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Question about B&W 802's

787 Views 19 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Bulldogger
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and really audition a pair of B&W 802's with Center HTM1 ( methinks ) and nautilus series sub. I absolutely adored the sound. I mainly listened (and watched) eagles: hell freezes over dts dvd. I was amazed. Tunes like "new york minute" were just so enveloping and entertaining to listen to.

At roughly 8500 US for the pair, I don't see myself owning these anytime soon. I'm still in college. While I'm not on a beer budget (roughly 4k) is there anyway to get the sound that i heard for a cheaper price? I don't mean to be cheap, or anything like that. I just really enjoyed what I heard and was wondering if there was anything that sounded as good as that for less.

I was hoping to buy my entire setup, but after hearing those i could deffinitely purchase in phases (fronts and center or just fronts) then add as funds come in.

I would appreciate any opinions as to what the best route might be. That's mainly what i'm asking for- opinions.
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I have the CDM 9NT's and they sound really good. You may be able to get a good price on these (the CDM series) since they are now being replaced with the 700 series.

The CDM9's are almost identical to the 804's (in sound). I got my 5 channel setup for just above 4K (no sub included). 9NT's, 1NT's and CNT.

Good Luck
other option is go on the used market and buy the matrix series.. not as good on the mid and high end as the new nautulus series, but excellent..
Additionally - most B&W dealers allow you to trade-up to newer B&W speakers that cost 2x. If you buy CDM/700s today, you can get the 802s in the future when you have more cash.
I was listening to some speakers and tried the 803, the sound is really close. Tonal range is about the same bass is a bit deeper on the 802. But unless your running really good equipment I think you might be hard pressed to hear the difference. go listen to some 803's they can be had for that price used new they are 5k. But I would suggest the large center.

As for BW I do think they are over priced Right now I am leaning towards vandersteens 3csig. They are 3500 list and much wormer smother and better tonally matched. My problem is they don't look as nice.

But with that being said I would love some 802's I do like the sound just to much $$$.
If i purchase anything now I won't be able to "trade up" for a few years.

That said. I'd love to purchase 802's .... but i simply cannot afford it. I was hoping to purchase something that sounded similar for much less. It's a common desire - to have something worthwhile with the least ammount of investment.

Now - how do I get that sound for less than 4k (including the cost of a reciever and or separates)....
If you keep your eye on audiogon, I've seen some used N802s go for $4500. It that is the speaker you really want, then don't rush.
i can't afford 802's for quite sometime.... i'm a college kid.

I'm looking for something that sounds almost as good for less. I was hoping that my comparision might spark some suggestions, but i feel that high end audio is like performance cars - american muscle is great, but nothing compares to an italian thoroughbred.
Optikill, no offense but you are a "rookie" if you don't know that "American" high-end audio is not second to any other countries. I agree with you on the sports cars but we are world leaders in audio. I actually chose Mcintosh LS360 speakers over B&W N802s which is a fine speaker. Revel, Thiel, Vandersteen,Martin Logan,Krell, and Wilson Audio all make speakers that are on par with or superior to B&W to say the least and Wilson is certainly capable of "wiping the floor" with anything that I've ever heard from B&W.
i didn't mean any offense, nor did i say that speakers made elsewhere - UK, France, Germany, Finland etc were better.....

i was simply comparing my budget in terms of sports cars not a degradation of the local products. I guess I could sum it up better this way. I have champaign wishes on a beer budget....
Try out the N805s with a good sub. It will give you 90+% of the N802 sound with better placement options for a fraction of the cost. Another option is the N804 which would eliminate the need for a sub. As others have said, look on the used market for some really good deals.
If you are going to be listening to HT I don't think even 802s replace what a decent sub does, much less 804s. If you are listening to music only, then its possible.

I think the suggestion of going with 805s is a good one, as you can get them on audiogon for a good discount (including stands). This should leave enough room for a sub and center. For a receiver, maybe consider something from Marantz as I've always like their amps in their receiver line.

When you are ready you can always move the 805s to the rear and upgrade the fronts.

Tho I'm not sure whats an economical choice for rears in the meantime, maybe something from the 700 series?

You could also go all new 700 series, (4x705s, center and sub) they seem to have been received very well. But for the price of new 705s you could get used 805s.

Either way, good luck.

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optikill, what size room would you be using for listening? if your using a small room i think the n802's would be overkill. i own n804's and an htm1 center channel. i agree with those recommending a sub. you will definitely need one. i would recommend the n805 or n804 and then get a good sub. just my 2 cents.
I also agree with the 805 suggestion. Try getting 3 805s for front and center or better yet, 5 805s . Also try getting them from a B&W dealer that you can upgrade your speakers. My dealer offers upgrading for speakers, amps, pre-pros, DVD players...etc. I have been with this dealer for more than 10 years and have gone through different sets of B&W speakers and numerous audio gear.

Good luck,

Check if the 805s are video shielded becuase if you go with 3x805 across the front as that could limit your placement options. Otherwise, I love the HTM1 which could be had for the same price as the 805. Plus it will be very difficult to find a single 805 for the center if you go the pre-owned route.

805s are shielded speakers. Also B&W speakers are sold as each and should be no problem getting 3 or 5 of them. Expletive is right though regarding finding 1 pre-owned 805.


If you are going to be listening to HT I don't think even 802s replace what a decent sub does, much less 804s. If you are listening to music only, then its possible
Expletive is correct. I wouldn't be without a sub for HT with my N802s. I guess that I was only considering the music aspect of the N804s. Thanks for catching that oversight and giving good follow-up advise. ;)
I agree with the 805 suggestions. You might want to look for used signature versions, as they are even a refinement to the current line i.e. the new tweeter and other changes. Then you can also add a sub.

I used to own the 804s, and I felt they always needed a sub even for listening to music. But the advise seems to be consistent, the rest of the B&W line will offer a similar sound to the 802s but there are options to get you something more affordable.
Originally posted by kdeleon
I agree with the 805 suggestions... But the advise seems to be consistent, the rest of the B&W line will offer a similar sound to the 802s but there are options to get you something more affordable.
I disagree. The 805's use a conventional Kevlar foam edge mid/woofer driver. The HTM1, 703's, 804's and up use a Fixed Suspension Transducer for the midrange that offers much cleaner mids with less distortion.
Optikill, guess it was just a misunderstanding. I have a few tips for you. Try www.audioclassics.com for some used gear. They even have a lay-a-way:), no joking. I use it myself as I like to pay cash for my gear. I think you'll find some stuff that might interest you there. All of the stuff that I have purchased there has been in like new condition and extremely well packed. I've yet to recieve a damaged item and that is a statement. Be careful though in the used audio market on the internet. I've been ripped-off for a couple of grand which is why I perfer to deal with established companies like audioclassics now for used purchases.
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