effects. As I said above, my wife actually prefers the 801S3s to the 800D2s. How many improvements have been made between the two series? Given all the changes in materials, motors, spiders, crossovers, cabinets, etc, one would think it wouldn't even be close. Yet, it appears to be. Food for thought.