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Opinions on B&W 805s please?

bluedroog

Prominent Member
I was wondering if any of you have had first hand experience of the B&W 805s speakers? I'm am looking at the end of the year make a speaker purchase for both music and movies that is going to really last me.
Of course spending that sort of money I shall give them an exhaustive audition but it's always good to gather some opinions first. I've heard varying reports from them being like listening to the 600 series in 3D, the best book shelf speaker some have ever heard to they are a 600 series for posers with too much money. At £1600 there must be plenty of alternatives to consider, I would love to hear you ideas.

My of my main problems which could bias me in their favour is I really want to love these speakers. I like B&W and I love the aesthetic look of these is the cherry finish. I currently use a pair of B&W 602 S2 speakers through a Denon 3805 or Arcam Alpha 8 (although I am thinking of upgrading for music stereo use soon), the 602's have served me so well. I listening to these among many, many others at the time of buying and really liked the big warm sound compared to others. I was 18 when I bought them and now almost a decade later I think what my ears like is essentially the same but perhaps now a want some more mature characteristics to match. I still want the warm sound but also with a much more musical edge and far greater detail. That is why I have been sniffing round the 805s.

I have heard they lack slightly in the bottom end of the bass so I would plan on using these with a active sub for both music and movies. I'd love to hear what you guys think of these speakers. Thanks very much.
 

ZimmerX

Standard Member
What are you looking for? Floorstanding or bookshelf?

There is always the ProAc Studio 140s... But they are floorstanders, and as you are looking at the 805s, then my guess would be you want bookshelf...

According to WhatHifi, the Diapason Karis are meant to be good as well.

The 805s are a fantastic buy though, I would ignore the "lacking bottom bass" part, that is a very small nitpick on those beasts. I don't feel you would need an active sub with that; of course, you can get one, but you don't NEED one with them.

The 805s are a fantastic buy for £1600. I say go for them :)
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
I was wondering if any of you have had first hand experience of the B&W 805s speakers? I'm am looking at the end of the year make a speaker purchase for both music and movies that is going to really last me.
Of course spending that sort of money I shall give them an exhaustive audition but it's always good to gather some opinions first. I've heard varying reports from them being like listening to the 600 series in 3D, the best book shelf speaker some have ever heard to they are a 600 series for posers with too much money. At £1600 there must be plenty of alternatives to consider, I would love to hear you ideas.

My of my main problems which could bias me in their favour is I really want to love these speakers. I like B&W and I love the aesthetic look of these is the cherry finish. I currently use a pair of B&W 602 S2 speakers through a Denon 3805 or Arcam Alpha 8 (although I am thinking of upgrading for music stereo use soon), the 602's have served me so well. I listening to these among many, many others at the time of buying and really liked the big warm sound compared to others. I was 18 when I bought them and now almost a decade later I think what my ears like is essentially the same but perhaps now a want some more mature characteristics to match. I still want the warm sound but also with a much more musical edge and far greater detail. That is why I have been sniffing round the 805s.

I have heard they lack slightly in the bottom end of the bass so I would plan on using these with a active sub for both music and movies. I'd love to hear what you guys think of these speakers. Thanks very much.

Hi....there's a few things to consider here...

Firstly,your current amplifier simply will not do these anywhere near justice.

The current version of of the 805 is a much kinder load than it's previous versions,but it still benefits from an amplifier with very good power reserves,as well as at least 100w/channel,and good tolerance of a low impedance load.

You will find that most small standmounting speakers don't do deep bass very well,although these do a creditable job down to about 40Hz,and you will need a decent sub to make up for this,but it's also worth noting that even quite large floorstanders are NOT full range speakers in real terms,as this is the preserve of very large and expensive designs such as some of the Wilsons for instance.

You shouls also listen to the Wilson Benesch Arc,and Revel Performa,and Focal Electra before making any decisions,and be sure to try them in your own home.

I have an earlier pair of 805s run with Krell KMA100s,and they DO need a lot of good clean power.
 

inzaman

Moderator
I had some 805S for about 4 years and have just recently sold them, the only reason i sold them is that i don't really listen to music and also more importantly wanted a 'cleaner' or less cluttered front end. I used to have 805S and a HTM1 at the front.

I thought the 805S were great speakers and was really unsure about selling them, it took me a while to get round to selling them as they were the best speakers i owned. The sound to me was just so clean, clear and really transparent, the new crossover is a more simplified version i understand.

Although i don't really listen to music i tried them a few times as follows;

I used to have 704s and music through these sounded okay, however when i tried the same music through the HTM1 the 704's sounded flat and kind of 'muddy' in comparison. When i changed the 704s to the 805S it was another level altogether, the HTM1 still sounded clean but the 805S sounded just as good, if not slightly cleaner. The HTM1 is like an 803 on it's side.

If they embarrased my 700 series then i have no doubt they will trounce the 600 series as they are a totally different design from the external Nautilus tweater to the curved cabinet and excellent crossover, they also look amazing imo.

I would also look at the amplification, i used a Parasound 2205 to drive my B&Ws so they did have good amplification.

It is definitely worth demoing other speakers at this level but i am sure you would not be disappointed with the 805S - the new ones not the old 805's.
 

bluedroog

Prominent Member
Thanks for the responses, very informative and has given me food for thought. Regarding the amplification I have head that these are thirsty speakers and not only that I completely agree with you point in terms of doing them justice. To be honest in life in general I tend to buy seldom and get the best quality I can, so in this case I'd rather get these speakers and listen on an amp not worthy for a year or so and then enjoy the following few years with a very higher standard amp as my budget allows - if that makes any sense!

What is your view on older amps? Has the technology changed so much in resent years to count against going second hand? I do like the Arcam sound and though that an Alpha 10 bi-amped with the Alpha 10p (giving 200w per channel I believe) could be a quality bargain worth considering. Driving the B&W's with ease. Or is it more than just power alone, should I be looking at higher end kit altogether with these?
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the responses, very informative and has given me food for thought. Regarding the amplification I have head that these are thirsty speakers and not only that I completely agree with you point in terms of doing them justice. To be honest in life in general I tend to buy seldom and get the best quality I can, so in this case I'd rather get these speakers and listen on an amp not worthy for a year or so and then enjoy the following few years with a very higher standard amp as my budget allows - if that makes any sense!

What is your view on older amps? Has the technology changed so much in resent years to count against going second hand? I do like the Arcam sound and though that an Alpha 10 bi-amped with the Alpha 10p (giving 200w per channel I believe) could be a quality bargain worth considering. Driving the B&W's with ease. Or is it more than just power alone, should I be looking at higher end kit altogether with these?

Sensible view!

Older amps.....generally used high-end amps such as Bryston and Krell will last almost forever,and are well worth looking at if you have about £1k going spare,and the Krell KAV300i is an excellent integrated now fetching around that sort of price or less.

Ideally you would be looking at something in that sort of quality bracket,but obviously funds are always an issue,and I think that a used good quality pre-power amp or integrated is a very good way of getting much higher quality,at a reasonable cost.

The Arcams would be fine,but dont rule out looking a little higher to see what you can get....an old Krell or Bryston would certainly be better sonically.
 

bluedroog

Prominent Member
Do you have any idea the best sort of places to be looking for the Krell KAV300i? They seem to be very popular but quite hard to come by. I see lots of owners and not too many sellers which I guess is a good sign!
 

legion1capone

Standard Member
When I was looking for bookshelf speakers I had the chance to audition B&W 705's/805s, Paradigms, Linn's, Sonus Faber, Vienna Acoustics, Monitor audio, and a couple others. Compared to everything I heard the B&W 805S speakers were leaps and bounds better to my ears than everything else. But I did like the Vienna Acoustics a lot. There really is just something about B&W speakers not just the name that makes you smile every time you have a listen. Make sure you have the electronics to back them up. These are audiophile speakers and they will greatly appreciate good electronics.

I ended up with the B&W 705's as my wallet just didn't have the guts to afford the 805's. I have been looking at getting new speakers lately and if you can get past the name brand speakers and don't want to pay the insane markups in store take a look at LSA audio group's LSA1 speakers from underwoodhifi.com. The speakers are modified to greatly improve the sound for all 3 options, and by options I mean the standard/signature/statement. They are 3 different versions of the same speaker to fit in 3 different price ranges.
I have emailed them back and forth about this speaker and they say the statements are every bit as good as the 805's and them some. I'd at least look at them, read a couple reviews and send him an email with any questions. He told me that the standards modded fall between the 700 series and 800 series. While the signature is in the same ballpark as the 800 series and the statement speakers are the best speaker he has heard in its price range.
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
Do you have any idea the best sort of places to be looking for the Krell KAV300i? They seem to be very popular but quite hard to come by. I see lots of owners and not too many sellers which I guess is a good sign!

The KAV300i and later 400i are very good value and powerful integrated amps,with a lot of the sound qualities of some of the bigger Krells,but they are not Class A designs.

The best places to look are on the auction sites,and also by trawling the lists here...

http://www.avforums.com/forums/hi-f...o-second-hand-preowned-website-addresses.html
 

bluedroog

Prominent Member
Thanks for that Alex. Presumably the 400 is just the model up from the 300?

I wouldn't be getting my pants pulled down if I were spending around 1k on either of these then? With quite a long production should I avoid earlier models at this price?
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
Thanks for that Alex. Presumably the 400 is just the model up from the 300?

I wouldn't be getting my pants pulled down if I were spending around 1k on either of these then? With quite a long production should I avoid earlier models at this price?

I think a yes to all of the above should be about right!
 

legion1capone

Standard Member
I thought I would share this with you. This was written on the emotiva lounge. Something to think about. You could save yourself a lot of money and gain a lot of performance! Oh and Emotiva offers a 30 day, no questions asked and hassle-free, return policy. So if you don't like it just return it and get your money back.

"Well after reading all of the forum banter, I started wondering if I was missing out on something by not having more expensive amps. So... I took the plunge and ordered a new Krell S300i integrated ($2500) for my 2 channel set up ( 2 Polk LSi9's, an Onkyo AVR as a pre, an Emo UPA-2, a Wadia 170i, and a Marantz SA8003). I received the Krell and hooked up tonight. No bash intended here on Krell, but what a huge disappointment! Compared to my Emo, the bass was totally lost, depth and detail were horrible. I was just shocked. I fiddled around with it for about an hour, yanked it out, hooked my Emo back up and all is well again. The Krell will be returned tomorrow. Please forgive me! I will never doubt again!!"

Here is the link to the page in the forum:
The Emotiva Lounge - Emo vs Krell
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
I thought I would share this with you. This was written on the emotiva lounge. Something to think about. You could save yourself a lot of money and gain a lot of performance! Oh and Emotiva offers a 30 day, no questions asked and hassle-free, return policy. So if you don't like it just return it and get your money back.

"Well after reading all of the forum banter, I started wondering if I was missing out on something by not having more expensive amps. So... I took the plunge and ordered a new Krell S300i integrated ($2500) for my 2 channel set up ( 2 Polk LSi9's, an Onkyo AVR as a pre, an Emo UPA-2, a Wadia 170i, and a Marantz SA8003). I received the Krell and hooked up tonight. No bash intended here on Krell, but what a huge disappointment! Compared to my Emo, the bass was totally lost, depth and detail were horrible. I was just shocked. I fiddled around with it for about an hour, yanked it out, hooked my Emo back up and all is well again. The Krell will be returned tomorrow. Please forgive me! I will never doubt again!!"

Here is the link to the page in the forum:
The Emotiva Lounge - Emo vs Krell

I think you have to remember that that was lifted from the official forum of Emotiva Audio.
 

ab1385

Established Member
I own a pair after being blown away in the demo by how good they were. I took them home with the intention of very quickly upgrading my Denon 2307 to something like the Rotel 1570/1575 combo, but had to make do with the cheap Denon. I spent today at the Bristol sound and vision show and, other than possibly a £6k Naim pair of speakers and the Monitor Audio Platinum series I didn't hear much that I preferred to the 805S. That's not that there aren't better speakers, there are plenty and others may well prefer other, perhaps cheaper speakers, but I preferred the 805S to most other things I heard. As to the bottom end - I use a BK monolith which works very well with the 805S. They do not have a deep bottom end, but with an active sub sound fantastic.

I don't know if people have actually listened to these speakers with cheap amps before stating that they need "good" i.e. high end amplification. I am actually very impressed with how my Denon 2307 copes - I did a side by side comparison with a Densen stereo pre-power (cost around £6000) with some £150 chord interconnects and was amazed by how much the Denon kept up with the Densen. It wasn't as good, obviously, but really actually not that far off. I have on that basis been quite happy to wait for a bit of money to upgrade - the Denon really does manage the 805S well. I have added a separate power amp (Rotel RB1070) but don't feel that it makes that much difference.

This is of course all my personal experience and may get some people's backs up to say it - but I think the Denon will suffice perfectly well to cope with the 805S.

Also, you can of course ask to demo the 805S with a Denon 3805 like yours and do an A/B comparison with any much more expensive amp you like, and see whether then Denon is good enough for you. Just don't assume that the Denon won't be OK just because it's the "accepted wisdom" - make sure you hear and decide for yourself.
 
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