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  1. #1
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    B&W 801D4 review

    Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Loudspeaker - The Absolute Sound


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  2. #2
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Wimpy amps need not apply:

    Discovering How Amplifiers Dramatically Affect Loudspeaker Output - The Absolute Sound


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  3. #3
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    If I was just getting into this hobby and had $35,000 to spend, the 801 D4’s would be at the very top of my list. The improvements made in the latest version of these speakers has eliminated the last bit of edginess that existed in the treble. The transparency, neutrality, detail and imaging of the midrange and treble is right there with best speakers on the market. The bass is accurate, robust and impactful. In short, I love the way these speakers sound.

    Ken
    "No summit worth climbing is easily attained."
    --------------------------------------------
    Source: MSB Select II DAC with Two Mono Powerbases and Femto 33 Clock; Renderer V2 Digital Input Module and Roon Nucleus Plus; MSB UMT V Signature Transport
    Amps: Vandersteen M7-HPA Mono Amps; MSB M204 Mono Amps
    Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7 Mk2
    Power: Two AudioQuest Niagara 5000’s with AudioQuest Dragon and Hurricane Power Cords

  4. #4

    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Interesting that the review talks about "stunning" results at the CAF last fall while the 801's were powered by the large McIntosh amps.

    I thought that room was one of the worst in the show. Way too small of room for these big speakers. Bass "boom" was significant. Volume way WAY too loud.

    My jury is still out for these speakers. Looking forward to a time when I can hear them properly amped and positioned in appropriately large room. (I presume the big Classe monoblocks would be great, but I'd be most curious about the pairing with the Block Audio's!)
    Kevin

    VPI Aries 3/Grado Reference3, and Aurender N200 > PS Audio DS DAC. Luxman L-595A integrated amp. Sonus Faber Elipsa SE speakers. PS Audio P5 and P10. Transparent Audio, Cardas and Audioquest cables.

  5. #5
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    B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by 4N6 View Post
    Interesting that the review talks about "stunning" results at the CAF last fall while the 801's were powered by the large McIntosh amps.

    I thought that room was one of the worst in the show. Way too small of room for these big speakers. Bass "boom" was significant. Volume way WAY too loud.

    My jury is still out for these speakers. Looking forward to a time when I can hear them properly amped and positioned in appropriately large room. (I presume the big Classe monoblocks would be great, but I'd be most curious about the pairing with the Block Audio's!)
    Come on down for a listen! We have the 802D4’s with the Block Audio’s. I can attest, it’s a fantastic combo.

    I also agree with you about what you heard at CAF.

    Way too small of a room.


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  6. #6
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Review: Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 | Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4


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  7. #7
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by 4N6 View Post
    Interesting that the review talks about "stunning" results at the CAF last fall while the 801's were powered by the large McIntosh amps.

    I thought that room was one of the worst in the show. Way too small of room for these big speakers. Bass "boom" was significant. Volume way WAY too loud.
    )
    I second your impressions!!!! Most disappointing room indeed, sadly . I stayed there for a long time, REALLY tried to like them , asked to play my cuts, but the results were artificial and processed sounding, fake caramel sweetness, without any core as far as timbre, and musical, organic sense. I am sure the culprit were the Macintosh amps and preamps that are mediocre at best (notice I did not say "SUCK BIG TIME, and only appeal to those with small @#%$ complex)....

  8. #8
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by AudioLibertarian View Post
    I second your impressions!!!! Most disappointing room indeed, sadly I stayed there for a long time, REALLY tried to liked them , asked to play my cuts, but the results were artificial and processed sounding, fake caramel sweetness, without any core as far as timbre, and organic sense. I am sure the culprit were the Macintosh amps and preamps that are mediocre at best (notice I did not say "SUCK BIG TIME, and only appeal to those with small @#%$ complex)....
    Why people continue to pair Mc with B&W is beyond me.


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  9. #9
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Interesting comments. I pair my McIntosh 611’s with B&W 802D3’s and really enjoy the results. Not sounding like fake caramel to me.
    B&W 802D3
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  10. #10
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    I think bc it helped with the tweeter. B&W has a tailored sound which many obviously like. The latest measurements don't seem much different than prior versions. I like the new look quite a bit, would enjoy hearing a pair.
    Brinkmann Bardo w/ EMT HSD-006 cart, MSB Reference DAC --> Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL --> Ampzilla 2000, 2nd Edition --> Fyne Audio F1-12

  11. #11
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by AudioLibertarian View Post
    I second your impressions!!!! Most disappointing room indeed, sadly I stayed there for a long time, REALLY tried to liked them , asked to play my cuts, but the results were artificial and processed sounding, fake caramel sweetness, without any core as far as timbre, and organic sense. I am sure the culprit were the Macintosh amps and preamps that are mediocre at best (notice I did not say "SUCK BIG TIME, and only appeal to those with small @#%$ complex)....
    While i can agree on the McIntosh SS preamps and some of their amps being Dreaded , they have also had a few pretty impressive amps over the decades , both toobs and SS ..!



    Regards
    * An Audiophile is only as old as his tweeters ..!!

  12. #12

    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Strange!
    Why is it that 90% (?) of conversations about B&W are about or end up being about amplification?

  13. #13
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock View Post
    Strange!
    Why is it that 90% (?) of conversations about B&W are about or end up being about amplification?
    They have a tricky impedance curve and dip close to 1ohm at several frequencies (1.4, 1.6, etc). Finding the right amp is key.

    B&W 801 D4 Loudspeaker | Hi-Fi News

    B&W 801 D4 Loudspeaker Lab Report | Hi-Fi News


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  14. #14
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    They have a tricky impedance curve and dip close to 1ohm at several frequencies (1.4, 1.6, etc). Finding the right amp is key.
    Are those minimum impedances correct, Mike?
    From HFN/RR: minimum is 3.4ohm at 96Hz.
    Certainly you are right that finding the right amp IS key!

  15. #15
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by ICUToo View Post
    Are those minimum impedances correct, Mike?
    From HFN/RR: minimum is 3.4ohm at 96Hz.
    Certainly you are right that finding the right amp IS key!
    Those minimum impedance numbers are more accurate.
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  16. #16
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by ICUToo View Post
    Are those minimum impedances correct, Mike?
    From HFN/RR: minimum is 3.4ohm at 96Hz.
    Certainly you are right that finding the right amp IS key!
    Correct, I was confusing with the 800D3. The new D4, although still not idea for low powered tube amps, isn’t as taxing as the previous generation. This really is a greatly improved version in so many ways, including amp load!


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  17. #17
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    @Audiofan57

    Well... Truth be told, I ve listened to that combo of yours of 611 and 802D3 extensively, and I kinda of enjoyed the combo ALOT! Now, its still not the combo I would buy personally, but we all have our own sonic preferences. I was actually considering buying just the 802D3 at that point, but was using medium power EL 34 power amp that would not have driven those 802D3 even remotely to their full potential, and Jadis 500 amps were just too much money , so I passed. My friend however bought those 802s based on mine recommendation and is happy using them with Symphonic Line monoblocks.... The entire 800 D3 series are STILL fantastic speakers, and are competitive with most TOFL of any brand, IMHO.

  18. #18

    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    They have a tricky impedance curve and dip close to 1ohm at several frequencies (1.4, 1.6, etc). Finding the right amp is key.

    [
    Thanks Mike.
    But it seems like looking for a needle in a haystack.

  19. #19
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock View Post
    Thanks Mike.
    But it seems like looking for a needle in a haystack.
    On the older 800D3 series, yes, agreed. This new series (D4) seems much more benign.


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  20. #20
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by AudioLibertarian View Post
    @Audiofan57

    Well... Truth be told, I ve listened to that combo of yours of 611 and 802D3 extensively, and I kinda of enjoyed the combo ALOT! Now, its still not the combo I would buy personally, but we all have our own sonic preferences. I was actually considering buying just the 802D3 at that point, but was using medium power EL 34 power amp that would not have driven those 802D3 even remotely to their full potential, and Jadis 500 amps were just too much money , so I passed. My friend however bought those 802s based on mine recommendation and is happy using them with Symphonic Line monoblocks.... The entire 800 D3 series are STILL fantastic speakers, and are competitive with most TOFL of any brand, IMHO.
    I appreciate the comments. I get so tired of reading so many negative Comments on McIntosh. I am sure McIntosh may not be a good match for every speaker, but they pair well with B&W. I also know there are amps better than McIntosh out there, but it is impossible to listen to them all. I think for the price, reliability , and overall quality, the amps are worth the money. I don’t see my 611’s going anywhere.
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  21. #21
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Loudspeaker - The Absolute Sound


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    B&W 801 or Avantgarde Duo XD? Similar price, similar dimensions, weight and drive unit array - but totally different amp preferences. With both powered by the "right" amp, which would people choose if they could listen to them back-to-back?
    Sources - NAD M50.2 (streamer, CD player, CD ripper, hard drive music store)
    Amplification - NAD M33, NAD M12, Consonance Cyber 845 monoblocs (now sold)
    Speakers - Avantgarde Duo XD, Avantgarde Duo (2006) - both aesthetically modified, Martin Logan Expression 13A (now sold)

  22. #22
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by Hear Here View Post
    B&W 801 or Avantgarde Duo XD? Similar price, similar dimensions, weight and drive unit array - but totally different amp preferences. With both powered by the "right" amp, which would people choose if they could listen to them back-to-back?
    Great question. You really have me thinking! But here’s the rub…

    The Duo XD is soon to be replaced with the Duo G3. The Uno is going away and there will be a Duo mini/lite/whatever to replace it.

    The new Duo G3 will be double (about) the price of the 801D4.

    That being said, unless you’re willing to do EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING to get the AG’s just right (cables, source, power, etc), the 801D4 with two or four DB1D’s is my pick with money to spare. The subs are NOT because the 801D4’s need bass, oh, no, no, no, no….they go below 20hz on their own! It’s because I love those subs and what they do in my room evening out the bass to perfection.

    All that being said, if you’re willing to do what’s required to perfect the AG DUO G3’s, than it can be a transcend experience. One entirely on a different level.

    Either way, you can’t go wrong.


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  23. #23
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Wimpy amps need not apply:

    Discovering How Amplifiers Dramatically Affect Loudspeaker Output - The Absolute Sound


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    Exactly! It drives me nuts when I see people telling people that want to get Magnepans that a 50 wpc amp will sound great with them. It may sound good but Maggie tweeters dip down to 1.9 to 2 ohms. They need a robust amp that can handle that type of impedance and they need a lot of capacitance, current and power to get the best out of them.
    My Gear- Mains System-Pass X250 amp, BAT VK-51se preamp, Luxman DA-06 DAC, Magnepan 1.6's, Thorens TD-145 TT, Dual Martin Logan Subs, Vintage Luxman T-110 Tuner, Other systems- Parasound A21 amp,Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid tube DAC and Preamp, Magnepan MMG's, Monitor Audio S1's, PSB B6's, Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000's, Velodyne sub, Adcom GFR-700 AVR, Music Hall 25.2 modified CDP, Cables by Cardas Parsec, AQ Columbia DBS 72v, Wire World.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
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    UK
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    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Great question. You really have me thinking! But here’s the rub…

    The Duo XD is soon to be replaced with the Duo G3. The Uno is going away and there will be a Duo mini/lite/whatever to replace it.

    The new Duo G3 will be double (about) the price of the 801D4.

    That being said, unless you’re willing to do EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING to get the AG’s just right (cables, source, power, etc), the 801D4 with two or four DB1D’s is my pick with money to spare. The subs are NOT because the 801D4’s need bass, oh, no, no, no, no….they go below 20hz on their own! It’s because I love those subs and what they do in my room evening out the bass to perfection.

    All that being said, if you’re willing to do what’s required to perfect the AG DUO G3’s, than it can be a transcend experience. One entirely on a different level.

    Either way, you can’t go wrong.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Thanks Mike

    My question was prompted by a posting on another forum where the owner of a very large room (but no dimensions provided but rectangular and probably 1000+ sq ft) that he describes as "difficult acoustically" is thinking of the 801 D4.

    As the user of the Duo XD in a much more difficult room (semi-circular, floor-to-ceiling glazing, 945 sq ft, low ceilings), I suggested he consider the Avantgarde on the basis that it works very well in my room where other speakers have seriously struggled. In particular I claim that horns are less affected by the room's acoustics and can be placed close to or far away from side or rear walls .

    I agree with you that careful positioning is needed but Duo XDs are less fussy of the room than most speaker types, particularly as they have the advantage of XD room correction. I think the AGs will give him a much bigger "goosebump factor" than the B&Ws. I'd be interested in your take on this.

    Many thanks

    Peter

    PS The Duo G3 would be beyond his budget I believe - and mine too for that matter, so I'm not planning on upgrading to G3!
    Sources - NAD M50.2 (streamer, CD player, CD ripper, hard drive music store)
    Amplification - NAD M33, NAD M12, Consonance Cyber 845 monoblocs (now sold)
    Speakers - Avantgarde Duo XD, Avantgarde Duo (2006) - both aesthetically modified, Martin Logan Expression 13A (now sold)

  25. #25
    Audioshark
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Sarasota, FL
    Posts
    28,739

    Re: B&W 801D4 review

    Quote Originally Posted by Hear Here View Post
    Thanks Mike

    My question was prompted by a posting on another forum where the owner of a very large room (but no dimensions provided but rectangular and probably 1000+ sq ft) that he describes as "difficult acoustically" is thinking of the 801 D4.

    As the user of the Duo XD in a much more difficult room (semi-circular, floor-to-ceiling glazing, 945 sq ft, low ceilings), I suggested he consider the Avantgarde on the basis that it works very well in my room where other speakers have seriously struggled. In particular I claim that horns are less affected by the room's acoustics and can be placed close to or far away from side or rear walls .

    I agree with you that careful positioning is needed but Duo XDs are less fussy of the room than most speaker types, particularly as they have the advantage of XD room correction. I think the AGs will give him a much bigger "goosebump factor" than the B&Ws. I'd be interested in your take on this.

    Many thanks

    Peter

    PS The Duo G3 would be beyond his budget I believe - and mine too for that matter, so I'm not planning on upgrading to G3!
    That’s a difficult one. With careful matching, both are capable of goosebumps, but nothing will beat the Microdetail retrieval and dynamics like a world class horn speaker.


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B&W 801D4 review

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