Login / Register
 
B&W 801 vs 802 s2 vs s3
New Reply
Subscribe
kjg
Thread Starter
#1
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 937

Thread Starter
kjg is offline
B&W 801 vs 802 s2 vs s3

Hello.

I'm considering a pair of B&W Matrix 800 series.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Currently, I have a chance at buying either a pair of B&W M801 series 2, or a pair of B&W M802 series 3.

I'm drawn to the 801s over 802s for the better bass extension of the 801 and the fact that it is series 2 which (supposedly?) has better crossover filters and protection circuits.
I'm drawn to the 802s over the 801s for being slightly (a lot?) faster. Also, they are most likely a bit younger (does this even matter?)

- Which out of these two options would you prefer for mastering?
- If you could choose between series 2 and series 3 for either 801 or 802, would you have any preference?

Are either the 801s or 802s any more forgiving/demanding on the acoustics? Or on the power amp?

Should I skip both and just wait for a good deal on a pair of M802s2, favoring the faster configuration of a 802 & better x-over of the series 2 - over the bass extension of a 801 and the age factor?

That's a lot of questions, I know... Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.
Both need to be driven from a very serious amp, I am aware of that. I am considering a second hand Bryston or maybe Hypex based mono blocks. But that is secondary. Right now I am drawn to the 801s2 option, but I can wait for a better offering.

Unfortunately I have no way to compare the speakers side by side in the same room with the same amp.

Thank you very much,
Klaas-Jan Govaart

Last edited by kjg; 19th November 2008 at 04:31 PM.. Reason: took out a question that was based on a misunderstanding
Lux
#2
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #2
Lux
Gear nut
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 107

Lux is offline
Hi Klaas-Jan! I´m not a mastering engineer. I am a former pro clarinet player who has become a music producer, arranger, and do some recording. I have recentley bought the Matrix 802 sIII. I had the opportunity to hear them side to side in the same room with the same equipment as the 801 sIII.
I cant say which model is best for you, but I just want to inform you about the crossovers that are available from Northcreek audio. My 802 had these crossovers installed,( though they are externel.) When we compared the 802 with Northcreek to the 801 with standard, the 802s sounded to my ears (and to my friends) more open and detailed, I would say clearley better. It could of course be that the 802 is a better speaker, but since they have the same mid, top system, I think that the sonic differens above is related to the crossovers. Of course the bass was deeper in 801, but faster in 802. Im very happy with my 802.- The are very nice. But I have not heard them with original crossovers. If you visit Northcreek´s site you can see that they also can make filters for the 801.

I drive my 802s with Rotel RB 1080 with good result

801web
kjg
Thread Starter
#3
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 937

Thread Starter
kjg is offline
Thank you Lux! That is very valuable information. What did you pay for your upgraded 802s, if I may ask?

I'm considering these speakers because I am hoping to acquire a full range or very close to full range set of speakers for under 2000 eu, to hopefully end up under 3500 eu including amps.

If the picture starts looking like 4000 eu or over, I will most likely opt for K&H O300s, and add subs later.

The crossover upgrade would approximately double the total price of the speakers if I would retrofit it, so that doesn't look to attractive from my current perspective.

Thanks again
Klaas-Jan
Lux
#4
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #4
Lux
Gear nut
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 107

Lux is offline
I think that you can find 802 for less than 1800 €. I think 1200 would be realistic for a standard pair. Have you searched in Denmark?
kjg
Thread Starter
#5
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 937

Thread Starter
kjg is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lux View Post
I think that you can find 802 for less than 1800 €. I think 1200 would be realistic for a standard pair. Have you searched in Denmark?
My mistake: The bidding is at 1300 atm. Asking price is 1650.
I have only searched in The Netherlands and Germany so far.
Lux
#6
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #6
Lux
Gear nut
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 107

Lux is offline
Hi kjg. I did send you a message.
inlinenl
Verified Member
#7
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #7
Lives for gear
 
inlinenl's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 2,093

Verified Member
inlinenl is offline
Hi KJG,

well excellent choice, I think a lott off bang for the buck ....
maybe you should consider your room size as major important.
the room/accoustics will be the judges on those speakers .. bad room / bad sounding / performing speaker ...

the 801 should have some space around ( like any full-range ) but I could imagine that the 801 needs more space then a 802 ...

I would not suggest the 801 and 802 as nearfields ...

But if you have some depth/wide in your room .. then the 801 could be the best
option for the money ... maybe just wait to get a 801 S3 ..
but then again I also love the vibe off the 802.


did you try HiFi neu oder gebraucht: audio-markt.de - das Portal für Highend-Geräte, Lautsprecher, Verstärker... or HiFi.nl - Onafhankelijk AV-platform - Hoogwaardige weergave van audio, video, muziek en film en www.hear.nl etc. etc.
I was hunting B&W for three months ... on all off those sites ...

succes !!
__________________
Wim Bult
www.inlinemastering.com
kjg
Thread Starter
#8
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 937

Thread Starter
kjg is offline
Ok, slowly digging out more information from tha interwebz.

So, the series 3 uses ferrofluid cooled tweeters. Less prone to being blown, and therefore not needing the protection circuitry that the series 2 uses.

The series 2 on the other hand have a different tweeter that should be faster because of not being fluid cooled. Resulting in more airy, open sound...

Right.

Generally the crossovers were simplified for the series 3. Significantly less components, greater signal integrity.. Cheaper to build too, of course.

I get the impression that the series 2 crossovers are more complex and result in an even more even frequency response, but the series 3 crossovers are more pure in the sense of shorter signal path, and maybe slightly more colored too, as a result.

Crossovers for both series were done with relatively cheap components, and are generally considered to be the weakest link. Third party, high quality, external crossovers are/were available and are a big improvement for both 801 and 802, series 2 and 3.

So, nice speakers either type, either way...
Possibly nicer tweeter in the series 2 (but then needing some protection which again degrades the sound quite significantly, but can be easily bypased if one wants to take the risk - no replacement parts), but to really get the most from either model/make extensive work on the crossover needs to be done. That's the theory, at least. A lot of it comes from audiofool sources too.

Any more real world experience? Especially on series 2 versus series 3?
In the end I'll just grab what comes for a good price, whether 801 or 802? But make 2 or make 3? Assuming that I won't get any work done one the crossovers? I tend to think series 2, if that tweeter is indeed nicer, opener and airier. And if they are even more analytical than the series 3.

Something tells me I should just hold on to my money and go with the K&H o300 option. Same price range, or cheaper depending on what amp and what crossover upgrades...

Any real world, non-audiofool thoughts?

Thanks,
kjg
kjg
Thread Starter
#9
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 937

Thread Starter
kjg is offline
Hoi Wim, bedankt voor je reactie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
Hi KJG,

well excellent choice, I think a lott off bang for the buck ....
maybe you should consider your room size as major important.
the room/accoustics will be the judges on those speakers .. bad room / bad sounding / performing speaker ...
Yes bang for the buck... That is why I'm considering them. But then again, bigger rooms > costs more bucks too... I'd have to keep that in mind when choosing my space.

Quote:
the 801 should have some space around ( like any full-range ) but I could imagine that the 801 needs more space then a 802 ...
That was my feeling about it. Both need a lot of space, but 801 a bit more even..

Quote:
I would not suggest the 801 and 802 as nearfields ...
I guess I should forget about using them in my mobile home then? Right? How disappointing.

Quote:
But if you have some depth/wide in your room .. then the 801 could be the best option for the money ... maybe just wait to get a 801 S3 ..
but then again I also love the vibe off the 802.
Yes... Both nice, huh
But both would need a lot of room.. And really expensive amps to get the most from them, and ideally the 801 would need a somewhat improved crossover to get a bit more articulate lower register, too

Maybe then in the bigger picture the bang for the buck is not that special. Like you said, the room will make it or break it. Maybe my other option (roughly same budget), is better then. With K&H 0300s the room size would be less critical, I guess.

Thank you for all the links!
What B&Ws did you buy in the end? N802?

Groet!
Klaas-Jan
#10
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Sweden
Posts: 4,221

Audiop is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post

The series 2 on the other hand have a different tweeter that should be faster because of not being fluid cooled. Resulting in more airy, open sound...
That "faster" thing is some mumbo-jumbo (excuse me :-). If a tweeter reach up to some 40kHz or more I consider it fast enough. I would also like to see an explanation and some measurement on a tweeter becoming faster after the ferrofluid is removed. It will for sure (if everything is equal) compress the signal much more, typically the compression doubles.

Faster means higher SPL and/or higher frequency.


Quote:
Generally the crossovers were simplified for the series 3. Significantly less components, greater signal integrity.. Cheaper to build too, of course.
May I ask what you consider being signal integrity?

Quote:
I get the impression that the series 2 crossovers are more complex and result in an even more even frequency response, but the series 3 crossovers are more pure in the sense of shorter signal path, and maybe slightly more colored too, as a result.
More pure but at the same time more colored? ;-)

Quote:
Crossovers for both series were done with relatively cheap components,
Performance is not governed by the price tag on the components.

Quote:
and are generally considered to be the weakest link.
I don't know any loudspeakerdesigner with basic knowledge that consider anything but the drivers being the weakest link in the whole playback chain.

Quote:
Third party, high quality, external crossovers are/were available and are a big improvement for both 801 and 802, series 2 and 3.
It's not impossible to improve upon some readily made products, but I'd be a little sceptical against such claims. The people tweaking are biased to like their hard work and expecially if they have bought some exotic x-over parts (that often is made up exactly the same as budget stuff and remarked and "repriced" with a factor ten or so).

Quote:
but to really get the most from either model/make extensive work on the crossover needs to be done. That's the theory, at least. A lot of it comes from audiofool sources too.
Mmm, those audiofools.. ;-)


/Peter
inlinenl
Verified Member
#11
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #11
Lives for gear
 
inlinenl's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 2,093

Verified Member
inlinenl is offline
hallo KJG,

I ended up with a pair off 800 Nautilus .. I got a great deal on the set including high-end cables and a mark-levinson 332 Amp.

before that I worked for three years on B&W DM3000 .. which I bought for only € 500,- they really made their money ..

I love those 2 black monks in my room ...
kjg
Thread Starter
#12
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 937

Thread Starter
kjg is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
That "faster" thing is some mumbo-jumbo (excuse me :-). If a tweeter reach up to some 40kHz or more I consider it fast enough. I would also like to see an explanation and some measurement on a tweeter becoming faster after the ferrofluid is removed. It will for sure (if everything is equal) compress the signal much more, typically the compression doubles.

... snip ...

Thank you Peter,

That is exactly what I need

I was just recapping some of the misc "info" I found online today. Most from audiophile/fool sources, which is exactly why I am asking here.

The purer signal path referred to significantly less components, but therefore less tweaked out, and less analytical (or more colored).

Well complete replacement crossovers are available... I wasn't planning on tampering with the original crossovers boards anyway.
Wasn't planning on buying those replacement crossovers either, as it would double the price and completely defeat the purpose of going this route anyway (and of course this upgrade could not be demo'ed and A/B'ed). I do believe the third party external crossover are an improvement, though.

I'm just trying to get a clear picture on where I would stand with a stock series 2 vs series 3.

Quote:
Performance is not governed by the price tag on the components.
Generally, you don't think that replacing caps and resistors with
higher quality replacements can result in better performance?

Thanks again for your input!

Klaas-Jan
#13
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Sweden
Posts: 4,221

Audiop is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post
Thank you Peter,

That is exactly what I need

I was just recapping some of the misc "info" I found online today. Most from audiophile/fool sources, which is exactly why I am asking here.
Yes , I realized those where not strictly your own opinions and therefore thougth I could speak my mind freely so to speak. :-) Glad you took it the right way.

Quote:
The purer signal path referred to significantly less components, but therefore less tweaked out, and less analytical (or more colored).
That's a common idea in audiofool circles (I like the "audiofool name" instead of audiophile since I consider myself being an audiophile).

It's tempting to believe that less components means "pure" and therefore better sound. According to that dogmatic way of thinking we can exclude our preamps and connect the mics directly to the AD, also we can skip the power amp and connect the preamp/mixerdesk directly to the speakers. Ok, a little exaggerated maybe but you get my point.

What's interesting is the end performance and there are many ways to get there, and better with science and strict methodology than with dogma or mysticism.

Quote:
Well complete replacement crossovers are available... I wasn't planning on tampering with the original crossovers boards anyway.

Generally, you don't think that replacing caps and resistors with
higher quality replacements can result in better performance?
Yes I do, IF you find better alternatives for the job. Problem is that a big part of the audiofool community believs that expensive and exclusive equals better, and that's not the way it is.. well of coure it can be so but it's no rule. Also when it comes to caps it's often a question of balancing since if one parameter gets better it's not uncommon for another to get worse.

Often coils are shifted to "better" ones and often one with less DCR but all DC components in series with the drivers affect the Q of the filters and the drivers (bass tuning for example) and a good speaker has all that taken into consideration during the design phase.

Speakers are complex systems and just swapping parts is not the right way. A difference will often be there and off course the audiofool often finds different=better.


Quote:
Thanks again for your input!

Klaas-Jan
Your wellcome! :-)


/Peter
kjg
Thread Starter
#14
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 937

Thread Starter
kjg is offline
Info on the replacement crossovers can be found here:
801web

Can't be snake oil completely, or can it?
kjg
Thread Starter
#15
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 937

Thread Starter
kjg is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop View Post
Yes , I realized those where not strictly your own opinions and therefore thougth I could speak my mind freely so to speak. :-) Glad you took it the right way.
No, I really appreciate your thoughts! Just wading through all these websites of quasi-info..


Quote:
That's a common idea in audiofool circles (I like the "audiofool name" instead of audiophile since I consider myself being an audiophile).


It's tempting to believe that less components means "pure" and therefore better sound. According to that dogmatic way of thinking we can exclude our preamps and connect the mics directly to the AD, also we can skip the power amp and connect the preamp/mixerdesk directly to the speakers. Ok, a little exaggerated maybe but you get my point.
It think pure is a very strange and subjective term to describe a circuit anyway.
I'd rather see the measurement, and not count the number of components.


Quote:
What's interesting is the end performance and there are many ways to get there, and better with science and strict methodology than with dogma or mysticism.
Totally. That's why I'm trying to get some first hand, real life, audiophile/engineer perspectives here.

Quote:
Yes I do, IF you find better alternatives for the job. Problem is that a big part of the audiofool community believs that expensive and exclusive equals better, and that's not the way it is.. well of coure it can be so but it's no rule. Also when it comes to caps it's often a question of balancing since if one parameter gets better it's not uncommon for another to get worse.

Often coils are shifted to "better" ones and often one with less DCR but all DC components in series with the drivers affect the Q of the filters and the drivers (bass tuning for example) and a good speaker has all that taken into consideration during the design phase.

Speakers are complex systems and just swapping parts is not the right way. A difference will often be there and off course the audiofool often finds different=better.
I would not by far have the electronics skills to get into that tweaking of circuits, and still have a real perspective of what is going on.
I might consider a real upgrade of a piece of circuitry, like for example the Fred Forssell stuff. That is a reputable source I could trust.

In this case, "upgrading" anything is not something I consider. I'm jsut trying to find out about the stock 801/2 s2/3

It seems that maybe the crossovers in the series 2 would work better for me... Since the sound is described by audiofools as "less involving" "dryer" "less blossoming" etc..

I'll just see what option comes my way for a decent price. Either would be great I guess, if I still decide to got this route that is.

Cheers,
Klaas-Jan
#16
19th November 2008
Old 19th November 2008
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Sweden
Posts: 4,221

Audiop is offline
I skimmed thru and some questionable claims made me rise my eyebrows but no, not completely IMO. The price seems a little on the high side though.


/Peter
#17
21st November 2008
Old 21st November 2008
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 676

drblank is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg View Post
Hello.

I'm considering a pair of B&W Matrix 800 series.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Currently, I have a chance at buying either a pair of B&W M801 series 2, or a pair of B&W M802 series 3.

I'm drawn to the 801s over 802s for the better bass extension of the 801 and the fact that it is series 2 which (supposedly?) has better crossover filters and protection circuits.
I'm drawn to the 802s over the 801s for being slightly (a lot?) faster. Also, they are most likely a bit younger (does this even matter?)

- Which out of these two options would you prefer for mastering?
- If you could choose between series 2 and series 3 for either 801 or 802, would you have any preference?

Are either the 801s or 802s any more forgiving/demanding on the acoustics? Or on the power amp?

Should I skip both and just wait for a good deal on a pair of M802s2, favoring the faster configuration of a 802 & better x-over of the series 2 - over the bass extension of a 801 and the age factor?

That's a lot of questions, I know... Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.
Both need to be driven from a very serious amp, I am aware of that. I am considering a second hand Bryston or maybe Hypex based mono blocks. But that is secondary. Right now I am drawn to the 801s2 option, but I can wait for a better offering.

Unfortunately I have no way to compare the speakers side by side in the same room with the same amp.

Thank you very much,
Klaas-Jan Govaart
I owned a pair of the 802 v.2 and sold them. I like the newer versions they are selling now as they took care of a lot of things about the earlier generations that needed to change. If get these speakers, Classe' amps sound good, plus MIT cabling.
#18
21st November 2008
Old 21st November 2008
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 676

drblank is offline
If you check Audiogon.com, they have some good deals for a variety of 800, 801, and 802 of the more recent variety.

Cheers.
#19
15th December 2009
Old 15th December 2009
  #19
Gear interested
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Western NC USA
Posts: 24

trinculo is offline
B&W 801 s2 crossover mods

Audio designer Frank Alstine developed some simple mods to the Series 2 crossovers that reportedly bring them in line or improve upon the Series 3.

Apparently B&W incorporated these changes into the Series three.

Supposedly these eliminate the need for the external Bass alignment filter as well.

I realize this thread is over a year old, but just came across it and thought I would comment.

If anyone wants the mods, PM me or look up frank directly.

best,

trin
#20
25th November 2012
Old 25th November 2012
  #20
Gear Head
 
siamhatter's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Berlin/ Germany

siamhatter is offline
Hello, I'm sorry to dig out this old thread but I have a quick question. I am looking for a pair of B&W speakers and could get matrix 801 s2 or 802 s3 for about the same price. The room is 25m2. Not very big and I listen mostely quiet. I do 80% mixing and 20% mastering (but more and more mastering jobs come is so I had the idea of getting b&w's).

Would be great if you could share your opinions.
#21
25th November 2012
Old 25th November 2012
  #21
Gear nut
 
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Ireland
Posts: 94

petermontg is offline
I picked up 802S3 past few weeks, first pair of B&W. Just under 1k before shipping. They are a lovely speaker and room works excellent with them.

I read before that someone said that they could do with a sub just to bring that area out a little bit more. I thought maybe this was nonsense and would cloud my judgement on them, but yes I agree with post.

Really nice speaker. Everything is there, even ambience that was not there before.

Now converted to the church of B&W.
#22
26th November 2012
Old 26th November 2012
  #22
Gear Head
 
siamhatter's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Berlin/ Germany

siamhatter is offline
I would prefer 802S3 but they are a bit overpriced. 801S2 is around the same price. 801 could be a bit better if I move to a bigger place what I will sooner or later.
#23
26th November 2012
Old 26th November 2012
  #23
Lives for gear
 
dietrich10's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,081

Send a message via AIM to dietrich10
dietrich10 is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by siamhatter View Post
Hello, I'm sorry to dig out this old thread but I have a quick question. I am looking for a pair of B&W speakers and could get matrix 801 s2 or 802 s3 for about the same price. The room is 25m2. Not very big and I listen mostely quiet. I do 80% mixing and 20% mastering (but more and more mastering jobs come is so I had the idea of getting b&w's).

Would be great if you could share your opinions.

Hi
I had both 801 S2 and S3 earlier this year in my room. Maybe it was my room but I could not get the low end under control. One pair was on Sound Anchors and the other on thinner metal stands. Even tried raising on concrete slabs 4 and 8". Depth of the rest of the speakers were great.
my room is treated and built for mastering

D
__________________
www.completemastering.com
#24
28th November 2012
Old 28th November 2012
  #24
Gear Head
 
siamhatter's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Berlin/ Germany

siamhatter is offline
802 S3 was in the end more expensive than an offer for the 801. So I think I'll try it with that one. By the way I did a listening session with PMC TB2SA, APS Aeon, Focal and ATC. Very interesting how different all of these sounded.
#25
8th December 2012
Old 8th December 2012
  #25
Gear Head
 
siamhatter's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Berlin/ Germany

siamhatter is offline
I just got m801 S2's. They are great! very good price. I just tested them with a sony 110w amp and they sound great. A little harsh maybe but I think this will be fine if I run them with a good amp. I am very happy...
#26
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
  #26
Gear addict
 
francois's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 416

francois is offline
I have the 802 series 2 ,great speakers .they need a powerful amp.
I tried the Bryston 4BST with good results and the Parasound 21 with better ones. 110 watts is not enough for those speakers in my opinion
__________________
Francois
Mad Dog Productions
#27
29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
  #27
Gear Head
 
siamhatter's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Berlin/ Germany

siamhatter is offline
yes. that was just for a test. I decided now to build a hypex ucd700 amp.
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
VEGAS / Mastering forum
2
StefanM / Mastering forum
5
audiothings / High end
6
jt916 / High end
4
viaspiaggia / Music Computers
2

Forum Jump

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.