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How accurate are N802s??
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edham
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24th October 2008
Old 24th October 2008
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How accurate are N802s??

Looking for opinions on N802's.

I did a demo at a local NYC retailer of the 802D's and walked away pretty confused.
After coming from barefoots the 802D's came across as having a substantial low mid bump.
I have been searching for a freq plot and can't find one anywhere to confirm or dispute this.

Figuring the showroom could be the issue I hit the mono button - disconnected one speaker and moved the other away from walls and sat right in front of it - trying different distances.
Cloudy in the low mids in all positions.

So my question is do the N series have this same "sound"?
How flat are they?
Anyone N802 owners have a chance to compare to barefoots?? (and .....?)
How different are the D series from the N? (other than the tweeter).

thanks in advance for the input
jayfrigo
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24th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
Looking for opinions on N802's.

I did a demo at a local NYC retailer of the 802D's and walked away pretty confused.
After coming from barefoots the 802D's came across as having a substantial low mid bump.
That's similar to my impression as well. I also know a couple other engineers who had the same feeling, so we aren't alone. I listened in a couple rooms, and oriented them differently in those rooms. Then I listened to other speakers of similar size, but only in one room.

I really thought I must be missing something based on how much people seem to love them. And I have to say, the mids and highs were fabulous, but the low-mid to mid-bass just was not quite right. It was over-stated. Anyway, I probably shouldn't even be saying this since so many people love them, and will now be coming out of the woodwork to call us cloth-eared hacks. Such is the life we lead!
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24th October 2008
Old 24th October 2008
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Hey everybody hears differently but since I own N802's, N805's and Barefoot MM27's I say it's the listening environment or the amps on the B&W's or a combo of both that made them sound so different.

When you put the MM27's into their "relaxed" mode they sound very very similar to the N802's. Switch them back to flat and they sound a little light in the low mids to me. So we hear different.

Overall it's uncanny how close they are considering size difference and manufacturers but I'm not getting rid of my N802's anytime soon!
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edham
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24th October 2008
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Thanks Jay and Larry.

Pretty cool that Larry has both 27's and 802's.

I'd imagine that if the 27's in relaxed mode sound similar to the 802's on the mid to low end - that they would still be a bit brighter on top. (not a bad thing at all btw)

I talked to thomas about modding the crossovers so that relaxed mode would only tip up the low end while leaving the high end alone. But over time I got used to them flat.

So Larry - if I can ask a question -
on which monitor do you feel better able to make more accurate eq choices??

I'm also trying to get at the differences between N and D series. Any input would be appreciated.
DSD_Mastering
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24th October 2008
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I have the same views. You can find a review and charts here in Stereophile.




Regards,
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How accurate are N802s??-graph.jpg  
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edham
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24th October 2008
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Thanks Bruce.
I had previously seen that chart but the tester comments that the low end bump was due to their testing methodology.
I wonder how accurate that chart really is. ?????
jayfrigo
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25th October 2008
Old 25th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
Thanks Bruce.
I had previously seen that chart but the tester comments that the low end bump was due to their testing methodology.
I wonder how accurate that chart really is. ?????
If it was part of a review, it was probably a field measurement, and not anechoic, so there are many variables introduced. But that's probably a pretty accurate measure of how they responded in that room at that measurement position on that day!
Cellotron
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25th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
Looking for opinions on N802's.

I did a demo at a local NYC retailer of the 802D's and walked away pretty confused.
If you're talking about Stereo Exchange on Broadway I have to say that their listening rooms ime are extremely inaccurate and I personally would take with a grain of salt any conclusions regarding the components accuracy made by listening in these rooms.

If you wanted to hear B&W N802's in a different room I'm glad to have you over at my studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn when I don't have any sessions scheduled - you can pm me at steve at totalsonic dot net if you are interested in this.

Quote:
After coming from barefoots the 802D's came across as having a substantial low mid bump.
I have been searching for a freq plot and can't find one anywhere to confirm or dispute this.

Figuring the showroom could be the issue I hit the mono button - disconnected one speaker and moved the other away from walls and sat right in front of it - trying different distances.
Cloudy in the low mids in all positions.
I don't find the Nautilus 802's to be this way in my room at all.

One thing I have to say though is that they don't have particularly excellent vertical coherence so in most rooms (including mine) it's important to have their height set correctly (set stock not on stands is generally not the best positioning imo - I use Sound Anchors for my setup to raise them up about 6") and to maintain a particular listening position height to be able to stay in their "sweet spot."

Quote:
So my question is do the N series have this same "sound"?
How flat are they?
Flat enough for me to get very consistent reference approvals from clients, to have excellent translation of masters/mixes to other systems. and for me to be able to very easily hear problems in all ranges of the spectrum.

I personally am a very big fan of them and currently have no desire to switch to another system, although admittedly I have not heard anywhere near all of the other high end options.

Quote:
Anyone N802 owners have a chance to compare to barefoots?? (and .....?)
I've never heard the Barefoots, seems most folks who have them really love them though. I've heard lots of Bryston amps though and while I think they are very good they are not my first or even second choice for amplifiers.

Quote:
How different are the D series from the N? (other than the tweeter).
From the Stereophile article that Bruce linked to:
The innovations B&W has included in its new 800 series include tweeters with diamond domes, redesigned Kevlar FST midrange cones, new woofer diaphragm materials, and a new crossover configuration. And while to the casual observer the 802D may look much like its predecessor, the Nautilus 802, there are external changes as well.

The 1" tweeter used in the new 800 series has a dome of vacuum-deposited particles of diamond, which, though not as low in mass as materials such as beryllium, possesses greater stiffness in the useful frequency range. With its new suspension and motor assembly, the tweeter's lowered fundamental resonance also permits a first-order, 6dB/octave crossover to the midrange, which in turn dictated the new series' most obvious external feature: the bullet-shaped tweeter enclosure is now embedded deeper into the midrange enclosure, so that the tweeter and midrange drive-units are in phase at the crossover frequency.

The 6" Kevlar-cone midrange driver, in B&W's signature yellow tint, has been updated with the addition of a foam damping ring under the cone periphery, and its more powerful but smaller neodymium magnet structure and redesigned basket mean that obstruction of the cone's rear radiation is greatly reduced. The controversial FST midrange cone is still intended to break up in a controlled manner, but even more uniformly and predictably. Again, the characteristic midrange Nautilus-shell is nestled into the soft, glove-leather embrace of the main enclosure, as in earlier 800-series speakers.

Two 8" woofers with Rohacell diaphragms complete the driver array. Rohacell is a lightweight sandwich of rigid foam between sheets of carbon fiber. B&W engineers like to demonstrate its remarkable stiffness by standing on a speaker cone unsupported by frame or magnet assembly.

B&W's proprietary Matrix construction is retained for the woofer cabinet, but the 802D's base and port are inherited from the Signature 800. The flared port is lined with dimples that, like those on a golf ball, are intended to reduce air turbulence, providing for noiseless laminar flow at all sound-pressure levels. Further, the port is aimed downward at and precisely spaced from a fixed base. The construction, shape, and relationship of the base to the port fixes the port's performance and makes it independent of floor coverings and mounting devices, such as casters and spikes. The wider bandwidths of the new drive-units allowed B&W to simplify the crossover, with fewer passive elements in the signal path between input and driver.


Best regards,
Steve Berson
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25th October 2008
Old 25th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
If you're talking about Stereo Exchange on Broadway I have to say that their listening rooms ime are extremely inaccurate and I personally would take with a grain of salt any conclusions regarding the components accuracy made by listening in these rooms.
Their rooms are extremely large, however, for a NYC retailer. The bay that the 802s are in, I believe, doesn't even have a ceiling. The walls are slightly non-square, and there is no rear wall behind the listener. Sort of lively, and probably sucks bass out of almost any system that doesn't have plenty of bass driver surface area to push air out the old fashioned way. But would this invalidate one's observations on midrange? If you changed your position to more or less listen to them in the nearfield without immediate boundaries, like the Stereo Exchange room, the monitors should approach linear performance, no?
Cellotron
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25th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsvisser View Post
Their rooms are extremely large, however, for a NYC retailer. The bay that the 802s are in, I believe, doesn't even have a ceiling. The walls are slightly non-square, and there is no rear wall behind the listener. Sort of lively, and probably sucks bass out of almost any system that doesn't have plenty of bass driver surface area to push air out the old fashioned way. But would this invalidate one's observations on midrange? If you changed your position to more or less listen to them in the nearfield without immediate boundaries, like the Stereo Exchange room, the monitors should approach linear performance, no?
Sure - theoretically the room shouldn't be all that bad - but my experience is that perceptions formed there don't really hold up all that well as soon as you have the same component listening to the same reference when back in my own room. ymmv.

I should note that I've bought a couple of amps through Stereo Exchange and have received decent service through them so have no beef with them at all - it's just that I don't think it's possible to make any kind of decent comparison of the accuracy of a speaker heard in their room vs. a completely different model heard in another.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
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25th October 2008
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No speaker is accurate, and every room is flawed.

DC
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25th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edham View Post
Thanks Jay and Larry.

Pretty cool that Larry has both 27's and 802's.

I'd imagine that if the 27's in relaxed mode sound similar to the 802's on the mid to low end - that they would still be a bit brighter on top. (not a bad thing at all btw)

I talked to thomas about modding the crossovers so that relaxed mode would only tip up the low end while leaving the high end alone. But over time I got used to them flat.

So Larry - if I can ask a question -
on which monitor do you feel better able to make more accurate eq choices??

I'm also trying to get at the differences between N and D series. Any input would be appreciated.

Yes the top end of the MM27's are brighter. I expect these to "relax" over a bit of time.

I use the B&W in my mastering room and won't be changing them out anytime soon. I have the MM27's in my tracking/mixing mix room. At any given time I can push a button on my mastering console and hear (route) things from the mixing/tracking room to the mastering room. I can also take and at the push of a button have my mastering show up in the tracking/mixing room to listen on that system. The sin is that the tracking mixing room is for my personal use only.

The MM27's will be going to a live large facility a friend of mine is building, that and the Sphere console that's in storage... then the 805's go back into my personal room!


And Dave is right "No speaker is accurate, and every room is flawed". It's just getting to know the flaws that will save your ass over time.
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30th October 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
No speaker is accurate, and every room is flawed.

DC
I agree. However, I think this argument is often taken way too far. Now, I know Dave isn't suggesting that all speakers are equal. But I frequently hear people say that monitors are all a matter of taste. And this completely discounts the fact that there are many objective, well-defined, measurable and consistent ways in which most people perceive sounds. It also discounts that there are many consistent performance characteristics underlining the vast majority of consumer playback systems, despite their superficial diversity. So, I do think there are ways to design a recording monitor that take all this into account and are more "right" than other designs. Of course, no monitor is perfect. Many technological limitations still exist. And more importantly, the consistencies in hearing and playback that I talked about define a fuzzy region in a large parametric space, not a specific point. So there is plenty of room for different interpretations of what is optimal.

Anyhow, I just want to make the counterargument to the "it's all a matter of taste" suggestion that creeps into these discussions. And I don't want anyone to forget that this thread is discussing very high performance speakers. I'm happy to have the MM27 compared in such good company as the N802. I think it has earned its place. I have my biases about what makes a highly effective monitor. And those biases are manifested in my designs. But I think the differences between my designs and speakers like the N802 almost certainly fall in that fuzzy region surrounding "right". And it's not just any speaker that can land in this vicinity simply by matter of taste.

Hope my little rant made some sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
If it was part of a review, it was probably a field measurement, and not anechoic, so there are many variables introduced. But that's probably a pretty accurate measure of how they responded in that room at that measurement position on that day!
Plus, on-axis response is just a small part of the picture. Power response, transient response, distortion, etc., all contribute to a speaker's sonic signature.
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