Well once again I spent some time with the venerable S-1EX speakers. I had intended to compare them with the Focal Be1027 and the 1037. Unfortunately the Focals were no longer there, so I listened to the B&W 802D. All I can say is wow for both. I had a friend with me who owns a pair of Cerwin Vegas driven by a Panasonic receiver. Not a bad sound actually. Just to wet our palette we first listened to Paradigm S8v1. The amp and pre were McIntosh. I didn't really pay much attention to the Models. The S8 are an outstanding speaker. The bass was robust and it had an "all there" sound. I thought they were a bit bright sounding, which surprised me because I own a pair of the old MkIII with the textile tweeter. The sound stage was convincing. Well my friend was amazed. He actually said "MY GOD THOSE ARE ------- AWSOME". Now it was time for the B&Ws. After 30 seconds, I thought I saw a tear in his eye. Now the Pioneers, we both were blown away by the sound stage. It is huge!!! To make a long story short the 802D and the S-1EX sound to our ears much more natural and just plain better than the S8s. I know at the price difference you would expect a better sound but, the law of diminishing returns is at play here. The S-1ex did sound well worth the $3000 premium over the S8s, but the 802Ds compared to the S-1ex was very close. I liked the B&Ws bass, it sounded more natural in its decay than the S-1ex. In the end we were split, I loved the S-1ex he gave the 802d his vote. I think it was the Pioneers huge sound stage that that swayed me. just an amazing speaker. I will be picking up my set in early Sept.