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B&W 805D to N805

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I would like to preface this by saying that I have had quite a few speakers and amplifiers in the past couple years. Dynaudio C1 Sig / Merlin TSM MMI / Harbeth SH5 / Usher Tiny Dancer / Focal Utopia Micro BE / PSB Imagine B / Magnepan MMG, 1.6, 1.7 / Amphion Argon / Selah as well as a few others. Amplifiers have been Arcam, Ayre, Exposure, Outlaw, McIntosh, Luxman, Musical Fidelity, Behringer, Naim, HK... I am just putting this out there to point to the fact that I have been seeking a sound that I truly love. So far, the speaker that does the most correct and the least wrong is the B&W N805.

I use the N805 for two years as the speaker that I simply could not let go of, hoping someday that I would take the plunge on the 805D. That day came about four months ago. I have put about 500 hours on the 805D hoping for an aha moment but it really did not come. Very much had been made of the diamond tweeter so I was curious to see what an improvement there could be over the 805N which I know very intimately. Oddly I found there to be a decrease in resolution - I understand that this is completely against common knowledge but this is what my ears have told me. Sitting next to the 805D I have a set of Focal Utopia Micro BE which have a beryllium tweeter. This tweeter is immeasurably more accurate, precise and resolving then the diamond tweeter. When listening to dialogue, the crispness and understandability of words and intonation completely gets lost in the swampy 805D tweeter as opposed to the Focal BE.

So, this brought me to thinking that Focal just has a better tweeter. Then I put my 805N back on their stands and I was floored by the increase in resolution over the diamonds. I really don't know how to explain this phenomenon but I really have been amazed by my experience. Hearing is subjective but my ears hear a fundamental rightness in the old 805N that the 805D does not approach. Magic is something that I never heard from the 805D and I actually stopped listening to music on impulse and for enjoyment. Now I am back to 805N as my daily driver and music is sounding very good again.

I must point out that this is only my subjective opinion but it is definitely something that I feel very strongly about as we all do in this hobby. In this case newer is not better. There were other soft spots in the 805 D's but also bothered me that I will leave aside for now. All I'm saying for now is that the 805N is an incredible speaker.
post #2 of 4
The problem with diamond is it's very heavy, whereas you generally want a very light transducer.

Diamond has a density of 91% higher than Beryllium and 30% higher than Aluminum, although 22% lighter than Titanium.
post #3 of 4
Michael, have you tried Salk's SILK speakers? I heard they are amazing sounding and should compare very favorably to your N805's.
post #4 of 4
I recently said in the Revel thread that I believe a great speaker is great regardless of age, material, or technology. biggrin.gif

So I don't think your impression is a big surprise at all. wink.gif

Some people believe that newer must be better.

I believe great sound is great sound regardless.

Every system is different. We just have to find the speakers and processors that fix our systems the best.
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